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Colin Jenkel

Senior Proptech Solutions Architect , Amazon

Veteran: U.S. Army

Class of 2024

“I believe that the next generation of vulnerability discovery, monitoring, and management tools—assisted by Generative AI—will be better than ever.”

Colin Jenkel seems like the kind of guy you’d want in your foxhole. His varied professional background includes commercial diving and underwater welding, working as a medical lab specialist in infectious disease for the US Army, researching microfluidics at the university level, and, as he discreetly puts it, “a broad range of physical security roles.”

Jenkel is currently the senior proptech solutions architect at Amazon’s Global Real Estate & Facilities (GREF) unit, one of the world’s largest corporate real estate portfolios. How he got there from underwater welding starts with a childhood fascination with computers, but gathered steam on his last mobilization with the Army Reserves at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where he was assigned to support the Armed Services Blood Program. The unit had received a number of new pieces of network gear that were going unused, and Jenkel stepped in.  “I designed a series of network solutions for the unit, picking up a Security+ CompTIA certificate along the way.”

Once back in civvies, Jenkel worked in IT for a large truck manufacturer, then followed his boss to Amazon to manage the GREF and Amazon Corporate Security technology portfolios. “Both groups had tremendous need. I quickly learned that there were few to no tech resources available to them, and that the application portfolio had unique security needs within the organization. Over my first four years at Amazon, I covered a broad variety of tech roles for GREF and ACS, and also became a domain expert in the cybersecurity for these applications.” He ultimately led digital security with the financial operations risk intelligence group.

In his current role, he is responsible for standing up and operating the Shipyard, a new laboratory built by GREF and Amazon Security that is dedicated to the security, functional testing, and innovation of connected devices, and guiding the organization’s technology strategy. “Connected devices are key to improving sustainable, secure, and cost-effective user experiences at GREF’s hundreds of locations” Jenkel said.

As he moved into his current role, Jenkel realized that the MSCRS program would provide the larger strategic and regulatory context around cybersecurity, complement his technical skill set, and enable him to engage more accurately with non-technical stakeholders. “Cybersecurity governance and regulation is a vast ocean of ambiguity, and so learning to navigate its uncertain waters will allow me to drive longer-lasting strategic solutions,” he said.

“Today cybersecurity is the sport of cybercrime gangs, nation-state actors, and hacktivists. But the big problem is not the threat actor, rather it is economics and optics—security costs money, and if done correctly, produces an absence of threat. My goal is to use the brilliant thinking of cybersecurity engineers to produce not only secure systems, but profit-generating innovations as well.  I believe that the next generation of vulnerability discovery, monitoring, and management tools—assisted by Generative AI—will be better than ever, easing the load on those organizations that can afford them.”

The MSCRS program, with its “second to none” faculty and cohort are helping him reach that goal, Jenkel said. “The most important learning I have from the program centers around an understanding of the legal precepts that guide cybersecurity regulation. Understanding how and why laws are made, regulations are recorded, and judgments entered in the past sets the table for those on their way in.”

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