K-12 Solutions Provider LINQ Announces Strategic Hires to Senior Leadership Team

August 15, 2023 | Press Release

Additions signal continued focus on K-12 business platform and customer centricity for school districts and state education agencies

WILMINGTON, N.C., August 15, 2023

LINQ, a K-12 education solutions provider, today announced the addition of four seasoned experts to its senior leadership team as it continues to evolve to serve K-12 school districts and state education agencies. With a combined nine decades of experience, LINQ welcomes Paul Brown as vice president of client support, Krystal Ferguson as vice president of account management, Laura Thorn as vice president of professional services and Keith Womack as head of payments.

Recruitment of these four industry leaders follows the recent appointment of LINQ CEO Bryan Jones in May 2023 and other significant additions to LINQ’s senior and executive teams over the last two years.

“We all recognize the complexities of educating K-12 students, but the incredible challenges that district leaders face in managing the business and nutrition operations side of K-12 education are unlike any other industry and often go overlooked. For K-12 education to be successful, school districts and state education agencies must reduce manual processes and shift to a platform with integrated solutions tailored to their specific needs,” said Bryan Jones, CEO of LINQ. “With Paul, Krystal, Laura and Keith joining our team, we gain seasoned experts who deeply understand the nuances of K-12 education and will guide our customers and partners through this next period with a K-12 business platform and solutions designed to address challenges with innovation and change management.”

In their roles, Brown, Ferguson, Thorn and Womack will focus on scaling business solutions to better enable schools, districts and state education agencies to seamlessly integrate digital technologies across services and alleviate the challenges overwhelming our K-12 education ecosystem. LINQ currently serves more than 47 state agencies and 4,400 districts across the nation with its Education Resource Planning (ERP), district and state Nutrition Management, and digitized forms and workflows for districts and state agencies; its comprehensive payments solutions support almost 2 million parents and guardians.

Paul Brown joins LINQ with more than 20 years of experience as a top executive in customer service, operations management and sales. He has worked with both domestic and international companies, including SaaS company Ease, which provides online management solutions for insurance brokers. Brown will lead LINQ’s client support team and oversee the day-to-day technical support and client care initiatives to maximize client retention and satisfaction.

Krystal Ferguson brings a proven record of spearheading customer success management and demonstrated success working with SaaS platforms to enhance processes and streamline business operations. Prior to LINQ, she served as director of customer services at Parchment, where she oversaw the K-12 customer success team and led the development and execution of a customer success playbook to achieve company objectives and improve customer satisfaction. As vice president of account management at LINQ, Ferguson will focus on customer centricity including retention and renewals.

Laura Thorn previously served as vice president of professional services at Unanet, an ERP and CRM solutions provider for government contractors and other professional services. She also served as vice president of implementation and onboarding for Frontline Education, a software company geared towards K-12 school administration. Thorn leads LINQ’s implementation and service teams, focused on improving overall client experience. In this position, she is responsible for establishing streamlined onboarding processes, increasing user adoption and maximizing the use of LINQ solutions.

Keith Womack has more than 25 years of experience building and leading payment solutions and organizations, including Official Payments, MySchoolBucks and ChoicePay. Prior to joining LINQ, he worked as vice president at Forte Payment Systems, where he revolutionized customer management to provide an improved, faster experience to partners and clients. More recently, Womack served as president and chief security officer at Securely/ Payment Perfected. Under his leadership, Securely launched its first national account with more than 200 locations. At LINQ, Womack will be responsible for maintaining the health and vitality of LINQ’s financial strategy and business unit portfolio to increase the organization’s market share.

“This team will strengthen LINQ’s positioning as a leading SaaS provider for K-12 school districts and state education agencies by optimizing operations and providing streamlined, modern technology solutions,” said Jennifer Ding, principal at Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) who also praised the decision. “These strategic hires will help LINQ succeed by providing ease and satisfaction for each of our customers so that they can make rapid and informed decisions with clarity and security in mind,” said Christopher Hooper, general partner at WCAS.

“LINQ has continued to consistently and innovatively address the challenges of the business of K-12 education,” said Stephen Davis, managing partner at Banneker Partners. “This significant investment into LINQ’s executive and senior leadership team will enable LINQ to continue growing and evolving its offerings to K-12 districts and state education agencies and better serve its partners and the community.”

LINQ’s commitment to day-to-day operations starts at the source – listening to the customers. From Education Resource Planning (ERP) to nutrition program management for state education agencies and districts, LINQ gathers insights from district leaders on challenges they face to create effective, actionable solutions. LINQ helps state education agencies and districts seamlessly integrate automation and technology to remove operational inefficiencies, increase security, improve compliance, and alleviate operational burdens overwhelming our K-12 system.