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Speaker Bios

Speaker Info:

Al Kovalick - Strategist and Fellow - Avid Technology

BIO: Al Kovalick has worked in the field of hybrid AV/IT systems for the past 13 years. Previously, he was a digital systems designer and technical strategist for Hewlett-Packard. While at HP, he was a principal researcher and architect for a new product-class of signal synthesizer. Additionally, he was the principal architect of HP's first VOD server. Following HP, from 1999 to 2004, he was the CTO of the Broadcast Products Division at Pinnacle Systems. Currently, he is with Avid Technology and serves as a Strategist and Fellow. As a founding member of the ProMPEG Forum, Al contributed to the MXF professional file format. Additionally, he is a founding member of DAVIC, a 400 member strong body tasked with standardizing VOD protocols and reference architectures. At DAVIC, Al was the Vice Chair of the Management Committee. Al is an active speaker, educator, author and participant with industry bodies including SMPTE. He holds 18 US and foreign patents. Al has a BSEE degree from San Jose State University and MSEE degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a life member of Tau Beta Pi.

Pete Balkus - Workgroup Solution Architect - Avid Technology

Pete Balkus is currently a Workgroup Solution Architect at Avid Technology designing and deploying network based mission critical product workgroups for both the Broadcast and Post Production markets.

Prior to Avid's acquisition of Pinnacle, Pete was the Technical Director and Business Unit Manager for Pinnacle's Broadcast News team developing leadership Network based Video Workgroup Solutions for customers such as CNN and Time Warner in addition to other customers world wide.

Before joining Pinnacle Systems, Pete was VP of Product Development at Avid Technology developing network based workgroup and storage products for Avid's Broadcast, Post Production, Internet Streaming and Video-on-Demand markets.

Pete has also held key engineering management positions with PictureTel's Network Systems Division, Digital Equipment Corporation and GenRad.

Pete has a B.S. in Computer Science from Boston University, Cum Laude, and an Associate's degree in Electrical Engineering from Franklin Institute.

Neville Wheeler - Senior Manager, Cisco Systems, Strategic Alliances Group

Neville Wheeler is a Senior Manager in Cisco's Strategic Alliances Group. Neville has been at Cisco for 5 years. In this role Neville is responsible for Media, Entertainment and Consumer. Neville has been driving thought leadership with Cisco's top media accounts, such as Bertelsmann and News Corporation, increasing customer intimacy and managing engagements with key industry partners such as Tandberg TV and Avid Technology for new solutions development. Neville is also responsible for strategy development around emerging industry convergence and disruption in supply chains, between content & distribution platforms (fixed mobile convergence, IPTV, etc), this involves working closely with the major media companies, service providers, as well as the major vendors who work in this market. Previously, Neville was the Global Lead - Media and Entertainment, for Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group. Before joining Cisco, Neville was Managing Director EMEA for SightPath, (acquired by Cisco) a US based company transforming the Internet into an effective distribution channel for media content, aimed at Telecommunications carriers and large corporates. SightPath's solution brings rich media content, live and on-demand to the desktop, including TV quality video. Before SightPath, Neville was General Manager of Fujitsu Europe Limited, the sales, marketing and technical support arm of global giant Fujitsu IT. Prior to that Neville was Managing Director of MultiLink Europe Limited, a subsidiary of PictureTel, and a leader in, audio/video conferencing and multimedia technology for Telecommunications carriers and large corporates. Neville's work history includes Managing Director roles at: NetGuard UK Ltd., a company specialising in Internet Firewall and Bandwidth Management software products; and LanOptics PLC, a manufacturer of Network Switching products, and sales and support roles for Data Switch Inc., IBM mainframe switching specialist and Harris Systems Corporation, a Super Computer manufacturer. Neville has over 20 years experience in the Communications industry and a strong IT technical engineering background; he holds a DMS and MBA from the Henley Management College in the UK.

Brad Gilmer - Contributing Editor - Broadcast Engineering

Brad Gilmer is a columnist for Broadcast Engineering. Brad’s monthly column "Computers and Networks" is a favorite in the magazine. Gilmer has more than 30 years of experience in broadcast operations and production. He is currently president of Gilmer & Associates, Inc., a consulting company that specializes in strategic business issues surrounding technology for rich media. Gilmer is a SMPTE Fellow, and regularly teaches IT and computer technology sessions at SMPTE, SBE and NAB events. Gilmer was formerly Director of Engineering and Operations at Turner Broadcasting Systems in Atlanta.

Currently Gilmer is the Executive Director of the Advanced Authoring Format Association, which is a broadly-based trade association intended to promote the development and adoption of AAF technology throughout the media industry. He is also the Executive Director of the Video Services Forum, an international association of service providers, manufacturers and users focused on delivering video over packetized networks.

Robert Welch - Global Systems Engineer - Cisco Systems, Inc.

Robert Welch is a Global System Engineer at Cisco Systems, Inc. He has been at Cisco for the past five years, and has over 20 years of experience in the networking and security fields. In his current role, Robert is responsible for designing multiservice networks for media, entertainment, theme park, and resorts customers. He specializes in building contributing feed and distribution networks which include products from Avid, Telestream, Tandberg, Path1, Harris, and Peak Audio.

Before joining Cisco, Robert worked as lead network architect for Transamerica Occidental, a global financial company. He was responsible for architecting secure connectivity to partner banks, secure Internet presence, writing automation scripts for monitoring and remediation of the network infrastructure and systems, and Data Center design hosting SAP financial applications. Robert also has experience with companies in the Cable TV distribution, healthcare, and banking industries.