The CompTIA AITP awards were created to honor outstanding individual members and chapters that are positively impacting local IT communities, advancing the vision and mission of CompTIA AITP, and making significant contributions to the tech industry. The inaugural award winners were announced and celebrated on Tuesday, December 18 at the All Member Meeting. Read on to learn more about their accomplishments.
CompTIA AITP Distinguished Service Award: Michael Rochelle
This award honors a CompTIA AITP professional member who, through outstanding service and dedication, has made a significant impact on the advancement of the association, the tech industry and the IT workforce.
Michael Rochelle has been the president of the CompTIA AITP Dallas-Ft. Worth chapter since 2015. His passion for helping others grow in their IT careers has been the driving force behind his desire to expand CompTIA AITP for Dallas IT pros. In three years, under Rochelle’s leadership, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter has grown from 20 members to more than 100.
Rochelle’s experience as a leadership development expert has helped drive innovative chapter programming. His focus on improving others is seen in all chapter activities—from the incredible selection of speakers to annual charitable events. Through a local CompTIA AITP and SIM partnership, Rochelle formed the Senior Leadership Forum and the Regional Leadership Forum in Dallas. Additionally, Michael facilitated the creation of the Business Technology Networking Group, which features speakers who focus on technologists in transition and helps chapter members and potential members connect for job opportunities.
Through Rochelle’s hard work and dedication, the chapter has undergone a positive transformation and members have responded enthusiastically.
Outstanding Professional Chapter Award: CompTIA AITP Atlanta Chapter
This award recognizes a CompTIA AITP professional chapter that, over the past year, has made a positive impact on its IT community; created a meaningful relationship with local student chapters; developed successful chapter programming; increased membership, retention and member diversity; and demonstrated exceptional leadership.
With approximately 80 active members, the CompTIA AITP Atlanta Chapter is actively enhancing the education and professional development of the Atlanta tech community by delivering exceptional programming, which has included many distinguished speakers and panels at monthly meetings.
Topics discussed over the past 18 months include: Next Generation of Wireless – Verizon 5G Networks in Atlanta; Atlanta and the Internet of Things; GDPR; DevOps and Digital Transformation. The Atlanta chapter also hosts an annual Women in Tech panel and CIO roundtable.
The Atlanta chapter supports 11 local student chapters and promotes the development of the next generation of technology leaders through several student-focused events throughout the year. The chapter also established the Julian Wade Scholarship fund, which provides tuition assistance to a student chapter member who has demonstrated a commitment to technology and has maintained a high grade point average. In addition, the chapter actively participated in the 2018 Technology Student Association national conference that was held in Atlanta.
Innovator Award: Paul Lanois
This award recognizes a CompTIA AITP professional member’s innovative and creative idea, program, service or activity that has contributed positively to the IT workforce, the tech industry, the CompTIA AITP membership experience or the local IT community.
Paul Lanois is a global privacy, data protection and information security professional and is an attorney admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia, New York and the Supreme Court of the United States. He has advised on topics such as artificial intelligence, IoT, big data, machine learning, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, among others.
As vice president at Credit Suisse, Lanois was instrumental in spearheading new digital initiatives from a legal perspective. Among his innovative achievements, individuals can now securely open an account online with Credit Suisse in a process that takes just 15 minutes. The process, including client identification and signing the application, is fully digital and paperless, making it no longer necessary to visit a branch. This innovation illustrates how blockchain could be used to enhance business processes and improve the entire client experience while improving security and productivity.
Since the selection, Lanois has relocated to the US permanently and is now a director at FieldFischer.
Rising Star Award: Susanne Tedrick
This award recognizes an emerging IT professional who is making a positive impact through significant contributions to the tech industry, CompTIA AITP and her local IT community.
Susanne Tedrick is a technical sales trainee in IBM's Summit Program, where she is developing skills in consultative selling, as well as defining and designing the technical aspects of IBM solutions for clients. Prior to IBM, Tedrick worked as a digital operator on assignment with McKinsey and Company’s Digital Capability Center, where she demonstrated to clients how emerging technologies can positively transform their manufacturing operations for efficiency and effectiveness. Tedrick also worked as a program design intern for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute at UI LABS, where she helped develop and execute high impact workshops in high technology areas and performed business development activities.
Tedrick is passionate about applying technology to solve business problems and encouraging diversity in STEM professions by mentoring young women and people of color.
Faculty Advisor Award: Lissa Pollacia, Ph.D., and Evelyn Brannock, Ph.D.
This award honors an educator or educators who have demonstrated substantial contributions to their school’s CompTIA AITP student chapter by supporting officers and student activities through excellence as a teacher, advisor and mentor.
The Georgia Gwinnett College team of Lissa Pollacia, Ph.D., professor of information technology and assistant dean of the School of Science and Technology, and Evelyn Brannock, Ph.D., assistant professor of information technology, are committed to providing their students opportunities through the CompTIA AITP student chapter as well as other programming.
As a relatively new college founded in 2007, Pollacia and Brannock set out to establish traditions for their students. To that end, in 2010, the same year that the AITP student chapter was chartered, the professors began an event called the AITP Awards and Honors Reception, which allowed them to give recognition to students who worked hard and earned merit throughout the year. Eight years later, this event has grown to include a dozen other awards and honors.
In addition, one of the pillars of Georgia Gwinnett College is service. Pollacia and Brannock encourage these values through outreach to the community. Examples of events that they have set up and facilitated include volunteering for Computers for Youth events, Recycling at GGC, the Super Saturday Series, the Tech Talk series and GGC’s Tech Camp in the summer.
Most of all, these professors enjoy helping students find their place in this world, which means getting their careers off to a great start.
Outstanding Student Member: Rahela Anghel
This award recognizes a student member who is contributing significantly to the success of their CompTIA AITP student chapter and making a lasting and valuable impact on their school’s technology program and the IT industry.
As a member of the CompTIA AITP Georgia State University Chapter and the larger CompTIA AITP organization, Rahela Anghel has worked on raising awareness of the organization’s mission, values and goals, educating students on the benefits and importance of getting engaged, and owning their success with the support of CompTIA AITP.
She has demonstrated excellence by adopting a servant leader approach to her role and ensuring all officers of the student chapter share leadership in a manner conducive to the growth and success of the organization at Georgia State University. She encourages her fellow students to lead their own industry-related initiatives and supports them as they become truly active members of the CompTIA AITP community. She leads by example, seeking to align the mission and values of the student chapter with those of CompTIA.
Anghel has also worked over the summer to connect with members of CompTIA AITP from the local chapter to build a network of professionals ready to engage student members. Since the fall semester started, she has helped increase student membership by 30 percent.
Her mission is to have a continued, positive impact on the student body and the community as a campus leader, and to educate her peers about the many ways in which CompTIA AITP can support them as they prepare for their careers.
Outstanding Student Chapter Award: Kent State University at Ashtabula
This award recognizes a CompTIA AITP student chapter that, over the past year, has made a positive impact on its IT community; created a meaningful relationship with local chapters; developed successful programming; increased membership, retention and member diversity; and demonstrated exceptional leadership.
CompTIA AITP KSUA was chartered in 1993 and its many service and educational activities are well-known within the university, as well as in the local and regional communities. This is a diverse student organization with members of all ages, backgrounds, and from all walks of life.
Through involvement in the student chapter and a close partnership with the local professional chapter, students build a network of contacts, mentors and professionals in the field. Each month, they enthusiastically plan and attend educational events such as tech speakers, presentations and hands-on workshops. Students know it is imperative to stay current on the latest developments in the field and they do so by traveling and attending tech and collegiate conferences and sessions; IT competitions; resume and career fairs; and certification study and testing events.
Students also know that their CompTIA AITP membership is also an excellent addition to a resume. According to Carolyn Carvalho, the group’s faculty adviser, “Over the 18 years I have been involved with AITP, I have witnessed so many shy, uncertain students grow and blossom through their involvement and participation in the group. They graduate and leave as skilled, self-confident IT professionals because they were encouraged and challenged to achieve and do their best in all aspects of their lives.”