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Board of Directors and Elected Officers




Immediate Past President

Mark McKelvin


Mark TenEyck


Phyllis Marbach


Rick Hefner

Membership Director

Karen Grothe

Programs Director

Nazanin Sharifi

Communications Director

Scott Birtalan

Systems Engineering Education Director Dorothy Benveniste
 Ways and Means Director  Shirley Tseng

Appointed Officers and Volunteers




Newsletter Editor

Jorg Largent

 Speaker Meeting Site Host Deborah Cannon

Paul Cudney

Board of Director Biographies

President / Immediate Past President - Dr. Mark McKelvin

Dr. Mark McKelvin is the current Vice-President of the Chapter. Mark’s background includes a broad spectrum of experiences and contributions to the profession.

Dr. McKelvin is a Senior Engineering Specialist in systems and software engineering at The Aerospace Corporation. Dr. McKelvin specializes in the use of model-based engineering techniques to develop solutions to architecture design challenges in cyber-physical and software-intensive systems. He is also a Lecturer in Systems Architecting and Engineering Program at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering where he teaches courses on Model-Based Systems Engineering and Systems Engineering Theory and Practice. His interests are in the application of modeling, analysis, and design of engineered systems, including cyber-physical, embedded, and software systems. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California Berkeley with an emphasis in Electronic Design Automation.


Vice-President - Mark TenEyck

Mark TenEyck is an accomplished business executive with 30 years of experience in management, design, fabrication and building. He started his first business at the age of 19 in residential home building and design. He transitioned to an 18-year tenure with Dassault Systemes in management selling innovative engineering solutions. He also designs and buds custom modern warm furniture sold in high end retail stores, is on the Advisory Board at Cerritos College and teaches computer aided design (CATIA) at Roosevelt High School. TenEyck has championed innovative methods for reduction of cost, scrap and environmental impact in product development. He is distinguished by his passion for business, focus on collaborative team building and commitment to delivering results. His contagious enthusiasm instills him and his team members with extraordinary energy and dedication in an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged. A dynamic public speaker, teacher and mentor, Mark is a sought after presenter at meetings, team building events and conferences. He transmits key concepts in business innovation supported by smart adoption of technology to enable business to continually improve their products and processes while reducing their overall costs. Mark is passionate about his work and enjoys encouraging others to experience the dynamic of design and fabrication. He donates his time teaching in Boyle Heights and mentoring First Robotics Teams.


Secretary - Phyllis Marbach

Phyllis Marbach is a Senior Software Engineer for Boeing Defense Space & Security (BDS). Phyllis has over 30 years’ experience in aerospace programs; including Satellites, chemical lasers, the International Space Station, and various propulsion systems. Currently she is working with Boeing Commercial Airline (BCA) projects applying Systems Engineering Best Practices and the Boeing Agile Scrum for Engineering.  Phyllis has been a Boeing Agile Coach for Unmanned Air Systems, Networked Radios, and research programs. Ms Marbach, a Certified Scrum Master, a Certified Scrum Product Owner and Scaled Agile Coach, holds an MS degree in Engineering from UCLA.   She has been a member of INCOSE for 4 years and is an author of 3 papers and numerous presentations on NCOIC in 2006 and more recently agile systems engineering presented to local engineering groups, international conferences and publications.

Phyllis has been active in the INCOSE-LA chapter presenting at the Mini-Conference in 2012, running a panel discussion at the Mini-conference in 2013, helping run the Huntington Beach Remote Site during 2014 and hosting the August 2014 networking event in Orange County.  She joined the INCOSE Agile Systems and System Engineering Working Group in January 2013.  Phyllis recently joined the board of directors for the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at California State University Northridge (CSUN) and is the current Membership Director for INCOSE-LA.

Phyllis Marbach   

Treasurer - Dr. Rick Hefner

Rick Hefner, PhD, specializes in systems development and maintenance; project management; Lean Six Sigma; process improvement, technology transfer; and risk management. His experience spans over 35 years. Dr. Hefner currently serves as Program Director for the Caltech Center for Technology and Management Education, where he is responsible for developing and delivering professional training in systems engineering and project management. 

Previously, Rick served as director of process management at Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he managed corporate process initiatives related to Lean Six Sigma and program management. Dr. Hefner has also worked with companies in the aerospace, defense, communications, electronics, and health sciences industries, including Applied Physics Laboratory, Ares Management, Boeing, DRS Technologies, Halliburton, Herbalife, Honeywell, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, John Deere, L-3, Maytag, Motorola, Pacific Bell, Raytheon, Schlumberger, Southern California Edison, St. Jude Medical, Toshiba, U.S. Navy, and Xerox.

He is credited with over 200 publications and presentations, and certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in applied dynamic systems control. He received his MS and BS from Purdue University in interdisciplinary engineering.

Rick Hefner   

Director, Membership – Karen Grothe

Karen Grothe has 16 years’ experience as a systems engineer working at McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, and Raytheon. She received a Systems Engineering Master’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University and an Astronautical Engineering Certificate from UCLA Extension, both in 2015. While a graduate student, she led LMU’s INCOSE Student Division as President for two years working to coordinate activities for students and encouraging students to get involved in INCOSE-LA, earning her the 2015 President’s Award for Outstanding Service to the INCOSE L.A. Chapter. In addition to her INCOSE activities, she has been involved in Toastmasters for the last three years, currently serving as the president of Westside Toastmasters club in Santa Monica.


Director, Programs - Nazanin Sharifi              

Nazanin Sharifi is a Systems Engineer who works with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems as a Risk and Process Lead to help ensure the success of command and telemetry, communications planning, maintenance, and software sustainment functions for operation and maintenance to support peacetime, contingency, homeland defense, humanitarian assistance, and wartime operations.

Nazanin was recruited by Northrop Grumman Mission Systems from Pennsylvania State University. She has worked with Northrop Grumman for 10 years, gaining experience from nano to system of systems level engineering.

Nazanin is trained in Six Sigma, certified Greenbelt, and an INCOSE member for 6 years. She has been active in promoted STEM events both in INCOSE Chesapeake and LA Chapters, has volunteered her time to review papers, and is an active INCOSE-LA member.

Nazanin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Pennsylvania State University.


Director, Communications - Scott Birtalan

Scott Birtalan has volunteered for the LA Chapter since he joined INCOSE in 2010. He began as a member of the networking committee helping to organize fun and casual events for the local systems engineering community. Since then Scott has taken the lead on networking and subsequently filled the student division liaison role. Over the years, the chapter has been expanding the student outreach program with more student divisions, increasing engagement opportunities for newer engineers within the student divisions, the chapter, and greater INCOSE.

Scott has been employed at Northrop Grumman in the LA area since 2002. Working in the area of systems operations analysis initially, he has rotated through both leadership positions and varying technical positions working to broaden his knowledge of systems engineering, software product management, project management, and, particularly, aircraft systems applications. Scott is currently located at Northrop’s Camarillo facility working as a project manager supporting the Naval Air Warfare Center at Point Mugu on airborne payload software sustainment programs.

Scott’s educational background is in aerospace engineering with a B.S from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His systems engineering education is from USC with a M.S in operations research. He has also has attended the Cal Tech project management course, the Cal Tech agile project management course, and has practiced as an INCOSE Certified Systems Engineering Professional.

When Scott isn’t working he spends his free time hiking and backpacking in the local mountains, participating in plenty of fitness activities, and roving the streets of LA for fantastic food.


Director, Systems Engineering Education - Dorothy Benveniste

Dorothy is an experienced engineering leader across multiple skill areas, suppliers and contractors. She is a highly motivated agent of change and an accomplished senior project engineer at Boeing in airplane life cycle from product development through aircraft final delivery. Dorothy manages large-scale, complex 2nd Century technology solutions using generative design tools, model-based systems engineering and additive manufacturing to reduce complex parts design using digital models. Dorothy is passionate about nurturing our underserved youth to pursue STEM education and careers at our local universities.


Director, Ways and Means - Shirley Tseng

Shirley Tseng is long time member of the Chapter and has been contributing to a broad spectrum of activities. She is one of the earliest members of INCOSE, having joined in 1995. She matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor’s of Systems Science and Engineering, plus, at the same time, a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the prestigious Wharton School. Shirley has been busy in both industry and community outreach. She was with Hughes Space and Communication, Hughes New Venture Organization, Infinite Global Infrastructures and the Morgan Franklin Corporation. Her outreach in the professional community includes the IEEE, the 1 Million Cups group that supports entrepreneurs (in Orange County), the International Science and Engineering Fair, and the AIAA. All this explains how she is an invaluable source of information activities of potential interest to the systems engineering professionals in the Los Angeles Chapter. Over the years Shirley has served the Chapter in a variety of capacities as an officer and as a source of wisdom and insight into the decisions before the Board of Directors.