Dr. Erich Devendorf
Dr. Erich Devendorf is the Director of the Advanced Course in Engineering and an AFRL Early Career Award recipient. As a Computer Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, Dr. Devendorf addresses challenges at the boundaries between Air, Space and Cyberspace. His R&D efforts have a mission focus, with an emphasis on transforming the composition of the cyber domain. Dr. Devendorf advocates a fundamental shift away from homogenous systems to heterogeneous entities designed to complete the mission. He has participated in weapons systems cyber vulnerability assessments and is a member of the AFOTEC Cyber Blue Book™ team.
1st Lt Melissa Shaffer
Lt Melissa Shaffer is the Deputy Director of the Advanced Course in Engineering and a C4I Cyber Researcher at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI). She commissioned into the United States Air Force with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science. After commissioning, Lt Shaffer successfully graduated from the Air Force’s Undergraduate Cyber Training School and became a Cyber Operations Officer. Currently, Lt Shaffer leads Cyber Blue Book ® teams in assessments of potential cyber vulnerabilities. In her free time she enjoys running, cycling, skiing, and is looking forward to her first Spartan Ultra 50K.
Samuel Allen is a Computer Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI). He graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the Information Assurance Internship/Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) in 2012. He served as an Active Duty Air Force Developmental Engineering Officer for 2.5 years before separating and starting work at AFRL/RI as a Federal Civilian employee in 2015. Samuel is currently the Lead Developer and Network Engineer for the ACE. He is a Linux enthusiast and his favorite programming language is Golang. He is married with two daughters and enjoys cycling, reading, and playing Magic: The Gathering.
Cris Velardi is a Project Manager and Technical Lead Engineer in the information assurance arena at Assured Information Security, Inc. Mr. Velardi holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from SUNY Polytechnic Institute and has completed his Master's degree from Clarkson University in Engineering and Management Systems. Mr. Velardi's research has focused on embedded systems security, signal processing, and Moving Target Defense. Mr. Velardi is a proud graduate of the 2013 Advanced Course in Engineering program. Mr. Velardi has since served as a research mentor for the interns on summer projects and is the AIS facilitator for the ACE.
Mr. David Blair is an Associate Computer Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) in Rome, NY and has been on the ACE staff since September 2016. Mr. Blair graduated with a B.A. in Mathematical Sciences from Binghamton University. He then pursued further education in Computer Science and Economics at the University at Buffalo. Mr. Blair’s previous ACE duties include research mentor and curriculum lead. His work focuses on formal methods and cyber-exercise development. Mr. Blair enjoys the unique opportunities that the ACE provides; working with brilliant professionals and interns, and the opportunity start a new hobby - running. He enjoys reading, running, and being an unapologetic Mac fanboy.
Logan "The Plough" Prough is an Associate Computer Scientist at the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RI). Logan graduated from the ACE in 2017 where the life-changing experience and unique opportunities inspired him to return as a graduate assistant and mentor in 2018 and 2019. Logan holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Kansas State University and plans to graduate with an M.S. in Computer Science in May 2020 after finishing his thesis on cyber security education and training. Logan enjoys music and played the cello in the Kansas State University Symphony Orchestra for 4 years.
Heather Milewski is a Program Analyst for the Agile Cyber Solutions (ACS) group at Assured Information Security, Inc. (AIS). Heather graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2006 with a B.S. in Sociology and minored in Educational Psychology. After college, she began her career as an administration professional in the medical field. In 2018, Heather joined AIS as a program analyst supporting Salvatore Paladino, the Program Manager of ACS. Her duties include directly assisting Mr. Paladino with logistical and administrative tasks for multi-million-dollar contracts. Her primary focus is on supporting the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) program.
Paul Nakonieczny is an Assistant Computer Engineer at Assured Information Security (AIS) Inc. Mr. Nakonieczny received his B.S. in Computer Science from SUNY Binghamton in 2018 and joined AIS May of 2019. Mr. Nakonieczny graduated with the 2018 Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) course and is excited to support future ACE classes. Mr. Nakonieczny spends his time hiking and biking in New York, and he is beginning his career in races and other endurance competitions after ACE introduced him to the joys of running eight miles.
Colonel Bill Gray, USAF (Ret.)
Colonel Gray (USAF, Retired) retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1991 after 30 years of service as a commissioned officer. During his time in the Air Force, he served in many positions including Headquarters, USAF (Chief of Intelligence Planning), United States Air Forces in Europe (Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence), and USAF Rome Laboratory (Director of Intelligence and Reconnaissance). After retiring from the Air Force, Colonel Gray served for 20 years in contractor research and development leadership positions supporting Air Force operations and intelligence. He is currently a member of the AFRL Volunteer Emeritus Corps. Colonel Gray is a graduate of Kent State University (Bachelor of Science, Mathematics Education) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Master of Science, Management Science).
Col. Fred Wieners, USAF (Ret.)
Fred Wieners is a retired Air Force officer who served for 29 years as a pilot and commander, a staff officer in the Pentagon, and as a professor and department chairman of military strategy and operations at the National War College in Washington DC. He also served as the Professor of Aerospace Studies commanding the ROTC officer commissioning program at Syracuse University. After retiring from the Air Force, Fred remained in uniform starting a Junior ROTC leadership and character education program at Rome Free Academy dedicated to ‘building better citizens for America.’ Fred currently serves as a faculty member facilitating various leadership development courses at the National Fire Academy for fire service Captains and Chiefs from around the nation. As a Federally Licensed Battlefield Guide he conducts numerous leadership staff rides for military, government and industry groups as well as ‘character development’ tours for educational groups using the Gettysburg National Military Park as the context for some insightful active experiential learning. He currently resides near Gettysburg with his wife Rita.
Emily Rhoades is a Technical Writer and Social Media Coordinator at Assured Information Security (AIS). She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and writing and communications from Siena College in 2019 and plans to pursue a master’s degree in the communications field. Shortly after graduating, Emily began working at AIS as the Editorial Intern/Co-Op for the Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) program and started full-time in November 2019. Her primary responsibilities include managing the program’s social media accounts, editing technical and non-technical content, crafting cyber-mission storylines related to the Capstone exercise, and assisting with annual recruitment for the ACE.