Speaker Series

In support of our teaching, research, and service missions, the College continues the Speaker Series for the 2018-2019 academic year.  As a further outreach commitment to students, faculty, and the extended community, the Speaker Series is open to the public. The presentations in the Speaker Series provide opportunities for sharing both cutting-edge  information from noted researcher in various fields as well as experience and timely insights from community leaders. 

For more information, please contact Joseph Kizza, Associate Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science at joseph-kizza@utc.edu



Tim Barnes

April 16th, - 3:00pm; Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: “Engineering Pathways:  A Real-World Mix of Engineering and Business”

Tim Barnes, Managing Partner, ByteBackers

The College of Engineering and Computer Science is pleased to announce a visit with Tim Barnes for our distinguished speaker series. Tim is currently the Managing Partner for ByteBackers on Atlanta, a database marketing consulting firm specializing in advising businesses in selling to consumer or B2B markets. The company provides expertise in CRM, customer segmentation, marketing analytics, and statistical modeling.

Tim has extensive experience in databased marketing, with particular expertise in B2B marketing. He also possesses broad experience in targeting customers for sales campaigns, focused on statistical propensity to buy modeling and customer segmentation. He has recent experience in the use of web tools for search engine optimization. Industry experience in telecommunications, health insurance and hospital marketing.  His specialties include:

  • Databased marketing
  • Statistical modeling
  • CRM execution
  • SEO Web tools
  • Strategic planning
  • Network design


*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

click to watch the video from guest speaker Hash Hashemian

In case you missed it, here is the video for Tim Barnes' Talk.


John Laudermilk

February 19th, - 2:00pm; Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: “Maximize Your Value with Diverse Experiences and Views"

John Loudermilk, COO Birla Carbon

The College of Engineering and Computer Science is pleased to announce a visit with John Laudermilk for our distinguished speaker series. John Loudermilk is Chief Operating Officer, Birla Carbon, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Over his 25 years of experience in the chemical industry, Mr. Loudermilk has held a variety of leadership positions within Monsanto and Solutia Inc. with responsibilities across Business Management, Manufacturing, Procurement, Sales and Supply Chain. Mr. Loudermilk holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

click to watch the video from guest speaker Hash Hashemian

In case you missed it, here is the video for John Loudermilk's Talk.


Anna George

January 29th, - 3:00pm; Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: “Your Drop Matters: Building a Community of Freshwater Advocates"

Anna George, Tennessee Aquarium Vice President of Conservation Science and Education

If you look beneath the surface of streams and rivers in the southeastern United States, you’ll find an underwater rainforest teeming with life.  More than half of our nation’s salamanders, turtles, fish and frogs make the waters of the Southeast their home. These same rivers also support a rich quality of life, from economic development to recreation and relaxation. Unfortunately, freshwater ecosystems are facing unprecedented challenges, especially here in the Southeast. Our diverse, clean waters are at threat from urbanization and stormwater runoff, overuse of water, and changing weather patterns.  To keep the life in our rivers vibrant, colorful, and healthy, we must take action and demand more from ourselves and our community.  Whether you are an engineer or a biologist, an artist or writer, the choices we make each day have the greatest impact on our backyard.

Bio:  Dr. Anna George, Vice President of Conservation Science and Education at the Tennessee Aquarium, discovered early in life that being a biologist provided a good excuse to be outside.  During her undergraduate and graduate coursework in biology at the University of Virginia and Saint Louis University, she worked in both freshwater and marine systems to study the conservation, ecology, and evolution of fishes. Since joining the Aquarium in 2006, she has led research initiatives in freshwater habitat restoration, species reintroduction, and population genetics in the southeastern United States.  Her enthusiasm for educating scientists and non-scientists alike reflects her passion for collaborative conservation problem-solving.  Anna has taught at Franklin & Marshall College, Mountain Lake Biological Station, the University of the South, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She serves on the Advisory Council for Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Board of Directors for Crabtree Farms.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Tyler KressNovember 16th, - 10:00am; Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic:    “Product Safety Management and The Human Side of Engineering:  Forensics & Manufacturing a Reasonably Safe Product"

Tyler Kress, President & Principal Consultant, BEST Engineering Inc and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech

The presentation will delve into the fascinating world of forensics with some real-world examples of accidents & human trauma/tragedy and their vital relationship to engineering.  Product design, manufacturing, and engineering management will be discussed as they pertain to safety and biomechanics of injury.  The role and responsibilities of the engineer are paramount with respect to designing and manufacturing reasonably safe products, and in understanding injury prevention and human factors/biomechanics.  Legal accountability puts a serious onus on engineers to understand the principles of product safety management, how accidents happen, and how humans interface with products and systems.  Such critical safety principles and requirements are relevant to industry in terms of design, production, and use of their products, and serve as guiding axioms in developing a proper product safety culture.  Anticipating foreseeable hazards, ensuring that there are reasonable design and production processes, understanding the important role of safety validation tests and use-monitoring, along with providing appropriate manuals, training, qualification, and necessary warnings so that hazards are understood are essential in engineering

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

click to watch the video from guest speaker Hash Hashemian

In case you missed it, here is the video for Tyler Kress' Talk.


Hash HashemianNovember 2nd, - 10am, Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: The Future of Energy

Hash Hashemian, President & CEO, AMS Corporation and adjunct professor of nuclear engineering at UTK

Energy, in terms of fuel for transportation and electricity, is in a state of great uncertainty. In the Western world, the demand for electricity has been relatively stable over the last 10 years due to improvements in energy efficiency that were not anticipated a decade ago. This, along with the abundance of in-expensive natural gas has resulted in many coal and nuclear plants shutting down. However, China, India, the Middle East, and Russia are building nuclear plants and natural gas plants at a rapid rate. 

The relationship between energy and the environment has been in a state of flux over the last two decades. There are some that believe climate change and global warming is exacerbated by pollution from transportation and electric power production, and others that think recent climate events are cyclic and would happen naturally regardless of human activities. There is no solid consensus on this issue, especially in the U.S. In 2017, the United States pulled out of the climate agreement reached in Paris, France in 2015 which created a more vigorous debate around the conversation about global warming and greenhouse gasses. This presentation will touch on all these issues and will enlighten the audience as to the dichotomy of energy supply and demand.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

click to watch the video from guest speaker Hash Hashemian

In case you missed it, here is the video for Hash Hashemian's Talk.


Julian BellOctober 11th, - 12:15 p.m., – Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: “After the Engineering Degree: Core Non-Technical Traits that Accelerate Career Success”

Julian Bell is the Executive Vice President of Signal Energy Constructors, one of the top utility scale renewable energy engineering, procurement and construction firms in the United States.

Engineering graduates enter the workforce well prepared to solve complex problems and develop realistic, practical and economical design solutions.  Certainly technical competence, and even mastery, is the foundation for an engineer’s career success.  However, those desiring to chart a career path that goes beyond technical positions and into senior management and leadership roles will need more than excellent engineering skills.   Julian Bell, a 1986 graduate of the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science, will discuss the importance of nine key principles that, when followed, can be instrumental in your career growth and personal development, and can fast-track your progress up the corporate ladder.

Mr. Bell is a Chattanooga native. Throughout his career, Julian has served in a number of diverse roles, but has always stayed close to the construction and land development industries. Before joining Signal Energy in 2006, his 30 year career spanned positions as an attorney, engineer and in construction management. Julian has overseen major contracting and preconstruction activities on over 80 renewable energy projects.  He is experienced in all aspects of utility scale wind and solar projects. He is a frequent writer on renewable energy and construction topics, and a frequent speaker at wind energy conferences and seminars.  Julian has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UTC and a J.D. degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law (1989).

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256


Dr. Ronald ArkinSeptember 7th, - 10:00 a.m., – Maytag Room, EMCS 426*

Topic: “Robots that Need to Mislead: Biologically-inspired Machine Deception”

Dr. Ronald Arkin is the Regents' Professor and is the Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Arkin's research interests include behavior-based reactive control and action-oriented perception for mobile robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, hybrid deliberative/reactive software architectures, robot survivability, multiagent robotic systems, biorobotics, human-robot interaction, robot ethics, and learning in autonomous systems.

What if a robot could mislead you? How deception research is being applied to robotic systems and the ethical implications.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256


Spring 2018 Seminars:

Christopher Kilmartin

March 20th, 3:15 p.m., Benwood Auditorium EMCS 230*

Topic: "The implicit bias and microaggressions that are often targeted at women in the STEM fields and what we can do about it"

Dr. Christopher Kilmartin, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA

Dr. Christopher Kilmartin is an emeritus college professor, author, stand-up comedian, actor, playwright, consultant and professional psychologist.  He retired in 2016 as Professor of Psychology at The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.  He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a great deal of experience consulting with businesses, college students, human services workers, athletic departments, the military, and counselors.   

His major scholarly work is The Masculine Self (5th edition Sloan, 2015, now co-authored by Andrew Smiler), which has also been translated into Korean. He has also co-authored Men’s Violence Against Women: Theory, Research, and Activism, Overcoming Masculine Depression: The Pain behind the Mask: (also translated into Hebrew and Korean; 2nd edition, 2013), and Sexual Assault in Context: Teaching College Men about Gender, a manual based on his consultation experiences. 

Drawing on his background as a professional stand-up comedian, Dr. Kilmartin wrote a solo theatre performance on men's issues entitled Crimes Against Nature.  This work, an integration of his scholarly and performing interests, and performed by the author, has toured to over 150 campuses and other venues for a total of 220 performances.  He is currently touring with a lecture/storytelling/multimedia hybrid entitled Gendered Fictions: The Challenge of Cultural Change.

 Dr. Kilmartin delivered the Keynote address at the NCAA Violence Prevention Summit in 2011 and has also consulted and delivered trainings with the U. S. Department of Education, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the international group, Democratic Control of the Armed Forces.  He served as a consultant for three years with the United States Naval Academy on a revision of sexual assault and harassment prevention curriculum.  He was a scriptwriter for an Army training film on the same topic.  He taught a full semester course on diversity and inclusion for Air Force officers and has delivered several workshops on the same topic.

Dr. Kilmartin was the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Air Force Academy for the academic year 2013-14.  In 2007, he was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, one of only 39 such honors awarded annually worldwide.  He was elected to Fellow Status in the American Psychological Association in 2008 and is a Past President of Division 51 of that organization, the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, which awarded him its Researcher of the Year distinction in 2010.  In 2015, the University of Mary Washington granted him its Professional Achievement Award.  He has been a featured presenter at the National Psychotherapy with Men Conferences.  Dr. Kilmartin is an internationally-recognized expert on gender, violence prevention, diversity, and inclusion.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 230, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Scott C. Pierce

April 12th, 3:00 p.m., Benwood Auditorium EMCS 230*

Topic: "Why do some people advance in their career faster than others?"

Scott C. Pierce, Executive Vice President and COO, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

There a few simple behaviors that will help you progress in your career. These behaviors rarely involve deep technical knowledge or experience within your chosen industry.  It is true that industry knowledge and training are certainly the foundation for a successful career.  However,  most people are successful because of their self-awareness, interpersonal skills, and decisions made early in their careers.    

Scott C. Pierce is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, a company of 5,000 employees serving more than 3.3 million members in the state and across the country.

In this position, Pierce is responsible for the daily management and coordination of the overall operations of the organization, including oversight of clinical operations, provider network and information systems. He also assumes an active role in the development and implementation of long-range plans, goals, and objectives for the organization.

Prior to this position, Pierce was senior vice president of government programs for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. In this position, he was responsible for strategic leadership of the company’s participation in the Medicaid and Medicare Advantage programs. BlueCross serves more than 550,000 Medicaid members under a contract with the state Bureau of TennCare. The company’s Medicare Advantage membership growth during the past two years has exceeded that of all competitors combined.

Pierce joined BlueCross in 2011 as president and CEO of the company’s Medicaid managed care subsidiary, BlueCare Tennessee.

From 2006 to 2011, Pierce served as the chief financial officer and assistant commissioner of the Bureau of TennCare. During his tenure at the bureau, Pierce helped the agency post six consecutive budget surpluses and build reserves to a record level.

Pierce’s other government experience includes service as the budget director for TennCare and budget coordinator for the state Department of Finance and Administration.

Raised in Knoxville, Pierce earned both a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in public administration from the University of Tennessee.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 230, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Previous Seminars (2017-18) 

Dr. Peter Pirkelbauer

March 19th, 2:00 p.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "Petal: Rejuvenation of MPI Applications / Ariadne: Static Analysis Meets Model Checking"

Dr. Peter Pirkelbauer, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

In the first part, I will present Petal, a prototype tool that uses compiler-analysis to automate code transformations to hide communication costs behind computation by replacing blocking MPI functions with corresponding nonblocking and persistent collective operations while maintaining a legacy applications’ correctness. Petal transforms point-to-point and collective MPI operations to their nonblocking and persistent counterparts. Depending on system scale and problem size, the transformations yield a speedup of up to a factor of two.

A second part of the talk will revisit model checking as a means to verify the correctness of concurrent software. While model checking is a powerful tool, scalability remains a challenging problem due to the combinatorial explosion of the state space. To circumvent that, I will present a tool that translates a static analyzer’s reports of suspected race conditions to instrumentation that can be exploited by a model checker (Java Pathfinder). I will provide details of the instrumentation algorithm and present experimental results.

Bio: Dr. Peter Pirkelbauer is an assistant professor in the department of Computer Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his PhD from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Parasol Laboratory. From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Pirkelbauer was a postdoctoral researcher in the ROSE team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His research focuses on static and dynamic program analysis systems, source code rejuvenation of MPI programs, and nonblocking software design. His research has been funded by NSF and Google.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. Jeffrey Cornett

March 9th, 10:00 a.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "Oak Ridge National Lab Capabilities"

Dr. Jeffrey B. Cornett, Manager, Industrial and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. ORNL’s diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace. ORNL supports DOE’s national missions of:

  • Scientific discovery—We assemble teams of experts from diverse backgrounds, equip them with powerful instruments and research facilities, and address compelling national problems;
  • Clean energy—We deliver energy technology solutions for energy-efficient buildings, transportation, and manufacturing, and we study biological, environmental, and climate systems in order to develop new biofuels and bioproducts and to explore the impacts of climate change;
  • Security—We develop and deploy “first-of-a-kind” science-based security technologies to make the world a safer place.

Jeff Cornett has served on the Industrial & Economic Development Partnership team for the last 8 years. Prior to joining Oak Ridge National Lab he served in leadership roles for 9 years in private industry. He was the President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Safe Skies Alliance (Safe Skies), with responsibilities for developing collaborative relationships with aviation related technology-based industries, universities, and national labs. During this time Cornett also spent time as a risk consultant with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS Consulting) assigned to projects with the Department of Homeland Security, Railroad Research Foundation, maritime port operators, and numerous chemical industry clients such as chemical manufacturers, oil & gas refineries, paper product manufacturers, and special material manufacturers assisting them with government regulatory compliance.

Prior to becoming an executive with Safe Skies, Cornett spent 9 years in DOE Oak Ridge Protective Services with both Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and Wackenhut Services-Oak Ridge. Throughout this period he served in several security capacities; tactical response, computing and telecommunications, and management/implementation of the performance testing program.

Mr. Cornett has extensive experience performing operational evaluations of security technology components, systems, and personnel as well as performing risk and vulnerability analyses of implemented or concept systems. His diverse background represents a unique blend of operational, technical, and managerial skills that provide practical solutions for the issues facing industry, communities, and government. Mr. Cornett holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management (MAOM) from Tusculum College.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497


Dr. Amy Elliott

February 23rd, 10:00 a.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "The Science of Additive Manufacturing and
What the Future Holds"

Amy M. Elliott, Associate Research Staff, Oak Ridge National Lab’s (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF)

Additive manufacturing (AM) holds the promise of being a low-cost, high-production, high-performance process that is changing the world of manufacturing. From its beginning in the early 1980s to its current state, AM has developed into multiple technologies for complex layer-by-layer part production. Hod Lipson’s 10 principles of additive manufacturing further demonstrate the vast abilities of AM. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility makes the most of these principles by using several AM processes in partnering with industries to produce complex, inexpensive parts for the advancement of manufacturing technology.

Amy Elliott completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic and State University in 2014 studying a variety of additive manufacturing technologies. She began her career at ORNL in April 2014 as a Post-Doctoral researcher focusing on inkjet-based additive manufacturing. At the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF), Dr. Elliott leads research in binder jetting technology, which includes fluid binder development, process parameter optimization, printed casting mold optimization, and sintering of metals and ceramics. Her research focuses on strategic materials and technologies for binder jet additive manufacturing. Dr. Elliott has shown extensive leadership capabilities in directing multiple projects for DOE and private industry through a number of funding arrangements, including Work for Others and cooperative research and development agreements. Dr. Elliott has one issued patent and other patents pending.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. Mark Yampolskiy

February 22nd, 2:00 p.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "Security of Additive Manufacturing: Threats and Research Opportunities"

Mark Yampolskiy, Assistant Professor,  School of Computing University of South Alabama

Industry 4.0 envisions a fully automated Factory of the Future, in which computerized and inter-networked manufacturing equipment performs all tasks. Additive Manufacturing (AM), a.k.a. 3D printing, is one of the crown jewels of this vision. AM is a rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry that is increasingly used to manufacture functional parts, including components of safety critical systems in the aerospace, automotive, and other industries. However, reliance on the IT infrastructure and the high degree of computerization of the manufacturing machines make AM susceptible to a variety of cyber and cyber-physical attacks, particularly sabotage.

AM Security is a fairly new and highly inter-disciplinary field of research that aims to address the novel threats emerging for this manufacturing technology. This talk will provide an introduction to the field. Focusing on AM sabotage, one of the identified threat categories, Dr. Mark Yampolskiy will cover research performed by his own and other research teams. The talk will first present an overview of attacks shown in the literature, distinguishing between Attack Vectors, Compromised Elements, Manipulations, and Effects. Then newly proposed approaches will be outlined that aim to harden AM against threats. Selected attacks and defense measures proposed by Dr. Yampolskiy’s research team will be discussed in more detail.

Mark Yampolskiy received Ph.D. in Computer Science from Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany. He currently holds an Assistant Professor position at the University of South Alabama.

Since his post-doctoral appointment at Vanderbilt University 2012-2013, Mark Yampolskiy is performing research on Security of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Mark Yampolskiy was among the researchers who pioneered Security of Additive Manufacturing (AM, a.k.a. 3D Printing) around 2014. AM Security remains his major research interest ever since. His work is predominantly associated with two threat categories, sabotage of 3D-printed functional parts and theft of intellectual property. He has numerous publications in the field, ranging from attacks on/with AM up to novel approaches for the detection of such attacks.

In order to address the challenges of this highly interdisciplinary research field, Mark Yampolskiy actively collaborates with experts from different disciplines. His major collaboration partners are affiliated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Auburn University (AU), Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. Shayne Champion

February 5th, 2:00 p.m., Maytag Conference Room, EMCS 426

Topic: "Information Security Careers: Pathfinding on the Digital Battlefield"

Shayne Champion, Cyber Security Professional

Information security is now a household term, but this was not always so.  Early adopters of computing in both the personal and professional realms would not have recognized the term nor would they recognize any of the skills such as they existed as a career field.  How and why has that changed?  Is information security important to every member of the modern workforce, or is it just the prevue of aspiring CISOs?

This presentation will discuss the education, career path, and skills one practitioner has undertaken in their path from the early 1990s and the public flourishing of the internet to the modern digital battlefield we all work, study, and live within.  What are the critical steps towards developing yourself as a cyber security professional?  What illusions could impact your ability to get a job in information security?  What are the hard technical and soft skills needed to survive in the modern digital security field?  This discussion will delve into those issues and help you understand what the profession has become in order that you might more quickly navigate your own career progression.  As the Romans were fond of saying, “a fool learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

With over 20 years of Information Technology (IT) experience, Shayne has built, worked in, lead, and/or managed a wide variety of IT organizations. He has worked to reduce IT risk by implementing robust internal control systems both as a practitioner and as an auditor. When combined with his education, drive for process improvement, demonstrated knowledge and leadership Shayne is a proven asset to the profession.  He currently works at Erlanger Health System as the Director for Information Security and Architecture.

As a professional and community leader, Shayne actively serves as a mentor, trainer, and advocate for the information security profession. He serves on a number of Boards of Directors including the local ISSA chapter (http://chattanooga.issa.org), is a mentor for SANS, provided training at national conferences, published internationally, and served as an examiner for Tennessee’s state-level agency for the National Baldrige Awards.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 426, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Dr. Csilla Farkas

February 2nd, 10:00 a.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "Security Challenges for the Internet of Things: A Semantics-Based View"

Csilla FarkasProfessor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Are you living in a smart home?  Are you using smart devices to monitor your health?  Is your organization considering to increase automation for sensing and controlling operations?  While the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) may mean different things to different people, there is a common theme:  the need for cybersecurity.  Nobody knows what IoT will be in the next decade and what new security exploitations will surface.   Semantic-web technologies seem to be promising to express the new security and privacy needs of IoT.   In this talk I present a semantics-based approach to support IoT data integration and security. 

Csilla Farkas is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for Information Assurance Engineering at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Farkas’ research interests include information security, data inference problem, financial and legal analysis of cyber crime, and security and privacy on the Semantic Web. Csilla Farkas received her PhD from George Mason University, Fairfax. In her dissertation she studied the inference and aggregation problems in multilevel secure relational databases. She received a MS in computer science from George Mason University and BS degrees in computer science and geology from SZAMALK, Hungary and Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, respectively.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. Vahid Alavian

January 19th, 10:00 a.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium*

Topic: "Energy, Water, and Climate: Challenges and Opportunities in Africa"

Vahid Alavian, Former Water and Hydropower Advisor, Africa Region at The World Bank

Two-thirds of the 930 million population of Sub-Sahara Africa lacks access to energy.  Demand is expected to increase rapidly as a result of accelerated economic growth and urbanization.  While coal is Africa’s largest single source of energy today, it is losing significant ground to hydropower, given the vast endowment of water resources in the continent.  As low-carbon energy cost falls, great opportunities are created for Africa to leap frog into a new era of renewable energy through hydropower, solar, geothermal and wind.  However, the reality of hydrologic variability and climate change has and will continue to have a profound impact on the energy sector, and by extension other development sectors.  In this presentation, Dr. Alavian will address the development challenges and opportunities in Africa at the nexus of water, energy, and climate.  Examples of Africa’s renewable energy production options towards a low-carbon future will be shared against the landscape of climate variability, adaptation, and social and economic development. Moreover, policy, planning, and financing issues related to climate-smart energy and water infrastructure to reduce exposure risks and episodic shocks will be examined.  Possible energy development trajectories through regional cooperation and power trade, together with associated investment needs are proposed.

During a more than 35 year of professional career, Dr. Alavian worked with international financial institutions, governments, donor agencies, private sector, and academia.  He led strategic and technical water and energy-related projects and programs including water resources management, hydropower, dam safety, and climate change in a number of developing countries.  As the Water Advisor at the World Bank, Dr. Alavian provided strategic and technical oversight for the World Bank-financed investments across the globe.  Some of his major work included advising on complex investments at the nexus of water and energy in Africa; leading technical and diplomatic negotiations in a cooperative effort among the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and Jordan as a part of advancing the peace process in the region; and an analytical and advisory study on the potential impact of climate change on the Bank’s water/energy investments and adaptation measures to make these investments climate-smart.  He also led the water-related training and capacity building programs for Bank client countries through the World Bank Institute. Upon retirement from the World Bank in 2011, Dr. Alavian spent 3 years in Haifa, Israel, where he provided strategic and advisory voluntary services at the Bahá’í World Centre.  

Prior to joining the World Bank, he served as the Senior Water Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Environment Center, where he helped advance sustainable management of freshwater and coastal resources in developing countries.  Earlier, as a Senior Specialist at the Tennessee Valley Authority, he contributed to some of the agency’s pioneering work on integrating water, energy, and environmental management for sustainable development and growth, including early work on impact of climate change on the TVA system and operation.

Dr. Alavian has a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He is a Fulbright Scholar and held faculty positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Zambia, Lusaka, as well as adjunct positions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and University of Alabama, Huntsville.  He recently retired and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his spouse of 38 years, Dr. Barbara Miller.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. Richard Brooks

December 1st, 10 a.m., UTC SimCenter Auditorium* 

Topic: "Crypto-currency Status and Future Perspectives"

Dr. Richard Brooks, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clemson University

With the advent of e-commerce, the development of a virtual on-line currency became inevitable. This speech discusses the current status of crypto-currency systems, their social impact, how their data-structures can be applied to securing other applications, their perceived/actual privacy, and probable evolution.

First we will discuss the precursors of current crypto-currencies and their perceived limitations. This includes credit cards, e-gold, PayPal, and on-line gaming economies (including gold farming). We then describe the innovations that enabled Bitcoin. Special care will be taken to explain the block-chain data-structure and mining; together with how they enable the creation of a stable on-line currency.
We will then discuss the societal impact of Bitcoin. This will include an explanation of some of the most important alt-coin currencies: Ethereum, Monero, zcoin, and Dash. This will include a description of the use of crypto-currencies in the shadow economy. An important aspect of this discussion is the perceived privacy of crypto-currency transactions and how privacy is maintained. We then consider whether or not the approaches currently being used really provide privacy.
The speech ends with a brief conversation considering current trends and the most likely trajectory for crypto-currency technologies.

Dr. Brooks has in the past been PI on research programs funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards, Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research and BMW Corporation. These research projects include coordination of combat missions among autonomous combat vehicles (ARO), situation and threat assessment for combat command and control (ONR), detection of protocol tunneling through encrypted channels (AFOSR), security of intellignet building technologies (NIST), experimental analysis of Denial of Service vulnerabilities (NSF), mobile code security (ONR), and security analysis of cellular networks used for vehicle remote diagnostics (BMW).

Dr. Brooks’ current research interests include game theory, strategic reasoning, and information assurance. He was PI of the Mobile Ubiquitous Security Environment (MUSE) Project sponsored by ONR as a Critical Infrastructure Protection University Research Initiative (CIP/URI). It concentrated on creating distributed countermeasures to overcome large-scale network attacks like distributed denial of service and worms. Dr. Brooks was co-PI of a NIST project defining the security standards and protection profiles for the ISO BACNET networked building control systems standard. Dr. Brooks was co-PI of a DARPA ISO program coordinating air campaign command and control and PI of the Reactive Sensor Networks (RSN) Project sponsored by DARPA IXO. RSN explored collaborative signal processing to aggregate information moving through the network, and the use of mobile code for coordination among intelligent sensor nodes. He has received DURIP awards from ONR and ARO that support the study of networked systems interacting with the real world. Current projects include authentication and authorization of exa-scale computing systems and establishing Internet freedom in West Africa. His Ph. D. dissertation received an exemplary achievement certificate from the Louisiana State University graduate school. He has a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University in Mathematical Sciences.

Dr. Brook’s research concentrates on information assurance, battlespace coordination, behavior pattern extraction/detection and game theory. His battlespace coordination work has been funded by DARPA (distributed coordination of air combat campaigns), ARO (game theoretic coordination of combat missions for teams of autonomous combat vehicles) and ONR (maritime domain awareness). Results from the ONR work is being used by the Fleet and NATO for learning, tracking, and predicting shipping patterns.

His network security research projects have included funding from NSF (analyzing wired and wireless denial of service vulnerabilities), DoE (authentication and authorization of exa-scale storage systems), BMW Corporation (controlling dissemination of intellectual property), and the US State Department (creating anonymous communications tools for civil society groups). It frequently looks at attacks that disable security measures by working at a different level of the protocol
stack. His Internet freedom work involves interactions with at risk populations working for freedom of expression.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

Dr. David Akopian

November 17th, SimCenter Auditorium*, 10 a.m.

Topic: "Indoor Positioning Advances Exploiting GPS and WLAN Infrastructures"

Dr. David Akopian, Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering,  Department of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), San Antonio, TX

Location-based services (LBS) gained popularity exploiting localization receivers operating according to requirements of U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Localization of mobile devices is nowadays mandated by U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC: E-911) for emergency services and similar mandates are available in other countries as well. Conventional GPS receivers perform well in open sky environments, typically outdoors, while their operation deteriorates or denied in urban canyon and indoor environments, is deteriorated or even denied due to strong signal attenuations and multipath degradations.

Enhanced GPS receiver techniques are proposed for more sensitivity in acquiring satellite signals in such weak-signal conditions. In particular, terrestrial communication channels may assist GPS units in mobile devices by providing GPS navigation data and other information from unobstructed GPS receivers. Receivers are then relieved from the task of demodulating all navigation data from attenuated satellite signals. This concept is referred to as Assisted GPS (A-GPS) and is being supported by many cellular modern communication standards.

While A-GPS enhances operation of GPS receivers, most of the indoor areas are not covered by GPS operation due to signal blockages. An alternative approach exploits WLAN signals for accurate indoor positioning. WLAN signals are nor designed for localization, but their propagation features are peculiar to the receiver locations and signal propagation paths, which is exploited for indoor positioning. 

There are many challenges in both A-GPS and WLAN indoor localization, and an intensive research is underway to bring positioning indoors, so one day it will become a commonly deployed technology similar to outdoor navigation.

The presentation reviews principles of A-GPS and WLAN-based positioning methods, their potential performances and challenges, and related industry trends.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497

John McNeely

October 30th, 5:30 p.m., Card Auditorium, EMCS 201*

Topic: "From Classroom to Corporation: Adventures of a Tech CEO"

John P. McNeelyPresident/CEO, Principal & Co-Founder of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc., and Principal & Co-Founder – Affenix, LLC

John McNeely is President/CEO, Principal & Co-Founder of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc. – a national provider of information security solutions. Launched in 1997 with a focus on network security in the regional area, Sword & Shield has become an established company in the fast growing cybersecurity market and is called on by a global clientele from companies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. John is responsible for the vision, strategic direction, culture, and overall business growth of the company. As a principal of Sword & Shield, John has focused the company on delivering effective solutions to secure and manage information technology systems and data for both public and private sector organizations. John has assembled an impressive team of highly skilled and certified security professionals to innovate and deliver managed security solutions, risk & compliance assessments, security testing, incident response, digital forensics, e-discovery, and enterprise security consulting.

Nationally recognized for dynamic growth, Sword & Shield was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fast growth companies for eight years in a row from 2006-2013, as well as ranking on the CRN Solution Provider 500 list every year since 2007 for being one of the largest solution providers by revenue in North America. As an industry leader, Sword & Shield has received numerous business and industry awards, including the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for Small Business Excellence in 2011, as well as recognized in the Cybersecurity 500 list each quarter by Cybersecurity Ventures as a global leading cybersecurity solutions services company. Sword & Shield is the only Tennessee-based company recognized in the Managed Security 100 category of the 2017 Managed Service Provider 500.

John is a native of Tennessee and places a high priority on giving back to his state and community. He is a passionate supporter of mentoring and advising the next generation of cyber security professionals through involvement with organizations such as the Career Magnet Academy, Pellissippi State Community College, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.   He is also heavily involved in the entrepreneurial community both locally and nationally.  As member of the global Entrepreneurs’ Organization, John has served on the local EO board for 6 years in multiple roles including President of the chapter. He serves as an advisor and mentor to young startup companies through the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) and CodeWorks Accelerator program.  John is also a member of the Angel Capital Group – an organization helping to connect startup business ventures with needed capital.

John has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry and holds the CISSP industry certification. With his vast industry experience, he saw a growing need for cyber liability and data breach insurance programs designed to cover the modern risks of doing business in a digital age.  In 2013, John launched an insurance agency, Affenix, LLC, to address this need of protecting data, reputations and the bottom line through cyber liability insurance. 

John is a graduate of Leadership Knoxville, class of 2014, and currently serves as a member of the University of Tennessee EE/CS Industry Advisory Board. John holds an MS in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga where he graduated Cum Laude and was a scholarship athlete on the cross-country and track teams.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 201, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Dr. Ryan Brewer

October 2nd, 5:30 p.m., Card Auditorium, EMCS 201*

Topic: "For Engineers, Does Career Advancement come from Hard Skills or Soft Skills?"

Dr. Ryan M. Brewer, Associate Professor of Finance, Indiana University

In today’s world, employers demand and value critical thinking, problem solving, and computer capabilities among graduates of technical disciplines. Does this mean focusing on engineering skills development at the expense of social development is the right idea? What skills will get you noticed?, promoted?, or prevent you from being let go during downturns in the business cycle? While mastery of engineering skills is critical to performing well as an engineer or applied scientist, the “soft skills” are those that will get you noticed, retained, and even promoted when they are mastered. Dr. Brewer presents the case for emotional intelligence and other salient soft skills: what are they? Why are they important? How do soft skills relate to career success? And how does one improve their emotional intelligence?

Dr. Ryan M. Brewer is an Associate Professor of Finance with Indiana University (IUPUI/IUPUC). Brewer has taught finance courses and conducted research at IUPUC since 2009. Brewer earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University Bloomington in 2011 on the topic of financial economics: intrinsic valuation. Prior to this experience, Brewer earned an M.B.A. in finance and statistics from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 2001, and he has accrued 15 years of professional valuation consulting experience. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Brewer has testified on several occasions as a valuation expert in the U.S. Federal and Indiana State court systems, where his undergraduate engineering program enabled him to understand technology, applied sciences, and commercial value arising from market innovations. Prior to entering professional school, Brewer worked in Detroit as a Risk Manager for a Fortune 50 (U.S.) Corporation, where he was responsible for worldwide development of policy compliance and audit programs.

Brewer’s areas of research inquiry include intellectual property valuation, sports property valuation, and economic forecasting. Brewer has been published in peer reviewed Academic journals on sixteen (16) occasions, while his work has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal on ten (10) occasions. Brewer’s work in valuation has also been showcased in the Chicago Tribune, the Chronicles of Higher Education, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and a host of regional business periodicals across the United States.

Brewer has taught numerous finance and economics courses for Butler University, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Indiana University-Columbus (IUPUC). Brewer has developed and taught courses in Corporate Finance, Investments, Derivatives, and Financial Management, as well as International Finance, and Statistics. Brewer is the founding creator of the Innovation Management program at IU-Columbus, which combines academic requirements from business and engineering, as both skillsets are valued in the professional workforce.
Brewer has earned the Annual IU MBA–Columbus Outstanding MBA Faculty Award on four (4) occasions, in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Brewer earned the Division of Business Annual Research Award in 2016, and the Annual Division of Business Civic Engagement Award in 2015. Brewer has also been nominated for All-campus IUPUC awards in research, teaching and service.

*UTC Engineering, Math, Computer Science Building, Room 201, 735 Vine St., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-2256

Dr. Paul McConnaughey

September 22nd, UTC SimCenter Auditorium*, 11 a.m.

Topic: "The Future of Deep Space Human Exploration"

Dr. Paul McConnaughey, Associate Director, Technical, Office of the Center Director NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Why explore deep space? And what technologies will it take to get there? Dr. Paul McConnaughey, Associate Director Technical, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will discuss the importance of engineering advanced technologies to journey to deep space – to cislunar, the Moon, Mars and beyond. From the evolvable heavy-lift capability of the Space Launch System to cutting edge lander propulsion technology, the journey to deep space will require innovation and the next generation STEM workforce to be successful.

Dr. Paul K. McConnaughey is the associate director, technical, in the Office of the Center Director at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Marshall Center is one of NASA’s largest field installations, with nearly 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion.

Named to the position in August 2015, McConnaughey is responsible for ensuring the performance of Marshall’s programs and technical activities, with respect to cost, schedule and mission success.

Originally from the Midwest, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Corvallis, and his master’s degree and doctorate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After earning his doctorate, McConnaughey spent three years as a professor of soil physics and mathematics at Mississippi State University in Starkville.

He joined Marshall in 1986 as an engineer in the Systems Dynamics Laboratory, where he advanced quickly through supervisory positions, and in 1998 was named the chief of the Fluid Dynamics Division. In 1998, he was named NASA’s deputy manager for the Military Spaceplane Technology Office, where he worked on space vehicle technologies of joint interest to NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

McConnaughey held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility, and in 2007 was selected as Marshall’s chief engineer. He then served as the director of System Engineering and Integration and the chief engineer of the Exploration Systems Development Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington where he oversaw the integration of the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and Ground Support Development and Operations programs.

For his service to NASA he has received three NASA Exceptional Service Medals, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, a Center Director’s Commendation and a Certificate of Appreciation. McConnaughey also received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 2011, the second-highest award conferred by the president of the United States.

*UTC SimCenter, Auditorium, 701 E. M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga TN, 37403,  423-425-5497