Skilled Tech Workforce Models Great Partnerships between Walsh and Industry Experts

In February of 2020, Walsh University Director of Cross Enterprise Initiatives. Dr. Dan Passerini and Dr. Mike Dunphy, the current Vice-President for Academic Affairs, met with four extraordinary business professionals from the Canton community to bring to life what is now the Walsh University Skilled Technical Workforce Program (STWF). The program is a shining example of what can happen when a university partners productively with business experts to serve the community. The STWF program is not a traditional academic degree program, but instead, an immersive learning experience to upgrade skills in data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Premier Skills (emotional intelligence, communication and influence) for employees to help them engage the modern high-tech economic culture more robustly. To do this, Walsh reached out to four industry experts who bring decades of applied business experience in data analytics and IoT to help in the design, instruction, integration and implementation of a novel curriculum for upskilling the American workforce.

One of the STWF experts in data analytics is Todd Lensman, co-founder of FOFM, Inc., the founder of Lensman & Associates, Ltd., and the founder or co-founder of numerous business entities and investment vehicles. Todd serves as the President of FOFM, Inc., and as the Managing Partner of the Lensman & Associates, Ltd. law firm. Todd is both an attorney and Certified Public Accountant who holds law, Masters of Taxation, Accounting, and LL.M. (Taxation) degrees, as well as Registered Investment Advisor certification. Todd has also completed several NASD Securities examinations, including the Series 7 (General Securities Representative), Series 24 (General Securities Principal), Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law), and Series 65 (Registered Investment Advisor) examinations, and most recently a rigorous certification process on data analytics from MIT. Todd lectures and writes on a variety of business, planning, and taxation matters and advises numerous businesses on the how to identify key metrics of data collection and utilize that data to drive business productivity.

 Another member of the team is Abdou Ayoub, the Managing Director of Paragon Shift, a data analytics and Artificial Intelligence solutions firm which he founded in 2010. Abdou started his career with Deloitte Consulting out of the Cleveland office working with clients in the America’s and Europe and later transferred to the Deloitte Middle East practice where he was based in Beirut and serving clients across the Gulf region across multiple industries. Abdou holds a Master’s in Engineering and Management from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and Bachelor of Engineering from Youngstown State University. Abdou speaks and consults around the world on topics related to data analytics, AI solutions and applications for IoT technologies.

Jason Barr works within the Cloud Practice at Core BTS. He has held several key leadership roles focused on leveraging Microsoft technologies for enterprise projects designed to deliver scalable, measurable and impactful digital transformational initiatives that are keenly aligned with business goals. His 20 years of expertise includes IT Strategy and Vision, Implementation, Roadmapping, Project Management, Resource Management, Software Architecture, Cloud Architecture and IoT disciplines. Jason’s recent projects have been centered on Cloud Computing, Data/Analytics, and Application Development that span many Industry verticals including manufacturing, healthcare, retail and financial services. His skills and certifications include Microsoft Azure, SharePoint Online, Application Development and Modernization, Web and Desktop Development, Microsoft SQL, Cloud Enablement, and IT Architectures. Certifications include MCSD: App Build, MCSA: Web Applications, MCTS: SharePoint (multiple versions), MCTS: .NET Web Applications, Network+, A+, and additional Microsoft Professional and Specialist certifications in various technologies.


The team is rounded out by Kyle Quillen, a leader in the design, engineering and deployment of Data Infrastructure aimed at Economic Development and reducing costs for government and businesses through commercialization and monetization of data networks, public telecommunications, and other communication assets. As Agile Network Builders’ President and Founder, he is an expert in WAN/LAN tools, network topology architecture and cost/benefit analysis. Kyle designed and engineered a statewide hybrid fiber microwave MPLS network for State of Ohio known as Agile Networks. 


“The success of this program is possible because of the extraordinary efforts of this extremely talented and dedicated group of business professionals that continue to give selflessly of their time and talents to partner with us to create something absolutely unique in the market,” said Dr. Dunphy.  

Currently, together with Dr. Dunphy, an expert in premier skills and Dr. Passerini, the project Director, this team is running programs weekly with regional businesses with 12 companies completing the program and 110 credentials earned. Currently, five more cohorts are in progress representing an additional 110 credentials, and to date 43 companies have enrolled and been approved for funding representing over 1200 credentials. Very soon, a large cohort of Walsh faculty/staff will be training on analytics, dashboards and data-driven decision-making. More details on dates and times will be distributed soon.