THE FRONTIER RETURNS, APRIL 12-14, 2021
The Lyric Theatre and McWane Science Center | Birmingham, AL
Registration for The Frontier 2021 is Now Available!
Hotel Booking for The Frontier Conference 2021 is Coming Soon.
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 2021 as we engage an even wider spectrum of disciplines shaping the future of the industrial world.
See list of Frontier 2021 Attending Companies here
Sort Innovators by track:
Managing Director, New Ventures
Industrial Business Development
Strategic Alliance Lead
AT&T Smart Cities
Managing Director, Alabama | Sr. VP, Strategic Relations
Co-Founder & Partner | Detroit
Mississippi State University, CAVS
Dr. John Cumbers
Founder & CEO
Dr. Peter Williams
Dr. Ram Shenoy
The RBR Group
Founder | Global Fellow
Meeting of the Minds | Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center
Analyst of New Development & Growth
Vice President, Governmental Affairs
Dallas Innovation Alliance
Director of New Development & Growth
Brightstar Capital Partners
SVB Financial Group
Investment Director, Shell Ventures
Kristina M. Nilsson
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking
Mississippi Enterprise for Technology
VP of Publications, Editor in Chief
Site Selection Magazine
Director, NASA Programs
Nicholas J. Landau, Ph.D
Partner, Registered Patent Attorney
Vice President and Partner for Digital Cities and Infrastructure
Founder and President
President & Founder
CANA Advisors & CANA Technologies
Associate General Counsel
Chief Business Officer
Mobility Insight (Mobi)
Brightstar Capital Partners
Founder & CEO
Managing Director, New Ventures | Southern Company
Abbey Roy is Managing Director, New Ventures, at Southern Company, America’s premier energy company. She is currently responsible for developing the commercialization strategies for new energy technologies and business models that are impactful to Southern Company. She is focused on assembling strategic partnerships with industry leading suppliers as well as new product development efforts ongoing in-house with the Research and Product Development teams and collaboration with the operating companies. She also works with Energy Impact Partners, a strategic energy-focused venture fund founded by Southern Company in 2015.
In 2014, Abbey joined Southern Company in the Engineering and Construction Services Organization. While in this department, she supported projects for various operating companies including construction contracting, project engineering, and renewable acquisition development support.
Before joining Southern Company, Abbey worked for Houston based KBR, a global provider of professional services and technologies across the asset and program lifecycle. She served in a variety of positions, including engineering, construction, and business development, during her 12 years with the company.
Abbey earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering later followed by her Executive Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Alabama.
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.
Strategic Alliance Lead | AT&T Smart Cities
Ben Easterling is Strategic Alliance Lead of AT&T Smart Cities, a business unit inside of AT&T’s Internet of Things Solutions. Ben is responsible for the ecosystem of solution providers & strategic alliance partners that drive the product development, business development and go-to-market strategy for AT&T’s Smart Cities initiatives.
As a Strategic Alliance Lead, Ben is responsible for finding & cultivating strategic relationships with the right best in class companies with the best in class technologies that builds a robust ecosystem of partners leveraging AT&T’s 4G LTE connectivity to deliver a complete solution to Cities. These include Fortune 100 companies like GE, Hitachi, and Southern Company. This solution delivers economic development, public safety, transportation, and sustainability benefits to the City to improve operational efficiencies for the city and improve the quality of life for their citizens.
Ben was previously with GE as Director of Sales in the GE Energy Management / Digital Energy group and prior to that held numerous leadership positions within Southern Company during his 28-year career. Ben has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University.
Currently, Ben chairs the City of Alpharetta Recreation & Parks Commission. He also is very active in supporting local and national charities, including Rotary International, the American Red Cross, YMCA, and American Partners Corporation – mentor’s vete
Managing Director, Alabama | Sr. VP, Strategic Relations | C Spire
Ben Moncrief is Managing Director for C Spire in Alabama. In this role he serves as the company’s senior representative in the state – overseeing market development and network expansion throughout Alabama. Additionally, as C Spire’s Sr. VP – Strategic Relations, Ben is responsible for developing business and policy solutions to achieve C Spire’s overall strategic goals, as well as identifying and developing strategic partnerships and business opportunities, and overseeing C Spire’s interaction with state and federal policy-makers, consumer advocates, other industry players and the media in the telecom policy space.
Before joining C Spire, Ben served in several capacities on Capitol Hill and was in private legal practice with the law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where he litigated complex business disputes in the U.S. and Europe.
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company providing comprehensive wireless communications, all-fiber broadband services, a Tier III+ certified data center, and managed and cloud services to consumers and businesses.
Founder | Birmingham Bound
Britney Summerville is the Vice President of Community Engagement at Shipt & founder of Birmingham Bound in Birmingham, Alabama.
Britney primarily focuses on making an impact within the city of Birmingham and across the South to drive growth and entrepreneurship specifically in the technology space. On a daily basis she develops and nurtures relationships with the goal of leveling up Birmingham’s technology sector.
Britney was an early team member at Shipt, a membership-based marketplace, enabling same-day delivery of fresh foods and household essentials across the United States. Shipt was acquired by Target in December 2017 and operates as an independent subsidiary serving many retailers. Also at Shipt Britney created the Shopper Coaching and Retail Partners teams and created the internal mentoring and education programs before starting Birmingham Bound.
Britney is passionate about the growth and development of Birmingham and serves on the boards of the 2121 World Games, TechBirmingham, REV Birmingham, Birmingham Kiwanis, and Wyndy. She was recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as a Person to Watch for the Decade, chairs the American Heart Association 2020 Go Red for Women, is a 2019 Women’s Fund Smart honoree, was a BBJ 2019 Emerging Influencer, and a BBJ 2018 Woman to Watch.
Co-Founder & Partner | Detroit | Assembly Ventures
Chris Thomas is a co-founder and partner of Assembly Ventures.
Prior to Assembly Ventures, he co-founded the Detroit Mobility Lab and the Michigan Mobility Institute. Previous to this, Chris co-founded Fontinalis Partners and for over a decade worked to build it into one of the premier investment firms in next-generation mobility. While at Fontinalis, he served as a board member for nuTonomy (acquired by Aptiv in October 2017) and Karamba Security, and as a board observer at ParkMe (acquired by INRIX in September 2015), Parkmobile (acquired by BMW in January 2018), Life360 (IPO in May 2019), Ouster and SmartKargo.
Prior to Fontinalis, Chris served in the U.S. Army as a communications officer in the U.S. and Iraq. Before joining the military, Chris worked as an investment banker at UBS within its Technology and Energy groups in San Francisco and New York. Additionally, Chris 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 advised a number of mobility startups around the globe; served as the chairman of Read to a Child, a national children’s literacy and mentoring nonprofit in the United States; and acted as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Personal Transportation Systems.
Chris earned his master’s degree in business administration from the Yale School of Management. While at Yale he served on the Honor Committee and graduated with distinction in former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s seminar on Faith and Globalization.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in both economics and international relations from Michigan State University. Chris is a resident of the city of Detroit where he lives with his wife and sons. He is a staunch advocate of connected communities, early childhood literacy, and the doctrine of the strenuous life.
Director | Agingo Corporation
Mr. Vizas spent the last 40 years helping develop successful technology companies, after earlier forays into government and academia. He was a founder in Trinity Cellular, Orion Network Systems, Asia Pacific Space and Communications, Quo Vadis International, Fiber Optic Sensor Systems and SmartSenseCom. At Orion, he successfully led the changes in US and European policy that resulted in privatization of international satellite communications and led the creation of the partnership that financed Orion and facilitated its international operation. He managed technology teams and oversaw investment in emerging technology companies (in telecommunications, IT and sensing). He served as an Officer and Director of public companies in the United States and Asia. He served in the Ford White House, was appointed by President Ford as Special Counsel to the US Privacy Commission, consulted with succeeding administrations on information policy issues, and served on congressional staff; he represented the United States in international negotiations.
Today he is active in SmartSenseCom, Inc., an advanced sensor platform company, and is a director of Agingo Corporation, a data platform company innovating in blockchain applications. He is a member of the Board of George Washington University’s CIBER program. He is a fellow of Branford College, Yale University. He received his undergraduate, graduate and legal education at Yale, and post-graduate studies at the University of Cambridge and the University of Chicago.
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.
COO | Cleverciti
As Chief Operating Officer, David Parker leverages his more than 15 years of experience scaling technology businesses globally to solidify Cleverciti’s leadership position in the market further. His is an experienced senior leader who brings deep expertise in leading operations, marketing, and sales for high-growth global technology businesses. Under his guidance, Cleverciti can capitalize on new opportunities and achieve immediate and long-term strategic goals. Parker comes to Cleverciti from Cox Automotive, where he served as COO of Modix, the leading global automotive digital marketing solution. At Modix, he led the expansion of the business across more than 60 countries. Throughout his career, Parker has held senior-level roles and advisory positions with a wide range of high-growth tech businesses, including Dealer.com, Dealertrack, BentoBox, and Kusshi. He holds MBAs from Columbia University and London Business School and a B.S. in Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. John Cumbers
Founder & CEO | SynBioBeta
Dr. John Cumbers is the founder and CEO of SynBioBeta, the leading community of innovators, investors, engineers, and thinkers who share a passion for using synthetic biology to build a better, more sustainable universe. He is the author of “What’s Your Biostrategy?”, the first book to anticipate how synthetic biology is going to disrupt virtually every industry in the world. John also founded BetaSpace, a space settlement innovation network and community of visionaries, technologists, and investors accelerating the industries needed to sustain human life here and off-planet. John has founded multiple startups, is an operating partner and investor at the deep tech investment fund Data Collective, and has received multiple awards and grants from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. He earned his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University, is originally from the UK and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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.
Founder | Global Fellow | Meeting of the Minds | Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center
For more than four decades Gordon has worked to accelerate urban innovation at the intersection of sustainability, smart policy, and private investment — all with a focus on economic development.
Gordon’s first published article appeared in a journal by the World Policy Institute (NYC) in 1978, with hundreds more following. Gordon founded Meeting of the Minds in 1999 in order to harness the powers of a unique global leadership network to build innovation-powered city futures.
Analyst of New Development & Growth | Alabama Power
Hiren Patel is a member of the New Development & Growth team at Alabama Power. He’s responsible for developing new growth and innovation strategies to support corporate venturing, promote economic development, and improve quality of life by leveraging the Company’s infrastructure. Hiren started his career at Alabama Power in the market research and intelligence group. He serves on the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Deans Young Alumni Board and the Titusville Youth Athletic Association Board.
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.
Senior Consultant | Deloitte
Jim is a Senior Consultant with Deloitte. He brings subject matter experience in unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) technology, process automation, business strategy, operations, and logistics. Prior to Deloitte, he scaled and managed operations for a remote sensing and analytics company focused on serving clients in the energy, construction, engineering, and mining industries. Jim is a certified thermographer, licensed commercial UAS pilot, and has years of experience building businesses from early stages. He has a passion for deploying both physical and digital robotics, and coordinating talent to deliver innovative and game-changing solutions for clients.
Executive Director | Dallas Innovation Alliance
Jennifer Sanders is Cofounder and Executive Director of the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) a 501c3 public-private partnership dedicated to supporting Dallas’ smart cities strategy. At the DIA, she has collated a network of three dozen members and works with over 20 departments at the City of Dallas. DIA’s Smart Cities Living Lab is the fastest-to-market smart cities initiative in the country. The DIA is currently working on projects related to equity – mobility, digital divide and public safety; and recently launched a regional initiative, North Texas Innovation Alliance (NTXIA).
She is community-driven, serving as Past-President of the Mayor’s Star Council, board member of the Suicide & Crisis Center and Better Block, among others. In 2019, she received the UN Day Global Leadership Award, has been named to Dallas Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and Top Women in Technology, State Scoop’s Top Women in Technology, and Tech Week 100. She graduated from the University of Virginia.
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.
Director of New Development & Growth | Alabama Power
John Smola is Director of New Development & Growth at Alabama Power Company. He is responsible for new diversified revenue growth while leading and designing the Company’s growth strategies, innovation, and corporate venturing efforts. John started his career at Alabama Power in 2008, having held various roles in marketing, regulatory, and external affairs. John is actively engaged in the entrepreneurial community and how Alabama can transition itself into a more technology-driven economy. He serves on the boards of Alabama Capital Network and Birmingham Venture Club and is currently a Catalyst Fellow for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. John is also a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and completed a Master of Business Administration with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2011.
Managing Director | Brightstar Capital Partners
Jonathan Quigley is a Managing Director at Brightstar. Jonathan has worked with Andrew Weinberg since 2014 where they collaborated on various initiatives related to the World Economic Forum’s Family Business Community. He is responsible for the firm’s external engagement and partnership programs in support of the firm’s deal Sourcing.
Prior to joining Brightstar, Jonathan worked at the World Economic Forum, the International Secretariat of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and marketing agencies in the Middle East. During his 10 years with the Forum he led various key functions including business marketing, business operations and their Strategic Partnership team. Prior to leaving the Forum he was responsible for establishing the Family Business Community which engaged leading family business owners from across the world in the Forum’s work.
Jonathan received his MBA from Ashridge Business School in the UK.
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.
Investment Director, Shell Ventures | Shell
Kirk is an Investment Director at Shell Ventures, Shell’s corporate Venture Capital fund. Shell Ventures 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. Shell Ventures 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.
Consultant | Mississippi Enterprise for Technology
Laurie Jugan is an independent consultant supporting the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET), a nonprofit located at Stennis Space Center. She assists companies in finding business opportunities consistent with company capabilities. She serves as liaison with local federal agencies, assessing commercially-developed technologies for federal use and federally-developed technologies for commercial use.
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.
Director | Innovation Lab
Mark performs research and advisory in deep tech, the term for science-driven technologies that will have disruptive impacts on the global economy. He co-founded his current company Innovation Lab’s offices in Silicon Valley and Barcelona, including their latest offering, The Futurity Studio. Previously, he was a co-founder and/or on the management team of three successful growth startups (growing each team 30x, and reaching combined top valuations of over $700 million). In past roles, Mark was the VP of Research at Lux Research, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, and a management consultant at Accenture. He studied international business at the University of Texas and Mälardalen Polytechnic (Sweden), and neurology and nanobioengineering at UCSF. He has also launched or led the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, Hello Tomorrow and Creative AI in Silicon Valley, and Long Now chapter in Barcelona.
Director, NASA Programs | Auburn University
Mike Ogles has more than 30 years of leadership and management experience in aerospace, department of defense and automotive manufacturing industries. Currently, he is serving as the director of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Programs for the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University (AU) and business development director for AU’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME). Functional experience includes manufacturing engineering, systems engineering, engineering management, program management, financial management, and business development. He provides a conduit for NASA’s new technology needs to Auburn University’s research capabilities.
Before coming to Auburn, Mike held the positions of Vice President of Space Systems for Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville and Senior Vice President of Federal Business for Geocent in New Orleans.
Nicholas J. Landau, Ph.D
Partner, Registered Patent Attorney | Bradley
Nick Landau advises clients in the procurement, protection and litigation of all forms of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. His clients include publicly traded companies, public and private universities, and startups just getting off the ground. Nick helps organizations protect their investments in their products and brands, as well as defend themselves from unfounded assertions that their activities infringe the rights of others. This includes the management of large international portfolios of patents and trademarks, as well as anti-counterfeiting activities and general counseling on intellectual property rights.
Vice President and Partner for Digital Cities and Infrastructure | Siemens
Peter Torrellas is the Vice President and Partner for Digital Cities and Infrastructure for Siemens Internet of Things (IoT) Services. In this role, he oversees the company’s Cities, Logistics, Water, Buildings, Air Quality, and Mobility digitalization portfolio in North America.
With over 20 years of experience at the intersection of digital innovation and our built infrastructure, Torrellas has held several senior positions within the company. Most recently, his role was the Head of Smart Cities and Communities at Siemens Smart Infrastructure which had a business and strategy focus on smart buildings, resilience, sustainability, IoT, energy production, energy procurement, energy efficiency, and infrastructure finance. Additionally, as Chief Technology Officer at Siemens Infrastructure & Cities, he was at the forefront of the Smart City movement with a portfolio that included logistics, aviation, passenger and freight rail, ports, and road and city mobility.
Torrellas began his passion for making infrastructure smarter fifteen years ago by successfully designing and delivering over $500M in software, hardware and IT technology for New York City’s infrastructure.
Torrellas’ years of expertise managing a diverse smart cities portfolio have positioned him as an expert in the industry. He is a nationally recognized thought leader in the design and implementation of new technologies across several asset classes and has been hosted by the United Nations, World Bank Group, United States Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, National Academies of Sciences, International City and County Managers Association and many others to discuss the role of technology in our cities.
Founder and President | SWIGRO
Renato Gross is the founder and president of the SWIGRO, a company dedicated to drive and lead industrial additive manufacturing, serving its customers with state of the art affordable solutions and providing a platform for the industry to design, develop and manufacture. Industries included but not limited to are automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial and educational & research. SWIGRO supports customers in providing equipment and supporting additive manufacturing implementation and also offers a platform for customers to assist in design for additive and manufacturing of components and fully integrated products as well as serial production.
President & Founder | CANA Advisors & CANA Technologies
CANA Advisors is a veteran-owned small business based out of Northern Virginia specializing in project management solving problems for both commercial and Federal government clients in: logistics & supply chain operations, transportation systems – multi-modal, data and visualization and decision making, infrastructure, sports and healthcare analytics. CANA Tech is a software research and development incubator of agile application development and Data-as-a-Service products. Rob has extensive experience, as a former Marine Corps Logistics Officer and Commercial Executive, implementing operations and logistics systems – supporting both military and commercial organizations – including supply chain and transportation planning, facility and energy operations modeling, web-based asset management, unmanned systems logistics operations, multi-modal modeling, inventory demand planning, DevOps agile software planning, data-driven company valuations, and analytics assessment models.
Rob holds an MS, Finance from Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School and BS, Political Science from the University of Colorado.
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.
Chief Business Officer | Mobility Insight (Mobi)
Samir is the Chief Business Officer for Mobi, a software company providing the world’s first turnkey, AI-powered SaaS platform to reduce traffic congestion and optimize traffic flow across any road network.
Samir is an urban technology leader with a proven history partnering with business and governments leaders to build smart and connected cities that improve quality of life. He has over 23 years of IT expertise in the government, public housing, energy and hospitality sectors.
His career includes multiple CIO roles including the City of New York, City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport, the Atlanta Housing Authority, MGM Resorts Int’l, and General Electric. He graduated from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and currently serves on their Board of Visitors.
Samir resides in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with his family in New Jersey.
Partner | Brightstar Capital Partners
Tom Meredith is a Partner at Brightstar and a Member of the Investment Committee. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Global Resale, a Brightstar portfolio Company.
Tom has continued to work closely with Andrew Weinberg since 2007 when he served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Brightstar Corp. which was sold to Softbank in 2014. He was a Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Managers of Meritage Capital, an investment management firm specializing in multi-manager hedge funds. Tom’s career spans over 35 years and includes extensive experience in corporate finance, manufacturing, finance operations, and global financial markets.
Prior to establishing Meritage in 2003, Tom served in various senior positions at Dell, including CFO, SVP of Business Development and Strategy, and Managing Director of Dell Ventures. Prior to joining Dell, he was VP and Treasurer for Sun Microsystems and Co-Founder and GM of Amdahl Capital Corporation.
Principal | Schlumberger Ventures
Tyler Durham is a Principal with Schlumberger’s Venture Fund. He has 13 years of experience in the energy sector working in Canada, the US and throughout the Middle East in developing unconventional basins. He joined Schlumberger as a Well Services Field Engineer before holding management positions in in Operations, Supply Chain, Sales & Operational Planning. He most recently worked on the deployment of Schlumberger’s Digital Transformation program and the accompanying organizational design. Tyler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Dalhousie University and a MBA with Honours from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Co-founder | Athena Collective
Whitney Wright is the founder of Elia Fulmen Jewelry Co. and co-founder of Athena Collective. She serves as a strategic communications advisor to public, private, and non-profit entities.
She’s worked for The Beacon Group, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has served in various positions at tech startups, and as an editor and executive for brands at Time, Inc. She currently leads The Collision Project, a data-based diverse dialogue initiative executed in partnership with MIT Media Lab.
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!
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