Leadership

Stephen P. Hafner

Founder & CEO

In 1997 Steve founded HEPdata, creating an innovation of digitizing matching gift data to enable fundraisers to tap an often underutilized revenue stream. Additionally, the company pioneered the use of push technology to deliver real-time liquidity events to prospect researchers and development officers. Established as the leading company for Advancement data technologies and with tens of thousands of users worldwide, Steve sold the firm to SSB in August 2019. Steve served on the board of SSB for two years and provided critical insight during the post-acquisition of HEPdata and the subsequent acquisitions of Affiniquest and Aluminate. Feeling the call to start something new, he founded BlueRidge Data (BRD) in July 2020, an artisan data technology firm that prides itself in delivering hard-to-find information to help Higher Education Advancement.

Steve is a graduate of George Mason University and resides in Leesburg Virginia with his wife of many years and three children.

Bob Sands

Executive Vice President, Sales & Partnerships

Bob is an experienced Advancement professional, with expertise in development, sales, management, and social entrepreneurship. Bob has held many high-performing Executive and Associate roles for respected organizations in the technology, education and non-profit sectors, including Ellucian, Blackbaud, iModules, and HEPdata and was a front line fundraiser as Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Hyde Schools and, currently services as the Chief Development officer for the VHC Medical Brigade.

Bob holds an Economics Degree from Villanova University, resides in Fairfax VA with his wife of many years. He is Chair, Development Committee for the VHC Medical Brigade, Member of the Strategic Partnership Committee for the Association of Advancement Services Professionals, Member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Founder of the Text2Pray Outreach Ministries and is an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

Theodore Hafner

VP, Sales & Wealth Services

Theo is a passionate data-driven leader with a track record that showcases expertise in sales, client account management. strategic planning, product development that services the prospect research community in support of the Higher Education Advancement community. Theo also was instrumental in launching BlueRidge Data in 2020, a boutique data technology firm, specializing in identifying gift prospects for the non-profit and higher education space via our real-time wealth and business event alerts solutions platform.

Theo is a Graduate of George Mason University. As a committed philanthropist, he regularly mentors young men, teaches English to recent immigrants, and advocates on behalf of the homeless through a program called Grate Patrol, affiliated with his DC parish church. In his spare time, he writes novels based in his native Washington, DC., studies languages, and is currently working on the restoration of his maternal grandparents’ village church in northeastern Italy.

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