Press Release

Franklin University Announces Center for Public Safety & Cybersecurity Education Advisory Board


Sherry Mercurio
Executive Director, Office of Community Relations

Columbus, OH (March 12, 2018)

Franklin University, a leader in educating working adults, announced the formation of its inaugural advisory board for its Center for Public Safety & Cybersecurity Education (Center). The newly formed Center advisory board includes distinguished representatives from both public safety and cybersecurity communities from around Central Ohio.

The advisory board, who held its first meeting last week, provides a unique perspective on cyber-related needs. Through their individual viewpoints, board members will help address the overlap between public safety and cybersecurity communities, and the impact they each have on the other. 

During their first meeting, board members provided valuable insight into training and workforce needs, including:

  • the need for ethics and legal standards training to be implemented and generally understood in a new generation of leadership - both in the private and public sectors;
  • law enforcement and policymaker needs for training on technical jargon and how to pursue digital evidence; and  
  • the shortage of mid-level analysts who can combine both technical knowledge and soft skills such as leadership and ethics.

The Center welcomes and thanks the following advisory board members for their insight and perspective on the research and development of cybersecurity to help inform the Center’s offerings:

  • Ben Blanquera: VP, Delivery and Experience, Columbus Collaboratory
  • Ronette “Roni” Burkes: Warden, Ohio Reformatory for Women
  • Lisa Chambers: National Executive Director, TECH CORPS
  • Hon. Kimberly Cocroft: Judge, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
  • Lea Culver: President and CEO, Creek Technologies Company
  • Matthew Curtin: Founder, Interhack
  • Greg Halvacs: SVP/ Chief Security Officer, Cardinal Health
  • Fred Kauser, Ph.D.: Fire Chief, Mifflin Township
  • Zach Klein, J.D.: Columbus City Attorney
  • Allen Perk: President, XLN Systems
  • Ned Pettus, Jr., Ph.D.: Director of Public Safety, Columbus City
  • Ervan Rodgers: CIO, Ohio Attorney General
  • Justin Root, J.D.: Counsel, Dickinson Wright
  • Jeff Schmidt: Chief Cyber Security Innovator, Columbus Collaboratory
  • Kathy Starkoff: President and CEO, Orange Star Consulting
  • Robert Stewart: Asst. Director of Public Safety, Columbus City
  • David White: CIO, Battelle
  • Anthony Wilson, Ph.D.: Asst. Chief, Westerville Police Department
  • Matthew Yerkes: Founder, Cultivate

“Having an advisory board comprised of the best and the brightest in cyber security allows us to develop cutting edge curriculum and create relevant conferences and events,” said Dr. Andy Igonor, Co-Executive Director of the Center. “It is their status within the industry that complements the Center as we advance cybersecurity education.”

"Forming a cybersecurity education advisory board is an important milestone to further build upon the Center for Public Safety & Cybersecurity Education’s distinctive expertise,” commented Dr. Jonathan McCombs, Co-Executive Director of the Center. Through their knowledge and industry acumen, we can better address current and emerging needs in education and training to promote greater awareness of issues that impact individuals and communities.”

To help organizations of all sizes address the growing number of cybercrimes, the Center provides customized training, and workshops and speakers series such as the Data Bites monthly lunchtime learning series launching this month, and the April 5 Cybersecurity Essentials one-day workshop.

For more on the Franklin University Center for Public Safety and Cybersecurity Education, visit:


About Franklin University

Accredited, nonprofit and dedicated to educating adults since 1902, Franklin provides on-site course options at our Main Campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and is an innovator in providing personalized online education. The University offers applied in-demand undergraduate, master’s and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals. The University also offers several academic programs internationally, including its top-ranked MBA, through agreements with partner institutions.

Franklin University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and holds specialized accreditations for specific academic programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Franklin is only one of three schools in Ohio designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. 

News Type

  • University