Founder and CEO - Dr. Erfan Ibrahim
Dr. Erfan Ibrahim is the Founder and CEO of The Bit Bazaar LLC (TBB) since August 2001. TBB offers a full suite of professional services in IT, networking, communications and cybersecurity.
Erfan’s professional career spans over 30 years and includes hands-on experience in nuclear engineering, information technology, communications, networking, cybersecurity, smart grid and renewable energy. He is an expert in helping organizations align their digital technology goals with their strategic business goals.
During his 3-decade career Erfan has worked for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UCLA, Pacific Bell, Jyra Research, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). At EPRI he led the Smart Meter and Cybersecurity R&D Programs during 2008 – 2011 for electric utility and high tech companies. While at EPRI, he organized and led the first two workshops for Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap Project for the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) in 2009 to build consensus on standards for interoperability in the smart grid. Those workshops led to the creation of a public-private partnership known as Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (part of Smart Electric Power Alliance today).
While at NREL he led the Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience Center (CPSS&R) for 3 years (2015 – 2018) and pioneered the concept of a 9-layer cybersecurity architecture to protect power systems from insider and external cyber threats. There is a Secure Distribution Grid Management testbed at NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) in Golden Colorado built on Erfan’s 9-layer concept to demonstrate the effectiveness of this novel layered defense approach to protect critical infrastructure systemically without relying on protocol level security. Erfan has also been moderating a Smart Grid Educational Series webinar forum since October 2008. This monthly information sharing resource brings experts in power systems, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cybersecurity to discuss pertinent issues from a policy, business process and technology perspective. The SGES distribution has grown to over 5000 people across 10+ nations globally over the past 9 years since it was launched. This forum will continue under the TBB brand going forward.
Erfan’s current activities include assisting utilities, vendors, integrators, government agencies and enterprise customers secure their critical infrastructure from cyber threats. He is also working with industry experts on an innovative approach to build smart communities (25,000 – 50,000 people) powered by small modular nuclear reactors (SMR), renewable energy and hydrogen and using desalination and electric furnaces to meet fresh water and recycling needs. Erfan is also advising the Colorado Community College system to develop an innovative research program for its students to give them new career options and revitalize the State’s economy.
Erfan has a Bachelor of Science in Physics with honors from Syracuse University in 1983, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis in Nuclear Engineering from University of Texas Austin in 1984 and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from University of California Berkeley in 1987.
Chief Technology Officer - Awais Khan [“AK”]
AK is an EIR at Innovation Pavilion, where he advises technology startups on venture capital and works with institutions interested in commercializing in-house innovations. Some of his work has included building an incubator to commercialize early stage technologies from the national research labs. Earlier in his career, as a member of the startup team, AK built a digital transformation firm that was acquired by a global technology company for $300M. He was also the Executive Director of Venture Capital Group at KPMG, and served as the chair of several venture forums and editorial board for leading publications on innovation and venture capital. He started his career at Tandem and Hewlett Packard.
AK is involved in numerous international humanitarian projects and organizations as well. He was appointed president of an Obama administration initiative to advise the Govt. on a $7.5B fund authorized by the Kerry-Lugar legislation. Additionally, he advised the leadership at the White House, USAID, and the World Bank to devise a financing framework for development in Africa, which was announced at the US-Africa Leaders Summit. He also serves on the board of social enterprises working on innovative solutions for serving people living below poverty in Asia and Africa.
Awais holds a Master of Business Administration from London School of Economics and NYU Stern School of Business, and a Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering from California State University.