Todd Alan Schell, the valedictorian of the MMI Class of 1980, will serve as commencement speaker during MMI’s 129th annual Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 27. The event will not be open to the public due to capacity restrictions.
Schell, who currently serves as a Senior Product Manager at Ivanti, has worked his entire career in the computer security industry. He has held management positions as an Air Force officer, civil servant, company founder and entrepreneur, and commercial product manager.
Schell said he was honored to be selected to speak to the Class of 2021. He’s excited to share the lessons he’s learned throughout his career and hopes to inspire this year’s graduates on their path to success in college and beyond.
"As I look back on my career, there are two recurring themes that contributed to my success. I want the Class of 2021 to understand if they surround themselves with good people and contribute their best to achieve the goals of the group, they are almost guaranteed success," he said.
At MMI, Schell was a member of the Health Careers, Science, Hiking, Newspaper, Spirit, and Yearbook clubs and also played one season each on the baseball team and golf team.
While in college, he decided to join the military through the College Senior Engineer Program. Schell graduated from Lehigh University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Upon graduation, he was transferred to Officer Training School in San Antonio, Texas, where he finished second in his class and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force.
Schell served on active duty for five years from 1984-89 as part of a four-person computer security test team. Traveling the world, his team had the opportunity to test and ensure the security of highly classified systems including the space shuttle facilities at Vandenburg Air Force Base (AFB) used to launch military satellites and the USS Observation Island, a ship used to monitor compliance with strategic arms treaties and support U.S. military weapons test programs.
In 1989, Schell separated from the service as a Captain, and accepted an Air Force civil service engineering position in the Computer Security Countermeasures Branch at the Air Force Information Warfare Center located at then-Kelly AFB in San Antonio. After two years he was promoted to branch chief and was managing military members, civilians, and civilian contractors in the development of cutting-edge defensive computer security technologies.
In 1995, Schell, along with nine friends, founded WheelGroup, a startup computer security company in San Antonio. Eight of the ten founders originally met and worked together at the Air Force Information Warfare Center and Schell served as the company’s Director of Consulting Services. WheelGroup was one of the first companies to specialize in network security and penetration testing. They developed and sold the first commercial intrusion detection system, NetRanger, and also created the first network vulnerability scanner, NetSonar. After only three years in business, WheelGroup was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1998 for $122 million.
Following the sale of WheelGroup, Schell accepted a position with Cisco as a product manager, expediting the integration and adoption of the WheelGroup technology across the company. Leaving Cisco in 2000, Schell stepped away from industry and spent some quality time with his family.
Bit again in 2003 by the company startup bug, Schell spent nine years as a System Engineer for CoreTrace Corporation. Starting with a series of company mergers from 2012 through 2017, he has served in the continuous role of product manager, where today at Ivanti he works as Senior Product Manager for the company’s patch-related components.
He is a subject matter expert in a wide range of security technologies, including intrusion detection, application control, device control, and patch management.
Schell is married to Dr. Joleen Beltrami, MMI Class of 1982 and MMI’s 2015 Commencement speaker, and resides in San Antonio, Texas. They have two grown children, Austin and Madison, and a son-in-law, Spencer.