About Us

Introducing the Cyber Studies Consortium's parent organization: the
National Cyber Partership, Board of Directors and Staff

Parent Organization: National Cyber Partnership

The parent organization of the Cyber Studies Consortium, the public-private National Cyber Partnership, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit based in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Partnership began soon after Rick Michaels, the cable television pioneer and international brokerage and financial services CEO, met Michael F. Shapiro, an engineer with senior management, information technology and intelligence skills. Both Tampa Bay residents, they wondered: Why can't area veterans get good jobs?

Why are so many veterans delivering pizza?

Indeed, Shapiro was even hearing that returning veterans were having such a tough time finding jobs they were competing for pizza delivery work. Both Michaels and Shapiro agreed that veterans were owed more than that, and they decided to work together to do something about it. This effort started with founding the National Cyber Partnership.

Training veterans for high-paying, high-skilled cyber jobs

With seed money from the Florida Department of Economic Development, a partnership with Saint Leo University, and the National Cyber Partnership's own cyber education and intelligence experts, they created Cyber FoundationsTM, a workforce development program that would train veterans for high-paying, high-skilled cyber jobs to fuel the Florida's cyber industry.

Going national with the Cyber Studies Consortium

The success of the Cyber FoundationsTM approach in training veterans, transitioning military as well displaced workers and disadvantaged youth has served as a model for the National Cyber Partnership to go national with the Cyber Studies Consortium. This groundbreaking alliance to share cyber resources is professionally managed by Michael F. Shapiro, the organization's co-founder and Executive Director.

Board of Directors

J. Patrick "Rick" Michaels, Jr.

Founder, Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Before founding the National Cyber Partnership, Rick Michaels had a 40+ year track record of founding and growing new initiatives and companies. In 1968, he was one of the original employees, and later, Vice President of TM Communications, the cable subsidiary of the Times Mirror Company, before becoming Vice President of the Cable Funding Corporation, a firm specializing in cable television financing and investments.

To provide financial expertise to select cable industry clients, in 1973 Mr. Michaels founded Communications Equity Associates (CEA Group) a company he has continued to lead into a full-service international brokerage and financial services firm that includes the management of global private equity funds with committed capital of over $1 billion.

Raised in Jamaica, West Indies, the Florida native is a magna cum laude Tulane University graduate, Tulane Scholar and Tulane Fellow as well as a Phi Beta Kappa member. Mr. Michaels studied at the London School of Economics and earned a Master’s from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before becoming a cable industry pioneer, Mr. Michaels served as assistant manager and on-air personality for the legendary Radio City, an offshore radio station featured in the 2010 movie, "Pirate Radio," also known as "The Boat That Rocked," about the Rock-n-Roll era of the 1960s.

In addition to the board of the National Cyber Partnership, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Entrepreneurship, University of South Florida, and the North American Advisory Board of the London School of Economics.  He has served on the Advisory Board of the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania, and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mr. Michaels co-founded the National Cyber Partnership to advance workforce programs that would serve to train veterans, transitioning military and displaced workers for cyber jobs as well fuel the economic development of a cyber industry in Tampa Bay and the State of Florida, with Florida serving as a model for the rest of the nation.

Michael F. Shapiro

Founder, Board Member, President and Executive Director

Soon after co-founding the National Cyber Partnership, Michael F. Shapiro was asked by its board of directors to bring his vast experience as a senior manager to the table and professionally manage the organization. Since 2013, as Executive Director, Mr. Shapiro has been responsible for the strategic planning, program and project development and managing the Partnership and its initiatives, including the Cyber Studies Consortium.

Mr. Shapiro holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College of Columbia University, where he was a John Jay National Scholar, and an MBA from Columbia Business School, where he focused on business process and organizational development particularly as it relates to technology. A seasoned manager, since 2008 Mr. Shapiro had also served as managing director for an interdisciplinary consultancy specializing in technology and business development.

His resume includes co-founding and serving as managing director for The Aviance Group, an advisory financial and investment banking consultancy group, and serving as president and CEO of Secure Biometric Corporation, where he oversaw the development and strategic marketing for a self-contained, biometrically controlled smart card.

As principal technology officer for eCommerce Venture Corporation/First Merchant Advisors LLC, he managed and evaluated technology for an emerging global venture capital company. When Mr. Shapiro worked as Director of Technology for Global IT Solutions (US), he coordinated and managed development of technology projects with customers in the Middle East and US technology companies.

Born and raised in New York, before relocating to Florida, Mr. Shapiro worked as Acting Agency Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. He lives in Tampa with his wife Stacey where the former Columbia Sailing Team captain keeps close to the water.

Sheila McDevitt

Board Member and Audit Committee Chair

Sheila McDevitt, National Cyber Partnership board member and audit committee chair, recently retired from TECO Energy, Inc. where she served as Senior Vice President General Counsel responsible for the legal compliance governance, diversity and communications departments. In addition to her current legal practice at Shelia M. McDevitt, P.L., she is Of Counsel at the Tampa office of the Law Firm Akerman LLP working in its Corporate Practice Group.

Ms. McDevitt received her Bachelor of Arts (1968) and Juris Doctorate (1978) degrees from Florida State University and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1978. She has been admitted to practice in all Florida courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In 1989, Ms. McDevitt was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A recognized authority on business ethics and compliance, she has a proven record of creating long-term sustainable solutions for business issues from mergers and acquisitions and other commercial transactions to litigation, governance and political matters.

Ms. McDevitt has handled governmental affairs matters for private clients and as part of her responsibilities at TECO Energy, and has been a lobbyist at the state and federal levels. She is a business strategist and advisor with extensive experience in all aspects of business and direct experience in the electric and gas utilities, maritime, mining, engineering, construction and insurance sectors.

A member of the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame, in addition to the National Cyber Partnership, Ms. McDevitt serves on many community not-for-profit boards, including The Florida Orchestra and the Pier Aquarium. She is a strong supporter of higher education and serves as the Chair of the Florida Board of Governors over the State University System and as a Trustee of St. Leo University.

Charles C. "Chris" Hart III

Member, Board of Directors

Chris Hart brings a depth of experience to the National Cyber Partnership in national security policy, counter-terrorism, finance and homeland security. Initially a commercial banker, Mr. Hart volunteered for active duty, and had a distinguished Regular Army career that took him from combat in Vietnam and Cambodia to NATO in Europe, the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, and special duties in the Reagan-Bush White House with the National Security Council staff in Washington, D.C.

Following September 11th, 2001, Mr. Hart was appointed to the Homeland Security Task Force in Washington, D.C., where he actively participated with White House officials, House and Senate leaders in developing critical transportation security policies and procedures. Among his accomplishments, Mr. Hart successfully influenced the allocation of federal funds for "first responders" nationwide. He was personally recognized by then President George W. Bush for his leadership in this critical area.

Since retiring from military service and returning to Tampa, Mr. Hart has routinely led campaign organizations and finance committees from local political offices to statewide campaigns for the U.S. President, Florida's Governor, and for the U.S. Senate and Congressional campaigns.

Mr. Hart has been active in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and as a volunteer in the community, successfully led a campaign to establish Florida's first Veterans' facility to focus on Alzheimer's disease. He has served on the boards of the Florida Blood Services Foundation, USF's Health Byrd Center for Alzheimer's Research, and on the Gulf Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Hart earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Economics from the University of Tampa and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA.

Hon. Jacques Gansler

Member, Board of Directors

The distinguished career of the Honorable Jacques Gansler, Professor Emeritus and Roger C. Lipitz Chair Emeritus, University of Maryland School of Public Policy, includes his serving as Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Defense under President Clinton, where he was the third ranking civilian at the Pentagon from 1997 to 2001.

Dr. Gansler holds a BE in Electrical Engineering from Yale University, a MS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, a MA in Political Economy from the New School for Social Research, and a Ph.D. in Economics from American University. His special interests and areas of expertise include national security, globalization, advanced technology, public-private partnerships, defense industry, and information systems.

A scholar who has authored six influential books including, The Defense Industry, Affording Defense, and Defense Conversion: Transforming the Arsenal of Democracy Books, Dr. Gansler’s has also written over 100 academic papers that have appeared in journals such as Foreign Affairs and Harvard Business Review. Dr. Gansler was a Visiting Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University from 1984 to 1997.

Dr. Gansler also has industrial experience, with his early career including engineering and management positions at the Singer Corporation and Raytheon Corporation. As founder and former Director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, Dr. Gansler worked to bring experience in the public and private sectors into the classroom and to improve the mutual understanding of government and business.

Dr. Gansler is the founder and current chair and CEO of The ARGIS Group (Analytical Research for Government and Industry Solutions), an independent research and consulting firm where he provides solutions for government and industry.

Edward D. "Ed" Horowitz

Member, Board of Directors

Known for the breadth of his knowledge and business abilities in technology, economics, sales and content creation, Ed Horowitz has executed successful business strategies that leverage technology to open markets and bring compelling content to the consumer around the world.

Mr. Horowitz is currently Chairman of EdsLink LLC, a New York City based venture capital firm focused on financial, technology, media and telcom sectors. His prior positions include: Co-CEO of Encompass Digital Media, CEO of SES AMERICOM, a market-leading satellite operator; Chairman of e-Citi, the unit of Citigroup created to pioneer electronic commerce and financial services strategies; Chairman of Viacom Broadcasting and a member of the Viacom Exec. Committee, and Senior management positions at Home Box Office (HBO).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the National Cyber Partnership, in August 2015, Mr. Horowitz was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet.gov). Mr. Horowitz served as Chairman of the Board of Fairpoint Communications through its merger with Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CSNL), is a Board Commissioner to LinkNet Tbk PT (LINK:IJ) (largest fixed broadband and cable TV operator in Indonesia), US Space LLC and the non-profit American Management Association (AMA). He is an Executive in Residence at the Sucherman Group.

Mr. Horowitz has testified before the Defense Department Advisory board regarding strategic space, and the U.S. Congress and regulatory agencies on telecommunications and public policy issues. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Hall of Science. He has been inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame and is a Cable Pioneer. He holds a B.S. in Physics from CCNY and a Masters of Business from Columbia University.

Robert F. Minehart, Jr.

Member, Board of Directors

Robert F. Minehart served for 12 years as the Senior Technical and Policy Advisor for Intelligence and Cybersecurity to the US Congress. For the previous 24 years, he filled a number of intelligence and cybersecurity roles in the Intelligence Community (IC), including assignments for the CIA, NSA, NRO, DNI and Director Central Intelligence IC Staff. During this period, he also held an appointment as Research Fellow at Oak Ridge National Labs, US Department of Energy, a Professor of Cybersecurity and Information Warfare at the US Army War College, and a Cybersecurity Instructor for the FBI. Mr. Minehart holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering Department, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.

Mr. Minehart earned BSME and MSME degrees from West Virginia University, Department of Mechanical Engineering (Advanced Theoretical Sciences & Remote Sensing). He also completed Ph.D. coursework and research, passing his PH. D. oral and written exams, and eventually suspended his studies to pursue a career in the Intelligence Community.

Charles F. "Charlie" Touchton

Member, Board of Directors

Charles F. "Charlie" Touchton is an information technology professional who has spent virtually his entire 36-year industrial career with the IBM Corporation in a variety of technical management and staff positions.

With degrees in physics and electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and George Washington University, respectively, his primary focus in these areas has been on business and technical planning and development activities involving imaging technology, applications, systems and products.

Following his retirement from IBM in 1993, Charlie has focused his efforts on supporting a number of university-level educational institutions in a variety of advisory and fund-raising capacities and remains committed to being involved in many activities.


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