About Us

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Gopal Khanna

Gopal Khanna is a senior executive with a passion for leading transformational changes within industry and government.

Gopal has served as the CIO of American Hardware Insurance Group, in President George W. Bush’s Administration as the CFO of the Executive Office of the President and CIO/CFO of the United States Peace Corps, as CEO of International Technology Consultants, as President of the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), as a member of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s cabinet, and as the first CIO for the State of Minnesota.

Gopal is Co-Founder of the Minnesota Cyber Security Summit (CSS). He is Managing Partner of The Khanna Group, a Senior Fellow at the Technology Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota and volunteers on the board of directors of Pathways to Children, the board of trustees for the Hindu Society of Minnesota, and is the President of TiE - Minnesota.

Gopal frequently speaks on cyber security as a disruptive socio-economic and geo-political force and the unprecedented opportunities this force creates for public and private sector executives to transform organizations in ways that position them for excellence in the Digital Age.

Gopal earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, mathematics and political science from Christ Church College, Kanpur, India and holds an MBA from University of Maine. Gopal lives in Edina, Minnesota with his wife Anjali, a senior IT professional at Best Buy. They have two grown up children.
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Michael W. Wright

Michael W. Wright, is an international CEO, President, Chief Marketing Officer, author, business professor, and entrepreneur. Mr. Wright has delivered more than two decades of global P&L leadership for diverse public and privately held early stage to mature technology enterprises focused on semiconductor, materials, software, instrumentation, test, and consumer product portfolios. He is a Board Member of the University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), a founding board member of the Minnesota Innovation Lab (MNiLab.org) and former advisory board member of the MN Cyber-Security conference. He is has served on the boards of the Minnesota High Technology Association (MHTA), August Technologies (AUGT) and Rudolph Technologies (RTEC), Starview Technologies and currently serves on the board of WWK.com.

As founder and Chairman of ForMyChildren, LLC, developers of FamilyBox.com he is deeply involved in finding and applying new technologies to securely transfer critical documents, information and legacy stories for the enrichment of our intergenerational lives.
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Firasat Khan

Firasat leads MNiLab work on the Minnesota Cyber Careers Consortium (MNC3). He serves as the Director of Academic Initiatives at Advance IT Minnesota, the MnSCU Center of Excellence for IT and security. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, a master's in management of information systems (MIS), and doctorate in business administration and has earned IT, security, and forensics certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, AccessData, CheckPoint, and CompTIA.

Firasat’s experience includes roles as an IT professional, and business manager, including as the CIO of a higher education institution, and as the director of departments related to security, forensics, and online learning. As a faculty member, he has developed business, IT and analytics curricula, and successfully led efforts to earn NSA’s Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education at two Minnesota higher education institutions.

He has been the state director of the Minnesota Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition since 2008, and has conducted security assessments of numerous Minnesota institutions. He has served on the Board of Directors and leadership teams related to the Upper Midwest Security Alliance and the Secure360 Conference (presently), the Symposium on Business Information Security, Cybersecurity Summit, and TechBiz Minnesota.
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James N. Ryan

James is a cyber defense executive, digital leader, and best-selling author with Steve Forbes. He has over 20 years of experience delivering transformational business results for governments and critical infrastructure companies at the organization, ecosystem, and country levels.

In 2008, James worked with NASA, HP/EDS, and others to define game-changing identity and credential management strategies. These strategies have now fully evolved with commercial and government investments exceeding $1 billion to date and investments are destined to climb higher as the globe embraces two-factor authentication as a replacement for the password.

In addition to his role at the Minnesota Innovation Lab, he is a founder and managing partner at Litmus Logic, LLC , Chief Strategy Officer for the Cyber Security Summit , and partner with John Maxwell – the #1 Leadership Guru worldwide.

James holds a MSEE from Virginia Tech and is a Chartered Security Professional (CSyP), Certified Enterprise Architect (CEA), and Project Management Professional (PMP).

He is married and lives with his wife and three children in Fairfax County, Virginia.