External Advisory Council

The External Advisory Council (EAC) for the Software Engineering Program is a council of industry experts, as well as alumni, who advise the program on ways to improve and ensure our degree program continues to excel and meet the needs of employers in industry and academia.

Scott Anderson
Director of Infrastructure and OperationsJohn Deere
Scott Anderson (BS ComS ’91) is Director of Infrastructure and Operations at John Deere, Deere & Company World Headquarters, in Moline, IL. In prior roles at John Deere since he began in May of 1991, he served as Director of Digital Transformation, Director of Global Hosting and Networks Services and Program Director of Intelligent Solutions Groups.

Anderson earned his B.S. degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University in 1991. He was the first Lego League coach.

Karthik Balakrishnan
Chief Data & Analytics OfficerPrincipal Financial Group
Karthik Balakrishnan is Chief Data & Analytics Officer for Principal Financial Group. He is a visionary senior executive with experience building high-performing teams and delivering quantifiable business impact with innovative, industry-leading analytical solutions across multiple industries.

Karthik has graduate degrees in Computer Science from Iowa State University (Ph.D. ComS’ 98; MS ComS ’93) with specialization in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and has spent over 20 years in the industry creating applied AI solutions at Allstate Insurance Company, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (a part of the Allianz Group), ISO/Verisk, and Principal Financial Group. He has also been involved in two start-ups, including one as the CEO. He is an active speaker and has over fifty research and trade publications, including a book on Intelligent Agents published by MIT Press in 2001.

Chaz Beck
Senior Software EngineerMicrosoft Corporation
Chaz Beck (BS SE ’09) is a Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. After graduating with the second graduating class of Iowa State’s Software Engineering program, Chaz joined Microsoft as a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) with the Microsoft Dynamics Corporate Performance Management (CPM) team. The CPM team develops and maintains two Microsoft products, Management Reporter and Connector for Microsoft Dynamics.

As a SDET, Chaz developed test automation and tools focused on Management Reporter, a financial reporting product used to integrate and report on data from other Microsoft Dynamics ERP products. Together with BJ Rollison (author of How We Test Software at Microsoft), Chaz developed a globalization tool used throughout Microsoft that allows test automation to change Windows user locale. Chaz has also developed several testing frameworks used at Microsoft internally for distributing and executing test automation, leveraging other Microsoft technologies that are part of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.

Chaz is currently a Software Engineer II with the CPM team. In this role, his work has expanded to include not only test automation but also product development. Areas of focus include build, install, product configuration, ERP integration and cloud deployment, for both Management Reporter and Connector for Microsoft Dynamics.

Colleen Becker
Programs Manager, Data Link Solutions, Collins Aerospace Mission SystemsRockwell Collins
Colleen Becker (BSComS ’00, BSChemE ’00) is a Programs Manager for Data Link Solutions at Collins Aerospace Mission Systems in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In prior roles within Collins, she has held software engineering and program management positions for military GPS receivers, Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) terminals, TacNetTM Weapons Data Links, and Tactical Communication Products for air and ground applications. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science and chemical engineering from Iowa State University in 2000, and her MBA from the University of Iowa, in 2003.

Becker is the co-chair for the Collins campus team for Iowa State University, focusing on recruiting and research collaborations. She has served as an External Advisory Board member for the Iowa State University Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE).

Bill Boswell
(EAC Co-Chair) Vice President of Marketing, Cloud Application Solutions – MindSphereSiemens PLM Software
Bill Boswell is Vice President of Marketing, Cloud Application Solutions – MindSphere for Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Digital Industries division.

Boswell leads global marketing for the MindSphere Internet of Things (IoT) business. MindSphere is the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens that connects real things to the digital world and provides powerful industry applications and digital services to drive business success. MindSphere’s open Platform as a Service (PaaS) enables a rich partner ecosystem to develop and deliver new applications. No other IoT provider can drive closed-loop innovation through complete digital twins for products, production, and performance like Siemens.

Prior to his current role, Boswell was senior director of Cloud Services marketing and business strategy for Siemens PLM Software, focused on delivering PLM and big-data analytics solutions in the cloud including the Omneo Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for product performance intelligence.

From 2011 to 2015, Boswell was senior director of Partner Strategy, where he directed go-to-market strategy for global consulting and systems integration partners, more than 500 software and technology partners and thousands of PLM global academic partners. From 2004 to 2011, Boswell led worldwide marketing for Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter product line. During that time Teamcenter became the world’s most widely-used PLM portfolio.

Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Digital Industries division, is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) and manufacturing operations management (MOM) software, systems and services with over 15 million licensed seats and more than 140,000 customers worldwide. Siemens AG is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization.

Prior to joining Siemens, Boswell was chief technology officer (CTO) and vice president of Solutions Development and Delivery for E-Markets, Inc. from 2000 to 2004. E-Markets is a pioneer in delivering cloud and on premise e-commerce and ERP solutions to agriculture and the food industry.

From 1996 to 2000, Boswell was senior director of product management and planning and director of software development at Engineering Animation, Inc. (EAI) which became part of Unigraphics Solutions and later Siemens. From 1983 to 1996, Boswell was a principal engineer at Raytheon E-Systems, where he was the co-founder of the company’s Virtual Environment and Visualization Laboratory. Boswell also provided technical leadership to teams developing Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) collection, processing and dissemination systems for the US Government.

Boswell earned his B.S. degree in computer science and business from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Sam Ellis
Program Director, Hybrid Cloud DevelopmentIBM
Sam Ellis (BS ComS ’83) is Program Director for Hybrid Cloud Development at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota, and a member of the IBM Faculty Academy. In prior roles within IBM, he was Software Program Manager for the development of the BlueGene supercomputer, and led Development and Research projects on Stream Computing, Hypervisor Technologies, Systems Performance, and Operating Systems.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University in 1983, and his MBA from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, in 2010. Ellis also is the IBM Campus Relationship Manager for Iowa State University, focusing on recruiting and research collaborations. He is a member of the external advisory boards for the Software Engineering program at Iowa State, and the MBA program at Iowa State. Sam joined the ECpE External Advisory Board at Iowa State in 2010.

John Gustafson
Senior Fellow & Chief Product ArchitectAdvanced Micro Devices
Photo of John GustafsonSenior Fellow & Chief Product Architect

Advanced Micro Devices

John Gustafson (MS Applied Math ’81, PhD Applied Math ’82) is now Senior Fellow and Chief Product Architect at AMD (Graphics Processor Group, formerly ATI) in San Francisco, California.

John was the director of Intel Corporation’s Extreme Technology Research Laboratory in Santa Clara, California from March 2009 to February 2012. He managed the group charged with driving off-roadmap, high-impact exploratory research within Intel. From February 2012 to August 2012, he led a specific cross-company effort involving a fundamental aspect of computer architecture.

Gustafson is known for his work in High Performance Computing, having introduced the first commercial cluster system in 1985, and for first demonstrating 1000x scalable parallel performance on real applications in 1988, for which he won the inaugural Gordon Bell Award. He invented Gustafson’s Law, which states that problems with large, repetitive data sets can be efficiently parallelized. Gustafson’s Law has become a standard part of the parallel-processing academic curriculum. His parallel processing innovations have netted him three R&D 100 awards and two Inventor of the Year awards. Gustafson also received the Golden Core Award in 2007 from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s leading membership organization for computing professionals.

Gustafson is a former faculty member at Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames National Laboratory (formerly known as Ames Laboratory). He founded the Scalable Computing Laboratory at Iowa State in 1989. The mission of the laboratory is to improve parallel computing through clustering techniques for use in scientific and engineering computation. He was the leader of the team that in the 1990s completed the reconstruction of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, which is housed at the Computer History Museum in California. Recently, he was awarded the John V. Atanasoff Research and Discovery Award by the ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The award was established in 2005 to honor alumni of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who have furthered scientific knowledge of the nation and the world.

Brett Harper
Vice President of Product DevelopmentWorkiva
Brett Harper currently serves as the Vice President of Product Development at Workiva in Ames, Iowa. Harper has lived and worked in the Ames area for the past 20 years, first with Siemens PLM Solutions for 13 years making virtual prototyping visualization software, and most recently working at Workiva creating cutting-edge cloud software Wdesk, the collaborative work management platform for the enterprise.Brett attended Michigan State University where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science.
Ryan McKenna
Vice President, Revenue Cycle DevelopmentCerner Corporation
As the Vice President of IP development, Ryan McKenna focuses on Revenue Cycle Development, which includes the development teams for registration, scheduling, patient accounting and other solutions to meet Cerner clients’ needs. He makes an impact on Cerner/clients by developing solutions to meet their needs regarding health care financial management.Ryan joined Cerner in 1999 as a software engineer. He has held roles with the company such as software architect and knowledge architect for access, health information management and revenue cycle-access solutions. Most recently, he had responsibility for acute care development, including nursing and pharmacy solutions.

During his time at Cerner, Ryan has been instrumental to the design and development of the United Kingdom Choose and Book and revenue cycle-access solutions. He also created a center of excellence that provided tools and processes needed to refresh the Windows technology used to build Cerner Millennium® applications.

Ryan is a graduate of Iowa State University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. For his work, he was recognized as a Cerner Top Gun in 2001.

Tom Miller
Software Architect DeveloperMicrosoft Research
Tom Miller (BS ComS ’72) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in computer science from University of Illinois. He is currently employed with Microsoft Research.Tom’s first job out of college was working for Digital Equipment Corporation on operating systems. He subsequently co-founded a software consulting company near Bern, Switzerland called Paranor AG. At Paranor, Tom worked on a factory automation system primarily installed at European auto manufacturers, currency exchange rate monitoring systems with direct connections to Dow Jones and Reuters, and a power company automation system. Subsequently, Tom joined Microsoft where he designed the NTFS file system and implemented it in a small team for the first version of Windows NT (now Windows 7). He also designed and implemented the Windows Cache Manager, and worked on scale out projects for Microsoft Exchange Server and SQL Server.

He is currently working on an advanced file system incubation project. Outside of Microsoft, Tom enjoys skiing, sailing, and traveling with his wife and two teenage sons. He has been an avid supporter of Save the Children for over 20 years, and has visited programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Myanmar (Burma), and Malawi. He recently participated in a Jimmy Carter Habitat for the Humanities build in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Nicholas Multari
Senior Technical Advisory, Cyber Security ResearchPacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)
Nicholas J. Multari is the Senior Technical Advisor of Cybersecurity Research at Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL), supporting internally and externally funded research projects. He provides technical guidance, leads and participates in programs covering both Information Technologies (IT) as well as Operational Technologies (OT).Current and past programs include the discovery and assessment of OT (industrial control systems (ICS) and SCADA) systems, validation of firmware analysis tools, research studies in cyber resiliency and mission mapping, and the incorporation and validation of cyber resiliency into the requirements and design of Department of Defense programs. He strengthened existing and established new relationships with various government agencies resulting in further collaborations and transition of capabilities.

Nick collaborates with universities and industry on joint research. He currently serves on the advisory board to the NSF-funded Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure (CTSC) at Indiana University, the external advisory boards to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (board chair) and the Software Engineering Department both at Iowa State University, and on the external advisory board to the University of Washington’s Information Security and Risk Management Certificate program.

Greg Shannon
Chief Cybersecurity Scientist, Idaho National Labs
Chief Science Officer, CyManII
Greg Shannon is the Chief Cybersecurity Scientist for Idaho National Labs and Chief Science Officer of Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII). Shannon serves on the Board of Directors for Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS). He also served three years on the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, as well as in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy as the Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Strategy where he led the development of the 2016 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on cybersecurity, science for security, critical infrastructure, resilience, and cyber threats.

Shannon received a BS in Computer Science from Iowa State University with minors in mathematics, economics, and statistics. He earned his MS and PhD in Computer Sciences at Purdue University, with a Packard Foundation fellowship. He is a member of the ACM and a Senior Member of IEEE.

Michael Svendsen

(EAC Co-Chair)


Lead DevOps Engineer, ACT

Mike Svendsen is a Lead DevOps Engineer at ACT where he is responsible for developing tools and standards to support continuous delivery pipelines. Prior to joining ACT, he was a Principal Software Developer at Pearson. While at Pearson, he designed and implemented solutions for their K-12 standardized test scoring platform and patented a method for delivering digital tests to locations with limited or no network connectivity.Svendsen earned a B.S and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Ron Wolf
Independent Consultant
Ron Wolf has been a technology executive and hands-on practitioner in eight San Francisco Bay Area start-ups, as well as for dozens of consulting clients–ranging from the Fortune 100 to raw start-ups with big ideas–over the last 20 years. Specializing in team building and creating database, Middleware, Web (SOA & SAAS), and IT Management products, Ron turns new architectural possibilities into products with real value.Ron has B.S. (Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi) and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from Iowa State University where he also worked as an IBM Mainframe Systems Programmer. Then, moving to Silicon Valley and joining his first startup, Molecular Design, as their first Computer Science trained employee among 60 chemists, Ron was able to improve performance of their landmark organic chemical database by 3 orders of magnitude. Taking note of his success, former IBM Executive and ISU Alumnus Bob Evans recruited Ron to Foothill Research where he had the honor to work closely with Evans and his portfolio companies and Japanese partners. Moving on to Gupta Corp, which pioneered the PC client/server revolution, Ron and his team created the first multi-database middleware, SQL-Net.

In 1994, Ron co-founded NetSource, one of the first large website creation companies, and originated, documented, and taught the now commonplace website creation methodology. More recently as head of development at Keynote Systems, a performance management services company, Ron has architected and implemented a massive distributed platform with over 1,500 measurement servers in 50 cities worldwide, feeding 50M+ data points per day to a unique real-time data warehouse. More recently, Ron has provided business strategy, requirements gathering, product design, product marketing, project management, and technical advice to clients in the SOA, SAAS, database, cloud, and media server spaces.