Speakers

Morning Keynote Speaker - James Deaton

"Embracing the Research Cyberinfrastructure Ecosystem"

deaton cropped 175x213James Deaton serves as the Executive Director of Great Plains Network (GPN), a non-profit consortium of research universities focused upon connecting networks, advocating research and cultivating community.  Prior to joining GPN, he served as CTO for OneNet, Oklahoma's statewide research and education network.  For more than two decades, Deaton has maintained close involvement with leaders, researchers and engineers of state, regional and national network initiatives.  He serves as a board member of The Quilt, Co-Chair of Internet2’s Network Architecture, Operations and Policy Program Advisory Group, and a member of several other advisory groups and committees focused upon researcher and educator success with cyberinfrastructure.  Deaton's work with the OneOklahoma Cyberinfrastructure Initiative (OneOCII) and similar initiatives have facilitated a number of successful programs leveraging state and campus networking facilities to serve the needs of researchers and faculty at numerous institutions in the region.

 


Lunch Keynote Speaker - Greg Schwem

"Work, Laugh, Repeat"

GregSchwem 2 Resized Lightened

Greg Schwem’s comedic take on the 21st century workplace and work/life balance has landed him on SIRIUS Radio, FOX News, Comedy Central and the pages of Parents magazine. More than just a business humorist, he is also an author, nationally syndicated humor columnist and award-winning greeting card writer. (Yes, you read that last one correctly!) He has shared the concert stage with the likes of Celine Dion and Jay Leno.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Schwem never envisioned a career in laughter. Instead, he settled in Florida, becoming an award-winning reporter for NBC-owned WPTV in West Palm Beach. But the comedy bug bit him hard and he returned to his hometown of Chicago, where he honed his standup act in nightclubs. When he began inserting material about business and technology into his act, audience members approached him and said, “You really should come down to my office and tell those jokes.” Behold! A new approach to comedy was born. Schwem’s show provides a hilarious look at today’s corporate environment and the latest tools used to conduct business. Indeed, his client list includes such corporate heavyweights as McDonald’s, Microsoft, General Motors, IBM, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines and Cisco Systems. What sets him apart from other corporate entertainers is his ability—and willingness—to customize material for his audience while working within the parameters of the corporate environment.

 


Workshop Speaker - Kevin Hayes, CISSP, CISM

KevinHayes 654x2Kevin Hayes is the Chief Information Security Officer for Merit Network.  Formerly with Wayne State University as its Director of Information Security, Kevin serves as the executive in charge of Merit’s cybersecurity portfolio.  He has developed and manages the information security program for Merit, including information security policies, procedures and control techniques to address and combat the serious threats to its network and its members. 

Kevin has authored and presented original security content at a number of workshops, seminars, and conferences.  His collaborative efforts across the organization have been to understand, propose, and implement security improvement requests and opportunities.  His influence extends beyond Merit as he leads other organizations to share Merit's success and to bring best practices in security back to Merit and its members.  Kevin has performed cybersecurity risk assessments for both internal Merit teams and external Merit customers where he has focused on identifying areas of risk and appropriate methods of remediating or accepting such risk.  He has extensive knowledge of best practices, operation and configuration of network switches, routers, firewalls, and wireless devices, as well as Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems.

 


Special Speakers

Speaker: Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt
President, University of Arkansas System
Chair, AREON Board of Directors
Title: Conference Welcome and Opening Remarks

  


Speaker: Dr. Charles L. Welch
President, Arkansas State University System
Vice Chair, AREON Board of Directors
Title: Conference Welcome and Opening Remarks

  


Speaker: Robert Nordmark
Executive Director
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Title: Conference Welcome and Opening Remarks

  


AREON Staff Breakout Session Facilitators

Track Facilitator
Technology Tim Johnson
Sr. Network Engineer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Innovation Bobby Clark
Sr. Network Engineer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Cybersecurity Jonathan Groves
Network Engineer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Management Mark Mahar
Sr. Network Engineer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network

 


Breakout Session Speakers 

Speaker: Brett Bailey, Pharm.D.
Senior Healthcare Informatics Specialist
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Title: Transitioning from Ad-Hoc Requests to a Self-Service Reporting Solution
Abstract: With a new institutional focus on expansion and improvement, the UAMS Business Intelligence team was tasked by our CIO with coming up with a solution to meet the needs of a statewide health system – UAMS Health.  With the current resources at hand, the team was not equipped to adequately handle current or future workload.  We will discuss the evaluation, migration, and process improvement that went into our move from an ad hoc local reporting system to a cloud-based, fully self-service reporting solution using Microsoft’s Power BI and their Power Platform environment.  In this transition, we have replaced outdated systems, improved customer experience, and significantly reduced expenses.

 


Speaker: Skip Bayro
Principal Consulting Engineer
Mist, a Juniper company
Title: How AI and Machine Learning is Solving the Unique Challenges of WiFi Networks in Education
Abstract: “Up is not the same as Good!”.  When student and educator devices fail to connect or connect poorly to WiFi, digital learning doesn't go as planned.  Join us to discover how Mist's AI for IT Cloud based Microservices Driven WiFi Ecosystem is changing the WiFi Landscape as we know it technically and operationally.  Learn how “MARVIS” uses AI and Machine Learning to solve user experience problems and performance challenges quickly and easily. Let Mist help you build your Network for the Next Decade.

Today’s educators want only the best learning environments for their teachers and students.  The best school networks are only as good as the underlying WLAN.  Up is NOT the same as GOOD.  Too often, IT staff struggle to quickly solve network issues as legacy WLAN architectures and network tools primarily focused on the condition of the network, NOT the quality of the end-user experience. This is no longer the case as AI, Cloud, Machine Learning and Natural Language technologies are bringing real and disruptive benefits to IT and for a great user experience not possible with earlier generations of WiFi.  Combined with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), districts can open new, customizable location-based services, safety and facilities management and planning applications.

 


Speaker: Zak Chalupka
Senior Engineer
Next Step Innovation
Title: Got IoT?  Utilizing Clearpass to Identify and Secure a Campus Full of IoT
Abstract: Securing IoT is one thing, but allowing an “at home experience” is another.

 


Speaker: Bobby Clark
Sr. Network Engineer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Title: AREON Engineering Update & Roundtable
Abstract: AREON will present a technical update on the AREON network and provide information on some of the current network engineering projects underway that may impact AREON members.  We will discuss the ongoing efforts to comply with Google’s new/upcoming requirements involving Internet Routing Registries (IRRs).  In addition, an open roundtable discussion will permit attendees an opportunity to share about new activities, problems, opportunities, or ideas with the AREON staff and attendees and ask questions of the AREON staff.

 


Moderator: Steve Cochran
Chief Information Security Officer
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Title: CISO Roundtable
Abstract: The CISO Roundtable is an open discussion session about cybersecurity led by the moderator.  Topics for discussion may range from security problems, issues, solutions, policies, practices, products, services, etc. to training, education, documentation, etc. to implementation, testing, penetration, mitigation, etc. and beyond.  Come prepared with thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns that you have regarding cybersecurity.

 


Speaker: James Deaton
Executive Director
Great Plains Network
Title: Researcher Roundtable
Abstract: The Researcher Roundtable is an open discussion session about topics of interest to researchers led by the moderator.  Topics for discussion may range from collaborative IT technology supporting research, networking, leveraging national and international networks, Science DMZ, high performance computing, storage, DTNs, security, protecting intellectual rights, grant opportunities, etc. and beyond.  Come prepared with thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns that you have regarding how networking and information technology can be leveraged to enhance the opportunities and outcomes of research.

 


Speaker: Dr. Veysel Erdag
Chief Information Security Officer
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Title: Strategic Leadership and Strategic Alignment: Tools to Overcome Security Management Problems Effectively
Abstract: While attack service is getting wider and wider every day, security professionals try to keep up by not only the attack methods but also the defense tools, technologies and the vendors. On the other hand, stakeholders in the organizations demand more effective and efficient security services while getting unrestricted and uninterrupted service with a very limited financial resource.

All these expectations can be satisfied by finding creative solutions and executing these solutions. Following strategic leadership practices will help information security managers to achieve goals while providing effective services to the organizations. At the same time, strategic alignment maturity model will help information security managers to show the value of the service and how effective and efficient the security services are provided.

 


Moderator: Steven Fulkerson
Chief Information Officer
University of Arkansas System
Title: CIO Roundtable
Abstract: The CIO Roundtable is an open discussion session about IT related topics led by the moderator.  Topics for discussion may range from IT problems, issues, solutions, policies, practices, products, services, etc. to training, education, documentation, etc. to technology adoption, procurement, implemention, testing, etc. and beyond.  Come prepared with thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns that you have regarding Information Technology.

 


Speaker: JJ Jamison
Chief Technology Officer for Research and Education Markets
Juniper Networks
Title: Speeding Up Research Data Transfers: Four Ways to Fast, Compare and Contrast
Abstract: The Science DMZ Architecture has been a boon to research networking but there are other complementary/competitive data transfer optimization solutions that aren’t talked about as much. This presentation will present an overview of four methods of improving network performance to the benefit of HPC/Big Science. ESnet’s Science DMZ Architecture will be discussed but so will: NORDUnet’s Global Virtualization Service, Google’s TCP BBR congestion control algorithm, and the tried and true solution of Over-provisioning. Production use and demos of each method within the R&E Networking community will be discussed as will the pros and cons/trade-offs of each method.
Speaker Bio: JJ Jamison is the Chief Technology Officer for Research & Education Markets at Juniper Networks. He has been working in the area of research networking for over 30 years in various roles for: network equipment manufacturers (Juniper and Cisco), academia (the University of Illinois); a US Government funded research and development center (MITRE); and a carrier (MCI/Verizon). JJ has been involved in major network research efforts, including: US Department of Defense funded Internet traffic measurement projects; the US National Science Foundation’s vBNS National Research and Education Network (NREN); the StarLight global NREN exchange point in Chicago; and various collaborative research projects among network equipment manufacturers, research universities, labs, and research networks in the United States and around the world.

 


Speaker: Bud Klink
Sr. Systems Engineer
Extreme Networks
Title: The Explosive Growth of Collegiate eSports
Abstract: Worldwide, schools are implementing eSports programs into their curriculum. Today 21% of schools have an eSports program, and 26% of schools are considering adding an eSports program. The remaining 43% of schools have not yet implemented an eSports program due to lack of expertise.  Let Extreme Networks help you take the mystery out of building the infrastructure for success.

  


Speaker: Frank Leyva
Cybersecurity Engineer
Radware
Title: Why Going for High Score is a Good Thing
Abstract: In 2018, the stakes for cyber-attacks were higher than ever. We as a community continued to witness attention-grabbing security incidents dominate headlines news, including the largest Denial of Service attack ever recorded. But is this a bad thing? Some would be quick to say yes, but I believe hackers going for high score is a good thing only if we can learn from their actions.

Attackers have proven that they are capable of continually developing new techniques as well as improving the efficiency of the old. Over the last few years, my team and I have seen a steady growth in the development and evolution of the Denial of Service threat landscape, including several world record attempts. In this talk, I will discuss how the Denial of Service landscape has evolved over the years by highlighting the differences between the last two record-breaking attacks, Mirai (DYN) an IoT based botnet and Memcached (GitHub) an amplification attack.

We will then discuss the future of Denial of Service attacks and what the landscape will look like as other technologies and protocols continue to evolve. We will talk about why amplification attacks will always be a significant vector and how we can begin to forecast what the potential risks will be. We will do this by reviewing the current threats around susceptible protocols and how attackers currently can launch masked amplified attacks for high score.
Speaker Bio: Frank Leyva is a Cybersecurity Engineer with Radware, a market leader in Cyber Security with a Focus on Network and Application level availability, and security. Prior to that he was a subject matter expert in network security defense with a leading anti-malware company, performing advanced threat analysis, deep packet inspection, and creating hacker profiles for after attack reports.  His skillset spans across all infrastructures, from on premise, physical and virtual, to cloud, ISP, hosting, and carrier grade networks. He has spoken at many engagements with security partners, vendors, and C-level executives, continuously striving to stay up to date with current security trends, vulnerabilities and exploits. He is also prior service Marine, and a member of LinkedIn Vets, Infragard North Texas chapter, Dallas Hackers Association, and is an advisory board member for Navarro College.

 


Speaker: George Loftus
Associate Vice President of Business and Relationship Management, Network Systems
Internet2
Title: Leveraging Regional And National Resources To Spark Innovation
Abstract: The Internet2 Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) Program is a full set of activities to review and update the services, value and supporting technology of the Internet2 infrastructure portfolio.  NGI, which will be implemented in conjunction with our regional partners like AREON, delivers the following:
  • New services and service models through which the community adopts Internet2 infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure upgrade projects
  • New features, primarily driven by software, automation and systems virtualization to allow the infrastructure to be more readily integrated into the broader campus, regional and cloud environment around us.
This presentation will provide an overview of the capabilities the Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) program will deliver.  We will then explore ways that AREON members can utilize new services to spark innovation to access cloud service providers, to obtain private peering connections, to leverage trust and identity solutions, and even engage in a national arena for esports. 

 


Speaker: Brian McDow
Principal Consultant, Student
Collaborative Solutions
Title: Enhancing Student Success through Modern Technology
Abstract: Find out how unifying Admissions, Student Records and Financial Aid in one mobile and modern system can enhance student success and engagement.  Workday allows administrators, advisors and students to complete transactions, leverage analytics and access relevant information in one system, built to solve the unique challenges of today’s institutions.  Please join Workday and Collaborative Solutions to hear how Colleges and Universities are leveraging modern technology. 

 


Panel/Moderator: Robert Nordmark
Executive Director
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Title: Panel Discussion: University IT Response to a COVID-19 Outbreak
Abstract: This will be a panel discussion about the things that an institution of higher education should consider when planning for IT operations in the event of an institution shutdown or impact to IT staffing from a COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak or similar health scare.  In this scenario IT operations may be physically unaffected as might be the case in a tornado or fire, but can IT operations continue when critical staff are unavailable or are required to work offsite?  How do education, research, and other important missions of the campus continue if students, faculty, and administrators cannot meet for a period of time?  Come share your thoughts with those of the panelists on this timely topic.

 


Speaker: Grant Olsen
Operational Informatics and Analytics Director
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Title: Transitioning from Ad-Hoc Requests to a Self-Service Reporting Solution
Abstract: With a new institutional focus on expansion and improvement, the UAMS Business Intelligence team was tasked by our CIO with coming up with a solution to meet the needs of a statewide health system – UAMS Health.  With the current resources at hand, the team was not equipped to adequately handle current or future workload.  We will discuss the evaluation, migration, and process improvement that went into our move from an ad hoc local reporting system to a cloud-based, fully self-service reporting solution using Microsoft’s Power BI and their Power Platform environment.  In this transition, we have replaced outdated systems, improved customer experience, and significantly reduced expenses.

 


Speaker: Scott Ramoly
Chief Technology Officer
Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network
Title: AREON Engineering Update & Roundtable
Abstract: AREON will present a technical update on the AREON network and provide information on some of the current network engineering projects underway that may impact AREON members.  We will discuss the ongoing efforts to comply with Google’s new/upcoming requirements involving Internet Routing Registries (IRRs).  In addition, an open roundtable discussion will permit attendees an opportunity to share about new activities, problems, opportunities, or ideas with the AREON staff and attendees and ask questions of the AREON staff.

 


Speaker: Jeff Rapp
Account Executive
Workday
Title: Enhancing Student Success through Modern Technology
Abstract: Find out how unifying Admissions, Student Records and Financial Aid in one mobile and modern system can enhance student success and engagement.  Workday allows administrators, advisors and students to complete transactions, leverage analytics and access relevant information in one system, built to solve the unique challenges of today’s institutions.  Please join Workday and Collaborative Solutions to hear how Colleges and Universities are leveraging modern technology. 

 


Speaker: Rajiv Shenoy
Chief Technology Officer
Apogee
Title: Dual Transformation in Higher Education
Abstract: Higher education in the United States has entered a new era shaped by profound social and economic challenges and historically unique technological acceleration. To conquer these challenges, tradition, replication, and standardization are no longer enough. A new era calls for new ways of thinking that offer a pathway to the future while sustaining a healthy institution throughout the process.

A “Dual Transformation” strategy can be effective in addressing both current and future higher ed environments. This approach, based on the book of the same name, strengthens and repositions an institution’s core offerings while identifying opportunities to drive long-term growth. Borrowing a private sector analogy, Blockbuster was reactionary and did not address future markets; Netflix was revolutionary.

The discussion will also address how your campus can adopt this approach to stay relevant for future generations. It will address questions surrounding evolving customer needs, future environments and best ways to prepare as leaders in the provision of education via the following institutional pillars:

  • Strategic Plan: How do we achieve dual transformation and make it a continuous process via strategic planning?
  • Culture: How do we create a culture that fosters transformation?What are the incentives?
  • Team: How do we focus our teams on core and strategic technologies to drive outcomes. How do we best work with partners?
  • Finance: How do we make this approach financially viable for our institutions?
  • Technology: What technologies will we need to help drive dual transformation?

 


Speaker: Todd Thelen
Systems Engineer
Pure Storage
Title: Mitigating Against a Ransomware Attack
Abstract" Ransomware has rapidly emerged as the most visible cybersecurity risk playing out across our nation’s networks, locking up private sector organizations and government agencies alike. And that’s only what we’re seeing – many more infections are going unreported, ransoms are being paid, and the vicious ransomware cycle continue on. We strongly urge you to consider ransomware infections as destructive attacks, not an event where you can simply pay off the bad guys and regain control of your network. In this session we will share ways of mitigating the risk of a ransomware attack.

 


Panelist: Henry Torres
Chief Information Officer
Arkansas State University - Jonesboro
Title: Panel Discussion: University IT Response to a COVID-19 Outbreak
Abstract: This will be a panel discussion about the things that an institution of higher education should consider when planning for IT operations in the event of an institution shutdown or impact to IT staffing from a COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak or similar health scare.  In this scenario IT operations may be physically unaffected as might be the case in a tornado or fire, but can IT operations continue when critical staff are unavailable or are required to work offsite?  How do education, research, and other important missions of the campus continue if students, faculty, and administrators cannot meet for a period of time?  Come share your thoughts with those of the panelists on this timely topic.

 


Speaker: Randy Watkins
Chief Technology Officer
CRITICALSTART
Title: SOAR vs MDR- How to Determine Best Fit for Your Organization
Abstract: While differences in delivery and capability exist between SOAR and MDR, the value proposition between the two is similar: increase the efficiency of alert analytics and response. Selecting the proper solution requires understanding the difference in their provided value and the requirements of the business.

 


Panelist: Ken Wester
Director of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer
Arkansas Tech University
Title: Panel Discussion: University IT Response to a COVID-19 Outbreak
Abstract: This will be a panel discussion about the things that an institution of higher education should consider when planning for IT operations in the event of an institution shutdown or impact to IT staffing from a COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak or similar health scare.  In this scenario IT operations may be physically unaffected as might be the case in a tornado or fire, but can IT operations continue when critical staff are unavailable or are required to work offsite?  How do education, research, and other important missions of the campus continue if students, faculty, and administrators cannot meet for a period of time?  Come share your thoughts with those of the panelists on this timely topic.

 


Speaker: Ari Winkleman
Founder and CEO
Involvio, a Cisco Investments Portfolio Company, focused exclusively on higher ed
Title: Digital/Virtual Student Involvement: the Cornerstone of Student Retention
Abstract: When it comes to higher education, student expectations have never been higher. New ways to unlock rich real-time data and apply robust intervention through AI are providing new opportunities for colleges and universities to engage and retain their students. Learn how campuses around the world are leveraging Involvio’s student experience layer on top of Cisco collaboration and wireless infrastructure to deliver, measure, and optimize highly personalized student journeys.
Speaker Bio: Ari Winkleman is the Founder & CEO of Involvio, the world’s most advanced mobile student experience platform. Ari founded Involvio to bring the same level of interaction to higher education and has worked with hundreds of institutions to leverage mobile to serve their students, increase engagement, and improve outcomes. He is passionate about the role student development plays in the lives of young adults and the ways technology and education can together enable personal transformation.

Ari is a graduate of Drexel University where he served as an adjunct faculty members as well as on the board of Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship. Immediately prior to founding Involvio, Ari was the Director for Digital Strategy and Engagement at Mirrorball where he helped some of the biggest brands brands in the world including Hyundai, Pepsi, Harley Davidson, Perrier engage with consumers by marrying real world and digital engagement by connecting events with social media.