BHEF Expands its Flagship Cyber Network to Tidewater Virginia

BHEF Member Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder Keynotes Launch Event That Will Create Undergraduate Pathways for Diverse Students and Veterans to Support the U.S. Navy

Hampton, VA (September 24) — BHEF member Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, Department of the Navy, joined by BHEF members’ organizations Northrop Grumman, Parsons, Raytheon, and the University System of Maryland (USM), led a standing room only event to mark the expansion of BHEF’s cybersecurity networks to include the Hampton Roads/Tidewater, Virginia region. The increased footprint is made possible by an approximate $1M grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Through ONR’s support, BHEF and its regional industry and higher education partners will form a new cyber network, and develop new undergraduate courses uniquely designed to meet the region’s workforce needs. Several of the Tidewater’s higher education institutions—Old Dominion University, Tidewater Community College, and host Thomas Nelson Community College—were on hand for the afternoon launch.   

Following his keynote remarks, Klunder introduced BHEF’s Greater Washington, D.C. Cyber Network expert panel

  • Diane Miller, director, InfoSec Operations and Cyber Initiatives, and program director, CyberPatriot, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Erin Knepler, P-20 program director, University System of Maryland
  • Biff Lyons, senior vice president, National Security & Defense Division, Parsons Government Services

The group spoke to the benefits of BHEF’s network approach and described the synergies created which drove the USM-BHEF Cybersecurity and the Greater Washington Cybersecurity Networks to early successes.

BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald stated: “BHEF members understand the vital link between business and higher education that is required to build talent ecosystems. Through the generous support of the Office of Naval Research and our Tidewater partners, BHEF will create on-ramps in that ecosystem for students of diverse backgrounds and experiences that will address the region’s cyber workforce needs. This is an exciting time for business, higher education, and most importantly, the college students whose participation will shape the Tidewater’s economic future.”

The event was preceded by the region’s third annual Cybersecurity Conference, hosted by Thomas Nelson Community College, which examined the role of the individual as the first line of defense in cybersecurity, and featured experts from the BHEF member McAfee, the FBI, the Virginia State Police and Verizon Wireless.

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
Now in its 37th year, BHEF is the nation's oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to advancing innovative education and workforce solutions and improving U.S. competitiveness. BHEF's business and academic members collaborate in regions across the country to design and deploy education-workforce solutions in the high-demand and emerging fields that are so critical to innovation and national security. BHEF and its members drive change locally, work to influence public policy at the national and state levels, and inspire other leaders to act.