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About the Forum

Attendees across the region have come to expect a dynamic agenda with relevant, up-to-the-minute topics and exciting speakers who will share their wealth of knowledge and experience, helping you gain practical insights into your business challenges. The Premier CIO Forum includes powerful keynotes, informative breakouts, discussions with subject-matter experts, and cutting-edge solution providers.

41 Advisors

Our advisory council members offer valuable feedback to improve our event each year.

20 Sponsors

Premier would like to extend a special thank you to the 2018 sponsors of this event.

138 Organizations

These organizations have appointed one or more senior level executives to attend Pittsburgh CIO Forum.


Speakers are hand-selected by our Advisory Council for their expertise and ability to translate big ideas into stunning presentations.

  •  Mary Ann Blair

    Mary Ann Blair

    Carnegie Mellon University


  •  Steven Carter

    Steven Carter

    CNX Resources

    VP IS&T & CIO

  •  Tom Crea

    Tom Crea

    Blackhawk Leadership Development

    Author, Leadership Development Speaker & Coach

  •  Tom Dugas

    Tom Dugas

    Duquesne University

    AVP & CISO

  •  Joey Fernandes

    Joey Fernandes

    Wind River Environmental

    Director of IT

  •  Dena Ghilani

    Dena Ghilani

    Mylan Pharmaceuticals

    Head of Provider IT - North America & Brazil

  •  Scott Gutowski

    Scott Gutowski

    Pittsburgh Public Schools

    Chief of Information & Technology

  • Dr. Chris Howard

    Dr. Chris Howard

    Robert Morris University


  •  Traci Hudson

    Traci Hudson

    The Steve Trautman Co.

    Consultant & Former IT Executive

  •  Michael Kubit

    Michael Kubit

    Penn State University

    CIO & VP IT

  •  Steve LeClair

    Steve LeClair


    Business Development Manager– Strategic Cloud Service Providers

  •  Steve Mancini

    Steve Mancini

    US Department of Homeland Security

    IT Specialist

  •  Christine Miles

    Christine Miles

    EQuipt, LLC

    Founder & CEO

  •  Adam Mommersteeg

    Adam Mommersteeg


    Director of Solution Architecture

  •  Kathryn Moore

    Kathryn Moore


    Account Executive

  • Dr. Shawn P. Murray CISSP

    Dr. Shawn P. Murray CISSP

    Murray Security Services & Consulting


  •  Ben Newton

    Ben Newton

    Sumo Logic

    Director, Product Marketing and Evangelism

  •  Neal Petersen

    Neal Petersen

    No Barriers International

    Motivational Speaker

  •  Julia Poepping

    Julia Poepping

    Copasec LLC

    Founder & Principal Consultant

  •  Joseph Pucciarelli

    Joseph Pucciarelli


    Group VP & IT Executive Advisor

  •  James Ringold

    James Ringold

    Westinghouse Electric Company


  •  Dan Roberts

    Dan Roberts

    Ouellette & Associates


  •  Skip Shelly

    Skip Shelly

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Associate Teaching Professor & MHCI Faculty Director

  •  Steve Smith

    Steve Smith

    Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group

    Managing Partner

  •  Steve Trautman

    Steve Trautman

    The Steve Trautman Co.

    Principal & Founder

  •  Jeff VanDerveer

    Jeff VanDerveer

    Cylance Inc.

    Solutions Engineer

Introduction from Neal Petersen

In sharing his captivating, uniquely delivered and extraordinary life-story, Neal delivers a powerful message that "There Are No Barriers – Only Solutions!"

"Neal is one of the most inspiring, dynamic and thought provoking speakers you will ever witness, he is mesmerizing"


September 19-20, 2018

We have worked diligently to put together a stimulating and focused agenda, bringing together experts, visionaries and professionals from the IT industry. We look forward to sharing this exciting conference with you.

Marc Di Francisco, Founder, Premier Connects, Inc.

Program Intro
Steve Smith, Managing Partner, Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group

Great Room

Dan Roberts, CEO, Ouellette & Associates

Steven Carter, VP IS&T & CIO, CNX Resources

Dena Ghilani, Head of Provider IT - North America & Brazil, Mylan Pharmaceuticals

Michael Kubit, CIO & VP IT, Penn State University

The IT agenda for 2018 is bigger and bolder than ever. Modernization. Automation. Transformation. Digitization. Acceleration. Innovation. The demands placed upon today's CIO and IT overall have never been greater. MIT’s George Westerman confirmed this when he said, "There has never been a better time to be a great CIO or a worse time to be an average one." Join our panel of experts and hear how they are addressing these realities, moving IT higher up the business value curve as "Innovative Anticipators ™" and positioning their companies as industry disruptors."

MSA Auditorium

Jeff VanDerveer, Solutions Engineer, Cylance Inc.

Great Room

Ben Newton, Director, Product Marketing and Evangelism, Sumo Logic

There is a tectonic, revolutionary change going on today with customer expectations. Customers are no longer satisfied with the typical web application - they want unique, personalized experiences, and they want them everywhere, all the time. Sumo Logic’s new research paper in partnership with 451 Research - “Using Machine Data Analytics to Gain Advantage in the Analytics Economy” - sheds light on how companies across the spectrum are tackling these challenges.   In this session, we will cover:
  • How Customer Experience is the top driver of software investment
  • How the overwhelming majority of enterprises consider machine data analytics essential to driven differentiate customer experiences
  • How the most innovative enterprises are using machine data to drive business insights and are extending machine data analytics to teams outside of the traditional centers of Operations and Security
  • Learn about the top roadblocks to adopting machine data analytics more broadly

Great Room

Steve LeClair, Business Development Manager– Strategic Cloud Service Providers, VMware

Scott Gutowski, Chief of Information & Technology, Pittsburgh Public Schools

Adam Mommersteeg, Director of Solution Architecture, Secure-24

The shift to the cloud has left many CIOs overwhelmed for a number of reasons: ecosystems are becoming more complex, and the decision of where to place your workloads –  whether it’s a public, private, or hybrid environment – contributes to the challenge. Beyond that, CIOs have to think about performance, scalability, security, compliance, licensing requirements, disaster recovery… All while remaining within a strict budget. Join Secure-24 and VMware for a panel discussion showcasing the benefits of a Multi-Cloud approach, and several best practices for ensuring your organization is running on the most ideal platform.

Great Room

Dr. Shawn P. Murray CISSP, CISO, Murray Security Services & Consulting

In May this year, the European Union (EU) implemented the most significant piece of legislation related to protecting EU citizen privacy data ever. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies to implement and manage an internal compliance program which identifies and aligns business processes to sensitive data and information. It also requires organizations to implement minimum protection strategies. What makes GDPR so significant are the mandates that companies either comply or face heavy fines for the business (up to 4% of gross revenue) and/or criminal penalties for the organization’s executives. These requirements have the necessary attention of the Board and many are struggling to understand what needs to be accomplished and implemented first. The presenter will introduce a strategy for CISOs, CIOs and other executives to consider as they move forward towards GDPR compliance. Roles, responsibilities will be discussed as well as the responsibilities of the Data Control Officer (DCO) and requirements for Data Processors.  The presenter will answer questions after session.

Great Room

Dr. Chris Howard, President, Robert Morris University

Colleges and universities are struggling to keep up enrollments in face of demographic decline, particularly in western Pennsylvania, which has a shrinking number of recent high school graduates. Like any other business, institutions of higher learning must diversity their revenue streams and tap new markets in order to survive and thrive. Robert Morris University President Chris Howard will share how RMU is bucking the trend as it enters its second century.

Networking Pavilion

Great Room

Joseph Pucciarelli, Group VP & IT Executive Advisor, IDC

Newly published IDC global research about organizations undergoing digital transformation finds that 59% remain stuck in the early stages of their transformation journey. While some digital projects have been implemented and are progressing, most companies report they are still struggling to digitally transform their broader organization.

Challenges with legacy culture, process, and financial incentives are widely identified digital transformation impediments. However, IDC research shows that many organizations confront more specific operational challenges: 1) outdated KPIs, 2) siloed organizational structures, 3) tactical planning, 4) limited expertise; and 5) siloed innovation.  Though business and technical leaders can point to successful tactical projects, they often express frustration about their ability to achieve true systemic progress and competitive advantage.

In today's session, IDC provides unique insights and actionable recommendations to overcome these hurdles including recommended approaches for:
  • Creating new digital KPIs
  • Establishing an end state digital organizational structure
  • Constructing a long-term digital roadmap
  • Identifying and developing essential digital capabilities
  • Building a digital platform

MSA Auditorium

Kathryn Moore, Account Executive, Darktrace

From insiders to sophisticated external attackers, the reality of cyber security today is that the threat is already inside. Legacy approaches to cyber security, which rely on knowledge of past attacks, are simply not sufficient to combat new, evolving attacks, and no human cyber analyst can watch so much or react quickly enough. A fundamentally new approach to cyber defense is needed to detect and respond to these threats that are already inside the network – before they turn into a full-blown crisis.  Self-learning systems represent a fundamental step-change in automated cyber defense, are relied upon by organizations around the world, and can cover up to millions of devices. Based on machine learning and probabilistic mathematics, these new approaches to security can establish a highly accurate understanding of normal behavior by learning an organization’s ‘pattern of life,’. They can therefore spot abnormal activity as it emerges and even take precise, measured actions to automatically curb the threat. 

Discover why autonomous response and machine learning is the future of defense and how the ‘immune system’ approach to cyber security provides complete network visibility and the ability to prioritize threats in order to better allocate time and resources.  In this session, learn: 
  • How new machine learning and mathematics are automating advanced cyber defense 
  • Why full network visibility allows you to detect and autonomously respond to threats 
  • How smart prioritization and visualization of threats allows for better resource allocation and lower risk 
  • Real-world examples of unknown threats detected by ‘immune system’ technology

Great Room

Joey Fernandes, Director of IT, Wind River Environmental

In a world that is extremely agile, more collaborative and more dynamic than ever, many companies and organizations are faced with questions on what to do, how to do it, and how much it will cost. What is the direct or indirect return on this investment? Why would we need a specific technology or professional? All these questions are valid, and we always try to answer them with consistency. More often as leaders in today's world, we need to analyze the real cost of doing nothing. How much do stagnation and lack of planning and execution in digital transformation cost a company, especially in companies with ambitions for rapid and consistent growth? 

Great Room

Tom Crea, Author, Leadership Development Speaker & Coach, Blackhawk Leadership Development

Do you struggle with meeting anything but routine goals? Is employee turnover is holding you back?

“85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.” — Gallup, State of the Global Workplace report, Dec 20, 2017

If your team appears to lack pride in their work or you struggle with meeting anything but routine goals, maybe there are things you could improve upon. More often than not, people quit their bosses, not their jobs.

Why should employees remain dedicated to your team’s goals?

Instill & Fulfill:

  • We join teams or organizations for a reason.  We decide to play by the rules and work together because we believe that we found a place where we can be a part of something greater. Yet, something is missing. Values are like magnets,
  • They are what a company markets to attract like-minded people… recruiting. When you live your values,
  • You create a unique culture, and retain your best people… retention. This session moves beyond leadership fundamentals to understanding and applying effective communication skills, the heart of build relationship and creating winning teams:
  • Everyone wants his or her contributions to matter, and
  • We want to be a part of something greater, a winning team

    In this session, leaders will discover why:

  • Realize the importance of building relationships (Leadership)
  • Recognize perceptions because we all have different vantage points (Communication)
  • Discover why developing others inspires them to do more than you imagined (Teamwork)
Welcome to the Pittsburgh CIO Forum exclusive networking reception. We welcome you to enjoy complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres in a relaxed setting. This is the perfect opportunity to network with your peers and some of the prominent speakers from the day’s agenda. Stay, chat, and enjoy yourself!

Admittance by Conference Badge Only.

Christine Miles, Founder & CEO, EQuipt, LLC

ELR Host, Christine Miles, M.S. Ed will interview and gather stories from a select group of CIOs, helping them tap into their potential, reveal what makes them “tick” and story of their childhood that informs how they lead others successfully today.

MSA Auditorium

Invitation Only Meeting!

Marc Di Francisco, Founder, Premier Connects, Inc.

Program Intro
Steve Smith, Managing Partner, Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group

Great Room

Neal Petersen, Motivational Speaker, No Barriers International

Introduction from Neal:

South African-born, Neal Petersen is a history-making extreme adventurer, global investor, and award-winning author. Neal has faced many challenges in life – a childhood physical disability, economic hardship, prejudice during the harsh Apartheid era, and other insurmountable barriers and he always turned them into opportunities. In these challenging times of uncertainty, fear and insecurity rise, many CIOs feel like solo sailors, adrift, grasping for survival. Neal lays out the importance of a clearly communicated vision, followed by detailed planning, on how better to navigate the uncharted waters ahead using his remarkable personal story.

Neal completed the "Around Alone", a 27,000 mile yacht race, 9 months at sea, around Cape Horn and its notorious storms – solo, and in the smallest boat he designed and built himself.

In sharing his captivating, uniquely delivered and extraordinary life-story, Neal delivers a powerful message that "There Are No Barriers – Only Solutions!"

"Neal is one of the most inspiring, dynamic and thought provoking speakers you will ever witness, he is mesmerizing"

Great Room

Traci Hudson, Consultant & Former IT Executive, The Steve Trautman Co.

Steve Trautman, Principal & Founder, The Steve Trautman Co.

The pressure to innovate is relentless. Emergent tech like AI, machine learning and blockchain are the current pressure points for CIOs. Whatever the rising technology trend, without a workforce that can deliver on your innovation strategy you’ll be stuck in the status quo. Join talent risk management expert, Steve Trautman, and Traci Hudson, formerly of US Steel Corporation, for an intimate conversation about what CIOs need to know about their technical experts to unlock a culture of innovation inside their organizations.

Great Room

Skip Shelly, Associate Teaching Professor & MHCI Faculty Director, Carnegie Mellon University

The evidence is overwhelming. Design is becoming increasingly important to companies. From the boardroom to the mailroom, opportunities are abundant for anybody who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.* Whether improving existing digital services, innovating business models or discovering for customers, design is being executed by people without formal design training. In this talk we will explore the forces that are driving the increased strategic significance of design and demonstrate design methods CIOs, product managers and others can use to generate new value.  

* Excerpted from The Sciences of the Artificial by Herb Simon.

Great Room

Great Room

Tom Dugas, AVP & CISO, Duquesne University

Mary Ann Blair, CISO, Carnegie Mellon University

Steve Mancini, IT Specialist, US Department of Homeland Security

Julia Poepping, Founder & Principal Consultant, Copasec LLC

James Ringold, CISO, Westinghouse Electric Company

In today’s technology rich climate, hopefully by now every executive including CIO’s already know a great deal about information security. But everyday there is news about new breaches and data leaks and information security has become a dangerous risk to every institution. There doesn’t appear to be any reprieve coming soon.

Executive’s including the CIO can’t know everything there is to know about information security so what would a CISO really wish executives knew about information security but don’t? Or conversely, what do executives and CIO’s know that we are really glad that they do about information security? This panel of leading information security executives will be discussing and debating what every executive should know about information security.
Schedule of Events:
  • 2:30 pm - Load Shuttle 
  • 3:00 pm - Departure
  • 3:45 pm - Arrival/Security Check (Two forms of Identification required, one must be government issued)
  • 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Tour
  • 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm - Appetizers 
  • 6:00 pm - Departure 
  • 6:45 pm - Return to Venue

Featured Download:
Get our 2017 Event Guide

Download a digital copy of our event guide, which showcases the current program, advisory council, sponsors, and much more!

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Advisory Council

  •  George Appley

    George Appley

    Concurrent Technologies Corporation

    SVP Technology Group

  •  Eric Aulbach

    Eric Aulbach

    Armstrong Group of Companies

    VP & CIO

  •  Charles Bartel

    Charles Bartel

    Duquesne University

    VP IT & CIO

  •  Ronald Beckman

    Ronald Beckman

    Black Box Network Services

    SVP & CIO

  •  Cheryl Begandy

    Cheryl Begandy

    Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

    Director Education, Outreach & Training

  •  Sandra Brandon

    Sandra Brandon

    University of Pittsburgh

    Director Infrastructure

  •  Steven Bugajski

    Steven Bugajski

    United States Steel


  •  Kevin Ceraso

    Kevin Ceraso

    Allegheny Technologies

    VP IT

  •  John Conte

    John Conte

    WESCO Distribution, Inc.

    VP Information Systems

  •  Winford Craig

    Winford Craig

    Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

    Director IT

  •  Vince DiStasi

    Vince DiStasi

    Grove City College

    VP & CIO

  •  Tom Dugas

    Tom Dugas

    Duquesne University

    AVP & CISO

  •  George Guentner

    George Guentner

    Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

    AVP IT

  •  Traci Hudson

    Traci Hudson

    The Steve Trautman Co.

    Consultant & Former IT Executive

  •  Vince Humes

    Vince Humes

    Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit

    Director Innovative Technology Solutions

  •  Mark Husnick

    Mark Husnick


    Former CIO

  •  Paul Kaminski

    Paul Kaminski

    Carrnegie Mellon University

    Former Manager of IT & Telecommunications

  •  Michael Kronenwetter

    Michael Kronenwetter

    PNC Bank

    SVP, Bank Operations Technology

  •  Tony Lalli

    Tony Lalli

    BNY Mellon

    Solutions Architect

  •  Steve Mancini

    Steve Mancini

    US Department of Homeland Security

    IT Specialist

  •  Michael Martino

    Michael Martino

    Mylan Pharmaceuticals

    Former Head of IT Operations

  •  Bruno Mastroianni

    Bruno Mastroianni

    Center for Organ Recovery & Education


  •  Jim McEvoy

    Jim McEvoy

    II-VI Incorporated

    VP IT

  •  Mark Miko

    Mark Miko

    Duquesne Light Company


  •  John Miller

    John Miller


    Founder & CIO

  •  Steve Morrison

    Steve Morrison

    Pittsburgh Sports & Exhibition Center


  •  Mark Ohlund

    Mark Ohlund

    Armada Group

    CIO & SVP IT

  •  Ron Reyer Jr.

    Ron Reyer Jr.

    Bethel Park School District

    Director IT Services

  •  David Ridilla

    David Ridilla

    Westmoreland County

    Former CIO

  •  George Rosato

    George Rosato

    CONSOL Energy, Inc.

    Director IT

  •  Robert Sheesley

    Robert Sheesley

    The Wrench Group


  •  Steve Smith

    Steve Smith

    Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group

    Managing Partner

  •  Jack Smith

    Jack Smith

    Federated Investors


  •  Ken Sochats

    Ken Sochats


    President & CEO

  •  Ken Spangler

    Ken Spangler

    FedEx Ground


  •  Jay Srini

    Jay Srini

    SCS Ventures

    Chief Strategist

  •  Dennis Strom

    Dennis Strom

    Siemens Healthineers

    Sr. Director IT

  •  Scott Sullivan

    Scott Sullivan


    CIO & CFO

  •  Corky Tate

    Corky Tate

    J2 Interactive


  •  Markus Weber

    Markus Weber

    MSA - The Safety Company

    VP & CIO

  •  Patrick Worms

    Patrick Worms


    Former Group CIO


Join us this year in Pittsburgh, PA as we discuss cutting-edge technologies with influential thought-leaders.


Premier would like to extend a special thank you to the 2018 sponsors of this event.


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