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Program Faculty

Information Systems Management

Program Faculty

Faisal Akkawi

Faisal Akkawi

Faisal Akkawi is the faculty director of the Master of Science in Information Systems Program. His area of specialization is software architecture for concurrent systems, and his research interests also include reactive/adaptive intelligent systems and design issues of concurrent programming languages. Selected for the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program in 2003, Akkawi designed and implemented a framework that was used in the advanced diagnostic and caution and warning system for the International Space Station. He has an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Kayed Akkawi

Kayed Akkawi

Kayed Akkawi is the dean of Morris Graduate School of Management at Robert Morris University. He has extensive teaching experience at the graduate level, including at Illinois Institute of Technology. His professional projects have included developing a natural language interface for information retrieval, a search engine for accessing large-scale databases, and a toolkit for measuring retrieval accuracy for bilingual information. Akkawi serves as the chair of the educational committee for the Chicago-Amman International Sister Cities Program. Other professional memberships include the Association for Computing Machinery and the Arab-American Association of Engineers and Architects. He has a PhD in computer science and an MS in electrical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Atef Bader

Atef Bader

Atef Bader has been working in the IT industry for many years and currently is a member of the technical staff at Lucent Technologies. He is a recognized expert in object-oriented technology, automated software testing, concurrent software systems and software architecture. His technical papers have been presented at numerous conferences and published in technical journals. Bader holds a PhD in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Daniel Baumgartner

Daniel Baumgartner

Daniel Baumgartner is an independent management consultant with more than 30 years of business process management and information technology experience. He has held leadership roles in management and information technology consulting services, was a partner in several large management consulting firms and has expertise in improving business processes, developing IT strategies and plans, leading the implementation of IT solutions to address business issues and selecting and implementing enterprise-wide software applications. Baumgartner has managed client business analysts and functional managers. Baumgartner has a master’s degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Gunther Branham

Gunther Branham

Gunther Branham is a seasoned senior level IT executive. His experience includes CIO level responsibility for several global corporate functions for a Fortune 100 company. His responsibilities included systems planning, budgeting, software delivery and systems operations for Global Engineering and Quality and Regulatory Systems. Additional experience includes IT leadership for commercial, manufacturing and distribution, research and development, medical, regulatory and sales and marketing systems. Other significant accomplishments include initiating corporate-wide offshore IT services sourcing, starting an enterprise applications integration technology center, launching and managing key e-commerce activities and integration and startup of manufacturing facility systems. Branham earned a BA in physics from the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and an MS in Business Management from the University of Northern Colorado.
Terrance Cottrell

Terrance Cottrell

Terry Cottrell is Vice President for Information Technology and Planning at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. Dr. Cottrell’s publications and presentations cover: teaching cybersecurity, e-science research trends, the effects of media on learning, hands-free augmented reality tools, copyright, IT leadership and finance, mobile device management, effective use of information spaces with small budgets, academic library influence in surrounding communities, and entry-level job skills for new recruits. Terry has served as a publicly-elected official and on the boards of various non-profit organizations with the most recent being HData, an organization focusing on the new emerging field of Regulatory Technology. Dr. Cottrell holds Ed.D., M.S., M.B.A., and B.A. degrees as well as CEH certification. He currently teaches Big History and research writing in the University of St. Francis undergraduate Foundations program, and Security & Information Systems in the USF graduate program. He has taught and designed various management and business classes at Colorado State University-Global Campus, and Computers for Educators at Northern Illinois University. He is currently teaching Advanced Cybersecurity in Northwestern University’s MSIS program, and is enrolled in Columbia University’s online M.S. program for Enterprise Risk Management.

Leslie Fischer

Leslie Fischer

Leslie Fischer is a Lecturer in the Writing Program. With more than 25 years of experience teaching English, Business Writing and Communication at Northwestern University and the School of Professional Studies, Fischer is a seasoned mentor in writing, communication, and teamwork. Experienced as both a student and teacher of online courses, she understands how students learn online and the particular challenges for adult students. Since 2007, Fischer has mentored engineering students in the Design Thinking and Communication program. There, she teaches student engineers how to communicate and cooperate well as they work on real-world projects for clients such as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Rimland Collaborative Care for Individuals with Autism, Lambs Farm, and the Wilmette Park District. Fischer earned her MA in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her work in higher education, she has significant professional experience as an editor, writer, and trainer. Fischer was the Editor for the American Hemerocallis Society. She has worked with diverse clients, from global banks to educational publishers to the local humanities festival.
Jeffery Gott

Jeffery Gott

Jeff Gott has more than 35 years of multifaceted information systems experience gained from a variety of positions in multiple companies and IT functions as both an individual contributor and manager of IT professionals. His management experience includes more than 25 years as a manager and director leading the IT functions of Global Information Services Planning, Enterprise Architecture, Disaster Recovery Planning, Corporate Business Systems, Manufacturing Planning Systems, and Operations. His experience includes business relationship management consulting with business leaders to establish strategic information system programs and projects, strategy and service planning for centralized and distributed IT functions, managing programs and projects to implement new business and IT capabilities, disaster recovery planning and testing, facilitating enterprise architecture, leading systems development, IT supplier relationship management, enterprise software license management, and systems operations and administration. Jeff has experience managing information systems to support key business processes in Manufacturing, Finance, Quality, Legal, Human Resources, Marketing, Information Systems, and various corporate administration functions. Jeff is currently an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies developing and teaching classes in information technology management and business analysis.

Christopher Hield

Christopher Hield

Christopher Hield is the director of software development and system testing at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. As director of CBOEdirect, CBOE’s state-of-the-art electronic financial trading system, he is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of multitiered, service-based software. Before joining CBOE, Hield worked as a senior software engineer and business consultant with Hitachi Computer Products America, developing object-based data mining and data exploration tools for the healthcare industry. Before then he spent 13 years in the decision and information sciences division at Argonne National Laboratory as senior software engineer and technical lead in the information systems section; his duties included developing object-based information systems as well as object-oriented frameworks to support distributed multidisciplinary modeling, simulation and visualization applications. Since 2001 he has been an instructor at Illinois Institute of Technology and DePaul University as well as Northwestern, teaching courses in software design, development and testing. Hield holds an MS in computer science.
Sunil Kakade

Sunil Kakade

Sunil Kakade has over 18 years' experience in various technical and leadership roles focused on lT transformation initiatives, analytics-driven software development, and big data technologies. Sunil is a big data and data science evangelist with hands-on expertise in implementing Hadoop and NoSQL technologies. Sunil leads the architecture and delivery of business systems for a Fortune 100 company. His areas of interest include machine learning, data science, legacy systems modernization, and open source technologies. His research papers have been presented at multiple international conferences and published in technical journals. He has patents pending in areas of IT and retail processes. Kakade has an MS in information technology and management from the Illinois Institute of Technology at Chicago and an MS in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, researching applications of artificial intelligence to manufacturing processes.
Nebiyou Kedir

Nebiyou Kedir

Nebiyou Kedir is Director of Application Development at Symphony Asset Management (Nuveen Investments Subsidiary Hedge Fund) in San Francisco, CA. Kedir is an electrical engineer with masters in information systems management whose current responsibilities include application development team leadership and mentorship, project prioritization and management, hands-on software development and application lifecycle management, helpdesk triage/task prioritization, hands-on support and maintenance of systems and processes, business and systems analysis/design, stakeholder communication and vendor collaboration on emerging technologies and solutions like Blockchain /Machine Learning/Bots. Kedir has instructed Microsoft Official Curriculum courses on database development and database administration as well as application development and web design courses. Kedir was also an adjunct instructor for OOAD using C++ and UML.

James Kerwin

James Kerwin is an experienced senior IT and R&D executive having worked in the pharmaceutical business. His IT experience includes systems responsibility for several areas including finance, pricing, contract management, sales, e-marketing, marketing management, learning management, project management, medical services, and IT service management. Additionally, his experience includes leadership of pharmaceutical IT strategy and planning for over a decade and the oversight of several IT merger and acquisition events. Significant accomplishments include initiating systems standardization and globalization, initiating portfolio management practices, establishing a pharmacy solutions platform, outsourcing various IT services, standardized asset management, instituting client management functions, and developing several future key leaders both in IT and the business. As an R&D executive, Kerwin led programs in the neuroscience and urological disease areas and has several publications and patents. Kerwin earned a BS in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in organic chemistry from Yale University.
Ricardo Lafosse

Ricardo Lafosse

Ricardo Lafosse is responsible for IT risk governance, OT security, incident management, technical disaster recovery, and determining enterprise-wide security policies and procedures. Lafosse regularly presents on security topics at global conferences, including MirCon, ISACA CACS and Secure World. Prior to his current role, Lafosse was chief information security officer for Morningstar, where he was responsible for providing strategic information security leadership, implementation, and governance for the Information Security Program. Lafosse has more than 16 years of experience in information security for the government, banking, legal, healthcare, and education sectors. Lafosse began his career in information security consulting in finance. Lafosse holds a Master’s in Information Assurance from Iowa State University. He also holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) designations.

Anthony Mersino

Anthony Mersino

Anthony Mersino is the founder of Vitality Chicago, an agile coaching and training firm with a strong focus on creating the environment for technology people to do their best work. He works closely with small and large organizations to foster business agility and has helped several Fortune 500 organizations adopt agile ways of working. Since 2004, Anthony has developed and taught several IT project management and the Agile Certificate program for Northwestern University. In 2020 he was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award from Northwestern's School of Professional Studies. Prior to founding Vitality Chicago, Anthony worked as an IT program manager for IBM, Unisys, and Ameritech. Anthony has authored two books, Agile Project Management and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. He holds a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a masters in business administration from Loyola University of Maryland.

Naz Quadri

Naz Quadri

Naz Quadri heads Bloomberg's Enterprise Data Science and ML groups, a position he's held since September 2015. His teams develop the financial models, bespoke AI, Alternative Data and real-time NLP solutions for the financial markets.

Naz came to Bloomberg in 2013 as the global head for Bloomberg's derivatives trading tools and analytics. He brought with him extensive experience designing financial models, particularly for derivatives instruments, as the global head of technology for Morgan Stanley's Interest Rate Derivatives Trading Group for more than eight years. He was part of the team that built the risk assessment and mitigation technology the bank needed to calculate market and credit default risk in the wake of the financial crisis. Prior to working for Morgan Stanley, he also served as a senior technologist with ABN AMRO's Market Risk group and began his career at Goldman Sachs.

In the early 2000's, Naz started a company called BackChat, which pioneered the first telephony-based, zero training continuous speech voice recognition software.

Naz earned his Masters degree in Mathematics, with distinction, from Warwick University in the United Kingdom.

William Sunna

William Sunna

William Sunna has more than eight years of data solutions experience in industry as a principal consultant to several Fortune 500 companies in insurance, retail, and financial services. He also teaches courses in programming, database concepts and design, web development, and other computer science areas at the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as Northwestern. He has presented his research in multiple conferences and workshops and has co-authored articles in more than 12 publications, including Transactions in GIS, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing and International Journal of Electronic Government Research. Sunna earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, researching automatic alignment of heterogeneous ontologies in the geospatial information domain.
Kevin Vaccaro

Kevin Vaccaro

Kevin Vaccaro has 25+ years’ experience working in Information Technology. He has also been teaching various topics in IT ranging from service and repair to Cybersecurity for 20+ years. He is a full-time faculty member at Moraine Valley Community College and an adjunct Industry Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology. He has written several articles on digital forensics for eforensics magazine. Kevin holds an MS in Information Technology from Illinois Institute of Technology and several industry certifications including CISSP and CEH and also is an authorized trainer.
 William Waas

William Waas

William Waas is the Executive Director of the GoodTogether philanthropic initiative at Sage Sustainable Electronics with a focus on narrowing the digital divide.

Mr. Waas was the Chairman & CEO of the Illinois Technology Foundation (ITF). ITF was a not-for-profit organization that focused on keeping graduating students in Illinois and working with k-12 students encouraging them to pursue a career in technology.

He started his career at Grumman Data Systems Corporation and held various management positions in strategic planning, finance and service management.

Mr. Waas was Senior Vice President of Service and Support at Vanstar Corporation, a $2.5 billion dollar system integrator. At Vanstar, Mr. Waas headed the $250 million service organization.

Mr. Waas was Vice President of Value Added Services at Dell Computer Corporation. He was responsible for a $750 million dollar division of Dell, responsible for the sale and delivery of software, peripherals, and system integration services.

He is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, the Harvard Extension School, and the Morris Graduate School of Management.

Mr. Waas also serves on the IT advisory councils for St. Petersburg College and the Hillsborough Community College.

He is a member of the board and chair of the programs and marketing for the Society for Information Management Tampa Bay Chapter.

Mr. Waas was a co-founder of the Service Section of CompTIA and was a member of the Board and Chairman of the association from 1995-1997.
Mr. Waas holds a BBA in accounting and an MBA in finance from Hofstra University.

He resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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