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2024 CIO of the Year Winners Announced

2024 CIO Choice Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Charles Bartel 
VP, IT & CIO | Duquesne University

As VP for IT & CIO, Charles “Chuck” Bartel is responsible for the overall management and strategic planning for all University IT services including administrative computing, centralized infrastructure, and a variety of technology support services including enterprise reporting, communication services, and information security.

Bartel joined Duquesne University as its first CIO in August 2014. Prior to joining Duquesne, he was Director of Global IT Services (GITS) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Bartel oversees Computing and Technology Services (CTS), which is comprised of four directorates that provide computing and technology services to the Duquesne University community.

Bartel serves on the following University committees: Member - Cabinet, Executive Sponsor - DU Staff Advisory Council (DUSAC), Member - University Budget Committee, Member - Academic Council, Member - Enterprise Computing Committee, Member - Tech Partners, Member - Business Managers Council.

Bartel is a member of the KINBER Board of Directors, the Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group, the Evanta Pittsburgh CIO Governing Body, the C-CUE Governing Board, and the AICUP Member Services Committee. Chuck also serves as an adjunct instructor & coach for the Heinz College CIO Certificate program at CMU.

With more than 40-plus years of experience in higher education IT, Chuck is a recognized expert and has presented about wireless LANs, DR/BC, global programs and emerging technologies at EDUCAUSE, ACUTA, CSG, CMU, MIT, and Harvard. He served as the Chair of the Board of PREPnet (PA’s first ISP) and represented CMU in the founding of Internet2. Chuck served on the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies committee as chair (2004) and as a member of the faculty of the EDUCAUSE Management Institute (2015-2017). He was a member of the EDUCAUSE 2006 Program committee and a voting member of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group.

Batel was named CIO of the Year in 2017 for the Education Sector in Pittsburgh and is a member of the Greater Pittsburgh CIO Forum, a member of the Evanta Pittsburgh Governing Body and as a past member of the Judging Panel for the CIO/CISO of the Year in Pittsburgh.

Bartel is a Frye Fellow-Class of 2005 (now EDUCAUSE's Leading Change Institute), a graduate of the MOR Associates IT Leaders Program (ITLP)-Class of 2009 and a graduate of the EDUCAUSE Leadership Institute-Class of 2014.

Bartel holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology from Thomas A. Edison State University and a Master's Degree in Public Management from CMU.

Rising Stars

Chris Belasco
Sr. Manager, Data Services & Chief Data | Officer City of Pittsburgh

Chris Belasco is the Senior Manager, Digital Services and Chief Data Officer for the City of Pittsburgh in the Department of Innovation and Performance, where he manages analytic, data engineering, database administration, and software development efforts to improve City operations. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Belasco received his PhD in Public and International Affairs, Master of Public and International Affairs, BS in Information Science, and BA in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.

During his spare time, he likes to cook, travel, cycle, and visit museums with his two daughters. A 20-year resident of Bloomfield, he can often be found working to restore his old house.

Madison Oliver
Sr. Manager, Advisory Database Curation | GitHub

Madison Oliver is a McKeesport native, vulnerability transparency advocate, and senior security manager at GitHub, leading the advisory database curation team. She is passionate about vulnerability reporting, response, and disclosure, and participates in related OpenSSF and CVE program working groups and serves on the CVE Board. Her views are enriched by her prior experience as a product incident response analyst at GitHub and as a vulnerability coordinator at the CERT Coordination Center at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Oliver loves engaging with students and is a former undergraduate cybersecurity adjunct professor at Duquesne University and serves on the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) College of Information Sciences and Technology alumni board. She earned an M.S. in Information Security Policy and Management from CMU, and a B.S. in Security and Risk Analysis from PSU.

Tech Trailblazers

Janeen Peretin, PhD
Director of Communication, Innovation, & Advancement | Baldwin-Whitehall School District

Dr. Janeen Peretin, as Director of Communication, Innovation, & Advancement at Baldwin-Whitehall School District, has significantly impacted education over two decades. She has seamlessly integrated technology with learning, establishing a 1:1 environment to ensure equitable access to digital resources for all students. She led the transition to Canvas LMS during the COVID-19 pandemic, spearheaded the creation of a mobile fabrication lab, founded a competitive esports program, and launched the innovative "Fly Like a Girl" drone academy. Under her guidance, the district became a Google Reference District, earned recognition as a Common Sense Media district, and was invited to join the League of Innovative Schools and the AASA Learning 2025 cohort. With a commitment to fostering community partnerships and a relentless pursuit to ensure that education is inclusive, empowering, and innovative, she dedicates herself to not just shaping the minds of the next generation but crafting a new paradigm for learning.

Julie Prough
Senior Director, IT | UPMC

Julie Prough is Sr. Director of IT at UPMC, responsible for Enterprise Data Quality, including MDM, Data Catalog, and Dynamics 365 platforms oversight.
Prough joined UPMC in 1989 and has held multiple operations and IT positions before her current role. Her team’s mission is to Connect & Protect as they work across UPMC to ensure correct identification and quality surrounding data that support Clinical, Analytics, and Reporting needs. Prough’s primary responsibility is to function as a change agent and liaison, ensuring smooth identification/coordination and remediation of the enterprise’s ID management and data quality challenges, targeting process improvement, and growing the data management platforms supporting UPMC’s evolving footprint.

Since 2018, Prough has chaired UPMC’s Women in Information Technology (WIT) External Outreach efforts and supported their IT Rotational program as an interviewer and advisor. Prough holds an MBA and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

CIOs of the Year - Gigabyte Category

Tushar Lovalekar
VP, IT | Koppers

Tushar Lovalekar currently serves as the Vice President of Global IT operations and is a member of the Leadership Council at Koppers. Koppers is a Pittsburgh-based global leader in wood preservation and protection technologies. Lovalekar's primary responsibility is to develop a digital strategy focused on innovation and emerging technologies. Lovalekar serves on the Board of Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh (BVRS) and the Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group. Lovalekar has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Mumbai and a diploma in Business Management from NMIMS School of Business Management. He is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh LP XXXVI. His certifications include ITIL Foundations, Management Essentials from Katz Graduate School of Business, and a Post- Graduate Program in Artificial Intelligence for Leaders from McCombs School of Business.

Jack Smith
CIO | Federated Hermes

Jack Smith joined Federated Hermes, Inc. in 2016 as the Chief Information Officer and President, Technology and is responsible for directing all technological aspects of the company’s internal and external business needs. SMITH develops and oversees Federated Hermes’ Information Technology, which includes hardware, software, applications and telecommunications. In addition, Smith is responsible for the Information Security, Corporate Business Continuity and Enterprise Business Change organizations.

Prior to his role at Federated Hermes, Smith was the Chief Information Officer for the Asset Management and Investments businesses at PNC Financial Services Group. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Engineering from Youngstown State University, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Smith currently serves on the Board of Visitors for the School of Computing and Information and chairs the Student Success and Academic Affairs Committee at the University of Pittsburgh.

CIO of the Year - Megabyte Category

Scott Angelo
CIO | Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Scott Angelo is Buchanan’s Chief Information Officer. He is responsible for the design, implementation and management of the firm-wide information technology and risk management platforms. A dynamic leader, Angelo manages the firm’s IT team to further develop technologies to drive creative solutions for the firm and its clients. Scott brings 28 years of experience to continue to support the firm’s high-performing culture and efficient client service through an innovative digital infrastructure.

Specifically, Angelo leads the firm’s efforts on technology strategic planning, digital transformation, advanced data management, innovation and security and data privacy management.

Prior to joining Buchanan, Angelo was the Chief Information and Technology Officer at global Am Law 100 law firms where he led global technology modernization and digital transformation projects. Notably, he created and ran a client-facing digital innovation center in Pittsburgh that replaced a formerly decentralized IT department.

CISO of the Year - Gigabyte Category

Dennis Carson
Deputy CIO & CISO | PennWest University

Dennis Carson is the Deputy CIO and CISO of PennWest University, where he oversaw the development and implementation of a security program for the integration of California, Clarion, and Edinboro Universities. He also manages the Network and Data Center Teams, ensuring the efficiency, reliability, scalability, and security of the IT infrastructure. In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting, biking, and playing Ultimate Frisbee. He lives in Belle Vernon with his wife Kimberly and son Wyatt.



CISO of the Year - Terabyte Category

John O’Rourke

John O’Rourke has acted as the Director of IT Security and Chief Information Security Office (CISO) for PPG Industries since 2021. He started with PPG Industries in 2006 and is currently responsible for the protection of PPG’s cybersecurity and compliance. He manages the function’s overall strategy and operation, including cyber controls; threat and identity management; cyber security services; security assessments, architecture and integration.

O’Rourke has been in the Information Technology Industry for over 21 years with experience in development/programming, mergers and acquisitions, cloud technologies, infrastructure technologies, and cybersecurity frameworks and strategy. O’Rourke draws on his wide experience to assist the team with performing risk assessments, responding to incidents, identifying information governance policy and process improvements, and evaluating information systems architecture and security controls to determine how well they might reduce the likelihood and impact of a data breach.

CIO of the Year - Terabyte Category

Bhaskar Ramachandran

Bhaskar Ramachandran, Global Vice President and Chief Information Officer at PPG since January 2021, is responsible for enabling PPG’s growth strategy through IT/Digital technologies. Bhaskar has a track record of success in IT/Digital strategy, project management, cybersecurity, and process optimization.

Previously, he was VP and CIO at Jabil Inc., where he transformed manufacturing IT to a cloud-based ecosystem and led a Workday implementation and SAP ECC to S/4 upgrade/cloud migration. Prior to joining Jabil, Ramachandran also held IT leadership roles at Textron, Inc., including VP & CIO for the defense and intelligence segment.

Ramachandran holds a BS in Chemistry, an advanced diploma in systems management, and an MBA from Duke University. He is active in the Pittsburgh community, mentoring through Pittsburgh Technology Council and RedChairPGH, supporting STEM programs at B&G Club, volunteering as an EMT, and serving on the board of S&T Bank and the executive advisory board for SAP AG.