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Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium

2019 Keynote Speakers and Schedule

Keynote Speakers


Kelly Swanson

Strategic Narrative Specialist

Kelly Swanson is an award-winning communication strategist, writer, storyteller, humorist and motivational speaker. She is the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy TaleThe Land of If OnlyThe Story Formula and The Gutsy Girls Pocket Guide to Public Speaking. Kelly was a keynote speaker for the International Toastmasters Convention and has keynoted major conferences and corporate events from coast to coast.

Kelly’s powerful insights and wacky wit have charmed and inspired audiences for more than two decades. She is also known for her high-energy workshops and boot camps on leadership, team building, employee engagement and customer relationships. Kelly is a master at showing people how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Thurl Bailey

Inspirational Speaker & Retired Professional Basketball Player

From the youth to the corporate world, Thurl Bailey inspires others to win whatever the odds or disappointments. Master storyteller and accomplished speaker, he inspires companies and individuals to focus on what matters most; to persevere, build winning teams, encourage peak performance, develop leadership, and discover opportunity in change.

Twice Thurl has led teams from far behind to win national championships. His most recognized title was the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack team which beat the famed University of Houston (Phi-Slamma-Jamma) Cougars, featuring Hakeem Olajuwon & Clyde Drexler. That nation championship game was voted top 2 finishes of all time of any sporting event. That incredible season was the subject of ESPN’s 30 for 30 entitled, “Survive and Advance.” Because of his outstanding leadership skills and the quality of his character, as well as his impressive basketball skills, Thurl was drafted by the Utah Jazz as the 1983 7th overall pick of the NBA Draft. Thurl spent twelve of his sixteen-year professional basketball career in the NBA, and four years playing overseas, in Italy and Greece. His courtesy and integrity both on and off the court and his strong sense of community service have led to numerous civic awards and earned him the nickname "NBA's Mr. Nice Guy".


Morgan Wright

Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government

Morgan Wright is an internationally recognized expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyberterrorism, identity theft and privacy. Morgan's landmark testimony before Congress on changed how the government collected personally identifiable information. He’s made hundreds of appearances on national news, radio, print and web, and has spoken to audiences around the world. He has appeared regularly on CNN, PBS, ABC, CBS, Fox News and CNBC.

Previously, Morgan was a senior advisor in the U.S. State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program. Morgan is a highly decorated former state trooper, police officer and detective. In addition to 18 years in state and local law enforcement, Morgan has developed solutions in defense, justice and intelligence for the largest technology companies in the world. Morgan is the author ofIdentity Predators: Win the War Against Hackers.


Wednesday, September 4 | Day One

8:00am Registration and Morning Refreshments
9:00am Opening Remarks
9:30am Keynote – What's Your Story?
  Kelly Swanson, Strategic Narrative Specialist
IT is an adventure. Or should be! Every project is a journey, and we need to be better at promoting what we're doing and accomplishing by painting pictures that resonate. Data alone is not enough anymore. It's already over-used, mis-used, abused and fake-newsed. The key is wrapping your data in a way that makes people care. You need the secret ingredient that is probably missing from presentations, pitches, speeches and any situation where you are trying to move the needle. In this mind-expanding session, you will find out how to go from manipulating to motivating, from communicating to connecting, from telling people what to do to making them want to do it. Learn from the master!
10:30am Networking Break
11:00am Concurrent Sessions: Choose One
  Cyberthreat Landscape

When State CIOs were surveyed for their top ten priorities for 2019, #1 on the list was cybersecurity and risk management. In just a few years cyberattacks have become everyone's biggest fear – in private industry and government. The invaders just keep getting more creative. This session explores today's threats and how to prepare for just about anything.

  • Syra Arif, Senior Advisory Security Solutions Architect, Security and Risk Practice, ServiceNow
  • Pete Cordero, Managing Director, Advisory/Cybersecurity, Ernst & Young LLP
  Cloud Readiness

As state and local governments move to the cloud at a rapid pace, they're running into some common holdups, including the determination of which workloads are cloud-ready and which models are most appropriate. The bottom line: organizations should have a comprehensive cloud strategy – one that strikes the right balance between on-prem control and cloud innovation. This session discusses current trends and lessons learned. 

  • Rich Barlow, Field Chief Technology Officer and Principal Engineer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer and Divisional Engineering, Dell Technologies (@vSoRich)
  • Ray Chang, Senior Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services
  • Demetrias Rodgers, Head of Cloud & Collaboration Services, Application & Enterprise Services, Virginia Information Technology Agency, Commonwealth of Virginia
  The Data Governance Challenge

A successful data journey requires smart policies and strategies every step of the way. Governance provides the guardrails that keep us on the road. Policy decisions include dealing with processes, collection, retention, security and more. This session explores the most critical factors to consider when developing or redeveloping a data governance model.

  • Michele Hovet, Vice President, Experience Management Engineering, SAP (@mhovet)
  • Julie Richards, Director, Digital Insights, CGI
  • Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer, Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia
  Connectivity and Continuity

We are entering a new era of connectivity, powered by a proliferation of personal devices, cloud services, Internet of Things, data tsunamis and rapidly evolving user needs and demands. Connectivity is the key to just about everything we do but connectivity should not be mistaken for continuity. Hence the need for architecture that is up to the task. This session looks at the future of connectivity with a spotlight on a project that is breaking new ground in Virginia.

  • Shane Cole, Network Engineer, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority
  • Daniele Loffreda, Senior Advisor, Ciena
  Unmanned Systems – The Art of the Actual!

Autonomous and unmanned systems (ground, sea, air and space) will impact every aspect of our lives and will revolutionize how businesses – and governments – provide products and services. "Faster, safer, cheaper" is the mantra for this industry, and Virginia has been ranked as the top state in the nation for its innovation in unmanned aerial systems. This session examines how Virginia is leading by example as several agencies are integrating autonomous technologies into their mission strategies.

  • Moderator: Tracy Tynan, Director, Virginia Center for Unmanned Systems, Center for Innovative Technology
  • David Barton, Director of Aerial Services and Chief Pilot, Draper Aden
  • Tom Crabbs, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Homeland Security Division of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Department of Emergency Management, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Robby Demeria, Deputy Secretary of Commerce & Trade for Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Catherine C. McGhee, P.E., Director of Research and Innovation, Virginia Transportation Research Council (a Division of the Virginia Department of Transportation)
  • Chris Sadler, Deputy Chief/Deputy Director, Department of Fire and Life Safety, York County
  • Amber Wilson, Aviation Technology Manager, Department of Aviation, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Anthony Wood, Head of Innovation, Virginia Information Technology Agency, Commonwealth of Virginia
12:00pm Lunch
12:50pm Featured Speaker – Future Ready! The Playbook for 2020 and Beyond

Morgan Wright, Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government

The magnitude and speed of technological, economic, and societal change is accelerating at an exponential pace. Your primary challenge is to anticipate the future – and then build it, being careful to optimize the upside while minimizing the effects of the shocks and stresses. Public leaders need more than just a new way of thinking – but a new way of executing supported by the right technological and cultural foundation. Future Ready focuses on what matters and why, what potential issues should be on your radar, and the adaptive, actionable takeaways that you can work on today to prepare for 2020 and beyond, including:

  • Disruptive technologies
  • Emerging regulatory issues
  • Citizen and employee experience
  • Future of management
  • Funding the future
1:50pm FirstNet Fireside Chat

Dr. Cedric Alexander, Author, CNN Contributor on Public Safety, Former Chief of Police

Public safety is undergoing a significant transformation and technology is at the heart of it. The transformation affects all areas of government, from education to transportation to frontline public safety. This session explores the intersection between public safety ecosystems and the technology revolution that is here – today.

2:15pm Networking Break
2:45pm Concurrent Sessions: Choose One

Maximizing Data Value
It's a common refrain that government should operate more like an enterprise. This approach holds true in some ways more than others, but it particularly applies to getting the most out of data. It all starts with analytics and data sharing. But why isn't it done enough? Are the barriers cultural, legal or technical? This session explores the obstacles and the tools and strategies, through the lens of three data analytics projects addressing the opioid epidemic, that will take us from siloed data to actionable information.

  • Leslie A. Egan, Criminal Justice Program Coordinator and Policy Analyst, Adult Services, Division of Programs and Services, Department of Criminal Justice Services, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Bridget Giles, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Healthcare and Medical Focus, Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), Old Dominion University
  • Jaime Lees, Chief Data Officer, Arlington County Government
  • Tom Schenk Jr., Director of Analytics and Smart Cities, KPMG
  • Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer, Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

Cyber Defense in Depth
The Defense in Depth model was originally a military strategy that was meant to slow the enemy's advance until a counter-attack could be mounted. In the case of cyber defense, it means implementing multiple layers of security controls throughout a system in order to provide redundancy when there is a failure or vulnerability. In an era of cloud, mobile computing, software defined data centers, data sharing, IoT and sophisticated cybercrime, is Defense in Depth still relevant? This session discusses the approach and how it might evolve to meet the needs of tomorrow. 

  • Dennis R. Moreau, Ph.D., Senior Engineering Architect, Cyber Security, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, VMware (@DoctorMoreau)
  • Daniel Persico, Chief Information Officer, Department of Elections, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Michael Watson, Chief Information Security Officer, Virginia Information Technology Agency, Commonwealth of Virginia (@wiken) 

Smart Communities Today
Virginia is making great strides in its statewide smart communities program. The focus is on community-driven innovation with the ongoing goal of sharing successes and lessons learned in taking advantage of smart technology. In this session you will hear about the latest initiatives, news, progress and opportunities. Also included is an update on 5G and how it will usher in a new era of connected devices, sensor-equipped infrastructure and resident services.

  • Moderator: David Ihrie, Chief Technology Officer, Center for Innovative Technology
  • Dr. Brenda Bannan, Associate Professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Technologies Design Research Program, George Mason University (@BrendaBannan)
  • Mike Cannon, Chief Technology Officer, Stafford County
  • Preston Read, Senior Solutions Architect, Verizon
  • Anthony Wood, Head of Innovation, Virginia Information Technology Agency, Commonwealth of Virginia

Tomorrow's Tech Talent
Many of today's standard IT jobs might not exist years from now, at least not in their current forms. And some of the most needed jobs in the future don't even exist yet. How should we be shaping our own skillsets? What skills should we be seeking when hiring new people? This session looks for answers, starting with what universities are doing to guide, advise and instruct their IT students. 

  • Emily Craig, Partner, Talent & Engagement, Global Business Services, IBM (@emilygcraig)
  • John Guo, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics, College of Business, James Madison University

Sponsor Briefing (Industry sponsors only)
This informal roundtable discussion is hosted by Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Nelson Moe. The focus is on strategies, priorities, opportunities and the procurement process.


Networking Reception

Network with your colleagues and discuss technology solutions with the event exhibitors. 



The Virginia Local Government Information Technology Executives association will hold a business meeting and a discussion of best practices, shared solutions, and collaborative opportunities. All local government attendees are welcome!

Thursday, September 5 | Day Two

8:00am Registration and Morning Refreshments
9:00am Opening Remarks, Governor Ralph Northam
9:15am Keynote – "I See Potential in You!" – How Those Five Words Changed My Life

Thurl Bailey, Inspirational Speaker, Broadcaster and Retired NBA Basketball Player (@bigTbailey)

How can we best discover the potential we have as individuals and then use that potential collectively to win as a team? The answer may lay in one's past. Professional speaker, broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz and University of Utah, actor and award-winning singer/songwriter, Thurl Bailey attended North Carolina State University and was a key player in the Wolfpack's miracle run to the 1983 NCAA Championship under the late Jim Valvano. That year, Thurl led the team in both scoring and rebounding and the Utah Jazz drafted him as the 7th pick in the NBA draft. Jazz management reported that he was selected for the quality of his character as well as the quality of his game. This was the beginning of 16 years of playing professional basketball – 12 of those years in the NBA.

10:15am Networking Break
10:45am Fast Track Sessions

Commonwealth's Perspective on Data

A year ago, the Governor appointed the state's first-ever Chief Data Officer to establish guidelines for data use and privacy as well as promoting and coordinating data sharing. In this informative session, Carlos Rivero shares what has transpired in the past year and what lies ahead for the Commonwealth.

  • Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer, Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

Transforming the Government Experience

People don't expect the public sector to be just like Uber or Lyft, but they are accustomed to a certain level of ease when it comes to buying and receiving goods and services - typically through a click of a button on their smartphone. In this fast-paced world and a soaring demand to be customer-centric, how does government keep up? This session dives into ways to drive forward with innovative citizen experience strategies in mind.

  • Travis Sarkees, President and General Manager, Virginia Interactive 

Keys to Universal Broadband in Virginia

In today's world, the information highway is as important as our physical highway systems, and it is an essential element of the Governor's priorities in economic development, education and healthcare. In terms of current coverage, Virginia is in the middle of the pack among states, and the underserved population stands at 14%. But that's going to change with an aggressive plan to bring the state's coverage to 100%!

  • Evan Feinman, Chief Broadband Advisor, Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam, and Executive Director, Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Commonwealth of Virginia
11:50am Governor's Technology Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Secretary of Administration Dr. Keyanna Conner and State CIO Nelson Moe

Applaud the winners of the annual Governor's Technology Awards. This awards program honors outstanding achievements and recognizes innovative technology initiatives in the public sector throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

12:15pm End of Conference
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