AFCEA International Chapter News
Updated: 39 min 59 sec ago
First Lt. Rachel Szall, USAF, presided as master of ceremonies over the joint AFCEA Lexington-Concord and Association of Old Crows (AOC) Patriots' Roost, an annual ROTC scholarship luncheon held in April in Bedford, Massachusetts. The event recognized 42 of the most outstanding AFCEA and AOC ROTC cadets and midshipmen from across northern New England with $1,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships. Brig. Gen. Jack Hammond, USA (Ret.), executive director, Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Home Base Program, delivered an inspirational address on military service and leadership. Col. Stephen Brooks, USAF, chapter vice president, ROTC affairs, presented $21,000 in scholarships. Gen. Hammond then joined Col. Brooks in presenting the Gen. Bernard Schriever Award, which carries an additional $1,000 scholarship, to Tessa Winkel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the top cadet among her peers. Col. Brooks and Pat Dagle, AOC director of scholarships, presented tokens of appreciation to Gen. Hammond, and Lt. Szall gave special thanks to Col. Brooks and the other volunteers for orchestrating the event. In all, a total of $44,000 in AFCEA and AOC STEM scholarships was presented. Chapter ROTC award winners included: Army Cadet Yan Agudelo, MIT; Air Force Cadet Jacob Bryant, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Army Cadet Nathan Caso, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Army Cadet Jacqueline Corcoran, Northeastern University; Navy Midshipman Sean Courtney, Norwich University; Air Force Cadet Brianna Croteau, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Army Cadet John Geenty, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Army Cadet Ryan Hoffman, Boston University; Navy Midshipman Zachary Litwin, Boston University; Army Cadet Jacob Remick, University of New Hampshire; Air Force Cadet Jeffrey Schafer, University of New Hampshire; Air Force Cadet Maria Trejo, Norwich University; Army Cadet Kiana Whitney, University of Vermont; Air Force Cadet Tessa Winkel, MIT. Unable to attend: Navy Midshipman Kirstin Anderson, MIT; Air Force Cadet Austin Currier, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Navy Midshipman Gabriela De Peralta, College of the Holy Cross; Army Cadet Justin Puckett, Boston University; Navy Midshipman John Ramsey, Maine Maritime Academy; Army Cadet Evan Shortsleeve, Norwich University; Air Force Cadet Michael Zaniboni, Boston University.
Col. Ed Masterson, USAF, chapter vice president, programs, welcomed guests in May to a chapter-hosted speaker series breakfast at Waxy O'Connor's in Lexington, Massachusetts. Randall Walden, director and program executive officer, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO), spoke to a packed audience of government and industry representatives about the office, its initiatives and accomplishments. Walden entertained numerous questions from the floor about the AFRCO and then accepted a token of appreciation on behalf of the chapter presented by Col. Masterson at the conclusion of the event.
The guest speaker for the chapter's May luncheon was Bryan Tepper, information assurance manager for the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO). Pepper retired from the FBI with 26 years of service, so it was only fitting that he begin his presentation with a kidnapping case he and his team worked on in Los Angeles. The case was solved in just 13 days. He moved right into his HECO presentation and spoke about how he and his team manage and protect HECO's infrastructure and power grids. Pepper discussed some of the daily challenges his organization faces, including load balancing. The company is focused on renewable energy and is currently between 25 to 26 percent. He and his team have managed to separate their LAN from the Internet. Some of the security measures in place to protect their infrastructure, power grid and information are remote key entry, firewall hardening, network segmentation and encryption of all personal identification information (PII) for employees and customers. Phishing emails are periodically sent to personnel to see if anyone will click on links in emails or open attachments; 30 percent will click on links, and 12 percent will open attachments. Tepper emphasized that HECO must be vigilant in its quest to protect its networks, infrastructure and power grids. One way it does this is through joint projects with the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and other Defense Department partners in the Hawaiian Islands to help them identify and mediate risks as they're identified. Also at the luncheon, Graham Franciso from Damien Memorial School was recognized as Student of the Month. Alyssa Foo of TEKsystems was honored as Young AFCEAN of the Month, Robert "Bob" Tappy of KaiHonua LLC as Executive of the Month and Col. Terri Bailey, USAF, Pacific Air Forces, as Senior Government Leader of the Month.
Last year's TechNet Asia-Pacific director Cynthia Pacheco and Chapter President Lt. Col. Calistus Elbourne, USAF, presented a $2,500 donation to Warriors in Transition during the May chapter luncheon at Fort Shafter's Hale Ikena facility. Chaplain Steve Jensen of the Wounded Warriors accepted the donation. Jensen said the funds will be used to supplement incidental expenses for families traveling with their wounded warriors from Japan. Staff Sgt. Brad Simich, USMC, and Sgt. Kyle Levea, USMC, both in the Warriors in Transition program, accompanied Jensen.
The chapter held its annual Spring AM/PM Golf Tournament in May. Rain and wind caused the morning tournament to be cancelled. Luckily, the skies cleared in time for the afternoon tournament. Thanks to sponsorships and generous donations from golfers, the afternoon tournament raised $13,400 for the chapter's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarship fund. In a chapter first, three teams finished in a three-way tie for first place. Congratulations to the finishers from Lockheed Martin, SAIC and Leidos for braving the uncertain weather and helping the chapter have a successful outing.
Chapter President Kamil Zafer Selcuk presented member Y. Suat Bengur's lifelong membership pin to him in May. Bengur is vice president of transportation, security, energy and automation systems for Aselsan in Ankara, Turkey. <br><br><br>
The chapter hosted a three-speaker panel discussion and luncheon in May covering the evolution of cybersecurity, the current threat landscape and how to counter the threats facing government and civilian companies. Panelists from Palo Alto Networks were Lucas Moody, chief information security officer; Rinki Sethi, senior director of operations and strategy; and Ronald Dodge, senior director of security engineering. Capt. Capt Steve Januario, USAF, also of Palo Alto Networks, introduced the panelists. The forum included a period for questions and answers. <br>
In April, 14 riders braved early-season Santa Anna winds in San Diego to cycle upward of 50 miles along the California coastline to raise money for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships. Chapter President Trevor Bender said, "Our third annual AFCEA San Diego Chapter Cycle for STEM ride was our largest one ever and contributed $6,000 toward student scholarships." Title sponsor Leidos provided rider jerseys. Other sponsors included Intel, the Sutherland family, Solute, SENTEK, Innovative Solutions, Moment Bicycles and Big Media Prints. The chapter's goal is to grow the event so that by its 10th year, there are 100 riders and $25,000 in scholarship funds.
In April, the chapter hosted a luncheon featuring guest speaker Joseph Sifer, AFCEA International's chairman of the board, at Arrowhead Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama. He spoke to a full house of military, industry and government personnel on the topic of AFCEA International's "Past, Present and Future." Sifer opened by discussing some of the challenges AFCEA was experiencing when Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.), became president and CEO. AFCEA had diluted its focus on chapters and regions in the United States with an overly aggressive international expansion, stretching AFCEA too thin. Sifer explained how Gen. Shea set about correcting this, right-ending strained financials and refocusing efforts on the regions and chapters around the nation, recognizing the tremendous talent at the local level. Gen. Shea, his team and members of the board recognized the need to address these challenges and did, refocusing on core AFCEA capabilities. They now are aggressively looking into ways to leverage and advance the areas of information warfare, defense intelligence and cyber synergies. Gen. Shea and the AFCEA headquarters team are focusing on growing the chapters and individual members by developing a collective, collaborative network of technical professionals. The luncheon also served as an opportunity for the chapter to recognize some of its longtime outstanding members, including Master Sgt. Brianna Oberg, USAF, and Master Sgt. Carlton Young, USAF, who both received the AFCEA 40 Under 40 Award. The chapter thanks Sifer for sharing his insights into AFCEA International's vision and future.
The chapter held its monthly luncheon in April at the Air Force Academy Falcon Club. The highlight of the luncheon was a presentation and demonstration provided by Team 662 Rocky Mountain Robotics. The team is made up of students from six different high schools in Colorado Springs District 20 and is filled with creative and motivated life-long learners. The students explained how they are organized like a real business to design, engineer, manufacture and operate robots that solve stated game objectives over a six week period. They then demonstrated one of their creations for the audience. Team 662 says they build people who build robots while encouraging students to reach as high as they can dream. These remarkable young people clearly showed that they are fulfilling that goal. The future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the Rocky Mountain Region is bright.
In April, the newly formed Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) student sub-chapter, sponsored by the Belvoir Chapter, conducted their very first event as one of the sponsors of the 2017 NOVA Innovation Hackathon. This was the second year that NVCC has conducted a hackathon. The 36-hour event was filled with tech talks, programming, cybersecurity practice, food, fun and cutting edge creation. This event focuses on safe coding to advocate for a more secure cyberspace while showcasing the importance of cybersecurity to organizations, companies and the public. The NVCC student sub-chapter manned an AFCEA membership drive and information table, provided snacks for the hungry hackers and secured a guest speaker for the chapter-sponsored dinner. The evening wrapped up with dinner and an address by Stephen Petruzzo, founder of GreenTec-USA, and a member of AFCEA. He provided an engaging talk and presentation on the future of cyber innovation and the career potential for those entering the field. The presentation was well received and garnered numerous questions from the audience covering topics from ethical hacking to future trends in cybersecurity. Petruzzo concluded his presentation with a $1,000 challenge, sponsored by GreenTec-USA, for anyone who could break into one of the company’s proprietary storage devices. The NVCC student sub-chapter is planning on future participation in the annual NOVA Hackathon and will be conducting a bi-monthly speaker series focused on cybersecurity education and professional development starting in the fall. The official charter recognition ceremony will take place on May 24 at the annual Belvoir Education Luncheon.
Chapter members Michael and Kathleen Berganski represented the AFCEA International Education Foundation at the Air Force ROTC Detachment 330 Awards Banquet in April at the University of Maryland. Col. David Morrissey, USAF, commander, Air Force ROTC Detachment 330, hosted the event. The keynote speaker himself, Maj. Gen. James Vechery, USAF, was an ROTC Detachment 330 graduate, class of 1988. Michael Berganski presented the AFCEA Honor Award to Cadet Ebone Baker. This award recognizes an individual for achievement in leadership and academics. Cadet Baker was selected by her professor of leadership and military studies at the University of Maryland, where she is a rising senior majoring in aerospace engineering.
The chapter’s Young AFCEANs hosted their annual Spring Fling Networking event in April in Washington, DC. There were more than 200 attendees supporting the chapter’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarship fund. With featured hosts from the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice and Homeland Security, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it was a fun and successful evening. The event featured lively discussions, networking, and a specialty “Spring Fling” drink.
Chapter President Col. John McLaughlin, USA, celebrated Savannah Wheeler, AFROTC, recipient of the AFCEA ROTC Honor Award, at the chapter's April luncheon. The ROTC Honor Award recognizes an ROTC cadet or midshipman for achievement in leadership and academics. Wheeler is a junior majoring in computer science at the University of South Florida. She has completed multiple internships to enhance her academic performance and leadership acumen. Currently, she holds a position at SOFWERX as an information security intern, where she and other team members are working to create a network packet-capturing analysis tool. After this internship, she will head to the Washington, D.C., area to participate in a government internship with the National Reconnaissance Office.
The human element is the most important part of the technology piece, emphasized Col. Bradley Pyburn, USAF, to a full house during the chapter's April Lunch and Learn event. The 67th Cyberspace Wing Commander said people are still struggling with the challenges of cyberspace. The biggest challenge in cyberspace today is how the nation is delivering yesterday's technology tomorrow. Without cyber superiority, the U.S. will never achieve air or space superiority, he said. Col. Pyburn asked the group: "What do you want your teams focused on? The mess in front of us or protecting our people?" Where can the country accept risk and where can it use people and train them efficiently? Data is driving the culture, but people are drowning in it. Another software program isn't going to solve this problem. The fight calls for smart solutions that do not flood operators with data but allow them to make sound decisions. A strong offensive posture is needed to secure cyberspace.<br>
Chapter Vice President James M. Crawford attended the University of South Carolina's 2017 Spring ROTC Awards Ceremony at the TRI-Service ROTC Awards ceremony in March. He presented three AFCEA International Scholastic Awards to the following: Midshipman Sandra V. Jordan, Midshipman Thomas D. Kenner and Cadet Shaquille Dixon. All exceeded the scholastic average of their peers in their respective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college discipline. More than 150 scholastic awards were given out to ROTC cadets and midshipman during the ceremony.
In April, the chapter's Young AFCEANs hosted a Business Over Breakfast seminar featuring guest speaker Braxton Weimer, a financial adviser with Morgan Stanley, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Montgomery, Alabama. Weimer spoke to a room of service members, civilians and community partners about financial planning. He opened by providing a general overview of investments and the difference between stocks and bonds. Weimer said all money has a purpose and its purpose must be understood to select the best investment options. The investment vehicle selected must match the time horizon when money will be needed. He discussed the building blocks for financial security, such as having three to six months of wages in an emergency fund, acquiring legal documents like a will and durable power of attorney, and reducing high-interest debts. He ended with encouragement to save early and save often. Following the presentation, Weimer conducted a brief question-and-answer session, and audience members networked.
The chapter hosted a sold out small business networking event with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in April. Amy Sajda, director, DLA Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), shared how DLA partners with the small business community to provide best value integrated logistics solutions to the nation’s Armed Forces. Michael Yacobacci, contracting officer and program manager, DLA Contract Services Office, Philadelphia (DCSO-P), discussed the recently awarded DLA J-6 Enterprise Technology Services (JETS) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) and answered questions from DLA JETS primes on the $6,014,804,859.39 ceiling, eight-year period of performance, multiple-award contract. The contract's broad scope makes it an ideal vehicle for DLA Information Operations (J-6) and other Defense Department customers who can leverage the vehicle with DLA approval. John Fafara, DCSO-P, chief, Contracting Division, discussed DLA’s plans to improve the user experience, adopt industry best practices and to provide one-stop shopping with FEDMALL, which will ultimately replace the Defense Department’s EMALL with dynamic pricing, market-driven competition and flexible contract arrangements. For more on upcoming chapter events, check out Facebook or the chapter website.
The chapter welcomed Col. Stephen Dawson, USA, commander, U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Hawaii as April guest speaker at the Hale Ikena at Fort Shafter. The colonel provided an overview of the USAG organization. Its mission statement is "a values-based organization that provides quality base operation services, facilities and infrastructure to enable all units to accomplish their mission; to enhance the well-being of our U.S. Army Hawaii community." The chapter recognized Krista Chang of St. Andrew's Priory and Tyler Wilfarht of Kailua High School as Students of the Month. Staff Sgt. Cory Habersham, USAF, from the 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, Joint Base Hickam Pearl Harbor, was Young AFCEAN of the Month. Col. Jason Winterle, USA, of DISA Pacific Command was the Senior Government Leader of the Month. Lt. Col. Callistus Elbourne, USAF, received an engraved photograph as a token of appreciation from the chapter in recognition of his service as the chapter's executive vice president.
The chapter sponsored a “Comfort Tent” at the annual ROTC field day in April on the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) campus. The tent provided shade, drinks, snacks and support for the cadets to rest and recuperate throughout the 9-hour competition. It also gave chapter volunteers an opportunity to mentor cadets on career development as well as the chapter and what it does within the San Antonio community. The field day is held annually and is known as “The Battle of the Bomb.” After the long day of friendly competition in the style of flag football, dodge ball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, the Mogadishu Mile and basketball, the scores were tallied. The University of Texas (UT) came out on top over UTSA. UT was presented with the coveted trophy with plaques for each year’s winner. The chapter was pleased to be a part of this event and look forward to sponsoring it again.