Edge Team

Executive Team

Our members rely on us to solve complex networking and technology issues, drive business transformation, improve services and connect in new ways.

Accordingly, the Edge Executive Team takes full responsibility for delivering persistent value to all facets of the membership through our commitment to excellence and innovation. Value is delivered in the form of a sustainable, long-term vision founded on the effective implementation of four measurable strategic objectives:

  • Financial Performance
  • Membership Value
  • Internal Processes
  • Organizational Capacity

Effective execution and implementation of our strategic objectives by the Leadership Team successfully positions Edge for the future.

Samuel Conn, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Samuel Conn brings a long history of fostering the advancement of technology in public and private higher education institutions across several focus areas including information technology management, administrative and educational technologies, e-Learning networks, and enterprise transformation. Serving as President and CEO for Edge, he guides the executive management team with over 35 years of combined military, professional, private sector and academic experience in the field of technology and information systems. He holds an undergraduate (BSci) degree in Business Administration, a graduate (MSci) degree in Computer Information Systems, and a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Information Systems. By harnessing the potential of digital networks to advance teaching, learning and research, he maintains Edge’s commitment to push the boundaries of innovation and achievement as a national model of excellence for purpose-built research and education networks.

Edward Chapel, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

A career educator, technology leader and Chief Information Officer at New Jersey’s largest private and second largest public universities for the past twenty years, Dr. Edward Chapel’s commitment to active collaboration with industry partners, peer organizations and the Edge membership serves as a key driver in the advancement of operational effectiveness and strategic objectives of its member organizations. With a focus on enabling digital technologies, he ensures each client solution is value-based, future-focused and engineered to deliver an end-user experience that is unsurpassed. In addition to overseeing the delivery of a high performing network and ecosystem of purpose-built technology assets and applications, his dedication to Edge’s shared services consortium approach and advancing professional development through the Edge Communities of Practice enables New Jersey’s education, healthcare, governmental and corporate enterprises to thrive and grow. Dr. Chapel earned his Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Sociology from New York University as well as a Baccalaureate degree in American Studies from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Caitlin Kaplan

Vice President Finance & Accounting, Administration, Legal & Chief Financial Officer

In her role as Vice President for Finance & Accounting, Administration, Legal & Chief Financial Officer, Caitlin serves as a member of the Executive Management Team for Edge. Caitlin is responsible for overseeing all accounting operations, including financial reporting and filings, audits, and accounting records. Additionally her responsibilities include directing all matters related to legal contracts, administration of Edge corporate core services, insurance, and liability management. With a sharp eye for detail, she ensures that all of Edge’s reported results adhere to strict compliance measures and recognized accounting principles. Serving as Chief Financial Officer for the organization, Caitlin interfaces directly with the outside financial audit team and outside legal counsels. Her most recent experiences include a six-year term at New Jersey’s Institute of Technology where she held the position of Account Manager, a post that was preceded by a six-year tenure as an Auditor in KPMG’s non-profit sector. Caitlin holds an earned B.A. in Accounting degree from Muhlenberg College.

Christopher R. Markham

Vice President Information Technology, Economic Advancement & Chief Information Officer

When it comes to the strategy behind return-on-investment for technology spend, Chris applies nearly two decades of education and experience to assist our member institutions with the complexities of cloud, enterprise computing, and educational technologies. Having served in technology support and leadership roles since 2001, he most recently served as Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at SUNY Empire State College, where he successfully completed a transition of the institution’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Prior to that role, Chris served as Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Florida State College. While in that role, he successfully managed the completion of a $30 million digital transformation effort to enhance operations among the institution’s six campuses and more than 50,000 students. Today, Chris works with Edge member institutions on digital transformation initiatives, information technology leadership, technology service management and the business process re-engineering required to recruit and educate students in today’s digital world. Chris applies his graduate education in economics in concert with his technology background to ensure the value of technology is optimal in its application. Chris currently serves in the United States Army Reserves. Standing ready to assist in the success of our member institutions, more and more Edge members are starting conversations with Chris to leverage Edge’s resources in professional services, learning and teaching technologies, and information technology service management.

Amy Hillman

Director Human Resources & Administration

One will always find a friendly and knowledgeable professional when engaging with Amy. Joining Edge in 2017 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO, Amy has successfully advanced her career since that time, demonstrating a tireless effort in service to Edge and its members. Now, as our Director of Human Resources and Administration, she originates and leads Edge’s Human Resources best practices and objectives to ensure proper staffing support, an employee-oriented, high performance culture that emphasizes empowerment, quality, productivity standards, goal attainment, and the recruitment and ongoing development of a superior workforce. In her Director role, Amy also provides administrative support to the organization’s management team and its employees to ensure smooth and seamless communications and operations. In 2021 Amy joined the Executive Management Team to contribute to strategy development and execution, all matters related to Edge’s Newark Knowledge and Innovation Center, and preparation and dissemination of Board of Trustee notifications and information. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a Human Resources Management Certificate from the University of Phoenix, and was most recently inducted into Delta Mu Delta’s International Honor Society in Business.

Leadership Team

With a keen eye on supporting Edge’s strategic objectives, our Leadership Team consists of seasoned postsecondary professionals, creative thinkers and future-focused individuals.

Their collective experience across the education, government, corporate and technology industry verticals makes them uniquely qualified to guide members amid the constant change and innovation that accompanies a world driven by transformative technology.

The team is committed to delivering persistent value to our members with a full range of clearly defined digital ecosystem solutions – solutions that help members thrive and grow.

Forough Ghahramani, Ed.D.

Associate Vice President Research & Sponsored Programs

What makes scientific discovery great is involvement from people like Dr. Forough Ghahramani! As Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs for Edge, she works tirelessly with the research community in the state, region, and nation to deliver the resources and programs of EdgeDiscovery. As principal architect for EdgeDiscovery, Forough ensures a broad platform of support for innovation, acceleration, and engagement among researchers and other stakeholders in the scientific discovery domain. Forough’s over 25-year diversified career experience in higher education management includes previously serving as dean and department chair, program development and accreditation manager. Prior to joining academia, she held senior level engineering and management positions at Hewlett Packard and consulted to Fortune 500 companies in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, information technology, and financial services sectors. Forough is a transformational leader with experience in entrepreneurship, project management, technical sales, partnerships and strategic alliances, software engineering, bioinformatics, and organization-wide data strategy and information technology planning Forough holds a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University, MS in Computer Science from Villanova University, and BS in Mathematics with a minor in Biology from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include, “bioinformatics, the challenges and opportunities associated with the convergence of biotechnology and information technology”, “models for fostering diversity and inclusion in the university innovation ecosystem”. As a trailblazing woman in STEM innovator and entrepreneur, Forough is consulted on the state, national, and international levels in various capacities including STEM workforce development strategies and entrepreneurship programs for women. She has done extensive work with government, academic institutions, and professional associations to evaluate the policies and programs that shape vibrant innovation ecosystems. Forough has served in leadership roles in educational and non-profit boards, and professional associations, such as AWIS, SWE, and IEEE Women In Engineering (WIE).

Jim Stankiewicz

Associate Vice President & Principal Network Architect

Jim Stankiewicz leads the technical management team with a future-forward approach that embraces a long-term vision of an integrated K-20 portal for the NJ educational community. With responsibility for the Edge network infrastructure, Jim guides his team through complex engineering project activities that drive customer performance, utilization, problem resolution and the overall effectiveness of the Edge network. Jim’s 25+-years of experience in communications and network development are key drivers for Edge’s commitment to adaptive and defined technology solutions. Jim holds certification in CCIP (Certified CISCO Internet Professional) and CCSP (Certified CISCO Security Professional).

Adam Scarzafava

Associate Vice President EdgeEvents & Digital Marketing

As an experienced marketing professional and communications strategist Adam’s passion is connecting people with technology solutions, products, and services. After spending the past eight years with a premiere technology solutions provider in executive digital marketing and communications roles, Adam joined Edge in 2018 to help current and new members learn about and take full advantage of digital media, cloud, networking, security, and professional service solutions. Adam’s experience and track record as a top college athlete makes him no stranger to competition in today’s digital world. Graduating magna cum laude from Muhlenberg College, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing and then began his career at the Global Options Group in New York City. Besides technology, on any given day Adam can be found coaching little league baseball or snowboarding.

Bruce Tyrrell

Associate Vice President Programs & Services

Since the infancy of Edge, Bruce Tyrrell’s roots with Higher Education, State Government, K-12, local and county government IT environments has served as a foundation for defined solutions and transformative engagement experience for all Edge members. With a keen emphasis on realizing the strategic goals of the consortium, his member-focused approach continues to drive maximum benefit for all Edge constituents. Bruce holds an ITIL V3 certification – one of the most widely adopted approaches for IT service management in the world, providing a practical, no-nonsense framework for identifying, planning and supporting IT services.

Dan Miller

Associate Vice President EdgeMarket

The need for professional, timely, and relevant procurement in both public and private entities has never been more important and Dan has been at the forefront of supply chain driven, complex requirements gathering and procurement since the beginning. A technology, collaboration, and procurement innovator for nearly 40 years, Dan leads our EdgeMarket initiative with a passion for collaboration and a relentless focus on success. Over his career as a software developer and architect, top sales executive, and CEO of his own companies, Dan has delivered results-driven innovation in a variety of venues, including the first-ever web-based collaboration and procurement support platform, WebRFP.com, in 1996. Fast forward to today, Dan and the Edge team are hard at work delivering on Edge’s commitment to grow and serve its membership through increasing value and accelerating innovation in technology and services procurement. Whether you need general assistance with procurements, know exactly what you need, or just want to catch up and learn more about today’s eProcurement process, Dan is a great guy with which to connect!

AJ Lacomba

Associate Vice President Information Technology & Virtual Chief Information Officer

Meet AJ Lacomba, the newest addition to Edge’s team of talented technology leaders and service providers. Bringing a unique combination of education and work experience in higher education and government sector digital transformation, AJ is widely known for his decades of work and innovation in technology leadership; network security and engineering; vendor relationship management; cloud strategy, architecture and migration; disaster recover; and virtualization. Moreover, with extensive experience in systems engineering, AJ is uniquely equipped to provide executive leadership in emerging technologies, complex technology projects, cost control of legacy systems, and solutions to challenging business and technology programs and projects. His track record of enterprise digital transformations, large-scale business process improvement, return-on-investment of technology spend, cost-containment, and organizational efficiency is unmatched and equally weighted against his ability to build consensus and achieve optimal team performance. AJ’s 20+ years of experience in the public and private sector in the roles of Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer (CIO), Executive Director of Information Technology and Security is most recently acknowledged by his role as Vice President for Information Technology and CIO at Pennsylvania College of Technology, and five years prior as Executive Director of Information Technology and Security with the State University of New York. Holding an earned undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, AJ is well equipped to handle the difficult and complex nature of today's technical environments. In his role at Edge, AJ works to advance technology and assist member institutions with successful technology initiatives.

Christine Valentino

Director Corporate Contract Administration

Joining Edge in 2021, Christine Valentino brings to her role a wealth of education, background, and experience in the management of legal contracts. Serving as Edge’s Director for Corporate Contract Administration, Christine works in concert with Edge’s Cooperative Pricing System procurements, EdgeMarket, professional and managed services statements of work, and other legal documents to ensure accuracy, compliance, strategy, consistency, and legality in all efforts. As primary liaison with Edge’s outside legal counsels, Christine interacts to ensure optimal process flows for contract generation, review, and execution. With a background in the advanced network telecommunications industry, she is fluent in the nature and structure of Edge’s business, and brings nearly two decades of legal experience to assist in the timely delivery and expansion of network and above-network services to Edge’s members. Christine is actively involved in all areas of Edge business and is instrumental in Edge’s strategic priorities to improve business processes and automate contract administration. In her role as a member of Edge’s Leadership Team, Christine serves as Secretary to Edge’s Board of Trustees and ensures coordination with Edge’s By-Laws. Most recently Christine served as the Legal Analyst for Enterprise Service Delivery for Charter Communications, Inc. (formerly Time Warner Cable, Inc.) for eight years where she worked in negotiating regional and national contracts, ensuring contract compliance, and contract review and administration. Christine’s academic credentials include legal studies degrees and advanced certifications from Syracuse University and Morrisville State College in New York. Chances are you’ll run into Christine during your interactions with Edge and experience the pleasure of working with a consummate professional and all-round great person.

Josh Gaul

Associate Vice President & Chief Digital Learning Officer

Meet Josh Gaul. an innovator, designer, strategist, and recognized leader in educational technology and instructional design. With over 15 years of higher education experience successfully leading the digital transformation of higher education through organizational change, emerging technologies that support various modes of pedagogy and andragogy, Josh is the consummate chief digital learning officer. His background, experience, advanced degrees in digital communications, alternative pedagogies, and passion for learning all combine to bring Edge member institutions the thought leadership, inspiration, and confidence to deploy innovative teaching and learning paradigms that result in higher student persistence, program growth, faculty development, and ultimate student success. Recognizing that online education can be complicated with so many moving parts, Josh and his team provide critical services that allow Edge member institutions to succeed and thrive in an environment that demands new ways of thinking and doing. Whether it’s conventional face-to-face classrooms, hyflex, online, or custom models of engagement with content, the need for a highly qualified chief digital learning officer has never been greater. As higher education struggles to keep pace with digital change, in his role as chief digital learning officer Josh works closely and in alignment with academic leaders and faculty across all sectors to accelerate change in how student, faculty and support staff work, learn, and live. The continuum of lifelong learning is vastly supported through digital learning experiences. Have a conversation with Josh soon to learn more about why his team is the fastest growing in-demand professional service from Edge.