Fall 2012 Internet2 Member Meeting

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Speaker Details

Don Welch

ORG Merit Network, Inc. Title President and CEO of Merit Network BIO Dr. Donald J. Welch has been the President and CEO of Merit Network, Inc. since joining Merit in July 2006. In 2010 Merit won $103 million in grants towards a $130 million project to build network infrastructure throughout rural areas of Michigan. In 2010 he was named the "Grant Thornton/Lawrence Tech Leader and Innovator of the Year" as well as one of Michigan's Top CEOs by Corp! Magazine. In 2012 he was honored by the White House as a "Champion of Change" for leading one of the best infrastructure projects funded by the Recovery Act. Prior to his arrival at Merit, Don was the Director of Enterprise Technology (CTO) and Merchandising Applications for H-E-B, a $12 B retailer in Texas and Mexico. He had responsibility for enterprise architecture, integration, infrastructure and security as well as delivering and supporting Merchandising applications. In addition, he created H-E-B's Technology Innovation Store, where new technology was developed and piloted in a working store. Before joining H-E-B, he served for 25 years in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Colonel and earning the Legion of Merit for his service. His last assignment was as the Associate Dean for Information Technology (CIO) and Professor of Computer Science at West Point. He was responsible for the computer operations and infrastructure used to educate future Army officers. He built West Point's wireless network, one of the first large and secure wireless networks, which was the recipient of a Computerworld "Best Practices in Mobile and Wireless" award for security. He is also a recipient of the Apgar Award for innovation in teaching for his work in the classroom. Among his other Army assignments, Don was the Chief of Software Engineering for the Army's counterterrorist unit, Delta Force. In this role he oversaw the integration of numerous applications into an enterprise database as well as pioneering technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and digital maps. He has also been the senior human resources manager for the Army's professional information technology workforce, where he helped to reshape the officers to better meet a changed approach to information technology. While at West Point, he taught computer science, information technology, and information warfare at the undergraduate level. At the start of his Army career he commanded two light infantry companies and three infantry platoons. He has been active in information assurance and software engineering research with over 25 publications and a dozen invited talks in those disciplines. He is a frequent speaker on networking, regional networks and related topics. He is involved in the research and education community in many ways. He is a member of the Educause and Internet2 Network Council, a think tank on advanced network and technology for research and education. He is the Vice Chair of the Internet2 External Relations Advisory Council and a member of the Internet2 Council of Officers. He was elected to the Executive Committee for the Quilt (Research and Education Network Association) Board of Directors and is the Vice Chair of the State and Regional Network Roundtable. He has contributed to the FCC National Broadband Plan published in 2010 and the State of Michigan's Cyber Security Strategy published in 2011. He has earned the Army's Ranger Tab and Paratrooper Wings. Dr. Welch received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, a M.S. in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and he earned the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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