The Rise of the Cloud Network Hero – Aviatrix Main Stage Keynote

Spring 2023

Now is an opportunistic time to be a cloud networking expert. Today’s network engineers are increasingly being asked to leverage their on-prem expertise to support the cloud infrastructure to establish control and confidence. This organizational change enables cloud platform teams to rightfully focus on application development and continuous software delivery. Join Steve Mullaney, President & CEO at Aviatrix and Jason Simpson, VP Engineering at Choice Hotels as they discuss this new era for cloud networking leaders.


Steve Mullaney brings 30 years of marketing, product management, and engineering experience in network infrastructure and security to Aviatrix. Most recently, Steve was the CEO of Nicira Inc., a network virtualization and software-defined networking company, from 2009 until it was acquired in 2012 by VMware for $1.26 billion. Nicira invented the concept of offering software-based services running on top of networking hardware. Mullaney became the senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Networking and Security business unit following Nicira’s acquisition.

Prior to Nicira, he served as vice president, marketing, and interim CEO for Palo Alto Networks. During his tenure, Mullaney oversaw the company’s invention of the next-generation firewall market category, which helped cement Palo Alto Networks’ reputation as a thought leader and cybersecurity innovator.

Steve also held executive positions at Blue Coat, Force10, Cisco, Growth Networks, ShoreTel, Bay Networks and SynOptics, and began his career as a design engineer at GTE Government Systems. Steve holds a BSEE from the University of Rhode Island.

Mr. Simpson is a global technology leader with over 25 years of software development
and IT experience across start-ups, government and large public companies.
Mr. Simpson, Vice President of Engineering at Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE:
CHH), leads the company’s Cloud Engineering and Franchisee Systems organizations.
He is currently driving the Infrastructure and Operations teams to migrate all services
and applications to AWS and also adopting best-in-class Saas solutions and looking for
game changing technology that will help drive value for the business.

Prior to joining Choice Hotels, Mr. Simpson was the Chief Technology Officer for the
State of Arizona, where he authored the state’s Cloud First policy and drove technology
transformation. Mr. Simpson was instrumental in unifying over 30 state email platforms
onto Google’s Workspace, over 30,000 accounts were migrated at a cost savings in the
multi-millions for the taxpayer. He also drove migration of many applications to the
cloud, while ensuring Arizona has more cloud applications running on Amazon Web
Services than any other state in the union.

Mr. Simpson is a member of the Menlo Ventures CxO group and sits on numerous
customer advisory boards for companies like NetApp and Veza.
Mr. Simpson holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Arizona
State University and an MBA from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. After college
Mr. Simpson worked as an engineer and engineering leader at companies such as
Inter-Tel and GoDaddy.

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