Our Team

Dr. J Maccalla, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. J. MacCalla is an executive with a 30-year track record managing technology companies. Prior to Zyrobotics, she was the CEO of Automated Switching and Controls Inc., a communications & controls company with over $8M in annual contracts with city & state transit. Before that Dr MacCalla was President of Advanced Systems Concepts Inc., overseeing approximately $3M in DOD contracts for military communications and control systems. As Chairman of the LA Metropolitan Transit Authority Foundation she managed their $100M endowment, and was a board member of the California High Speed Rail Commission. She is a member of the California S&T Policy Fellowship Review Board. Dr. MacCalla holds degrees from Brown University, Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Ayanna M. Howard, Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Howard has over 13 years of R&D experience covering a number of projects that have been supported by a range of agencies including: NSF, NASA, Procter and Gamble, ExxonMobil, and Intel. Her robotics and assistive technology research, has resulted in over 200 publications and numerous patents. Her accomplishments are highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine. She was named MIT Technology Review top young innovator, recognized as NSBE Educator of the Year, and a recipient of the Anita Borg Educator Award. In addition to her extensive robotics experience, Dr. Howard’s entrepreneurial experience involves development of a leading genetic algorithm package and Brainsheet, a neural-network optimization package. The IP for both applications were later acquired by larger companies. Dr. Howard holds a degree from Brown University, a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California, and an M.B.A. from the Drucker Graduate School of Management.

John V. Harding, Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Harding has over 20 years experience bringing new technologies to market with product development and leadership roles at HP, Motorola, Intersil and other leading semiconductor companies. He is experienced in building engineering teams and design flows focused on quality products and timely results. John holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and Howard University.

Dr. Hae-Won Park, Principal Engineer

Dr. Hae Won Park led the invention of the TabAccess wireless interface technology at Georgia Tech and built the first prototype. Through her participation as entrepreneurial lead in the NSF I-Corps program, she was responsible for maturing this technology for transfer to Zyrobotics. Prior to joining Zyrobotics, Dr. Park was a research scientist at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Cognitive Robotics Center, as well as contributed to the launching of an online-shopping start-up. Dr. Park received her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, her expertise is in assistive technology, robotics and multimodal interfaces.

Jin Xu, Application Developer

Jin leads our Application development. Before Zyrobotics, he developed mobile apps including Auggy, an Augmented Reality Smart Menu app that enhances the user’s dining experience. His Auggy team won the People’s Choice Award at the Georgia Tech CiC competition and was a Semi Finalist for the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize. Jin was an undergraduate research assistant in the HumAns Lab where he worked with Dr. Howard and Dr. Park on development of the TabAccess prototype. Jin Xu received his BSEE degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His interests include mobile game development, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Antionesha Wheeler, Creative Design

Since her youth, Antionesha has had a clear, unwavering vision about the field she wanted to pursue. Using a variety of programs, she finds inspiration for her graphics in all areas of life on a daily basis. Through her experience and studies, she developed an appreciation for the minimalistic style of design she brings to our projects. Her focus is broad and her passion runs deep. Antionesha holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Atlanta.

John Quinn, Social Media

Originally from Detroit, John joined the Navy in 1982. During his distinguished career, he sailed around the world on aircraft carriers, battleships and destroyers – all while hiding the fact that he was born with cerebral palsy. Senior Chief Quinn retired in 2002 and wrote Someone Like Me – An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy. He’s currently a motivational speaker and has addressed numerous organizations including the Department of Veteran Affairs, KIT International Conference on Inclusion, and the University of Michigan. To learn more about John’s incredible story, check him out at

Rachelle Legentus, Marketing Communications Specialist

Rachelle has always been intrigued by a marketer’s use of various mediums to communicate brand elements to an audience. By fusing her love for language and marketing, she has mastered the best of both worlds. She uses her creativity and passion to help others, to create integrated marketing communications that reflect the mission and goals of Zyrobotics. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English, composition and rhetoric from Georgia State University.