AWS News Blog

Meet the newest AWS Heroes, including the first Data Heroes!

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The AWS Heroes program recognizes community leaders from around the world who have extensive AWS knowledge and a passion for sharing their expertise with others. As trends in the technical community shift, the program evolves to better recognize the most influential community leaders across a variety of technical disciplines.

Introducing AWS Data Heroes
Today we are introducing AWS Data Heroes: a vibrant community of developers, IT leaders, and educators with a shared passion for analytics, database, and blockchain technologies. Data Heroes are data experts, who actively participate at the forefront of technology trends, leveraging their extensive technical expertise to share knowledge and build a community around a passion for AWS data services.

Developers from all backgrounds and skill sets can learn about database, analytics, and blockchain technology through a variety of educational content created by Data Heroes including videos, books, guides, blog posts, and open source projects. The first cohort of AWS Data Heroes include:

Alex DeBrie – Omaha, USA

Data Hero Alex Debrie is an Engineering Manager at Serverless, Inc. focused on designing, building, and promoting serverless applications. He is passionate about DynamoDB, Lambda, and many other AWS technologies. He is the creator of, a guided walkthrough to DynamoDB, and the author of The DynamoDB Book, a comprehensive guide to data modeling with DynamoDB. He has spoken about data design with DynamoDB at AWS Summits in Chicago and New York, as well as other conferences, and has also assisted AWS in writing official tutorials for using DynamoDB. He blogs on tech-related topics, mostly related to AWS.




Álvaro Hernández – Madrid, Spain

Data Hero Álvaro Hernández is a passionate database and software developer. He founded and works as the CEO of OnGres, a PostGres startup set to disrupt the database market. He has been dedicated to PostgreSQL and R&D in databases for two decades. An open source advocate and developer at heart, Álvaro is a well-known member of the PostgreSQL Community, to which he has contributed founding the non-profit Fundación PostgreSQL and the Spanish PostgreSQL User Group. You can find him frequently speaking at PostgreSQL, database, cloud, and Java conferences. Every year, Álvaro travels approximately three-four times around the globe—in 2020, he will hit the milestone of having delivered 100 tech talks.




Goran Opacic – Belgrade, Serbia

Data Hero Goran Opacic Goran is the CEO and owner of Esteh and community leader of AWS User Group Belgrade. He is a Solutions Architect focused on Databases and Security and runs, a blog related to AWS, Java, and databases. He works on promoting All Things Cloud, giving lectures and educating a new generation of developers into AWS community. This includes a series of interviews he runs with prominent technology leaders on his YouTube channel.





Guillermo Fisher – Norfolk, USA

Data Hero Guillermo Fisher is an Engineering Manager at Handshake and founder of 757ColorCoded, an organization that exists to educate and empower local people of color to achieve careers in technology and improve their lives. In 2019, he partnered with We Power Tech to offer free, instructor-led AWS Tech Essentials training to Southeastern Virginia. As an advocate of AWS technologies, Guillermo blogs about services like Lambda, Athena, and DynamoDB on Medium. He also shares his knowledge at events such as the Atlanta AWS Summit, Hampton Roads DevFest, RevolutionConf, and re:Invent.





Helen Anderson – Wellington, New Zealand

Data Hero Helen Anderson is a Business Intelligence Consultant based out of Wellington, New Zealand. She focuses on leading projects that use AWS services to empower users and improve efficiencies. She is a passionate advocate for data analysts and is well known in the Data Community for writing beginner-friendly blog posts, teaching, and mentoring those who are new to the tech industry. In fact, her post, “AWS from A to Z,” is one of the most popular AWS post ever on Helen was also named one of Jefferson Frank’s “Top 7 AWS Experts You Should be Following in 2019.” As a Woman in Tech and career switcher, Helen is passionate about mentoring and inspiring those who are underrepresented in the industry.




Manrique Lopez – Madrid, Spain

Data Hero Manrique Lopez is the CEO Bitergia, a software development analytics company. He is passionate about free, libre, open source software development communities. He is a frequent speaker on Open Distro for Elasticsearch. Currently he is active in GrimoireLab, the open source software for software development analytics, and CHAOSS (Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software).






Lynn Langit – Minneapolis, USA

Data Hero Lynn Langit is a consultant in the Minneapolis area focused on big data and cloud architecture. In addition to having designed many production AWS solutions, Lynn has also created and delivered technical content about the practicalities of working with the AWS Cloud at developer conferences worldwide. And she has created a series of technical AWS courses for She is currently collaborating virtually with a team at CSIRO Bioinformatics in Sydney, Australia. They are working to leverage modern cloud architectures (containers and serverless) to scale genomic research and tools for use world-wide.




Matt Lewis – Swansea, United Kingdom

Data Hero Matt Lewis is Chief Architect at the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency where he is responsible for setting technology direction and guiding solutions that operate against critical data sets, including a record of all drivers in Great Britain and a record of all vehicles in the UK. He also founded and runs the AWS South Wales user group. He has been actively exploring and presenting the benefits of moving from traditional databases to cloud native services, most recently prototyping use cases for the adoption of Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB). In his spare time, Matt writes about different aspects of public cloud on his personal blog and Twitter, and spends too much time cycling online.




Robert Koch – Denver, USA

Data Hero Robert Koch is the Lead Architect at S&P Global and one of the community leaders of He helps drive cloud-based architecture, blogs about migrating to the cloud, and loves to talk data and event-driven systems. In a recent lightning talk, he gave an overview of how Redshift has a symbiotic relationship with PostgreSQL. He currently has AWS certifications as a Cloud Practitioner, Big Data – Specialty, and as a Solution Architect – Associate. He is actively involved in the development community in Denver, often speaking at Denver Dev Day, a bi-annual mini-conference and at the AWS Denver Meetup.





Meet the Other New AWS Heroes
Not to be outdone, this month we are thrilled to introduce to you a variety of other new AWS Heroes:

Ankit Gupta – Kolkata, India

Community Hero Ankit Gupta is a Solutions Architect at PwC India. He brings deep expertise in Solutions Architecture designing on AWS. Ankit is an AWS user since 2012 and works with most AWS Services. He has multiple AWS Certifications and has worked on various types of AWS projects. He is an AWS Community leader helping drive the AWS Community in India since 2014. He is also a co-organizer of AWS User Group Kolkata, India. Ankit has given multiple sessions on AWS Services at various events. He frequently visits Engineering Colleges for providing knowledge sharing sessions on Cloud Technologies. He also mentors Engineering students.




Brian LeRoux – Vancouver, Canada

Serverless Hero Brian LeRoux is the co-founder and CTO of continuous delivery platform and core maintainer of OpenJS Architect. Brian helped create the declarative .arc manifest format which aims to make configuration clear, simple, terse and precise. This concision unlocks formerly complex severless primitives with the determinism and interop of standard CloudFormation. Brian believes the future is open source, serverless, and will be written by hackers like you.





Brian Tarbox – Boston, USA

Community Hero Brian Tarbox has over thirty years experience delivering mission critical systems on-time, on-target, and with commercial success. He has ten patents, dozens of technical papers, “high engagement” Alexa skills, co-leads the Boston AWS Meetup, manages his company’s all-engineers-get-certified program and has presented at numerous industry events including AWS Community Days. He was the inaugural speaker for the Portland AWS User Group’s first meeting. In 2010 he won RockStar and Duke’s Choice award for the Most Innovative Use of Java for his system for turning log files into music so you could “listen” to your programs. He also won Atlassian’s Charlie award for the Most Innovative Use Of Jira.




Calvin Hendryx-Parker – Indianapolis, USA

Community Hero Calvin Hendryx-Parker is the co-founder of Six Feet Up, a women-owned company specializing in Python and AWS consulting. As CTO, he’s an active proponent of Cloud deployments and strategies in the Midwest, and has been using AWS technologies since early 2013. In 2017, Calvin founded the Indiana AWS user group (“IndyAWS”), now the fastest growing tech community in the Midwest with 750+ members. To-date, Calvin has held 30+ IndyAWS monthly meetups and organized the first annual Indy Cloud Conf event focused on cloud computing and cross cloud deployments.





Farrah Campbell – Portland, USA

Serverless Hero Farrah Campbell is the Ecosystems Director at Stackery, a serverless workflow company. She is passionate about her work with the Serverless, DevOps, and Women in Technology communities, participating in global industry events, user events, conferences, user groups along with, a documentary focused on how culture changes stories for women in the technology industry. She is the organizer of the Portland Serverless Days, the Portland Serverless Meetup, and speaks around the world about her serverless journey and the serverless mindset.





Gabriel Ramírez – Mexico City, Mexico

Community Hero Gabriel Ramírez is the founder of Bootcamp Institute, a company specializes in democratizing the usage and knowledge of AWS for Spanish speakers. He has worked as an AWS Authorized Trainer for years and holds 10 AWS certifications ranging from professional to specialty. Gabriel is the organizer of several AWS User Groups in Mexico and a strong contributor for social programs like AWS Educate, empowering students to adopt the AWS Cloud and get certified. He has helped thousands of people pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam by doing workshops, webinars, and study groups on different social networks and local meetups.




Gillian Armstrong – Belfast, United Kingdom

Machine Learning Hero Gillian Armstrong works for Liberty IT where she is helping to bring Machine Learning and Serverless into the enterprise. This involves hands-on architecting and building systems, as well as helping build out strategy and education. She’s excited about how Applied AI, the space where Machine Learning and Serverless meet, is allowing Software Engineers to build intelligence into their systems, and as such is an enthusiastic user and evangelist for the AWS AI Services. She is also exploring how tools like Amazon SageMaker can allow Software Engineers and Data Scientists to work closer together.




Ilya Dmitrichenko – London, United Kingdom

Container Hero Ilya Dmitrichenko is a Software Engineer at Weaveworks, focused on making Kubernetes work for a wide range of users. Having started contributing to Kubernetes projects from the early days in 2014, Ilya has focused his attention on cluster lifecycle matters, networking, and observability, as well as developer tools. Most recently, in 2018 Ilya created eksctl, which is now an official CLI for Amazon EKS.






Juyoung Song – Seoul, Korea

Container Hero Juyoung Song is a DevOps Engineer at beNX, currently in charge of transforming the legacy-cloud systems into modern cloud architecture to bring global stars such as BTS and millions of fans together in the digital sphere. Juyoung speaks regularly at AWS-organized events such as AWS Container Day, AWS Summit, and This is My Architecture. He also organizes and speaks at various Meetups like AWS Korea User Group and DevOps Korea, about topics such as ECS and Fargate, and its DevOps best practices. He is interested in building hyper-scale DevOps environments for containers using AWS CodeBuild, Terraform, and various open-source tools.




Lukasz Dorosz – Warsaw, Poland

Community Hero Lukasz Dorosz is a Head of AWS Architecture and Board Member at CloudState/Chmurowisko. AWS Consulting Partner with a mission to help businesses leverage cloud services to make an impact in the world. As an active community member, he enjoys to share knowledge and experience with people and teach them about the cloud. He is a Co-Leader of AWS User Group POLAND, where regularly contributes to any events and organizes many meetups around Poland. Additionally, he popularizes the cloud through training, workshops and as a speaker at many events. He is also the author of online courses, webinars, and blog posts.




Martijn van Dongen – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Community Hero Martijn van Dongen is an experienced AWS Cloud Evangelist for, part of Xebia. He is a generalist in a broad set of AWS services, with a strong focus on security, containers, serverless and data-intensive platforms. He is the founder and lead of the Dutch AWS User Group. He organizes approximately 20 meetups per year with an average of 100 attendees and has built a powerful network of speakers and sponsors. At the Benelux AWS re:Invent re:Cap early 2019, Martijn organized 14 meetup style sessions in the evening with more than 300 attendees. Martijn regularly writes technical articles on blogs and speaks at meetups, events, and technical conferences such as AWS re:Invent and local AWS events.




Or Hiltch – Tel Aviv, Israel

Machine Learning Hero Or Hiltch is Co-Founder and CTO at Skyline AI, the artificial intelligence investment manager for commercial real estate. In parallel to his business career, Or maintains a strong community presence, regularly hosting and speaking on AI, ML, and AWS related meetups and conferences, including SageMaker related topics on the AWS User Group meetup, Serverless NYC Conference, MIT AI 2018, and more. Or is an open-source hacker and creator/maintainer of a few high-profile (1000+ stars) open-source repo’s on GitHub and an avid blogger on ML and software engineering topics, posting on Amazon SageMaker, word2vec, novel uses for unsupervised-learning in real estate, and more.




Sebastian Müller – Hamburg, Germany

Serverless Hero Sebastian Müller writes about all things Serverless, GraphQL, React, TypeScript, and Go on his personal website He has a background as an Engineering Lead, Scrum Master, and Full Stack Engineer. Sebastian is a general Technology Enthusiast working as Senior Cloud Consultant at superluminar, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and Serverless Development Partner, in Hamburg, Germany. Most articles on his website and projects on GitHub are the results of established practices from his work with various clients.





Steve Bjorg – San Diego, USA

Community Hero Steve Bjorg is the Founder and Chief Technical Officer at MindTouch, a San Diego-based enterprise software company that specializes in customer self-service software. He is a frequent contributor to open-source projects and is passionate about serverless software. He is the author of LambdaSharp – a tool for optimizing the developer experience when building Serverless .NET applications on AWS. Steve and his team host a monthly serverless hacking challenge in San Diego to learn and master new AWS services and features.





Vlad Ionescu – Bucharest, Romania

Container Hero Vlad Ionescu is a DevOps Consultant helping companies deliver more reliable software faster and safer. He is focused on observability and reliability, with a passion for rapid deployments and simplicity. Vlad’s work is predominantly focused on Kubernetes and Serverless. After starting with kops, he then moved to EKS which he enjoys pushing as far as possible. He can often be found sharing insights in #eks on the Kubernetes Slack. Before rising to the clouds he was a software developer with a background in finance. He has a passion for Haskell and Ruby, but spends most of his time in Python or Go while grumbling about JavaScript features.





You can learn more about AWS Heroes and connect with a Hero near you by visiting the AWS Hero website.


Ross Barich

Ross Barich

In his role as Head of AWS Community, Ross and his team focus on scaling community-led activities and initiatives around the world—including the AWS Heroes and AWS Community Builders programs, AWS Community Day global events, and AWS User Groups.