2017 Featured Speakers

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Using Technology

Brian Conley photo

Brian Conley

Information Technology Director, Bryan County Commissioners

Brian Conley is the Internet Technology Director for Bryan County, Georgia. He began as the first employee in that position, and currently has grown to a team of three in the last 15 years. He has certifications in A+, CCNA, and MCP. Brian was presented with a public service award in 2010 from Coastal Health District and contributes to community service. The county district is divided in North and South ends by an Army Base, and he keeps both ends connected together. He oversees GIS, hardware, software, networking, and his current role is project planning and management. He always looks for new innovative ways that use technology for county and system improvement. Brian strongly believes in “work smarter, not harder.”


I will demonstrate how technology was implemented to aid in the Hurricane Matthew disaster cleanup process for our county. We used geo-tagging images of all damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. The images were collected from citizens and county employees. A drone and social media was instrumental in our data collection. Our team imported them into an interactive GIS map and made it available for GEMA and FEMA. This map located the most damaged areas in order to prioritize debris removal. Team building and department relationships will be emphasized for the success of this project. Disaster awareness and preparedness will be discussed from the IT perspective.

Reaching Your Next Summit: 7 Vertical Lessons & 1 Essential Question to Lead With Impact, Regardless of Your Title

Manley Feinberg - Keynote Speaker

Vertical Lessons

Manley is recognized as an award winning international keynote speaker, business leader, and author. He served two terms as the President of the National Speakers Association, St. Louis chapter; and is a member of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Leadership Development Staff.

During Manley’s eleven years with Build-A-Bear Workshop, his leadership direction helped take the revolutionary retail concept from 40 stores to over 400 worldwide, realizing revenue growth from 55 million to over 474 million, and a successful IPO on the NYSE. He built an award winning reputation for implementing business solutions and support that produced measurable results every day. Manley’s leadership influence contributed to a workplace culture that landed Build-A-Bear on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® List four years in a row. It is this expertise that he shares by applying lessons learned in business and adventures to life’s daily challenges.


Professionals often struggle to deliver more value under tightening business constraints and rising expectations. Add the complications of regulations, engaging a multi-generational work force, constantly evolving technology, economic pressure, plus the chaos of day to day life, and you have a serious challenge.

Manley’s Reaching Your Next Summit keynote will help equip you to lead on the edge and realize more in your life and work every day.

You will gain tools you can use immediately to develop a leadership mindset that engages, equips and inspires both you and your team members to step up and lead regardless of title. Expect team members to build relationships and serve beyond vertical and horizontal boundaries in their environment. Collaboration is just the beginning. With more accountability and increased commitment, you will see results you can measure.

Public Safety Consolidation

Laura Gonzales photoLaura Gonzales

CIO Retired

Laura was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. She attended Southern Methodist University and obtained Bachelors' degrees in Business Administration and English. During college she received scholarships to study in Spain and at Oxford University in England as well as performing volunteer work with Amigos de las Americas in Ecuador. She attended Webster University and received a Masters' in Computer Resource and Information Management and subsequently began a career spanning over 20 years in public sector Information Technology. She was Chair of the Board for REDI Net, a project to bring a fiber backbone to Northern New Mexico. She is on the curriculum committee for the Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science for Northern New Mexico College, has worked with UNMLA on their Information Technology curriculum and on a grant for their Information Technology program. Laura believes in striving to improve your own skills and in pursuit of that belief has become a certified Project Management Professional and a Certified Government Chief Information Officer. She recently retired as CIO of Los Alamos County. She occasionally consults for different agencies within the State of NM and is President-Elect of the PMI Otowi Bridge Chapter.

Mel Lee photoMel Lee

CIO, NM Department of Public Safety

Melvin Lee an Air Force veteran began his civilian career in technology after separating from the military by proceeding to work in the education sector as an IT Director for the Albuquerque Public Schools for 14 years before taking a leap into state government as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Department of Public Safety.

In regards to education, Melvin Lee have a Bachelors Science Business Administration, Masters Business Administration in Technology Management and currently a Ph.D. candidate in pursuit of a specialization degree in Information Systems Management.


The State of New Mexico Department of Public Safety is in the process of implementing a computer aided dispatch system for both State Police, federal and local jurisdictions. The coordination, outreach and logistics of this endeavor have been complex to say the least. The resulting dispatch system will improve the response to incidents and knowledge sharing across New Mexico. The first step in this process was the political will to share data. The project started as an individual agency project, but State Police Chief Kassetas had the vision to see the value of a shared system throughout the State. This presentation will take the audience through the process of implementing the system, while at the same time bringing on additional agencies, setting the governance for future agencies to join, creating a statewide routable map and going live.

Municipal Drone Operations

Ben Roper photoBen Roper

IT Director, City of College Station

Ben Roper is a native Texan who hails from Clifton, Texas. Ben graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and worked in industry for two years prior to being commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy He specialized in communications during his last 10 years in the military holding positions of Deputy Director of Command and Control, Communications, Computers and Combat Systems for United States Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, VA; Assistant Chief of Staff for Communications and Information Systems for the United States Sixth Fleet based in Gaeta, Italy; and Satellite Communications Analyst for the Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) Directorate of the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. He served numerous shipboard assignments and was Commanding Officer of the USS RENTZ (FFG-46) based in San Diego, CA. Ben was twice selected by the Navy for the NASA astronaut candidate program as a Mission Specialist. Ben achieved the rank of Captain, and retired from the U. S. Navy with 25 years of service before joining the City of College Station as Assistant IT Director in September 2004. He was selected as Director in June 2007. As IT Director for the City of College Station he is responsible for ensuring that all communications and data infrastructure, systems, applications and equipment support Council Strategic goals, city staff needs, and the delivery of timely and relevant information to citizens. Ben is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, holding dual Master's degrees in Systems Technology (Space System Operations) and Engineering Science. In 2009 he received his MBA from Sam Houston State University. Ben is an active member of the Texas Association of Governmental Information System Managers (TAGITM), previously serving as President, and a member of GMIS. Ben and his wife, Patricia, have three children, Matthew, a 2006 graduate of Texas A&M University, Christopher, and Sean


The City of College Station has developed a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) program. The UAS will be used by various city departments when surveillance and enhanced situational awareness is needed, or when it may be hazardous to send personnel to the scene. Examples may include critical incident surveillance, hostage situations, search and rescue, hazardous spill response (i.e. derailment), and inspection of vertical surfaces and inaccessible locations. This presentation describes the process and procedures needed to obtain FAA approval for operations, and progress to date on developing this concept.

Getting your Town Started on Social Media with No Budget and One Person

Christina Rothman-Iliff photo

Christina Rothman-Iliff

Manager, Municipality of Princeton

Christina Rothman-Iliff, Manager - Access Princeton, has had an extensive career in Princeton supporting the community. As a 9-1-1 Communications Officer for the Princeton Township Police Department, Christina created a training program for Communications Officers encompassing hiring, training and continuing education programs for the Communications staff. She also was responsible for the daily supervision of operations within the Communications Bureau. In May of 2014 a Municipal call center was formed in Princeton, in collaboration with a vendor, to provide on line reporting of non-emergency problems in town as well as information on all Municipal services in Princeton. Christina took on the role of managing this new Department and was charged with the task of getting it up and running. This very important service, Access Princeton, was created to provide an avenue for handling questions and concerns from residents, visitors, and businesses. As a liaison, Christina coordinated efforts with the Municipal Departments to get these issues addressed. Access Princeton has validated the growing trend of citizen engagement and customer service and Christina can be credited with its success. Christina continues to focus her energies on engaging the community though social media accounts for the town such as Twitter and Facebook.


Social media is a way of life. Not only is it a source of information it is also a way of communicating. This can be frightening for government agencies as it is unfamiliar territory. It opens up a new way of communicating with constituents that is terrifying! Is it that hard to create a Twitter account or make a Facebook page? Who will monitor it? These are questions a lot of governments have when trying to decide if social media is right for them. All are valid concerns especially for a government. The truth is getting started on social media can be an added benefit to all the other services provided and Princeton did it with one person.

Can you get your town on social media alone? Yes you can.

Where to start? Consider your demographics. Who do you want to reach? What are people using? What are they using it for? What message do you want to send? Pick a platform and run with it. Facebook is always a good start, easy to set up the pages, get verified, minimal limits on posting. Use the technology offered on the platforms-live stream on Facebook, Periscope posts to twitter.

Comments! What do we do if they actually comment on something? Make a policy and post it. Linked it from our Twitter page (only allowed 140 characters to describe the town) and posted it in notes on Facebook.

What about staff? Who can post, what can they post? Again, make a policy. Work with a committee of key staff (CIO, Administrator, legal) and have a policy in place on use of social media, personal and town pages.

Policy - Before going live, make that policy. Include archiving posts, approval process, and content. Inform staff of the policy.

Finding al-Qaeda

Cynthia Storer photo

Cynthia Storer - Keynote Speaker

Former CIA Senior Counterterrorism Analyst

Cynthia Storer, formerly a Senior Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, was among the “sisterhood” of analysts who first identified and warned about al-Qaeida in the mid-1990s. Cindy was featured, and talks about this part of her career, in the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary Manhunt. As an analyst at CIA, Cindy also researched, wrote, and briefed about Afghanistan, Islamic Extremism, and various other aspects of the “War on Terror” to senior policymakers. Her original model for understanding terrorism was featured as one of the Best Ideas of 2006 by the New York Times Magazine. Since leaving the CIA in 2007, Cindy has been a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, provided analysis training and education to US federal, state, and local agencies, and taught intelligence and terrorism courses at Coastal Carolina University. She is currently an adjunct instructor at John’s Hopkins University and is consulting with the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.


Cindy tells the inside story of how analysts partnered with information specialists and evolving technology to identify, assess, track, and often thwart al-Qeada, and the challenges of communicating the threat to a skeptical audience.

Intentional Leadership

Carolyn Yon

Carolyn Yon

Application Development Manager, Richland County Government

With 25 years in Information Technology and 10 years in the Agile space where she has led multiple award-winning teams, Carolyn Yon is also a Certified John Maxwell Team Leadership speaker, teacher and coach. She is passionate about taking good to great, and helping individuals and organizations create an environment where excellence is repeatable and reproduceable.


Growth of any kind doesn't just happen naturally. It takes intentional action to bring together the elements needed to cultivate a climate in which creative, smart people can thrive and grow into their leadership strengths. Come along as we learn the action steps needed to create such a climate for yourself and for your teams.

In this session, we’ll discuss the differences between leadership and management and why it’s important for an organization to know the difference. We’ll walk through the “Five A’s Inventory” to assess what the organization needs in order to fulfill its purpose, and identify those leadership candidates who get things done and are ready, willing and able to take on the responsibility of leadership.

We’ll dive into the specific action steps and along-the-way guidelines for the process of equipping and developing those candidates into Leaders, and creating a framework for aligning Leaders and their teams. While we work in a hard-skill, technological world and the process of cultivating technical skills may be something that we’re used to, in some ways, the process for cultivating soft skills can be similar and we’ll see how we can leverage what we already know, and how to supplement what we don’t.

The session will culminate in a blueprint for developing Leaders, aligning their strengths to organizational purpose, and structuring teams for sustainable organic growth.

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