The Programs Committee Announces Changes

Posted by amc on 11/08/2017 6:21 pm  /   Spotlights

The programs committee has gone through a considerable amount of change in the last year.  We still offer 7 venues, and 4 Lunch and Learns.  For details visit:       

This year the Board has taken a longer-term strategic view, and as a result, the Programs committee has been reorganized.  The positions previously designated as Venue Directors will now be designated as Venue Leads, and three new Programs Directors have been created to work with the Venue Leads. I would like to welcome our new Speakers Director, Yolanda Franklin, and three Programs Directors - Ajay Aripirala, Chris DelGardo, and David Wilkerson, and wish them every success in their new roles.  For clarity, please see the provisional organizational chart below.

In addition to this organizational change, there have been a number of personnel changes:


  •         Long-time venue lead Jayant Palker at College Station has voluntarily stepped down, and has been replaced by Ian Soares.

  •         Tim Powell, of the Downtown venue, has voluntarily stepped down, and has been replaced by Sineria Ordonez.

  •         Wendy Valot, who did a fantastic job establishing the Energy Corridor venue, has voluntarily stepped down and we are currently looking for a replacement. So if you are interested, please let me know.

  •         We have changed both the location and the lead at the Galleria venue.  LaToshia Norwood was elected to the board as VP Marketing, and was replaced by Mohammad Ali Minhas.  We have had some issues with the new venue and will be using the United Way facility until the end of the year (apologies for any inconvenience).

  •         At the North Venue, Edwin Jabbour has successfully organized the move of the North Venue to its new location at Campioni Italian Restaurant, with the able assistance of Alexis King.

  •         The South West venue continues under the able guidance of ND Nebo, but has had to move to a temporary location at the First Colony Library due to renovation work at the regular Schlumberger location.

  •         Last, but not least is our Woodlands venue, which remains unchanged and is led by Dr. Janis Warner, at the SHSU Woodlands campus.

Both the North and Galleria moves were initiated because of consistent financial losses experienced at the venues.

Lunch & Learns

We have two L&Ls in the south/central area, which were led by Bruce Garrett, a longtime supporter of PMIH and Toastmasters.  Bruce has retired and moved to New Braunfels. We are currently looking for a replacement for these locations:

o   Stage Stores

o   Texas Medical Center

We also have two L&Ls in the west area, which were previously led by Larry Short.  Larry has voluntarily stepped down, and has been replaced by Chris DelGardo.  These locations are:

o   BP

o   Shell

Here is the organization chart:


I would like to thank Jay, Tim, Wendy, LaToshia, Bruce and Larry for all their hard work and support over the years, and wish them every success in the future.  At the same time, I would like to welcome Ian, Sineria, and Mohammad Ali to the team and wish them well in their new roles.

I would also like to commend Edwin, ND, and Janice and everyone else who have consistently worked hard to provide worthwhile programs to our members.

Meet the PMI Houston Programs Committee

Posted by amc on 03/23/2017 5:28 pm  /   Program and Meetings

Meet the PMI Houston Programs Committee

Evening Venues

The Programs Committee of PMI Houston is currently operating seven evening venues across our area, ranging from Brazos Valley in College station, to South West in Sugarland. Details of all the venues can be found under the “Meetings” tab on the landing page of

All the meetings are run for our members, by dedicated teams of volunteers. Leading the venue teams are:

  •         Brazos Valley – Jayant Palkar
  •         Woodlands – Janis Warner
  •         North – Edwin Jabbour
  •         Energy Corridor (Our newest venue) – Wendy Valot
  •         Galleria – Mohammad Ali Minhas (Our newest Venue Lead)
  •         Downtown – Tim Powell (Who will be stepping down)
  •         South West – Ndubuisi (Nd) Nebo


In addition to the evening venues PMI Houston operates four quarterly Lunch and Learns.

  • L&L West – Larry Short

o   BP Energy Corridor Lunch and Learn

o   Shell Lunch and Learn

  • L&L Central – Bruce Garrett, transitioning to Kathy Kest at the end of March.

o   Stage Stores Lunch and Learn

o   Texas Medical Center Lunch and Learn

Toastmaster Clubs

The programs group also works with our affiliated Toastmaster clubs. We currently have four clubs which are associated with specific venues:

  •         Woodlands PMIH Toastmasters
  •         North PMIH Toastmasters
  •         Galleria PMIH Toastmasters
  •         South West PMIH Toastmasters

This month our Toastmaster colleagues will be running a demo Toastmaster meeting at the Downtown venue on the 30th, with the intention of forming a Downtown PMIH Toastmasters club. So, if you work downtown and are interested in Toastmasters please come along.

I would like to ask that you join me in thanking Bruce and Tim, who will be standing down after several years of selfless volunteering, and to wish them well in their future endeavors.

We are planning changes this year and will be requesting feedback from you the members, regarding what you would like to see, and how we can deliver stimulating programs that will meet your needs. Please speak to your venue directors or myself, at the meetings; you can also e-mail me at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions.

I am looking forward to meeting you all during our 2017 program!




Cyber Security Discussed at PMIH Lunch-N-Learn

Posted by amc on 03/23/2017 5:23 pm  /   Program and Meetings

Cyber Security Discussed at PMIH Lunch-N-Learn

By Thomas Goebel, Volunteer Content Writer

Jeffrey Vinson, Sr. is the Chief Information Security Officer at Harris Health System.  Mr. Vinson was the featured speaker at a Houston Chapter March 7th Lunch-N-Learn at the Texas Medical Center, where he led his audience of project managers on a guided tour of today’s cybersecurity minefield.

One of the biggest cyber threats to the health industry is ransomware.  Ransomware, which is typically used to invade an IT system via a “Trojan Horse”, is a malware or virus that prevents access to a system’s contents (files, software, etc.) until a ransom is paid.  Once the ransom is paid, a “de-encryption key” is provided to the victim to unlock the system and regain access.  Hospitals are particularly vulnerable to this type of attack, for a variety of reasons; chiefly, urgent need for access to patient records and the nature of critical care.  Indeed, some care facilities have paid ransoms (one hospital paid $17,000 to retrieve its files!).  Mr. Vinson said that ransomware attacks increased by 19% from 2015 to 2016.

The most frequent vehicle for a ransomware attack is email.  With privacy becoming scarcer, resourceful criminals can access a great deal of information about individual users.  One preferred method is to launch phishing email attacks against lower-level managers, since C-level executives tend to be more aware about the potential for invasions.

Biomedical devices present another area susceptible to cyber attack.  An increasing number of these devices are connected remotely through local networks and the Internet, making them especially vulnerable.  Many have their own IP address.  The Food and Drug Administration is now ordering hospitals and care facilities to tighten their cybersecurity in response to these threats.  Project managers are putting a great deal of thought into how to set up connectivity for future projects with security in mind.  In addition, they are acutely aware that it is essential to comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations governing electronic protected health information (ePHI) for patients.

The role of the information security expert is to assess the need for greater security in an environment.  Perhaps the best way to identify a vulnerable target is by the use of a penetration test (“pen test”).  A pen test is a program that simulates an attack to expose gaps and weaknesses in a system.  This feature makes it a critical part of a full security audit.  Upon gap identification, security experts can employ fixes like increased user behavior monitoring, plugging software holes, and more robust authentication practices to protect patients and assure compliance with HIPAA.

While this Lunch-N-Learn focused on cyber threats to the health industry, the reality for project managers is that information security is a growing concern for all industries.  The threat is not likely to abate soon.