Keynote Speakers

Luiz DaSilva, Executive Director, Commonwealth Cyber Initiative

September 20, 2023 - 9:00 am

Luiz A. DaSilva is the inaugural executive director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). He is internationally recognized for leadership and innovation in wireless communications and networks research. His 25 years of experience in academia include 18 years as a professor at Virginia Tech, where he is the Bradley Professor of Cybersecurity in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

DaSilva has led the CCI network for the past three years. During its first two years of operation, CCI is estimated to have been responsible for the creation of 1,035 jobs in Virginia and a contribution of $208 million to the GDP of the commonwealth. Since CCI’s inception, our researchers have brought in $115 million in funding from federal agencies and industry. His most recent position prior to CCI was as the telecommunications chairholder at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and director of CONNECT – the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Future Communications and Network, a multi-university initiative convening the expertise of 250 researchers across 10 universities in Ireland.

DaSilva is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to cognitive networking and to resource management in wireless networks. He pioneered the application of game theory to analyze and design wireless networks, authoring the first book on the topic. He is also responsible for seminal work on cognitive networking and spectrum and network sharing. He has authored two books, more than 300 peer-reviewed papers, and is a frequent keynote speaker and invited lecturer around the world. He has also been an IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer (2015-18), a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, and a Virginia Tech College of Engineering Faculty Fellow.

Presentation: DaSilva_CyberCon_2023_FINAL

Randy Marchany, University Information Security Officer, Virginia Tech

September 20, 2023 - 12:00 pm

Randy Marchany is the University Information Security Officer for Virginia Tech. He is also the director of the VA Tech IT Security Lab, a component of the university’s Information Technology Security Office. He is the author of VA Tech’s Acceptable Use Statement and a co-author of the original FBI/SANS Institute’s “Top 10/20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities” document.

He is a co-author of the SANS Institute’s “Responding to Distributed Denial of Service Attacks” document that was prepared at the request of the White House in response to the DDOS attacks of 2000. He was part of the SANS Institute’s Secure Code project that developed a set of exams to test programmers’ knowledge of secure coding techniques. He has been a member of the SANS Institute’s faculty since 1992.

He is a co-author of the EDUCAUSE “Computer and Network Security in Higher Education” booklet. He is a member of the EDUCAUSE security task force focusing on risk assessment and security metrics and a member of its Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC). He was a coauthor of the original Center for Internet Security’s series of Security Benchmark documents for Solaris, AIX, Linux, and Windows.

He is one of the original members of the US Cyber Challenge (USCC) Project. The USCC mission is to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit, and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. He designed the curriculum for the USCC summer camps. He is member of the Virginia Cyber Range team. He is one of the founders of the Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (, a consortium of security practitioners and researchers from VA Tech, U of Virginia, James Madison Univ., George Mason Univ.

He has been a frequent speaker at national and international conferences such as Educause, SANS, IIA, ISACA, ACUA, International CISO symposium, IEEE, NIST, NY State OIT Security conference, FBI-InfraGard chapters, RSA. He’s been the subject of articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education on security issues at university campuses. He was a recipient of the 2016 Shirley C. Payne IT Security Advancement award, the 2000 SANS Institute’s Security Technology Leadership Award. the 2003 VA Governor’s Technology Silver Award, and a member of the team that won the EDUCAUSE Excellence in Information Technology Solutions Award in 2005. He is a co-holder of two cybersecurity patents. He is acknowledged as one of the North American masters of the hammer dulcimer. He is the author of the original theme song of National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated radio program, “World Cafe”. His band, “No Strings Attached” was nominated for or won “Indie” awards (independent record label’s version of the Grammy) for Best Album (String Music) category in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990.

Sandy Radesky, Associate Director for Vulnerability Management, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

September 20, 2023, 3:00 pm

Sandy J. Radesky serves as the Associate Director for Vulnerability Management at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). In this role, she oversees CISA’s Vulnerability Management efforts to provide cyber risk reduction guidance to proactively strengthen national infrastructure resilience.  Prior to this role, Ms. Radesky served in various Cybersecurity leadership roles in the Department of Defense (DoD) which focused on the development and implementation of cybersecurity policy, operations, and capabilities to support full spectrum Cyberspace Operations. Her leadership, operational and policy experience is a vital component to building a secure and resilient infrastructure for the American people.

Renata Spinks, CEO of CyberSec International and Former USMC Senior Executive

September 21, 2023 - 12:00 pm

Ms. Renata Spinks is the current CEO of tech-start-up CyberSec International, Inc.

She is the former Assistant IT Director/Deputy CIO of Information, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (IC4) at Headquarters Marine Corps. In this capacity, she also served as the Department of NAVY Deputy Senior Information Security Officer for the Marine Corps.

Ms. Spinks was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in August 2021, having joined Executive Service as a Senior Leader in August 2018, serving at Marine Forces Cyberspace Command (MARFORCYBER) as the nation’s first Cyber Technology Officer. In this role, she deployed cyber based technology and served as the Executive Sponsor for intelligence informed Defense Cyber Operations (DCO) and is responsible for transitioning the USMC to a mobile workforce using Microsoft O365 in record timing.

Prior to Ms. Spinks’ assignment to MARFORCYBER, her federal career path included serving in the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. She is a decorated combat veteran from the 28th Combat Support Hospital, U.S. Army 44th Medical Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Ms. Spinks’ love for cyber grew when she worked with DHS ICE, DOJ, CIA, and the ODNI while serving as a criminal research specialist; utilizing forensics and human intelligence to investigate human trafficking and child exploitation. 

Ms. Spinks holds a BS in Information Systems, a MS in Technology Management, multiple information technology certifications, and is pursuing her Doctorate in Cybersecurity. 

Some of her most recent awards include 2022 Fed100, 2022 Meritalk Cyber Defenders Award, 2021 Leading for Impact Award, State of NCI 2021 HBCU Living Legend Award, the 2020 Stars and Stripes Becoming Everything you are (BEYA) SES of the Year. She is an avid community service STEMINIST, and is one of two founders of a nonprofit organization – “Rising Footsteps” – and gives back to the HBCU community by serving as a volunteer on the Saint Augustine’s University Council of Advisors.


COVA CCI is supported by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and funded through the Commonwealth of Virginia.