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

Awards highlight the achievements of talented individuals dedicated to enhancing the security of critical industrial control systems 

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."

About Michael J. Assante

Mike Assante, a luminary in the realm of industrial control system (ICS) cybersecurity, held esteemed positions as the founder of the groundbreaking ICS Security curriculum, ICS and SCADA Lead, and Director of Industrials and Infrastructure at the SANS Institute. Mr. Assante, who sadly passed away in 2019, left behind an extraordinary legacy of trailblazing innovations that significantly advanced critical infrastructure system design, threat intelligence, detection, mitigation, and incident response capabilities within the ICS community. To honor his invaluable contributions and perpetuate his pioneering spirit, SANS Institute honors an outstanding professional who impacts the field of ICS in a positive and meaningful way with the Assante ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award, and the SANS Technology Institute established the prestigious Assante Scholar Award, open to both undergraduate and graduate students who display exceptional talent and dedication in the field.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cybersecurity training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cybersecurity events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on technical certifications in cybersecurity. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's and bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to manage their "human" cybersecurity risk easily and effectively. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community, including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system-the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners representing varied global organizations, from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community.

About the SANS Technology Institute

The SANS Technology Institute (, America's premier college for cybersecurity, delivers distinguished career-focused undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by a world-class faculty of highly skilled information security practitioners, hands-on cybersecurity courses updated for real-world relevance, and industry-recognized GIAC certifications earned within each program. offers innovative online and in-person course delivery options, including 100% online options for all its programs, and boasts the proven success of its alumni. Master's degree students at conduct leading-edge cybersecurity research, enhancing the state of the art in information security practices. The college also houses the Internet Storm Center, the world's leading global cyber threat detection network, where bachelor's degree students gain hands-on experience as Apprentice Handlers. The SANS Technology Institute is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For more information, visit