2018 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Todd Hufford

HuffordDirector of Global Digital Operations, Enablement and Brand Protection
The Kellogg Company

Todd Hufford joined The Kellogg Company in 2008 and now leads the global digital marketing operations group within the company’s integrated marketing function. This group focuses on marketing technology capability development and activation as well as global brand protection efforts. These marketing capabilities include web content management, digital asset management, analytics, data syndication and creative workflow solutions.

In addition to his current position, Hufford has held roles on the sales and e-commerce teams at Kellogg. Previously, he was account supervisor and graphic designer at a marketing agency, event planner, judicial affairs officer, part-time professor, pizza chef, grocery store clerk, congressional intern and more.

Hufford is active in the community, serving as the president of the Portage (Mich.) Athletic Foundation, co-chair of the Western Michigan University School of Communication External Advisory Board and coach of youth hockey and softball.

Hufford was awarded the prestigious Medallion Scholarship from WMU in 1989 and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in organizational communication from WMU. His son, Alex, was also awarded a Medallion Scholarship in 2016 and is currently studying sports management at WMU.

Raymond Ribble, B.S.'84


RibbleRaymond Ribble is the founder of SPHER Inc., a leader in patient safety healthcare cybersecurity, and Fusion Systems, an international IT consulting firm with offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney and Los Angeles. Fusion Systems has developed e-commerce solutions, financial trading systems, cryptocurrency exchanges and multiple cloud solutions for many of the world's leading corporations.

With more than 30 years in the technology industry, Ribble has succeeded in multiple industries including aerospace, financial systems and healthcare. He has founded businesses in Japan, China, Hong Kong and the U.S. Prior to launching SPHER, Ribble held senior roles in a number of technology startups resulting in successful exits.

A graduate of Detroit Denby High School, Ribble earned a degree in aviation technology and management from Western Michigan University in 1984. His career began in Los Angeles, working in the flight controls engineering division of Northrop Aerospace on the YF-23 stealth fighter, B-2 bomber and various Defense Advanced Research Project Agency assignments. Upon completion of a certificate program in Asian studies at UCLA, he was offered a position in Ichikawa, Japan, as a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program where his career path took an unplanned turn. He joined the Itochu Corporation as a senior technology analyst for computer companies looking to enter the lucrative Japanese markets.

Today, Ribble is heavily engaged in the healthcare cybersecurity sector, advocating for the privacy and security of patient protected health information.

More Speakers

Dr. Scott Cowley

Cowley professional photoAssistant Professor, Marketing
Western Michigan University
Special Luncheon Presentation

Dr. Scott Cowley is an assistant professor of marketing at Western Michigan University. His research focuses on how companies can enhance the digital customer experience. Prior to earning a Ph.D. from Arizona State University, he was a digital marketing consultant in Salt Lake City. An award-winning innovator in digital marketing education, his curriculum is used by dozens of universities worldwide. 

Angela DeYoung, B.B.A.'15

DeYoungInbound Marketing Coordinator

Angela DeYoung is a marketer aiming to cultivate business opportunities through digital and inbound methodologies. As inbound marketing coordinator at BlueGranite, she is responsible for organizing events, marketing campaigns, social media pages, corporate partnership engagement and optimizing marketing automation. Prior to joining BlueGranite, DeYoung obtained her bachelor's degree in sales and business marketing from Western Michigan University and worked in various sales and marketing roles in southwest Michigan.

Dr. Bidyut Hazarika

HazarikaAssistant Professor, Business Information Systems
Western Michigan University
Special Luncheon Presentation

 Dr. Bidyut Hazarika is an assistant professor of business information systems at Western Michigan University. His research has appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Global Information Management, International Journal of E-Business Research, International Journal of Business and Systems Research, Issues in Information Systems and Electronic Library. His research interests include market dynamics of digital products, social media and analytics, e-commerce and IT strategy. In addition, he has published multiple book chapters in business information processing. Hazarika holds a bachelor of engineering degree from the University of Mumbai, an MBA from the University of Toledo and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Denver. Previously, Hazarika worked as a telecom engineer, business analyst and a data analyst.

Kevin Jackson, B.S.'91

Kevin JacksonSenior Consultant
BlueGranite Inc

Kevin Jackson is a senior consultant at BlueGranite with nearly 30 years experience in the software industry. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Western Michigan University in 1991, he served in a variety of technical and leadership roles. Jackson has led teams ranging in size from just a few to more than 200, spanning five continents. He prides himself as being a hands-on leader, and he enjoys working closely with developers to deliver a wide range of software projects. He recently founded the Software Leadership of Kalamazoo group with the goal of training and supporting other technical leaders in the Kalamazoo area.


Dr. Joanna Paliszkiewicz

Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Polish Japanese Academy of Information Management
Special Guest 

Dr. Joanna Paliszkiewicz holds the rank of University Professor of Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Polish Japanese Academy of Information Management. She is well recognized in Poland and abroad for her expertise in management issues. Paliszkiewicz has published more than 170 original papers and eight books. She serves on the editorial board of several international journals. She is the editor-in-chief of Issues in Information Systems; deputy editor-in-chief of Management and Production Engineering Review; and associate editor of the Journal of Computer Information Systems.

Tony Proudfoot

ProudfootVice President for Marketing and Strategic Communication
Western Michigan University

Tony Proudfoot is the vice president for marketing and strategic communications at Western Michigan University, leading a community-wide effort to establish WMU as a university of choice. Proudfoot’s passions are brand building, change management and higher education public policy. He has more than two decades of university brand building experience, including establishing a new brand management model at the University of Arizona and serving as the chief marketing officer at Ball State University. Previously, Proudfoot worked at Indiana University where he was responsible for marketing research on all campuses and also played a key role in implementing the university's first brand alignment initiative.

Cindy Swiantek, B.B.A.'84

Cindy SwiantekVice President of Sales

Cindy Swiantek, vice president of sales at VisionPRO, has more than 25 years of experience utilizing information technology solutions to solve customer business problems. Prior to joining VisionPRO, she was senior vice president of cybersecurity and compliance strategic accounts at ANXeBusiness. She has held numerous vice presidential roles throughout her career focusing on business problem resolution for strategic accounts, new market growth and leading-edge human resource practices. Swiantek earned an MBA from Central Michigan University and bachelor of business administration in computer information systems from Western Michigan University. She has served on several boards, including the Michigan Workforce Investment Board and Michigan Council of Women in Technology. Swiantek is an adjunct faculty member at Northwood University and Lawrence Technological University.

David Wood

WoodTechnical Account Manager
Red Hat

David Wood is a technical account manager at Red Hat, where he assists companies, including global retailers, with their Red Hat products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, clusters, authentication, web services, databases and security. He holds a bachelor of science in computer science and mathematics from the University of Detroit Mercy. Wood is currently a Red Hat Certified Architect and Red Hat Certified Datacenter Specialist.