About the Event

Date: Postponed to TBD
Time: All Day.
Registration at 8:30am
Sessions start at 9am. Day ends by 6pm.
To be announced closer to the event.

Greater Chicago Area

Sessions Chair:

The earlier you register, the more you save! if you register now. (How pricing works.)

Sessions Chairs

Pam Lefkowitz, Core Computing Technologies, Inc.

Pam possesses an enviable list of qualifications and certifications that attest to a lengthy and successful career as an IT professional and highly sought-after consultant. She may be best known for coining (and trademarking) the phrase It's Always DNS®. Originally an inside joke, the phrase now serves as a calling card for the insightful work of a consultant comfortable working at all levels of networking, applications and operating systems to produce exceptional results for a client list that ranges from Enterprise level to Medium and Small Businesses. It may not always be DNS, but Pam will always dig to find out what it is!

Neil Ticktin, MacTech Magazine

Neil not only plays host for all MacTech events, but aids the session chairs for all MacTech events (over 100 events since 2010). Neil has been the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of MacTech Magazine since 1992. With both a technical and business background, Neil has authored hundreds of articles including most of MacTech's well known benchmarking articles on productivity applications, virtualization, and performance products.


Jack-Daniyel Strong, Strong Solutions

Jack-Daniyel Strong is the President of J-D Strong Consulting, Inc. and Strong Solutions. As a member of the Apple Consultants Network, J-D Strong Consulting grew from a one-man consultancy to Strong Solutions, an Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider for the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho area. Strong Solutions' sole focus is on Mac OS and iOS solutions for Small and Medium Business. When Jack isn't coming up with Apple related solutions, he is heavily involved in helping to revitalize the surrounding community, serving as President of the Spokane Neighborhood Business Centers, Past-President of the East Spokane Business Associations, and as a member of the Greater Spokane Small Business Council. And, in his free time he sneaks in some golf and white water rafting.

Brian Best, Mac-MSP, LLC

Brian Best is the founder and chairman at BestMacs, Kansas City's only managed services provider focused on Apple products, now it its 17th year. He also founded Mac-MSP - known for its Gruntwork and BlueSky products - which is now part of LogicNow, the global market leader in the delivery of integrated cloud-based IT Service Management solutions to Managed Service Providers and end user businesses. In his new role, Brian is working to make LogicNow the best in Mac support for Managed Service Providers and end user businesses. Brian is an ACTC, a long-time Apple Consultants Network member, and ACN Advisory Council emeritus. When not working his day job, he enjoys time with his wife and sons, judging BBQ competitions, and watching Chiefs football.

Allen Hancock, Watchman Monitoring, Inc.

Allen Hancock received his Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri - Columbia. This background in education keeps him coming back to MacTech. In 2000, Allen started the Mac Consulting Group, Inc: an Apple Specialist and Authorized Training Center based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, he found his thrill in helping clients make the most of their computing experiences. In 2012, Allen sold the Mac Consulting Group to The Orchard, where he continues to do what he loves most: help make happy customers. Over the course of his career, he met too many people as they suffered a failing hard drive without a current backup. As a means of preventing such loss, Allen founded Watchman Monitoring, Inc. Its namesake product is a Software as a Service tool which allows service providers to address such problems before it’s too late.

Neil Ticktin, MacTech Magazine

Neil not only plays host for all MacTech events, but aids the session chairs for all MacTech events (over 100 events since 2010). Neil has been the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of MacTech Magazine since 1992. With both a technical and business background, Neil has authored hundreds of articles including most of MacTech's well known benchmarking articles on productivity applications, virtualization, and performance products.

Ryan Grimes, My IT Indy

Ryan Grimes started HoosierMac Consulting 11 years ago this June. Two years ago he transformed HoosierMac from a “Break Fix” company to a Managed Services provider on the Apple platform. In 2015 HoosierMac Consulting became My IT Indy with a focus on business consultancy and integrating technology. My IT Indy has been able to better serve business/education customers by shifting focus and now tells customers when they’re having problems instead of the other way around. When Ryan isn’t working with his amazing staff at My IT Indy, he’s probably watching his kids play a sport somewhere.

Chad Lawson, Rocket Science Labs, LLC

Chad Lawson first fell in love with the Mac with HyperCard in high school and created a Periodic Table stack that interacted with a Laserdisc player. That life-long romance led him to launch his current company, Rocket Science Labs LLC in 2014 where he uses training and speaking to help organizations close the divide between technology and people. Between having his personal computer broken into through a 56k modem and his current tinkering with microcontrollers, Chad is brutally aware of the dangers and benefits of the Internet of Things. When Chad is not working with clients on technology... he is playing with technology for fun. He just can't stop! In July, he started a new video podcast, verbosemode.tv, to showcase technology fundamentals through problem solving.

Craig Doran, MacHero Inc.

Craig Doran (ACSA, ACTC) is the Solutions Team Manager/Architect at Chicago-based ACN MacHero. He has held Apple system administration positions in secondary education, an international not for profit, a global toy company enterprise, and metropolitan consulting agency. Since using his first Mac in March 1984 in his father’s 2nd hand computer store (how quaint!), he has seen it all in Apple technology.

Chris Sheppard, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Chris joined Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 2014 as a Macintosh Desktop Engineer. His team is responsible for managing all aspects of the Mac environment at Fermilab. His day-to-day tasks involve assisting with tier-3 desktop support requests and incidents that require research or broad Mac knowledge, administering and working in the JAMF Casper Suite, which we use to deploy software to centrally managed Mac computers, conducting testing and project participation.

Andrew MacKenzie, Capstan Networks, LLC

Andrew is the founder and Lead Consultant at Capstan Networks LLC, serving schools and small businesses in Chicagoland. A former high school computer teacher and Apple Systems Engineer, he is driven to assemble Apple and related solutions to bring technology within reach of his clients and customers. Providing professional services and consulting since 2006, Andrew strives to make it about the person, not the product. He lives in Downers Grove, Illinois with his wife and their four kids.

Invest in yourself. Don't wait.

Sessions and Topics

  • Managing and User-Proofing Security as Malware Threat Grows In today’s environment, users are often convinced to install software that is a security breach we are trying to prevent. Worse yet, they will "do things" that will make us all just cringe. Managing security with the growing threat of malware on both OS X and iOS, as well as managing Virus protection software, have become both more of a challenge, and more important at the same time. What does real protection look like? Does it impact the performance of the computer? What are some of the offerings out there, and how do you choose the right one?

  • Mac Admins Approach to Linux Servers Administration. You use Apple solutions, but are now finding that OS X Server may not be the best solution for many of your needs. You know you need to go to a Linux cloud host for some things. How you do bring up a LAMP server and have it feel more "Mac-like" and avoid becoming a full time Linux sysadmin? And, what the heck do you do about file servers? This session is about options available to deploy reliable server technologies in a way that extends your knowledge instead of having to re-invent yourself.

  • Networking: Discover, Map and Reporting Essentials Networks are not an option -- you depend on them everywhere. Whether it’s troubleshooting, enhancing, or a complete redesign, you need to start with understanding what you have. In so many cases, techs inherit a network and, often, the lack of documentation with it. How do you discover, map and report on your network? We’ll take a look not only at tools like nmap and snmp, but also the command line tools and utilities that come built into OS X. We’ll then look at additional open source tools and commercial products that you may want to consider.

  • Backing up Cloud Servers, and Remote Storage You know that you need to backup your client machines, or at least their data. What about all the data that you have on servers? Cloud storage? What are some of the things that you need to consider when the worst happens: your cloud provider disappears, a Sony hack, a natural disaster, or more? How you should be using tools like rsync, and mysql, in an automated fashion? What commercial products are available for you that do well with live server files and data?

  • IT, Workflow and Personal Automation. Automation. Whether you’re doing “personal automation” or workflow and IT automation, built-in tools like AppleScript and Automator make OS X a great platform to replicate processes without adding more work to your schedule. In addition, there are productivity automation tools that can extend productivity even further. In this session, we’ll go beyond the basics and show you some things that accomplish real work, in really helpful ways, by using the powerful features of OS X’s automation.

  • Deploying Devices: State of the Union and How you select an MDM As the increase of mobile devices floods into Education and Enterprise, the need for consultants to deploy iOS devices increases with it. Security, restriction, BYOD controls, information access, application and deployment, and so much more. What is the current state of Apple’s tools? Do you have to use them? What is the latest on Apple’s volume programs? What are the third party looks out there and, more importantly, how do you go about selecting or re-selecting -- because you’re revisiting the topic -- an MDM solution for your organization.

  • Why every Apple tech, IT Pro and consultant should think like a MSP. You may or may not know what an MSP is -- it’s not a common phrase in the Apple community. In large part, most Apple consultants, IT Pros, and techs already fall into the category of “Managed Service Providers.” After all, it simply means that you manage, support, or provide services; that you help determine the services someone needs; and that you do so either proactively or reactively. But, in doing all this, what are the things that you should be thinking about for your organization, or your clients, that will help you do an even better job?

  • Creating the Ultimate Diagnostic Drive Whether you’re an IT Pro, consultant, or tech, having a diagnostic drive is something that is not only something that’s required, it’s something that requires some thought. Which versions of OS X? What third party utilities? How do you handle Core Storage (and non) volumes? And more. Everyone’s situation is different, and not only are there a number of variables, there are hard limitations to contend with. This session reviews first-hand experiences and best practices for creating the most valued tool in your arsenal.

  • IoT and Home Automation: What you need to know. You're a tech, and you presumably like technology. You know that the world of “Works with Apple HomeKit” is coming your way. And, you're seeing Nest, Amazon, smart lighting, power devices, IoT and more. You may not only want to play with these technologies yourself, but people are going to ask you for guidance, recommendations, and insight. Come learn about what a smart home is, and what these technologies mean to techs and consultants — not just for yourself, but for your clients and possibly your organization.

Invest in yourself. Don't wait.


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