Thomas is a leading authority on fostering next-generation mobility ecosystems.
BIRMINGHAM, AL – (January 16, 2020) – Chris Thomas, one of the nation’s leading experts on the next-generation mobility sector, will be a speaker at Frontier Conference 2020, where more than 200 business, government and academic leaders will share information and best practices for industrial innovation.
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.
The Detroit Mobility Lab is helping companies foster innovation while building a forward-thinking workforce that can bring expertise in artificial intelligence, robotics, connectivity, electrification, and computer science to the automotive and broader mobility industry. The Mobility Lab’s mission of helping to facilitate innovation at industrial companies ties well to the theme of the Frontier Conference.
The Conference, set for April 1-3 at The Lyric Theatre and Hill Event Center in Birmingham, is designed to share ideas between industries about everything from transportation logistics, to renewable energy’s impact on power generation, to leadership tips for forward-thinking industrial companies. The last Frontier Conference, held in 2018, attracted innovation leaders representing 130 organizations from 20 states and five countries, spanning a total of 17 major industrial disciplines.
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.
“It’s critical that industrial companies learn how to build and buy new technologies if they are to play a major part in the evolving field of mobility,” Thomas said. “Building the best teams, and giving them the ability to think differently, is critical to success, and I am excited to talk about these topics at the Frontier Conference.”
About The Frontier Conference
The Frontier Conference is a two-day conference for up-and-coming leaders in the industrial world, including top innovators, executives, investors, and entrepreneurs, to cross-pollinate and rethink the future of industrials. We bring together leaders who are on the edge of the industrial internet, thus leveraging data and designing solutions in areas such as robotics, AI, IoT, advanced materials, and other emerging technologies.
The Conference was founded by Hank Torbert, Kirk Coburn and Tim DeSilva. Hank is an executive and investor focused on identifying and supporting emerging technologies for industrials. Kirk is an entrepreneur, investor, and member of Shell’s corporate venture capital fund at Shell Technology Ventures (STV), focused on investing in both traditional oil and gas technologies and future markets. Tim DeSilva is a brand architect and creative strategist, co-founder of Culture Pilot, and co-curator of event experiences such as TEDxHouston and Visualized NYC.