THE FRONTIER RETURNS, APRIL 1-3, 2020
The Lyric Theatre and Hill Event Center | Birmingham, AL
Registration for The Frontier 2020 is now open.
In 2018, over 200 innovation leaders representing 130 organizations from 20 states and 5 countries 17 major industrial disciplines attended. Join us for the next edition of The Frontier Conference 2020 as we engage an even wider spectrum of disciplines shaping the future of the industrial world.
See list of Frontier 2018 Attending Companies here
Sort Innovators by track:
Industrial Business Development
Co-Founder & President
Detroit Mobility Lab
Mississippi State University, CAVS
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO | Chief Creative Officer
The Disruptive Factory
Dr. Peter Williams
Dr. Ram Shenoy
The RBR Group
Vice President, Governmental Affairs
Asst to SVP of Marketing & Business Development
SVB Financial Group
Shell Technology Ventures
Kristina M. Nilsson
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking
VP of Publications, Editor in Chief
Site Selection Magazine
VP of Research
Lux Research, Inc.
Nicholas J. Landau, Ph.D
Partner, Registered Patent Attorney
President & Founder
CANA Advisors & CANA Technologies
Associate General Counsel
Founder & CEO
Industrial Business Development | Alabama Power
Amendi Stephens represents Industrial Business Development within Alabama Power Company’s Economic & Community Development organization and has over 15 years of experience in the utility industry.
Amendi identifies profitable economic growth opportunities through competitive intelligence with a focus on chemicals and other industry segments such as primary metals and forest products. Her experience as a Business Development Manager along with her analytical skills and background in chemical engineering uniquely suits her as a key resource to industrial companies seeking to grow their businesses within the state of Alabama.
Amendi currently serves as the Project Manager for MAST, an Alabama growth initiative for the chemical industry. The MAST Initiative positions the Alabama Gulf Coast Chemical Corridor to expand on its existing strengths and emerge as one of America’s leading hubs for growth in the chemical industry.
Amendi graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Chemical Engineering.
Co-Founder & President | Detroit Mobility Lab
Chris Thomas is the co-founder and president of the Detroit Mobility Lab, an entity dedicated to helping Detroit become one of the world’s foremost future mobility ecosystems. This sector includes autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles, along with new transportation platforms including bike-, scooter-, and ride-sharing services. The sector is also involved in making more traditional types of transportation, like bus and train travel, more efficient and connected.
For Thomas, working on innovative ideas is a way of life. Before he co-founded the Detroit Mobility Lab, Thomas co-founded Fontinalis Partners, working to build it into one of the top investment firms in next-generation mobility. While at Fontinalis, he served as a board member for nuTonomy (acquired by Aptiv in 2017) and as a Board Observer at Parkmobile (acquired by BMW in January 2018) and Life360 (IPO in May 2019). His background also includes experience as a communications officer in the U.S. Army, and as an investment banker in UBS’ technology and energy groups.
Based in Detroit, Thomas also advises a number of mobility startups around the globe, acts as a Senior Advisor to the COMMIT Foundation, and is a member of the Global Cleantech 100 expert panel. He is also a Co-Owner of Buddy’s Pizza, the birthplace of original Detroit-style pizza, and an avid angel investor. Chris has previously served as the Chairman of Read to a Child, a national children’s literacy and mentoring nonprofit, and as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Personal Transportation Systems.
Executive Director | Mississippi State University, CAVS
Dr. Clay Walden serves as the Executive Director of CAVS after serving for many years as the Director of CAVS Extension. He has over 25 years of experience implementing quality and productivity improvements within a variety companies. A partial list of companies includes Mueller Industries, Nissan, Faurecia, PFG Optics, Dover Elevators, Tower Automotive, Herman Miller, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.
Since joining CAVS, Walden has managed over $20 million in externally funded contracts primarily focused on improving manufacturing performance around the state. One of his primary responsibilities including managing CAVS Extension\’s involvement within Mississippi\’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP.ms). Since 2006 CAVS Extension\’s MEP projects around the state have resulted in documented third party impacts of over $5 billion dollars. Walden along with colleague Glenn Dennis received the national MEP Practitioner of the Year for 2008.
Walden has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University. His dissertation is titled \”A Taxonomy Based Assessment Methodology for Small and Medium Size Manufacturers.\” In addition, Walden holds several professional certifications including Six Sigma Black Belt from the American Society for Quality, and is a Jonah from the Goldratt Institute.
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO | Chief Creative Officer | The Disruptive Factory
Cynthia A. Phillips, Ph.D. is the Founder & CEO of The Disruptive Factory. Phillips is an economist/agricultural economist as well as a business consultant to for-profit and social enterprises with over 20 years of experience in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, branding, analytics, big data, business development and global expansion. Former Director of International Marketing & Risk Management at American Express and currently consults with technology companies and start-ups such as Cisco Systems, Full Cycle Bioplastics, BioSerie, and Riverbed.
She currently serves as the interim Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer for Ascalon, LLC, a disruptive consumer and commercial bio-based products company. Phillips sits on several non-profit boards and advisory boards of start-ups including Akilah Institute, OROECO, and accelerators such as Think Beyond Plastic. Phillips served as the Founder of GlobalShiftTV, G Media Partners, and Disruptive Spirits. Phillips is serving as the CEO of Good Causes Corp and is the architect of Passport2Good, an engagement app to serve citizens and social enterprises.
Dr. Peter Williams
Peter has over 30 years’ experience in helping businesses and governments adapt to, and make the most of, new technology. He was formerly the CTO of IBM’s “Big Green Innovations” unit, where he played a major role in the development of IBM’s environmental management, water management, smart cities and disaster resilience businesses, most recently focusing on the applications of big data, IOT, AI, blockchain and digital twinning to public infrastructure and public services. He was accorded the honor of being named an IBM Distinguished Engineer in 2009, and also lectured at Stanford University for several years on Smart Cities and Communities.
Having retired from IBM in 2018, today he is an independent consultant working with governments and their vendors; a regular judge on VC competitions; and he also advises several start-ups. A native of the UK, he has lived in the US since 1999, and is married with three adult children. His PhD was awarded from the University of Bath, England.
Dr. Ram Shenoy
CTO | The RBR Group
Ram Shenoy is CEO of the RBR Group, a technology products and services commercialization company working with Fortune Global 500 clients, with offices in Silicon Valley, Houston and Dubai. Previously he was Chief Technology Officer of ConocoPhillips, a position he held for 4 years. Ram also spent 20 years with Schlumberger, with his last role being Vice-President of Research, leading Schlumberger’s global corporate research laboratories.
He serves on the boards of directors of Vertice Oil Tools and AlphaX Decision Sciences, and on the advisory boards of several energy startups including Kelvin Inc., Unipolar, Atomica LLC and BioInspira, and is a co-founder & chairman of WellDiver LLC. He is also Technical Director and Chair of Technical Committee for the Project Production Institute. From 2013-2017, he served on the U. S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board as the sole representative from the oil & gas industry, as well as on the Advisory Board of Energy Ventures Private Equity.
Ram earned his B.A and M. A. from the University of Cambridge UK, his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University NY, and his MBA from the Stern School of Business, New York University.
Vice President, Governmental Affairs | Alabama Power
Houston Smith serves as vice president of Governmental Affairs, where he is responsible for all aspects of governmental affairs at the state level.
He previously served as director of Corporate Affairs, where he was responsible for working with the Alabama federal delegation, as well as industry and trade groups to address issues affecting Alabama Power customers.
Smith began his career practicing law in both the Litigation and Governmental Relations sections at Balch & Bingham, where he served on the firm’s Diversity Committee. As an attorney, Smith was involved in the state and local bar associations, serving as president of the Birmingham Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. He completed both the Birmingham Bar Association and Alabama State Bar leadership forums. He maintains his license to practice law and his involvement in the local bar. In addition to his memberships in the Birmingham Bar Association, the Alabama State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, Smith continues to serve the Birmingham Bar as a member of the Advisory Board of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and as a Board member for the Birmingham Bar Foundation.
He is a recent graduate of Leadership Birmingham and is active in the community, serving on the Leadership Council for the Alabama Governor’s School, the board of directors of Alabama Possible, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama ( HICA!), and The Bell Center. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, and the Monday Morning Quarterback Club.
Smith graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was in the University Honors Program. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, where he serves on the Farrah Law Society Foundation board of directors.
Smith and his wife, Stephanie, have five children: Isabel, Jude, Davis, Patterson, and Waters. In his free time, he enjoys reading and coaches youth sports with varying degrees of success.
General Counsel | MalarVx
Jodi L. Hansell Herczeg is a highly accomplished executive and senior attorney with more than two decades of experience as a business leader and global corporate lawyer with a focus on securities, finance, and complex multi-national negotiations and transactions. Jodi is the General Counsel of MalarVx, Inc.,a bio-pharmaceutical company located in the Center for Infectious Disease Research facility in Seattle, Washington. MalarVx is developing a vaccine that puts it at the forefront of the fight to eradicate malaria by 2030.
Asst to SVP of Marketing & Business Development | Alabama Power
John is originally from Norman, Oklahoma but now calls Birmingham, AL home. He graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelor’s of science in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and completed a Master’s of Business Administration with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011. After graduating from Auburn, he started work with Alabama Power in their Professional Development Program. He has held varying roles in marketing, regulatory and external affairs. Recently, he worked in the Regulatory Affairs organization as the manager of Retail Pricing and Rates. He is now the Marketing and Business Development Manager where he supports Alabama Power’s Smart Cities initiative as well as other new business ventures.
John is the immediate Past-President of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the largest community based Rotaract Club in the world. In addition to Rotaract, John chaired the United Way of Central Alabama Campaign for Alabama Power. He is a member of the New Element group supporting the McWane Science Center, leads a small group with high school youth at Trinity United Methodist Church and served on the board of the United States Green Building Council. John is married to Cassi, a pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama, and have two-year old twin girls, Madelyn and Margaret. During their free time they enjoy long distance running, spending time outside with their golden retriever, cooking and international travel.
CEO | O3 Solutions
As the CEO of O3 Solutions, Josh is responsible for managing the team that is marketing and deploying O3’s Agile Project Management solution for Industrial Construction. The solution includes a suite of software tools that helps Owners of capital assets and Contractors define, facilitate, and oversee their approach to agile project management throughout their enterprise.
Before the launch of O3 Solutions, Josh worked as the SVP of Product and Market Strategy at Atlas RFID Solutions where he was responsible for setting and overseeing the execution of the hardware and software materials management product strategies. Prior to joining Atlas, Josh worked at Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a venture capital firm with $580M under management. Before joining Novak, Josh co-founded Proximities, a venture-backed, technology-based, payment processing company which was acquired in 2007.
Josh has 12 US and International patents and graduated cum laude with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University.
Vice President | SVB Financial Group
Kelly Belcher is vice president for SVB Financial Group in Houston, where he’s responsible for due diligence activity on new opportunities and oversees a portfolio of clients. In addition, Kelly is also in charge of cultivating the energy-tech ecosystem throughout the region. Because the energy sector has been extremely slow to accept change, Kelly is particularly passionate about how his work will help advance technologies in this industry. He’s excited about working with companies that are at the epicenter of developing ways to do things cheaper, faster, safer and more environmentally friendly.
Shell Technology Ventures | Shell
Kirk is a member of the team at Shell Technology Ventures (STV), Shell’s corporate Venture Capital fund. STV invests in technology companies focused on the oil & gas and future energy (clean/green tech) markets, as well as IT and mobile technologies that support them. STV acts as a strategic partner and makes minority investments in select technology companies, including Shell technology spin-outs, and also acts as an LP in some externally managed venture capital funds.
Kirk has over 15 years of experience as a successful serial entrepreneur and over 7 years as a venture capitalist and early-stage angel investor. Prior to Shell, Kirk was the founder and managing director of SURGE Ventures, a mentor-driven accelerator and seed stage venture fund. During this period, he led the investments into over 45 technology companies solving problems across the energy value chain including oil & gas, cleantech, power, energy efficiency, and horizontal applications that reach across. Under his leadership and direction, SURGE recruited more than 200 industry-leading scientists, investors, policymakers, customers, and entrepreneurs to serve as mentors. SURGE was repeatedly recognized globally as one of the top startup programs and early-stage investment funds.
Check out Kirk’s Frontier interview with Frontier Founder, Hank Torbert here!
Kristina M. Nilsson
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking | J.P. Morgan
Kristina is a Client Executive in the Technology Investment Banking Group, and co-leads J.P. Morgan’s Applied Technology practice. Kristina joined J.P. Morgan as an analyst in 2005 and was previously a member of the firms Diversified Industries Investment Banking Group.
Kristina has extensive transaction experience advising a broad range of public and private companies on mergers & acquisitions, restructurings, and equity and debt financings. Sector areas of focus include autonomous, artificial intelligence / robotics, internet of things, semiconductor, and energy & infrastructure technology.
Kristina serves as a J.P. Morgan Sustainability Ambassador, a member of the J.P. Morgan Climate Change Working Group, and a J.P. Morgan Winning Women senior leader. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Kristina received a B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College.
Founder | Independence Equity
Laurence Hayward is a founding partner of Independence Equity, an early-stage venture fund focused on resource efficiency. Hayward is co-founder of Cornerstone Angels, which has invested in more than 60 companies since 2006, and founder/CEO of VentureLab. Previously, Hayward was President of Vcapital.com, an early version of equity crowdfunding. Vcapital was acquired in 2002 by a NY-based investment bank. Hayward led global marketing for the Emerging Company Services practice of Arthur Andersen. He was appointed to represent the firm at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 1996. Hayward serves on the Boards of several portfolio companies. He is a graduate of the Joint MBA/BS program at the University of Illinois and holds Series 7 and 63 licenses.
VP of Publications, Editor in Chief | Site Selection Magazine
Mark Arend is Vice President of Publications and Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine, the leading U.S. economic development publication. On the editorial staff since 1997, Mark leads an award-winning team of writers and graphic designers in the bi-monthly delivery of global location analysis for senior management at corporations worldwide. Airport-related economic development, talent acquisition and foreign direct investment are among his areas of expertise. Prior to his tenure at Site Selection, Mark held editorial positions in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. A native of Ontario and raised in Connecticut, Mark is a graduate of the University of Hartford and lives near Atlanta.
VP of Research | Lux Research, Inc.
Mark Bünger joined Lux Research in 2005. As a VP of Research he focuses on strategic planning and advanced technologies in bio-, aero-, and energy domains. Over 20 years and across 40 countries, he has worked as a management consultant, technology analyst, and entrepreneur at Accenture, Forrester Research, and several startups. He has served as chairman of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, and guest lectures at the University of California Berkeley.
Mark studied business at Mälardalen Polytechnic (Sweden) and the University of Texas at Austin, and studied and worked in neurology and bioengineering labs at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is an avid linguist, athlete, and Maker.
Nicholas J. Landau, Ph.D
Partner, Registered Patent Attorney | Bradley
President & Founder | CANA Advisors & CANA Technologies
Mr. Cranston is an operations and logistics subject matter expert and President of CANA Advisors and CANA Technologies (Tech), Inc. CANA Advisors is a woman-owned, veteran-owned small business firm based out of Northern Virginia which specializes in providing niched integrated logistics, advanced analytics, supply chain and asset and operations management solutions for both commercial and Federal government clients. CANA Drone Solutions (CDS) is a product line under CANA’s Logistics Operations. CANA Tech is a software research and development incubator of asset and office analytics providing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products. Mr. Cranston has successfully managed organizational business processes across all corporate functions including operations, business development, acquisitions, program management, financial management, and R&D. Mr. Cranston has extensive experience in implementing operations and logistics systems – supporting both military and commercial organizations – including supply chain and transportation planning, facility and energy operations modeling , unmanned systems asset, and workflows management, additive manufacturing, spare parts planning and management, inventory demand planning, product to market roll out, company valuations, and analytics assessment models.
Mr. Cranston holds an MS, Finance from Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School and BS, Political Science from the University of Colorado. Mr. Cranston is an active board member with Somete Technology Group, Inc., and Association of Marine Corps Logisticians (AMCL).
Mr. Cranston is an avid triathlete and would love to hear more about your exercise fitness and wellness path!
Associate General Counsel | Crown Castle
In his current role Robert has responsibility for developing and executing federal, state and local advocacy to support the expansion and operation of Crown Castle’s fiber and small cell networks nationwide. In this role Robert manages a national team of lawyers responsible for interpreting local requirements and negotiating authorizations to construct and operate Crown Castle’s growing portfolio of telecommunications infrastructure. Prior to joining Crown Castle, Robert worked in the telecommunications practice groups of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and as a Director of Government Relations for Verizon Communications. For more than eight years Robert has served as the co-chair of the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Small Cell Advocacy Committee; he also has previously served as co-chair of the NorCal Chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association. Robert is a U.S. Army veteran; he received his J.D. from Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America where he was a member of the telecommunications law program and Editor-inChief of CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Technology Policy.
Principal | Schlumberger Ventures
Founder & CEO | Water Foundry
Will is an internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation. He has authored numerous books and articles and presented on: the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy, and the energy-water-food nexus.
He has been a water strategy advisor to private and public-sector enterprises and NGOs for his entire career. He has worked with multinational companies across a range of industry sectors in evaluating the technical viability and market potential of innovative water technologies, market entry strategies and M&A programs.
He is the author of: “Corporate Water Strategies” (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013); “Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector” (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013); and “Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth” (Dō Sustainability 2015). He is currently working on the forthcoming books, “Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity” (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018) and “The 21st Century Sustainability Challenge: Creating Abundance through Public Policy Innovation.
(Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018).
Check out Will’s Frontier interview with Frontier Founder, Hank Torbert here!
RE-THINKING INDUSTRIAL INNOVATIONS TOGETHER
The Frontier Conference is about the future of leaders of the industrial world, inviting the world’s top innovators, thinkers, executives, visionaries, investors, and entrepreneurs to cross-pollinate and re-think the future of each major industry.
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