How do you follow up on a successful technology conference that last year drew 600 attendees to Cleveland and featured a major presentation by the man who built the US security infrastructure following the 9/11 attacks on American soil? For starters, we asked Governor Tom Ridge, the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, for recommendations on speakers for this year’s event.
He led us to John P. Carlin, a former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and Chief of Staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller who is also cybersecurity and technology chair of the Aspen Institute. Carlin’s book, “Dawn of the Code War,” will set to be released two days before his appearance in Cleveland.
Then, we collaborated with powerful tech and civic organizations like Destination Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, TeamNEO, RITE, OHTec and the Society of Information Management. This means BusinessTECH18 is shaping up to be the single largest event of its kind in Cleveland in recent years.
Next, we asked technology leaders: what topics do you want covered, and how can we improve over last year’s conference?
Combine all of this and you end up with BusinessTECH18, forecast to draw more than 1500 attendees, including high school students, to Cleveland’s historic Public Hall for a day of sessions geared toward IT specialists and related professions from healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and education, representing SMB to enterprise organizations.
In addition to Carlin, featured speakers include Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno; Dave Gilbert of Destination Cleveland; and Joseph Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership on blockchain initiatives in Cleveland.
TeamNEO will lead a business roundtable of manufacturing leaders on the topic of IoT and cybersecurity and discuss the findings of a roadmap study it conducted on the topic that included extensive interviews with over 50 businesses in Northeast Ohio.
A third plenary session allows attendees to understand the mindset of a once-major hacker named Michael Calce, who in 2000 as a high school student from Quebec launched a series of highly publicized denial-of-service attacks against large commercial websites, including E*TRADE, eBay, and CNN. He was caught in 2001, served punishment and is now helps organizations catch cybercriminals.
Charlie Lougheed will speak on his experience as a co-founder of Explorys, which merged with IBM Watson Health; his former colleague, Doug Meil, who stayed on with Watson Health, will discuss Big Data in a separate session. Jane Alexander of Cleveland Museum of Art and Sue Workman of Case Western Reserve will co-headline a panel on how each is using technology to redefine their respective organizations.
Speakers also include tech gurus the Cleveland Clinic, OMNOVA, Timken, Nationwide, Sherwin Williams, Lincoln Electric, PolyOne, Progressive, MCPc, Benesch, Apple, HP, Lenovo, and Dell as well as area universities.
Talent will again occupy this year’s conference, with a panel of leaders from RPM, Cuyahoga Community College, and Cleveland Engineering Society. It includes Cal Al-Dhubaib, a “millennial” who founded Pandata and who will explain what makes Cleveland a great tech town for young talent. In the building and at the lunch will be high school students associated with RITE’s Passports to Technology program.