Meet the Panelists for Symco’s Technology Showcase & Seminars: Joel Bilheimer

Meet the Panelists for Symco’s Technology Showcase & Seminars: Joel Bilheimer
  • Symco, InfoComm, IMCCA, and Systems Contractor News (SCN) are teaming up for two days of exhibits and seminars focused around commercial audio, video, data solutions, and unified communications and collaboration. The first event will be held on March 31, 2015 in Washington, D.C., and the second in Philadelphia, PA on April 2, 2015.

As part of the schedule of events, SCN will host a panel discussion with CIOs and CTOs from the corporate, education, healthcare, and government markets, discussing the product and service solutions they are using today. Kirsten Nelson, SCN Editor-at-Large, will moderate the panel.

Panelists for the Washington D.C. event, held at the Waterford at Fair Oaks, Fairfax, VA, include: Brian Brustad, project officer, International Monetary Fund; Joel Bilheimer, vice president, cybersecurity, Pershing Technologies; Carl Maurer, audiovisual manager, AV SME, General Dynamics Information Technology; Tom Hope, Av systems manager, Maryland Live! Casino; and Bisi Oladipupo, CIO and professor of engineering, Morgan State University.The Philadelphia event will be held at the DoubeTree by Hilton, Philadelphia Valley Forge in King of Prussia, PA. Panelists include: Gregg Heimer, senior network engineer at Montgomery County Community College; Eric Woebkenberg, director of multimedia and classroom support, Widener University; Dave Costanza, CBNT engineer, Senate Video Facility, Senate of Pennsylvania; and Billy Silar, AV systems specialist, Philadelphia Museum of Art. For more information on these Technology Showcase & Seminars, visit

Before the events kick off, SCN wanted to give a little more information about each of this year’s panelists. Today’s spotlight includes Joel Bilheimer, vice president, cybersecurity, from Pershing Technologies. He is scheduled to speak at the Washington D.C. event this week.

Joel Bilheimer
Pershing Technologies and SPAWAR

SCN: What is your current role within your organization?

JB: For Pershing, I oversee cybersecurity policy and services. For SPAWAR, I serve as the cloud security SME for a cloud application migration pilot program sponsored by SPAWAR Pacific (San Diego, CA). For DISA, I provide backend cybersecurity support to the Global Video Services (GVS) program.

SCN: What has been the most surprising shift in technology since your career began?
JB: My career began in broadcasting in the ‘90s, so that covers a lot of ground. That said, I would say that the biggest surprise is unquestionably the normalization of mobile, peer-to-peer communication technologies. That was inconceivable twenty years ago. People forget that the iPhone is still less than eight years old.

SCN: What is the biggest change you're seeing in the workflow within your organization?
The biggest trend, by far, is the decline in personnel resources. This has many causes, but it is certainly aided by the current focus on desktop, mobile, and cloud technologies. These give workers the ability to communicate immediately, asynchronously, and remotely, meaning that individual resources can be distributed across multiple teams. This also means that niche service providers (such as cloud-based software developers) can support multiple programs for far cheaper than dedicating internal personnel or equipment to those capabilities.

One major impact of this trend is the move away from conference room discussions. With fewer workers, more tasks, and globally dispersed teams, there is little need for large, centralized, physical meeting spaces anymore. Our organizations do like their huddle rooms, but these tend to be small, multi-use chat spaces, not fancy executive meeting rooms.

SCN: What do you think of when you think of "AV technology"?
I confess that I don’t like the term AV. For one, it confuses security folks, for whom that abbreviation means “antivirus,” and it always will. But that’s a minor annoyance. Beyond that, though, “AV” gives me a sense of isolated, proprietary systems that are neither familiar nor interoperable with the networks and services we use daily. That’s probably an unfair characterization, but I think the industry needs to improve its understanding of the data and communication architectures used by its customers to overcome that stigma.

SCN: What technology is the next "must have" within your organization?
That depends on whom you ask, to be honest. The two big trends in DoD are cloud and BYOD. However, DoD will always act conservatively with new communication technologies, for obvious reasons. There are currently a small number of cloud pilot programs, one of which I support, but some of the processes and guidelines for taking the federal FedRAMP baseline and implementing DISA’s FedRAMP+ are still in development. There are also a few small BYOD pilots underway, but it may be a while before they transition into generally available services. That said, everyone acknowledges that cloud is necessary to cut costs, BYOD is necessary to retain talent, and both are necessary to increase productivity.

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