MCPA Minnesota Fall Mixer & Annual Cyber Security Summit Recap
By Brian Morgan
November 6, 2023
The 13th Annual Cyber Security Summit (24-26 OCT 2023) in Minneapolis was a great one for the Minnesota Chapter of the Military Cyber Professionals Association. With a strong desire to contribute to the cybersecurity discourse and network with industry experts, Minnesota proudly represented MCPA at a dedicated booth. The booth not only showcased the association's initiatives and accomplishments but also served as a hub for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities.
At the summit, the members of the Minnesota Chapter of MCPA engaged with fellow cybersecurity professionals, government representatives, and industry leaders from the entire country. They actively participated in panel discussions, workshops, and seminars, sharing their expertise and gaining valuable insights from others in the field. Through these interactions, they reinforced the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in the fight against cyber threats, and showcasing cyber-smart development opportunities for the next generation of K-12 STEM students.
MCPA Minnesota held our fall mixer in September at Omni Brewery in Rosemount, Minnesota. With a crisp fall evening and beautiful country cornfield backdrop to inspire us, we had 16 folks in attendance - our biggest showing yet! In addition to bags and snacks, drinks and pizza were provided courtesy of Tanium, all facilitated by the director of strategic accounts, Rob Slaughter, who is a chapter member.
Our special guest was Miss Elizabeth Stevens, former FBI outreach coordinator for Minneapolis, who was invited to promote involvement in the Cyber Security Summit as part of our co-marketing agreement with them. Coincidentally, three active MCPA chapter members also serve on the Think Tank for the Cyber Security Summit. It was a great time to catch up over some craft IPAs and wood-fired pizza and generate additional interest in the chapter, promote awareness of our mission, and identify members interested in assisting with chapter duties such as writing papers for MCPA's Cyber Magazine and peer-reviewed Journal, volunteering to support national events, and the like.
The Minnesota chapter of MCPA was brought into existence after the worst of the Dark Days of Covid in early 2021. While out east on a deployment with Task Force Echo, LTC Brian Morgan (MAJ at the time) met with Joe and Christine Billingsly and asked if they would be willing to appoint him the president of the Minnesota chapter to get it off of the ground in support of the national MCPA mission. The chapter board are all members of the National Guard Cyber community in MInnesota, and we are looking to expand our team. As such, the Minnesota chapter is currently in "growth-mode", where we are looking for qualified military members, both active and retired, in the Minnesota region. As part of that goal, we're happy to report that we just passed 50 members! A large contingent of our member base is fed from the 177th Cyber Protection Team, Minnesota's fully-equipped CPT, but we are looking for additional members from other branches and other COMPOs to bring more military diversity to our chapter. Minnesota also has a Joint Reserve Intelligence Center with a large Navy and Marine Corps presence, an Air National Guard cyber team, and a large number of retired and/or honorably discharged former military members in the workforce now. To assist in helping promote our chapter and establishing our presence, MCPA Minnesota has had an enduring multi-year relationship with the Minnesota Cyber Security Summit. They have their 13th annual Minnesota Cyber Security Summit from 24-26 October 2023, which attracts thousands of security professionals from around the world. Typically, people don't think of Minnesota as a big business, tech, or security hub, but there are actually over 16 Fortune 500 companies headquartered right here in Minnesota, such as UnitedHealth Group, General Mills, Target, Best Buy, 3M, and many more. It's a great state to learn, work, and play, and we're excited to watch our chapter grow here as a part of the national MCPA team.
About the Author
Army Lieutenant Colonel Brian Morgan is the President of the Minnesota Chapter of MCPA. He's also the Director of Cyber Coordination for the Minnesota National Guard. He's a cyber officer with extensive tactical and leadership experience with IT and information security. He had deployed four times, once as part of Task Force Echo as the commander of the 177th Cyber Protection Team. In his civilian life, Brian has been a security and operations manager at UnitedHealth Group, Medtronic, and Amazon Web Services. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, playing piano, four wheeling, deep cosmological thoughts, and axe throwing.