Management Team

John A. Amster

Founder & CEO

John is the founder and CEO of Rowan TELS Corporation and has been a leading innovator in the IP industry for the past 20+ years. Rowan provides cost-effective technology-enabled legal services (TELS) that address the complex legal challenges of corporations and law firms around patent drafting, anti-counterfeiting, and legal management consulting. Prior to Rowan, John was a co-founder and CEO of RPX Corporation from 2008-2017, creating the first defensive patent aggregator, leading his team from inception to a $850 million IPO in 2011, and building the business to over 300 clients and $300M in annual revenue. Before co-founding RPX, Mr. Amster was the General Manager of Strategic Acquisitions and Vice President of Licensing at Intellectual Ventures, a Managing Director and founder of the M&A Advisory practice for Ocean Tomo, and Vice President and Secretary at InterTrust Technologies. Mr. Amster received his J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his B.A. from Middlebury College.

Kevin Barhydt


Kevin has 10+ years in the IP and Consulting industries and has completed hundreds of IP transactions while serving both RPX Corporation and Intellectual Ventures as the leader of Acquisitions and Analysis. Kevin also worked for McKinsey & Co and co-founded a digital advertising startup. Kevin has his MBA from Harvard and his B.A. from University of Puget Sound.

Neal Rubin

Head of Anti-Counterfeit

A former Assistant United States Attorney, Neal worked as Vice President of Global Litigation and Brand Protection for Cisco Systems, responsible for resolving Cisco’s portfolio of legal disputes and government investigations. While at Cisco, Neal testified on patent reform issues before the House of Representatives and spoke at the White House on how public companies can partner with law enforcement on trademark and anti-counterfeit efforts. Prior to joining RowanTELS, Neal was SVP, Operations at RPX Corporation, where he advised companies on ways to mitigate IP risk. Neal earned his J.D. from the University of Southern California and his B.A. from Amherst College.

Client Team

Justin Basara

Vice President

Justin has 15+ years experience in the IP industry and has led the patent analysis and negotiations of hundreds of acquisitions while at RPX and at Ocean Tomo. Justin has his B.S. in Business Administration, Management, MIS, and International Business from the University of Notre Dame.

Linda Biel

Vice President

Linda has been in the IP industry for over 10 years, specializing in client development and relations for PatentFreedom, AST and Provenance Asset Group. Before that she was in sales and marketing for IBM, and engineering cost development for General Dynamics. Linda earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Tracy Campbell

Vice President

Tracy has 20 years experience in the IP and Legal industries, including client development, acquisition and client relations for LexisNexis and ReedTech. Tracy earned her J.D. and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.

Pat Hayford

Vice President, Partnerships & Corporate Development

Pat is an IP industry veteran with over 20 years experience. He comes to Rowan from Clarivate where he held multiple leadership positions including Vice President Commercial Strategy and Head of Sales for Clarivate’s IP business. Pat also previously held senior positions at Thomson Reuters.

Jay Herwitz

Vice President

Jay has 12+ years experience in the IP and Consulting industries, having most recently led Patent Analysis at RPX. Jay has extensive experience in portfolio analysis and valuation, and has also worked for Lockheed Martin and Deloitte Consulting. Jay has his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Jay is a registered patent agent with the USPTO.

Tom Lerdal

Vice President

Tom has 15+ years in the IP, legal, and consulting industries, including client development, acquisitions, client relations, patent litigation and transactions for RPX, Banner & Witcoff, and Accenture. Tom has his J.D. from the University of Virginia and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona. Tom is a registered patent attorney.

Product Team

Ben Demboski

Chief Technology Officer

Ben is a 20+ year veteran of mobile, desktop, and web development, and has been leading the development of Rowan’s technology since its inception in 2013. He began his career at Wildseed Ltd, working on the team that built and shipped the first Linux-based smartphone in the United States, and subsequently applied the technology to building a connected media player in the early days of mobile streaming media. Since then, he has done extensive mobile applications development, managed the cloud services development team at RealNetworks (RNWK), and acted as full-stack developer for several consumer web applications, including the travel planning site Gatherball. He attended Reed College and earned a BA in Mathematics.

Dave Billmaier

Chief Product Officer

Dave is Chief Product Officer at Rowan and leads the company’s product management, product marketing, and UX design for the past five years. Dave’s other IP-related experience includes a role at Patent Navigation, an IP strategy consulting company, and is a named inventor on several patents. For the last 20 years, Dave has held product management leadership positions at companies such as Hewlett Packard, Maritime Satellite Network (MTN), Melodeo, and Digeo where he led the two-time Emmy-award winning UX design team. Before that, Dave was at Apple for many years and held various marketing and communication positions.