Meet the 2023 REN-ISAC Steering Committee
The REN-ISAC Steering Committee is key to our community’s growth. They provide guidance and oversight for REN-ISAC’s strategic direction, serve our members through committees and task forces, represent REN-ISAC at professional events, and help disseminate information about REN-ISAC products and services.
After holding our 2023 Steering Committee elections, new committee members Frank Barton, Isaac Straley, and John Virden joined Russel Fulton, Jodi Ito, and Joel Rosenblatt as our six member-elected leaders.* Get to know your elected REN-ISAC representatives.
Frank Barton, Husson University
Frank has worked in IT in the education sector for almost 18 years, starting at K-12, and then moving to Higher Education where he has been for 15 years. The whole time, security has been part of his daily routine. Frank is currently an IT Systems and InfoSec Administrator for Husson University. Despite only being a REN-ISAC member for 3 years, Franks has become deeply involved by serving on the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and presenting at the annual REN-ISAC Members meeting.
“REN-ISAC members bring so much knowledge, experience, and wisdom to the table. My vision is that we should focus on our members, both existing and potential, to expand on our combined experience and wisdom, bringing institutions with less mature and robust information security programs into the group, and helping them build their programs while strengthening those that are already more robust.”
Russell Fulton, University of Auckland
With over 50 years working in academic IT and half of those in security, Russel is a great addition to the REN-ISAC steering committee. Hailing from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, he also provides a unique, global perspective to the REN-ISAC and higher education information security more broadly.
During the early 2000’s, Russel felt like the only person in the New Zealand universities whose major job responsibility was information security. The REN-ISAC became his trusted group of fellow professionals, and he has since recruited most of the New Zealand universities into the REN-ISAC.
“The REN-ISAC has been very good to me, to the University of Auckland, and to New Zealand universities as a whole. The security landscape has changed radically over the last three years, and signs indicate that pace may well accelerate in the future. REN-ISAC has done well in the past in adapting to change and growth, and I believe that it will keep evolving to meet the challenges that are coming”
Jodi Ito, University of Hawaii
Jodi is Chief Information Security Officer of the University of Hawaii (UH) System, which encompasses ten campuses across six islands. She has been with UH since 1982 and became its first Information Security Officer in 2000.
UH joined the REN-ISAC in the mid-2000s, and Jodi can recall attending her first REN-ISAC Member Meeting in 2007. She has seen the REN-ISAC (as well as UH) weather some significant security challenges through the years, during which the REN-ISAC has grown and matured.
“I believe the strength of the REN-ISAC comes from the willingness of its members to share their time, information, and expertise to build and cultivate this trusted community, which is unlike any other ISAC organization. I have benefited greatly from the discussions among the members sharing their collective wisdom and experiences.”
Joel Rosenblatt, Columbia University
Joel has built his expertise at Columbia University for the past 45 years. He started as a mainframe systems programmer in 1977 and has advanced to Director of Computer and Network Security. He also helps train future generations as a professor of Intrusion Detection Systems.
“I have been a part of REN-ISAC since it was started and am a strong believer in the sharing of information and knowledge. I am interested in seeing REN-ISAC continue in its leadership role in the education of current and future security professionals.”
Isaac Straley, University of Toronto
A long time member, Isaac Straley has been a part of the REN-ISAC community for 16 years. Isaac serves as the Chief Information Security Officer for the University of Toronto, thus bringing an international perspective to the Steering Committee. Isaac has a demonstrate history of success in cybersecurity in higher education, serving at US R1 and Canadian U15 level universities for over 17 years.
“I look forward to supporting the great collaboration in our sector and work REN-ISAC does to reduce risk for the academic mission. My vision is to enable organizations to adapt to new threats and technologies, while helping the REN-ISAC to build international participation and partnerships.”
John Virden, Miami University
Being a former United States Naval Officer, Federal consultant, and now as Assistant Vice President and the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Miami University, John brings a wealth of experience to the REN-ISAC. He has been directly involved in major higher education organizational change, strategic and management consultation, managing multi-million-dollar Department of Defense programs and contracts, and doctrine, policy and process development. He is also a strong champion for diversity and inclusiveness in cybersecurity.
“I want to provide payback for all the quality REN-ISAC cybersecurity threat intelligence, defense information, collegial collaboration, and operational expertise by dedicating my time and energy in the promotion and advancement of higher education protection and response. Personally, I am excited to gain insight and knowledge collaborating with other members, institutions, partners, and vendors.”
*In addition to the elected members, the Steering Committee consists of representatives from the REN-ISAC staff, organizational chairs, and partnership representatives. For a full list of all elected and non-elected members, visit our Steering Committee webpage.Go Back