Director of Sales for Data and Software Solutions
Bill Borkowicz, Director of Sales for Data and Software Solutions at U.S. Cellular, leads a team of professionals that recommend, design and deploy IoT solutions to the company’s business and government clients. He has an undergraduate degree in information systems with an emphasis in database administration and earned his MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh in 2012.
Executive Vice President and Chief Digital & Customer Officer
Michael Ellis is executive vice president and chief customer & digital officer for Johnson Controls. In this role, Ellis will serve as an officer of the company and oversee Johnson Controls digital strategy, innovation and execution, working closely with customers to drive new growth and value opportunities across the globe.
Ellis previously served as global managing director of Accenture where he advised Fortune 1000 CEOs in developing digital strategy and innovation for new transformative revenue opportunities and industry leadership. Prior to joining Accenture as an executive in 2018, Ellis was president, chairman and CEO of ForgeRock, a global digital security software company. Earlier in his career, Ellis served in leadership roles at SAP, Oracle, i2 Technologies and Apple Inc.
Ellis received two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota and has participated in executive programs at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion
Asha George is Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Dell. In this role, she partners with leaders and team members across the organization to deepen and advance Dell’s culture of inclusion as a fundamental business imperative.
She is an experienced HR executive with over 20 years of experience ranging from acquiring and integrating new businesses to leading business transformations and shaping long-term relationships with top global clients. She accelerates business performance with leading edge strategy, innovation and signature practices across the talent and culture ecosystem.
Asha is a passionate advocate for women in technology and proponent of driving businesses to reach their full potential through diversity & inclusion as a business imperative. She enjoys providing mentorship to middle school girls, traveling and exploring new cultures.
Asha earned an MBA in human resources management from the University of Houston and a BA in biology from Baylor University. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Joseph, and her two children, Rebecca and Elijah.
Chief Financial Officer
Data Holdings and the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation
Paul Hoesly is the Chief Financial Officer of Data Holdings and the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation. Throughout his career, Hoesly has had numerous financial leadership positions with Public, Private and Private Equity Backed consumer products companies. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and earned his MBA from Marquette University.
Milwaukee Business Journal
Mark Kass is editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal, an award-winning business newspaper and website covering the southeastern Wisconsin business community. Kass has been editor for 17 years and also served as managing editor and a reporter for the newspaper. He previously worked at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Waukesha Freeman and Milwaukee Sentinel. Kass and his wife, Kaye, live in downtown Milwaukee and enjoy attending events to support community and nonprofit groups.
Chief Innovation Officer
Bryan Rasch is the Chief Innovation Officer forGMR Marketing in Milwaukee. A 24-year veteran in digital, social, and mobile marketing, Bryan has an extensive background building programs at the intersection of entertainment and digital for some of the world’s best brands. Bryan joined GMR in 2008, fueling a new culture of innovation that challenges employees to think strategically about incorporating technology into all client-marketing programs.
Bryan leads a team of more than 100 global experts who flawlessly execute complex technology infrastructure and applications, from mobile app development coupled with interactive content displays to innovative social media promotions. This team of strategists, designers and developers executes at some of the world’s largest events—and most challenging environments—including the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the World Cup, the NCCA Final Four and numerous music festivals.
He has helped build GMR's digital, social and mobile expertise, now making it the sole service or part of an integrated approach for some of our top clients including Microsoft, Comcast/Xfinity, Pepsi, Nissan and Best Buy.
Bryan has also been instrumental in the development of three proprietary technical platforms for GMR, used for engagement marketing across the world. These include a social media marketing platform developed to amplify a brand’s reach and impact, and a content capture and sharing platform that extends live experiences to social media in real time.
Manhattan Venture Partners
Rashaun Williams, an expert in the financial world looks to share his life story and passions for financial literacy and tech investing. From a youth on the south side of Chicago, to an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, learn how Rashaun Williams went started Queensbridge Venture Partners with hip-hop artist and investor, Nas, and working with other celebrities and athletes as tech investors.
For more background and information on Rashaun, please visit Rashaun's page
Associate Professor Computer Science
Michael Zimmer, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Marquette University, and is an Affiliated Faculty at the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute. He currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Data Science major, and Director of the Data Science Graduate Certificate. With Shion Guha, Zimmer co-directs the Social and Ethical Computing Lab at Marquette.
With a multidisciplinary background in communication & Internet studies, science & technology studies, and information policy & ethics, Zimmer studies the social and ethical dimensions of our contemporary digital ecosystem, with particular interest in digital privacy, data ethics, internet research ethics, and how users understand information flows within and across digital platforms. His research agenda has included investigations into web search engines, social media platforms, wearable fitness trackers, intelligent personal assistants, library technologies, autonomous vehicles, and other emerging technologies. Zimmer has engaged in research supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (See all disclosures here.)
BREAKOUT SESSION EXECUTIVES
Marcie Bomberg-Montoya brings over 25 years of experience in executive leadership roles in both financial institutions and private enterprise to her engagements. She has developed a high level of proficiency, leading a myriad of complex enterprise-wide endeavors such as mergers and acquisitions, strategic analysis and plan implementation, growth and transformation strategies, as well as innovative product and service development. Marcie is highly sought after for her wide range of experience with advising traditional regulated financial institutions, bank holding companies, community development organizations and financial technology (fintech) companies. She believes that client satisfaction is best achieved through a holistic approach to client needs, ensuring successful goal fulfillment now and throughout her clients’ future planning.
Connected Systems Institute At University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Ms. Bunzel is a market maker and thought leader in world of the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.
Ms. Bunzel joined UWM as CSI Executive Director, coming from Intel where she was General Manager for the Manufacturing Industry Solutions Group. In that role, she led teams in designing advanced technology-based solutions for Fortune 100 global manufacturers. Mary also has more than 30 years of experience in best practices for manufacturing industries, with a special focus on automotive, industrial products, food and pharma industries, including 10 years at IBM as Global Manufacturing Leader and Watson IoT Product Manager. She was a leader of the 170-member Global Manufacturing IoT Practitioner Council and was recognized as Industry Week’s 2018 Most Influential Woman in Manufacturing.
Vice President & Enterprise Chief Information Security Officer
American Family Insurance
Sheldon Cuffie Sheldon Cuffie joined American Family Insurance in December 2019 as the enterprise chief information security officer (CISO). He is responsible for securing and protecting data across the enterprise, and a partner in Enterprise One Platform (E1P), our digital transformation and helps shape how we use data internally to win on speed, innovation and talent.
Sheldon was previously global CISO with Dell Technologies in Austin, Texas, where he led the global cybersecurity teams to securely enable the business capabilities of the Dell global footprint. He has deep roots in Wisconsin, having spent much of his career at Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee. There, he was vice president and CISO, responsible for cybersecurity, risk management, disaster recovery and enterprise privacy programs.
Before Northwestern Mutual, Sheldon held IT leadership positions with Fortune 500 corporations including Kohl’s, M&I Bank (now BMO Harris), Harley-Davidson and Abbott Laboratories.
Sheldon is a graduate of Quinnipiac University and served nine years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He is a 2019 CSO50 award recipient and an active member of the community
Jason Franklin Ph.D.
Founding Managing Director
Jason Franklin Ph.D. is the Founding Managing Director of WV Ventures, a $100M VC joint venture between Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn, Johnson Controls, and Northwestern Mutual. Dr. Franklin is an award-winning computer scientist and holds the 2012 Allen Newell Award (named after one of Artificial Intelligence’s founding father), a highly-cited researcher (2k+, H:10), co-inventor of FAWN (flash-storage array technology), and deep tech entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. He invests in companies building the future of enterprise technology.
Prior to his career in venture capital, Dr. Franklin worked as a research scientist and visiting lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University where he co-led a DARPA-sponsored cyber- security research project with $4MM in funding. He co-founded and served as CEO of a mobile security startup, Stamp Labs, that commercialized research developed while at Stanford in conjunction with two Stanford professors.
He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University where he published more than a dozen papers in top tier conferences, was awarded multiple best paper awards and top fellowships including the DHS Fellowship and the NSF Graduate Fellowship, received more than two thousand peer citations, and co-invented technology that led to the commercialization of enterprise-grade flash storage clusters and contributed to the creation of billions of dollars of enterprise value including numerous successful startups. He graduated with top honors with a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics and a minor in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Product Manager at Johnson Controls
Managing Director & Founder of Alchemy Angel Investors
Dana Guthrie is a Saint Louis, MO native with a passion for technology, investing, and entrepreneurship. Her curiosity and desire for more minority representation in the STEM, entrepreneurship, and investment communities led her to self-study early-stage investing and eventually launch Alchemy Angel Investors. In addition to Alchemy, Dana has worked as a skilled software Product Manager with a decade of experience in the building automation, facility management, and energy conservation industries. She’s managed the product lifecycle for an industry-leading user interface, which is a key driver in overall system sales of $200 million USD annually, and has an extensive background in engineering, sales, and operations with proven results that generate revenue. Dana holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering and Master of Science in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois – Chicago.
Outsource to America, GalaxE.Solutions
Ryan Hoyle serves as Program Executive for GalaxE.Solutions’ “Outsource to America” (O2A) initiative, which focuses on IT job creation, diversity and community revitalization. In his role, his is responsible for all elements of program development, including fostering strategic relationships and initiatives with corporate, workforce development, educational, philanthropic, governmental and civic partners and facilitators. The groundbreaking O2A’s mission is to bring workforce resilience and IT job opportunities, including to those in underrepresented communities – creating burgeoning IT hubs in key cities across the country.
Hoyle was at the forefront of GalaxE.Solution’s original “Outsource to Detroit” movement, which, in the wake of the city’s bankruptcy, promoted Detroit as a national IT hub and alternative to sending work offshore. The Outsource program has since expanded nationally, including into Hartford, Connecticut and Milwaukee, Wisconsin and, soon, St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee.
Previously, Hoyle served as VP of Talent for GalaxE.Solution, a global software development and IT transformation company, where he was responsible for GalaxE’s talent acquisition and training efforts.
Hoyle served on the Board of Directors at Gleaners Community Food Bank before accepting the role of Chief Development Officer in 2017. During his tenure, Gleaners was named the 2018 Food Bank of the Year. Subsequently, he accepted a newly created role at GalaxE.Solutions and returned to the company in January 2019.
A member of the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition, Hoyle also serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. An Executive Campaign Cabinet member of the Detroit Chapter of the United Way, he is also a founding member of the ExperienceIT technology training program and a graduate of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Detroit Class (XXXIV).
Hoyle’s contributions to business and community have been recognized by being named to Crain’s “40 under 40,” Dbusiness’ “30 in their 30’s,” and Michigan Chronicle’s “Men of Excellence.” He is frequently asked to speak to business groups and forums and provide perspective for news stories on issues related to IT and job recruiting.
Hoyle is a father of three with wife Kimberly.
Nadiyah Johnson graduated from Marquette University with a master’s in computational science and is currently pursuing a PHD with a focus on computer science and mental health. Her research is predominantly geared toward mobile Health (mHealth). Nadiyah’s research has granted her recognition at several conferences around the globe. She previously held a role at GE Healthcare as a product developer with a specialty in data science. Nadiyah’s passion for diversity in STEM led her to launch her company Jet Constellations, a local software company. It’s social impact arm functions to promote racial diversity in the tech industry through STEM education and entrepreneurship programming as well as building a nurturing ecosystem of diverse techies and entrepreneurs. The Milky Way Tech Hub recently announced a target raise of $50M to address racial disparities in the tech space. As founder, Nadiyah aims to rebrand Milwaukee as “The Milky Way Tech Hub” – a tech hub representative of Milwaukee’s diverse population.
Nadiyah is a recent Milwaukee Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree. She enjoys painting and teaching computer science in her free time. She currently sells her art in pop-up shops at local art fairs. When Nadiyah isn’t painting or working in the community she is spending quality time with her family.
Personal twitter: @nadiyahjohnson
Company twitter: @themilkywaymke
Latinos In Tech
Ben Juarez is the co-founder of Latinos In Tech, a new organization in Milwaukee dedicated to the professional development and mental well-being of Latin@/Latinx technologists. He is currently a Senior Software Engineer in Northwestern Mutual's Innovation team, where he works with some of Milwaukee's most talented engineers. Apart from working on separate ventures, he is also the Founder of Cream City Coders, a startup that teaches young students to code. In his spare time, he likes to stay engaged in his community in the near Southside (the Silver City neighborhood to be precise). He serves on the boards of Layton Boulevard West Neighbors and the Walker’s Point Center for the arts, and has been a part of many committees focusing on Milwaukee’s tech talent.
Founder and CEO
MARS Solutions Group
Rashi Arora Khosla is Founder and CEO of MARS Solutions Group, the diverse IT consulting company known for consistently connecting the ideal blend of technical skills and personality fit with organizational culture, management style, and team dynamics. Rashi recently launched MARS Returnship, an on-ramp for women looking to restart their careers in technology following a gap in employment. The program provides on-the-job training, mentorship, and a partnership approach to prepare cohort members to successfully rejoin the workforce. MARS Returnship looks to provide high-caliber, female technical talent to employers that value gender diversity and inclusion. The exceptional graduates of the program and partner companies enjoy a customized experience to meet the unique technical and interpersonal needs of all involved. Under Rashi’s leadership, MARS has earned numerous awards and accolades, including spots on the Inc 5000 list, the Future 50 list, and several CIO review recognitions. Rashi was also named the Enterprising Women of the year in 2017. Rashi is dedicated to serving the greater Milwaukee area and working towards building the local tech talent, and was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition. She has special philanthropic interests in helping kids with disabilities and mentoring women in the STEM field, and supports numerous organizations involved in these causes. As such, Rashi serves on the board of Ronald McDonald House of Charities Eastern Wisconsin as well as on the HR committee for this organization. Rashi also serves on Social Committee for I.C. Stars in Milwaukee, that is an immersive technology workforce training and placement program for promising young adults.
Chief Technology Officer
Diamond Lewis is the Chief Technology Officer at CASHDROP. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering and was involved on campus as the President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Chapter. He is closely involved with the Open Source Software community and has contributed to a number of projects such as Parse Platform, React Modules, pg-promise, node-apn and many more. Locally, he's helped startups such as: Sugr, Doclaunch, ChainTracks and TailoredFlight. Diamond is committed to providing opportunities for people of color and is focused on opening doors for generations to come.
Godfrey & Kahn
John McDonald is a shareholder at Godfrey & Kahn and chair of the Startups & Venture Capital team. John counsels clients on all stages of a business, from formation, financing and capitalization to exit strategies. In his startup company work, John regularly advises early stage companies and venture capital funds in connection with both capital and debt financings..
Todd McLees is a globally recognized strategist, speaker, and thought leader.
Todd collaborates with business and academic leaders to effectively anticipate and respond to paradigm shifts related to the Future of Work. His focus is on the convergence of people, technology and collaborative innovation.
Todd is the architect of the Skills for the Next Era of Innovation framework. He is an advocate for continuous innovation and life-long learning, maximizing human potential, high-impact collaborations between people, and the inevitable convergence of human beings and intelligent technologies.
He regularly contributes to NSF programs focused on the Future of Work such as the National Career Pathways Network and the Center for Occupational Research and Development.
Todd serves on multiple boards including the Higher Education Regional Alliance, Pathways High, the advisory board at Marquette University’s Center for Supply Chain Management, and ADHD America.
Director of Solution Architecture
Heartland Business Systems
Drew has developed application solutions for over the past 20 years with great teams working across a number of different programming languages, technology frameworks, and deployment methodologies. Drew's background ranges from implementing high performance optimization solutions utilizing in-memory structures, working with teams to build e-commerce and master data management products, implementing an enterprise class ERP solution, developing web delivery framework utilizing open source components, and to most recently working with a strong team of consultants to build and deliver solutions leveraging Microsoft technologies.
Drew's background spans functional, technical and leadership arenas and his greatest joy comes from leading excellent teams to deliver solutions across a wide variety of technologies and verticals focusing on customer needs first!
Girish Ramachandra leads national Technology Industry practice at Wipfli. Over the past 21 years, he has been an entrepreneur himself and has worked with a number of technology companies helping them to scale up to the next level. Girish leverages his vast experience and knowledge of how technology can optimize operational efficiencies and maximize growth potential, to help start-ups and/or scale-ups, and investors to collaborate and establish sound business models.
American Family Ventures
Dan Reed is the Managing Director of American Family Ventures, which invests in early stage companies focused on insurance, connectivity, and analytics. Dan has worked as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and in various strategic roles at American Family. He has experience as a principal in two start-up companies. Additionally, his work history includes hospital administration at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a career as a professional baseball player with the Baltimore Orioles.
Dr. Kristina Ropella
Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering
Dr. Kristina (Kris) Ropella is Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering at Marquette University. She joined the biomedical engineering faculty at Marquette in 1990 and served as the chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2004 to 2013, when she was named the executive associate dean. Ropella assumed the permanent role of Opus Dean in 2015. In these leadership roles, Ropella provides vision and leads strategic planning and implementation, creation of academic programs, engagement with industry, government and other academic institutions, fundraising, and community outreach.
EVP & Chief Information Officer
Neal Sample is EVP & Chief Information Officer and leads the Technology function at Northwestern Mutual. His key areas of accountability include technology strategy (architecture, infrastructure and cloud services, engineering and customer success); data and analytics; enterprise information risk and cybersecurity; digital workplace solutions; and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute.Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Sample was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer at Express Scripts where he was responsible for operations, technology, and enterprise transformation. He aligned overall information technology strategy and performance with pharmacy processing and fulfillment in order to create synergies that drove improvements to the member and client experiences.
Sample previously served in key executive leadership roles at American Express, including President, Enterprise Growth, where he leveraged emerging technologies to reach new customers and geographies, expand mobile and online payment services, and foster inclusion for clients poorly served by traditional financial systems. Prior to that role, he held the CIO position for that business where he managed end-to-end platform technology, infrastructure and operations, and the suite of American Express pre-paid products, including the delivery and implementation of the Bluebird, SoftCard and retail distribution partnerships.
Prior to American Express, Sample served in a variety of senior leadership positions at companies such as eBay, Yahoo!, and RightOrder. Sample received his MS and PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. He also received a BA and MS in Computer Science from the University of Wyoming. Additionally, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship with the CIA Office of Research and Development.
Sample is currently on the Business Advisory Committee of the Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, serves on the Board of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and is an advisor to several startups. Sample lives in the Milwaukee area with his wife Meredith and three children.
West Bend Mutual Insurance
Tim Schilke has 24 years of IT experience, with roles ranging from Solution and Enterprise Architecture to IT Leadership. Tim graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, and also holds a Masters Degree from Ball State University in Information and Communication Sciences. He’s currently Delivery Manager of Corporate Solutions at West Bend Mutual Insurance.