Like clockwork the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group celebrate and recognize the Pittsburgh region’s top chief information officers, chief information security officers and top tech execs. And last year was a year like none other, testing the fortitude and leadership of our top tech executives.
“Honoring the accomplishments and contributions of these often unsung heroes of business is particularly poignant as we look back on two years of unexpected challenges,” said Pittsburgh Technology Council President and CEO Audrey Russo. “We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate in person this year. It creates and strengthens our awesome community of tech professionals.”
In particular, the PTC and Greater CIO Group look to recognize individuals for their innovation and creativity in planning and deploying their enterprise systems, future technology goals, management philosophies and service to the industry and community. The Tech Council’s partnership with the Greater CIO Group ensures the awards reach every corner of the industry to uncover the most talented professionals.
“We have an unparalleled talent pool in our local industry and the CIO of the Year Awards continues to be a paramount platform to recognize this talent,” said Russo.
A hallowed tradition, the CIO of the Year Awards honors an industry veteran who has left an indelible mark and guide post for a future generations of leaders to follow. This year, Dawn Cappelli was selected for the honor and set the tone for the entire event. The 2022 CIO of the Year TEQ Coverage begins with a profile of Cappelli’s major accomplishments.
An Inspiring Career Dedicated to Improving Cybersecurity and IT Leadership
Dawn Cappelli is the Director, OT CERT for Dragos, an industrial (OT/ICS/IIoT) cybersecurity company on a mission to safeguard civilization. She is also a member of the Industrial Advisory Board at Georgia Tech School of CyberSecurity and Privacy.
Cappelli retired from Rockwell Automation in February 2022 as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer and continues to provide thought leadership and outreach to the cybersecurity community.
At Rockwell she was responsible for developing and executing a holistic cybersecurity strategy to ensure that Rockwell Automation and the Connected Enterprise Ecosystem—the company’s infrastructure, products, and customers—was safe, secure, and resilient. She began at Rockwell Automation in 2013 as Director, Insider Risk, and built the company’s Insider Risk Program to mitigate threats from individuals within the company or trusted third parties who might steal information, sabotage infrastructure or products, or violate physical security controls. The Rockwell Automation Insider Risk Program was awarded the Global Team Leadership award by the Society of Women Engineers in 2016. Cappelli then became CISO in 2016.
Before Rockwell Automation, Cappelli was Founder and Director of Carnegie Mellon’s CERT Insider Threat Center where she was recognized as one of the world's leaders in insider threat mitigation and worked with government and industry leaders on national strategy issues. Before that, she developed software for nuclear power plants for Westinghouse and Carnegie Mellon. She co-authored the book "The CERT Guide to Insider Threats: How to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Information Technology Crimes (Theft, Sabotage, Fraud)”, which was inducted into the Cybersecurity Canon—a list of must-read books for all cybersecurity practitioners.
Cappelli is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, is co-founder of the Open Source Insider Threat (OSIT) information sharing group, and is a member of the RSA Conference Advisory Board, the Cybersecurity Collaborative Executive Committee, and the CyberWire Hash Table. She was inducted into the ISSA Hall of Fame in 2021, honored as a member of the 2021 CISOs Top 100 CISOs, 2020 Global CISO 100, and was named CISO of the Year in 2018 by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Greater Pittsburgh CIO/CISO Groups.
Winner: Steven Bugajski, VP & CIO, U.S. Steel
Steve Bugajski is the Vice President & CIO of U.S. Steel. Since joining the company in 2008, he has held senior leadership positions in every aspect of IT and lead the company’s Business Services group, gaining valuable IT and business experience. Prior to his arrival at U.S. Steel, Steve spent much of his IT career in the healthcare field holding senior IT leadership positions, including CIO, at large hospital groups and healthcare insurance companies.?He is an active member on several Advisory Boards including Penn State University, Robert Morris University, and the United Way.?He is also a member of the Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group. He enjoys mentoring high school and college students and volunteering his time to help those less fortunate.
Bugajski holds a BS in MIS from Penn State University and an MBA from Waynesburg University.?He lives in North Huntingdon with his wife and two children.
Kirk Ball, EVP & CIO, Giant Eagle
Kirk Ball joined Giant Eagle, Inc. in 2020. Kirk and his team members have responsibility for delivering all Information Technology solutions for the Giant Eagle enterprise including eCommerce development, strategic technology planning, infrastructure and applications for the Enterprise, and analytics.
Thomas Blazek, CIO, Arconic
Tom Blazek is the Chief Information Officer of Arconic Corporation, a role that he has held since the company launched after separating from Arconic, Inc. in April 2020. He was previously Global IT Director for the company’s Building and Construction Systems (BCS) business.
Ganesh Krishnan, Enterprise CIO for PNC, Co-Head of PNC Technology, PNC Financial Services
Ganesh Krishnan is Enterprise CIO for PNC, Co-Head of PNC Technology of PNC Financial Services. He leads a team that is responsible for driving the technology vision, strategy, innovations, initiatives, and programs for PNC’s business lines.
Paul Yater, CIO & Head of HR, 84 Lumber
Paul Yater is a highly effective results-oriented senior executive with 27+ years of information technology and enterprise systems implementation experience. As a strategic technology leader with a proven track record of building and delivering business value via strategic technology roadmaps and transformational investments, he has a demonstrated ability to create a vision, build teams, and grow business partnerships to achieve mutual success.
Winner: Steve Agnoli, CIO, Reed Smith LLP
As Chief Information Officer of Reed Smith, Steve Agnoli is responsible for global IT strategy, technology-enabled business transformation, systems operations, and support for firm growth activities. Throughout his career he has successfully led business and IT transformation initiatives, ensured value realization from IT investments, and motivated innovative, multi-disciplinary teams in global environments.
Agnoli was formerly Head of Global IT Transformation for Mylan Pharmaceutical, responsible for aligning its IT function with business strategy and process. He previously worked as the Chief Information Officer at a global professional services firm, ensuring information strategy and technology supported that firm’s client service, financial, marketing, and overall business capabilities. He has been recognized with 13 national and international awards for IT leadership and excellence in business innovation enabled by technology. Agnoli holds a BS in MIS from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Duquesne University.
Davor Brkovich, CIO, Matthews International
Davor Brkovich is responsible for the Matthews Enterprise IT function including applications support, IT infrastructure, strategic programs, cyber security, and compliance. He joined Matthews in 2017 as the Director, Global IT Infrastructure where he led a number of transformation and efficiency initiatives.
Carmine Fantini, VP, Strategic Planning & CIO, Equitrans Midstream
Carmine Fantini’s broad experience covers IT infrastructure, application design, and business planning. He has worked for Equitrans Midstream since 2018 and is currently Vice President, Strategic Planning and CIO.
Mark Henderson, Vice Chancellor & CIO, University of Pittsburgh
Mark Henderson is responsible for the development, implementation, and delivery of technology that supports the academic, business, and research missions of the University of Pittsburgh and its more than 40,000 students, researchers, faculty, and staff across five campuses. He oversees more than 300 full-time and 150 student staff that manage Pitt's central IT functions and services.
Scott Saeger, CIO, GNC
Scott Saeger is a retail technology executive with 25 years’ experience supporting global enterprise technology organizations in high growth and in transition. In his current role as CIO at GNC, Live Well, he holds responsibility for high quality technology functions, including B2B and B2C platforms, native mobile applications, retail systems, emerging technology initiatives, and more.
Winner: Brian Vogel, CIO, TeleTracking Technologies, Inc.
Brian Vogel is a native of the Pittsburgh area and Marine Corps veteran. For the past 23 years, he has served in a variety of IT leadership roles spanning both military and multiple private sector businesses in Pittsburgh including MEDRAD, Inc. (now Bayer), Federated Investors, and TeleTracking Technologies, Inc. His technology experience is equally varied from leading teams in IT Support, Infrastructure, Business Analysis, and Project Management to being the IT lead for a division of one of his prior employers.
In his current role as CIO, Vogel has spent the last several years creating and executing an IT strategy that enables scalability in TeleTracking's business operations. As a part of this, he has been focused on working with his IT leadership team to create a positive work environment where they can deliver results. He holds a BS in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business.
Ron Baxter, Director of Technology, J.V. Manufacturing
Ron Baxter is responsible for the overall planning, organizing, and execution of all information and operation technologies including investigation and implementation of new technical solutions. After spending three decades in the manufacturing field, he understands the challenges and complications of introducing new technology in an industrial environment.
Mario Cafaro, SVP, Management Science Associates, Inc.
Mario Cafaro has been with MSA for nearly 23 years, starting in 1999 as an Application Help Desk team member and progressing through the ranks to his current role as the SVP, Information Technology Systems & Services (ITSS) division. MSA’s corporate structure does not feature a C-suite but Cafaro’s responsibilities are that of a CIO.
Jay Copenhaver, Director of IT, RIZZO International, Inc.
Jay Copenhaver is a strategic business partner with a demonstrated track record of aligning people, processes, and technology to deliver efficient, cost-effective solutions for current and future business requirements.
Winnner: David Carrico, VP of IT, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
David Carrico’s experience spans over 28 years in the IT field across multiple industries including Financial Services, Retail, Energy, Technology Services, and Non-Profits. For over 25 years, he worked for companies including Ernst & Young, IBM, and Aspirant in providing consulting services and Business/IT solutions. These solutions addressed people, process, and technology needs while providing a positive user experience.
Carrico has been with the Food Bank since the beginning of 2019. During the last three years, he has led the transformation of IT and digital services, driving technology delivery and the use of data in the pursuit of the Food Bank’s strategic goals and mission of eliminating food insecurity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He is especially proud of his team’s agility and ability to provide new solutions in support of the Food Bank’s response to the pandemic.
He holds a BS in Accounting & Business Administration with a Minor in Computer Science from the University of Kansas.
Charles Graham, VP & CIO, Community College of Allegheny County
Charles Graham is the VP & CIO of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and also on the President’s Leadership Council. Before joining CCAC, Graham was Senior Director of Data Management and Performance Analytics for PPG Industries and was responsible for the company’s operational and executive reporting analytics worldwide including end-to-end management of the corporate data management strategy.
Bryon Klingel, VP of Technology, Commonwealth Charter Academy
Bryon Klingel joined Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) in 2016 and currently serves as Vice President of Technology. With 20 years’ experience in the technology field, he oversees the operations of multiple CCA technical teams including networking and infrastructure, video production, and software development.
Joe Veranese, VP & CIO, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM)
Joe Veranese joined NCDMM in 2013 and currently serves as CIO. Prior to NCDMM, Veranese was the Operations Manager for a financial services company that worked with financial institutions assisting with the management of assets and information.
Winner: Justin Zimmerman, VP & CISO, Giant Eagle
Justin Zimmerman has been with Giant Eagle for 14 years, most recently serving Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer. Justin has broad responsibility for Giant Eagle’s information security posture across Giant Eagle’s multiple operating banners including HIPAA compliance and PCI compliance.
He balances the need for practical information security solutions with Giant Eagle’s compliance obligations and security posture. Zimmerman is always forward looking to new trends, emerging threats, and changes in business or technology to ensure that Giant Eagle is prepared.
Mike Noble, CISO, Alcoa
Mike Noble is is responsible for managing Alcoa’s global information security program. This incorporates all facets of information and cyber security including strategy, policy, process and standards development, risk management, incident response, threat intelligence, and privacy.
Eris Symms, CISO, Arconic
Eris Symms brings more than 20 years of relevant Information Technology experience to his current role as CISO and has responsibility for Arconic’s global security program. In 2020, he served as the security lead for the company’s digital transformation projects including the transition to cloud-based collaboration platforms, data loss prevention, and cloud access security broker technologies.
Winner: Justin Denham, Director, Information Security & Business Resiliency, Highmark Wholecare
Justin Denham is an established Information Technology leader with over 20 years’ experience in IT. Combining his unique blend of experience in IT audit, project management, infrastructure, and security has enabled his success in leading the Cyber Security, Identity & Access Management, and IT Risk functions at Highmark Wholecare. Denham is a graduate of Penn State University and has obtained multiple professional certifications including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified in Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT). He is also a graduate of the first cohort of the Pittsburgh IT Leaders Program and was recognized as the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Rising Star Award winner in 2019. He is currently enrolled in The Advanced Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Program through Carnegie Mellon.
Matt LaVigna, CEO, National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA)
Matt LaVigna is the CEO of the National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA). Prior to joining the NCFTA management team in March 2015, LaVigna spent over 26 years in the United States Secret Service where he led criminal investigations in Pittsburgh, New York City, and at Secret Service Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Sam Merrell, Director, Global IT Security & Compliance, Kennametal, Inc.
Sam Merrell is the Director of Global IT Security and Compliance for Kennametal, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based multinational supplier of tooling and industrial materials. Prior to Kennametal, Merrell was the Head of Cyber Intelligence for Covestro, AG and a leader in the Corporate Cyber Defense Center for the Bayer AG.
Winner: Jonathan Fischer, Director, IT, ARM Institute
Jonathan Fischer is the Director of Information Technology at the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. Since joining in 2017, he has led the development of a technology infrastructure to support a nationwide group of 300+ elite manufacturing, academic, technology, and government organizations that share the common mission of a robust U.S. manufacturing ecosystem. Fischer is also responsible for building a national repository of industrial robotics solutions, applications, and information used to accelerate the adoption of robotics in the U.S.
Prior to joining ARM, Jonathan worked at the UPMC Cancer Centers as a Senior Systems Analyst and Systems Engineer. He is an active member within the Hazelwood Community, promoting community events and engaging with community leaders to help the ARM Institute's Hazelwood outreach efforts. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Information Science (MSIS) from the University of Pittsburgh.
Tony Arduini, AVP, Systems Administration Manager, Dollar Bank
Tony Arduini exemplifies Dollar Bank’s core values. He is committed to advancing the customer experience, dedicated to his community, and mindful of using technology solutions within Dollar Bank.
Dan Gorziglia, VP of Engineering, Maven Machines
Having graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016 with a degree in Electrical Computer Engineering and Business, Daniel Gorziglia has worked his way up at Maven, a Pittsburgh-based company, from a Senior Software Developer to a Product Manager, Engineering Manager and ultimately, Vice President of Engineering.
Max Ioffe, Director, Global Intelligent Automation, WESCO
Max Ioffe started WESCO Distribution Intelligent Automation program in early 2019 and has been driving it ever since. He currently leads Global Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence responsible for the vision, strategy, governance, and execution of the program.
Ashley Petrouski, Data Scientist III, U.S. Steel
Ashley Petrouski is a data scientist and has worked through various roles in her 10 years working at U.S. Steel. She is passionate about mentoring the next generation of STEM workers, solving challenging problems, and learning new technologies.