New IAB to provide strategic guidance for Mercyhurst cyber, data science programs

Monday, April 01, 2019
             Dr. Afzal Upal

The Ridge College of Intelligence Studies & Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst University today announced the formation of an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) to support the Computing and Information Science (CIS) Department, home to the university’s popular Cyber Security programs.

The inaugural meeting is slated for May 4 from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. in the university’s Sennett Board Room and is being held in conjunction with the university’s second annual Great Lakes Data Science Symposium.

CIS Department Chair Dr. Afzal Upal said the board will provide strategic advice to help guide the department in terms of curriculum development, ABET accreditation of the Cyber Security program, establishment of the National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense, and long-term planning.  

“Above all,” Upal added, “the guidance by the board will help us to ensure that the data science and cyber security skills we’re teaching our students continue to be closely aligned with industry needs and professional certification requirements in these rapidly evolving fields.”

The inaugural board members are:

-    Darin Power, President & CEO of NT Concepts (; a data science company based in Washington, D.C.)
-    Dave Newell, President & CEO of Loptr LLC (; a cyber security company based in Buffalo)
-    Jamie Neumier, Vice President, Information Security, Erie Insurance Group
-    Andrew McVeagh, Vice President, CIO Shared Services and Erie IT Site Leader at Wabtec Corp.
-    Robert Harrington, Vice President, Data, Erie Insurance Group
-    Thomas Lewis, Data Science Project Manager, Wabtec Corp.

In welcoming the new board, Upal said, “We are fortunate to have the guidance and wisdom of the industry leaders in data science and cyber security.”

While at Mercyhurst, the members will also have the opportunity to experience the Great Lakes Data Science Symposium, a forum intended to promote peer-reviewed data science research and research projects by data science graduate students.