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Kansas' Biggest Tech Event

Ad Astra Tech Summit

All Attendees Talent Roadmap Technology Workshop

Presented by Greater Wichita Partnership About the Session

Align priorities that ensure our region has a workforce that meets today’s needs, while planning for the workforce of the future.

  • Hear the latest trends from Deloitte and local experts in technology and education.
  • Envision the future of tech in the region with new details of what is needed.
  • Gain a competitive advantage when it comes to talent and workforce development in technology across all sectors.

Meet the Facilitators

Tonya Witherspoon[2]

Tonya Witherspoon

Associate Vice President, Industry Engagement and Applied Learning, WSU
Executive Director, National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation (NIRDT)
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Tonya Witherspoon

Associate Vice President, Industry Engagement and Applied Learning, WSU
Executive Director, National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation (NIRDT)

Tonya Witherspoon’s passion for innovation and education has fueled her success in connecting industry leaders with faculty and students at Wichita State University to drive engagement and create and expand education through applied learning and career opportunities for students. Tonya has a well-established background in technology, innovation, and education and has been a leader in multiple high impact changes through the WSU innovation campus and in the community. A serial tech entrepreneur, she has founded several companies and has served in executive roles for technology companies building hardware and software for enterprise customers. Tonya is a published author, invited speaker, and enjoys networking and connecting people and ideas.

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Deloitte

Anne-Claire C. Roesch

Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting
Workforce Transformation practice
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Anne-Claire C. Roesch

Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting
Workforce Transformation practice

Anne-Claire is a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting in the Workforce Transformation practice. She works with clients to develop workforce strategies that respond to the combined pressures of disruptive technologies, new business strategy, and shifting workforce models in the new world of work. Anne-Claire’s client portfolio has most recently focused on the “frontline” factory / plant workforce, where she has addressed common challenges such as workforce shortages, talent implications of smart machines (e.g. upskilling, learning & development), and strategies to engage prospective talent in light of changing worker preferences. In 2020, at the onset of the COVID pandemic, Anne-Claire’s focus to date is on frontline workforces in manufacturing and retail environments and the confluence of challenges facing organizations from labor shortages to workforce experience and upskilling. Anne-Claire is a Visiting Professor at Cornell-Technion University and teaches the course “Leading and managing in the accelerating Future of Work”, which was featured by Bloomberg News in September 2022.
Anne-Claire is a frequent speaker and facilitator and has consulted to clients in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. She holds a B.A. with honors from Amherst College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

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Heather denker

Heather Denker

Experience Delivery Lead, The Smart Factory @ Wichita by Deloitte
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Heather Denker

Experience Delivery Lead, The Smart Factory @ Wichita by Deloitte

Heather Denker is the Experience Delivery Lead for The Smart Factory @ Wichita by Deloitte. Using this immersive experience center as a catalyst, she facilitates conversations designed to give cross-functional teams an opportunity to explore existing roadblocks and discover how disruptive thinking can take their organizations to the next level.  Heather has over 16 years of experience in communications, investor relations and experience design. She is driven by her passion for creating and executing unique approaches for teams to discover how technology can meaningfully come alongside of people to impact behavior and ultimately create insight that leads to action.

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Meet the Panelists

Amanda Duncan Fall 2023

Amanda Duncan

Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer
Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
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Amanda Duncan

Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer
Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas

Amanda Duncan joined the Workforce Alliance in 2007 and has held several positions of increasing responsibility in the organization; she was promoted to her current role of Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer in 2012. Ms. Duncan serves as a liaison to the US Department of Labor, the Kansas Department of Commerce, local Economic Development Organizations, and numerous business groups throughout South Central Kansas. Ms. Duncan has served as a consultant, subject matter expert, and co-authored technical assistance manuals for the US Department of Labor on Registered Apprenticeship Programs and Sector Strategies. A fourth generation Kansan and native of Garden City, Ms. Duncan holds a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Washburn University, and a Master of Public Administration degree and Graduate Certificates in City and County Management and Non-Profit Administration from Wichita State University. She also holds national professional certifications from the Society of Human Resource Management and the Human Resource Certification Institute. Ms. Duncan is active in workforce development and human resource professional communities, as well many local professional, civic, and service organizations; she is a founding member of FlagshipKansas.Tech and currently serves on the Board of Directors. Ms. Duncan resides in Wichita with her husband, three children, and two beagles.

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Shepard Headshot

Joseph W. Shepard

Chief of Staff and Director of Hometown Fellowship, Lead for America
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Joseph W. Shepard

Chief of Staff and Director of Hometown Fellowship, Lead for America

Joseph Shepard took a difficult childhood to change the trajectory of his life. Those experiences, coupled with other hardships, helped shape his passion for tackling critical challenges that hinder people from achieving their American dream.

As a first-generation college graduate, Shepard holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and is currently working on his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership at Wichita State University.

Shepard is a community mobilizer, champion for youth and young professionals as well as a conversational catalyst for equity and inclusion. At Lead For America, Shepard serves as the Chief of Staff and is responsible for maintaining key partnerships across the state of Kansas (LFA’s headquarters), special projects, and building out LFA’s new Alumni network.

Some of Shepard’s accomplishments include Wichita Business Journal 40 under 40, State of Kansas Next Generation Recipient, Humankind Ministries Humanitarian Award recipient, 2023 Leadership Wichita Co-Chair, and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.

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SamAlva

Samuel Alva

Cybersecurity Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
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Samuel Alva

Cybersecurity Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Samuel Alva serves as the Cybersecurity Advisor for region IIV. As a CSA, Samuel contributes to the development of the national risk picture by assisting with the identification, assessment, monitoring, and minimizing of risk to critical infrastructure. Samuel engages as a physical and cyber technical security advisor with Federal, State, local, tribal and territorial government mission partners and members of the private sector stakeholder communities. CSAs serve as the link to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) infrastructure protection resources; coordinate security and resiliency assessments, training, and provide a vital link for information sharing in steady-state and during incident response.
Prior to DHS, Samuel worked in the civilian sector as director of business development and weapons and tactics. His roles in included developing new and continuing business in the State of Kansas. He also conducted numerous risk and vulnerability assessments to include physical and cyber infrastructure analysis. Samuel has expertise in Operational Technology (OT) to include industrial control systems, surveillance systems, access control systems, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and advanced sensor technology. Samuel also taught cyber-physical system fundamentals at Wichita States University, it’s a first of its kind, bridging the gap between cyber and physical security.

Samuel is also a retired member of the Kansas Air National Guard, with over 21 years of service. Samuel served many roles in Air Force and Kansas Air National Guard to include Security Forces Team Member, Phoenix Raven Team Member, and a Member of 177th Information Aggressor Squadron. As a Phoenix Raven, Samuel helped detect, deter and counter threats to AMC aircraft by performing close-in aircraft security, advising aircrews on force protection measures. The 177th Information Aggressor Squadron is an NSA-certified Red Team unit, responsible for conducting full-spectrum threat assessments to identify and mitigate physical and network vulnerabilities for participating Department of Defense units.

Samuel has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from the Community College of the
Air Force, Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Security Management from Southwestern College, and a Master of Arts degree in Security Administration from Southwestern College.

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Kevin Colborn Headshot

Kevin Colborn

Senior Vice President of Network Operations/CIO, High Touch Technologies
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Kevin Colborn

Senior Vice President of Network Operations/CIO, High Touch Technologies

As Senior Vice President of Network Operations and Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kevin facilitates operational successes for both clients and the enterprise through proactive technology solutions. Overseeing High Touch’s network operations center, cybersecurity practice partnerships, virtual CIO consulting, and internal IT, Kevin’s strategic leadership and vision forms the foundation of our comprehensive solutions experience. Kevin’s vision for bringing the human touch to managed technology services has been integral to cultivating High Touch’s IT Solutions line of business.

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Flagship Ad Astra Technology Summit Speaker Ashley Likes

Ashley Likes

Program Director, Digital Technologies, WSU Tech
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Ashley Likes

Program Director, Digital Technologies, WSU Tech

Ashley Likes is an avid tech-ed enthusiast with a Master’s of Education from Fort Hays State University and over 10 years of experience in higher education. Her passion for student success and advancements in new technology fuels her excitement to engage with fellow educators in integrating AI in their classrooms.

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Chris Wyant

Chris Wyant

Director of Advanced Analytics, Cornerstone Data
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Chris Wyant

Director of Advanced Analytics, Cornerstone Data

Chris Wyant is an accomplished technologist, speaker, and innovator. He boasts experience in education, business, and industry around data, including analytics, engineering, science, and governance. With extensive experience at Wichita State University (WSU), WSU Tech, and USD 259, Chris has been at the forefront of shaping data science education and forging partnerships with industry-leading companies.

As an educator, Chris played a vital role in designing and developing curriculum content centered around data science. He has collaborated and established programs with Intel, NVIDIA, PLTW, Code.org, and Brown University to ensure relevance and applicability of the educational programs to real-world industry needs.

Chris’s expertise is actively sought to help integrate or support data technologies and industry best practices into company’s operational frameworks with the team at TEC Systems Group and Cornerstone Data. By fostering collaborations and partnerships, the team provides companies and their partners with access to cutting-edge tools, resources, skills, and experiences that help them gain a competitive edge in their industry.

Chris contributes his expertise to community initiatives and programs and actively consults with multiple colleges as they develop programming and data courses. He coordinates training programs for companies around specific skill development and data tools. He is co-developing with his team a new approach to data governance structures and assessment frameworks which have been instrumental in guiding institutions towards effective data utilization and management. He has partnered with Dr. David Cochran to establish a local expert group called Data Professionals of Wichita that meets 6 times a year to discuss the latest and greatest technologies, practices, and trends in the data space. Data Professionals organization has grown to over 150 active members in the Wichita regional area in its first year of organization.

Moreover, Chris’s engaging speaking style and penchant for innovative solutions have made him a sought-after speaker at industry conferences and events. He frequently shares his insights and expertise on the importance of data science education and the transformative potential of data-driven decision-making. He has spoken at several local, regional, and national conferences over the past 10 years concerning the implementation of technology training and social development.

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Smokorowski Headshot

Dyane Smokorowski

Coordinator of Digital Literacy, USD 259
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Dyane Smokorowski

Coordinator of Digital Literacy, USD 259

Dyane Smokorowski (Smoke-or-ow-sk) is an accomplished educator, having been inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame in 2019 and named 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year. As Coordinator of Digital Literacy in the Wichita Public Schools, she fosters a student-centered classroom that builds skills in communication, planning, research, and project implementation. Mrs. Smoke also creates engaging professional development opportunities for teachers. She believes in instilling a love for innovation, communication, and technology to help students and educators thrive in the global community. Mrs. Smoke’s guidance inspires students and teachers to reach their full potential and make a positive impact on the world.

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Session Sponsor

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