Shining Stars in ICS Cybersecurity: Tim Conway and SANS Technology Institute Students are Honored with Prestigious Michael J. Assante Awards

BETHESDA, MD, May 17, 2023 – SANS Institute, the global leader in cyber security training and education, and the SANS Technology Institute (, the nation’s premier college for cybersecurity, proudly announced the recipients of the esteemed Michael J. Assante Awards, paying tribute to the late Mike Assante, a trailblazer in the ICS security field. The Michael J. Assante ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award and Assante Scholar Awards were presented during a special ceremony at the 2023 SANS ICS Security Summit in Orlando earlier this month.

The Michael J. Assante ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Tim Conway, Technical Director of the ICS and SCADA programs at SANS Institute. The award was accompanied by thunderous applause and was presented by both Alex Assante, son of Mike Assante, and Robert M. Lee, Faculty Fellow at SANS Institute and CEO and co-founder of Dragos.

“Tim is more deserving of this award than any other person; he is undeniably a leader in the ICS community, and I’m honored beyond words to be able to present this award in my father’s name to a man I hold the highest amounts of respect and love for,” Assante expressed.

“Tim is a master role model for the ICS mission,” noted Lee. “He looks for excellence throughout his community and continually provides opportunities for others to grow. He has had a profoundly impactful career working on a global scale, and he has gotten the industry to where it is today. The ripple effect of Tim’s impact is so expansive that I do not think it can be measured.”

“I’m humbled, and I thank all of you,” remarked Conway, who was genuinely surprised to be the recipient of this year’s honor. “To have something like this with Mike’s name on it means the world to me. This field and this industry mean everything to me from a critical infrastructure and national protection perspective. But I wouldn’t be where I’m at in my life without faith, family, and friends.”

The prestigious Assante Scholar Award recognizes exceptional students excelling in industrial control systems (ICS) security, and the 2023 winners of the Assante Scholar Awards are:

  • Dan Behrens from Ohio
  • Brock Perry from Alberta, Canada
  • James Turner from Colorado

Dan Behrens made history as the first student to win the award for his outstanding achievements in the SANS Technology Institute’s cybersecurity master’s degree program. Both Brock Perry and James Turner earned recognition for their work in the SANS Technology Institute’s undergraduate certificate program in applied cybersecurity, and both continued into the bachelor’s degree in applied cybersecurity with the SANS Technology Institute. All winners demonstrated academic excellence in industrial control system security courses from the ICS/SCADA security curriculum originally developed by Assante.

“We take immense pride in announcing Dan, Brock, and James as the distinguished recipients of the Assante Scholar Award, recognizing their exceptional achievements in ICS security and honoring the inspiring legacy of Mike Assante,” commented Ed Skoudis, President of SANS Technology Institute. “Like Mike, these remarkable students exhibit tireless dedication, unwavering integrity, and a commitment to empowering those around them, making them the ideal ambassadors to carry on Mike’s vital work and contribute significantly to the security of our world’s critical infrastructure.”