How Hockey’s Wayne Gretzky Inspired Ann Kirkbride to Keeping Pushing Forward for Innovative Technology

Ann Kirkbride is Avenu’s Business Unit Leader for Digital Processing and has spent a remarkable career in Technology and Finance. Since 2000, her focus was exclusively in technology for State and Local Governments in Business and Product development. Ann grew up in a loving competitive family where sports and hockey’s Wayne Gretzky has inspired her career.

In a recent interview, we learn more about Ann Kirkbride, her dedication to the field, and insights on where technology is going next when it comes to digital processing.

Ann sitting on sofa in red shirt with Mom & siblings

Have you always had a love for competitive sports or did this develop over time?

I was born and raised in Southern California in Huntington Beach as one of six children. Loving competitive sports happened naturally but was also a requirement with four brothers. We were always outside, and I played everything, from softball, basketball until I discovered the joy of dancing. That was it for me.

Later when I raised my three children, I loved the sports that they were involved in, learned to play golf, volleyball and now am an avid college football fan.

How did you get into the digital processing field?

When I graduated college, I became a licensed stockbroker in CA for Prudential Bache. One of my clients approached me to consult for them and write financial decision trees and within six months offered me a partnership which shifted my career in 2000.

My partners held pattens in artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition, and we were developing OCR for data extraction from unstructured documents. The challenge was leveraging these technologies into marketable products. That’s when we discovered the County Recording offices and analyzed how people manually index information. We realized the public sector had a genuine need for this technology to better serve their constituents.

We were the first company to develop and bring to market Automated Indexing and Automated Redaction solutions, and later, a paperless Judicial Bench for Judges. In three years, we were integrated with all the major recording systems on the market including Xerox.

So that’s how you moved to Xerox?

Yes. I had been working closely with the Xerox team and I was the first Senior Product Manager for the Government Records Management group. I streamlined processes to collapse delivery timelines and kept pace with changes in technology to develop the product roadmap.

That part of the business became Conduent and later became Avenu.

How do you keep pace with technology?

When my son played hockey, I became a fan of the sport. I watched a Wayne Gretzky interview where he was asked why he was so successful and he responded, “I simply skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” His quote has always inspired me to innovate technology and services to where the market is going and not where it has been.

From your insight, what do you think is coming next in the digital processing field?

Advances in technology have enabled governments to revolutionize record preservation.

Digital transformation technologies are enabling governments to unlock critical business data and our country’s history locked in legacy medias from microfilm to paper documents that fill our city, counties, and state archives.  Cloud storage is enabling anywhere access, automated data extraction, intelligent automation has grown exponentially.

Ann’s children (Tiffany, Derek & Alexis)

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Professionally I am proud to have grown in technical field and help the companies I’ve been a part of innovate new technologies and serve clients with the best products available.

Avenu had the privilege to digitize and transcribed our Country’s first Land Record Document in our country’s history, a 400-year-old document from 1620 in Plymouth Colony. I am very proud to enable that history bringing history to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.

By far my greatest accomplishments are Tiffany, Derek & Alexis, my three amazing children all accomplished and successful in their own lives. During COVID it was hard to get together so we decided to celebrate Christmas in Hawaii all together in a condo on the beach. It was wonderful.