The HDF Group welcomes new CEO Dave Pearah

Pearah joins The HDF Group as new Chief Executive Officer

Champaign, IL — The HDF Group today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed David Pearah as its new Chief Executive Officer. The HDF Group is a software company dedicated to creating high performance computing technology to address many of today’s Big Data challenges.

Pearah replaces Mike Folk upon his retirement after ten years as company President and Board Chair. Folk will remain a member of the Board of Directors, and Pearah will become the company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Pearah said, “I am honored to have been selected as The HDF Group’s next CEO. It is a privilege to be part of an organization with a nearly 30-year history of delivering innovative technology to meet the Big Data demands of commercial industry, scientific research and governmental clients.”

Industry leaders in fields from aerospace and biomedicine to finance join the company’s client list.  In addition, government entities such as the Department of Energy and NASA, numerous research facilities, and scientists in disciplines from climate study to astrophysics depend on HDF technologies.

Pearah continued, “We are an organization led by a mission to make a positive impact on everyone we engage, whether they are individuals using our open-source software, or organizations who rely on our talented team of scientists and engineers as trusted partners. I will do my best to serve the HDF community by enabling our team to fulfill their passion to make a difference.  We’ve just delivered a major release of HDF5 with many additional powerful features, and we’re very excited about several innovative new products that we’ll soon be making available to our user community.”

“Dave is clearly the leader for HDF’s future, and he has the unanimous support of the Board of Directors,” said Jed Taylor, The HDF Group Board Member and Chair of the search committee. “The Board has always had a strong focus on succession planning. We initiated the formal CEO succession process ten months ago, searching internally and externally to find the best leader for our employees, clients and partners. With Dave Pearah taking the role of CEO and Mike Folk remaining on the Board, we are confident that The HDF Group has the leadership to drive its success for the next chapter.”

Over the past 15 years, Pearah has held increasingly senior roles in engineering, product and business leadership across multiple industries, including telecommunications, healthcare, and marketing. Most recently, Pearah was Chief Technology Officer of Cision, overseeing Product Management, Engineering and IT for the global business. Prior to Cision, Pearah served as CTO and SVP Product Management for Emmi Solutions, General Manager of the ePrescribe Business Unit for Allscripts, and Director of Product Management at Nuance/Dictaphone.

Pearah holds dual master’s degrees in Technology Management and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Ford Foundation.

The Hierarchical Data Format, or HDF, was originally developed in 1987 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with the goal of addressing the growing need to effectively manage very large and complex scientific and engineering data. During the early 1990s, organizations in commercial industry, government and academia adopted HDF for many applications demanding high performance data management software.  HDF supports all types of digital data, regardless of origin, size or complexity, from remote sensing data collected by satellites and computational results from nuclear testing models, to high-resolution MRI brain scans and financial time series data.

“The company has grown steadily since we spun off from the NCSA to further develop HDF technologies,” says Folk, who led the original NCSA project for 18 years before co-founding the company.  “But if we are to become truly sustainable and preserve our mission, we need a business model that will provide more consistent revenues, and can also enable the company to grow to meet the increasing demands of a data-hungry world.”

Folk said, “We sought someone with the experience, knowledge, and passion to take us to that next level. The Board and I are elated to have found Dave. With his strong technology management and engineering background, coupled with repeated and consistent success in leading product development efforts and software teams, he’s just what we need for the job.”

The HDF Group is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing HDF technologies to serve the needs of users in ever-changing computational environments, while at the same time maintaining its commitment to ensure the long-term accessibility of data stored in HDF.  Located in the Research Park at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, the company’s website and software may be found at

For more information, contact:

The HDF Group

1800 S. Oak St., Suite 203

Champaign, IL  61820


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