techIT Sessions

The Next Frontier in Service Delivery: Robotics Process Automation

This session will explore how advances in new technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are changing the service delivery model for organizations. During the session we will discuss the following:
•  What is Robotic Process Automation and how does it work?
•  What are the key benefits of this new technology?
•  What are upfront considerations in identifying opportunities for automation?
•  How have other organizations been using this technology?
•  How will this technology affect the Future of Work?
Christopher Rose
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Rose is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Strategy & Operations practice. He specializes in the execution of complex strategy, enterprise cost reduction, and service delivery model transformation using automation in the state government and higher education markets. He currently serves as one of the leaders of the robotics and cognitive automation offerings for Deloitte’s Public Sector practice. Rose has served a diverse client base that includes local, state, federal, and international public sector clients. His goal is to help the public sector and higher education institutions find the right balance between mission effectiveness and delivery efficiency. Rose holds a Bachelor of Science in business from Wake Forest University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NC State University.

Building a DevOps Culture | Today and Beyond!

DevOps is well inside the ‘hype cycle,’ but what the heck is it and how do you get there?  This session will explore DevOps, the culture of DevOps and some critical shifts that will be required to build a DevOps program for today, and the next 10 years. Ragan will explore how continuous integration and continuous delivery will change as well as what impact microservices will have on how we create and deliver software innovation to end users.   
Tracy Ragan
DeployHub, Inc.

Tracy Ragan began her odyssey in the area of DevOps long before the term was coined. In the late 1980’s she consulted Wall Street firms on ways to improve the software build and deploy process through automation. Having begun her programming career as a mainframe developer, she quickly recognized how the new ‘distributed’ datacenter lacked the build and deploy processes that were standard on mainframe systems. In 1995, Ragan co-founded OpenMake Software, a private software company that specializes in the automation of cross platform, and accelerated software builds (compile/link standards). Her innovation in this area was recognized by IBM, leading her to a board position on the newly formed Eclipse Foundation where she served for five years. Tracy has also worked with CA technologies in designing ‘Application Lifecycle’ solutions and presenting at many break-out sessions at CA World since 1997.  

In 2014, Ragan recognized that there was a gap in open source tooling around Application Release Automation for performing continuous deployments. This led to the formation of DeployHub, a new product focused on bringing open source Application Release Automation to the agile project team.  DeployHub OSS was launched as an open source solution in the spring of 2017.  She followed up the open source offering with the creation of, a company that provides both support and professional upgrades to DeployHub OSS to meet the needs of the large enterprise.  Ragan currently leads the DeployHub team with a focus on the future of software deployments specific to the needs of microservices and Kubernetes. 

Ragan speaks at DevOps conferences 2 to 3 times per year and is a blog contributor at and She was recently recognized as a Women In Technology (WIT) Honoree for her work in the DevOps area. You may also find her as an expert panelist on Webinars along with some of her friends at GitHub and CloudBees, or quoted in SD Times articles around DevOps subjects.

Why WAN Architecture Matters

Wide Area Networks (WAN’s) come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Learn from Steve Morrell, Solutions Engineer, at Unite Private Networks (UPN) about design considerations including resiliency, redundancy, standards compliance, cloud/application delivery, flexibility, capacity and support considerations when evaluating a WAN solution. Steve will cover WAN design basics as well as cloud connectivity.

Steve Morrell

Senior Solutions Engineer
Unite Private Networks

Wide Area Networks (WAN’s) come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Learn from Steve Morrell, Solutions Engineer at Unite Private Networks about design considerations including resiliency, redundancy, standards compliance, cloud/application delivery, flexibility, capacity and support considerations when evaluating a WAN solution. Morrell will cover WAN design basics as well as cloud connectivity.

Keynote: NASA Innovation and How NM can Connect

Steven A. González

Technology Transfer Strategist
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

For over 30 years, Mr. González has applied his skills in visioning, strategy, innovation and fostering collaborations to benefit the human exploration of Space.  At the NASA/Johnson Space Center (JSC), he led the team to develop the 20-year strategy for the Center and was instrumental in creating numerous strategic initiatives that connected NASA to the entrepreneur and innovation community in Houston, including the creation of the SpaceCom Conference and Exposition. Mr. González has been embedded in the innovation ecosystem in Houston during his tenure as the NASA Executive Liaison at the Houston Technology Center (HTC) and the NASA Executive Liaison at the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). During his time at GHP he created a stronger alliance between NASA and the startup community and strategized with GHP leadership on the future direction of the innovation ecosystem in Houston.

Earlier in his career Mr. González instructed the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-65 mission on the vehicle’s computer and navigation system. He received his Masters of Science at Texas A&M University and his Bachelors in Computer Engineering at Boston University.

Leading Businesses in a World Re-imagined and Re-written with Software

“Did you know that as little as 1% of industrial data is being used today?  

With the rise of commoditized sensors, connected technology, massive storage capacity and growing processing power, every asset in every industry is capable of generating valuable data at incredible scale. This key information can answer the most critical questions across your operations and open the door to unprecedented business advantages. 

At Uptake, our purpose-built products ingest and analyze sensor and enterprise data, transforming it into actionable insights and immediate outcomes. Together with our customers, we drive real business value and set new standards for productive, secure, safe and reliable operations. 

We believe companies and people should love the technology they experience. We are field engineers, technologists and data scientists who deliver great software that is easy to use.” 

Mark Benak
VP Business Ventures

Mark Benak brings 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and technologist to the Sandia Foundation. Currently, Benak is CEO of Asset Performance Technologies, Inc (APT). In 2018, Uptake acquired APT. Previously, he co-founded InLight Solutions, a biomedical device company that develops and markets sensor-based measurement systems for life science applications. He was a staff scientist at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, one of the leading research universities in Germany, and served as a research engineer with Daimler-Benz AG in Stuttgart, Germany. He also chaired the board of directors for Incitor (now xF Technologies), a developer of synthetic enzymes for biofuels. Benak serves as a board advisor for the Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, and was a founding board member and co-chair of the Albuquerque Community Foundation Future Fund. He graduated with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

What Have We Learned from CNM’s Successful Blockchain Implementation?

As the first community college in the nation and one of the only three higher education institutions overall, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) has successfully implemented the student-owned digital learning credentialing system using blockchain technology. This fulfilled one of CNM’s strategic directions to convert institution-owned technology to student-owned technology. Building upon the successful experience, CNM has been partnering with industry leaders such as Learning Machine to work on a number of blockchain use cases such as creating a universal student ID, managing faculty credit-hour based pay by using smart contracts to building a stackable micro-credentialing solution to certify student soft skills, as well as creating a blockchain college.

While CNM recognized from the beginning that blockchain initiatives should never be just about blockchain, they must be driven by CNM strategic priorities and business needs. It is also imperative to promote blockchain awareness early-on to build broad customer acceptance. As a nationally recognized blockchain educator, Hou has developed the seven criteria for selecting the right blockchain solutions. He will share these criteria during his presentation as well as the valuable lessons learned from the successful blockchain implementation.

Feng Hou
CIO and Chief Digital Learning Officer
Central New Mexico Community College

Currently serving as the Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Learning Officer at CNM, Feng Hou is a Harvard educated and award winning IT leader with more than 20 years of digital transformation experience.

As a member of the President Executive Team, Hou manages over 80 staff, leading digital transformation with strategic development to improve customer digital experience, enhance operational efficiency and cut IT spending. Since he started at CNM in June 2016, Hou has established IT agile services, technology training services and customer digital experience services without adding any new IT positions. Under his leadership, IT is creating a one-stop technology service and training center to support CNM students and employees.

Last year, Hou led the blockchain initiative to implement a student owned digital certificate and degree diploma solution, which made CNM the first community college in the nation to use blockchain technology to provide their students with digital credentials. He has received The Blockchain for Education Vision Award for his leadership and achievement in blockchain. Building upon the successful experience, Hou is working on a number of blockchain use cases from creating a universal student ID, managing faculty credit hour based pay by using smart contract to building a stackable micro-credentialing solution to certify student soft skills.

Hou is the Co-founder of Albuquerque Blockchain Alliance (ABA) and currently serves on the national reviewing board for the Blockchain Certificate Exam, as well as a member of the National Government Blockchain Chamber Albuquerque Chapter. He serves on the Board of Directors for Higher Education Computing/ Communication Services (CHECS) and the Board of Directors for New Mexico Technology Council. He was twice elected as President of Florida Association of Educational Data Systems (FAEDS).

Navigating the ocean of Big Data as a Data Analyst

The role of Data Analyst in the world of big data is to develop and share insights hidden in large pools of data, much like early navigators provided critical information to help ships navigate in vast, uncharted oceans.  This presentation will examine the role of Data Analyst and how to get the most value from your data… before you sail off the edge of the world.

Nels Hoenig

Quality Assurance Architect
PNM Resources

Nels Hoenig’s role is to help ensure quality and reliability in the IT portion of projects and production support at New Mexico’s largest utility. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona in Operations Management and MIS. He holds multiple certifications in many different IT areas.