Executives

Melissa Townsley
Melissa Townsley
CEO & Co-Founder

As one of GIACT’s two founders, Melissa has led GIACT since its founding and is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the company. With deep expertise in payment processing, risk mitigation and compliance, Melissa identified the need in the market for a new approach to identify and eliminate payments fraud as multiple industries increasingly began to rely on digital payments. Under her leadership, GIACT has grown to include a client roster of over 1,000 companies, many of them in the Fortune 500. Prior to founding GIACT in 2004, Melissa held a broad range of leadership positions across multiple departments including sales, customer service, claims payments and more during a 17-year career in the insurance industry. While the COO of iPromotion, she led new business development while it rapidly grew to $100 million in annual revenue in its first 18 months of operation. Outside of GIACT, Melissa is active in several nonprofits focused on improving the lives of children both locally and internationally. She has helped raise money to build schools in developing countries, send thousands of children to summer camp, and provide children in need with clothing, school supplies, and other essentials.

 Merlin Bise
Merlin Bise
CTO & Co-Founder

Merlin is one of GIACT’s founders and is the technology visionary responsible for driving new product development. As a widely-recognized thought leader in the payments industry, Merlin applies his holistic understanding of payments and risk to create innovative solutions that have a proven track record for proactively identifying fraud and reducing payment risk. With deep experience in network security, infrastructure design, encryption, risk modelling, and designing and building risk engines, Merlin has spent much of his career combatting multiple types of payments and identity fraud. Prior to founding GIACT, Merlin was the chief technology innovator behind multiple successful businesses, including the first fully encrypted peer-to-peer video conferencing platform and a digital imaging solution for enterprise healthcare providers. Merlin is actively involved in coaching youth sports programs and volunteering in the Allen area.

Dave Foster
Dave Foster
CFO

Dave joined GIACT in early 2016 and manages all aspects of finance, accounting, human resources, and facilities management at the company. Dave has over 30-years of financial leadership experience primarily with fintech companies. As the financial and accounting leader in both public and private corporations, Dave has an established reputation for driving revenue growth, managing cost structures, maximizing operating efficiencies, delivering and reporting accurate financial results, and building strong finance and accounting teams throughout all phases of corporate development. He has served in finance leadership roles at Fiserv, Northern Trust, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and Goodwill and has rich management experience including pre-IPO, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and post-acquisition alignment and integration. Dave graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Dave is an avid soccer player/fan and locally has volunteered on several 501(c)(3) entity boards and was a “Big” with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

David Barnhardt
David Barnhardt
Executive Vice President, Product

David is responsible for directing product development for GIACT’s suite of fraud reduction and compliance solutions company-wide, including the EPIC Platform. With over 13 years of banking and payments expertise, he is a frequent contributor to industry publications and conferences and has authored multiple patents currently being used to identify fraud and account takeover and reduce payments risk. Most recently, David was the payment product manager at Early Warning. He has held numerous risk and fraud positions at Wachovia and Bank of America where, as an emerging risk executive, he oversaw retail and wholesale fraud prevention and was responsible for developing solutions for internal fraud, link analysis, and common point of purchase.

Kay Lynn Brumbaugh
Kay Lynn Brumbaugh
Chief Legal Officer and Secretary

Kay Lynn joined GIACT as its Chief Legal Officer and Secretary in 2017 after more than 23 years in private law practice.  Immediately prior to joining GIACT, she was a partner and Chair of the Antitrust Practice Group at Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. Recognized as one of the top 250 women in litigation in the country by Benchmark Litigation, Kay Lynn’s clients in private practice spanned a variety of industries, including technology, energy, food and beverage, franchising and distribution, consumer products, manufacturing, health care, insurance, internet and e-commerce, transportation and telecommunications. Kay Lynn is a member of the leadership of the American Bar Association Antitrust Section, serving as Co-Chair of the Books and Treatises Committee. While in private practice, she was consistently profiled as a leading antitrust lawyer in Texas in Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and was repeatedly recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Antitrust Law. One of her most cherished honors is her election into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame of Carthage High School in Carthage, Texas.  She obtained her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and B.B.A. in Honors Business and Finance from the University of Texas.

Meg Nicholls
Meg Nicholls
Chief Compliance Officer

Meg brings a broad range of cybersecurity, privacy, regulatory and compliance experience to GIACT. Prior to GIACT, she was an associate in the consumer financial services group at Troutman Sanders where she was focused on establishing industry-leading policies and procedures, advising clients on best practices for consumer privacy, as well as counseling consumer reporting agencies on compliance implementation. She also served as a compliance manager at Hyundai Capital America where she was an integral part of enhancing the company’s compliance programs. Additionally, as corporate counsel at CoreLogic, Meg supported the company’s consumer reporting agencies on regulatory compliance. Meg obtained a Bachelor of Science and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Dayton.

Ryan Krug
Ryan Krug
Executive Vice President, Client Relations and Business Development

Krug brings over 10 years of client relations and business development experience to GIACT. He has established himself in the industry as a dedicated client partner who is able to understand the complex business challenges facing clients and design solutions that meet their diverse needs. His experience spans a wide variety of highly-regulated industries, including all types of financial institutions, retail and commercial organizations, financial technology providers, and government entities. Most recently, Krug was focused on client development at FIS, specifically as it related to the provision of risk, information security, compliance products and services, and long-term client retention. At GIACT, he leads a team of professionals focused upon the creation of new business opportunities and long-term client satisfaction. Krug attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Government, and he holds a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in Organizational Management from Texas Tech University.

Brett Petersen
Brett Petersen
Executive Vice President, Sales

Brett joins the GIACT team as the Executive Vice President of Sales. For the last 20 years Brett has been at Thomson Reuters in various sales & sales management roles serving the legal and compliance markets. Most recently, Brett was one of the founding members of the Corporate Investigative Division that provided KYC, AML, Fraud, and Due Diligence SaaS, Batch, and API solutions to a wide array of companies and financial institutions throughout the U.S. As a sales leader at Thomson he developed a passion for helping his customers mitigate their regulatory, financial, and reputational risk through customized data solutions and helped grow the revenue to over 50 million annually. In his role at GIACT he will be focused leading and growing a team of sales professionals that will deliver on providing the most comprehensive suite of business & consumer real-time data solutions in the industry. Brett attended Colorado State University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing and has advanced studies at the Carlson School of Management and ACAMS.