Director: Walt Sulmeisters
This spring, Mr. Walt Sulmeisters has been named the founding Director of The Center for Common Good Computing located at the Regis University’s DTC Campus. Sulmeisters shared, “The Center is aligned with the Regis mission and focuses on learning; talent development; and problem solving.”
Alumni: Robert "Bob" Brockish, RC '56
If you want to chart the course of computers and computer programming, just follow the career of Bob Brockish. He has witnessed major changes in computer development over the years—from vacuum tube machines and magnetic core storage to transistors to items becoming miniaturized and the invention of the chip. As Dean of the College of Computer and Information Sciences (CCIS) Dr. Shari Plantz-Masters says, “Bob’s a walking history book of the computing discipline.” (Read more.)
Alumni: Monica Coughlin, RC ’98
When Monica Coughlin started at Regis, she was all business—business administration, that is. But after she took a computer class, she was hooked. She graduated with a double major in business administration and computer science and a minor in math. She also graduated with a community mindset. “My time at Regis ingrained in me the idea that it’s essential to be a part of the community around you and give back,” she says. “That has stuck with me. It’s important to be part of something bigger and not just focused on profits.” (Read more.)
Technology: the Regis Cloud
For most people, a technological Cloud is just a place to store files. For the IT community, it’s a place to offer a range of services, including software, platforms, and infrastructure. For CCIS, it’s a strategic change to help its community and continue to lead in the computer science and information assurance space. (Read more.)
Spotlights | Faculty Work
The College of Computer and Information Sciences Announces the new Director for The Center for Common Good Computing.
This spring, Mr. Walter Sulmeisters has been named the founding Director of The Center for Common Good Computing located at the Regis University’s DTC Campus. Sulmeisters shared, “The Center is aligned with the Regis mission and focuses on learning; talent development; and problem solving.”
Through the Center, the College of Computer and Information Sciences (CCIS) and its stakeholders will create an IT community that shares the goal of solving problems in a just and equitable manner in order to contribute to the betterment of society.
Sulmeisters noted, “Because the pace of development and innovation in IT is so rapid, new technologies have the potential to create a larger gap between those who are in the IT circle and those who are left out. The focus on technology in the absence of values and principles creates an environment that further increases the gap between those who are enabled by technology advances and those who are not.
The Center will serve industry, government, and institutions to create responsive, dynamic, innovative solutions by facilitating collaboration of ideas, experience, capabilities, tools, and people in order to drive shared economic and social goals across the IT ecosystem.
Through the Center, CCIS fulfills the promise of being a social projection for Regis University and its Jesuit Catholic values.
Alumni Spotlight: Robert “Bob” Brockish, RC ’56
If you want to chart the course of computers and computer programming, just follow the career of Bob Brockish. He has witnessed major changes in computer development over the years—from vacuum tube machines and magnetic core storage to transistors to items becoming miniaturized and the invention of the chip. As Dean of the College of Computer and Information Sciences (CCIS) Dr. Shari Plantz-Masters says, “Bob’s a walking history book of the computing discipline.”
When Brockish finished high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do. Having always admired his brother, Brockish followed his example by first joining the Marine Corps.
After a year on active duty, he then joined Regis. Within three weeks, Brockish received orders for infantry training. After nearly a year of combat in Korea, he returned to the United States and was commissioned an officer. Again, released from active duty, he re-enrolled in Regis. “I was much more of a man the second time I enrolled,” he says.
At that point, he decided to become a teacher. His initial focus was history, but after being inspired by an algebra class, he changed his major to math.
As a Marine Corps Reservist and a soon-to-be father, Brockish was serious about academics and focused on the future. He didn’t want to bother with what he thought were extraneous requirements and asked the dean to be excused from physical education. Dean Father Matione said, “We don’t want you to graduate here as a pin head.” The advice to learn more than just technical skills has stayed with Brockish to this day.
During his last year at Regis, he participated in a student teaching program for Denver Public Schools, which ended with a job offer. He was prepared to take it until a casual conversation with a fellow Marine turned into an interview at the Martin Company—the precursor to Lockheed Martin—and a job offer.
“The Martin offer was a $1,000 more a year than the public school’s offer, and it was for 12 months, so I didn’t have to search for a job during the summer,” he says. “That was important since I now had three children.” He started as an associate engineer in the Flight Analysis Department. At the time, there was no such job as a computer programmer.
He graduated from Regis on a Sunday in 1956 and reported to work the next day. His boss gave him an IBM 704 Data Processing Machine manual and told him to study it and figure out how to write programs. Within a week, he was writing simple ones.
During his 3.5 years at Martin, he progressed from associate engineer to engineer, senior engineer and then group engineer. He mainly worked on trajectory and tank pressurization programs for the Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
A former team member convinced him to join Thiokol Chemical Corporation in Utah in late 1959. As a department manager, he oversaw two sections of programmers: engineering analysis and flight data reduction. The work supported the Minuteman ICBM—a smaller and mobile system designed to be difficult to target by the Soviet Union.
In 1966, Brockish returned to Colorado to join IBM working in software development and other jobs supporting the company’s main frame computers. His first assignment was to define the programming objectives for the OS/360 System Management Facilities for the recently released system.
The project involved inserting into the existing system the code to report the operational statistics needed for customers to understand their systems usage. “It was very difficult to retrofit into an existing system” he says, “I tried to explain to programming management that it was like finishing the inside of the house and then coming back to put in the electrical wiring.”
Other jobs included managing a computer lab, overseeing the systems management facilities office, developing the design and architecture of future storage systems and conceiving the system for document distribution throughout a telecommunications network.
Toward the end of his 21-year tenure at IBM, he worked on advanced function printing software, which integrates pictures, graphics, proportional text and different fonts—what we would consider normal printing today.
Brockish retired in 1987 and received an IBM Outstanding Contribution Award for the Document Interchange Architecture. But he didn’t stop there. He continued to work part-time for IBM, including serving as a large systems instructor on a corporate telecommunications education team.
During his career, Brockish helped start a Boulder-Denver chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery. “A highlight was hosting Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, computing pioneer and the person considered to be the mother of the COBOL programming language, as a speaker for the chapter,” he says. He served in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1974, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel and writing a draft history on the Marines’ use of automatic data processing.
Brockish is proud of his contributions and eager to see what’s next in the computer field. “We’re doing things way beyond what was anticipated, but we still haven’t figured out all that can be done,” he says.
His advice for those in computer programming today harks back to his Regis days. “Just like Father Matione said, ‘Don’t be a pinhead.’ You’ve got to know more than just being a technical guru. You have to deal with people and consider their point of view. Have a social conscience.”
Brockish is the embodiment of those values. Plantz-Masters says, “CCIS is proud of his legacy both as an alumnus and a pioneer in the field.”
Alumni Spotlight: Monica Coughlin, RC ’98
When Monica Coughlin started at Regis, she was all business—business administration, that is. But after she took a computer class, she was hooked. She graduated with a double major in business administration and computer science and a minor in math. She also graduated with a community mindset. “My time at Regis ingrained in me the idea that it’s essential to be a part of the community around you and give back,” she says. “That has stuck with me. It’s important to be part of something bigger and not just focused on profits.”
Coughlin started at Sun Microsystems after graduation. “They were just beginning to build their presence in Colorado, so I got in at a great time,” she says. She started on quality assurance and software testing on remote systems. During her almost 12 years there, she quickly moved up the ladder, while spending most of her time in IT. She managed technical teams, oversaw partner and vendor management and served as a project manager for large data center deployments, finishing her time as Business Operations Manager.
When Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle, she stayed on and became chief of staff for the woman running Oracle’s worldwide data center operations. Coughlin focused on strategy development, communication, employee engagement and staff alignment for the 600+ person organization.
When her Oracle boss became Chief Information Officer for the State of Colorado a year later, Coughlin went with her. Before that, she had never thought of state government as an option. “It opened my horizons,” says Coughlin. “I saw what makes Colorado such an attractive place for tech companies and for business in general. I also found incredible people working for the state—people who truly want to give back and help.”
Coughlin started as IT Economic Development & Broadband Strategy Director for the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT). Three years later, she became OIT’s Chief Strategy Officer.
During her time at OIT, Denver Business Journal selected her as one of the 2013 Top Forty Under 40, which honors outstanding local professionals under the age of 40 for their business success and community involvement. In 2015, Coughlin was named Golden Gov: State Executive of the Year by StateScoop 50 Awards, which highlight leaders in the state IT community.
In 2016, Coughlin joined Colorado Technology Association (CTA) as Chief Operating Officer, where she is today. CTA advances the tech industry in Colorado through talent initiatives, events, economic development and advocacy. “CTA has such a big impact on the tech community,” she says. “It’s one of the big reasons Colorado is so strong in tech. There’s so much growth and movement and collaboration you won’t find other places. People are paying attention to what’s happening here.”
Along with managing day-to-day operations and core processes, Coughlin ensures programs and events are successful both financially and from the membership and attendee experience. “CTA is an organization that provides value and connects people in the community,” she says. “To be part of something like that feels good.”
She’s also active in the community in other ways. Coughlin serves on the Women’s Leadership Foundation’s Board of Directors. She’s also a member of the CC&IS Executive Advisory Board, serving as chair this year. “The biggest challenge for most tech companies is access to talent. Demand for skilled technology workers is growing, and supply can’t keep up,” she says. “Every company has tech needs, not just tech companies. CC&IS is helping meet a huge need. The skillsets students develop are incredibly valuable. Regis is really a leader in the field.”
Through her work and community involvement, Coughlin is giving back and helping a new generation of IT professionals. For her, that’s just business as usual.
For most people, a technological Cloud is just a place to store files. For the IT community, it’s a place to offer a range of services, including software, platforms, and infrastructure. For CC&IS, it’s a strategic change to help its community and continue to lead in the computer science and information assurance space.
More than 15 years ago, CC&IS established its Academic Research Network enterprise (ARNe) as a data center for hosting labs. This provided students of all IT disciplines around-the-clock global connectivity to a safe, state-of-the-art technology environment. Within it, they could gain hands-on experience in developing, modeling, testing, and delivering operating systems, applications and curriculum.
A few years ago, CC&IS considered moving ARNe to the Cloud. From its inception, providers have pitched the Cloud as a money saver. By using the Cloud, organizations could decrease costs by reducing the amount of equipment, space, and power needed to manage their own servers and networks.
Those saving haven’t necessarily come to pass, as higher operating expenditures can balance out decreased costs elsewhere. In fact, after conducting two internal studies that included cost/benefits analyses, CC&IS determined the costs were too prohibitive to make the move to a public Cloud.
In addition, the transition wouldn’t provide the College with the necessary services for the learning environment. For example, information assurance courses were delving into security analysis, penetration testing, and hacking detection. Amazon Web Services, a Cloud provider, said it didn’t want students performing those tasks on its system.
Instead of savings, organizations gain flexibility, business continuity, and disaster recovery solutions. With those critical benefits in mind, CC&IS decided to build its own Cloud—a robust technological ecosystem that provides a cutting-edge, real world environment for the CC&IS community. Like other Cloud-based systems, three major services will be available:
•Software as a Solution: SaaS (e.g., Microsoft Office, course software, OneDrive)
•Platform as a Solution: PaaS (e.g., Salesforce Heroku, Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure, and Engine Yard)
•Infrastructure as a Solution: IaaS (e.g., Oracle Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure)
The Regis Private Cloud is being developed in three phases over three years. Phase One began earlier this year and entails redesigning ARNe to provide the architectural framework to support Cloud services.
Phase Two will begin next summer. During this period, single sign-on functionality will be established, allowing students to log on to one account to access all resources, assets, and services. Some SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS already exist in ARNe and will be moved to the Cloud at this time. In addition, CC&IS will assess which of the services are the priority and build further capability in that order.
Finally, Phase Three will focus on disaster recovery and business continuity capacity, including the determination as to which services, if any, will go to a public Cloud. All phases will be completed in 2021.