Officials at Northern Michigan University announced the appointment of William (Bill) Vajda as the new director of the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute (UPCI).
The UPCI provides NMU's non-credit training and programming in areas related to cybersecurity that are outside the academic degrees offered at the university. Together, the UPCI and the Information Assurance and Cyber Defense degree program are designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), a program jointly sponsored by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
“We are excited to have Bill Vajda join our team as the new director of the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute at NMU. Since the doors opened in 2019, there have been a lot of successes and the momentum is continuing,” said Stephanie Zadroga-Langlois, director of Continuing Education & Workforce Development. “Bill's experience is extensive and impressive and I have no doubt that he has the ability to keep the UPCI and its many services relevant and available to the students (K12 through Postsecondary), workforce and community members of the Upper Peninsula. Marquette is home to Bill and we are so glad he is back.”
The UPCI is the only cybersecurity institute in the Upper Peninsula and offers industry certifications, tests and events to engage students, teachers and industry partners to promote career pathways in cybersecurity through events, career exploration and hands-on learning.
“I'm thrilled and honored to be stepping into this role with NMU. I thank Stephanie, Doug and all the people who have worked so hard to make the institute a success and for giving me this opportunity,” said Vajda. “NMU and the UPCI have a great future, and I'm excited to help it take the next steps towards ever greater success.”
Vajda has extensive experience in technology roles at the state and federal government levels, most recently serving as chief information officer for the State of Wyoming. He also served as Marquette City Manager from 2010 to 2015.
Vajda replaces Doug Miller, the inaugural director of the UPCI, who recently announced his retirement.
“Doug took the ball and ran with it starting on his first day. He has dedicated so much time and more importantly, passion to the UPCI and it shows,” said Zadroga-Langlois. “Doug's tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. The university greatly appreciates all that he has done from making YooperCon into a highly anticipated annual event to coordinating the first UP Cybersecurity Symposium last August. This July, the UPCI will be hosting a two-week, grant funded GenCyber Summer Camp for high school students. Although Doug is retiring as the Director, he will stay on in a contracted role to assist with a couple of the large events coming up this summer and fall. The UPCI would be nowhere near where it is today if it weren't for Doug.”
The UPCI offers many industry-recognized certifications, exercises and workshops aimed at qualifying individuals for positions in cybersecurity fields.