Speakers at the IT Leaderships Strategies Conference

Hardik Bhatt

Hardik's was appointed as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) by Chicago's Mayor Richard M Daley in February 2006. He is also the Commissioner for the Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT). As the CIO and the Commissioner of DoIT, Hardik's role is to protect City’s existing investment in Information Technology while identifying and implementing new and innovative technology solutions that deliver efficiencies in serving constituents and visitors of the City of Chicago. Specifically, Hardik strives to implement Mayor Daley's vision of a city government that benefits from an assimilation of best practices from both the public sector and the private industry by raising the level of service provided to citizens, businesses and tourists. As the CIO of the City of Chicago, Hardik oversees several Technology Implementations, Mobile Solutions and Information Sharing projects. This primarily includes improvements in collection and sharing of information across various City agencies and dissemination within agencies and to the general public. Also of high priority are streamlining City's various business processes to attract qualified firms to partner with the City, integration of various enterprise systems such as for Revenue, Finance and Procurement, Human Resources, Inspection and Permitting, and Customer Service Requests. He is also responsible for implementing a Geographic Information Services (GIS) that provides digital maps, photographs and up-to-date data on all property City-wide. Hardik is leading charge for Mayor Daley for universal and affordable broadband for all Chicagoans through various initiatives. Hardik is also spearheading Mayor Daley's vision of career academies in the technology sector. The first technology academy, supported by more than 80 large and small businesses, will open its doors in fall 2009. Hardik co-chair's Mayor Daley's council of Technology Advisors comprised of leading CIO's of the region including Boeing, Bexter, CNA, Exelon, Aon and HCSC as well as leading representatives from technology, non-profit and academic sectors. This council focuses on economic development of the technology sector as well as bridging technology talent gap and digital divide. Prior to joining the public sector, Hardik worked as a consultant with Oracle corporation in the US and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India.

David A. Chapa
David A. Chapa is the Managing Partner and CTO at Elovate. He leads Elovate’s long-term technology vision and is responsible for industry thought leadership, advanced solution incubation, and partner relationships to deliver exceptional customer value.
Prior to joining Elovate, David has driven key technology roadmaps and initiatives to improve overall customer experience, partner relationships, and raise corporate awareness by as much as 40% through his blogging, articles and speaking engagements. For the last 12 years, David has managed global teams for such companies as Quantum, NetApp, Seagate, and most recently EMC, where he served as the Global CTO for the Isilon Division.
He is a member of SNIA DPCO (Data Protection, Capacity Optimization) Committee, co-founder of American Wounded Veterans Foundation, co-founder of ConneXion Spot, LLC a coworking community, and serves on the board of directors for both. He has also done voluntary work for Colorado Wounded Vet Run, the annual motorcycle ride sponsored by American Wounded Veterans Foundation, whose all volunteer staff’s mission is to raise money to support a local hero, wounded in combat, to help meet family needs. David is an active member of his community in Castle Rock, CO, where he is involved with YEA (Young Entrepreneurs across America), and the 104 Initiative, a group of local investors with a passion and mission to support local economic growth through the startup community.
David lives in beautiful Colorado with his wife Trudi and their three children. When not working, you may find David playing guitar, performing classic rock and country tunes around town and in local establishments. He has a collection of 14 guitars, with one on the way. If not music, then motorcycles; he enjoys riding his Harley to clear his mind and breathe the fresh mountain air.
David studied Computer Science at Harper College, Palatine, IL and Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL. David also successfully completed NetApp Senior Leadership Programs, which is a several week program of accelerated learning in which he studied the business side of technology.

Tom Coleman
Tom Coleman has worked successfully at many organizational levels in information technology and in user disciplines.  He has a detailed understanding of strategic planning, process improvement, technical systems strategies, and manufacturing.  Tom has worked in various manufacturing positions leading to the position of Director of World-Wide Materials.  In the information technology area, he has held positions such as Business Systems Analyst, Director of IS, Vice President of IT, and Chief Information Officer. Tom has led six enterprise-wide systems implementations and he currently holds the position of Chief Information and Process Officer at the Sloan Valve Company in Franklin Park, IL.  He is responsible for the Information Technology Group, Sloan’s process improvement initiative, and Tom facilitates Sloan’s strategic planning process.  Tom holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from a small college in San Diego.

Sharon DeWitt (Getz)
Sharon is an information and change management executive with over 20 years experience in Information Technology and over 10 years experience in executive leadership.   Sharon has worked in various industries including defense, public utilities, manufacturing, distribution, consumer marketing, aerospace and professional services.  Sharon is currently the Director of Information Technology at Scot Forge in Spring Grove.   Scot Forge is a 100% employee-owned manufacturer of custom open die and rolled ring forgings. Started as a small hammer shop in Chicago, IL in 1893, Scot Forge has over 100 years of experience, leading the industry as one of the most modern and respected forging companies in the world.   Prior to that Sharon was at Zebra Technologies, Inc. and was responsible for Zebra’s Global IT Organization for over 9 years until she joined the Business Development Team as the Sr. Director of Acquisition Integration responsible for the leadership of integration planning and execution of all functional areas for several newly acquired companies into Zebra Technologies.   Sharon holds a B.S. degree in Computer Information Science and a MBA from Cleveland State University.

Brian Farrar

Brian Farrar has over 20 years of consulting, technology, and investment banking experience. Prior to Maven Wave Partners, Farrar spent 7 years in technology investment banking. Over the course of his career, Farrar has completed merger and capital raising transactions worth in excess of $2 billion. Farrar has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Xpedior Incorporated (NASDAQ: XPDR) a technology consultancy with over $200 million in revenues and 1600 employees serving global 1000 companies. Farrar also served as President and CEO of Metamor Technologies, a systems integration and software consulting firm with revenues in excess of $80 million. Farrar’s consulting work has achieved recognition by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, and Wired magazine. Farrar is a published author with 6 books on technology related topics distributed in 6 languages worldwide.

Sam Ferguson

Mr. Ferguson has been employed by the Village of Schaumburg since 1998 and was hired as Schaumburg's first Director of Information of Technology.  He worked as the Village of Palatine's first Director of Information Technology from 1989 to 1998.  In his director roles, Sam brought together various islands of departmental technology to form cooperative enterprise technology organizations capitalizing on standards, establishing policies, and information technology governance providing a clear direction for municipal technology. The last two years Schaumburg’s IT Team worked to implement over 25 ERP modules in a 19 month timeframe. Mr. Ferguson has been the president for the Illinois chapter of Government Management Information Sciences (GMIS) and has held all officer roles of International GMIS, culminating in the president’s position in 2000/2001.  Currently Sam serves as the GMIS International Treasurer.  Mr. Ferguson has been recognized in the northwest suburbs as having one of the top technology organizations in the metropolitan area.  The Village of Schaumburg has been recognized 5 times as a one of the top 10 digital municipalities in the nation by the Center for Digital Government.  Mr. Ferguson holds a M.S. in Administration from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, a B.A., with departmental honors, from Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL, and graduated from the U.S. Army Computer Science School, Indianapolis, IN.

Praveen Gupta

Praveen is the author of several books including Business Innovation in the 21st Century, The Innovation Solution, A Complete and Balanced Service Scorecard, and Stat Free Six Sigma.

Praveen teaches Innovation classes at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Illinois, Chicago. As a Director of the Center for Innovation Science and Applications at IIT School of Applied Technology he is leading advances in innovation science. Praveen’s company, Accelper Consulting, offers training and consulting in Six Sigma and Innovation.

Praveen frequently speaks at conferences or meetings internationally on the topics of Six Sigma, Process Excellence, Business Scorecard, and Business Innovation. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Innovation Science.

Mark Hattas

Mark Hattas co-founded Geneca in 1998 as a young, 26-year old entrepreneur. Today, as Geneca’s CEO, he is at the helm of one of the fastest growing IT services firms in the Chicago region.  Geneca is a trusted technology partner to many Fortune 1000 companies and a destination workplace for Chicago’s brightest IT professionals. Mark is a charismatic leader widely respected for his commitment to his clients, employees, community, and family.  With a career largely devoted to raising the bar on the delivery standards of IT services firms, Mark and his team work passionately to help IT organizations predictability deliver business value. Mark is an active member of the Board of Directors for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, i.c.stars, and the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation. He is the recipient of a Young Executives Award and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist. He has led Geneca to its receipt of  numerous awards including the Inc. 5000, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Workplace Excellence Award, and Crains Best Workplaces.  Mark is an invited speaker on topics such as Generational Theory, business and innovation strategy, and the role of IT in delivering business value.

Larry Kallembach

Larry Kallembach is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of MB Financial Bank. MB Financial a Chicago based bank with assets of $11.5 billion. Spanning over thirty years Larry’s banking career includes expertise in operations, payment systems, information management and technology, risk management, and mergers including FDIC acquisitions. As CIO at MB Financial his corporate-wide responsibilities include the direction and management of all information technology systems, bank operations, payments and payment systems and the bank’s enterprise risk management systems. His effective leadership is a product of his strategic thinking and interpersonal communication skills. Larry is a former National Board Member of the American Institute of Banking (AIB), and former Chairman of the Illinois Bankers Operations and Technology committee.  Larry currently serves as the Chairman of the FiServe-Signature User Strategic Direction Committee and is a member of the Illinois Bankers Association Board of Directors.  He has taught Finance and Economics at Parkland College and he is a periodic speaker and lecturer for various organizations including the University of Illinois. Larry holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Indiana University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois.

Michael Kozlowski

Mike is the CIO for Rust-Oleum, Inc.  He has been a Vice President or Director in IT for 25 years.  For the last 7 years, he has led the Rust-Oleum IT organization, building a new staff on his arrival to support their just-installed SAP system.  Prior to that, he was Director of  IT for the Gas Research Institute where he re-invigorated the IT staff, directed a PeopleSoft system implementation, and helped the organization migrate their mentality and culture from a federally-funded institution to operating on a for-profit basis.  A substantial part of Mike’s experience spanned 20 years with Keebler Company as Applications Development Manager, Director of Customer Service and Computer Operations, and Director of Sales Information Systems. The last notable segment was his involvement in their very challenging SAP implementation, a 2 year plus, $50MM effort.  At that time it was, world-wide, the highest transaction volume SAP implementation to date.  One of his key experiences as Director of Sales Information Systems was that he reported to the VP of Sales, and thus Mike dealt with the Keebler IT department from a user perspective for 7 years.

Bruce Massel

Bruce Massel is the Vice President of Information Technology and the Project Management Office at Fidelitone Logistics.  Bruce has more than 23 years of information technology leadership, management and consulting experience with mid-sized distribution companies. In addition to his IT experience, Bruce also has more than 6 years of operations, sales and web marketing management experience. His career has progressed from a technical programmer to a hands-on business leader in the implementation of innovative and practical technology solutions.  He has led IT departments as CIO in multiple industries after beginning his career at Coopers & Lybrand as an EDP auditor before becoming the practice lead for the Midwest Middle Market IT Consulting Services. Bruce earned his BS in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Masters of Management in Marketing and International Business from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Chris Nabinger

Chris has served as CIO for numerous public companies including: Polycom, Infospace, Phillips Electronics, and Skytel, as well as private companies such as Netcom and Masergy.  Chris has also served as CEO of mobile telecom focused start up Soniya Technology International.  He currently serves as an Executive Partner at Gartner advising CIOs on strategic issues.

John Phillips

John Phillips is an information technology executive with over 28 years of professional experience at publicly traded and privately held companies. His accountabilities and expertise include information systems strategy, daily operations, and organizational alignment. John is currently serving as the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Briggs Medical Service Company and its subsidiaries (Briggs Corporation, Briggs Medical Supply, Mabis, Duromed, and OmniMed). Previous positions include the CIO of Uline in Waukegan, Illinois,. the Corporate Director (CIO) of Information Technology & Services at Trinity Industries in Dallas, Texas, the CIO of a US Freightway’s reverse logistics subsidiary in Dallas, Texas, the Director (CIO) of Management Information Systems for PrimeSource Building Products in Carrollton, Texas, and progression through several levels of management at Frito-Lay and Texas Instruments. John has a Master of Arts degree in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Dallas.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University with a major in Computer Science. John is active in several professional societies and organizations, and is the Chairman of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM), a position he held in the Dallas Chapter. John has published articles in Handheld PC Magazine and Internet Week, and has been a guest speaker at many industry events including the Micro Focus International Users Conference, Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference, and Gartner’s regional client briefings.

Lac Tran
Lac Tran is Senior Vice President and CIO of Information Services at Rush University Medical Center.  He speaks widely on CIO and healthcare topics.

Grant Vankerk

Grant Vankerk is a Senior Solutions Consulting Manager for Hitachi Data Systems. Grant has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, having served as a Field Service Engineer, International Tech Support Specialist, Systems Engineer, Pre-sales Support Engineer and Technology Acquisitions Specialist. Grant has previously worked for Cambex Corporation, StorageTek, and EMC, with responsibilities for Mainframe Memory products. Grant was also involved with the introduction of the first Symmetrix systems.

John B. (Jack) Wright
For more than thirty years, Jack has marketed, sold, and managed companies in their successful initial development and subsequent wide-range marketing of new products. Educated in economics at Fordham University and with a graduate degree in business policy from Columbia University, Jack moved from sales and sales management of tangible products for 3M and The Mennen Company to lead in marketing more complex financial products now used daily throughout the world. More than two decades ago, as Vice President of New Product Implementation for Chase Manhattan Bank’s Treasury Department, Jack created and implemented plans for new treasury products, accelerating new product introductions and aggressively pursuing new sales opportunities, resulting in more than 35 new products introduced in record-breaking time with outstanding revenue results. Later, in a similar position at Chemical Bank, he created global standards for a single worldwide trading system to network trading positions in New York, Tokyo, Geneva, and London. In 1987, Jack moved into the credit card industry, first for MasterCard, then for CNA. As President of the Travelers Cheque business at MasterCard, he increased sales 38% in one year and simultaneously reduced operating costs by 17% by redesigning core business, financial, and administrative processes. He then expanded the business globally and negotiated its sale to Thomas Cook. At CNA where Jack was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Risk Management Group, in one six-month period, he increased new customer acquisition by 400% and then designed a PC-based business proposal system to tailor customer proposals by both industry and product. In the last decade, Jack has entered the dot com arena for an internet start up. He developed a unique marketing plan to introduce DoxIt™, a means of safely and securely transmitting information across the Internet, for Netdox. He also consulted with Progressive Coatings Technologies, Inc. to develop their business strategy and marketing plan for advanced technology start-up. As a student of cognitive psychology at both the undergraduate and graduate level, Jack has grown to understand its substantial contribution in business and has practiced its application for more than 30 years during his business career. 12 years ago, after significant additional formal training, Jack switched his emphasis from building high performance executive teams to applying cognitive psychology for business clients to raise the performance of their executives and to build high performance teams. Jack contributes his expertise in cognitive/behavioral change for executives and executive teams, as well as in new product development, marketing and strategy. He is a major contributor to The American Institute’s projects and clients. The American Institute of Learning and Cognitive Development, Inc. is a leader in the fields of leadership development, human capital assessment and development.