The Technical Committee on Communications Quality & Reliability (CQR) is an IEEE Communications Society international professional organization that is unique in its service to the quality, reliability and security professionals of the global communications industry.  The IEEE Communications Society CQR Chair Scott Poretsky,  honored Nilmini RubinMarsali Hancock, Biju Nair, H. Brian Thompson and Paul Twomey with the 2017 CQR Chairman’s Award at an awards ceremony during the 2017 CQR International Workshop in Naples, Florida on May 17, 2017.

Criteria upon which recipients were selected include:

  • sustained contributions in the field of Quality, Reliability & Security of
    communications services, networks or systems;
  • a demonstration of the core value of a professional society- adding value to others; and
  • integrity consistent with that of a role model.

Award recipients
H. Brian Thompson, Nilmini Rubin, Scott Poretsky (CQR Chair), Marsali Hancock and Biju Nair
                                                     Award Recipient
                        Scott Poretsky (CQR Chair) and Paul Twomey

Nilmini Rubin, Tetra Tech, USA
For her leadership to ensure everyone around the globe regardless of environment and economic condition has access to communications infrastructure; for her global view in legislative efforts that ensure all people have quality access to electricity and the internet; for her unique understanding of the intersection of technology, policy and human equality.
Nilmini Rubin, VP for International Development at Tetra Tech where she leads policy and engineering services for infrastructure projects in developing countries

Previously, Nilmini served as the Senior Advisor for Global Economic Competitiveness at the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee where she directed technology, trade, finance and energy policy. On behalf of Chairman Royce, Nilmini spearheaded passage by the House of Representatives the Digital Global Access Policy Act of 2016 to promote internet access in developing countries. She drove passage of a law to increase access to electricity in Africa that serves as the framework for the United States’ Power Africa initiative. She also championed passage of laws to provide trade preferences and trade promotion authority. Prior to this position, she advocated on cybersecurity, cloud and privacy policy for the Information Technology Industry Council.

For eight years, Nilmini led international economic, development and transparency policy at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She drove the passage of a law that requires oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to reveal trillions of dollars paid to governments that has been since adopted by the European Union and is being considered by many other jurisdictions.

As a Director at the National Security Council at the White House, Nilmini secured agreements with the G-8 to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to raise billions of dollars for the Global Fund for AIDS/HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and increase transparency of international organizations.  She previously worked on international economic policy at Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Nilmini’s work has been highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Politico, Yahoo! and numerous international publications. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a “40 Under 40” Leader in International Development by Devex, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was featured on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and appeared briefly on Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

Nilmini is the mother of three young girls and co-wrote a book with her oldest daughter entitled “How Carrots Became Orange.” She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with her MBA in 1999 and her BA in 1994

Marsali Hancock, DQ Institute, USA
For her lifelong service protecting children around the world in cyberspace; for defining and implementing her vision ensuring technology is properly used; for her global leadership to bring technology solutions to a human problem.

Marsali Hancock, Chief Digital Officer – DQ Institute

Marsali serves as Chief Digital Officer at the DQ Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing children for their digital future, improving digital culture and innovation.  She also serves as a commissioner with the international nonprofit, Global Information Infrastructure Commission where she works with nation-state leaders to foster positive, healthy digital environments.  Additionally, Hancock Chairs the IEEE Standards for Child and Student Data Governance Working Group (7004).  The standard defines specific methodologies to help users certify how they approach accessing, collecting, storing, utilizing, sharing, and destroying child and student data.

Hancock engages with both national and international groups on digital citizenship issues.  She was the first to develop a public health approach to online safety and identify the core critical skills and competencies required to reduce known online risks.  The primary focus of her work is to identify critical policies, programs and support structures needed to create a positive digital culture and to build the networks of support needed for youth to thrive. Hancock has assisted in the development of safer internet practices in multiple countries around the world.

Hancock’s research partners include UNESCO, UNICEF, Center for Media on Child Health, Southwest Grid, CyberSafe Kids AU, Rochester Institute of Technology, EdTech Pro, and others.  She directs and supports initiatives with U.N. Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Education, World Economic Forum, The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), EduSummit, National Technology Leadership Summit, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Child Online Protection Group (COP), UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and others.

Biju Nair, HYLA Mobile, USA
For his service to provide basic technology to those less fortunate so that they can improve their lives; for his technology innovations that have improved the user experience; for his global leadership to focus technologists on the human element of technology.
Biju Nair, Founder & President – HYLA Mobile, Inc.

Biju Nair has a 20 year record of entrepreneurial and innovation leadership that has helped shape today’s wireless software industry.  His inventions, the businesses he started and the products he pioneered have had a profound impact on the wireless software market.  His innovative work on network analysis tool at SAFCO Technologies, his groundbreaking work on seamless roaming between wireless technologies at PCTEL have lead to widespread adoption of these products in the industry.  His Big Data analytics work on subscriber churn reduction as well as innovation around next generation of connectivity solutions for LTE based devices lead to acquisition of his last start-up by Synchronoss.

Mr. Nair presently serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Hyla Mobile, Inc. (Previously eRecycling Corps), a Tier 1 VC backed company focused on sustainable mobile eco-systems and enabling connectivity for the 64% of humanity that does not have Internet access.  At Hyla, Biju is focused on developing technology that will make it easier and cost-effective for mobile operators to acquire and process devices from early upgrade programs and convert them into profitable revenue streams, while promoting sustainable practices throughout mobile eco-system.

Mr. Nair also serves on the board of directors of, a San Francisco based VC backed start up; 7Signals, a Cleveland Based connectivity solutions start up; and is on the advisory board of Neural Therapeutics, a New Jersey based medical informatics company.

Mr. Nair has 3 patents granted worldwide pertaining to the fundamental technology associated with seamless roaming between different types of data networks, as well as automated data synchronization between network connected devices and cloud; and has 11 patent applications pending.  Mr. Nair is also a frequently invited speaker at most major wireless conferences, like Mobile World Congress, CTIA, Mobile Future Forward and Wireless Influencers’ Conference.

H. Brian Thompson, GTT Communications, USA
For his leadership designing and implementing historic telecommunications technologies that fundamentally improved access to quality communications for people around the world; for his lifelong service to others as advisor and mentor; and for his exemplary business and policy acumen that helped to steer the digital revolution.
H. Brian Thompson, Executive Chairman – GTT Communications

H. Brian Thompson is Executive Chairman of GTT, a cloud networking service provider offering Tier 1 IP and Ethernet network solutions to multinational enterprises, with headquarters in the Washington, DC metro region and offices in Chicago, Denver, London, Frankfurt, Milan and Cagliari, Italy.

As a veteran senior executive of the telecommunication industry, Thompson has been instrumental in impacting the rise of competitive telecommunications both in the U.S. and abroad.

Thompson served as the Co-Chairman for the Americas and on the Executive Committee of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission, a multinational organization launched in Brussels in 1995 to chart the role of the private sector in the developing global information and telecommunications infrastructure.  For Ireland’s Department of Public Enterprise, Mr. Thompson served as Chairman of both the Advisory Committee for Telecommunications and, more recently, the Advisory Committee on Infocoms.  For the period January-March 1999, he served as Chairman of Telecom Eireann, Ireland’s incumbent telephone company.

He serves as a member of the Irish Prime Minister’s Ireland-America Economic Advisory Board and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lab School of Washington & Baltimore Lab.  He is a former chairman of the U.S. Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), and also served on the University of Massachusetts Chancellor’s Executive Committee, as a Trustee of Capitol College in Laurel, MD, and Trustee of the St. Stephens and St. Agnes School Foundation in Alexandria, VA.

Thompson continues to head his own private equity investment and advisory firm, Universal Telecommunications, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.

H. Brian Thompson is the author of “The Red Thread – My Fortunate Life in Telecommunications” and pays tribute to his family and their pivotal role that made him the leader he is today.

Paul Twomey, STASH.Global, Australia
For his achievement in providing a steady hand in leading the development and growth of the Internet at a critical stage in history; for welcoming over one hundred nation-states to the process of shaping the Internet’s future; and for his dedication to collaborating with peers to mutually solve past, present and future challenges of society as it deals with information.
Paul Twomey, Co-founder of STASH.Global

Paul’s focus now is on cybersecurity and secure data storage and sharing.   He also maintain a close involvement in the policy issues around Internet governance, cybersecurity and international relations.  Expertise includes strategic advice for technology start-ups, technology diplomacy, systemic cyber risk analysis, and the Domain Name System.

Paul has a Ph.D. History, from University of Cambridge; M.A. Political Science, from Pennsylvania State University and B.A.( 1st class Hons) Law and History, University of Queensland

Paul has broad and deep work, policy and non-profit experiences with 14+ years on various governance commissions and strategic boards, Stash.Global the secure data storage company (3 years), Argo P@cific cybersecurity consulting (5 years), ICANN (12 years), Australian Government National Office for Information Economy (3 years), Australian Trade Commission (3 years), McKinsey & Company (5 years) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (2 years).