2019 Member Nominee
I am a Telecom engineer by education and a licensed professional engineer in Ontario for over 20 years practising in the areas of Internetworking, ICT, Communications Infrastructure Engineering (CIE) and Cyber Security. To advance and complete my practical knowledge, I have studied and been certified in numerous related technical fields such as Cisco and Juniper networking and CISSP to just name a few. In addition, I have studied and worked in several areas of architecture and service management models such as TOGAF and ITIL to marry the business requirements to technical functions and have accomplished tens of successful projects in these areas for both startups and well established enterprises on time and on budget. As a result of my technical work, I have been recognized and awarded several times for my work such as the finalist for the Telecom Professional of the Year for 2008 recognized by the Authority of Telecom Management Practice (AoTMP), which was awarded to me in 2009 in Orlando during the TEM2009 Conference. I was the only finalist from Canada in that year. The other example was the Most Dedicated Communications Engineering Consultant in Ontario in 2019 recognized by Corporate Vision Magazine.
For the last over ten years, I worked as a consultant interacting with C-level executives of the companies I worked with and was a member of the executive teams and was always consulted for the big and major IT and specifically security related questions. The last one prior to my retirement was the Loblaw executive team to merge the Shoppers' data centers into Loblaw's data centers after they were acquired by Loblaw's.
Parallel with my work, I started to volunteer for community through the settlement agencies such as Skills for Change, JVS Toronto, ACCES Employment and so on as a mentor helping new immigrants and new grads in the fields of IT and engineering to settle in Canada. I also volunteered for engineering community starting with Canadian Society of Iranian Engineers and Architects (Mohandes) in 1995 and then for my PEO chapter (Willowdale/Thornhill) as of 1999. I am still continuing my voluntary contributions to Mohandes, PEO and recently to Engineers Canada where I am currently a director on its Board.
In 2008, in addition to my other volunteer activities I had with PEO and community, I joined the Emerging Disciplines Task Force of PEO for the Communications Infrastructure Engineering group of that task force as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and led that group as the vice chair until 2011 when we completed the first phase of the program. The first phase was to prepare the Core Body of Knowledge (CBK) for Communications Infrastructure Engineering and presenting it to PEO Council. For that, we consulted with all stakeholders including public and private entities to hear about their opinions and take them to the CBK.
Here is the link to the CBK report we prepared at that time: http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php/ci_id/22626/la_id/1.htm
By the presentation we made to PEO Council in 2010, PEO Council unanimously approved Communications Infrastructure Engineering (CIE) that its focus is on Cyber Security as the 32nd Engineering Discipline in Ontario, which based on that graduates and practitioners of this field can get their P.Eng. licence.
Beside my technical qualifications, I carry an extensive leadership and management experience through my board experiences, which totals to over ten years.
I start with my experience as the board member for Mohandes for two terms of two years each in 2002-2004 and 2008-2010. In the first term, I was the head of the Science and Technology Committee as well and in the second term, I was the vice chair and chair of the Publication Committee. Then, in Joined North York General Hospital Foundation Board in 2007 and served there for one year and wanted to experience a completely different field. My role there was mostly fundraising and marketing. At the Willowdale/Thornhil Chapter of PEO that I served on the board from 1999 until 2013, I took several different positions that I can list as follows:
- Chair of Program Committee
- Chair of Government Liaison Committee
- Chair of Licensing Ceremonies Committee
- Chapter Vice Chair - 2005 to 2009
- Chapter Chair - 2009 to 2011
- Chapter Past Chair - 2011 to 2013
Then in 2013 I ran for the PEO Council election as the East Central Region Councillor and got elected and served the PEO Council for two terms of two years each from 2013 to 2017.
During this time, I was appointed by PEO Council as PEO Liaison to Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) and served on their Council for four consecutive years from 2013 to 2017.
One of the committees I am serving on is Experience Requirements Committee of PEO that is the largest committee with over 150 members. I have been serving this committee since 2003. In 2018, I ran for the vice chair position and was elected and reelected again for 2019 and I am currently the vice chair of ERC.
Also in March of this year, I nominated myself for directorship of Engineers Canada Board and during an election on PEO Council amongst 8 nominees for two open positions, I was elected and I am currently a director on Board of Engineers Canada for a three year term.
With the above-mentioned technical and leadership/board experiences I have, I am confident I can add value to CIRA and to the Canadian Internet.
Answers to mandatory questions:
1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA is the Registry Authority for .CA, but what this means and why it matters. If we compare .CA with one of the regular business domains such as .COM, we will see the difference. .CA represents Canada, but .COM just represents a business that can be any where around the world. And this by itself brings expectations of Canada to the users. Canada has been named the best country of the world to live in for several years and this carries a huge load of responsibilities and accountability for people who are behind the .CA Registry and that is CIRA. So, it is not just to register a .CA domain and that is it. You need to have a Canadian quality of DNS, Canadian quality of security, Canadian quality of Internet and connections, Canadian quality of processes, Canadian quality of governance, and anything comes with it.
You need to get a Canadian quality of support for your inquiries and disputes. And all of these is what CIRA is expected to do and is doing. Every one of us as CIRA members need to act as CIRA ambassadors to help them to carry these tasks successfully by reporting the issues and following up with them to make sure everything is in order and working as expected.
2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s board of directors?
I strongly believe that with the leadership and board experiences I have from one side, and the technical knowledge and experiences I have in the areas of internetworking and Communications Infrastructure Engineering and Cyber Security from the other side, I can utilize my experiences for the betterment of CIRA and contribute to its advancement. Specifically now that I am retired from my job, I have more time to give to CIRA and to its success.
I also feel I have a good relationship with people and that has always been one of my success factors in both my job and volunteer activities. As a mentor, coach, educator, consultant, and public speaker, I have always worked with people and believe I have a high emotional intelligence, at least based on what I have been told by others.
And this gives another reason to me to believe that I can add value to CIRA team by joining the board of directors.
3. What specific skills and experience do you have that makes you a qualified candidate for CIRA’s board of directors?
I have already responded to this question in response to the previous questions. But I can brief here and divide it by two parts of technical and board skills and experiences:
I am a telecom engineer by education and a licensed professional engineer in Ontario for over 20 years practising in the areas of Internetworking, Communications Infrastructure Engineering (CIE) and Cyber Security. I have over 35 different certificates I have obtained in Canada in the areas of Cisco, Juniper, Avaya, Alcatel, Nortel, VMWare, Trend Micro, ISC2, McAfee, Polycom, and many others for technical and ITIL, PMI, TOGAF, CISSP for Service and Project Management, Architecture Models, and Cyber Security. I am able to marry the business requirements to technical functions and determine the risks and define the solutions to the decision makers who decide to accept, mitigate, or eliminate the risks through an end to end GRC (Governance- Risk Management - Compliance) review analysis.
Beside that, I am bringing an extensive leadership experiences through my over ten years of board experiences of the different board sizes from as small as of 10 people to as large as of over 30 people.
I can list these board experiences as follows:
1- Engineers Canada Board Director - 2019 to 2022
2- Experience Requirements Committee (ERC) of PEO Vice Chair - 2018 to Present
3- PEO East Central Region Councillor - 2013 to 2017
4- PEO Executive Officer - 2015 to 2017
5- Regional Councillors Committee (RCC) of PEO Chair - 2015 to 2017
6- Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) Councillor - 2013 to 2017
7- Willowdale/Thornhill Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Chair - 2009 to 2011
8- Willowdale/Thornhill Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Vice Chair - 2005 to 2009
9- Emerging Disciplines Task Force - Communications Infrastructure Engineering Group Vice Chair - 2008 to 2011. I was also the Subject Matter Expert with the Group.
10- Canadian Society of Iranian Engineers and Architects (Mohandes) Board of Directors - 2008 to 2010. I was also the Vice Chair and Chair of the Publication Committee during this time.
11- North York General Hospital Foundation Board - 2007
12- Canadian Society of Iranian Engineers and Architects (Mohandes) Board of Directors - 2002 to 2004. I was also the Chair of the Science and Technology Committee during this time.
4. What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to addressing these issues?
Real Estate folks have a slogan saying Location, Location, Location. In the digital world, I would say the three top challenges are Security, Security, Security. Just recently we heard about Desjardins and Capital One security flaws that impacted many many customers. Did these two giants have not any security measures in place? Of course they had! But as technology grows and advances, bad guys also advance in their way of business and come up with the new ways of attacks and put security risks on the front line of all the challenges. What approaches should we take to overcome those challenges? It is simple! We need to have a very well thought and planned GRC in place, which can start with reviewing the existing vision and mission and going from there. We then need to define a strategic planning of 3 to 5 years with GRC included in every step of it, which means security is there from A to Z.
And why is it Strategic Planning and not Plan? Because it must be reviewed continuously in a circular model against the business objectives and technical goals. This way, we can make sure, we have defines all the existing risks and their solutions (accept, mitigate, eliminate), and compliance with all the local, national and international rules and regulations, and have taken all of these into our Governance. When we talk about Compliance, we should not take it easy. For example, the new European rule GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which many people think is only for Europeans and do not apply to us, is very well applying to us as we may have many European .CA users. This is just one example. If we take care of security through GRC, we have taken care of EVERYTHING.