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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 Portland CIO Forum includes powerful keynotes, informative breakouts, discussions with subject-matter experts, and cutting-edge solution providers.

24 Advisors

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

6 Sponsors

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

105 Organizations

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


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

  •  Richard Appleyard Ph.D.

    Richard Appleyard Ph.D.

    Oregon Secretary of State

    Deputy CIO

  •  Ben Berry

    Ben Berry

    Bonneville Power Administration

    EVP & CIO

  •  Jim Downing

    Jim Downing

    NW Natural

    VP & CIO

  •  Tim Goodwin

    Tim Goodwin



  •  Charlie Kawasaki

    Charlie Kawasaki

    Pacific Star Communications


  •  Bob Leek

    Bob Leek

    Multnomah County

    Deputy CIO

  •  Wesley McPherson

    Wesley McPherson

    Info-Tech Research Group

    Research Director

  •  Jesse Milne

    Jesse Milne


    Regional Manager

  •  Sierra Modro

    Sierra Modro

    LEAP to Greatness, LLC

    Technology Futurist and Keynote Speaker

  •  Joel Mulkey

    Joel Mulkey

    Bigleaf Networks

    Founder & CEO

  •  Jason Parham

    Jason Parham

    Computer Vision Research

    Senior Engineer

  •  Neal Petersen

    Neal Petersen

    No Barriers International

    Motivational Speaker

  •  Joseph Pucciarelli

    Joseph Pucciarelli


    Group VP & IT Executive Advisor

  •  Elisabeth Richard

    Elisabeth Richard

    The Greenbrier Companies

    VP & CIO

  •  Martin Ringle

    Martin Ringle

    Reed College


  •  Michael Smith

    Michael Smith

    The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.


  •  J. Vander Stoep

    J. Vander Stoep

    Sound Counsel Crisis Communications LLC


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"


October 3-4, 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.

Belmont Foyer

Welcome to the Portland CIO Forum exclusive networking reception. We welcome you to enjoy complimentary beverages in a relaxed setting. This is the perfect opportunity to network with your peers. Stay, chat, and enjoy yourself!

Admittance by Conference Badge Only.

Belmont AB

Belmont AB

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"

Belmont Foyer

Belmont Foyer

Belmont AB

Marc Di Francisco, Founder, Premier Connects, Inc.

Program Intro
Richard Appleyard Ph.D., Deputy CIO, Oregon Secretary of State

Belmont AB

Michael Smith, CIO, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Nothing will propel an organization further than a culture of innovation. Establishing a strong and unified culture inspires employees to align around a strategic vision, and be able to pivot and evolve when needed. An organization with a strong culture of innovation not only survives industry change but leads the change. In this keynote, Michael Smith, Chief Information Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies, examines the approaches he's taken in his career to develop a strong culture to bring out the best in his teams and organizations, as well as to inspire breakthrough innovation and drive growth.

Belmont Foyer

Belmont AB

Tim Goodwin, CTO, Vacasa

Come learn how Vacasa is disrupting the rental market as this industry is massively fragmented and there is a huge opportunity to scale through the correct application of tech and automation. Scale is a huge theme in this session. We're the #1 company in the US and only have about 2% of the market. Join me to learn how and why we are accomplishing this progress.

Belmont A

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

Belmont C

Wesley McPherson, Research Director, Info-Tech Research Group

IT can often feel like an unwinnable game, with limited resources, changing priorities, multiple stakeholders and increased demands. Too often, IT leaders must make decisions with insufficient information and without knowing the true effect on the business. Info-Tech’s framework removes the guesswork from what makes the business happy and predicts the impact of key decisions before they happen. Info-Tech will walk you through the three real drivers of business satisfaction, and help IT leaders navigate a world in which:
  • Only 29% of Business Leaders are satisfied with the performance of IT
  • 64% of CIOs are not aligned with executives on the role of IT
  • IT satisfaction has stayed flat, while dependency on IT has increased
  • Organizations that focus on Business Satisfaction dramatically outperform their peers

Belmont AB

Jason Parham, Senior Engineer, Computer Vision Research

With a sixth mass extinction underway, the field of wildlife conservation needs new solutions and deeper insights to combat extinction before many of our iconic and sustaining species are lost. However, conservation efforts are often underfunded, small in scale, and lacking many of the technologies the modern corporate world takes for granted. More than just new tools, an entire "digital transformation" is needed to accelerate efforts to understand and protect wildlife. In the Wildbook project (, we're building research and conservation communities that are locally, regionally, and globally collaborating in the Cloud. Integrating the cameras of tourists and citizen scientists, Wildbook pours the potential of “Big Data” into local conservation efforts. Wildbook arms researchers with the computer vision and artificial intelligence tools to manage the volume of data and more rapidly design and evaluate conservation strategies. Our job is to put wildlife researchers at the beating heart of a collaborative network fed by a 21st century flood of data and continuously analyzed by intelligent agents. Wildbook blends experienced biology and computer science teams from four institutions to apply cutting edge research in A.I., computer vision, and data science to get more data, analyze it faster, and engage the public in successful research and conservation efforts to combat extinction.

Jason Parham, Senior Computer Vision Research Engineer at Wild Me, will present how dedicated software developers and machine learning staff are creating a "digital transformation" for wildlife research. The presentation will detail 1) an "Intelligent Agent" that reads social media, translates language, views videos, predicts value, and interacts with the public and 2) the machine learning core at the center of Wildbook that find animals in pictures, classify them, and matches animals over time based on their appearance. The talk will also cover how our use of machine learning has altered how we interact with the public, how we enable our users, how we value our data, and how the skills of software professionals are a critical component to scaling research and combating extinction across the globe.

Belmont AB

Belmont AB

Sierra Modro, Technology Futurist and Keynote Speaker, LEAP to Greatness, LLC

  • Discover the specific technology trends that will affect your industry
  • Capitalize on those trends for long term growth
  • Define the technology strategy that will drive your organization to excellence
Is your business trapped in yesterday’s world? Rapid technology changes have disrupted multiple industries, forever changing the rules for success. However, these same technology trends also represent an opportunity to win – before your competition even knows the game has changed.

It takes an ongoing effort to identify and monitor technology trends. Sierra Modro has studied emerging technology trends for over 20 years as a technology evangelist for Intel and Wacom. In addition to engineering much of the technology you use today, Sierra has working with large organizations from the inside to establish effective trend strategies.

In this provocative presentation, tech futurist Sierra Modro identifies trends affecting your industry and provides concrete steps to profit from those trends today. She shows how trends like mobile computing, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, data security, data mining, and more could give you the opportunity to leap past your competition, driving innovation and productivity.

Belmont Foyer

Belmont A

Joel Mulkey, Founder & CEO, Bigleaf Networks

As companies move more of their technologies to over-the-top Cloud services, unstable network performance and sensitive applications have made it more difficult than ever to meet end-user expectations.  IT teams scramble to fix network issues with policy-driven solutions, but the frequency and variety of problems only continues to increase. The flexibility and responsiveness that makes Cloud so compelling to the business leaves network administrators playing a never-ending game of policy whack-a-mole. The control that policy-driven network technology provides is only an illusion in the face of the ever-shifting IT landscape created by the Cloud.

In this session, Bigleaf Networks CEO, Joel Mulkey, will share his experiences identifying and solving this problem, unlocking effective network control in the Cloud age. You'll hear real-world examples of the networking challenges companies face on their Cloud journey and how they succeed by trading policy-based networks for next-generation intelligent technology.

Belmont C

Jesse Milne, Regional Manager, Darktrace

The cyber-threat landscape is changing. In addition to high-speed attacks, today’s most sophisticated threat-actors are playing a longer game – one that is silent and stealthy. Their objective is to disrupt operations, undermine trust, or simply learn trade secrets by going undetected inside networks.

Digital environments are changing too. Increasing digitization, the surge of IoT devices, and the cloud mean that network boundaries are more porous than ever. Securing the perimeter simply isn’t possible.

To defend against threats that are continually evolving, tomorrow’s cyber security must go beyond looking for yesterday’s attacker – it must find what it doesn’t know to look for. AI technologies have led to the emergence of self-learning, self-defending networks that achieve this – detecting and autonomously responding to in-progress attacks in real time. These cyber immune systems enable the security team to focus on high-value tasks, can counter even machine-speed threats, and work in all environments, including the cloud.

In this session, learn about:
  • Navigating new types of cyber-threats, including weaponized AI
  • Overcoming the limitations of the legacy approaches to information security
  • Adopting an ‘immune system’ model for cyber security, powered by machine learning
  • The power of AI to fight back autonomously against in-progress attacks
  • Real-world cyber-threats thwarted by machine learning, including IoT hacks and stealthy insider threats

Belmont Foyer

Belmont AB

J. Vander Stoep, Principal, Sound Counsel Crisis Communications LLC

Client Risks that can become public:
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Hacking
  • Misuse of Funds
  • Lavish spending
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Workplace violence
  • Embezzlement
  • Hacking of personal information
  • Labor strike
  • Executive/Board DUI accident
  • Repeated employee injuries
  • Executive giving money to controversial organization
  • Management deceiving consumers
  • Technological breakdown
  • Business discontinuity
  • Race discrimination lawsuit
  • Workplace violence
  • Cost overruns
  • Misuse of social media
  • Defective products sold to consumer
Crisis Communication Best Practices
  • Speed
  • Maintain Credibility
  • Be Prepared to Own the Problem
The response is often more important than the original problem

Belmont AB

Charlie Kawasaki, CTO, Pacific Star Communications

In this presentation, cybersecurity expert and high-tech industry veteran Charlie Kawasaki will give an informative and engaging overview of the state of cybersecurity in Oregon. As Vice Chair of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council (OCAC), Charlie has his finger on the pulse of the most important cybersecurity activities going on throughout the state. The Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council was established under Senate Bill 90, signed by Governor Kate Brown on September 19, 2017, to develop a shared vision for the establishment of a cross-sector Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, in collaboration with Oregon’s cyber-related industries, private sector security practitioners, educational institutions, law enforcement and local governments.

During his presentation, Charlie will discuss important cybersecurity trends as they pertain to the state of Oregon and the pressing need for a larger workforce of trained cybersecurity professionals. In addition, he will give an update on the OCAC’s activities to help the State of Oregon plan for a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. Charlie will also discuss OCAC’s focus on the development of the State’s cybersecurity workforce through programs designed to build workforce skills, disseminating best practices, facilitating cybersecurity research and encouraging industry investment and partnership with post-secondary institutions of education and other career readiness programs

Belmont AB

Martin Ringle, CIO, Reed College

Ben Berry, EVP & CIO, Bonneville Power Administration

Jim Downing, VP & CIO, NW Natural

Bob Leek, Deputy CIO, Multnomah County

Elisabeth Richard, VP & CIO, The Greenbrier Companies

The 2018 Portland CIO Forum Agenda is bolder than ever. Join our panel of experts to hear how they are addressing their most pressing issues as a CIO. In this discussion, the two major topics they will address: 
  • How are your teams managing their current transformative initiatives: Cloud, Data Center Modernization, Key Applications, Etc.
  • What are the disruptive technologies you see coming that will impact you and your business in the next few years.

Belmont Foyer

Welcome to the Portland 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.

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!


Crowne Plaza Portland - Convention Center


1441 NE 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97232
(503) 233-2401

more information

Advisory Council

  •  Grisha Alpernas

    Grisha Alpernas


    IS Operations & Productions Mgr.

  •  Richard Appleyard Ph.D.

    Richard Appleyard Ph.D.

    Oregon Secretary of State

    Deputy CIO

  •  John Boone

    John Boone


    President & Founder

  •  David Cummings

    David Cummings

    Clackamas County


  •  Mike Eom Ph.D.

    Mike Eom Ph.D.

    University of Portland

    Professor of IS & OTM

  •  Mark Farley

    Mark Farley

    Thermo Fisher Scientific

    VP Information Technology

  •  Brenda Gibson

    Brenda Gibson

    Multnomah University

    Director IT

  •  Andy Hedberg

    Andy Hedberg

    The Walsh Group

    Director IT & Risk Management

  •  Don Hornschuch

    Don Hornschuch

    Qorvo, Inc.

    Sr. IT Manager

  •  Theresa Jelderks

    Theresa Jelderks

    Technology Association of Oregon (TAO)

    VP, Program & Chief of Staff

  •  Pradeep Kumar

    Pradeep Kumar

    Kaiser Permanente

    Practice Leader, Infrastructure Mgmt. Group

  •  Bob Leek

    Bob Leek

    Multnomah County

    Deputy CIO

  •  Travis Luckey

    Travis Luckey

    Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)


  •  Jeff Maurer

    Jeff Maurer

    Planar Systems, Inc.


  •  Kara McFall

    Kara McFall

    University of Oregon

    Director, Applied Information Mgmt Program

  •  Nate Oliver

    Nate Oliver

    Experis IT

    Engagement Manager, Project Solutions

  •  Curt Pederson

    Curt Pederson

    University of Portland


  •  Elisabeth Richard

    Elisabeth Richard

    The Greenbrier Companies

    VP & CIO

  •  Josh Ricker

    Josh Ricker

    TEC Equipment


  •  Martin Ringle

    Martin Ringle

    Reed College


  •  Tyson O. Smith

    Tyson O. Smith

    Beneficial State Bank

    SVP & CTO

  •  Terri Thoresen

    Terri Thoresen


    VP of IT

  •  Scott White

    Scott White

    Bridgewell Resources

    Director IT

  •  Paul Wogan

    Paul Wogan

    Willamette Supply Chain Consultancy, Inc

    Virtual CIO


Join us this year in Portland, OR 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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