The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) has tapped top cybersecurity leaders to provide strategic guidance as part of its inaugural Technical Advisory Board.

“The inaugural members represent some of the highest levels of industry, academia, and government and bring a wide array of experience and expertise, including running large research groups and developing innovation programs, said Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director. “They’re also strong advocates for the initiative and their expertise will help us develop programs to further enhance cybersecurity workforce development and innovation within the commonwealth.”

The advisory board includes high-profile experts and Virginia Tech alumni Jim Mollenkopf '87 and Tracy Gregorio '83, in addition to others who represent industry giants and higher education institutions that include: Qualcomm, MITRE Corp. G2 Ops Inc., Center for Innovative Technology, Idaho National Laboratory, University of Virginia, Purdue University, and the University of Maryland.

  • Elisa Bertino, Samuel D. Conte Professor Computer Science and research director at CERIAS, Purdue University.
  • Tracy Gregorio, chief executive officer, G2 Ops Inc.
  • David Ihrie, chief technology officer, Center for Innovative Technology.
  • Jim Mollenkopf, vice president, strategic development, Qualcomm.
  • Melur “Ram” Ramasubramanian, vice president for research, University of Virginia.
  • Zachary Tudor, associate lab director, National and Homeland Security, Idaho National Laboratory.
  • Sennur Ulukus, Anthony Ephremides Professor in Information Sciences and Systems, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Dan Woolley, executive director of the Government Effectiveness Advanced Research Center, MITRE.

Funded by the commonwealth, CCI is focused on building a vibrant ecosystem to make Virginia a global leader in cyber-related research, innovation, and workforce development at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and data. Industry, government, and 320 researchers from 39 Virginia higher education institutions contribute to the statewide initiative.  

“CCI gives businesses, educators, and policymakers a forum to work together in a concerted effort,” said Gregorio. “Our goal is to raise the visibility of the cyber prowess in Virginia – from our brilliant cybersecurity engineers protecting many of our national assets to the middle school teachers spurring an interest in STEM. Virginia is a powerhouse of cybersecurity expertise and we want our cybersecurity lighthouse to be seen throughout the world.”

Tudor added that CCI provides structure to the great collaborations between Virginia’s universities, industry partners, and other stakeholders. The CCI model will not only accelerate cyber research and development in Virginia, but will display Virginia’s cyber leadership nationwide.