The AI Revolution: Local Success Stories

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About the event


There's no doubt that artificial intelligence is already beginning to change society and that the pace of change is accelerating.  Its ability to augment human effort, extend automation, and discover patterns and categorize large data volumes promises to transform all of our businesses.

SIMCAC welcomes all current and eligible prospective members to join us for an evening of networking, cocktails, dinner, and a lively panel discussion with local IT leaders that are successfully embracing artificial intelligence and transforming their organizations.

Event underwritten by Google Cloud.  All attendees will be eligible for a raffle for a Google Home or a Google Backpack, stuffed with Google "swag"..

Our Moderator:

Mike Ernesto - Mike Ernesto is a Google engineer bringing a depth of experience working with enterprise customers across a wide range of industries. He joined the Google Cloud team 18 months ago after four years as a Sr Solution Architect at Verizon Cloud supporting global commercial customers deploying on multi-tenant and private clouds. Prior to Verizon, Mike was with DXC  (formerly CSC) for many years also designing and selling cloud and managed hosting solutions to global enterprise customers as well as designing SaaS solutions for many of CSC’s vertical-specific software partners. Prior to his technical engineering roles in the private sector, Mike served for 21 years active duty in the US Coast Guard, with his final years as a commissioned officer focused on IT and telecommunications services to support the mission including a tour as CIO of the USCG National Response Center and HQ Command Center and in management and design roles for the USCG’s national network.

Our Panel:


Kevin Higgins - Kevin Higgins is the Vice President for Enterprise Strategy and Architecture at AARP.   Mr. Higgins leads technology strategy development, innovation, and program oversight for one of the nation’s largest non-profit organizations, with a keen focus on enabling AARP’s social mission of empowering people to choose how they live as they age. Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Higgins held senior IT leadership positions at Wachovia and Freddie Mac, served as the Chief Information Officer for The Ryland Group, co-founded a software company, and worked as a management consultant for premier IT consulting firms.  He is a passionate advocate for how disruptive technologies can help companies solve social challenges and deliver bottom line results.  Mr. Higgins holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BS in Mathematics from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


Mona Kahn - Mona Kahn is a Director of Technology at Fannie Mae and has been a technologist in the Financial Services industry for nearly 20  years.  She currently runs the Smart Process Automation & Robotics Center (SPARC team) at Fannie Mae with overall responsibility for the organization including the Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence, Innovation Research & Development, Software Delivery, and Production Operations for enterprise Automation solutions.   Her team has spent the past 18 months heavily focused on Robotics Process Automation (RPA) solutions, and more recently branching into connecting RPA with other technologies, evaluating broader automation concepts.   Fannie Mae’s RPA program was featured in CIO magazine’s Summer 2018 digital magazine as well as  Mona was recently selected by CIO magazine and the CIO Executive Council as a 2018 “Ones to Watch” honoree, identifying rising stars in IT - the senior staff destined to become the CIOs of the future.


Ali Tafreshi - Ali is a strategic senior technology executive with more than 20 years of leadership achievements across multiple industries. With a proven track record of creating impactful business outcomes, Ali is an industry expert in data analytics, IT security, IT management and implementation. His accomplishments derive from his plethora of technical knowledge and expertise in next-generation technology solutions, which he has consistently monetized and exploited to drive innovation, business growth, and competitive advantage.  Throughout his career, he has combined deep-industry-knowledge with strategic management skills to lead the creation of industry-first, patent-winning technology solutions that have transformed the customer experience, fueled market expansion, enabled operational excellence and enhanced business value.  Ali is a well-known thought leader with impeccable executive credentials including a PhD, Master’s in Nuclear Engineering and Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, as well as a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Bowie State University. He also obtained an MIT Sloan Executive Certification in Strategy and Innovation. Ali is a named inventor of four different patent applications.


Gotthard Szabo - Dr. Gotthard Szabo is a technology leader, former CIO, computational scientist, with many years of executive leadership experience in non-profit, scientific research and educational organizations. He supported and strategically advanced some of the world's best multi- and inter-disciplinary research and education teams addressing fundamental scientific problems. He comes from a strong, scientific computational background, and have many years of experience in planning, developing, acquiring, implementing and operating administrative systems, ERP solutions, digital marketing and CRM tools, high-performance, high-throughput research computing solutions, and cloud based technologies. He advises startups and scientific research organizations in advanced data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to advance their R&D and business processes. He teaches cybersecurity courses at UMUC's Graduate School in the fields of digital forensics, advanced cyber exploitation and mitigation, secure systems development, software assurance, virtual network and cloud computing security techniques.  He received his postdoctoral training in theoretical solid state physics from Carnegie Institution for Science, has a Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from UMCP and an M.Sc. in Nuclear Chemistry from ELTE University. He also studied business at UMCP, and Roman and medieval archaeology at ELTE.

When & Where
Sep 10
10th September 2018
05:30 PM - 08:00 PM
Vienna, VA
2018-09-10 05:30 PM 2018-09-10 08:00 PM America/New_York The AI Revolution: Local Success Stories 8000 Towers Crescent Drive Vienna, VA, United States 22182

Tower Club, Tysons Corner

The Tower Club is easily accessible from Tysons Corner Center Metro Station (see map here).


  • We recommend that you park in the Tower Crescent Retail Parking Garage.

  • Validated Hours & Rates are as follows:

    • 2 hours or less: Free
    • 2-3 hours: $2.00
    • 3-4 hours: $4.00
    • Over 4 hours: $6.00
  • You must physically bring your parking ticket to the Club for validation