It takes great leadership to build an awesome company. And, in 2017, dozens of Austin technology startups brought on new executives, board members and inventive individuals to take their companies to the next level.

We report on key hirings and departures in the Austin tech community in our daily newsletter, The Beat. You can sign up for that here.

Now, let’s look at the seven most important hires of 2017.

Mike Williams, CEO of uShip

uShip announced former Accruent executive Mike Williams would become its new CEO in February. He replaced Jim Martell, who has been interim CEO since Dec. 1, 2016. Martell was named executive chairman of uShip’s board. The appointment came just before the Austin-based shipping logistics company announced a $25M Series D from DB Schenker, the German-based global logistics company.

Spredfast announced in March that it hired former HomeAway CFO Lynn Atchison as its new CFO. Atchison spent nine years at HomeAway and had a major role in its growth, IPO and sale to Expedia. Atchison also helped lead Hoover’s Online through an IPO as its CFO.

Kasita Founder Jeff Wilson stepped aside from his CEO role, and Martyn Hoffmann took the helm of the smart, tiny home startup. Wilson became chairman of the Kasita board and continues to be the company’s chief advocate. Hoffmann, meanwhile, has deep roots in housing developments and is poised to help the company land multi-unit deals with developers and emergency management officials.

Lisa Pearson, CEO of Umbel

Umbel, an Austin-based sports and entertainment data analytics startup, appointed former Bazaarvoice CMO and marketing veteran Lisa Pearson as its new CEO in April. Pearson, who had led Umbel since being named as president a year ago, took over as Higinio “H.O.” Maycotte, Umbel’s founder and former CEO, became executive chairman of Umbel’s board of directors and CEO of Pilosa, a stealth mode data-focused business spun out of Umbel.

HotSchedules, an Austin-based restaurant and hospitality software company, named Mike Arenth as its new CEO in May. Arenth had been at HotSchedules since last year. Prior to that, he was a senior adviser to Silver Lake. His resume also includes stops as executive VP at SAP and GM and senior VP at Ariba.

CognitiveScale, an Austin-based AI software company, hired Joydeep Ghosh in May as its first chief scientific officer. Ghosh is also the Schlumberger Centennial Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. His work in AI has been honored by several industry groups, such as the iEEE.

Wendy R. Anderson, General Manager, Defense; National Security (PRNewsfoto/SparkCognition)

SparkCognition, an AI security and predictive analytics startup, announced it hired former Department of Defense Chief of Staff Wendy Anderson in August as its new general manager of defense and national security. Anderson joined a staff that includes several former government officials. Prior to this, Anderson had several roles in government, including roles as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and chief of staff to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Anderson shares common background with SparkCognition board member General John R. Allen, the former commander of International Security Assistance Force and Special Envoy to the President Barack Obama for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Both Anderson and Allen worked with former Defense Secretary Hagel.