Speakers at the Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity
Data Protection Strategies Conference

Mark Bass
Mark has 4 decades of IT experience spanning software development, vendor support, virtually all commercial infrastructure platforms, systems administration and 20 years of IT consulting. Marks roles have included everything from cabin boy to king (computer operator through VP of Development to business owner) across a broad spectrum of industries.  Mark is currently the Sr Manager of DR with HCSC, the largest customer-owned health insurer in the United States and fourth largest overall, operating through its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and several subsidiaries. At HCSC Mark provided leadership for a disaster recovery program that, for the first time, fulfilled the true business continuality requirements for the organization. He transformed a fragmented and ill conceived strategy into a realistic long term plan, with actionable and short term tactical deliverables. Prior to joining HCSC, Mark served as an independent consultant with a national practice providing strategic guidance to senior IT and business executives in the areas of data center design, infrastructure and DR best practices. Clients included HCSC, Electrolux, RR Donnelley, Sears, TDS Telecom and Convergys. Mark holds the standard alphabet soup of degrees and certifications that allow him to stay gainfully employed in IT industry.

Joe Cannella
Joe Cannella has spent his entire career in Information Systems working with medium-sized manufacturers across many industries including metals, food, chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, and automotive.  He is an experienced IS executive with extensive experience leading people, managing large projects, and administering multi-million dollar budgets. For the last five years, Joe has led the IS Team at Tempel Steel including their worldwide implementation of Oracle E-Business.  Tempel is the worlds largest, independent manufacturer of magnetic steel laminations with operations in North America and Asia. Their  laminations are used in motors, transformers, pumps, generators, and alternators. Tempel has a reputation for high quality parts, advanced engineering, and manufacturing flexibility. Tempel’s systems are critical to their competitive edge for managing material, process, tooling, engineering, and customer information. Prior to Tempel, Joe spent 20 years in a consulting firm that specialized in systems and operations improvement for mid-sized manufacturers. He started as a systems designer, became a partner, and eventually led the firms as president. He has taught Materials Management, Supply Chain Management, and Information Technology classes at the college level and for many companies; published articles on Systems Planning and Implementation, ERP Optimization, and Advanced Systems Technologies for Manufacturers; and has been a frequent speaker for American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Illinois Manufacturer Association (IMA), and as an independent expert for many software vendors.

Greg Davidson

Greg has over 26 years of Information Technology experience that encompasses accomplishments within IT organizations, commercial software development, and IT consulting organizations.  Greg has served in a variety of industries and roles within IT management, application development, and systems operations.  Within the world of commercial accounting software, Greg has served as Vice President of product development for two publicly held, California-based software companies.  At Platinum Software his development team earned the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award in 1993.  At one of the world’s largest software companies, Sage Software, Greg’s development organization won the prestigious Microsoft Industry Solutions Award, Best Financial Application, three years in a row (1997-1999).  Within the world of IT consulting, Greg has engaged successfully with many Fortune 500 firms.  His assignments included delivering numerous project turnaround assignments for CIOs, building and running global Program Management Offices, and managing several IT Operations teams.  In 2004 Greg earned his ITIL Service Manager Certification (AKA “ITIL Master”) and has been leveraging these best practices to improve the efficiency of a number of IT Operations teams. Since 2007 Greg has served as CIO for Active Aero Group, an airline and transportation management company that provides air charter (passenger and cargo) and ground express services.  Prior to Active Aero, Greg served as CIO of Accretive Solutions, a national IT and financial services consulting firm based in New York.

Ken Giden
Ken Giden is a 16 year storage industry professional focused primarily within the Backup and Disaster Recovery arena. As a graduate of the School of Electrical Engineering at Purdue University, he began his career with Storage Technology Corporation (StorageTek) in 1997 as an Electrical Engineer on the STK 9840 tape drive design team. While continuing his tenure with STK, he moved into Technical Sales positioning the entire STK tape, disk, and library product line to current and prospective customers. After STK, he spent the next 4 ½ years at VERITAS Software Corporation (now Symantec) primarily supporting one of the industry’s largest backup applications – NetBackup – in addition to other Disaster Recovery software modules (replication, logical volume management, clustering, etc.). He also worked as a Senior Manager with Hitachi Data Systems, his responsibility included worldwide product management in the area of capacity optimization. He now is a Senior Technical Engineer for Coraid. He also holds Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Purdue University.

David Kluger

David Kluger is StorCOM's principal technology architect. StorCOM's primary focus is aiding the clientele through a consultative approach on such topics as; overall data protection, management of data and disaster recovery strategies. Having worked in the IT industry for over 20 years he has gained an extremely wide range of experience. Additionally, David has public sector experience in consulting and providing leadership to an array of projects, managing and deploying data protection, as well as disaster recovery solutions for such organizations as; US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Fireman's Fund Insurance. David also spent many years working as a senior consultant and systems architect at Microsoft, XIOtech and NetApp. David attended Arizona State University, where he also acquired his Masters Degree.

Eric Ledyard

Eric Ledyard steers Ahead’s technology vision and is responsible for defining the company's evolving technology strategy. Eric works directly with Ahead customers to understand their current environment and assist in designing solutions that address current needs while keeping an eye on future requirements. Prior to joining Ahead, Eric was the Sr. Systems Engineer for the Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery team, managing 20 states in the Midwest. Eric was a key member of the technical competitive analysis team at EMC providing expert insight on Hitachi Data Systems and IBM virtualization products. Prior to working at EMC he held engineering roles for Sun Microsystems as storage specialist as well as two technology resellers specializing in storage solutions as well as high-performance systems architecture. Prior to transitioning into a pre-sales architecture, Eric has significant end user experience where he was hands utilizing the technology and managing data center environments, this experience provides him with a profound understanding of all aspects of the value chain. Eric attended the Purdue School of Engineering with focus on Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology.

Mike Peebles
Mike Peebles is the Product Marketing Manager at Hewlett-Packard responsible for the Information Management suite of products in the America’s region. This includes solutions for business continuity and availability, governance and ediscovery as well as document workflow transformation. He has extensive experience in architecting storage and data protection solutions.  Since joining HP in 1997, Mike has held technical and management positions within HP’s storage and software businesses focusing on current as well as future storage issues. Mike has applied his expertise within the Americas as well as Europe. Prior to joining HP Mike held hardware design engineering and engineering management positions focused on HP-IB and SCSI storage device development.  Mike was also the Manager for Technology Assessment and Acceptance during which he identified new storage solution business opportunities.  Mike has an MBA and a B.S. of Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University.

Mike Riley
Mike Riley has been with NetApp over 10 years and currently serves as the Director of Technology and Strategy for Americas. Mike represents NetApp as a panelist/speaker at storage seminars; conducts training for new engineers and sales staff; and travels the U.S. and abroad listening and talking to customers about storage challenges. Mike currently chairs the NetApp customer advocacy group, the Tech Senate, and focuses his attention on how NetApp can contribute in new and existing markets. Mike joined NetApp in 1999 and previously worked on the customer side in various roles from capacity analyst to systems administrator. Mike has a Bachelors degree from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Loyola University

Nick Schmidt

Nick Schmidt is currently the senior manager of CDW’s Information Technology, overseeing IT infrastructure Services. Mr. Schmidt’s organization encompasses Telecommunications, Network Services, System Engineering, IT Security, and Data Center Services. He is a 30-year I.T. veteran. with extensive experience leading organizations ranging from domestically focused operations to multi-million dollar global technology organizations.  Prior to CDW, Mr. Schmidt has served in multiple capacities in private and publically held companies primarily focusing on infrastructure excellence. With extensive experience gained from within major telecommunications providers as well as leading consumers of telecommunications services, Mr. Schmidt brings a wealth of information to his perspective.


Robert Warja

Robert Warja has many years of experience in IT Data Center management, including disaster recovery and change control, working mainly in the banking sector, although he has also held roles within the beverage and insurance industries along the way. He has significant experience in Business Continuity and currently serves as the Business Continuity Officer for Marquette Bank. Bob has built DR and BCP programs from scratch, and is all-too-familiar with the challenge of selling DR/BCP to senior management.