Lifetime Achievement Award: Romelia Flores



Romelia Flores

IBM Academy of Technology’s Affiliate & Geography Leader

For inspirational leadership in transforming our Academy Affiliate Program 

On September 20, 2016, it was my pleasure to bestow our Academy’s first Lifetime Achievement Award to Romelia Flores with my deepest respect and admiration for her invaluable contributions.

Romelia is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and an exemplary role model of our Academy’s mission and goals.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Brilliant creator of the Exemplary Affiliate status
  • Ignited the spirit of affiliate leaders to transform their impact to address client needs
  • Devoted to increasing the eminence of our technical leaders in the local marketplace
  • Drove automation of affiliate quarterly reporting

Please join me in congratulating Romelia on this well-deserved honor on Twitter or post directly on her  LinkedIn profile!

Thank you,

Susan Schreitmueller


Susan Schreitmueller

President, IBM Academy of Technology
IBM Distinguished Engineer. Master Cloud Advisor,  Twitter: @RovrAllOvr

Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard Hopkins


Richard Hopkins

IBM Academy of Technology’s

Chief Digital Provocateur

For Leadership, Persistence and Persuasion to Drive Impact

On September 20, 2016, it was my pleasure to bestow our Academy’s first Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Hopkins with my deepest respect and admiration for his invaluable contributions.

Richard is an IBM Distinguished Engineer who is an exemplary role model of our Academy’s mission and goals.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Academy’s Digital Provocateur initiatives
  • Lead designer of sprint activities
  • Significant contributor to our Academy’s initiative re-invention
  • Creator of our Client Collaboration Council for the TCG
  • Tireless enthusiasm that continues to overcome any and all significant resistance.

Please join me in congratulating Richard on this well-deserved honor on Twitter or directly on his LinkedIn profile!

Thank you,

Susan Schreitmueller


Susan Schreitmueller


President, IBM Academy of Technology
IBM Distinguished Engineer. Master Cloud Advisor,  Twitter: @RovrAllOvr


Jean-Luc Collet

Humans of IBMAoT

A series on our inspiring and inclusive academy of eminent technology thought leaders who have an enduring impact in making the world better.

jean luc


Jean-Luc Collet is a key leader of our Academy of Technology (AoT) who manages the New Member Outreach strategic initiative. He is passionate about IBMers, our technical community transformation and its vitality.

podcast In this seven-minute podcast, he explains why this is imperative to embrace our new IBM colleagues and help them succeed and collaborate with our AoT during IBM’s historic transformation.

His AoT Mission: How to introduce our AoT to new IBM technical hires (including acquisitions).

His AoT Objective: Treasure our technical wild ducks and onboard them faster into our academy to increase our technical vitality and accelerate IBM’s transformation.

His AoT Goal: Infuse best practices of acquired company’s and IBM’s to spark and excellerate innovative client solutions.

rapid fire

At this point, you can see Jean-Luc is truly a passionate techie about people. Now let’s explore his personal side in these rapid fire questions:

Mac or PC = Mac

Favorite quote:  “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – by Alan Kay, inventor of UI Windowing @Xerox and Apple Fellow.

Movie = I must pick two:  Memento (2001) by C.Nolan (also JLC V9Director of Inception & Interstellar); and Pulp Fiction by Q. Tarentino

New technology = Brain communication (brain to brain, machine to brain, e.g. virtual reality, “telepathy” is no more science fiction)

Author/Book = the Robots – Isaac Asimov (one of my first memorable reading)

Vacation = Everywhere there is sea or snow (see hobby)JLC  V7

Food = Japanese & Indonesian

Hobby/Sport = Motorcycling, Snowboarding, KiteSurf, Music (listening)

Are you right or left-handed? Left-handed.

For the record, Jean-Luc is the first member of our AoT who we have profiled that is left-handed.

Yes, he is unique.

The postings on this site are our own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
You may contact us at or Twitter @IBMAoT.

Agostinho de Arruda Villela

Humans of IBMAoT

A series on our inspiring and inclusive academy of eminent technology thought leaders who have an enduring impact in making the world better.

Agostinho de Arruda Villela

We did not need to look far for the first profile of our new series: Agostinho de Arruda Villela is an inspirational leader of our IBM Academy of Technology (AoT) who manages our Latin America Affiliate Region, aruguably the most prolific.


In this 10 minute podcast, Agostinho shares his personal journey in IBM that led him into becoming a inspirational leader in IBM Latin America.

What does an IBM Academy of Technology (AoT) leader of an Affiliate Region do?  Here goes:

Agostinho oversees the Latin America AoT Affiliates which are  6 in total:

  • 3 affiliates – Brazil, Mexico and Argentina
  • 2 emerging affiliates – Colombia and Peru
  • 1 emerging affiliate candidate – Costa Rica

This entails, at least, biweekly calls (one with the affiliateibm latin americaleaders, one with the AoT Technology Themes focal points, and, sometimes, one for the Nurturing AoT Candidates initiative) which are, arguably, some of the most productive AoT affiliates in the world.

In this role, Agostinho also oversees and participates actively in 4 AoT initiatives – in pursuit of AoT Affiliate Exemplary Status, Affiliate Insights submissions, Nurturing of Latin America AoT Candidates and AoT Technology Themes (Environment & Sustainability and Future of Energy).

In addition, Agostinho is the Costa Rica AoT Champion, mentoring them to become an emerging affiliate next year. He’s been a member of the Global Selection Board for Latin America AoT candidates for 2 years in a row. For the second year in a row, he’s been an evaluator in Latin America for OTAA prize in the Innovation Category.

Moreover, he does presentations to clients as an AoT member multiple times a year at meetings such as the Brazil Innovation Reference Center and events in universities and schools.

And, he’s extremely active as a Brazil AoT Affiliate member, heading their  Outreach Committee and leading their Blockchain study – which successfully concluded on August 25th.


All of these activities Agostinho does with a contagious passion for IBM’s technical community – a testament of his personal dedication and contribution to our IBM Academy of Technology’s mission and IBM values.

Bravo, Agostinho!

So, what does Agostinho do in his off time? Does he have time? We asked him a few rapid fire questions:

rapid fireMac or PC: I’m fine with a PC, as long as it has Windows 10 and an SSD drive

Movie:  The Fifth Element, Heavy Metal, A Good Year, The Sum of All Fears, The Last of the Mohicans, The Big Short, Trinity is My Name, La Armata Brancaleone

-New technology: Blockchain, IoT, AI, Quantum Computing

Author/Book: Isaac Asimov (Foundation Trilogy),  Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma), Michael Lewis (The Big Short), Geoffrey Moore (Crossing the Chasm), James Clavell (Shogun and Tai-pan)

Vacation:  Barcelona, Lisbon, Oporto, Ouro Preto, CuritibaAgostino bike

Food:  Sushi/Sashimi

Animal: Jaguar

 Sports – Bicycling, Soccer

-Hobbies:  Bicycling, Going to the movies (saw yesterday “Star Trek – Beyond”), Watch TV series (my favorites are “Person of Interest” and “The Blacklist”)

Yes: Agostinho finds time to balance it all.

The postings on this site are our own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
You may contact us at or Twitter @IBMAoT.

Social and economic implications of Artificial Intelligence



podcast.pngOur six-minute podcast with Peter Williams provides a personal point of view to our Academy of Technology’s response on the social and economic implications of AI.

Momentum is building rapidly in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), or ‘cognitive’ systems. And its potential is being recognized by businesses and governments alike. To that end, IBM has delivered a detailed response to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) “Request for Information” outlining our point of view, available in full here.

About Peter Williams

Peter is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and the Chief Technology Officer for “Big Green Innovations”. In addition, he is a member of our IBM Academy of Technology’s leadership team, leading our strategic focus group on Cognitive Computing.

Peter blogs on LinkedIn.

We asked him a few unusual questions to get know his personal side:

What’s your favorite:

Mac or PC:  I am a heavy user of an iPhone and iPad and I suspect that when the time comes at the end of this year to swap my clunky old Lenovo for a Mac, I will take that opportunity.

Movie:  I’m the despair of my wife because I don’t like movies very much – they are mostly just annoying.  Those that I do like are about real people or real events and issues.  In that vein, my all time favorite is probably Apollo 13.

New technology:  Right now, my Fitbit.  It has helped me lose 10 pounds (and counting) and become much fitter.

Author/Book: My all time favorite is Shakespeare – Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello.  But aside from him, as with movies, I tend to read non-fiction. Right now, it’s “I Contain Multitudes – The Microbes Within Us and  a Grander View of Life”.  Prior to that it was a history of the Rothschilds. 

Vacation:  South Island of New Zealand – the single most beautiful place I have ever been

Food: Fried egg and bacon sandwich, or a good gazpacho.

Hobby/Sport:  Mountain biking, hiking (ideally with my wife, and my dog), skiing.

Are you right or left-handed?  Right handed, although interestingly, neither I nor my mother can easily tell our right from our left, and my brother is ambidextrous, so I guess there is a crossed wire in there somewhere!? ______________________________________

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Request for Information: Preparing for the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

IBM’s full OSTP RFI response can be found here.

The postings on this site are our own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Security & Internet of Things – A World of Possibilities! – A behind the scenes look Posting By – Beth Rudden


My story starts with a request from one of my amazing mentor’s that I get for just being a human at IBM – Her name is Rhonda Childress and she is who I want to be when I grow up.

“Hey Beth can you help me build a skirt that lights up…” says Rhonda

“Sure, I think I know a guy, …” says Beth thinking there must be more to this

Turns out I was right on both accounts, of course I knew a guy (Tim Forshee) and of course there was more to that request. Three (ish) weeks later we hold a live event for over 300 high school kids from the NY area as well as globally streamed to all students – we had over 10k students watching our event.

The students in the audience were from Excelsior and P-Tech – part of our President’s famous P-Tech high schools – that engender our kids with wholesome thoughts of technology and science. So of course we set out to teach them how to hack a web cam at an IBM IOT Security event.

As the students filled the room (260 in chairs, 30 in an overflow section) the IBM team starts to get excited. Our event was kicked off by one of our co-hosts Dave McQueeney who talks about his passion for CF-18 (Canadian version) Hornet (McDonnell-Douglas).

Image credit David Kumhyr

I am sitting in the front row so that I can easily get up and talk to the kids about how the Twitter wall lights up the skirt, as well as to make lovely patterns appear on the skirt while Rhonda is talking. I have to be in bluetooth range to approve the tweets that go to the skirt. Rhonda opens with her own personal story, which makes me grin ear to ear (full replays of all sections located at the bottom of the article). She then calls me onstage – below is a picture of me talking to the audience about how to the twitter wall works and warning our young friends that everything in social media is more permanent than they are.

Image credit Ellen Gullo

The twitter wall is that large screen with blue background to the left of me and it programmed was using a Python / JSON script to target specific hashtags and then display the tweets on the wall live. My amazing friend Kaitlyn McGoldrick decided she wanted to learn how to build a website and this was her first – turned out incredible just like everything else she does. The twitter wall had a couple of machine and human powered algorithms built in to search and destroy any of the “RUDE” or typical 4-letter words and such – just to make sure we did not broadcast anything that we did not want to.

In addition to the twitter wall we also wanted to showcase the interaction between what people do online (on the Internet) and on a thing (the skirt). The IOT theme is such an exciting arena right now since there are so very many applications.

Whenever someone would tweet a certain # with a region (which we can pull from the metadata) then a portion of the skirt would light up. We had a few IBMers helping out around the world on this part. All of the programming and Skirt functionality was the mad genius of Tim Forshee who spent many hours toiling with a teensy board and LED lights to make this happen. Rhonda was the seamstress – yes, she can even sew.

After our introduction we had a session – I think everyone would consider as the BEST presentation – on how to hack a web cam from our junior geniuses (Collin and Evan). These two engineers (12 and 10 years old respectively) were told by their parents (Beth Dunphy and Mike Spisak – IBMers) to go on the internet and figure out how to hack a web cam and then make a video of it…they blew us all away with their very scientific “hacking” results. Of course, the point was to get folks to understand that they need to SECURE their own internet to avoid such attacks.

Following the dynamic duo was an excellent set of sessions to showcase security and the Internet of things. The most anticipated session – via the Twitter feeds – was the ZOMBIE DRONE and here is where things got interesting…

During Mike Spisak’s amazing session for showcasing how one can “hack” a drone and turn it into a ZOMBIE we had the network crash at the IBM Research Facility and the live stream go down….OH the reaction from our twitter and livestream followers. Now some would say that this is actually an excellent achievement for a minor little IBM Academy Think session but for our co-Hosts and presenters it was time for some fancy footwork. Being the consummate professional that she is, Rhonda took the stage for some wonderful questions. Helping her was co-Host Dave McQueeney – kinda a big time IBMer legend himself – and in no time we were back to ZOMBIES and drones. This minor blip only showcased the enormous talents of our IBM team to THINK and act on their feet.

Rounding out the presentations was an appearance from “Benny” the robot from IBM research, David with his smart “medication” system and finally Bryan Childs who showcased the Disney Infinity Game Design Cubes as well as his fabulous singing! During our entire 2.5 hour extravaganza we also had Greg Boss – or at least his head on display rolling around our audience. The kids later got to interview Greg during pizza time!

Lastly I have to give a huge shout out to my own social media crew who made this all happen in the infosphere – (In person Sam Lamorte, Kaitlin McGoldrick, Erin Schnabel, and Sean Fuoco offsite Arunachalam Rajendran – India, Katrina Read – Australia, Michael Bone – Canada and of course the great Tim Forshee). As you can tell we all are incredibly serious and hard working individuals.

All of the videos are here and the official Academy write up is here for your purview and I leave you with a wall of pictures to show our dynamite team and for those of you who want to know how to build your own technologically advanced and socially enabled clothing – come work for IBM – we get to do all kinds of amazing things !

Bottom right picture from left to right and front to back: Ellen Gullo, Sean Fuoco, Beth Dunphy, Dave McQueeney, Collin Dunphy, Bryan Childs, David Kumhyr, Rhonda Childress, Mike Spisak, Greg Boss (head only on iPad), Evan S., AR Drone, Theresa Conway, Danna Thomas, Benny, Evan D., Beth Rudden, Savar Sareen, Erin Schnabel, Stacy Hobson, Kaitlin McGoldrick, and Sam Lamorte

A special thank you to Ellen Gullo for all the work to get this event put together! Thank you Collin Dunphy and Evan – you two are going to be our bosses soon and for those of you who are interested check out Collin’s gaming site -(@Drako_BDGGaming site).

About Beth Rudden

Beth is a Senior Technical Staff Member and “all-round analytical rock star”  – the description given to her by Katrina Reed of Citigroup – in her article “Delivering actionable insights at Citigroup”.

About the Event

More about this event can be found at  Security and the Internet of Things: A World of Possibilities


The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.