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Harish Ananthapadmanabhan

Founder - Board President

Harish Ananthapadmanabhan, co-owner of JH Real Estate Partners, launched the new APS Training Academy, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in honor of his late mother, Leela Padmanabhan, who passed away in 2019.

"Reflecting on these trying times I am reminded of the lessons from my mother, who in spite of being in many difficult financial situations in her life, always found creative ways to help those in need,” said Harish.


Harish is also a board member in the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce and Fox Valley Food for Health, wherein he plays a key role in organizing multiple events, lunch & learns and workshops that benefits the minority community as well as anyone who just need a little help in achieving their goals and dreams.

Based on his contributions to the community and his vision for developing downtown Aurora, Harish was awarded the “2019 Mayor's Community Innovator Award for Aurora” from the Honorable Mayor of Aurora – Mr. Richard Irvin.

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Michael Pegues

Board Vice-President

Michael  is the chief information officer for the city of Aurora. He is spearheading Aurora’s Smart City Initiative to ultimately increase economic development and civic engagement. A veteran of the United States Army, Michael has provided IT management services for the Department of Defense in Italy, Hewlett Packard in France, and Morgan Stanley in Hungary and New York.


Nicole Astra
Executive Director

Nicole is a leading collaborator, storyteller, creative marketer and strategist. She holds a BA in Communications and is a former PreK-12 Administrator.  She is a mom of three who prides herself in the role of Chief Encouragement Officer to all of the children in her life.  Voice acting is her passion work but you can also see her on the community stage or in an indie film.  She has held various roles and volunteers at Aurora staples including the Paramount Arts Center and Fox Valley Park District. 

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Sherman Jenkins

Board Member

Aurora’s Alderman at Large, and Chairman of the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce, he is experienced in the field of online media, economic development, public relations and corporate relations for municipal, corporate and non-profit organizations. Sherman served as Executive Director and Assistant Director of the Aurora Economic Development Commission for the City of Aurora and established what is now Invest Aurora.


Karina Garcia

Board Member

Karina is the head of community outreach for the city of Aurora and Executive Director of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, Karina has a deep connection to the community and understands the needs of its members. Under her leadership the original chamber expanded to a regional organization. She also serves on the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry Board and Puerto Rican Council. 


Rohit Nair
Board Member

Rohit  holds a Masters in Computer Science and has 20 years of experience leading enterprise technology transformations, software delivery, and organizational transformations across insurance, health care, retail e-commerce, transportation, hospitality and telecommunications. Rohit is currently responsible for the IT delivery of a multi-year Technology transformation program at IAT Insurance group.

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Duckie Huynh

Board Member

With a degree in Parelegal Studies Duckie went on to pursue a background in finance and is a recently graduate of NAIFA's Life in Leadership Institute Program. With a strong passion for non-profit work she  currently sits as the vice -president and financial chair for Vietnamese Association of Illinois, Board member of The Woodfield Area Children’s Organization, and now Board Member of APS Training Institute.


Shruti Harish

Board Member

Shruti is a high performing leader with almost two decades of experience in information technology working with the largest organizations across multiple industries. She is currently the director of Cloud Solution Architecture for Microsoft.


Andy Cozens
Head Instructor

Originally from England, Andy has been a proud Aurora resident since 2016 and has over 10 years of experience working in education and youth work. He has a passion for inspiring young people, technology, teaching and has qualifications in Coding, Programming, Teaching and is Google Certified.

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