How to get involved?
If you are interested in joining the Alumni Chapter, please reach out to the CEC Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CEC Alumni Chapter is to create a platform for networking, professional development, and engagement opportunities with CEC and George Mason University.
Alumni Chapter Board Members
Dave Brown served for more than 22 years in the Navy and has more than 15 years of experience as a systems engineer, educator, and technical manager. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy, the Navy Test Pilot School, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval War College, and the Defense Systems Management College. He holds certifications in Program Management, Systems Engineering, and Test and Evaluation. He earned his PhD in information technology from Mason in 2004.
Brown completed projects for the Office of Naval Research, the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Internal Revenue Services (IRS), Department of Health and Human Services, and NASA. He helped facilitate and write a Systems Engineering Policy Instruction for NASA and has also been a consultant in the formulation of the acquisition plans for the Constellation Program. He was selected to the elite Scientists Helping America to assist in bringing technology to bear in the war on terror after the 9/11 attacks. He has completed curriculum development projects for the Defense Acquisition University, including systems engineering, technology management, and program management courses. He received recognition for contributions to systems engineering with an individual award from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and a Team Award from the Chief Engineer of NASA. He currently is a senior principal analyst for Innovative Decisions.
Siddique Chaudhry is a cybersecurity professional with five years of experience in cloud security and auditing. He is an Information Security Program Manager at Snowflake where he oversees the International Government Compliance and Audit Program. He focuses on the US government’s cybersecurity compliance requirements such as FISMA, FedRAMP, and CMMC. Previously, he served as the Deputy Program Manager at Blue Canopy overseeing their FedRAMP program.
Mariana Cruz currently works for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a principal solutions architect in support of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). She is currently the technical advisor for a software program that models blast effects in urban environments. Prior to her current position, Cruz worked for Defense Sciences Incorporated as a shift lead and structural engineer in the DTRA Technical Reachback Division. She was involved with high-explosive modeling, blast effects, and structural vulnerability assessment. She provided modeling support to a variety of Department of Defense (DOD) and federal clients.
As a lead, she helped manage a team of highly skilled scientists and engineers through day-to-day operations. Cruz received a master's in civil engineering with a concentration in structural engineering from the University of Delaware in 2014, focused on structural reliability and probability assessment, and presented her thesis work at the International Conference for Structural Safety and Reliability in 2013. She was honored with the George Mason University Alumni Association's Senior of the Year Award in 2011. She currently serves as the historian in the executive board of the Alumni Board of Directors
Harry Dreany, a member of the Defense Acquisition Workforce, works for the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, Virginia as a scientist and researcher focused on cognitive architecture development. He supports the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Quantico, Virginia as the artificial intelligence development lead in the Science and Technology Division. Dreany is responsible for the development of the artificial intelligence science and technology portfolio at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. His secondary responsibility is serving as the lead researcher for the development of the Marine Corps Robotics and Autonomy Strategy (MCRAS) and roadmap.
Dreany enlisted in the Marine Corps while attending college in 1992. He currently serves in the Marine Corps reserves as a capabilities analyst for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Virginia. During his military service, he has numerous deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Dreany entered civil service in 1998, where he has served in numerous Scientist and Engineer billets for the Navy and Marine Corps. His most notable billets prior to his current assignment include his roles as technical manager of the Collaborative Online Reconnaissance Provider-Operational Responsive Attack Link (CORPORAL) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD); a technical direction agent for the Office of Naval Research responsible for United States Marine Corps (USMC) Ground Vehicle Science and Technology; and the prototyping lead for Naval Surface Warfare Center/Naval Underwater Warfare Center Headquarters.
Dreany has the following academic credentials: a Bachelors of Arts in political science (Randolph-Macon College); Bachelor of Science in physics (University of Mary Washington); Master of Arts in national security and strategic studies (U.S. Naval War College); and Master of Science in systems engineering (George Mason University). He also holds a PhD in systems engineering from George Washington University.
Xavier is a member of the George Mason University College of Engineering and Computing Alumni Board, with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the cybersecurity domain. A proud alumnus with a Master's in Computer Science, Xavier is passionate about leveraging technology to drive innovation and progress. At the heart of Xavier’s commitment, there's a dedication to fostering a vibrant community among alumni and current students. He enriches the CEC experience with his insights and enthusiasm and is excited to contribute to the board's initiatives. Outside of the professional realm, he is passionate about photography and playing different musical instruments, finding both to be creative outlets that complement his technical skills.
Jeff Fissel co-founded KZO Innovations in 2007, and serves as vice president of solutions. He also served as vice president of business development. Fissel played a key role in select strategic accounts and corporate development activities at KZO. He is an expert with interactive streaming media technologies and was a member of the development team for KZO technology. Prior to KZO, he founded KZO Webcasting and produced hundreds of global webcasts ranging from events in the White House for former President Bush to film festivals in Hollywood. Currently, Fissel is in Nashville, Tennessee.
Andy has worked in a variety of leadership and individual contributor roles across the information technology industry. He is an Advisory Manager at Deloitte, where he manages cybersecurity teams that improve the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of Operational Technology systems for Fortune 100 companies in the energy, power & utilities, and pharmaceutical industries.
A graduate of the College of William and Mary with a bachelor's in comparative literature and a Minor in Economics, he made the transition to the IT industry in the mid-1990s and hasn’t looked back. Previous work includes building a team to perform Governance, Risk, and Compliance activities for the Army’s cloud enclave, and performing cybersecurity architecture and cyber operations at the Army’s Cyber Command. He stood up a line of business for an ML/AI network intrusion detection appliance at a defense contractor and served in a variety of other technical leadership and engineering roles, including acting IT Director. He has performed software testing, system development and design, installation and deployment, on-site support, consulting, and sales engineering. He has worked at several well-known companies including UUNET, as a contractor at Microsoft, CSC, and others.
In addition to his IT career, he served in the Army National Guard for nearly 30 years. His final assignment was as a Colonel, where he served as the Plans Chief for the Maryland National Guard Joint Staff and planned National Guard support for the state’s COVID response. He has served in operational and staff roles in the US and on overseas assignments in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.
El-Mehdi Marhoum’s mission exemplifies him perfectly. He is an entrepreneurial, innovative, service-oriented professional who uses his expertise to commit to excellence. He is excellent at assessing needs and developing practical solutions on an everyday basis, his dedication to this staff, colleagues, and companies has led his team to success and inspiring relationships. Every individual wants to leave some sort of legacy of their leadership, and El-Mehdi has already marked his way in the professional association and non-profit industry and continues to strive to do more and remain engaged in the community and the ongoing development of the industry.
Founder and CEO of two companies, benel Solutions and Ektira Solutions, El-Mehdi is an outstanding entrepreneur, professional, teacher, and colleague; however, he should first be viewed as an outstanding leader and mentor. For many years he has served as a role model to other professionals and now to his teams. He always leads by being among the finest examples of a true professional and knows how to be an inspiration to help with the development of his staff in their careers.
While El-Mehdi leads personally, he is also dedicated to the more widespread growth of his profession. He is a frequent speaker at IT forums and conferences around the country with thousands of attendees and has consistently given his time to teach seminars and give advice to other engineers in the industry on how to improve their methods and many other topics. His attention to detail is always highlighted in the quality of his work and continues to efficiently improve his technical expertise.
Throughout his career, El-Mehdi brings over 18 years of broad experience to drive many aspects of business in several industries. He also gives back to the community by working alongside universities and providing his time to work with students on a variety of technology projects. He has taken the initiative to work with groups individually and come up with solutions that are executable as part of the process of improvement.
His commitment to helping the community doesn’t stop, El-Mehdi consistently finds ways to get involved in the community from local fundraising efforts, and alumni involvement, to educating and mentoring on a national and international level. He enjoys sharing his perspective and expertise even if it’s for the benefit of someone else.
Andy Ngo is an information technology specialist with more than 11 years of experience consulting for the public sector. Throughout his career, he has worked with clients from various organizations such as the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense. His technical expertise includes cloud computing and the Microsoft Power Platform. He also has experience with developing and managing enterprise content management systems for large organizations.
James Ogletree is director of Cyber Warfare Operating Unit for Northrop Grumman’s Defense Services Sector. Before that, he managed the Navy-Marine Corps cyber-business line for Northrop Grumman. Before joining Northrop Grumman in 2002, Ogletree served as a communications officer in the Marine Corps, and is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. Ogletree also earned a graduate certificate in information security management from the University of Virginia.
Hadi Rezazad has been a full-time Associate Professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University since 2017. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and CEO of an information technology solutions provider company from 1992 to 2017. He has more than 35 years of experience in IT, with more than 25 years in technology management. Rezazad received a PhD degree in Information Technology from George Mason University in 2009. He also received a degree in engineering in IT from Mason in 2003. In addition to his Mason degrees, Rezazad earned a Master’s degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Statistics, and Applied Mathematics from American University. He has received such industry certifications as a Project Management Professional and a Certified Data Management Professional. He has been a member of the CEC Alumni Board/Chapter since 2003 and was the Chairperson from 2004 to 2020. He has also been a member of the CEC Advisory Board since 2010.
Morgan Sisk currently works at Northrop Grumman as a software simulation engineer working in the space arena. Previously, she was a modeling and simulation engineer at SAIC and a research associate at IDA. She graduated with a B.S. degree in bioengineering in 2017 and is currently pursuing a master's in electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University. In 2017, her senior design group was awarded an outstanding research award at the Volgenau School of Engineering Celebration of Research.
Matthew Slaight is the vice president and Army sector growth lead for General Dynamics IT (GDIT). Previously, he was the director of operations and growth at CSRA, Inc, before that he was director and industry general manager at Computer Sciences Corp. and the director of software, systems and security at NES Associates. He has held a variety of positions with Northrop Grumman, including director of cybersecurity strategy and planning and department manager of cybersecurity solutions. He was a systems administrator with Sprint, and an environmental scientist with LAW Engineering and Environmental Services. He is a certified information security manager and a systems security certified practitioner. In 2013, he was honored with the Volgenau School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award.
Rob Walters is a senior management consultant for Quality Technical Services. Previously, he was chief technology officer at CXI, partner and director of business performance management at IndigeTech, chief technology officer of STR Software, and senior software engineer at FairPoint Technologies. Walter serves as the president of the Bon Air Youth Basketball League and the Mason Alumni Richmond Club (MasonRVA), in Richmond, Virginia.
The newest member of the VSE Alumni Advancement and Advocacy Board, Alex Walters, secured a position at Lockheed Martin upon graduating. Alex was the 2019 Mason Alumni Association’s Senior of the Year.