Speaker Profiles

Bryan Sivak

Former Chief Technology Officer, Government of the District of Columbia

This years keynote speaker is Bryan Sivak, former Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, founding member and advisory board member of Civic Commons.

Bryan Sivak was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on October 13, 2009 to the Cabinet post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia. As CTO, Sivak leads the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), an organization of more than 500 staff that provides technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees, residents, businesses and millions of visitors.

Sivak has over 15 years of international experience in building software and internet technologies and organizations. In 2002, he founded and developed InQuira, Inc., a multi-national technology solutions company whose products are used at top private and public sector organizations including Bank of America, UK Ministry of Defence, Nokia, and T-Mobile. During his tenure, he oversaw every aspect of the business from design and development of the product to sales, marketing, and management activities relating to the overall execution of InQuira's business plan and growth of the company. In 2005, he moved to London and opened the European office of the company, which he grew from zero to 30 percent of the company's revenue in four years.

Prior to his work with InQira, Sivak founded Electric Knowledge LLC, which provided the world's first Natural Language Search engine available on the web. The company's customers included Bank of America and Fidelity Investments among others. Electric Knowledge eventually merged with Answerfriend, which was the basis for the formation of InQuira. Sivak holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Chicago.

Deborah Bryant

Deborah Bryant is the Public Sector Communities Manager at Oregon State University's Open Source Lab (OSU OSL) and chairs the annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON).  Deborah has earned an international reputation for expertise in the adoption and use of open source software and open development models in the public sector. Deborah's pioneering efforts were recently acknowledged when she was awarded a prestigious O'Reilly Open Source Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in building open source communities and advocating its use in government.  Her background includes over twenty years of management experience in information technology in the private and public sectors.  Deborah serves on numerous advisory boards with an emphasis on open source as enabling an technology including DemocracyLab.org, the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation, the Oregon Virtual School District, the National Steering Committee for Open Source for America, Code for America (CfA), CivicCommons and CrisisCommons.

Return to top

Heather Blanchard

Heather Blanchard is a co-founder of CrisisCommons, a global network of volunteers who use creative problem solving and open technologies to help people and communities in times and places of crisis. Before the Commons, Heather spent seven years at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As a public servant she helped launched the first Office of Public Liaison, was Deputy Director of the Ready Campaign. She built relationships and encouraged public-private partnerships with owners and operators of information communication technologies on such issues as cyber-security, social media and crisis informatics. She has a deep knowledge of domestic incident response coordination and has supported several disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Midwest Floods and Hurricane Ike. She has contributed to several national policy documents including the National Response Framework and the National Disaster Recovery Framework. Ms. Blanchard received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Radford University. She also participated in Harvard University’s Leading in a Crisis program and Oxford University’s Comparative Law and Policy’s Summer Institute on Global Media and Technology Policy.

Return to top

Mark Prutsalis

Mark Prutsalis is the President and CEO of the Sahana Software Foundation, a non-profit organization that governs the free and open source Sahana disaster management software projects. He is also the Founder and President of Globaliist Inc., an emergency management and disaster response consulting company. Mark has over 18 years of operational disaster response and emergency management experience following major natural and man-made disasters in the United States, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Pakistan, Turkey, Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, East Timor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Sudan. He has experience working for US government agencies, international NGOs, UN agencies, non-profit organizations and private sector technology companies.  He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), and the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA).

Return to top

John Reilly

John Reilly brings over 20 years of technology leadership experience to his role as an Evangelist at Google.  He is currently spearheading a team developing and promoting an open-sourced emergency personnel accountability application called FirstResponder which uses a broad range of Google services including App Engine, Maps, Navigation, Voice and Latitude. He draws on his software development background but also his incident command experience from 15 years as a Firefighter and his current role as Deputy Chief of the local volunteer fire department.

Mr. Reilly has an impressive career of developing professional services practices, building large-scale software systems, and hiring and developing teams of technology professionals. Mr. Reilly has held senior executive positions in software development including CTO at several companies including the Interactive division of Chelsea Property Group, a $3.5 billion REIT. He grew from scratch a $20M/year professional services practice as Managing Director at Proxicom and led the development of key real-time systems for the former Bell Atlantic's interactive television platform. Mr. Reilly has his M.S. from George Washington University and his B.S. from Boston College.  Mr. Reilly lives just outside New York City in Mountain Lakes, NJ with his wife and two boys.

Return to top

Anita Verno

Anita Verno is an Associate Professor of Information Technology at Bergen Community College and was IT Coordinator/Department Chair from 2000 until 2010. A founding member of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), Verno was the elected “College Faculty Representative” to its Board of Directors and served as Curriculum Chair from inception until June 2009. She is currently serving on the CSTA Advisory Council.  She recently assisted in establishing CSTA’s Northern New Jersey chapter to serve computing teachers in her home state. Verno has been a member of the Executive Board of the Community College Computer Consortium since 2005 and served as President in 2008–2009. She also sits on the Board of Advisors, BS Engineering Technology, Computer Technology Option for the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her 35 years of professional experience include software design and development, teaching in IT/CS, and development of curricula/degrees for high schools and colleges.

Return to top

Allen Tucker

Allen Tucker is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor Emeritus at Bowdoin College, where he served on the faculty for twenty years.  Since retiring from his “day job” in 2007, Professor Tucker has been teaching, writing about, and doing open source software development, especially for nonprofits and with undergraduate students as software team members.  He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the HFOSS Project and as co-chair of the CSTA K-12 Model Curriculum Revision Committee (see https://sites.google.com/site/cstacurriculum/).  His most recent book, Software Development: An Open Source Approach (CRC Press, 2011), is a product of these recent activities (see myopensoftware.org).  

Allen will summarize the goals of the current effort to revise the ACM/CSTA K-12  model curriculum in computer science.  He will also identify ways in which K-12 students can engage in HFOSS activities through this curriculum. 

Return to top


Cat Allman

Cat Allman is a Program Manager for Google’s Open Source Programs Office, working on programs & events that support the Open Source community at large. From her first experience with Decus in the 1980s while working for Mt Xinu, and later at Sendmail, Inc, the USENIX Association, and Google, Cat has loved bring together geeks to talk tech and get things done as cheaply as makes sense. She has also worked as a Systems Administrator, IT Manager, and in marketing and sales.


Return to top

Bill Madden

Bill Madden is an Associate Professor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ where he has taught since 2000.  He has been active since 2004 promoting the acceptance and use of open-source products, making sure they have become part of a standard software core on some 2,000 desktops across the campus.  In 2009-10 he became actively involved in HFOSS development when BCC and several other colleges received mini-grants from the National Science Foundation to work on summer-of-code open-source projects for their students.  Work under this grant was coordinated through the major grantee, Trinity College in Hartford, CT.  Students at BCC worked on prototyping a mobile application for incident reporting that benefits Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers.  Bill and his colleagues are committed to the idea of finding compelling ways to integrate real-world humanitarian software projects into the standard CS and IT curriculum at Bergen and to broaden the appeal of such projects to other academic partners as well.  Of particular interest is the idea of extending the reach of open-source projects into the K-12 arena, engaging younger students in active real-world projects as well.

Return to top

Chinma Uche

Chinma Uche is a Mathematics and Computer Science teacher at the Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science (GHAMAS).  She is currently the President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CTCSTA), and a member of the Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA) Leadership Cohort.  Chinma is committed to the mission of the CSTA which includes bringing Computational Thinking to all K-12 students.  This commitment translates into exploring tools that can make Computational Thinking easily accessible to K-12 teachers and students, and advocating for Computer Science education within and outside the State of Connecticut.

Return to top

Stormy Peters

Stormy Peters is Head of Developer Engagement at Mozilla. She is involved in the open web and open source software because the community is full of smart, passionate people that are changing the world!

Before joining Mozilla, Stormy served as Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, set up OpenLogic's Expert Community and founded HP's Open Source Program Office. Before that Stormy wrote software for a few years after she graduated from Rice University with a computer science degree.

Stormy is a frequent keynote speaker and advocate for open source software and the open web at major conferences such as the Open Source Business Conference and the O'Reilly conferences, as well as government organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union.

Return to top

Heidi Ellis

Heidi is Chair and Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Information Technology department at Western New England College.  She has a long-time interest in software engineering education and is a founding member of the HFOSS effort. She is PI and Co-PI on two NSF-funded projects for involving students in HFOSS projects and has involved students in the Caribou onscreen keyboard, the OCRFeeder character recognition application and the OpenMRS medical records system. 


Return to top

Cathy Malmrose

Cathy Malmrose, CEO of ZaReason, an optimized-for-FOSS computer company similar to Dell, and CEO of Partimus, a non-profit that assists in getting refurbished computers to schools that need them. Cathy spends her days working with the community on both the developer side and the user side, seeing what needs to be done, especially for people who have never used free and open software before. She recognizes that a comfort level needs to be built and is succeeding at building this for many.


Return to top

Linda Seiter

Linda Seiter is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at John Carroll University. Her research involves the study of software evolution and adaptive programming practices.  She is also interested in exploring the impact of digital media and participatory culture on issues involving social justice.  When she is not busy being a professor, she has fun teaching afterschool Scratch workshops to kids and is often amazed by the creative programming abilities of 5th – 8th grade students.


Return to top

Mihaela Sabin

Mihaela Sabin is an Associate Professor at University of New Hampshire. Her research is on how constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) are modeled and solved, and how conditional CSPs apply to diagnosis and product configuration problem domains. She is also involved in computing education with a focus on student learning when group projects and real-world software development experiences are integrated in the curriculum. Her most recent interests are in open content, open education, and engaged scholarship.



Return to top