THE FRONTIER Returns, APRIL 11-13, 2018
THE CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER NEW ORLEANS
In 2017, over 100 organizations with decision makers representing 20 states visited New Orleans to learn, connect and re-think innovation across eight major industrial disciplines. In 2018, join us for the next edition of The Frontier as we engage an even wider spectrum of disciplines shaping the future of the industrial world.
Bringing you the best in the business
Co-Founder & CEO
CEO & President | Co-Founder
Silicon Valley Bank
DAA for Strategy | ARMD
CEO & Partner
Dr. Tara Karimi
Founder & CEO
Chief, Advanced Tech & Tech Transfer
Co-Founder & CEO
Loyola University New Orleans
Karen Griffith Gryga
Shell Technology Ventures
Co-Founder & CTO
City of New Orleans
Ron Ondechek Jr.
South Highland Ventures
Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & CEO | Biota Technology
Ajay bring 15 years of experience in biotechnology across an array of markets including energy, healthcare, and software. Currently, he is the CEO and Co-founder of Biota, applying DNA sequencing and software to the energy market. Previously, Ajay worked at XSeed Capital, a venture capital firm investing in science-based innovation, as a Principal investor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Prior, Ajay was a Senior Manager at Genentech with increasing responsibilities in operations and project management, and an engineer at Biokinetics, acquired by Alfa Laval (OMX:ALFA). Ajay holds a BS and MS in Engineering from UC Berkeley and Stanford University, respectively, and an MBA from the UC Berkeley-Hass School of Business.
CEO & President | Co-Founder | Fluence Analytics
Managing Director | Techstars Energy
Audun Abelsnes is the Managing Director of Techstars Energy in partnership with Statoil. Statoil is Norway’s by far largest company, dual listed at the Oslo SE and NYSE. Statoil is recognized as one of the most admired energy companies globally always pushing the theoretical limits of advanced engineering.
For several years, Audun Abelsnes has been responsible for the master-level course “New Venture Creation” (5th year) at BI Norwegian Business School (one of the Top30 business schools in Europe). He also founded and sold one company and he has been instrumental in funding and scaling up a medical diagnostic company.
Audun has spent several years in PWC management consulting and holds Master of Science in International Marketing from BI Norwegian Business School and City University in London.
Managing Director | Silicon Valley Bank
Blake English is a Managing Director at Silicon Valley Bank and a member of its Energy and Resource Innovation (ERI) team. As SVB’s Energy Innovation practice founder and global lead, he is focused on fostering the development of the Energy Innovation ecosystem, and growing SVB’s energy portfolio out of the Bank’s newest office in Houston, TX. Blake joined SVB at its Palo Alto, CA office in 2007. There he was a lead participant in the formation and national roll-out of SVB’s Early Stage financial services platform for Technology, Life Science and Clean Technology companies. In 2010, Blake moved to Austin, TX to oversee the rapid expansion of SVB’s Central Texas and Gulf Coast Technology, Life Science and ERI banking practices. Blake received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Applied Economics from The State University of New York at Buffalo.
DAA for Strategy | ARMD | NASA
Mr. Pearce is responsible for leading aeronautics research mission strategic planning
to guide the conduct of the agency’s aeronautics research and technology programs,
as well as leading ARMD portfolio planning and assessments, mission directorate
budget development and approval processes, and review and evaluation of all of NASA’s
aeronautics research mission programs for strategic progress and relevance.
Pearce is also currently acting director for ARMD’s Airspace Operations and Safety
Program, and responsible for the overall planning, management and evaluation of
foundational air traffic management and operational safety research.
Previously he was director for strategy, architecture and analysis for ARMD, responsible
for establishing a strategic systems analysis capability focused on understanding the
system-level impacts of NASA’s programs, the potential for integrated solutions, and the
development of high-leverage options for new investment and partnership.
From 2003 until July 2010, Pearce was the deputy director of the FAA-led Next
Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Joint Planning and Development
Office (JPDO). The JPDO was an interagency office tasked with developing and
facilitating the implementation of a national plan to transform the air transportation
system to meet the long-term transportation needs of the nation.
Prior to the JPDO, Pearce held various strategic and program management positions
within NASA. In the mid-1990s he led the development of key national policy
documents including the National Science and Technology Council’s “Goals for a
National Partnership in Aeronautics Research and Technology” and the “Transportation
Science and Technology Strategy.” These two documents provided a substantial basis for
NASA’s expanded investment in aviation safety and airspace systems.
Pearce has received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for sustained excellence in planning
and advocating innovative aeronautics programs in conjunction with the White House
and other federal agencies. He received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for
outstanding leadership of the JPDO in support of the transformation of the nation’s air
transportation system. Pearce has also received NASA’s Cooperative External Achievement
Award and several Exceptional Performance and Group Achievement Awards.
CEO & Partner | RenshawCo
RenshawCo is a venture capital firm that invests in both real estate and FinTech companies. Camille was previously Head of Sales for Ten-X, a Google Capital company and leading online marketplace for real estate that includes products like Auction.com. Prior to Ten-X, she founded the Stan Johnson Company’s New York office where she led their sales team with a focus on Industrial properties and Sale Leaseback.
Renshaw has established herself as an industry leader, making frequent speaking appearances, authoring articles and being quoted extensively by a number of leading publications, including Wired, The New Yorker, WSJ, and GlobeSt.com. She was recognized as a “Woman of Influence” by Real Estate Forum, and named one of “NYC’s 15 Women to Watch in Real Estate” by Sokol Media. A member of multiple corporate boards for FinTech companies, ranging from Brokers+Engineers to Space in the Raw, she also serves as advisor to DreamIt’s UrbanTech Accelerator.
Dr. Tara Karimi
Founder & CEO | Cemvita Factory
Dr. Tara Karimi is the founder and CEO of Cemvita Factory, a startup making the first ever solar cell that produces food. Dr. Karimi has devoted her academic career to learning biological systems and applying the natural principles to the outside world. Dr. Karimi started her research in veterinary medicine, and from there ventured into biochemistry. Introduction to biochemistry was the onset of her journey into multidisciplinary science as she completed several projects in tissue engineering, genetic engineering, molecular and developmental biology, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine. This broad exposure and passion for chemistry of life allowed Tara to connect the dots in biology and chemistry to pioneer what she calls “Cognitive Chemistry”. Dr. Karimi received her Doctor in Veterinary Medicine & PhD in Biochemistry from Shiraz University, her Postdoc in Tissue Engineering from University of South Carolina & her Post doc in Stem Cell Programming Tulane University.
Chief, Advanced Tech & Tech Transfer | NASA
Mr. Duane Armstrong is the Chief of the Advanced Technology & Technology Transfer branch at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi.
Mr. Armstrong manages NASA’s technology development program at Stennis Space Center. Stennis engineers are developing new valves that are more reliable and more cost effective that commercial options, energy harvesting techniques to capture and utilize waste heat, novel propulsion systems to enhance the capabilities of small satellites, computational modeling techniques to predict the effects of rocket fuel detonations, and intelligent, autonomous systems to safely and efficiently operate critical systems without human intervention.
Mr. Armstrong also manages NASA’s technology transfer program at Stennis Space Center to ensure that technologies developed for NASA missions are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation. Over the last two years Mr. Armstrong negotiated more patent licenses for Stennis technologies than were licensed in the previous twenty years combined. Under his leadership, the intellectual property created by Stennis is now licensed in thirty states across the country and twenty countries around the world. Furthermore, Mr. Armstrong has created a network of 550 institutions across Mississippi and Louisiana to inform the public about the benefits of NASA research and development in daily life, and to educate students and industry about the opportunities to utilize NASA intellectual property in business.
Finally, Mr. Armstrong serves as a strategist to help Stennis Space Center solve difficult problems and adapt to changing market conditions so the center can thrive for decades to come.
Co-Founder & CEO | STRATIS
Felicite Moorman is an award-winning technology entrepreneur and attorney with over twenty-five years of experience founding and building companies. She received the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award and has earned an international
reputation as a go-to IoT industry expert, developing pioneering strategic partnerships and unprecedented technology strategies and initiatives in the Internet of Things.
Moorman is the Co-Founder and CEO of STRATIS and CEO of BuLogics, companies that pioneer groundbreaking IoT development across the globe. STRATIS is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for access, energy, and automation management and control for multifamily and campus communities in Smart Cities. BuLogics designs, builds, and certifies wireless devices and solutions for the Internet of Things.
Moorman, an international speaker and columnist has been featured in dozens of mass media outlets and publications.
Prior, Moorman launched the Emerging Technologies Division for GE’s Consumer and Home Electronics brand. Moorman quickly established her reputation in technology, engaging eight Fortune 500 companies in less than eighteen months, entering new vertical channels, and creating and beginning execution on the strategic plan to dominate the Internet of Things lighting peripherals market. Today the GE lighting line is a part nearly every home automation and security platform offered in the United States.
Early in her career, Moorman lead the most sought after marketing and management partnership in Baltimore real estate. Moorman oversaw $1.5 billion dollars of transactions in less than five years, including property acquisition management for the $500 million dollar expansion of Rutgers University.
Managing Partner | Sutton Stone
James is the managing partner of venture building and blockchain advisory firm, Sutton Stone. He is also the Honorary Representative in the USA for the Board of Investment of Mauritius focused on innovative ventures and blockchain. James has founded, advised on and lead several ventures in various fields from blockchain, token sales, cryptocurrency, casino & gaming, power markets, healthcare to logistics. He holds degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Law and postgraduate qualifications in Applied Finance and Investments and carbon accounting.
Director | Loyola University New Orleans
Jon Atkinson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Management at Loyola University New Orleans and the Founding Director of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, which is a university initiative working to train the next generation of local entrepreneurs to recognize business opportunities and start and scale new and innovative enterprises. Jon, currently, teaches Entrepreneurial Strategy and Entrepreneurial Finance and is leading the development of the College of Business’s undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship specialization within the MBA program. As Founding Director, Jon also brought Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad methodology to Loyola, developed a technology commercialization program with NASA, licensed and expanded the IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge, and focused on creating career pathways for Loyola students within high impact jobs in local start-ups and value-creating enterprises.
As an expert in entrepreneurial finance and growth strategy, Jon helped build the local angel investment group Lagniappe Angels from the ground up and currently serves as its Coordinator, where he manages the group’s deal flow process, including sourcing, evaluating and structuring equity investments in early stage, high growth potential companies. Jon is a self-proclaimed “recovering banker” and an integral part of the local entrepreneurial community, serving as judge for numerous pitch competitions and Startup Weekends and leading finance bootcamp sessions for entrepreneurs at local incubators The Idea Village and Propeller. In addition, Jon has served as CFO to startups in New Orleans and founded the Changemaker Institute at Tulane University while earning his MBA in Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management and Leadership. He was twice recognized by New Orleans City Business in 2011 and 2015 as a “Money Maker” Honoree, whose fiscal work has set the pace for their organization and the region, and he also made the Silicon Bayou 100 list in 2014 as a major influencer in New Orleans’ startup community.
Karen Griffith Gryga
CIO | DreamIt Ventures
Karen Griffith Gryga is an experienced venture capitalist, investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of startup and emerging growth company experience. Karen is Chief Investment Officer for DreamIt. Karen is also co-founder of Dreamit Health and founder of the DreamIt Athena program which focuses on female founders. Karen has helped launch over 200 companies that have generated over $1.5 billion in shareholder value. Karen has held over a dozen board roles on private companies including Synchronoss (Nasdaq: SNCR) and is currently on the boards of Haystack Informatics and the Please Touch Museum. DreamIt is a leading technology accelerator for entrepreneurs which has worked with and launched close to 300 companies since 2008 including SeatGeek, HouseParty, LevelUp, Biomeme, Biobots, Tissue Analytics, Parsely, MindSnacks and Adaptly. Dreamit is the only growth accelerator designed for mature startups. Post-seed companies with product market fit, some revenue, or early traction are left with limited funding options and resources to scale before qualifying for today’s “super-sized” A rounds. We put our companies in front of customers, key strategic partners to drive pilot programs and distribution before we match them with larger venture funds and investor groups to raise follow-on funding. The DreamIt Fund focuses primarily on the follow on investments of DreamIt companies exhibiting strong growth and traction. Dreamit Fund has been named as one of the Top 30 venture capital firms in the United States. We are also one of the most active early stage healthcare investors in the country.
Karen was Co-Founder and CEO of FashInvest, an initiative focused on emerging growth entrepreneurs within Branded Goods, Fashion, Fashion Tech and Retail. The goal of FashInvest is to create a business platform focused on bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and industry executives to foster the growth and development of emerging growth enterprises within Branded Goods, Fashion and Retail. FashInvest is a media, events and advisory entity. Karen was also Co-Founder of Lipstick Wisdom whose focus was on practical, actionable video-based day-to-day advice for moms with children with neurological challenges.
Prior to her entrepreneurial experience, Karen was a Founder and Partner of Liberty Venture Partners, a Philadelphia based venture fund established in 1997 with $150 million under management. Prior to Liberty, Karen was a Managing Director of Philadelphia Ventures Inc., a privately held venture capital management firm with a family of corporate and institutional limited partnerships exceeding $100 million of committed capital. Notable transactions included Synchronoss (Nasdaq: SNCR), InSoft, (acquired by ape), Liveprint.com (acquired by Kinkos), Cadis (acquired by Aspect Development) and WiseBear (acquired by Michael Milken).
Karen has also been Executive Director of MAG, The Mid-Atlantic Angel Group as well as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Context Capital Partners.
Ms. Gryga is well known throughout the entrepreneurial community and was previously on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group for seven years and was Chairman of the group for the 1999-2000 term. Ms. Gryga also serves on the board of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Ms. Gryga began her career at TRW Inc., a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, in their Federal Systems Division as a software developer. Ms. Gryga is a frequent speaker on the subject of venture capital and entrepreneurialism in both professional and academic communities. Karen holds a MBA in decision analysis from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (with Distinction). At the same time as Wharton, Karen obtained a Masters in Computer Science from the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Karen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in computer science (Phi Beta Kappa) from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Shell Technology Ventures | Shell
Consultant | MIST Cluster
Laurie Jugan is an independent consultant currently supporting the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) through the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET) at Stennis Space Center and USM’s contract for the formalization of the Marine Industries Science & Technology (MIST) Cluster. Under the latter effort, she promotes the Blue Economy of the Gulf Coast region, coordinates events, and assists small to medium-sized companies find business opportunities.
For MSET, Ms. Jugan serves as a Program Manager, developing and conducting programs that link technology providers with organizations that can apply the technology to their missions. She is well-versed in government contracting and the technology transfer process. She routinely provides guidance to companies as they navigate through the processes of various federal agencies and identifies business opportunities for companies based on their products/services.
Prior to her work with MSET, Ms. Jugan worked for 25 years in a small, local technology business serving in a variety both technical and business roles. She is a retired Oceanographer, maintaining connections to the industry through the Marine Technology Society, as well as former work associates. Her other roles included hiring manager, contracts manager, supervisor, facilities manager, supervisor, proposal manager, and business development/marketing specialist.
Co-Founder & CTO | Houston Mechatronics
Nicolaus Radford. Mr. Radford is co-founder, and CTO of Houston Mechatronics, Inc (HMI), a rapidly growing robotics and mechatronics startup, specializing in robotics, intelligent automation, and electric-based platforms with a strong focus in the subsea domain. Prior to HMI, he spent 14 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory. At the conclusion of his service to the government, he was the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Valkyrie robot, a bipedal humanoid developed for both disaster response as outlined in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) and NASA’s Mars exploration vision. Former to that, he served as the Chief Engineer for Robonaut 2 (R2), a spaceflight humanoid robot, initially developed in partnership with General Motors as a prototype for advanced manufacturing processes requiring human level dexterity and coordination. He then led the efforts to redesign and qualify R2 for the International Space Station (ISS). He was also the PI for NASA in DARPA’s advanced electric machine research for robotics using Variable Flux Memory Motors (VFMMs). He also led NASA’s efforts in exoskeleton research for ISS crew exercise and mobility assistance and initially served as Co-PI for NASA on DARPA’s Warrior Web program, which focused on wearable robotics for military applications. He has extensive experience leading multidisciplinary teams in challenging development timeline environments. During Mr. Radford‘s tenure at NASA, he was the recipient of numerous patents, design awards, and commendations for his expertise and leadership that ultimately culminated in him receiving NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. He has been published several times on a multitude of topics relating to spaceflight robotics and is Part Editor for Springer’s Humanoid Robotics Handbook.
Senior Advisor | City of New Orleans
As senior advisor for economic development, Rebecca Conwell is instrumental in strengthening the City’s economic development functions. In this role, Rebecca attracts new businesses, oversees the City’s incentive offerings and works closely with the New Orleans Business Alliance to manage the guidelines that are used to evaluate requests for public financing. She is also responsible for managing the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, a collaboration with The Food Trust and HOPE, which offers direct financial assistance to retailers that increase access to fresh foods in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
Prior to joining the City of New Orleans, Conwell served as the member-manager of Twenty-Two Ten, L.L.C., a consulting business specializing in government affairs, project creation and execution, issue analysis and management and grassroots coalition building. Conwell spent 14 years at Tulane University, serving as executive director of state and local governmental affairs, chief of staff for the University president and interim executive director of the Cowen Institute, a think tank for K-12 education in New Orleans. Conwell has a B.B.A. in Finance from Lamar University.
Ron Ondechek Jr.
Managing Director | South Highland Ventures
Managing Director | Techstars Mobility
Managing Director | AIAA
Tom Irvine is the Managing Director for Content Development at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In this role, he leads the identification of emerging societal trends, aerospace technologies and adjacent business sectors that are of importance to the aerospace community. His office is responsible for developing products related to these emerging technologies, ranging from events, to publications, to the development of positions on matters of public policy.
Previously, Mr. Irvine was the Deputy Associate Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA HQ where his responsibilities included the executive management of NASA’s aeronautics research program.
During his career, Mr. Irvine has worked in a number of areas including test and evaluation, aircraft icing, space electrical power systems, and composite material mechanics. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1980 and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1982, both from The Ohio State University. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
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).
Will is a Board Member of 10.10.10 (www.101010.net) and ASSET (www.assetcampaign.org) and Founder of WetDATA.org. He was a 2016 X-PRIZE Bold Visioneer for the Safe Drinking Water Team and is on the: Scientific Program Committee for Stockholm World Water Week; Executive Council of NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Editorial Board of the Journal of Water Security; and a Technical Advisor for the Climate Bonds Initiative: Nature-Based Solutions for Climate and Water Resilience.
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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