These top innovators have partnered with The Frontier to provide valuable insight on delivering relevant and substantial content to ensure you get the most out of this year’s conference.
Thank you Planning Committee!
Co-Founder & CEO
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO | Chief Creative Officer
The Disruptive Factory
Dr. Tara Karimi
Founder & CEO
Marine Industries Science & Technology (MIST) Cluster
Founder & CEO
Managing Partner | Mercury Fund
Adrian Fortino is a Managing Partner at Mercury, where he leads Mercury’s Midwest office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, intelligent manufacturing and industrial IoT. Adrian currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Ambiq Micro (observer), Benson Hill (observer), Deepfield, LISNR (observer), and Sight Machine. Adrian’s previous investments at Mercury have included Meshify (acq. by HSB Group).
Prior to joining Mercury, Adrian was the Managing Director of Detroit Innovate, a seed stage investment fund targeting seed investments in enabling technologies in healthcare, transportation and industrial applications. During this time, Adrian was also the Managing Director of the First Step Fund, a micro-investment, industry agnostic fund focused on seed-stage companies in Southeast Michigan. Prior to Detroit Innovate and the First Step Fund, Adrian co-founded three software companies: Sidecar (acq. by GM), ShepherdIS, and FlockTAG. Prior to founding startup companies, Adrian was the Manager of Powertrain Development with Ricardo, a global engineering consultancy focusing on the automotive, cleantech, military and industrial sectors. Adrian received his BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA with High Distinction from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Outside of Mercury, Adrian serves on the advisory board of First Step Fund, teaches venture capital classes at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Law School, and leads the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan-sponsored Catapult, which connects entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan with emerging and innovative non-profits in the region.
Co-Founder & CEO | Fluence Analytics
Alex is co-founder and CEO of Fluence Analytics, a manufacturer of systems that produce continuous data streams enabling realtime optimization of manufacturing and R&D processes. His vision and leadership took the Tulane University spin-out from patented laboratory concepts to a company delivering innovative products for process monitoring and optimization for chemical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
Alex serves on the boards for the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and the Applied Polymer Technology Extension Consortium. In 2016 Forbes recognized Alex as a 30 under 30 recipient, and he has been recognized with several local entrepreneur and innovation awards. Alex is also active in the New Orleans community where he regularly mentors local entrepreneurs, students and faculty on the commercialization of technology as well as entrepreneurship.
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. 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.
Principal | Altira Group
J.P. Bauman is a Principal at Altira Group, a Denver-based venture capital firm that makes growth equity investments in technology-advantaged oilfield service companies. Mr. Bauman has extensive experience investing in and building value in growing businesses. He is responsible for all aspects of the investment process at Altira, including deal sourcing, due diligence and structuring, as well as serving in operational advisory roles for portfolio companies. He currently serves on the board of Seeq Corp, Agile Upstream, and FlexGen Power Systems. Prior to joining Altira, Mr. Bauman was a Vice President at Perseus LLC, an Associate at One Equity Partners, and a banking analyst at JPMorgan and Bank One. He has also been a co-founder or advisor to numerous early-stage companies. Mr. Bauman holds an M.B.A. and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.
Consultant | Marine Industries Science & Technology (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.
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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