Speakers & Panelists
The Honorable Paul M. Abbate
Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Paul M. Abbate was named FBI deputy director in February 2021. As FBI deputy director, he oversees all FBI domestic and international investigative and intelligence activities. Mr. Abbate began his FBI career in March 1996 as a special agent assigned to the New York Field Office, where he worked in the Criminal Division and served as a member of the SWAT Team.
In December 2003, Mr. Abbate transferred to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters as a supervisory special agent in the Iraq Unit, overseeing FBI counterterrorism operations and personnel deployments in Iraq. In October 2005, he deployed to Iraq, serving as senior FBI liaison officer to the U.S. Department of Defense, and leading a group of FBI personnel conducting counterterrorism operations in-theater.
From February 2006 to December 2009, Mr. Abbate served as a supervisory special agent within the Newark Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In February 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as FBI deputy on-scene commander, leading FBI counterterrorism and personnel in-theater.
In December 2009 he returned to the Counterterrorism Division as assistant section chief, providing national-level oversight and guidance to all United States-based international terrorism investigations. During this time, he was a member of a team that received the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service.
In July 2010, Mr. Abbate reported to the Los Angeles Field Office and served as assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism matters, overseeing the primary branch of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In August 2011, he again returned to the Counterterrorism Division to serve as section chief, providing oversight of all FBI international terrorism investigations and counterterrorism operations external to the United States.
In October 2012, Mr. Abbate was appointed special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division. During this time, he also served as the FBI on-scene commander in Libya.
From October 2013 to September 2015, Mr. Abbate served as the special agent in charge of the Detroit Division, covering the state of Michigan. In September 2015, he was appointed assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office, where he served until his appointment in December 2016 as the executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all FBI criminal and cyber investigations worldwide, international operations, critical incident response, and victim assistance.
In February 2018, Mr. Abbate was named associate deputy director of the FBI, where he was responsible for the management of all FBI personnel as well as its budget, administration, and infrastructure.
Kevin R. Powers, J.D.
Director, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program, Boston College
Kevin is the founding director of the M.S. in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program at Boston College. He is also an assistant professor of the practice at Boston College Law School and in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management’s Business Law and Society department. Kevin has a combined 20 years of law enforcement, military, cyber and national security, privacy law, business, higher education, and teaching experience. He has also worked as an analyst and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Department of Defense. He has worked for law firms in Boston and Washington, D.C., and as the general counsel for an international software company based in Seattle, Washington.
Along with his teaching at Boston College, Kevin is a research affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has taught courses at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was also the deputy general counsel to the superintendent. Kevin serves as a trustee for the board of Boston College High School and as a member for the Boston College Law School Business Advisory Council. From 2016–2017, he was the panel lead for the Collegiate Working Group for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). Kevin is sought after regularly to provide expert commentary on cybersecurity and national security issues for a variety of local, national, and international media outlets.
Joseph R. Bonavolonta
Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division
Appointed by FBI Director Christopher Wray as special agent in charge of the Boston Division in 2019, Mr. Bonavolonta oversees all FBI operations in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Previously, he served as deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, a position he took after helping lead the Boston Division. He had served there as an assistant special agent in charge from 2013 to 2017, overseeing the counterintelligence and cyber programs. A former special agent in the New York Field Office, Mr. Bonavolonta received the U.S. Attorney General’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance in 2005 for his contributions to the Bonanno La Cosa Nostra Family investigations. He has held a variety of other leadership, operational, and investigative positions during his FBI career, from serving as program manager in the Organized Crime Section at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to being promoted to supervisory special agent of the corporate/securities fraud squad at the Newark Field Office, to serving as the section chief for the FBI’s employee development and selection program.
Joanna Baltes, J.D., L.L.M.
Curriculum Coordinator, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program, Boston College
Joanna Baltes is the curriculum coordinator for the M.S. in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance program at Boston College, and an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School and in Boston College’s Woods College. She is also a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Cyber and National Security programs at BC’s Woods College. Joanna is a former federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice (DOJ). She has served as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of California; trial attorney for the Counterterrorism Section; detailed trial counsel to the Office of Military Commissions in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and counsel to the assistant attorney general for the National Security Division. Her last position with the DOJ was as chief of staff to the FBI deputy director. Since leaving government service, Joanna has been involved in education policy, having served as president of the school board for the Williston Public School District Number One in North Dakota.
Global Lead, X-Force Threat Intelligence
Nick Rossmann is the global lead for IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence. His teams hunt for evil ransomware and reverse engineer malware to support incident response investigations and deliver threat intelligence. He works closely with product management across IBM Security to integrate threat intelligence into the portfolio. Prior to IBM, Nick was a senior manager for intelligence production at FireEye, where he coordinated research, including assessments of China, Russia, cybercriminals, and ICS vulnerabilities. In addition, he oversaw the production and dissemination of threat intelligence to clients and supported the sales organization with product marketing material. Before moving to the private sector, Nick was an intelligence analyst on Middle East issues at the CIA, and worked at the FBI and Department of Defense.