Our Team

We're a Team of Nerds & Jocks Who Love Helping Others

We’ve drafted a team of all-stars in the sports, tech and fundraising worlds.

Our Starting Line Up

What makes us special? We work relentlessly to make fundraising as easy as possible. We pride ourselves on the team we’ve built and the talent we’ve brought together. Our diverse backgrounds and experiences have culminated in creating something special for you. Our common bond is a passion helping others and creating awesome tools for you to do the same.

Albert Baldassarre

Senior Software Engineer

Albert graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Penn State University where he was also in a bowling league. Al has improved the speed and efficiency of our system architecture and code base. Prior to joining our team, he worked at WebClients.net and has contributed to more projects than we know of (he might have top secret security clearance, but we wouldn’t know because it’s a secret). Al once drove from Pennsylvania to Florida to watch the Capital One Bowl, ironically, a game that Scott played in. So his work at PLEDGE IT is pretty much fate.

JohnPaul Bennett

Director of Customer Success

JohnPaul is responsible for marketing and campaign success, and works with our professional athletes and charities. Prior to joining PLEDGE IT, he co-founded Gun.io, an online hiring marketplace of over 16,000 software engineers. Prior to starting Gun.io, he lived and worked in Shanghai, where he worked for Dash Brands (quick service restaurant operator of 200+ Domino’s Pizza & Subway stores in China). He also worked for Merrill Lynch, and even worked as a researcher for the National Science Foundation in Tibet. He graduated with a B.S. in Finance and International Studies.

Dave Costlow

VP of Marketing and Operations

Dave is responsible for helping our community leverage the power of sport for social good. He leads all marketing and customer success programs in addition to being the product manager for our platform. Dave’s belief in the power of sport to drive positive social change began along with Scott when they co-founded Uplifting Athletes. Prior to joining PLEDGE IT, Dave was the Director of Marketing for a data analysis company, Minitab, and previously worked for IBM. Dave was an Academic All-American at Penn State where he played football and graduated with a B.S. in Information, Sciences and Technology and M.S. in Business Administration.

Alexander Diegel

Customer Success Specialist

Alex is responsible for driving clients’ fundraising campaigns and cause marketing programs. With a diverse background in writing and client services, he creates content to power Pledge It’s customers forward. A seasoned sports writer, Alex has been published in ESPN, The Atlantic, the Baltimore Sun, and was a featured contributor for both Bleacher Report and Rugby Today. He gained experience leading client campaigns with Spree Commerce, later acquired by First Data. On the weekends you can find him on the rugby pitch, at home with his wife and two dogs, or marketing his novel, Red Night.

Ryan Gmerek

VP of Sales

Ryan is responsible for the overall growth of PLEDGE IT with a focus on preferred partnerships and grassroots strategy. Ryan brings a ton of experience from the sports and entertainment world, previously working in Strategic Planning at Major League Soccer and at McKinsey & Company in their Media and Entertainment Division. Ryan graduated with a B.S. in Finance from Penn State University where he also played football. He believes in the power of sport...and plans to help others use it for good.

Karen Kirkpatrick, CPA

Director of Finance & Administration

Karen earned her B.S. in Marketing & Accounting (an unusual mix) from Bloomsburg University. Karen also has the rare combination of certifications in personal training and public accounting. She handles our bookkeeping, check writing, human resources, risk management, and corporate wellness. Prior to joining our team, she gained audit and tax experience with a top 12 accounting firm and served as a senior technical accountant with Tyco. A number cruncher by name, but a fitness enthusiast and marketer at heart...she found it all at PLEDGE IT.

Josh Lasdin

Senior Frontend Developer

Josh graduated from the Art Institute of York with an Associates degree in Digital Media. You can thank Josh for PLEDGE IT’s slick user experience. Before joining PLEDGE IT, Josh worked with other local web design firms, building custom web applications and designing clean user experiences. As an avid fan of the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York (football) Giants...Josh is pumped to have found an opportunity to be a part of the sports tech community while helping others.

Scott Shirley


Scott is responsible for our strategic planning, investor relations and daily operations. Prior to starting PLEDGE IT, Scott founded Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit that works with college football teams to raise money for rare disease research. The organization has had an impact of more than $400 million on the rare disease community. He currently serves on the board of AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union and is also a Kellogg Executive Scholar in Nonprofit Management. Scott graduated with a B.S. & M.Eng. from Penn State University where he also played football and baseball.

Todd Smith

Director of Business Development

Todd is responsible for growth and relationship management across professional sports. Todd brings more than 14 years of experience in the sports philanthropy sector. Todd was previously Vice President and Director of Programs, and current Consultant and Board Member, of Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. Most recently, Todd served as Managing Director for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, and as Co-Director of the Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate at George Washington University School of Business.

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