Melanie Ziegler, Founder

Melanie has spent her entire career helping companies produce high-quality, marketable software solutions. Recognized as a strategic and pragmatic thinker who leads by example, Melanie builds highly productive teams and is collaborative in her approach as a skilled facilitative leader. She is passionate about best practices and helping teams achieve success.

Melanie has 30 years of experience in high tech. She served 12 years in Executive-level product development roles before launching MSZ Consulting LLC in 2011 to help companies solve strategic software development challenges. Melanie launched the VPE Forum in 2014.

Melanie’s experience spans many domains and industries, from cloud-based enterprise applications, robotics, and data visualization, to remote sensing and embedded systems.

Melanie earned her bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Science from the University of Rochester.

Tim Saeger, Forum Leader

Tim joined the VPE Forum team in 2021, bringing with him over 25 years of experience in leadership roles developing complex, consumer products for companies such as Bose and iRobot. Most recently EVP and Chief R&D Officer at iRobot, Tim is a proven team-builder and hands-on problem solver, combining broad technical leadership with the ability to deliver. Most importantly, Tim prioritizes a people-centered leadership style that ultimately enables an organization and the people in it to excel.

Tim has held executive leadership positions in a wide variety of digital product companies across the consumer industry, including audio and video, networking, and most recently robotics. His expertise spans both hardware and software development, including embedded software, cloud-based, and mobile. In addition to his work with the VPE Forum, Tim also serves as a Board member at Whisker.

Tim completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at Auburn University and his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also holds 24 US Patents.  

Aatish Salvi, Forum Leader

Aatish joined the VPE Forum team in 2022, bringing with him over 15 years of experience in leading data engineering, data science, machine learning, and analytics teams at the VPE and CTO level, for venture-backed startups. He is currently the Sr. Vice President of Analytics for Hasbro, Inc., a Fortune 500 company in the toy & games space, where he leads a team that uses consumer analytics and data science to support all Hasbro brands and business units, across the Americas, Europe and Asia. 

Aatish has taken companies in the enterprise and SMB SaaS space from seed stage to Series-C, scaling their development and product teams. His team-building approach emphasizes a product-led strategy for setting the pace at which to grow engineering and focuses on repeatable, scalable, processes that result in engineering teams with strong culture, strong output and strong work-life balance. His teams have typically had significant outsourced components and he has built hybrid teams with outsource partners in the U.S., India, Eastern Europe and South America. Aatish has also acted in a consultative capacity to help companies boot-strap their Data Science teams and make the difficult decision of when to invest in Data Science and how to justify and track that investment. 

Aatish received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Brown University and has been on the ground floor of six venture-backed startups since then.

Sue Mildrum, Forum Leader

Sue joined the VPE Forum leadership team in 2023.  Prior to that, she was a very enthusiastic VPE Forum member.  She brings 30 years of experience in software that started with being an engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation and culminated with being VP of Engineering at Constant Contact.

Sue’s experience ranges from developing database systems to user interfaces, in companies large and small. She led progressively larger organizations and succeeded by being an approachable, fair, and encouraging mentor.  Seeing others grow and take on more than they thought possible is tremendously gratifying to Sue and she is excited to bring that mentality to her role at the VPE Forum. 

Sue currently serves as President of the Board of Directors at Gaining Ground, a nonprofit organic farm in Concord, Massachusetts.  Gaining Ground grows vegetables and fruit with the help of several thousand community volunteers and donates all of this fresh food to area meal programs and food pantries.

Sue earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Connecticut.


The VPE Forum is proud to partner with industry leaders that are helping to propel high-growth tech companies. 

Catlin & Cookman GroupHigh-Growth CEO Forum®

OpenView Venture PartnersVenture capital tailor-made to build expansion stage software companies into market leaders

PillarVenture capital backing seed-stage founders.