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We’re a smart, passionate team out to make a difference!

After years of building custom web development projects for associations and nonprofits in the Washington, DC area, our company (then called nonprofitCMS), created a custom system for a trade association. We built a system to collect thousands of applications and perform online review with hundreds of reviewers. Little did we know at the time but this online entry/review system would become the backbone of our future.

Our company officially renamed and re-branded to OpenWater in 2014. Interest in our awards product exploded. Based on the feedback and interest from our customer base we launched our abstract management software (called Armada) in 2015. Armada evolved into a robust Abstract Management platform with thousands of users all over the world.

Today, we’ve incorporated all of this functionality into our robust software platform. Clients use our platform to manage awards, grants, scholarships, fellowships, and more. Nearly any application and review process can be made easier and more efficient using our platform. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your program.

OpenWater was ranked at #2056 on the list
of America’s best ‘Small’ Businesses!

The OpenWater Name

In rowing, there’s a concept called “open water.”

It’s used to describe the distance between two boats at the finish line. In close races, the front of the trailing boat overlaps with the leading boat. That’s normal. But sometimes, when one crew has truly pulled away from the competition, there’s no overlap at all between the boats.
There’s just open water.

Our name conjures up our commitment to advancing our solutions and ourselves. One that evokes limitless possibilities and unbroken horizons. And one that reflects upon the people with whom we do business – the visionaries, the go-getters, the people doing everything they can to get ahead of the pack … and stay there.

That’s OpenWater.

Meet Our Team!

We are thinkers, doers, visionaries, planners, engineers, artists, technologists,
developers, designers, and more! We believe in what we do.

We are OpenWater.

The People

Timothy Spell

Tim is a Co-Founder of OpenWater and possesses an innate ability to translate and break down complex technical information to non-technical people. While focused on the marketing and sales side of the business, Tim is also an avid rower and competes across the country with Potomac Boat Club.

Kunal Johar

Kunal, co-founder of OpenWater, manages the direction and delivery of our platform. He enjoys most the challenge that comes with innovating our platform without alienating long time users of it. In his free time he loves to tinker with things, most recently, Amazon’s Alexa.

Nick Burton

Nick Burton

As a Project Manager, I help clients by creating programs that best match their vision. I enjoy OpenWater’s collaborative atmosphere to meet client goals.

Outside of the office I like to lift heavy things, watch professional wrestling with my cats, and find new board games to try out.

Matt Frank

Matt Frank

I’m a Consultant and I help clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs.

I love the tight-knit support staff crew. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie among us, and a lot of humor and playfulness as well.

After having children I discovered that I love singing, and I like to spend time memorizing new songs so that I can sing them when I put my children to bed!

Helen Hachtel

I work in the Support department and look after clients, whether that be assisting with their program setups, or just appreciating their cute dog photos.

OpenWater’s team is amazing, and is the reason I love what I do here. I’ve never known a hungrier bunch of people, and being that I love food, we get on very well.

In my free time I like to drive around in my 1986 Chevy conversion van and go to regional Burning Man events. If it’s too cold for that, I stay in, make tea, and pet my cats.

Findlay Hilchie

I manage front end development and build programs / advise clients how to make their programs better.

I get to interact with amazing people from the team to the clients. I have been able to touch on multiple industries and learned so much about what matters in them.

I don’t have a lot of free time, I am currently taking my masters in Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Outside of that I work out, advise startups, and drink really good coffee.

Cody Keith

Cody Keith

I draw upon my diverse technical and analytical background to support clients through every step of their programs. I love working at OpenWater because its allows me to help a wide array of clients while providing solutions from easy to complex. After work, I am a husband and a father of three, as well as being an avid online gamer.

Daniel Lakin

Daniel Lakin

I’m a back-end developer at OpenWater, working on custom integrations, reports, and helping to take the platform further. I love working here because it’s the perfect mix of friendly people, supportive coworkers and management, and interesting work. Also there are often dogs around! Outside of OpenWater, I keep busy with community theater, running the occasional 5k, and finding cool shows to go to.


Rebecca Lee

OpenWater has a great working atmosphere, friendly staff, and ample support in both work and personal growth.

I enjoy watching sports (mostly hockey & football), everything cars (tuning them, driving them, meeting other car enthusiasts), and unnecessary planning (Christmas planning in August, birthday planning 4 months ahead of time, etc).

David Lincoln

David Lincoln

I communicate with organizations and companies, to learn more about what they do and how we can help them.

I enjoy the challenge of working in a competitive environment, where everyone is dedicated to improving the company.

When I’m not working, I like to spend my time on the water, either rowing my 1x or coaching for George Washington University Rowing team.

Genevieve Sipperley

Genevieve Sipperley

At OpenWater I am a question answering, troubleshooting, Consultant who is also more than happy to chat with you if you’d had a long day at the office.

Working at OpenWater is a workplace all of its own; there are a mesh of energetic personalities that form a productively fun environment with a team-backing-feel aspect, basically it’s great!

In my free time I write screenplays, travel, and volunteer at animal rescues (which creates a constant challenge to not adopt even more cute furry friends).

Samantha Thorndike-Stark

Samantha Thorndike-Stark

I’m a project manager and will be working with clients to customize and perfect their programs.

I may be new but it’s already clear how amazing this job will be. The atmosphere is inviting and fun and everyone is clearly dedicated to OpenWater.

I’m a yoga obsessed cosplay creator who spends far “too many” hours on xbox, occasionally plays the cello, and frequents edm festivals.

Laura Mercado

Here’s what I do here: I’m a Support Team Leader, I’m a coach and cheerleader for three great Consultants. Here’s what I like about working here: I love figuring out the very best setup for each client, preferably while evangelizing dependent fields to them. Here’s what I do in my free time: I’m a classically trained French chef, when I’m not working I’m always in the kitchen!

Jim Newcombe

I help connect people with the software and services that can make running their application and review processes easy (and even enjoyable). Working at OpenWater is great because of the talented, professional team who also likes how to have fun. In my free time, I like researching technology trends and rowing.

David Noyes

I’m a sales rep at OpenWater and also an aspiring arborist. (I’m attempting to grow a clementine tree in my office.) Outside the office I can be found coaching rowing on the Potomac River, walking my dog Nico, or taking a long bike trip across Virginia.

Alexis Rodriguez

Alexis Rodriguez

I cultivate client relations and consult on effective program management and best practices.

The sense of community and collaboration makes me excited to go to work every day.

If I’m not running or teaching yoga, you can find me at a bookstore or a live show.

Max Horner

Max Horner

I’m a Business Development Representative at OpenWater, bringing in leads and researching ways to get our product out there. I’m a born-and-raised Virginian, and on my days off you can find me shooting pucks at a local hockey rink!

Jack Schnitzer

Jack Schnitzer

I do research to help find out who would be a right fit for our growth stack. I love the working environment here and it gets more fun every day. I like going out with my friends and watching/playing sports.

Zack Schwartz

Zack Schwartz

I focus on running operations, building integrations, and ensuring OpenWater customers are well-supported. I enjoy tackling a wide array of business challenges ranging from front line product support and operations to sales and marketing efforts. My core expertise is in software development, building enterprise-level web applications. My hobbies include programming and powerlifting.

Kenneth Weber

Kenneth Weber

What I do here: Consultant, a professional best friend that has all the answers.

Why I like working here: I get to play an integral role in building the most prestigious awards worldwide.

What I like to do in my free time: I’m a digital card game and battle rap champion.


Leila Younes

My role as Project Manager is to assess each client’s needs and ensure each client’s program is built out according to best practices. I enjoy ensuring client happiness and satisfaction while working with a tight-knit team. Outside of OpenWater I love to learn, create art, travel, and live well.

Jordan Volpe

Jordan Volpe

As a member of the sales team at OpenWater, I am focused on connecting potential clients and their problems to OpenWater’s solutions to help them achieve their goals.

I enjoy working at OpenWater because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the company and the team’s focus on continued improvement.

In my free time I like to hike, play soccer, and spend time with my pets, a dog and parrot.

Christian Hernon

Christian Hernon

I’m responsible for front-end web development. Creating themes and building widgets so our clients can have more control and creativity with their page content.

OpenWater is a great place to work thanks to its amazing team, every evolving work and the ability to learn and grow on the job.

While I’m not writing code I enjoy getting out with friends to sample some craft beer. Or settling in to play video games.

William Acker

William Acker

I provide customers with an experience that makes their lives easier and how to effectively use our products efficiently and successfully.

My favorite thing about OpenWater is the community of co-workers here, everyone is so helpful, outgoing and friendly, it makes for an excellent workspace that makes me strive to do my best.

I enjoy walks with my family, exploring the outdoors, and all things pop culture. In my spare time, I’m playing video games, listening to podcasts and watching movies.

Aaron Golan

Aaron Golan

As a member of the Lead Generation Team at OpenWater, my main focus is to make sure our products land in the hands of client who need OpenWater the most. My colleagues are one of the best parts of my working here! In my free time, I love to box, watch Capitals Hockey, and travel!