Meet Softec’s Board of Directors

This page includes the backgrounds and connections to our Board Members. These volunteers make it possible for Softec to do what Softec does.  Without their time contributions, Softec simply would not exist.

Bob Dumouchel, President

Bob has been involved with Softec since 1996 and is serving for the 3rd time as President. He has been an active board member for over twenty years with a few years taken off to start new businesses. Bob is a serial entrepreneur with seven tech startups on his resume. As he puts it “four were successful and three I learned from.” Bob believes that the strength of our business community is directly related to the connections between people and has personally experienced several Softec Moments that have made seemingly impossible things happen.

Bob’s current business isWhat’s Next? a marketing agency that specializes in the marketing of tech innovations. He selected that niche not because it is easy, but because it is hard. It was the difficulty of the grand challenge that attracted him to this business. Bob has been a Program Administrator for the regional CEO Roundtables since 2005. He currently provides admin services to two tables in Santa Maria and for the first 15 years of the program, he served three additional tables in San Luis Obispo. Bob currently serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for the Nina Toastmasters group in Santa Maria. His goal in this is to improve his public speaking skills. You can email bob at

Steven Burgess, Vice President

Steve Burgess is the president of Burgess Consulting and Computer Forensics and a serial entrepreneur. He is a tech writer & speaker, startup mentor, Life and Business Coach, and an internationally recognized computer forensics consultant, as well as nanotechnology activist, recently President of the nonprofit, The Foresight Institute, in San Francisco. He has hosted numerous Tech Brews in Santa Maria and acted as a coach, judge, and participant in various Startup Weekends up and down the Central Coast.

A founder of the data recovery industry in 1984 and a pioneer of today’s burgeoning computer forensics and electronic discovery industry, Burgess is active as a digital forensic specialist and testifies widely as an expert witness in the field. Steve has reported on Japan’s space programs, contributed various Nanotech Glossaries, is the author of “The (Needed) New Economics of Abundance,” contributor to the text, “Scientific Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases,” and regularly writes on cyberissues, tech tips, and CSI stories found at his website.

Jeff Buckingham, VP of Connections

I’m a true believer in outstanding customer service – the foundation of our company’s mission. And I love telecommunications and technology. But when I was a kid, I always dreamed of being a dairy farmer. Luckily for me, running a business is a lot like running a farm: It takes patience and stamina, know the landscape well and help others find their way.

An avid tech enthusiast, I started my career in 1983 at Call America, just as the Bell System broke up. I started as the company’s first sales person and eventually became president. But my love of learning how things work started long before that. When I was 15 and my pickup truck got stuck in the mud, I decided to change the entire drive train to four-wheel drive in my parents’ backyard.

After a brief stint as a full-time rancher, I founded the “new” Call America in 2001 with my business partner, Cheryl Lovell. And we watched our company grow to 25 employees, serving more than 2,000 customers on the Central Coast.

Cheryl and I partnered again and co-founded Blue Rooster Telecom in 2009. In 2014 we merged Blue Rooster Telecom together with Norcast Telecom Networks to form a new “Blue” version of Norcast. In 2016 Norcast joined forces with Digital West, another great local company. In 2021 Digital West joined forces with Astound Broadband. Now, with the growing Astound fiber optic network, I’m able to work with our team to bring tremendous fiber investments to the Central Coast. This is the best of times “lighting up” our community with broadband.

My community is my home, and I’m a very social creature. I serve my community in a variety of ways that are meaningful and make a difference in my life and, I hope, also in the lives of others. I’m lucky to love what I do and do what I love – solve problems and provide great customer service.

Brian Schwarz, VP of Tech Brew

Since 2018, Brian Schwartz has been the ‘Brewmaster’ for our popular TechBrew networking event. He’s responsible for coordinating our guest speakers, setting up the events, and hosting the virtual TechBrew on Zoom. Brian graduated from Cal Poly in 1994 with a degree in Industrial Technology and worked for a variety of technology companies (including IBM) before launching his publishing consulting & author services firm in 2009. As a technologist, he has created two SAAS products ( and As an advocate for local authors, he writes a monthly column for SLO Life Magazine. Prior to returning to the central coast in 2013, Brian was living in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he wrote and published 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times. You can reach Brian through his website at

Maria Salas, Treasurer

Maria is a CPA at Senior Accountant at Caliber Account and Tax, LLP a Softec IMPACT award-winning CPA Firm. She is experienced in the areas of individual, partnership, and corporate tax planning and compliance and multi-state taxation of business entities. She serves clients in various industries including professional services, real estate, and software. Ms. Salas graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Account from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Ms. Salas is a native Spanish speaker. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Central Coast Chapter of the California State Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA). She is actively involved with the recruiting efforts of the firm. In her free time, Ms. Salas enjoys running, traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband, son, and dog.

Tom Ross, Board Member

Jeremy LaDuque, Board Member, Secretary

Jeremy has been involved with Softec since 1999 and has been an entrepreneur, founder and advocate for technology startups throughout his career. Jeremy was a part of the Central Coast CEO Roundtables for ten years and was recognized by both the San Luis Obispo Tribune and Pacific Coast Business Times with their “Top 20 Under 40” awards for his commitment to the community. His passions are innovating and taking new technologies to market, helping secure financing for startups and growth-minded tech companies and helping companies build strong teams.

On the Central Coast Jeremy has been a part of five technology companies, including founding ElementsLocal, acquired by Bridgeline Digital (NA: BLIN) in 2013. Jeremy is an expert in digital marketing technology for multi-unit businesses and has worked with some of the largest and fastest growing franchises and multi-location businesses in the world including Sport Clips, Luxottica, The UPS Store, 7-Eleven, and CVS.

Jeremy is currently the EVP of TruPresence, a new division of Bridgeline Digital bringing a SaaS platform, including an AI-driven analytics platform, to multi-unit businesses. He’s also co-founder of Integrated Franchise Solutions, Inc. a franchise ownership and consultancy group.