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Meet the 2023 CIO of the Year Judges


Paige H. Adams        (2020 CISO of the Year)
Global CISO
Zurich Insurance


Paige Adams has been a member of the Zurich executive team since 2014 and has served in a variety of information security roles at Zurich North America and Group before assuming his current role as Global Chief Information Security Officer in February 2018.

Prior to joining Zurich, Paige spent a 26-year career in the United States Navy specializing in operational intelligence and cyber operations. He has a Bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Hawaii Pacific University and a Master’s degree in computer science from the US Naval Postgraduate School. He is based in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Bill Blount             (2021 CIO Innovator of the Year)

Chief Information Officer



Bill Blount is the Chief Information Officer for VelocityEHS, where he leverages his 30-year track record for building collaborative, high-functioning teams in rapidly growing companies.  He is known for a people-first approach that delivers consistent value through highly scalable and resilient digital solutions.

Bill was a nominee for CIO of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and won 2021 CIO Innovator of the Year.  In addition to serving as a consultant for a diverse roster of clients, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Oracle Corporation, he directed operational successes for notable companies such as FTD and PayFlex.  As CTO, he led the post-acquisition integration of PayFlex into Aetna.

His experiences have inspired him to serve as a mentor to university students taking their first steps and those already progressing on their career paths.  Bill holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse and is currently pursuing his MBA from the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium.

Alwin Brunner
SVP & Chief Information Officer
Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc.

Alwin P. Brunner joined Heidrick & Struggles in 2009 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.  Having worked globally and lived in the Netherlands, France and the USA, he brings more than 17 years of broad business and IT experience in the professional services industry.  Based in the Chicago office, he is a member of Heidrick's senior leadership team.  To support the growth and diversification strategy of the firm, Alwin has transformed the IT service and organization using a new sourcing strategy, including the adoption of strategic partners, services and products.

Previously, Alwin held the position of Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer for the Adecco Group of North America based in New York, and the position of Chief Technology Officer for the Adecco Group globally, based in France.

Alwin holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Polytechnic University of Rotterdam.

Wayne Bulmahn
Chief Information Officer/Security Officer

Wayne Bulmahn is an IT business doctor.  He heals IT organizations, transforming them from reactive firefighters into proactive teams that solve business problems and enable dynamic growth. 

Wayne is the CIO and Security Officer at UNITE HERE HEALTH, a $1B labor management trust fund that strives to be the high-value health plan of choice for participants, unions and employers in the hospitality industry.  He also serves as the President of SIM-Chicago.

Previously, Wayne served as Director, Service Delivery & Strategy for Acxiom IT (now Ensono), a global IT hosting, Cloud, and Advisory services organization.  He led $54M in annual IT services, providing solution strategy, design and delivery for a Fortune 250 client. 

Wayne also served as Global Director of Technology at Sidley Austin, then a $1.5B global legal advisor. He led a hands-on transformation of IT business alignment, strategic planning, and service delivery to help enable global growth of over $700M. He also helped create and lead CIO advisory and solution strategy practices at three technology services firms.

Wayne has a master’s degree in Telecommunications from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Valparaiso University.  Wayne lives in the metro Chicago area with his wife, daughter and two sons.

Julianna Cole, MBA, PMP, CSM 
VP Data Services and Information Systems
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

Julianna "Julie" Cole is an experienced technology, product, and operations executive with more than 25 years of corporate, non-profit, consulting and entrepreneurial experience. 

Julianna is currently Vice President, Data Services and Information Technology for ACCME,  a regulatory  body that accredits organizations in the US and around the world offering physicians and healthcare teams an array of educational resources to promote quality, safety, and the evolution of healthcare.  In this role she provides strategic leadership for the development and implementation of data products and infrastructure that support the information needs of ACCME staff and volunteers.  Prior to her role at ACCME, Julianna held a series of CTO, CIO anc COO roles at Farm Journal, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Black Heritage Network TV (BHNTV), the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Johnson Publishing, and Tribune Interactive.

Julianna was an early and active participant in the Internet ecosystem via her role as the primary software developer for ResearchTV - the first B2B internet product sold by Tribune Media Services to national network affiliates in the 90s.  Her passion for technology and its promise evolved over the years to include the growth and oversight of software engineering teams responsible for media websites including,, and, and recognition as a Computerworld Honors Laureate for the innovative use of geographic information systems technology (GIS) to benefit society.    

John Fisher         (2002 CIO of the Year)
Chief Executive Officer
rethinking IT, Inc.

John is a nationally recognized IT Executive with global experience, who has successfully led IT functions in Fortune 500 and SMB organizations. He has managed P&L for multiple departments including the IT function within a professional services BPO organization realizing an average of 40% profit margin.  Served as CIO for 10 years through three CEO’s and four changes of ownership. 

He is the President and Founder of Rethinking IT, Inc. ( a firm that works with IT and Business Leaders to help them take the mystery out of critical technology situations so they can make more informed decisions.  John has worked in multiple industries including Banking, Insurance, Professional Services, Non-Profit and has had consulting engagements in manufacturing, distribution, healthcare and education.  He is a certified mentor with SCORE, an organization that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses

John has an M.S in Computer Science from DePaul University.   He was named one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2006 by Computerworld Magazine, and in 2002 was selected as CIO of the Year.  John is on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Chapters of the Society for Information Management (SIM), The Association of IT Professionals (AITP), the Executive Committee of the North Cook and Lake Counties chapter of SCORE and DePaul’s Leadership Council. He is a frequent speaker at industry events on topics such as negotiations, leadership and running IT as a business.  John is an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University, where he teaches graduate level courses in IT Strategy, Social Media, Negotiation, Leadership and Project Management.


Dean Haacker  .... (2 Time CIO of the Year Finalist)
Founder & President, Highland Grove Partners

Dean Haacker leads the digital transformation of Metropolitan Capital in his role as Chief Information Officer. Dean joined Metropolitan Capital in 2021 to lead technology and information security after delivering more than $3 billion in business value for top companies in the high tech, consumer goods, and financial services sectors. Dean serves on the board of SIM Chicago, is a founding member and past co-chair of the ChicagoCIO Leadership Association, serves on the advisory board of the Innovative Executives League, and is a member of AITP Chicago. He won an ORBIE award in 2017 as CTO of The PrivateBank and was a Chicago CIO of the Year finalist in 2018 and 2019. Dean is an advisor to emerging technology companies, venture capital firms, and a distinguished graduate of Arizona State University.

Sean Katz         (2020 CIO Innovator of the Year)
Chief Information Officer
The Vitality Group USA

In his role as Chief Information Officer, Sean Katz is responsible for the technology that helps drive the engagement of Vitality's client base.  Sean's portfolio includes the technology infrastructure to run the product and internal processes, application development, technology security, architecture and project office.

 Sean has extensive experience in Health IT technology, specifically in the payor and wellness space.  He has spent more than two decades working in this field, both abroad and in the US, providing technology solutions that solve business problems.  He has a strong track record of leading diverse teams in creating innovative technology solutions to drive revenue growth, lower costs and optimize scalability.

Prior to serving as Chief Information Officer, Sean held numerous roles within Vitality and its parent company, Discovery Ltd.  Sean has also worked as an Enterprise Technology Strategist for Health Care Services Corporation and CIO for HealthFitness, a Trustmark subsidiary.  Sean is a graduate of the University of Witwatersrand, from which he received both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of South Africa.

Dr. Fred Kwong
VP & Chief Information Security Officer
DeVry University

PriorDr. Fred Kwong has been in the information security and technology field for the past 20+ years working in the education, financial, telecommunication, healthcare and insurance sectors.  He is an award-winning thought leader in security and currently works at DeVry University where he currently serves as the VP and Chief Information Security Officer.  He is a member of several advisory boards and is a frequent speaker at national security forums on cyber security and information technology and is often asked to consult on matters of security and leadership. 

In addition to working at DeVry, Fred serves as a Board member at the DuPage Habitat for Humanity and a Board Member and Director of Communications as Chicago InfraGard.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and professional communications, Master of Business Administration in management information systems from Roosevelt University and holds his Doctorate in organizational development from Benedictine University.  Fred has earned several certifications including  CISSP, CISA, CISM, CDPE, PCIP, PMP and ITILv3f.

Edward Marchewka, DBA 
Chief Information Officer

Edward Marchewka, DBA, leads and oversees PryorHealth's Information & Technology Services department as CIO.  He directs the planning and implementation of enterprise IT systems, and manages data analytics, business intelligence, data-driven organizational leadership, and information security and risk management.  Dr. Marchewka also serves as PryorHealth's HIPAA Security Officer.

Before joining PryorHealth, Dr, Marchewka led IT for nearly eight years with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network.  He led the information security program for Chicago Public Schools before that.

Dr. Marchewka is President Emeritus of the InfraGard Chicago Members Alliance.  He is involved with the CISO Executive Network and serves on the governing body fro Evanta's CISO Executive Summit.  Dr. Marchewka also serves on the advisory boards for the Colorado Technical University College of Security Studies and Prairie State College.

Dr. Marchewka holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University and MBA and MS in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University.  He also earned a BAin Liberal Studies and a BS in Nuclear Engineering Technologies from Thomas Edison State College.

Rick Merrick
Chief Information Officer
TCS Education System

Dr. Rick Merrick is the Chief Information Officer at TCS Education System, a nonprofit system of colleges and universities advancing student success and community impact in higher education. As the Chief Information Officer, Rick leads a team of 70 information technology professionals that support the education system comprised of over 11,000 students, 6 colleges and multiple locations throughout the country.  Hi responsibilities include the technology infrastructure, telecommunications, business applications, system administration, central helpdesk, campus support, application development, and cybersecurity.

Prior to working at TCS, Rick held several Information Technology leadership positions in both k-12 and higher education.  Rick was the Director of IT at K12 Inc., which delivered online education to over 150,000 kids in multiple countries throughout the world.  He was responsible for datacenter operations for the Chicago Branch.  Prior to that, he was Director of Business Applications for Cardean Learning Group.  At Cardean, Rick led the team responsible for the administration of all major applications and integrations, along with the reporting ad data analytics Team.  Rick holds a Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve University.

In addition to working at TCS, Rick serves as the Chairman of the Board and is the Immediate  past-President for the Society of Information Management (SIM), Chicago Chapter.  SIM is comprised of ove 200 CIOs and senior IT leaders in the Chicago Area.  SIM Chicago is part of a national organization with over 40 chapters and 5000 members.  Along with being the premier IT networking organization in the Chicago area, Rick is proud of the many philanthropic events that SIM has organized to raise money for Chicagoland residents.

Bryan Mjaanes
Chief Information & Technology Officer
Wespath Benefits and Investments

Bryan oversees strategy and leadership of all aspects of information technology, governance and security, the Project Management Office (PMO), and the development and implementation of key technology initiatives in support of Wespath's business objectives.  He joined Wespath in January 2022.  Prior to Wespath, Bryan served as the VP of IT and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Vermont Mutual Insurance Group where he led a comprehensive modernization, and IT cultural, transformation initiative.    

Bryan began his career at Zurich North American having served in 9 different roles over a 22 year career at the Zurich Insurance Group.  This included an international assignment in Zurich Switzerland.  He received a bachelorof science degree from the University of Wisconsin and completed post-graduate coursework in artificial intelligence from Northwestern University, Kellog School of Management.   

Patrick Moroney    (2004 CIO of the Year)
Chief Executive Officer
StraightArrow Advisory Services, LLC

In 2022, Mr. Moroney completed 27 years of Chief Information Officer (CIO) service at multiple Fortune 500 companies.  He most recently served at Central States Funds, a $10B Taft-Hartley Managed Care Health Insurer and Pension Fund based in Chicago where he continues on as an advisor to the CEO.  Previous to that, his CIO challenges included the Nutrition and Consumer Products Sector of Monsanto, ServiceMaster, Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), and Kantar, then the global market research conglomerate of WPP.  He also served as President of The Barnier Group where he served five years as senior technology advisor for private equity firm New Mountain Capital supporting CIO-level advising across twenty portfolio companies.

Currently Mr. Moroney is CEO of StraightArrow Advisory Services, LLC.  He is also President and Founder of Technology Leaders Association (TLA) (, a 22-year-old collegial networking organization for 4,000 senior technology executives.  He is Chair of the board of NFP icstars ( which helps train underserved young adults for career and leadership opportunities in technology, business and the community.  He is also a Board Member of Advantage Communications Group, an agnostic telecom broker that does data/voice design, optimization, implementation and savings (

Becky Nelson
Chief Information Officer
Risk Placement Services, a Gallagher Company

FBecky is the Chief Information Officer at Risk Placement Services.  She has 25+ years of insurance industry experience specifically in technology.  Becky's goal is to partner with the business to enable RPS's continued growth and successful culture.  In the past Becky has help Divisional CIO roles at Allstate Insurance Company, CNA Financial and Zurich North America.  

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management.  When Becky is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their 2 dogs, as well as traveling to visit their children and grand children,

Peeyush Shukla       (2021 CIO of the Year Semi-Finalist)
Chief Information & Technology Officer

Peeyush Shukla is Heitman's Chief Information and Technology Officer.  He is a member of the firm's executive leadership team and serves on its Global Management Committee.  Peeyush is responsible for Heitman's data and technology environment and leading its digital transformation journey in support of its strategic plan and the global investment management business.  Prior to joining Heitman, Peeyush was Managing Director, Data Strategy, Analytics and Multi-Asset Solutions Technology for Nuveen Investments where he was responsible for establishing the technology strategy and roadmap and leading the build-out of the firm's next generation cloud-based platform for multi-asset investment management, data, analytics and reporting. He has also held senior technology roles with Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Fimat, and Solo Cup and served as a consulting director at Cambridge Technology Partners.

Executive Judges - for Finalist Interviews

Kevin Lowell         (2022 CIO Innovator of the Year)
EVP, Chief People Officer & Head of Communications

As executive vice president - chief people officer and head of communications, Kevin leads the HR organization and is responsible for delivering integrated human resources that directly enable the achievement of UScellular's stategic objectives. Prior, he served as SVP of IT.  He is an advisory board member of Building Cyber Security, and an active member of ChicagoCIO.  Prior to UScellular, Kevin held leadership positions for SprintPCS.  He holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master's degree in Human and Organization Development and a doctorate in Organizational Development and Change from Fielding University.

Janet Zelenka         (2022 CIO+ Award Winner)

Janet Zelenka currently serves as the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer at Stericycle.  She was named EVP and CFO in 2019 and assumed the additional responsibilities of CIO in 2020.  She is responsible for the financial management of the $2.5 Billion global services company and for advancing the company's technology-enabled transformation. With approximately 15,000 employees in the U.S.  and 16 countries, Stericycle is a global leader in busienss-to-business services and compliance based solutions including medical waste, secure information destruction and patient engagement.    

Janet has a strong breadth of expertise across corporate finance, accounting, IT and Operations.  in May 2022 she won the 2022 Chicago CIO of the Year ORBIE Award (Enterprise) and was a finalist in 2021.  Before joining Stericycle she spent 15 years with Essendant, Inc., most recently serving as the Chief Financial Officer until its acquisition by Sycamore Partners.

Danielle DuMerer        (2019 CIO of the Year Award Winner)
Vice President of Technology and Information Security

John G. Shedd Aquarium








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