Pre-Conference Workshop Speaker

Speaker: Ms. Buffie Holley

Pre-Conference Workshop Title: Teaching Cybersecurity: Introducing the Security Mindset

Ms. Holley is a Computer Science and Mathematics teacher at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, as well as an adjunct CS instructor with Virtual Virginia. She has been teaching Computer Science since 2011 and earned her M.S. in CS from Syracuse University in December 2019. She is also the Computer Science Content Specialist for CHOICE a Virginia Ed Strategies initiative that is working with teachers to provide quality professional learning in Science, Math, Computer Science and CTE. Ms. Holley has been working with the Teaching Security team for six years, having tested these lessons and strategies on her students many times both virtually and in person.

Keynote Speaker

Perry Copus
Speaker: Mr. Perry Copus

Perry Copus is an entrepreneur, engineer, and technology generalist whose creative activities have spanned three decades and launched multiple technology companies and products. Copus founded Symmetric, a 3D graphics hardware company, in the 1990’s and navigated its acquisition by a publicly-traded technology company. He also founded CoreIntellect, a venture-backed company with groundbreaking, proprietary natural language processing technology for filtering content at scale. His technology career has been eclectic and varied, with roles from software engineer to CEO, in companies from 12 to 50,000 employees, in industries from telecom to medical devices. His broader career includes university teaching in Computer Science and Cybersecurity, almost a decade serving as a Lutheran pastor, and various other roles. His formal education includes B.S. Computer Science, Master of Divinity, and M.S. Computer Science. He is a stage-IV cancer survivor, ultramarathon runner, gravel cyclist, and serial hobbyist.

Copus currently serves as Technical Lead Engineer at Garmin Labs, the advanced technology and product incubator for Garmin, a $5 billion consumer products company. In that role he helps advance Garmin’s vision for future products as a multidisciplinary engineering leader and product architect. His role is broadly defined: derisking projects with key technical hurdles, investigating new technologies, realizing prototypes to prove extraordinary claims, and merging vision and technology to drive new products to the market.

The Engineering Generalist is [probably] a Computer Scientist

Computer Science education has more stakeholders and drivers than ever before: Increasing specializations (all apparently “crucial”), hiring-entity expectations for “work-ready” graduates, accrediting body demands, university retention emphases, parental return-on-investment calculi, program spin initiatives to lure gamers-cum-programmers, or artists-cum-game-programmers, or rebels-cum-white-hat-hackers… All vie to reshape the ever-evolving B.S.C.S. I don’t want to talk about any of that. Let’s have some fun instead. I will tell you about the most valuable person in the room on any team that is tackling complex, multidisciplinary engineering problems: The Engineering Generalist, whose peculiar capabilities bridge not only the various engineering disciplines, but also the technical, business, and user domains. As we define and verbally dissect this creature we will come to understand how the ideal fundamental training for such gems is not to be found in the hard engineering disciplines, nor in the mother-fields of the natural sciences, nor even in the grandmother-field of mathematics. It is rather the B.S.C.S. that stands as the veritable fundamentum, with a firm nod given to its historic, rigorous form.

Banquet Speaker

Erin Christensen
Speaker: Ms. Erin Christensen

Erin Christensen serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the KC Tech Council, a membership-based association serving as the regional advocate for Kansas City’s tech industry. Prior to her appointment to COO in May 2022, Erin lead workforce initiatives for the Tech Council which included the implementation of a leading tech apprenticeship program. Her role currently focuses on member and sponsor engagement, supporting workforce development, and member program development. Prior to joining the Tech Council in October 2020, Erin had a long tenure working in higher education with a recent focus on corporate engagement.

She currently serves on the BSIT Advisory Board for The University of Kansas Edwards Campus, i.c. Stars Kansas City Advisory Board, and on the Industry Executive Council for the North Kansas City School District. Erin is in her second year of the Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program. Receiving both her bachelor and master’s degrees from Northwest Missouri State University, Erin is originally from Rolla, MO but landed in Kansas City in 2014. She currently resides in Lees Summit, MO with her husband and daughter.


As the voice of Kansas City’s tech industry, the KC Tech Council is proud to elevate data to help us collective find the opportunities to leverage our strengths, improve our deficiencies, and grow together as a tech hub of the future. Coming together as educators of future technologists within the region, you have an opportunity to engage in dialogue around trends in hiring practices and the direction of technology in the region.