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Merit’s Don Welch to Speak at Michigan Cyber Awareness Breakfast Conference Series

Don Welch, president/CEO of Merit Network, will be the featured speaker at the Michigan Cyber Awareness Breakfast Conference Series at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Welch will present “Defending Our Critical Cyber Infrastructure” at the event.

“The cyber-threat is certainly one of the, if not the largest threat that we face today,” Welch said. “Cyber-attacks are different in that we can’t depend on the government, military or law enforcement to completely protect us. Most of this effort must come from us—the private citizens. This is the challenge we face.”

The Michigan Cyber Awareness Breakfast Conference Series 2012 provides updates regarding the Michigan Cyber Initiative and includes presentations on ways to improve cyber security in Michigan. The series is a continuation of the Michigan Cyber Summit 2011 that was hosted by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Other speakers at the cyber awareness breakfast include: Dan Lohrmann, chief security officer, State of Michigan; Capt. W. Thomas Sands, deputy state director of emergency management and homeland security; and Jeff Barnes, executive director of public safety, office of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Don Welch has been the president/CEO of Merit Network since 2006. In 2010 he was named the “Grant Thornton/Lawrence Tech Leader and Innovator of the Year” as well as one of Michigan’s Top CEOs by Corp! Magazine. In 2012 he was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for leading one of the best infrastructure projects funded by the Recovery Act. Welch served 25 years in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Colonel and earning the Legion of Merit for his service. His last assignment was as the associate dean for information technology (CIO) and professor of computer science at West Point. Among his other Army assignments, Don was the chief of software engineering for the Army’s counterterrorist unit, Delta Force.