Industry Advisory Board
The Computer Engineering Industry Advisory Board (IAB) provides support and guidance from the community of professional engineers and leaders.
The IAB contributes valuable insight on the mission and goals of the Computer Engineering Department. It builds a strong foundation of support and communication between industry and the department. Lastly, the IAB helps the Computer Engineering program achieve ABET and other accreditations.
Robert H Block
As the senior executive leader of high performance teams for Global Fortune 500 companies, Rob Block has an established track record of continuous improvement and delivering results. He has over 20 years of technical leadership and experience converting organizational intent into action to drive revenue growth.
Mr. Block is a visionary Change Agent with wide-ranging expertise in technical and operational management, research and development, strategic planning, and product development and launch for world renowned, multi-billion dollar corporations. He is a recognized leader in the field of innovation strategy and new product development.
Throughout his career, Rob has effectively led the development, launch and manufacturing of innovative chemical, industrial and consumer products with a focus on value creation. He started his career in R&D and has led the full product development and launch organizations, processes and manufacturing in several Fortune 500 companies during his career.
His career progression includes Sr. Vice President & General Manager at Kids II in Atlanta, Sr. VP of Engineering & Program Management for Shark/Ninja in Boston, VP of Global Business Development for the Takata Corporation, Global VP of Research, Design & Technology at Newell Rubbermaid and Chief Technology Officer for Key Safety Systems.
Rob Block has developed a stellar reputation in the industry for integrity, thought leadership and successful execution. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. He currently resides in the metro-Atlanta region with his wife and three children
Darrell Brown is the Director of Data Architecture and Data Management for Aflac. He joined Aflac back in July 7, 2014 in the role of Director of Business Intelligence.
As a Director, Darrell is supremely focused on architecture, solution delivery and agile organizational structures for Data and BI. He is currently partnering with key corporate stakeholders to execute Business Transformation of Data. Data Transformation is where Aflac is engineering new practical, efficient, and more effective solutions for the Data & BI Infrastructure, Information Management, Master Data Management, Big Data, Data Warehousing, Information Architecture, Reporting and Analytics and other Enterprise Information initiatives.
Darrell continues to explore emerging trends in Machine Learning, generation BI, such as agile BI architecture and development approaches, in-memory analytics, advanced data visualization, convergence of structured data and unstructured content analytics, process-driven and operational BI, and many others.
Previous Work Experience
Darrell has more than 26 years of experience in Data, Architecture, Management and Leadership. Over his years of work experience, he has served as Director of Business Intelligence for Aflac, Information Architect for Riverstone, BI Manager for American Safety Insurance, Data Architect for American Safety insurance, and a host of other roles across various companies. He is also a veteran of the United States Navy (1991-1997).
Darrell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of West Georgia.
David Burns, CISSP
David Burns is currently the Vice President of Engineering & Architecture for QTS Data Centers where he is focused on driving strategy, architectures, and execution for connectivity, infrastructure, security, and data center and cloud services being delivered to QTS customers and partners. Prior to joining QTS, Dave led various Engineering & Architecture teams at Cisco Systems, Inc. both in the US and internationally focused on Service Providers and Enterprise IT. Dave holds various sales, industry and technical certifications, including CISSP, CCNP Security (formerly CCSP), CCDP, ITIL, and multiple associate-level certifications. Dave is also a published author with Cisco Press (a Pearson Company) and actively a technical reviewer for multiple published titles in circulation today. Dave participates actively as member of the Board of Directors for the Hemophilia of Georgia (a nonprofit focused on bleeding disorders). Dave earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications Engineering Technology from Kennesaw State University (formerly Southern Polytechnic University).
Nakia believes the application of digital solutions can transform any company or person - anywhere in the world. The universal need for technology is what drives her as a Senior Technical Project Manager at General Electric, where she is based in Atlanta, GA. Her focus lies in delivering software solutions in shop floor environments that transform the manufacturing process and produce brilliant factories.
As a global thinker, Nakia has worked in several countries, including France and Hungary. She is a recent graduate of the Digital Technology Leadership Program at GE, where she completed four roles in manufacturing IT, security and risk, and data analytics & visualization. Nakia has also furthered her education with courses at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Prior to starting her career at GE, she graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2015 as a top 5 Graduate of the Coles College of Business' school of Information Systems.
Nakia finds her greatest fulfillment by giving back. She recently served as the mentoring leader of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion program in Atlanta, GA. She has also participated in other initiatives such as raising $75,000 with buildOn for construction of a new school in Malawi, Africa and mentoring high school students via Usher's New Look program.
Ken DiPrima is Assistant Vice President of AT&T’s IoT Solutions. Ken leads a team that is responsible for developing solutions to support devices in the connected car, wearables, mHealth, smart cities, and tracking/monitoring devices in many different industries such as transportation, manufacturing, energy and healthcare, which are part of the Industrial Internet.
With over 28 years of experience with AT&T and its predecessor companies, Ken has expertise in strategic planning, new product development, mobility service architecture (voice, Intelligent Networks, messaging, data, cloud), billing, security, engineering, long distance, and end-to-end testing.
Prior to this role, Ken was Executive Director of Product Realization, where he had responsibility for both product development and service architecture desiign for most of AT&T’s mobility services.
Ken earned a Bachelor in Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Florida. He is active in the community, working with Boy Scouts and local study groups. Ken lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife Sue and his three kids, Ryan, Kyle, and Kayla.
Harris Fogel is an innovator in the software industry. Throughout his career, he has been on the forefront of technology from the early days of Sales Force Automation and Mobility and now with Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things as one of the leads in SAP’s Cloud Platform Center of Excellence.
Harris has built and run software companies on a global scale including successful exits and is experienced in building sales and marketing strategies and go to market programs. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Finance. Harris currently serves on the Board of the Procter & Gamble Alumni Association and is a former Board member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and former Chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Associate Member Council.
Ron is a Software Architect and Technology leader at Newell Brands with over 30 years of industry experience. He has a BS and MS in Engineering from the University of Illinois and has worked for companies such as Boeing, Lockheed, SunTrust and Newell Brands. His expertise is in software architecture and he has designed and built systems for Smart Phones, PCs, Main Frames and embedded systems. Ron is married, has two children and lives in Acworth Georgia.
Arjun Joginipelly, Ph.D.
Arjun Joginipelly, is an electrical engineer with extensive experience and management skills who works for Freedom Electronics located in Kennesaw. Freedom Electronics is a rebuilder of petroleum equipment, POS terminals and printers specializing in the remanufacture of Gilbarco, Dresser-Wayne and VeriFone parts. As the vice president of engineering he is responsible for the new product development and oversees quality control process to ensure highest standard in remanufactured parts. Arjun has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of New Orleans. His areas of interest include IOT, Embedded System Design, FPGAs and Image Processing.
A veteran of UPS, Jeff Jones, is responsible for UPS' technology strategy. Additionally he leads and supports technology for new business models, concepts, strategic investments, and M&A. Jones served as an advisory board member for Southern Polytechnic State University He is past chairman and currently on the Advisory Board for Atlanta Technical College's Supply Chain Management Program. Jones served as Vice President and Board member for the United Way of Forsyth County.
As an Automation Professional for over 37 years with the Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation Co.- my passion and expertise is in applying automation to help improve business processes.
Born: Cleveland, Ohio 1961 – Moved to the Atlanta area in 1982
Currently reside in Suwanee, GA
Married: (2) College Age Daughters
Education: A.E.E.T 1981 – Cleveland, Ohio., B.S.E.E.T 1982- Marietta, GA.
Southern College of Technology; Received ISA’s- Outstanding “Controls” Student Award
JC Penney Co., Automotive Mechanic
Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation Co., Engineer in Training, Field Service Representative, Applications Engineer, Automotive Team Lead, Inside Sales Representative, Sales Support Manager, Technical Consultant, OEM/SI Account Advisor
2011: Recognized as Top Technical Sales Support Representative in North America
Home Projects, Cars, Technology, Visiting Daughter’s at College, Walking, Sharing my Automation knowledge with students!
Jim Nasr is the Chief Software Architect at the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, CDC. Jim leads a number of initiatives around modernization of CDC’s public health systems, with core focus on building forward-looking and interoperable software based on Microservices, modern DevOps, blockchain and open technology frameworks. Jim’s work is leading CSELS towards the vision of providing secure, near real-time data services to its programs, partners and the public.
Prior to joining the CDC, Jim was the CEO and co-founder of Armedia, a technology firm focused on building enterprise solutions for managing unstructured data. Jim has more than twenty years of experience in the technology industry, with over a decade as an entrepreneur profitably growing Armedia from inception to over 100 employees, and a 5-time Inc. 5000 awardee. Prior to co-founding Armedia, Jim worked as a Senior Technology Architect at Sapient Corp and IBM. Jim has co-authored several technology books and spoken at numerous industry events and conferences.
Jim is the Chair of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Connected Content Society, on the editorial board for the peer reviewed Blockchain in Healthcare Today scholarly journal, a mentor for the machine learning accelerator Cyberlaunch, and on advisory for a number of startups and technology firms. He has an MBA from the University of Connecticut, a BS in Computer Science and Statistics from Coventry University and resides in Atlanta, GA.
Mike Slawson is Vice President of Washroom Services and Connected Devices at Georgia-Pacific, responsible for the development of the company’s IoT-connected dispenser business. Mike was previously a co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Lumense, a Georgia Tech spinoff commercializing real-time chemical and biological sensor technology. At Lumense, Mike oversaw all aspects of the company’s development, including business strategy and fundraising. Prior to Lumense, Mike was the founding CEO of Qualtré, Inc., another Georgia Tech spinoff commercializing MEMS inertial sensors.
From 1998 until 2011 Mike was a general partner at Alliance Technology Ventures, a $250 million Atlanta-based venture capital firm focused on developing early-stage companies in information technology and life sciences. For several years, Mike was responsible for the information technology investment strategy, and he assisted in the development of several of the firm’s successful early-stage investments. Prior to joining ATV, Mike was a Kauffman Fellow at Chicago-based ARCH Venture Partners.
Mike has a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University, a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Mike also held engineering and engineering management positions with Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, and Alcatel, and holds four US patents.
Sonya Stallings-Ward is an experienced Sales Professional with a proven track record of achieving consistently high customer satisfaction by tackling complex business solutions and overcoming competitive threats.
She has worked for Fortune 500 companies for almost two decades such as SAP, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft, and Teradata. During that time she has sold over $300M in IT technology products and services to AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Georgia Pacific, Coke Cola Enterprises, Convergys, Cisco, and others.
Sonya has worked with CXOs and key stakeholders to solve business issues by developing custom focused on solutions such as Digital Transformations, e-Business, ERP, CRM, TELECOM, Data Center and Storage Solutions, Operating Environments & Messaging, Network Integration, IT Service Management, Converged and Unified Communications, Mobility, Security Solutions, Business Intelligence, and Social Networking.
A native of Columbus Ohio, she is a big Ohio State University fan. She received a BS in Computer Science from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and earned an MBA from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She is married to Derrick Ward and has two stepdaughters.
Active in the community, Sonya has served on the Board of Directors for the National Black MBA as VP of Operations, Friends for Life Board of Directors and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Previously service includes Urban League of Portland, Oregon, Girls Scots of America, and many others.
John Wallace is Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions at Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions. He has been active in the design and development of electronic control systems for more than 20 years and holds several patents related to control of HVAC and Refrigeration systems. Wallace graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and the University of Missouri with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. He is a member of ASHRAE and has served on many industry committees’ including the Lonmark Refrigeration committee, Department of Energy’s Better Building Alliance and currently chairs the NAFEM (North American Food Equipment Manufacturers) Data Protocol standardization committee and the AHRI Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Electronics section.
Hugh Wellington helps manufacturers improve their operations through the use of automation and information technology. While holding various positions at Rockwell Automation ranging from applications engineer to sales enablement leader, the focus has always been on helping customers meet their production challenges.
Prior to joining Rockwell Automation, Hugh worked for a Boston area start-up implementing vision-guided robotic systems.
Hugh holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech.
David Ziskind, P.E.
David Ziskind is Engineering Manager at Dennis Group, the #1 Food and Beverage Design Firm in the U.S. David’s responsibilities include leading multidisciplinary teams, controls, automation, and engineering; startup, project, and client relationship management; and coaching and developing engineers. In addition, David developed and implemented a multi-school co-op program at Dennis Group. Throughout his career, David has been responsible for developing the automation systems to launch new food and beverage products. A graduate of Georgia Tech with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, David is a registered Professional Engineer in Georgia and Kentucky, and holds a Project Management Professional certification