WV Coding & Cyber Summit Focuses On Advances Made, Opportunities To Come
Featuring presenters from global technology giants like Intuit and Northrop Grumman, along with cyber experts from federal, state and local agencies, the Third Annual West Virginia Coding & Cyber Summit highlighted the challenges posed by cybersecurity threats while showcasing how the state’s tech industry is capitalizing on the incredible opportunities they create to grow West Virginia’s knowledge sector and digital economy.
Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect West Virginia, the event host, said, “The Coding & Cyber Summit highlighted the threats we face both nationally and here in West Virginia, showcased initiatives by our colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of coding and cybersecurity workers, and discussed the job opportunities in the field by major industry players.”
Keynote presenter Bernard McKay, Chief Policy Officer and Vice President Global Corporate Affairs, for Intuit, discussed the company’s mission of “powering prosperity” through its products and services as well as its actions. He noted the “prosperity hubs” that the company has established in the U.S. and abroad, and specifically the recently announced operation in Bluefield, West Virginia. Establishing these operations has resulted in bringing 1,500 jobs to the U.S. He also highlighted the company’s programs to grow financial literacy among youth and adults. And, he discussed the transformational impact that Intuit chairman and Mountain State-native Brad Smith has had on the company by encouraging it to be a catalyst for change.
Major General James Hoyer detailed the great lengths the WV National Guard has gone to in highlighting the need for cybersecurity preparedness on the national and state level. He discussed the critical infrastructure protection model developed by the WV National Guard that has since become a national model within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He highlighted plans to recruit Guardsmen and women to come to West Virginia to work in cyber. And, he drove home the point that West Virginians have the talent, experience and determination to compete in the cybersecurity industry.
Several state leaders addressed the group. Senate President Mitch Carmichael stated, “West Virginia is undergoing an economic revitalization thanks, in great part, to our rapidly growing technology industry”. Michael Graney, Executive Director of the WV Development Office, highlighted the opportunities cybersecurity and technology provide the state and mentioned that the state has several big opportunities, in a variety of sectors, right around the corner. Joshua Spence, Chief Technology Officer for the WV Office of Technology, helped open the event and discussed the amazing potential that technology offers the world and West Virginia.
The event featured several informative panels highlighting how government agencies collaborate to secure citizen data, employment opportunities in the cybersecurity sector in west Virginia, and, how partnerships and investments by our institutions of higher education are advancing cybersecurity education, training and the workforce.
The event featured high caliber, industry experts from across the country and here in West Virginia, to include:
- Bernard F. McKay, Chief Policy Officer and VP Global Corporate Affairs, Intuit
- The Honorable Mitch Carmichael, President, West Virginia Senate
- Major General James A. Hoyer, The Adjutant General of West Virginia
- Joshua Spence, Chief Technology Officer, WV Office of Technology
- Randy Bishop, Chief Technology Officer, IIA Technologies
- Jim Cratty, Chief of Protective Security, CISA, DHS
- Michele Lantz, Systems Engineering Manager, Northrop Grumman
- Matt Turner, WV Higher Education Policy Commission
- Danielle Cox, Chief Information Security Officer, WV Office of Technology
- Dave Tackett, Chief Information Officer, WV Secretary of State
- Don Peal, Director of Information Technology, City of Charleston
- Nancy Ligus, WV Community & Technical College System
- John Sammons, Marshall University
- Brian Woerner, West Virginia University
Event sponsors included: Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, High Technology Foundation, Marshall University Digital Forensics and Information Assurance Program, NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Northrop Grumman, University of Charleston, West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, West Virginia University, Allegheny Science & Technology, and TMC Technologies of West Virginia.