Features

Kevin Pudliner – Concurrent Technologies Corp.

Algorithms and analysis help CTC prevent malware and guide health care

As executive director of Concurrent Technologies Corp.’s Information Technology Division, Kevin Pudliner isn’t always at liberty to talk about his team’s work.

He can, however, say they’ve played crucial roles in assisting the U.S. Department of Defense and intelligence agencies analyze data by developing algorithms that can also detect malware attacks.

Kevin Pudliner | Executive Director, Information Technology Division | Concurrent Technologies Corp.

Kevin Pudliner, CTC Executive Director, Information Technology Division, in front of the company’s headquarters in Johnstown, PA.

Pudliner and his team also developed algorithms that help health care providers decide whether a COVID-19 patient should be placed on a ventilator.

CTC’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status is particularly satisfying for Pudliner because the company’s profits go back into R&D, training, facilities improvements and purchasing more technology. Also, being a nonprofit means CTC’s R&D and solutions aren’t encumbered by a responsibility to shareholders.

“I enjoy being part of CTC because we’re staying on the cutting edge of technology,” he says. “CTC has so many different projects where we solve a clients’ hardest technology challenges, so I’ve been able to stay on the front edge.”

A growing ‘family’

CTC was founded in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1987 as Metalworking Technology Inc., a subsidiary of University of Pittsburgh Trust, to operate the National Center for Excellence in Metalworking Technology. The Center quickly became a supplier of advanced metalworking technology and solutions for the U.S. Navy.

The organization began growing and expanding beyond metalworking technology, and in 1992, changed its name to Concurrent Technologies Corp. to reflect its capabilities. It’s no longer part of the University of Pittsburgh Trust and has added offices in Alabama, Maryland and Virginia. CTC employees also work on-site with clients throughout the U.S.

Pudliner says CTC uses the development, security and operations (or DevSecOps) model for software and infrastructure solutions. He says DevSecOps integrates security at every phase of the software development lifecycle, addressing issues as they emerge rather than at the end of the process, saving time and resources. The company also provides edge node architecture and deployment as well as cloud architecture.

“Even though we might be in different locations, we work well together. It’s like a family here,” he says. “And we’re always focused on our clients’ needs. We have plenty of opportunities to apply technology for the good of the country.”

Malware beware

Using internal research and development, or IRAD, funds, Pudliner’s team created artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect malware that can alter or destroy information and imagery used by intelligence agencies. They did so by feeding malware and non-malware codes into an algorithm, then quizzing it to see if it’s able to detect them, he explains.

Kevin Pudliner | Executive Director, Information Technology Division | Concurrent Technologies Corp.

Kevin Pudliner, CTC Executive Director, Information Technology Division.

CTC also interprets data and algorithms so its clients get a clear understanding of what threats they may face and what courses of action will best address the threats. The IRAD-funded work can also attack the attackers in what Pudliner calls “ethical hacking.”

“We want to prevent anyone from changing algorithms, so we look at how people might attack,” he adds. “We’re able to let our clients know, by a percentage, how confident they are that something is malware or not.”

AI and machine learning are not new areas of focus for CTC. However, Pudliner and his team have been able to apply them more often because computing power and storage capabilities have increased dramatically in the past five to seven years. Those capabilities aren’t just for military or intelligence use—they also employed them for public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pudliner led a project that gathered depersonalized patient data, including co-occurring conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and smoking habits, to create an algorithm that helps doctors and health care providers decide whether to put a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator as well as their chances of survival if they are intubated.

He adds the depersonalized data can be applied to specific geographic and demographic areas to provide more insight for making decisions on care. He and his team also created a three-minute video for health care providers to show what the algorithms can do.

“This project is helping doctors analyze every unique patient and increase their decision confidence level regarding mechanical ventilation,” Pudliner says.

New talent welcome

Pudliner emphasizes the unique projects and advanced technology CTC offers as he looks for experts in AI and machine learning for his team. He’s also looking for data scientists, cybersecurity and cloud solutions architects, and cross-domain solutions specialists who are adept at securely transferring classified and unclassified information.

His team is currently working on enabling sensors on satellites and other equipment to provide intelligence in greater detail to military personnel on the ground more quickly. As the team works, they know what to expect under his leadership.

“Transparent is one of the best words to describe me,” Pudliner says. “Whether it’s inside or outside the office or when I’m volunteering in the community, I’m direct with everything I’m doing.”

Kevin Pudliner | Executive Director, Information Technology Division | Concurrent Technologies Corp.

Concurrent Technologies Corporation employees have a reputation for giving generously to their neighbors in need. Here, Kevin Pudliner works with abused and neglected children at a baseball camp designed to create positive memories through hope, healing, and honor.

CTC has also provided Pudliner the opportunity to work in his hometown of Johnstown. After earning B.A. and B.S. degrees in engineering and electrical engineering from Saint Francis University and Penn State University, respectively, he spent three years as a system engineer for Lockheed Martin in the Philadelphia area.

He joined CTC in March 2003 as its senior director for national intelligence programs. In 2006, he earned his master’s degree in engineering management from Robert Morris University. He was promoted to his current CTC position in August 2022 and is currently working on his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.

“We’re mostly competing against large companies and competition is fierce,” Pudliner says. “But based on our great technical work, we continue to receive large contract awards to develop customized solutions in a variety of disciplines to solve our clients’ toughest issues.”

View this feature in the Summer I 2023 Edition here.

Published on: July 25, 2023

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