Government Big Data Forum

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Thank you for your interest in our Fifth Annual Government Big Data Forum held Thursday, March 12, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC presented by Carahsoft and the HumanGeo Group. Attendees heard from government executives and seasoned Big Data experts to discuss best practices, challenges, and solutions around analytics and cybersecurity as they relate to Big Data.

Click here to see what people said about the event at #GovBDF.

Questions? Contact:
Big Data Government at 
Carahsoft Technology Corp.
888-662-2724 (Toll-Free)

Government Big Data Forum March 12, 2015

Source: (PDF)


08:00am - 08:30am Registration and Breakfast
08:30am-08:45am Welcome and Introduction
08:45am-09:00am Big Data Trends
Abe Usher, CTO, The HumanGeo Group
09:00am-09:30am Morning Keynote
Chris RasmussenLead for Public Open Source Software Development, NGA
09:30am-10:30am Panel 1: Analytics and Big Data
Jay LillieEngagement Manager, Paxata
Stu RabinowitzDirector of Federal Strategic Alliances, Socrata
Thom RobisonSenior Strategist & Solution Architect, Hassett Willis & Company
Bryan WareCTO & President, Haystax
10:30am-10:45am Networking Break
10:45am-11:15am Government Keynote Speaker
Adam KarcherUnit Chief, Deputy Director, FBI Office of Data Exploitation
11:15am-12:00pm Lightning Talks
Brendan ConlonCEO, Vahna
Ron Fontanilla, Federal Systems Engineer, EMC
Webster MudgeSr. Director of Technology Solutions, Cloudera
Gus TaverasCIO, Patrocinium Systems LLC
Chris TuckerCreator of & Manager of Yale House Ventures
12:00pm-12:45pm Lunch
12:45pm-01:15pm Government Keynote Speaker
COL Nichoel BrooksNGIC Commander, US Army
01:15pm-02:15pm Panel 2: Cybersecurity and Big Data
Eric GiesaSr. VP Worldwide Marketing & Business Development, ExtraHop
Matthew HollingsworthSenior Sales Engineer, Gigamon
Tim OgdenArista Federal, Arista Networks
Adrish SannyasiHealthcare Solutions Architect, Splunk
02:15pm-02:30pm Networking Break
02:30pm-03:00pm Afternoon Keynote
Tom FinanSenior Cybersecurity Strategist & Counsel, DHS
03:00pm-03:15pm Closing Remarks
Al Di LeonardoCEO, The HumanGeo Group
03:15pm Networking and Exhibits



Colonel Nichoel E. Brooks

Commander, U.S. Army National Ground Intelligence Center

Colonel Nichoel E. Brooks

Colonel Nichoel E. Brooks entered the Military Intelligence Corps after earning her commission through the Officer Candidate Program, where she graduated as the Distinguished Military Graduate. Before joining the National Ground Intelligence Center, Colonel Brooks served as Executive Officer to the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency.

Her previous command positions include Commander, 310th Military Intelligence Battalion; Intelligence Company Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment; Detachment Commander, 308th Military Intelligence Battalion, 902nd Military Intelligence Group; and Counterintelligence Platoon Leader, A Company, 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade.

Her previous staff assignments include Special Advisor to Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I); Chief of Commanding General's Initiative Group, MNF-I, III Corps, Fort Hood Texas; Coalition Analytical Control Element Chief, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, III Corps, Fort Hood Texas; Executive Officer, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; Executive Officer for Deputy Chief of Staff CJ-2, MNF-I; Operations Officer G2, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; Operations Officer G2, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; S2, 1st Brigade Combat Team 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Analytical Control Element Chief, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Intelligence Team Chief, 278th ACR Training Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado with duty in Knoxville, Tennessee; S3 Operations Officer, 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; and Collection Manager, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Colonel Brooks earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History from Oregon State University. She holds a Master's in Information Systems and Technology from the University of Texas. Her military education includes the Officer Basic Course, Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Counterintelligence Officer Course, Cavalry Leader Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, General Staff College, and the Army War College - Fellowship Office Director National Intelligence.

Her awards include the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Star Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Army Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

Chris Rasmussen

Lead for Public Open Source Software Development

Chris Rasmussen

Chris Rasmussen was a driver behind the initiative that made NGA the first intelligence agency to use open source software on GitHub and place apps into iTunes and Google Play.

Mr. Rasmussen's current role with public-facing collaborative efforts grew from the campaign to maximize internal information sharing within the United States Intelligence Community (IC). His classified blog "Need-to-Share not Need-to-Know Guy" is one of the most read and discussed blogs in the IC.

Rasmussen has received several prestigious awards for innovation and leadership such as the NGA Challenger Award in 2014 for spearheading the GitHub initiative and the Director of National Intelligence "Exceptional Pioneer Award" in 2007 for helping pioneer the Intellipedia movement. He was selected as one of the "Federal 100" by Federal Computer Week in 2008. He's also a frequent speaker at conferences and events spanning industry, defense, and intelligence circles.

The IC has made tremendous strides over the last several years with the introduction of a wide range of social tools such as wikis, blogs, user tagging services, and social networking services for knowledge management and information sharing. Mr. Rasmussen was instrumental in pioneering this initial push, but argues the IC has reached the limits of automating the digital water cooler and it's time to apply the process benefits of collaborative platforms to the official voice.

Rasmussen evangelizes for a move toward a "living intelligence" model where a range of information is mixed together in a transparent common space and the intelligence topic is constantly updated and recognized as official. Living intelligence, sometimes also referred to as purple intelligence, can help reduce duplication by moving the review process into the same space where the collaboration takes place. Mr. Rasmussen holds a BA in History and a Masters in National Security Studies.

Tom Finan

Senior Cybersecurity Strategist and Counsel, DHS

Tom Finan

Tom Finan is a Senior Cybersecurity Strategist and Counsel with the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), where he leads work on cybersecurity insurance and cyber risk management in support of implementation of Executive Order 13636, "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity." Tom established DHS' Cybersecurity Insurance webpage,, which includes a series of readout reports that describe DHS' efforts in these areas. Previously, Tom led the effort to develop a resiliency-focused risk analysis and modeling office for NPPD that examines both cyber and physical threats to critical infrastructures, systems, and the public. Prior to his arrival at DHS, he served as the Staff Director and Counsel for the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment with the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security where he advised the Subcommittee Chair, Jane Harman. During his service with the Committee, Tom authored two major reports: Beyond Connecting the Dots: A VITAL Framework for Sharing Law Enforcement Intelligence Information and LEAP: A Law Enforcement Assistance and Partnership Strategy. Both informed many of the statutory provisions that he helped developed for Title V of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-53) and the Reducing Over-Classification Act (P.L. 111-258). Tom is a former Assistant General Counsel at the FBI and previously worked in private litigation practice.

Adam Karcher

Unit Chief, National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, Office of Data Exploitation

Adam Karcher, Unit Chief, Office of Data Exploitation, serves as a Deputy Director and the FBI representative to the National Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) Mission Council, leading the task force's integration mission area. Karcher also oversees the acquisition and analysis of the broad spectrum of domestic threat data at the NCIJTF. In this role, he leads the engineering efforts focused on the integration and visualization of cyber threat data, to include the teams of technical analysts assigned to track major threats to U.S. national security, and the intelligence production teams charged with synthesizing this analysis into products designed to impact investigations and operations. In his 10 years at the FBI, Karcher has almost exclusively conducted field investigations into computer network exploitation activity conducted by nation-state adversaries or provided program management guidance in support of national security investigations from Cyber Division headquarters. Prior to his service in the FBI, Karcher used his education in molecular biology in research at the National Cancer Institute and then in the private sector as bioinformatics specialist focused on the detection of genetic targets of drug development at the genomic level.


Al Di Leonardo

Chief Executive Officer, The HumanGeo Group

Al Di Leonardo

Al Di Leonardo co-founded the company and leads the company's vision and operations comprised of innovative software engineers, technical analysts, and intelligence analysts working at the intersection of Big Data analytics with social media, data mining, data visualization, and location intelligence. Al has over 24 years of combined government and commercial experience that has aided him in providing rapid growth for HumanGeo.

Prior to co-founding HumanGeo, he served as a United States Army Officer, where he became a highly decorated combat veteran. He spent a decade inside the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), and is the former Director of US Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) elite Big Data analytics cell known as Skope. He also served in Kuwait, Africa, the Balkans, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

He is a Bronze Star Awardee from Special Operations Command, and in 2011, Al was selected as one of the top 100 Federal employees by the "Fed100" because of his vision and implementation of the Skope cell. Today, his joint ideas with government, stemming from Skope, have led to other innovations within the community now widely know as the "Nerd Brigade."

He holds a BA from Fordham University and an MBA from Loyola University.

Abe Usher

Chief Technology Officer, The HumanGeo Group

Abe Usher

Abe Usher has 16 years of professional experience related to software engineering and system development. Prior to co-founding HumanGeo, Abe was a senior engineer within Google's Enterprise Division where he worked on geospatial and search technology in support of Google Earth and Google Maps. His other areas of specialty at Google were large-scale data mining and quantitative social network analysis.

Prior to Google, he served in a number of government roles with the National Security Agency (NSA). While serving as a cryptologist at NSA, he received multiple awards for creating innovative cybersecurity technologies. His technical experience covers the full spectrum of data analysis and cloud computing technologies, including Hadoop, Hbase, MapReduce, Lucene, Solr, ElasticSearch, MongoDB, Redis, Oracle 10g, Postgresql, and SQL Server. He is also proficient in a number of programming languages, including Java, Python, C#, C++, Perl, javascript, and others.

Abe is a Cloudera Certified Hadoop Professional (CCHP), and Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP). He is a 2015 Federal 100 recipient for his work in creating the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Nerd Brigade. Nerd Brigade is a concept that deploys highly-talented software engineers in a desk-side development manner to create low-cost, innovative solutions for the USG. Abe is a Certified ToastMaster, a West Point graduate, and holds an MS in Information Systems from George Mason University.

Panel One Speakers

Jay Lillie

Engagement Manager, Paxata

Jay Lillie

Jay Lillie is the Engagement Manager for the Paxata Federal business where he focuses on building customer success within the intelligence community and related domains. He is also a Gunnery Sergeant with the US Marine Corps Reserve. He joined Paxata from TIBCO where he served as the Product Marketing Manager for the Business Process Management (BPM) line of business and promoted the role of process in the context of real-time event processing, integration middleware, ad hoc analytics, and social productivity.

Jay's has a background as a solution architect and Enterprise Architecture (EA) practitioner who leverages the concept of the "integrated whole" (people, process, & technology) to drive effective change. His skills and experience bridge the gap between business and IT and he combines strategy, organizational understanding, and architecture to solve problems and drive progress. As a facilitator and consultant, he maintains a focus on shared goals that brings together diverse stakeholders and involves them in leveraging an organization's institutional knowledge into improved operational efficiency.

As a consultant, Mr. Lillie's list of clients includes Ford Motor Company, Royal Dutch Shell, JPMorganChase, Kaiser Permanente, MetLife, Nike, and Walmart. He holds credentials as a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and IBM Application Developer. He maintains a professional membership in the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

Stu Rabinowitz

Director of Federal Strategic Alliances, Socrata

Stu Rabinowitz

Stuart is a seasoned technology executive with more than 20 years of experience helping customers leverage data and technology to solve real mission and business problems. He is the Director of Federal Strategic Alliances for Socrata where he helps customers such as CMS, CDC, the White House, HHS, and others identify and publish data. Stuart is a member of the HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence committee and has been published several times on the use and need of health data. Stuart has worked with technologies spanning from cybersecurity to health informatics and with customers involved in national security and healthcare. He was recently the Chief Technology Officer for CCSi where he provided strategic and tactical advice on information technology options and projects. Stuart has a Bachelor's in Finance, an MBA, and is currently pursuing an MS in Health Informatics.

Thom Robison

Senior Strategist & Solution Architect, Hassett Willis & Company

Thom Robison

Thom Robison currently supports HWC's efforts as the company's Senior Strategist and Solutions Architect. Mr. Robison has helped to design architectures for data exploitation across the law enforcement, the intelligence community, and federal civilian communities throughout the federal government as well as internationally. Very simply, he views "data as a strategic asset" and continues to evangelize the opportunities that computational energy and analytics provide to organizing and manipulating "healthy data" for the public good.

Professionally, Thom has worked in the executive offices of Governors Whitman, Bush, and Weld, and the Senate office of Connie Mack. He served the Department of Homeland Security as a Division Director overseeing the distribution and management of the Homeland Security Grant Program as well as supported the development of a key doctrine related to protecting infrastructure and achieving national preparedness.

Thom is currently working on his Doctorate degree at George Mason University focusing his studies on the concepts of Mitigation and Resiliency.

Bryan Ware

CTO and President, Haystax

Bryan Ware

Mr. Ware is a pioneer in the development and application of analytic methods and tools for critical security and risk applications. Mr. Ware is the CTO for Haystax Technology where he leads the company's technology strategy and research and development activities, particularly in behavioral analysis, real-time analytics, social media intelligence, and mobile apps. Mr. Ware was previously the Co-Founder and CEO of Digital Sandbox, Inc., a leading provider of security risk management and intelligence fusion products.

Mr. Ware serves on the Board of Advisors of Core2 Group, a company developing business performance indicators for financial applications. Mr. Ware also serves on the Stars Network, the industry advisory group for Mach37, a cybersecurity incubator. Mr. Ware holds three Patents for risk management and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Optics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is an alumni of the MindShare executive program.

Lightning Talk Speakers

Brendan Conlon

CEO, Vahna

Brendan Conlon

Brendan Conlon founded Vahna in 2013 after 10 years of Computer Network Operations with the National Security Agency. Brendan began his career at NSA as a developer of software for Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) operations. He has also conducted operations as a Technical Operations Officer detailed to the Central Intelligence Agency. As the Chief of Tailored Access Operations - Hawaii, he led a large group of Global Network Exploitation Analysts and Operators.

Brendan's most recent government post was as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Cyber Operations within the Information Assurance Directorate where he was responsible for vulnerability assessments and penetration tests on U.S Government Networks (NSA's Red Team), Advanced Persistent Threat analysis on classified government networks, and incident response operations (NSA's Blue Team).

While at NSA, he successfully completed three war-zone deployments to Afghanistan, earning several awards. Brendan has presented in numerous classified venues on various topics related to tactical digital network forensics, mobile forensics, protocol analysis, Computer Network Exploitation techniques, and combined Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations. He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the United States Naval Academy.

Webster Mudge

Sr Director of Technology Solutions, Cloudera

Webster Mudge

Webster Mudge is the Senior Director of Technology Solutions at Cloudera where he strives to bring Hadoop technologies and business objectives together. Previously, Webster held positions in sales and services at companies like Microsoft and FAST Search and Transfer and in software development at firms like Time Inc. Webster has a deep background in the content management and search industries, and brings more than 20 years of hands-on software and services management.



Gus Taveras

CIO, Patrocinium Systems LLC

Gus Taveras

Today, Gus Taveras serves as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Patrocinium Systems LLC, a Personal Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology company focused on empowering citizens with data - making them more situationally aware of the environment around them. Gus still has a passion for the DoD and serves as a part time consultant to Booz Allen Hamilton.

Prior to his current position, Gus served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the DIA. He also served as the senior interface for technology to the national intelligence community, the military services, the Combatant Commands, industry, and academia. Mr. Taveras advised and informed the Chief Information Officer (CIO) on technical issues and operations. He developed information technology (IT) strategy related to defense intelligence information management and technology, including technical architectures and standards, systems, applications, networks, data processing, telecommunications, and other aspects of IT with a focus on information management capability integration and interoperability.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Taveras served as a consultant to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and served 24 years in both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.

Chris Tucker

Creator of, & Manager, Yale House Ventures

Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker thinks and works at the intersection of technology, strategy, geography, and national security. Tucker manages Yale House Ventures, a portfolio of technology companies, social ventures, and public entrepreneurship initiatives. These span the worlds of renewable energy, geospatial data and technology, sensors, cyber-security, open source software and hardware, and social media technologies, as they relate to national security, international affairs, humanitarian assistance disaster response, civilian government, various commercial industry sectors, NGOs, K-12 STEM and humanities education, and institutions of higher education.

Tucker is the creator of, a companion to Wikipedia, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the MapStory Foundation. Tucker serves, or has served on a variety of other private sector, government, and non-profit boards including the Open Geospatial Consortium, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, OpenPlans, the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, the Defense Science Board Intelligence Task Force, and the American Geographical Society. Tucker is affiliated with a variety of think tanks including the Center for National Policy and the Institute for State Effectiveness.

Previously, Tucker was the President and CEO of a high-technology firm in the area of geospatial intelligence that he took from startup to acquisition. Prior to his time in industry, Chris was the founding Chief Strategic Officer of In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture fund. And prior to that, Chris served as the Special Advisor to the Executive Vice Provost of Columbia University.

Panel Two Speakers

Erik Giesa

Sr VP Worldwide Marketing & Business Development, ExtraHop

Erik Giesa

Erik Giesa is the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development at ExtraHop Networks. Erik guides market strategy and execution with a focus on helping customers transform their IT operations. Erik offers keen insight into the goals and requirements of enterprise IT organizations and ensures ExtraHop meets those needs.

Prior to joining ExtraHop, Erik was Senior Vice President of Product Management and Product Marketing at F5 Networks where he defined product, marketing, and solution strategy for all F5 products. Erik also held executive positions in product management, marketing, and sales at Holistix, WRQ, Express Systems, and hDC.

Matthew Hollingsworth

Senior Sales Engineer, Gigamon

Matthew Hollingsworth

Matthew Hollingsworth joined Gigamon in January 2014 as a Senior Sales Engineer for the Civilian Federal Team. With over 20 years of experience working with private enterprise and the Federal government, he brings a balanced perspective to the Gigamon Federal Team. Prior to joining Gigamon, he managed the security, network and server infrastructure for a financial software company, and then evolved into providing engineering services for solutions vendors offering packet analysis technologies and Security Information and Event Management technologies.


Tim Ogden

Arista Federal, Arista Networks

Tim led Marines from 1995-2000, led engineering and sales teams at Cisco from 2000-2010, and has led Arista's Federal business from 2010-2015. Tim has a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in General Engineering from the US Naval Academy.

Adrish Sannyasi

Healthcare Solutions Architect, Splunk

Adrish Sannyasi

Working as a big data architect, Adrish has domain expertise in large scale data engineering and data analytics including machine learning across healthcare and government markets. He is focused on making medicine personalized while maintaining security, privacy of the underlying data sets and balance ethics and use of data. Adrish received clinical data mining certification from Stanford University and Masters in Operations Management from University of Maryland. While not crunching data, he likes cooking and practicing yoga.

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