Management Team

Randy Heffernan

CEO and Board Member

For over 20 years, Randy Heffernan has worked in nearly every department at Palisade, including sales, marketing, operations, and development. Working closely with sales and product teams, he has led product launches, entered new markets, and established Palisade offices in multiple new countries. During that time, the company has quadrupled in size and expanded its reach to become the dominant force in modern analytical decision-making and thought leadership.

Randy’s current focus is to take Palisade to the next level in its 30+ year history. Building on a marketing-leading product and a world-class sales force, he and his team are laying the foundation for the next generation of accessible, powerful spreadsheet-based analytics, with the goal of reaching segments who haven’t yet seen power these tools can bring. Through technological innovation, enhanced outreach initiatives, and operational improvements, Randy is dedicated to expanding Palisade’s footprint and improving the quality of decision-making throughout the business world.

Prior to Palisade, Randy helped lead the expansion of Enterprise Rent-a-Car in central New York. He also worked in the publishing industry assisting the sales team at Cornell University Press.

Randy earned a BS in Agricultural Economics and Business from Cornell University as well as an MBA from the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. He enjoys mountains, English history, and Star Trek.

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Erik Westwig

Director of Software Development

Erik Westwig has worked in software development at Palisade for nearly 25 years, and leads all the company’s core product software development efforts.

Erik has long been a key architect behind Palisade’s flagship product @RISK, which performs Monte Carlo simulation and optimization in Microsoft Excel. Having written large portions of the @RISK code directly, Erik has also led development teams throughout the company’s history. In addition to @RISK, he has spearheaded the development of PrecisionTree, Palisade’s decision analysis add-in to Excel, as well as coordinated production of the company’s fully integrated DecisionTools Suite of analytical tools.

Erik holds a BS and MS from the School of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University. In 1998 he co-authored the textbook Mathematical Physics with Cornell University professor Bruce Kusse, published by John Wiley and Sons. Erik enjoys heavy metal and Broadway show tunes.


Denise Castellot

Vice President of Global Sales

Denise Castellot has managed sales teams at Palisade for over 12 years, and now leads the company’s expansion efforts all over the world.

Denise began at Palisade focusing on Latin America. Under her leadership, the company presence in both Brazil and the rest of Latin America grew exponentially. She has also led teams in Asia-Pacific and the US. Having sold directly into these markets herself, Denise brings a firm understanding of market challenges as well as a hands-on management style to the role. As VP of Global Sales, she is a unifying force for the company’s distributed global team, applying best practices and scaling outreach efforts in exciting new ways.

Prior to Palisade, Denise directed Mattel’s Latin America software division, and established the Latin American office for Syracuse Language Systems, a leader in the software language learning space. She has lived in Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro, and she holds a BA in Communications and Spanish from SUNY Cortland. When not spreading the gospel of risk management, Denise can be found galloping through the countryside on one of her horses.

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Scott Burch

Vice President of Finance

Scott Burch joined our team in April 2019 and develops and executes innovative new financial strategies that directly impact the bottom line.

Scott’s remit includes financial reporting, process and systems improvements, analytics and cash management, all of which further enable the company to achieve its strategic goals of providing the best possible decision-making solutions to Fortune 500 professionals worldwide. Scott also works closely with Palisade’s equity partner Thompson Street Capital Partners to leverage their experience and expertise.

Prior to Palisade, Scott was Corporate Accounting Manager for PAR Technology, Controller at XPO Logistics, and Vice President at Tompkins Financial Corporation. He also led the Oneida Nation accounting function, and started his career in roles at BorgWarner and Ernst & Young. Scott is a CPA and holds a BS in Accounting from Siena College. Scott spends his downtime keeping his dog from eating the paneling off the walls of his house.

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Shannon Kelly

Director of Marketing

Shannon Kelly has worked in marketing at Palisade for over 20 years, and currently leads the company’s branding, outreach, and demand generation efforts globally.

Shannon began as the company’s graphic designer and quickly became the webmaster as well. Over the years, she has led multiple re-branding efforts, product launch campaigns, and web site overhauls. She and her team have produced materials and campaigns in eight different languages. Shannon launched and oversees Palisade’s global events series, which includes conferences, workshops, and industry exhibitions all over the world. The two-day Palisade Risk Conference has become the leading event of its kind in the risk decision-analysis space. She is also responsible for Palisade’s marketing analytics efforts, helping to target our messaging and content to be relevant and useful for our customers. She and her team are focused on understanding the customer’s journey, in order to build and nurture customer relationships that last for years.

Shannon holds a BA in Humanities from the University of Michigan. She is also a fierce competitor on the dog agility circuit.

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Julie Ellis-Grove

Director of Accounting

Julie Ellis-Grove has worked in accounting at Palisade for six years, and is responsible for the smooth operation of the company’s receivables, payables, payroll, cash, tax, and other functions.

Over the years, Julie has revamped AP and AR processes, set up new reporting systems, and managed cash and tax functions in four different countries. More recently she led the diligence effort during Palisade’s capital restructure with Palisade’s private equity partners Thompson Street Capital Partners. Among her latest challenges is co-leading an initiative to upgrade and overhaul Palisade’s ERP and accounting software systems, which will provide the company with greater efficiencies and real-time reporting like never before.

Before joining Palisade, Julie was a senior consultant and director of accounting operations at Donlen Corporation, a vehicle fleet management company. There her work was both internally-facing, such as saving the company millions by modernizing the receivables function, and client-facing, such as performing lifecycle cost analyses for fleet customers. Julie holds a BS in Accounting from Ithaca College and an MBA from DeVry University. At 6:00am most mornings, she enjoys CrossFit.

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Gustavo Vinueza

Director of Custom Solutions

Gustavo Vinueza has worked in the consulting, training, and custom development area of Palisade for nine years, and is currently responsible for scoping and producing customized software solutions for Fortune 500 companies around the world.

During his tenure, Gustavo has leveraged his technical and financial background to understand the varied and unique needs of customers in many different industries to better formulate solutions tailored for each client. Having started by providing training classes and developing spreadsheet models for clients, Gustavo has since grown to lead a team of consultants and programmers whose mission is to create robust, bespoke software solutions based on Palisade’s @RISK and DecisionTools technologies. To date, the Custom Solutions team has helped Fortune 500 clients in manufacturing, engineering, defense, utilities, banking, energy, and many other sectors.

Prior to Palisade, Gustavo was a technology project manager at CorpBanca Inversiones, and a technology infrastructure manager at the Principal Financial Group, both in Santiago, Chile. In addition, Gustavo has a range of experience in other technology and programming roles in the financial sector. Gustavo holds BS in Systems Engineering from the Universidad de Cuenca in Ecuador, an MBA from the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, and a masters in finance from Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago. Gustavo is an active street runner and his goal is to, one day, run a marathon.

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