CTC Leadership Team

Ann Beheler

Principal Investigator, Collin College

Ann Beheler has been in the Information Technology industry for over 30 years, and she is now responsible for Emerging Technology grants at Collin College. In that capacity she leads the National Information, Security, and Geospatial Technologies Consortium, an almost $20 million DOL TAACCCT grant and the National Convergence Technology Center, a $4.4 million National Science Foundation grant. Ann has corporate experience, has led her own consulting firm, has created and taught in one of the first networking degree programs in Texas, and has previously managed IT-related divisions and grants ranging $1-$20 million in community colleges in Texas and California. Prior to her current position, she was Vice President of Academic Affairs for Porterville College, responsible for all instruction at the college, and prior that she was a Dean at both Orange Coast College in California and at Collin College. Among other things, Ann is known for effectively bringing together business and industry using a streamlined process to identify with them the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) they predict will be needed by “right-skilled” job candidates in the future. She then works with faculty to align curriculum such that those who complete certificates and degrees in IT have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will make them readily employable in high-paying IT positions. Ann holds a PhD in Community College Leadership from Walden University, a MS in Computer Science from Florida Institute of Technology, and a BS in Math from Oklahoma State University.

Ernie Friend

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Ernest (Ernie) Friend is employed by Florida State College at Jacksonville, a values-driven institution of higher education committed to ensuring that every student has an extraordinarily positive overall experience headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. The college provides optimal access to high quality, affordable and relevant degree, career and community education to enhance the lives of our students and the economic development of Northeast Florida. Ernie holds a B.S. degree in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University. He has more than 25 years of Information Technology management and academic experience in the military and with Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). Since 1994, working at FSCJ he has been involved in many phases of computer networking infrastructure management and design. At the college he manages a two year college credit networking degree with about 2000 students. The two year degree has specializations in CCNA, CCNP, Voice, Security, Virtualization, and Open Source Operating Systems. In addition he created and manages a BAS in Computer Networking degree with about 650 students. He has created partnership with some of the biggest names in I.T. including Cisco, EMC, VMware, Citrix, Redhat, and others. He has considerable experience in working with the regional business community creating new and innovative programs that address the needs of the regional I.T. workforce.

Elizabeth Halweg

Fox Valley Technical College

Elizabeth Halweg is employed by Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton Wisconsin. The college provides high quality learning experiences to enhance the lives of the students and the economic development of Northeast Wisconsin. Elizabeth holds a MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Vocational and Technical Education and a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Management Information Systems. After 20 years of work experience in the Telecommunications field, she is now an instructor of Information Technology at Fox Valley Technical College and has been there since August of 2000. As a strong proponent of STEM education, Elizabeth started the GirlTech summer camp at Fox Valley Technical College to expose young girls to STEM technologies. In 2008, Elizabeth became involved with the Converged Technology Center as a Mentored College and now supports the National CTC as a Converged College Network (CCN) board member and Co-PI on the National CTC grant. Elizabeth is committed to meeting established targeted goals in expansion of the CCN to 60 members and the virtual delivery of high-demand converged technology courses.

Chris Kadlec

Georgia Southern University

Dr. Chris Kadlec is an Associate Professor at Georgia Southern University in the Information Technology Department and joined the faculty there in 2007. He received his PhD from the University of Georgia from the Terry College of Business in Information Systems. He worked in IT support prior to his graduate work at the same university and at the University of Mississippi. He has worked in IT support for over twenty years and has taught in the field for over fifteen. Chris is an advocate for students and the field of Information Technology. To help both of these, he is currently working on articulation agreements between universities and community colleges, ensuring that students can get the latest skills and the best jobs while satisfying the needs of the business community.

David Keathly

Co-PI, University of North Texas

David Keathly received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical from Oklahoma State University and is a PhD Candidate at the University of North Texas. After 20 years of experience in developing military and commercial products, including a patent in image processing, as well as adjunct faculty assignments at Collin County Community College and the UT-Dallas, he joined the faculty in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of North Texas as a Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor in the Fall of 2004. He is now a Principal Lecturer in the same department. He was an SGA Honors Professor in 2005 and has received the Outstanding Student Advisor award from the Student Life Office, and a Meritorious Service Award from the College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Council. David is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is the faculty advisor for the IEEE Computer Society Student Chapter, the UNT Robotics Society and the UNT Programming Teams, in addition to his involvement with various recruiting and retention programs. David is also Co-Director of the RoboCamp summer program for middle and high school students, and a Co-PI with the National Convergence Technology Center, an NSF program headquartered at Collin College in Frisco, TX.

Belicia Miraval Albornoz

El Centro College - DCCCD

Belicia Miraval Albornoz is a Faculty at Dallas County Community College District, El Centro College. She is Networking/Security and PC Support Programs Coordinator of STEM Division at El Centro College. Belicia won the Certificate of Course Recognition for successfully meeting the Quality Matters Rubric Standards 2014 for Network Defense. She is dedicated and committed to students’ success and to excellence in and out of the classroom. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Economics with honors and she has more than 10 years of professional experience in different industries such as banking, accounting, logistics, information technology and teaching. She have been trained and certified in different technologies and she have applied hands-on knowledge of these technologies in the corporate and college settings. Belicia’s current teaching load includes Cisco Networking Courses, VMware vSphere 6.0, Intro EMCv2, Windows Server Administration Fundamentals, and Network Defense Countermeasures Courses.

Brian Nelson

Lansing Community College

Brian Nelson spent 27.5 years as an adjunct instructor at Lansing Community College before becoming a full time faculty member in January of 2015.. He spent the first 20 years teaching in the Electronics Technology Program. He taught DC, AC and semiconductor circuit analysis classes as well as Linear Circuit applications. He then transitioned into the Computer Information Technology Program where he has taught a targeted math class, Home Technology Integration, computer troubleshooting, A+ prep and wireless networking. He has been the lead instructor for Home Technology Integration since 2007. He has been actively involved in the Convergence Grant activity having taught an HTI tract at the Summer Working Connections as well as authoring some curriculum. Brian holds a BSEE degree from Michigan State University. He holds certifications in A+, DHTI+ and Network+. Brian retired from GM after 33.5 years being employed full time as an engineer. He had spent the last 28 years working on advanced powertrain control systems.

David Pope

Ozarks Technical Community College

David Pope teaches courses in Networking Technology at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield Missouri. OTC has provided affordable quality education for its students since 1990, and David has been with the college since 2000. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Missouri State University. Prior to joining OTC, David worked in hospital information systems for five years, and has worked in collections, legal investigation, and game design. In 2011 David first attended the Convergence Technology Center’s Summer Working Connections training session in Frisco Texas. In 2013 OTC became a member school, and in 2015 OTC was accepted as a partner school. David has taught at Working Connections, and has endeavored to support the CTC wherever possible. David is committed to ongoing support of the CTC’s growth and quality efforts as well as exploration of new directions in content delivery and student assessment.

CTC Grant Staff

Helen Sullivan


Helen Sullivan has been Director of the National Convergence Technology Center, since its inception at Collin College in Frisco, TX. She was the director on two prior NSF-funded project grants: The North Texas Regional Technology Consortium, and Advancing Careers in Technology and Science, and the Regional Convergence Technology Center. Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with a concentration in technical writing from the University of Texas at Austin and an MLS degree in communication, media and technology. She has also done graduate work in journalism at the University of North Texas and has completed a certificate series in Project Management at Collin. She has taken mediation training fulfilling the statutory requirement for mediator certification in the state of Texas. She has over 25 years project and program management experience, including as Director of Documentation and Training at Nortel, where her organization provided support for 64 network-based telecom projects. Her previous career in journalism netted awards from the Associated Press, Texas Press Women, Northeast Texas Press Association and four School Bell Awards from the Texas State Teachers Association. She is a conference speaker and facilitator.

Tricia Conner

Web Communications Editor

Tricia Conner joined Collin College in 2014 as the Web Communications Editor for the National Information Security, Geospatial Technologies Consortium (NISGTC), where she maintained the NISGTC website, created flyers and other promotional materials for IT events, managed social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the grant as well as documented and recorded any conference, event, meeting, etc. as needed. In March of 2015, Tricia was asked to take on the related responsibilities for the Convergence Technology Center as well and split her time between the DOL and NSF grants. After the NISGTC grant ended on September 30, 2015, Tricia switched to full time with the Convergence Technology Center. Tricia has a passion for multimedia and digital communications and holds a BA in dual majors of Photography and Multimedia Authoring and Communications from Sam Houston State University. Prior to Collin College, Tricia worked for over 6 years at the First Baptist Church in Allen, TX as the Media Arts Specialist, where she handled the website, social media and print designs for all ministry departments. Before that, Tricia has also been a photographer and videographer at Sea World, Discovery Cove and Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, which also included the development and launching pilot team of the current PhotoPass program for the Disney Company.

Mark Dempsey

Program Manager

Mark Dempsey joined Collin College in 2012 as program manager for the National Convergence Technology Center. In his current position, he plans and manages the CTC’s special programs and events as well as provides administrative and operational support to the CTC Director. Prior to Collin College, Mark worked for eight years at UCLA Extension, the continuing education division of UCLA. There, he worked first as an assistant to the director of UCLA Extension's Entertainment Studies & Performing Arts department, helping coordinate academic projects and special events, and later as a program representative, managing domestic and international custom-designed seminar programs. For several years during his tenure at UCLA Extension, Mark also served as a co-instructor for the capstone online class "The Business of Hollywood," which employed a unique role-playing element to explore strategies of film financing and negotiation. Before joining UCLA Extension, Mark was a development executive at an independent feature film production company, Echo Lake Productions. He has also worked as a freelance script analyst for Silver Pictures. Mark holds a BA in Cinema from Southern Methodist University and an MFA from Loyola Marymount University.

John Nguyen

Program Manager

John Nguyen joined Collin College in 2015 as program manager for the Department of Labor for National Information Security, Geospatial Technologies Consortium (NISGTC). He recently joined the National Convergence Technology Center as the program manager. In his current position, he plans and manages the CTC’s virtual labs, oversees grant budget, and provides administrative and operational support to the CTC Director. Prior to Collin College, John spent 20 years as a Naval Officer in the US Navy before retiring in October 2014. While in the Navy, John served in numerous leadership positions and commands where he led, developed, and mentored the brave men and women of our Navy. During his last tour as Commanding Officer, he led a team of 260 military-civilian members, directed operations, and oversaw a $2.5 million budget. Additionally, he served as operations and manpower analysts for joint command in Korea and for Chief of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. He enjoys outdoor activities, mentoring, and spending time with his wife and two kids. John holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from University of Oklahoma and a BS in Operations Research from Naval Postgraduate School.

Christina Titus

Program Manager - CCTA (Centers Collaborative for Technical Assistance)

Christina Titus came to Collin College in 2012 to work for the Networking, Information Security, Geospatial Technology Consortium (NISGTC), which was funded by a $20 million Department of Labor grant. Since 2015, she has been the Program Director for the Centers Collaborative for Technical Assistance (CCTA) NSF grant. Her role is to ensure the success and quality of programs, while overseeing the day-to-day operations and timelines in collaboration with the Executive Director. Christina’s previous experience as an administrative assistant, a lab supervisor, and a payroll clerk, together gave her experience with managing projects and planning events. Christina holds a BBA in Marketing from Our Lady of the Lake University and an MBA in Management from Texas A&M Commerce.