New Directions provides an opportunity to learn more about past and current Center projects and how you can get involved. It’s also a great way for you to hear from Leading Experts in the Information Technology Field.

As always, we aim to have new and dynamic speakers and panel guest to help us all understand the needs of the industry. This year’s line-up once again delivers!

Cyber Security

Evan Francen, CEO & Founder of FRSecureKeynote Speaker: Evan Francen, CEO & Founder, FRSecure

Evan Francen is a passionate information security expert who serves businesses of all sizes, in all industries, by cooperatively solving the complex issues surrounding information security. He is considered to be an “information security evangelist.” Prior to establishing FRSecure, Evan spent more than 15 years as a leading information security professional and corporate leader in both private and public companies. Most recently, and prior to establishing FRSecure LLC, Evan established the formal information security programs for four publicly-traded companies. Evan is well-versed in governmental and industry-specific regulations, standards and guidelines and also understands the intricacies in aligning compliance with business objectives

Cyber Security Panel Members :

Ryan ManshipRyan Manship, REDTeam Secure, President

As the VP of RedTeam; Ryan manages a team of ethical hackers for all Penetration Testing, Social Engineering, and Red Teaming Engagements. His technical focus is on physical security bypass, social engineering, and red teaming. Additionally; Ryan is a consulting advisor for large, medium, and small companies across multiple industries. He has assisted in the design and implementation of numerous Corporate Information Security Programs, Secure Software Development Lifecycle programs, and utilizes a business-driven approach to understanding and prioritizing business security risk.

James F. WilliamsJames Williams, SecurityStudio, President & Corporate Development at FRSecure

James is a driven, results-oriented executive leader with multiple business development growth achievements. He has enjoyed serving eight MN Fast 50 Cos. including: Ergotron, Hunt Tech, Convey and MentorMate (all eventually acquired); as a consultant with Aeritae Consulting; and currently as EVP of FRSecure, #31 on the 2017 MN Fast 50 List and 2017 Top 100 Employer. He is currently serving as President of SecurityStudio and EVP, Corp Dev at FRSecure.

Sahar Ismail, MSSTSahar Ismail, Legacy Armour, CEO

I’ve always been an Entrepreneur at heart! I am passionate about using my post graduate training as a Security Professional and before that as an Electrical Engineer. I thrive when taking on a task such as building practices from the start. I understand market positioning strategies, growth hacking and scaling a business at an international level. This is all evident by the achievements accomplished with and making it a cash flow positive company with international presence in just under one year. I am an inventor, a seasoned executive and a lover of technology when it solves social problems. Before that, I have enjoyed forming and leading high performing teams in the enterprise architecture practice and software development

Data Analytics

Keynote Speaker: Bao Do, Wells Fargo and IIBA, Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter

Bao Do is an Enterprise Business Architect who specializes in the use of data and artificial intelligence. He presented to the IIBA Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter on Artificial Intelligence and Industry Opportunities. He is an expert in all things Enterprise Architecture and brings a unique and exciting expertise to the mix where all is possible if we look for the potential.

Data Science Panel Members: “What I wish I would have Learned”:

Andris Bibelnieks Andris Biblnieks, Graduate Student, Washington State University

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Statistical Sciences in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, with particular emphasis on research in the areas of statistical learning theory, performing data analytics and management at scale, and applications in biological and ecological modelling. My past academic and professional experiences have been diverse. They include marketing analytics, teaching calculus in the classroom, and guiding outdoorsmen/women through the Northwoods of Minnesota.

Marcus Walker, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Marcus is currently a Grad Teaching Assistant at the U of M, Duluth and holds a Masters in Science, Computational and Applied Mathematics. He has been a member of a number of student data teams that have participated in events such as MUDAC, Data Derby, SAS Training and Tera Data Competitions and Workshops. He was a Research Assistant for the University of Minnesota Medical School and has a true passion for the academic world.

James Harroun, Senior Analytical Training Consultant, SAS Global Academic Program

James Harroun holds a Master of Science degree in Information Science and Bioinformatics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His interests include data integration, the validation and curation of big data, and aligning organizations’ data structures with analytical and reporting needs. Harroun has worked in data management and analytics for more than 20 years as a database modeler, ETL programmer, data analyst, data integration specialist, and certified SAS programmer for private businesses and higher education institutions. In his current role, he assists higher education institutions in the effective use of SAS

Employer Needs – Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Keynote Speakers:

Amy Larson Amy Larson, VP of Talent, GoKart Labs

I am an HR leader whose wheelhouse is both strategic planning and hands-on delivery. I focus on solving business challenges by aligning and executing talent strategies that drive business results. Her passion for small, early stage companies has led her to GoKart Labs where they explore new ways to solve problems. I thrive in ambiguous environments where I can create focus and clarity to translate ideas into actionable plans.

Amy Ward Amy Ward, Marketing Manager, GoKart Labs

My imperative is to work with teams across the organization, to enable them to elevate their game by giving them the tools and support they need. People have called me the 'Olivia Pope' (from one of my favorite shows, Scandal) of the marketing team. Regardless of the situation or project, when it's in my hands, it is handled.

Join us at the Table and explore all the work yet to do!

New Directions in IT Education is the annual Minnesota State Faculty Conference that provides an opportunity for educators and industry leaders to interact with their peers and influence the direction of education. This year’s conference will be held May 15-17, 2019 at North Hennepin Community and Technical College in Brooklyn Park, MN.


We look forward to your participation as we join each other at the table for quality conversations and enhanced learning.

For More information visit our website at or to register visit: