About Us

WHO WE ARE

Who
we
are

T-CETRA is a leading financial technology enabler that converts cash payments into secure, auditable, cashless transactions at over 10,000 retail locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that primarily serve cash preferred customers. Our payment solutions bridge the digital divide for these underserved communities and are used by Fortune 500 companies within the wireless, online marketplace, subscription based premium service, transportation, healthcare, charitable, and government sectors, connecting them to the 84.8 million un/derbanked individuals in the U.S.

VIDAPAY, our proprietary cloud-based payment portal, helps these retailers mitigate risk and increase sales. Its intuitive interface enables retailers to manage customer accounts in real-time within a safe, secure payment transaction framework.

Our Values

Since T-CETRA’s founding in 2007, we have prioritized our customers and our employees. It’s this passion that drives our core values everyday:

T-CETRA is and has been committed to the application of continuous improvement methodology, enhancing its proprietary, disruptive, game-changing technology. Our constant focus and extremely strong relationship with the customer allow us to develop new and creative approaches to serve their needs.

Our laser focus on our employees creates a collaborative, creative environment where everyone’s ideas are valued. We have worked to create a culture that cultivates and encourages open dialogue across the organization. Every single employee gets to be a part of the process.

Our leadership team is comprised of genuinely good people that care about people, experiences, and relationships. They don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk, as evidenced by the founding of the T-CETRA Foundation.

We hail from 30 countries and speak 20 languages. Organizations vastly larger than ours are playing catch-up to accomplish what we have established from day one — to bring diverse values and mindsets to our team. Simply put, we believe diversity improves our working environment, our product, and our community.

  • INNOVATION
  • TEAMWORK
  • COMPASSION
  • DIVERSITY

T-CETRA is and has been committed to the application of continuous improvement methodology, enhancing its proprietary, disruptive, game-changing technology. Our constant focus and extremely strong relationship with the customer allow us to develop new and creative approaches to serve their needs.

Our laser focus on our employees creates a collaborative, creative environment where everyone’s ideas are valued. We have worked to create a culture that cultivates and encourages open dialogue across the organization. Every single employee gets to be a part of the process.

Our leadership team is comprised of genuinely good people that care about people, experiences, and relationships. They don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk, as evidenced by the founding of the T-CETRA Foundation.

We hail from 30 countries and speak 20 languages. Organizations vastly larger than ours are playing catch-up to accomplish what we have established from day one — to bring diverse values and mindsets to our team. Simply put, we believe diversity improves our working environment, our product, and our community.

LEADERSHIP

Abdul Akel, Co-Founder, CEO
Co-Founder/CEO

Abdul Akel

Gus Hashem
Co-Founder/CIO

Gus Hashem

Ghazwan Tarabishi, Chief Operating Officer
Chief Operating Officer

Ghazwan Tarabishi

photo of Jamey Halsey, CFO
Chief Financial Officer

Jamey Halsey

Executive Vice President of Business Development

Steven Ascher

Mohamad Al-Souqi, VP of Merchant Services
Vice President of Merchant Services

Mohamad Al-Souqi

Samer Bazerbashi, Vice President of Operations
Vice President of Operations

Samer Bazerbashi

Photo of Kristine Gross
Vice President of Growth and Marketing

Kristine Gross

Christy Peterson
Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain

Christy Peterson

Amar Zedan, VP of Product Development
Vice President of Product Development

Amar Zedan

Cindy Johns
Controller

Cindy Johns

Zaher Al Sabbagh, Director of Software Development
Director of Software Development

Zaher Al Sabbagh

Olimpia Dawidowicz, Director of Finance
Director of Finance

Olimpia Dawidowicz

Jennifer Kaser, Director of Human Resources
Director of Human Resources

Jennifer Kaser

Todd Walberg
Director of Sales

Todd Walberg

Co-Founder/CEO

Abdul Akel

As Co-Founder and CEO, Abdul leads an extremely diverse team of world-class talent to constantly address the underserved’s barriers to accessing premium products and services. In addition to conceptualizing and bringing to fruition all T-CETRA’s cutting-edge technologies, he continues to be the strategic visionary and innovator for T-CETRA’s sustainable growth in new sectors.

Childhood Aspiration: To work in the construction industry

Co-Founder/CIO

Gus Hashem

Gus is a technology executive with a diverse skill set built over the years. He strategically conceptualizes, guides, and positions all T-CETRA’s unique and cutting-edge technology solutions to help bridge the digital divide for underserved communities by connecting Fortune 500 companies to the 84.8 million un/derbanked individuals in the U.S.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems from Bowling Green State University

Childhood Aspiration: When he was 11, Gus fell in love with programming on his Atari 400. He took classes to advance the skill and while doing so, found a passion for helping others and solving complex problems.

Chief Operating Officer

Ghazwan Tarabishi

As Chief Operating Officer, Ghazwan oversees T-CETRA’s ongoing diverse business operations as well as executes its growth strategies and performance procedures. He is the strategic leader of the sales organization, working closely with carriers and dealers in the prepaid wireless sector. Ghazwan built and leads T-CETRA’s sales team that supports 10,000 independent retailers nationwide as well as owns the relationships with wireless carriers to ensure their business objectives are met.

Chief Financial Officer

Jamey Halsey

As Chief Financial Officer, Jamey is accountable for providing leadership and management of the finance and accounting team. He is responsible for developing strategic financial recommendations to the members of the executive management team. He leads the processes for financial forecasting and budgets, and oversees the preparation of all financial reporting.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in Finance from The Ohio State University and is also a Certified Public Accountant

Childhood Aspiration: To become a professional that explores the unknown and discovers the new.

Executive Vice President of Business Development

Steven Ascher

As Executive Vice President of Business Development, Steven is responsible for negotiating agreements with Tier 1 wireless carriers, MVNOs, payment providers, and other strategic partners to support the national indirect retail distribution channel.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Hofstra University

Childhood Aspiration: Magician

Vice President of Merchant Services

Mohamad Al-Souqi

As Vice President of Merchant Services, Mohamad garners new business and manages the team that connects retailers looking for an omnichannel credit card solution via T-CETRA’s Merchant Services (TMS). Mohamad manages the growing TMS team by bringing new approaches and updated technologies for credit/debit card acceptance.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Rutgers University

Childhood Aspiration: Doctor

Vice President of Operations

Samer Bazerbashi

As Vice President of Operations, Samer oversees the Billing, Merchant Services, Operations, and Dealer Support teams. Samer leans on his years of experience at T-CETRA to make decisions that ensure T-CETRA is efficient, collaborative, and sustainable.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from The Ohio State University

Childhood Aspiration: Leader of a successful business team

Vice President of Growth and Marketing

Kristine Gross

As Vice President of Growth and Marketing, Kristine plays a vital role in T-CETRA’s expansion into new verticals such as healthcare, education, charity, government and transportation to strategically drive sales and develop stronger ties to the business community. Kristine also manages the T-CETRA Marketing Team and is focused on elevating the T-CETRA brand in addition to ensuring our dealer network and carrier partners successfully grow their business.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Childhood Aspirations: Kristine wanted to be a lot of things: an adventurer/explorer, artist, author, business owner, to work in advertising and to be a race car driver. Somehow, she got lucky and was able to cram a bit of each into her career: founded a business developing professional race car drivers, had an opportunity to travel much of the world, worked in advertising, was a contributing published author, and very occasionally dabbles in painting.

Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain

Christy Peterson

As Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain, Christy capitalizes on new and existing opportunities to sell physical inventory. She leads and manages the overall supply chain and operations to continually expand our offerings as well as strategically grow the T-CETRA brand.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School. Christy is currently pursuing her EdD from Baylor University in Education and Organizational change.

Childhood Aspirations: Christy always wanted to be a lawyer. “To this day, I am addicted to any legal or crime dramas in book or television form.”

Vice President of Product Development

Amar Zedan

As Vice President of Product Development, Amar leads the supply chain and product development teams. Amar ensures that Marketplace products meet customer expectations and positions T-CETRA’s unique all-in-one brand solutions based on technical, competitive, and trend analyses to better serve carrier and retailer needs.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering from AI-Ahliyya Amman University in Jordan and completed two Master’s Certificates in Applied and IT/IS Project Management from Villanova University

Childhood Aspirations: Aviation engineer and pilot

Controller

Cindy Johns

As Controller, Cindy works closely on all aspects of T-CETRA’s accounting and financial management, including financial reporting; compliance; risk assessment and mitigation.
She is also instrumental in the development of internal control policies, processes, and procedures to improve T-CETRA’s financial health.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Minot State University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Childhood Aspiration: Doctor

Director of Software Development

Zaher Al Sabbagh

As Director of Software Development, Zaher oversees the Development, QA, Design, Software Architecture, UX/UI, and Product Management teams. He enhances T-CETRA’s product offerings to address market needs as well a strategizes and provides new solutions to both internal and external stakeholders.

Education: Both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University

Childhood Aspiration: Astronaut

Director of Finance

Olimpia Dawidowicz

As Director of Finance, Olimpia manages the Finance team in addition to the Shipping and Logistics Team. She oversees all departmental budgets, manages T-CETRA’s cash flow and reconciliations, as well as ensures that Marketplace inventory arrives on-time utilizing the most efficient and cost-effective methods.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Franklin University and Associate’s Degree in Financial Management Services from Greater Poland School of Business and Administration

Childhood Aspiration: Drawn to the culinary arts, Olimpia always wanted to be a chef.

Director of Human Resources

Jennifer Kaser

As Director of Human Resources, Jen manages the entire Human Resources team from recruiting to onboarding to compensation and benefits and everything in between. She creates the programs and the policies that benefit each T-CETRA team and enrich the company culture.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Ohio University, holds a PHR Certification, and is a Certified Myers-Briggs instructor

Childhood Aspirations: As a teenager, Jen aspired to be fighter pilot and in college dreamed of being an FBI agent.

Director of Sales

Todd Walberg

As Director of Sales, Todd has built and managed a field sales team to support T-CETRA’s current distribution of over 10,000 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. He helps lead T-CETRA’s efforts in adding new sales and distribution channels, focusing on retail as well as business to business opportunities.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management as well as PRSM Certificate from Bellevue University

Childhood Aspirations: Todd is still a baseball fan and always wanted to be a professional baseball player as well as a teacher.

Our Cause

The T-CETRA Foundation was launched in 2020 to strategically and philanthropically direct T-CETRA’s charitable contributions to address the evolving needs of the un/derbanked. Like the 6,000-year-old olive tree featured in our logo, the T-CETRA Foundation provides a lasting legacy and commitment to help the underserved through technology and financial education grants. We believe in equity, access, compassion and innovation, particularly for ethnically diverse and economically depressed communities. Our grants become the roots that help underbanked communities grow and thrive.

Our donor advised fund is housed within the Columbus Foundation and allows us to collaborate with other large charitable partnerships, such as the GroundWork Group’s NeighborRelief™ program, where we have joined forces in doing good. To date, the T-CETRA Foundation has supported 10 different 501(c)(3) charities across the United States. To read more about the 2021 inaugural class of grantees, click here.

If you are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the T-CETRA Foundation, please visit our Foundation Gift page. If interested in supporting or partnering with the T-CETRA Foundation through other financial means, please contact us so we may facilitate your request.

T-CETRA UNDERSTANDS THE UNDERBANKED MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AS THE FULLY BANKED — BUT THEY DO HAVE THE SAME ASPIRATIONS AND SKILLS.