With mounting cybersecurity concerns as the driving factor for both the Federal government’s ongoing migration to zero trust architectures – and the quickening pace of broader IT modernization efforts necessary to meet today’s sophisticated threats – it’s time to recognize the women and men on the front lines of the security push.

That’s why MeriTalk is delighted to introduce the 40 security stalwarts in our 2023 class of Cyber Defenders!

Both within government and the private sector, this year’s winners lead the teams at the cutting edge of improving security, resilience, training, and development. Some are names you might already know, and others are joining the ranks of the security professionals who we should all know for their leading roles in protecting government systems from the worst that attackers have to throw at them.

Just as importantly, the Cyber Defenders 2023 honorees stand in for the many thousands of people who work with them, and support them, in the creation of next-generate security.

Drum roll, please…

From the Federal government, the 2023 Cyber Defenders are:

Cesar Alzaga, Technical Advisor, 834 Cyberspace Operations Squadron, U.S. Air Force;

Hemant Baidwan, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Homeland Security;

Al Bowden, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Cyber Operations, Department of State;

Sean Connelly, Senior Cybersecurity Architect and Trusted Internet Connections Program Manager, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency;

Ja’Nelle DeVore, Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Agriculture;

Leila Doumanis, Commander, Combat Support Team, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command;

Jennifer Franks, Director, IT & Cybersecurity, Government Accountability Office;

Patrick Gould, Director, Cyber Portfolio, Defense Innovation Unit;

Greg Hall, Assistant Director & Chief Information Security Officer, Executive Office for the United States Attorneys’, OCIO, Cybersecurity Staff, Department of Justice;

Lilian Herrera, Mobile Services Manager, Cybersecurity Shared Services Office (CSSO), CISA;

Ryan Higgins, Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Commerce;

Matt House, Program Manager, Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, CISA;

Clarice Kent, Civilian Deputy for Endpoint and Customer Service Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency;

Russell Marsh, Director, Cyber Operations, National Nuclear Security Administration

Jarrod Neely, Cyber Readiness Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;

Randy Resnick, Director, DoD Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office, CIO, Department of Defense;

Dr. Jay Ribeiro, Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Transportation;

Antonino Scimemi, Division Head, Cybersecurity Assessments, Department of Homeland Security;

Joseph Sharon, Director, CDM Program Management Office, OCIO/EOD, Department of Homeland Security;

Lynette Sherrill, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Security and Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs;

Craig Taylor, Chief Information Security Officer, Food and Drug Administration;

Rosa Underwood, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor (Acting), Security Solutions Architect, General Services Administration;

Michael Williams, Branch Chief, Network and Security Operations, OCIO, Nuclear Regulatory Commission;

And, from industry:

Will Ash, Senior Director, U.S. Public Sector Security Sales, Cisco;

Gary Barlet, Federal Chief Technology Officer, Illumio;

Frank Catucci, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Security Research, Invicti;

Cameron Chereh, Vice President and General Manager, Public Sector, Intel Corp.

Michelle Clays, Senior Program Director, Peraton;

Justin DePalmo, Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer, General Dynamics Information Technology;

Dave DeWalt, Founder, CEO and Managing Director, NightDragon;

Drew Epperson, Sr. Director Federal Engineering, Palo Alto Networks;

Gregory Garrett, Vice President, Cybersecurity, Peraton;

Steve Hoffman, President, Fortinet Federal;

Tom Kennedy, Vice President, Axonius Federal Systems;

John Nemoto, Vice President, CGI Federal;

Bill Rucker, President, Trustwave Government Solutions;

Drew Schnabel, General Manager, U.S. Government Solutions, Zscaler;

Miguel Sian, Senior Vice President, Technology, Merlin Cyber;

Scott Smith, Principal, Cybersecurity, EY; and

Michael Weigand, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Shift5.

Celebrate the Cyber Defenders on May 17 and May 18

We will recognize awardees during Cyber Central, which takes place at the District Winery in Washington D.C., on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17. This is the 7th Cyber Central event and includes programming exploring the National Cybersecurity Strategy, its opportunities, and challenges for public and private sector organizations along with a networking reception recognizing this year’s winners.

On May 18, MeriTalk’s Cyber Smoke reception takes place at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. with a VIP reception starting at 4:30 p.m. that will also recognize the 2023 Cyber Defenders. It is followed by the main networking event from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

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MeriTalk Staff