2018 Speaker Bios

Aaron Booker
Aaron Booker, founder and CEO of Varvid, a webcasting and live streaming event company has an IT background. In 2002 Booker used his IT expertise to help filmmaking friends webcast a local rock concert in Bellingham, WA. Running Quicktime Streaming Server on equipment in his data center, Booker streamed a 240×180 pixel-size video to 150 viewers in the U.S. and Japan. In 2003, Varvid secured its first major client, Wizards of the Coast, and became the established streaming solution for Magic: The Gathering’s Pro Tour, an annual series of tournaments held in cities across the globe. Since its inception Varvid has provided production services internationally for accounting, entertainment, healthcare, IT, and non-profit events. Today Booker and his team help companies and institutions of all sizes live-stream events such as the recent launch of a German luxury car with integrated social media attracting and sustaining 550,000-plus viewer. Varvid not only merges the latest IT, video, and event technologies to deliver cutting-edge solutions, but also provides dedication and passion to transform its client’s event into a Connected Event.

Sean Bozorgzad
Dr. Sean Bozorgzad operates at the nexus of computer science and Healthcare. He is a practicing emergency room physician with a passion for software and information technology.  Sean is currently the Chief of Medicine and the Emergency Department Medical Director at Peace Health United General Medical Center in Sedro Woolley, WA, as well as, an adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Illinois Department of Computer Science. For over 10 years, Sean has helped create some of the most innovative software solutions to optimize emergency medicine staffing and logistics.  He is also passionate about education and routinely participates in international educational trips as a way of giving back to the world community.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of South Florida and a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of British Columbia.

Ben Brigham
In 2007, Ben founded AutoFerret.com, later named Conversica. Ben spent his early career in sales, sales training and management for companies in several industries. During that time, Ben developed a sales automation tool using broadcast fax to streamline the sales process. Ben has also worked as a lecturer and teaching assistant at the University of Washington and worked under a National Science Foundation grant to develop one of the first MOOCs (massively open online course): beneFIT. Ben graduated from the University of Washington with undergraduate degrees in informatics and forest resources and a master’s degree in marine affairs.

Alex Bruner
Alex has worked in Digital marketing for over 10 years, focusing on SEO, Social Media Advertising, and PPC. On this path Alex has worked in-house at a local merchant, managed a team at Tribune Digital overseeing hundreds of clients, and contracted his time as an independent consultant to top brands. As a Founder at Intellitonic Alex manages social media and SEO fulfillment and works closely with Intellitonics software development team to fine tune new products for todays digital marketer.

Brian Bunke
Brian leads the IT operations team at Janicki Industries in Sedro-Woolley, responsible for technical infrastructure and innovation. He is passionate about IT automation, often speaking and writing about applying that mindset to Microsoft, VMware, Atlassian, and other products. Brian has over 10 years of professional experience after obtaining an Information Technology and Administrative Management degree from Central Washington University.

Shay Colson
Shay Colson is a Senior Manager at Duff & Phelps, currently building CyberClarity360, a third-party risk assessment platform to help Fortune 100 clients understand and navigate  complex cyber risk decisions. Shay is also a Co-Founder at 3DPP, developing foundational, patented technology in the emerging field of 3D Printed Packaging. Shay previously worked as a Cybersecurity Engineer at the US Department of Treasury and continues to work as a cybersecurity consultant. His work focuses on the design and implementation of large-scale new technology deployments, balancing business goals with the realities of achieving security in the modern world.  He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and holds a Master of Science in Information Management from Syracuse University.

Kevin Covey
Kevin Covey is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University (WWU). Kevin graduated from the University of Washington with a PhD in Astronomy before completing a Spitzer Fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a Hubble Fellowship at Cornell University.  Kevin worked as a Research Astronomer at Lowell Observatory before joining the Physics and Astronomy Department at WWU. Kevin is a member of WWU’s College of Computer Science and Engineering’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

William Dixon
William Dixon is an Associate Managing Director in Kroll’s Cyber Risk practice in the Los Angeles office. Bill is an experienced information security services executive, who over a 16-year career has served in both technical and client management roles with Fortune 500 firms as well as start-up ventures and a leading cyber security firm.Bill joined Kroll from Stroz Friedberg, where he was Vice President, Cyber Resilience in Chicago and Los Angeles. In this role, Bill provided client executive leadership and management for service engagements and new business pursuits. He additionally managed four sub-service categories that included risk and threat assessment, penetration testing, security strategy, and incident response. Additionally, Bill designed and implemented managed services related to detection and response capabilities, as well as proactive service capabilities, specifically focusing on cyber security maturity models and incident response preparedness. He also served as a CISO and Board of Directors advisor relating to cyber security and cyber threat awareness.

From 2013-2015, Bill had business development roles with Accenture, ultimately serving as Security Consulting Senior Manager, North America, for which he primarily managed engagements for high-value clients (Fortune 50 and Fortune 250). He was also the lead manager for Accenture’s Local Market Initiatives for new client acquisition and sales in Chicago. He had joined Accenture as Sales Director, North America, Central Region, where he served as sales origination and capture lead for Technology Consulting Services engagements for the Symantec/Accenture Joint Initiative as well as the wider communications and media technology client base in North America.

Previously, Bill was Senior Client Security Advisor/Partner with start-up company HALOCK Security Labs, for which he was responsible for solution design, business development, and marketing. This was Bill’s second entrepreneurial venture; earlier in his career, he was a co-founder of Continuum Worldwide Corporation, where he served as Consulting Director, Enterprise Security Solutions from 2005-2010. In this role, he implemented service delivery programs for managed governance risk and compliance services, from information security program assessment to penetration testing, across the United States.

Prior to Accenture and HALOCK, Bill was Security Services Leader, West Region, for IBM. He was the services business development opportunity owner for the entire IBM Security Services portfolio, including partner products in the Western United States. During this time, he pioneered the successful identification and closure of the first IBM Security Services Managed SIEM services deal on a global level. Bill started his career in 2001 as an Information Security Analyst with Mutual of Omaha.

Don Goldberg
Don Goldberg is the Director of Economic Development at the Port of Bellingham and a leader on Whatcom County’s regional economic development team.  Don has over 25 years of experience working in the commercial  real estate, non-profit and government sectors.

Most recently, Don served as the Director of Business Development for the Port of Portland, where his responsibilities included creating and sustaining living-wage jobs. Don earned a B.S. in Business at the University of Wisconsin, completed training as a French chef (Valedictorian) at the Debrulle French Culinary School, and attended  the Academy of Coach Training, where he achieved certification as an executive coach  from the International Coaching Federation.  He has traveled to over 75 countries, gaining familiarity with other cultures in our global economy.

Dean Hildebrand
Dean has over 15 years of experience innovating, designing, and building scalable file systems and object stores. As a manager, architect and developer of GPFS (IBM Spectrum Scale) for the past 9 years, he has in-depth knowledge on how to architect, build, deploy and maintain the most scalable file system in the world. He is an expert in architecting distributed and parallel file systems to achieve unparalleled levels of performance and scalability. He has authored 31 scientific publications, submitted over 50 patents, and chaired and sat on the program committee of dozens of conferences, including FAST, Supercomputing, HPDC, MSST, and MASCOTS.

Brent Hurtig
Brent has led C- and V-level searches on behalf of Sequoia Capital, Accel, Lakestar, Redpoint, GV (Google Ventures), Andreessen Horowitz, Earlybird Venture Capital, DFJ, and other top-tier VCs. His global assignments since 2007 include clients such as Google, Eventbrite, Skyscanner, Nubank, Unity, Zalando, Qualtrics, D-Wave, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Prior to launching Motive in 2015, he was a Partner with Parker Remick, where he contributed significantly to the firm’s growth and its VC relations in the US and Europe. Previously, he cofounded and led a Bay Area ecommerce startup that achieved a Number 1 ranking by BizRate — topping Amazon, Overstock, and 4,000+ other retailers in overall customer satisfaction. With two decades of Silicon Valley experience as a founder, COO, and product leader, Brent especially loves serving innovative startups. He has also published over 200 articles for Wired, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and other outlets. Originally from Canada, Brent holds a dual-major in Sociology & Urban Studies from Brandeis University.

Jon Junell
Jon is the Associate Director and Principal IT Architect at Western Washington University.  Since 2014 has planned and deployed migrations to Cloud services including O365, G-Suite and Microsoft Azure.  He manages the public and private cloud infrastructure for the Western community, and is a DevOps advocate at Western.  Previously, he was the Manager of Information Technology at the College of Business and Economics, a position he held for 11 years.

Jon holds a MBA from Western Washington University. He has recently joined the Community Engagement Fellows program, a joint partnership between Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University.

Diane Kamionka
Diane has a strong background in general management of both large corporate growth and the entrepreneurial start-up arena. In 1987, she founded Cintech Solutions in Ohio and served as the President & CEO. Since relocating to Washington, Diane has been working to facilitate entrepreneurial activities and support. She facilitated the establishment of the NW Agriculture Business Center to support development of value-add agriculture product businesses in a five county area in northwest Washington and was instrumental in the creation of the NW Innovation Resource Center.

Jared Keller
A founding member and former head of engineering for Conversica, an AI-powered sales automation platform with more than 200 employees spanning 4 offices, Jared has a strong background in architecting and building Saas applications. He is focused on the growth of Bellingham both in tech, as seen by the emergence of his second company based here, and sustainable business practices proven by his board of directors seat with Sustainable Connections.

Werner Koepf
Before joining Conversica, Werner was Vice President of Engineering for Ticketmaster, where he led the team that built out the order processing service behind Ticketmaster’s new TM+ product. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Technology and Product at Wetpaint, a Seattle startup attempting to revolutionize the publishing industry. Previously, he served as Vice President for Application Architecture at Expedia, where he modernized Expedia’s applications through the migration to a Service Oriented Architecture. Werner also worked at Amazon.com, where he managed the teams that owned Gifting, Repeat Purchases and Rich Media and was CTO of MAYA Viz, an information visualization start-up acquired by General Dynamics. Werner holds a Ph.D. from the Technische Universität München in Theoretical Nuclear Physics.

Fred Langston
Fred Langston has been at forefront of InfoSec for over two decades, with an experienced track record spanning back to his role as one of the authors of the HIPAA security rule. Fred brings deep-rooted IT Security experience from the healthcare industry.

With over 24 years of professional information security experience working for hundreds of clients on projects to create effective strategies, enterprise security and data protection programs, governance models, and a set of effective, proven business and security processes that are in use at hundreds of companies today, Mr. Langston has long been at the forefront of information security. He participated in the working group that drafted the proposed HIPAA security rule, has lead the security sessions at HIMSS, was formerly on the HITRUST Alternate Controls Committee and was in the working group that created SIG and the AUP for the Banking IT Security (BITS) Forum, Financial Institutions Shared Assessments Program (FISAP).

Mr. Langston has created extensive product and service technical and marketing content such as White Papers, industry presentations, market analysis as well as developed organizations and the associated operations teams for these high availability, security-critical applications, networks, and systems.

Yudong Liu
Yudoing Liu is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Advisor in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at Western Washington University (WWU). Yudong graduated from Simon Fraser University with a PhD in Computer Science and specializes in Statistical Natural Language Processing, and Application of Eye-Tracking Data. Yudong is a member of WWU CSE’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Alan Lloyd
Alan Lloyd is the Technical Services Administrator for the City of Bellingham I.T. department. He has been in that role since January of 2018. Prior to his current role, Alan worked as a Computing Specialist and Adjunct Instructor for Weber State University in Ogden, Utah from 2013-2017. Alan graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Network Management Technology from Weber State University.

Bill Miller
Bill Miller has more than 35 years of operating experience in the software and Internet arena.  Nine of those years (1989-1998) were spent at Microsoft where he led marketing and business development during the early development and launch of MSN.  He also lead the Systems Marketing group driving strategy and programs for the operating systems businesses at MSFT.  He currently is a consultant/board advisor to several small technology businesses including Hero Sports, Livible, TravelingWave, and InfoMill.

Bill is an adjunct instructor in the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University teaching classes on marketing innovation and professional selling.

During the dotcom boom and bust Bill was a partner at OVP Venture Partners a leading VC fund based in the Pacific Northwest.  He served on the boards of seven start up technology companies from 1998-2004.  He cofounded and chaired one of those companies, SafeHarbor.

Bill received a BA in business from Washington State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.  He has three sons and four stepchildren.  He enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, running, snow boarding and biking.  Bill lives in Bellingham with his partner Lisa.

Marty Mulholland
Marty Mulholland is the Director of I.T. for the City of Bellingham.  She has been serving in that role since 2003.  Prior to that Marty served as the Director of I.T. for the City of Kent, from 1998-2003.  Marty earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona and a Certificate in Data Communications and Networking from the University of Washington. 

Jim Ostendorff
Jim Ostendorff is a VP, Cybersecurity Officer in Bellingham,WA. Jim is a Western Washington University graduate of the MIS program and has been in IT for the past 21 years. Jim has a passion for communicating computer security in a relatable manner and on defining “next actions” on tough problems.

Courtney Rambo
Despite starting Intellitonic at the ripe age of 26, Courtney has lots of experience managing marketing projects, international sales teams, and CRM processes and training in for- and non-profits alike. She is a recent MBA graduate, specializes in search engine marketing via Google Ads, and serves on the Board of Directors for Cloud Mountain Farms and Sustainable Connections. She was selected as one of the Top 7 Under 40 in Whatcom County in 2017.

Nick Sanchez
Nick is the Employment Inclusion Manager at Western Washington University. After spending three years in the Equal Opportunity Office, Nick came to the Human Resources Department to launch a new program aimed at recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce at Western. Through a mentoring program, educating employees and supervisors on diversity and equity topics and leading outreach and recruitment efforts, it has been his sole mission to enhance diversity in his time working at Western. In addition he serves as the Co-Chair of the President’s Taskforce on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. Nick is a Marine Corps Veteran, has a B.A. in Journalism from Humboldt State University and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University.

Ali Taghikhani
Ali Taghikhani Ali has been creating new businesses since he was 12 years old. With 5+ years experience recruiting for all kinds of roles at startups and blockchain companies globally, he has built the necessary expertise to build a Hiring ecosystem. Ali has helped more than 200 companies hire, which includes 30 of the top Cryptocurrency and Blockchain companies in the world.

Janice Walker
Janice Walker is the Dean for Workforce Education at Whatcom Community College (WCC). Janice is responsible for strategy, leadership, policies, program and grant development and oversight of WCC’s workforce and community/continuing education programs. Prior to WCC, Janice held various roles at SPIE – the International Society for Optics and Photonics, including Senior Director of Events and Global Services.   Janice is also the Technology Alliance Group’s Board Secretary. 

Meg Weber
Meg Weber is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at VSH CPAs in Bellingham, WA. Before joining VSH CPAs, Meg was the Executive Director of  Technology Alliance Group. Meg previously served as human resources manager at Management Services Northwest and has also held leadership positions at Western Washington University’s Center for Economic Vitality and Logos Bible Software.