Robotics Alley 2014 is now soliciting industry leading speakers! We are looking for experts in the following robotics tracks: Agriculture, Healthcare & Medical Device, Manufacturing & Assembly, Transportation, Security & Defense, Retail & Commercial Logistics, Investment, Research & Development, Legal & Business. If you are interested in speaking or know an exceptional candidate, place your nomination today!

Erik Allen

Research and Development, Cargill

Donald E. Bossi

David Bak

Adjunct Staff Member, RAND Corporation

David Bak is a national security analyst with over 15 years of experience supporting the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Service headquarters, specializing in strategic planning, energy and acquisition issues. His recent work has focused on improving defense analysis, wargaming and oversight to assess how innovations in energy technologies, US and opponent force structures and threats to critical infrastructure should influence Department of Defense policies and investment planning. Mr. Bak currently serves as an Adjunct Staff Member with the RAND Corporation.

Gary Balas

Professor Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics and Control Science & Dynamical Systems Center, University of Minnesota

Donald E. Bossi

Dan Bartlett

President, PaR Systems, Life Science & Process Automation

Mr. Bartlett joined PaR Systems in 2012 as part of the acquisition of OakRiver Technology. He currently serves as the President of the Life Science and Process Automation business. Prior to joining PaR, Mr. Bartlett served as the Vice President of Sales at OakRiver Technology. Mr. Bartlett came to OakRiver from Kodak, where he served as Director of Business Operations for the medical imaging business. Prior to Kodak, Mr. Bartlett held positions in Account Management and Engineering at Imation and 3M Company.

Mr. Bartlett received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in computer science from the University of St. Thomas.

Donald E. Bossi

keynote Keynote Speaker

Donald E. Bossi

President, FIRST

As President of FIRST, successful technology executive Donald E. Bossi brings deep technical and management skills to the organization. Bossi, who has excelled in a 20-year career with several high technology companies, primarily in the fiber optics field, is now anxious to give back and help develop the next generation of innovators.

Starting his career as a research scientist, first at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and then at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), Bossi was a part of an advanced project at UTRC which was acquired by JDS Uniphase (JDSU) and he moved to the new company. After a series of promotions at JDSU, he became Vice President and General Manager for JDSU Electro-Optics Products. The Division grew tenfold during his involvement there.

Bossi next served as Group President of JDSU Active Components Group for two years, and then as Group President, JDSU Transmission Products Group for two years. In 2005, Bossi joined Technology Ventures Partners to work with their high-tech portfolio companies. While at the venture group, he served as the CEO of Aegis Lightware, Inc. and then as CEO of Inlet Technologies, positioning the company for a beneficial acquisition by Cisco. Most recently, Bossi served as the COO of CIDRA Holdings in Wallingford, Conn. Bossi is the holder of four U.S. patents and author of numerous technical presentations. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has completed executive education courses at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He served on the Boards of Directors of several privately held companies, and is also a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Jacqueline Buck

Jacqueline Buck

Workforce Development Project Manager, Department of Employment and Economic Development

Jacqueline Buck is working at the Department of Employment and Economic Development as a Project Manager in the Workforce Development Division. With her passion and energy, she leads the statewide Business Services program and specializes in helping businesses with their workforce and recruitment challenges. Having 20+ years in public and private Human Resources, she helps businesses succeed through innovative talent attraction and retention strategies while providing up-to-date approaches for the adult job seeker-she has a true passion for making connections and building strong networks.

Jacqueline Buck

Todd Carpenter

Chief Engineer and Co-owner, Adventium Labs

Mr. Carpenter is Chief Engineer and co-owner of Adventium Labs. His areas of expertise include engineering high-value, real-time, fault-tolerant, and secure systems in space, military and commercial avionics, medical, and petrochemical domains. His expertise spans detailed hardware and software design, architecture development, systems design and specification, as well as tools, standards, and processes for enhancing the design flow. Current activities include developing remote, dynamic, incremental attestation for distributed systems, and architecture development for safe and secure medical devices. Mr. Carpenter leads Adventium's risk assessment and management services, which evaluates security risk for cyber physical systems and products in medical, avionics, and industrial domains.

Kent Cavender-Bares

CEO, Rowbot Systems

Kent provides the vision for the company as whole and its developing suite of product and service offerings. He also manages the company's portfolio of intellectual property, and works with the engineering team to develop specific requirements for the company's autonomous platform. Kent holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell University, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University, and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This formal training enables him to work seamlessly across disciplines as diverse as agronomy and mechanical engineering.

Lowell Christensen

Lowell Christensen

Founder and Vice President of Engineering, TruTech Specialty Motors

Lowell Christensen is currently a Founder and Vice President of Engineering for TruTech Specialty Motors. Prior to Working at TruTech Specialty Motors, Lowell was working as a Permanent Magnet Motor Design Consultant. Mr. Christensen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physics and Mathematics from Mankato State University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Christensen had worked as Director of Engineering at MCG Inc. from August 1992 to 2008. Prior to MCG Mr. Christensen worked as Motor Engineering Manager at ElectroCraft Corporation from 1978 to 1992. Prior to ElectroCraft, Mr. Christensen worked at Control Data Corp from 1972 to 1978 as a Motor Design Engineer at Cedar Engineering Division and as a Project Engineer in the Aerospace division.

Duke Creighton, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Pulse Therapeutics, Inc.

Jim Cunov

Senior Program Manager, PaR Systems

Benjamin Dahlen, P.E.

Engineering Leader, Health Sciences Division, Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

For the past 13 years, Ben has provided comprehensive compliance solutions related to 60601-1, 61010-1, and 60950-1 to device manufacturers local and abroad. He has provided custom and standard technical training seminars to numerous health sciences organizations and serves as a technical auditor for the CB Scheme Manufacturer’s Testing Laboratory program. In addition, he is the site manager for the newly established 10,000 sq-ft UL facility and safety test laboratory in Mounds View, MN. Ben holds a BSEE from North Dakota State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the state of MN.

Alex Doud, Ph.D.

Med Student, University of Minnesota

Laura Élan

Program Manager - Life & Health Sciences, Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

Laura Élan is a Program Manager with the Life & Health Sciences Business Unit of UL LLC and the Global Service Leader for UL's eHealth and Interoperability Business. She is a former UL Associate with approximately 15 years' experience in Medical Electrical Equipment, X-Ray, and Programmable Systems. Ms. Elan rejoined UL in 2012 and is currently supporting software certification and operational efficiency for the Global Medical Device organization. Ms. Élan’s experience is grounded in 12 years in senior leadership roles with R&D and Manufacturing organizations including Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Commercial and Consumer Electronics companies. She has led cross functional product development organizations as both a technical and project leader. Laura holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois.

David Fuhr, RG

David Fuhr, RG

CEO, Airborne Data Systems

Since co-founding Airborne Data Systems Inc. in 1992, David Fuhr has been instrumental in developing an operational airborne multi spectral digital camera system Spectra-View. Spectra-View along with Band-Match imaging processing software has proven to be a leader in providing imaging that is both spectrally and spatially accurate while maintaining the rapid turnaround expected in today’s environment.

David has been instrumental in promoting the value of company owned, image processing software, to give the camera owner a single button processing routine, and the end user a desk ready product, in a format that is compatible with commercial off the shelf software.

Dan Hagen

Business Segment Leader, PaR Systems

Adam Hagman

Robotdalen - Manager Health Robotics, Technologies for Independent Life, Mälardalens University

Charles, D. Hawker, Ph.D.

Charles D. Hawker, Ph.D.

Scientific Director for Automation and Special Projects, ARUP

Dr. Charles Hawker is Scientific Director for Automation and Special Projects at ARUP, where he has been for 22 years. Dr. Hawker is also Professor (Adjunct) of Pathology in the University of Utah, School of Medicine. Prior to joining ARUP, over a twenty year period, he held various positions in research and development and management at Laboratory Procedures, Inc. (Upjohn) and SmithKline Beecham Clinical Labs. At ARUP he has installed several major automation and robotic systems that have made ARUP the most automated clinical laboratory in North America. He has received numerous awards including the 2013 MSPSD Division Award, the Professor Alvin Dubin Award of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), and awards from the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS), and the Association for Laboratory Automation.

Dr. Hawker received a BA (Chemistry) from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1962, an MS (Biochemistry) from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1965, a PhD (Biochemistry) from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) in 1967, and an MBA from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1985. He is a co-author of chapters on clinical laboratory automation in the 4th and 5th Editions of the Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, and the 6th and 7th Editions of the Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. He is a frequent lecturer on laboratory automation to national and international audiences. He holds three patents and has published 43 peer-reviewed papers, 14 book chapters or invited reviews, two invited editorials, and 47 abstracts.

Harlan T. Jacobs

President, Genesis Business Centers Ltd.


Brad Pederson

Jerry D. Johnson

CEO and Founder, Superior Edge, Farm Intelligence2, FourthWing Sensors

Jerry Johnson is the founder and CEO of three sister companies that vertically integrate unmanned technology within the agricultural industry. His companies work together to provide the UAVs, analytical software, and sales tools for farmers and dealers to minimize crop inputs and maximize yields. In 1983, Jerry founded CWC, a prior startup that grew to $100,000,000 in annual revenue and completed an IPO in 2000. He was selected as one of the ten most influential people in CRM (software classification), and currently has 41 patents granted or pending.


Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson

Owner, LLJ Consulting & Business Development

Larry Johnson has operated his own consulting business, providing continuous services to the North American ethanol industry since 1985 with the exception of six years as Business Development Director for Delta-T Corporation. His deep roots in the agricultural community reflect the values and work ethics of Midwest agriculture. He was one of the founders of the public/private partnership in Minnesota that has come to be known as the “Minnesota Model” forerunner to today’s ethanol industry consisting of 230 ethanol plants. He has conducted more than 500 investor and public information meetings for dozens of successful ethanol projects. He is currently assisting several companies with introducing new technologies or products to the ethanol industry and has designed the business structure to collect, store and deliver 400,000 tons of corn stover annually to a cellulosic processing plant. He is also working with Tyton Biosciences to commercialize their modified tobacco strains for ethanol and biodiesel production. Larry and his wife Sandy have three grown children and reside near Cologne, Minnesota.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Principal, Aerovar

Aerovar funds research and makes equity investments in the aerospace and defense sector. The company has formal collaborative R&D agreements with the US Air Force (structures and materials) and NASA (computational technologies), and provides seed capital to aerospace-related technology startups. Matt Johnson founded Aerovar. He previously spent 19 years working in private equity and banking, and was the managing director of Apollo Management’s German office and a founding partner of the $1.3 billion Apollo European Principal Finance Fund. Matt was an active duty US Air Force officer from 1984-89, and served in Air Force Systems Command and the US Air Forces in Europe. Matt received his BS from the US Air Force Academy (1984) and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1991). Matt is an avid long-distance swimmer, and completed a solo crossing of the English Channel, the 26-kilometer Lake Zurich Marathon Swim, and the 28-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.

Eran Kahana

Eran Kahana

Attorney, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand; Research Fellow, Stanford Law School

Eran Kahana, Special Counsel in Maslon's Business & Securities Group, is an intellectual property attorney with a strong IT background and extensive experience advising clients in domestic and international settings. Eran focuses his practice on matters such as drafting and negotiating complex software, patent, and trademark licenses, joint development agreements, strategic partnerships, general and government procurement agreements, subcontract agreements, service agreements and a wide-range of e-commerce related matters. Through his many years of experience in managing and enforcing global copyright, trademark and patent portfolios, he also advises clients on a wide variety of IP needs, including branding, enforcement and strategy.
Eran is also a member of Maslon's Advertising & Marketing Group and has extensive experience in copyright and trademark law. He has substantial experience reviewing and negotiating licensing, agency/client, content and social media advertising agreements in both domestic and international settings. Eran also assists clients with a wide range of aspects relating to their marketing collateral and branding strategy. His many years of in-house experience as senior legal counsel provide his clients with a distinct advantage. Eran is a Research Fellow at Stanford Law School and a frequent speaker and writer on various intellectual property topics.

Brian Kidd

Brian Kidd, PE

Director, System Engineering, Stereotaxis, Inc.

Brian Kidd, PE, is Director, Systems Engineering at Stereotaxis, Inc, a leader in the development of robotic navigation systems designed to enhance the treatment of arrhythmias and coronary disease. Mr. Kidd has nearly 20 years of experience in the medical device field including both capital systems and single use disposables. He leads Stereotaxis’s Systems Engineering group to bring multidisciplinary projects combining hardware, software, and disposable elements to markets across the globe. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University and a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Chip Laingen

Executive Director, Defense Alliance

Chip Laingen is the Executive Director of the Defense Alliance, and Communications and R&D Director for Minnesota Wire. Defense Alliance is the region’s defense industry network, with members in 26 states. The Alliance won the Veterans Small Business Champion of the Year Award in 2007, and became one of the nation’s three Advanced Defense Technology Clusters in 2010. He is on the executive commission of the Minnesota Science & Technology Authority, the board of directors for AirSpace Minnesota, and was selected as an Executive Fellow for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership in 2012. In 2011, he joined the graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute. He is a past President of the Twin Cities Council of the Navy League and is the owner of Laingen Communications.

Mike Lang

Mike Lang

Workforce Development Project Manager, Department of Employment and Economic Development

Mike Lang has worked for the Minnesota WorkForce Centers since 1999 and is currently the Job Service lead worker for Dakota and Scott Counties. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University. Mike has a strong interest in helping job seekers connect with career opportunities in new and creative ways. As a workshop facilitator, he presents a variety of different job search topics, such as job search, resumes, interviewing, networking and many others. For the past four years, he has been the facilitator of several popular workshops that demonstrate how to utilize LinkedIn in job search. 

Jae Lew

Engineering Fellow, PaR Systems

Adam Marsh

Adam Marsh

Director of R&D and Business Segment Leader for Security and Development, PaR Systems

Adam Marsh is the Director of Research and Development and Business Segment Leader for Security and Development for PaR Systems. He oversees the technological planning and growth of all the business divisions within PaR. In his business segment he is critically focused on advancing automation and technology for the Department of Defensive and Department of Homeland Security. In addition to Adam’s current role at PaR Systems he is the founder and President of Innaberry Creation LLC. a startup company focused on product development for improving the quality of education and life for children. Prior to PaR Systems, Adam held the position of Capture Manager for BAE Systems where he concentrated on new business growth in the areas of enhanced technology and automation for the U.S. Navy. Adam has an extensive background in leading and shaping the development of technologies and concepts in markets that span commercial to government. Significant achievements include technological developments in the area of human robotic collaborative environments, advanced amphibious rescue craft, blended sensor modalities for automation, affordable directed energy weapon systems, and air launched weapons assemble automation.

David Mulla

Co-Director of Graduate Studies, W.E. Larson Chair for Soil and Water Resources, University of Minnesota
Bradley Nelson

keynote Keynote Speaker

Dr. Bradley Nelson  

Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zurich

Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002. He has thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards in the fields of robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of academic departments and research institutes across North America, Europe, and Asia and is on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Prof. Nelson has been the Department Head of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH, Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center, and is a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is a member of the board of directors of three Swiss companies. Before moving to Europe, Prof. Nelson has worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa. He has also been a professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

John Nowatzki
John Nowatzki

Agricultural Machine Systems Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University

Mr. Nowatzki coordinates the NDSU Extension agricultural machinery systems educational program. Subject matter areas include agricultural machinery selection and operation, precision agriculture, conservation tillage technologies, agricultural chemical application technology, and remote monitoring applications to farming. In 2014, Nowatzki is the principal investigator on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) application to agriculture. This project will be a “proof-of-concept” demonstrating specific UAS applications in production agriculture. Project personnel will use of UAS-mounted sensors to collect data of ongoing crop and livestock research projects during the 2014 crop season at the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC). Project personnel will collaborate with NDSU research scientists conducting research at the CREC, and use UAS-mounted sensors to monitor research fields at specific times as identified by the individual researchers. The primary goal of this project is a proof-of-concept of the usefulness and effectiveness of UAS in crop and livestock management in North Dakota. Project personnel will demonstrate effective UAS applications in crop and livestock management, and demonstrate instances where UAS are not effective. We will also develop data processing methods and tools to convert image data to information that farmers, ranchers and consultants can use in their businesses.

Lars Oddsson

Experienced Biomedical Scientist, Inventor and Visionary Entrepreneur
Brian Opp

Brian Opp

Manager, Aerospace Business Development, North Dakota Department of Commerce

The State of North Dakota has placed an emphasis on developing new business opportunities in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Its goal is to establish North Dakota as a hub for UAS activities and advancement. As Manager of Aerospace Business Development, Brian is at the forefront of these efforts.

Brian’s work at the North Dakota Department of Commerce (NDDOC) over the past 6 years includes program management, accountability and business development. A personal highlight has been working on North Dakota’s FAA UAS test site initiative. Prior to joining the NDDOC, Brian spent 10 years in the banking industry.

Rob Owen

Rob Owen

Business Segment Leader, Hazardous and Nuclear Environments, PaR Systems, Inc.

Rob leads the Environmental Business Segment for PaR Systems and is responsible for worldwide delivery of PaR’s custom equipment projects in nuclear and other hazardous environments. His responsibilities currently include the sale and delivery of major equipment design and supply projects to clean-up efforts at nuclear sites such as Hanford, Fukushima and Chernobyl as well as remotely operated process equipment in the US, UK and Japan. Rob has worked in the nuclear field for over 30 years. His career has included working at BWR, PWR and HTGR commercial nuclear power plants. For the last 15 years, Rob has been responsible for the delivery of custom, radiation tolerant robotic handling equipment, custom process equipment and cranes.


Brig. Gen. Alan W. Palmer

keynote Keynote Speaker

Brig. Gen. Alan W. Palmer

Director, Center for UAS Research, Education, & Training, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Science


Brad Pederson

Brad Pederson

Patent Attorney, Partner, Patterson Thuente Pedersen, P.A.

Brad Pedersen is a patent attorney with more than 25 years of experience. He concentrates his practice on post-grant review proceedings and patent prosecution strategy, licensing and litigation. Working mainly with new technologies in the area of computers, high-tech, medical devices, nanotechnology, semiconductor processing, and software, Brad provides clients with practical and pragmatic advice on the development, management and enforcement of IP portfolios, based on his wide range of experiences. As an inventor, entrepreneur and former in-house counsel, he has a real-world foundation from which to create effective IP portfolios and strategies. Brad is also co-founder of QFO Labs, a startup company that is creating new concepts in high tech gaming.

Patrick Prigge, CP, FAAOP

Clinical Manager, North Central Center of Excellence – Minneapolis, Minnesota, Advanced Arm Dynamics (AAD)

Karl Purdy

keynote Keynote Speaker

Karl Purdy

Business Development, Northrop Grumman Corporation

o Karl Purdy is a Business Development Manager for Northrop Grumman Technical Services (NGTS), headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. NGTS focuses on global market development for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) services from a “platform agnostic” vantage point that includes both Northrop Grumman and Non-Organic UASs and RPAs. NGTS provides operations, maintenance, logistics, and integration support to the MQ-5 B Hunter, Global Hawk, BAMS-D (Broad Area Maritime System Demonstrator), Euro Hawk, Fire Scout, and Bat, with approximately one third of the workforce in deployed locations throughout the world.

Karl is a retired US Air Force pilot with over 4000 flight hours to include B-52, T-37, T-38, UV-18, and MQ-1 (Predator). While in the service, he was assigned as an engineer to the F-22 Avionics program, flew 26 B-52 combat missions during Desert Storm, and is credited for standing up the first RQ-1 Predator site in Kuwait. He has served as Director of Operations for the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron and commanded two UAV deployments to Bosnia. Upon retirement, he served as the Flight Operations Manager for General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Incorporated. He joined Earthdata International in 2006 and led several deployments flying a modified Gulfstream II over Colombia. He accepted a position at Northrop Grumman as the MQ-5B Hunter Program Manager in June 2008 and assumed his current role in Dec 2009. He holds a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Ohio Northern University and a Masters degree in Aerospace Science and Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His hobbies include flying, writing/playing music, surfing, and scuba.

Salil Rege

Jim Salfer

Dairy Extension Educator, Stearns County

Stuart Shpherd
Stuart “Stu” C. Shepherd

CEO Americas – KUKA Robot Group, KUKA Robotics Corporation

Stuart (“Stu”) Shepherd is the CEO Americas – KUKA Robot Group, a unit of KUKA AG of Augsburg Germany. KUKA AG is publicly traded (M-DAX: KU2). Stu’s career spans 34 years, including General Motors (7 years), FANUC Robotics (16 years), Founder/CEO of Shepherd Solutions (an automation business consulting firm – 5 years), and over 7 years with KUKA Robotics. Based in Shelby Township, Michigan, Stu is responsible for business development and performance throughout the Americas including four subsidiaries and multiple channel partners. Stu is also the 2014-2015 Chairman of the Robotic Industries Association, and Board Member of the Association for Advancing Automation.

Dr. Takanori Shibata

Dr. Takanori Shibata

Chief Senior Research Scientist, Human Technology Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

Dr. Takanori Shibata was born in 1967 and received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering from Nagoya University in 89, 91 and 92, respectively. He was a research scientist at AIST 93 to 98. Concurrently, he was a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., MIT from 95 to 98, and a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., Univ. of Zurich in 96. At the AIST, Dr. Shibata was a senior research scientist from 98 to 13. Concurrently, he was the Deputy Director for Information and Communication Technology Policy, Bureau of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan from 09 to 10. Since 2013, he has been the current positions. His research interests include human-robot interaction, robot therapy, and humanitarian de-mining. He was certified as the inventor of a seal robot named PARO, the World’s Most Therapeutic Robot, by Guinness World Records in 2002. He has received many awards including the Robot of the Year by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan in 2006, the outstanding young person of the world by Junior Chamber International in 2004, and the Japanese Prime Minister’s Award in 2003. Dr. Shibata is also Visiting Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Visiting Fellow at AgeLab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Khalid Sorensen

Control Systems Engineer, CAMotion

Jack Stubbs

Associate Program Director, University of Minnesota Medical School

Robert Sweet

Dr. Robert Sweet, MD, FACS

Associate Professor of Urology, University of Minnesota Medical Center

Dr. Rob Sweet received his medical degree (alpha omega alpha) from the University of Minnesota in 1997. After a urology residency at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2003, he became Attending Physician/Acting Assistant Professor of Urology and held a 2-year Health Policy Scholarship focused on Simulation Sciences from the American Foundation for Urological Diseases (AFUD). In 2004 Dr. Sweet co-founded the Institute for Surgical and Interventional Simulation (ISIS) at the University of Washington. He currently holds the positions of Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Minnesota, and is Director of the Medical School's Simulation Programs and the Kidney Stone Program. He is the Principal Investigator of numerous simulation research and development projects including the University of Minnesota MedSim Combat Casualty Training Consortium.

At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Sweet practices Urology with a focus on robotics and endourology with a clinical emphasis on kidney stones and diseases of the prostate. He has built an Institute that is actively engaged in funded simulation projects including the development of a human tissue property database, advanced real time and predictive modeling of human tissue and tool interactions, creation of virtual reality, hybrid and anaplastology medical simulation models, multi-institutional validation studies of simulation-based curriculum, and delivery systems for the dissemination of simulation technologies. He has leadership positions in the area of simulation and education within the American College of Surgeons, the Endourological Society, and the American Urological Association. He is the President of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons.

Brian Tang

Brian Tang

Chief Technical Officer, PaR Systems, Life Science & Process Automation

Mr. Tang joined PaR Systems in 2012 as part of the acquisition of OakRiver Technology. He has held positions of increasing responsibility at OakRiver Technology over the past 13 years. He currently serves as the Chief Technical Officer for Life Science and Process Automation business and is a technical advisor to the Office of the CTO for PaR Systems. Mr. Tang has a Bachelor Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Megan Thorne, Ph.D.

MDC Fellow, University of Minnesota
Craige Thompson

Craige Thompson

Patent Attorney, Thompson Patent Law Offices PC

Craige’s legal experience includes a uniquely balanced mix in all phases of the patent life cycle. He previously practiced in the Twin Cities office of Fish & Richardson P.C. from 2003-2009. During those years, Fish & Richardson routinely ranked at or near the top all patent firms in both litigation and patent prosecution.

Craige has a passion to create high business value for small, medium, and large clients by providing comprehensive patent services. He has substantial experience in patent licensing, prior art searching, due diligence, prosecution, opinion, reexamination, and litigation. He has handled cases that involve complex technologies that range from electrical engineering to mechanical engineering, software, and medical devices. For example, Craige has enjoyed particular success in protecting and licensing clients’ complex green technologies that radically improve energy efficiency.

Before attending law school, Craige had significant technical experiences in analog design, power electronics, magnetics, and product development. He was a Design Engineer in the Product Development Group for Plexus Technology Group (1993-2000), where he specialized in analog circuits, power supplies, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and PCB design. He was also a Research Assistant at the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC, 1991-1993).

As a highly experienced design engineer and accomplished patent attorney, Craige brings a unique combination of legal and technical experience to inform his counsel to Thompson Patent Law clients.


Lt Col Kate Todd

Lt Col Cate Todd

Senior Manager, Newport Group, LLC.

Cate Todd has experience managing organizations from 5 to 800 people, leading headquarters teams, and a Masters of Industrial & Management Systems Engineering. Cate consults with the Newport Group, LLC using experience gained by piloting the manned C-135 and autonomous unmanned RQ-4 USAF aircraft for over 14 years, accumulating 2000 pilot flight hours and 1000 combat hours. Newportgroup, LLC, established by Virginia Tech’s Dr. Harold Kurstedt, combines business experience, engineering principles, and CEO coaching to deliver training to meet organizations’ challenges. Cate’s vision is to advance business productivity in high tech robotics corporations to lead innovation in the robotic age.

Ashley Vaness

keynote Keynote Speaker

Ashley Vaness

Ownership Advisor, Tesla Motors

Scott Voldness

Director, Engineer - Facilities & Equipment, ATK Aerospace Systems
Patrick Weldon

Patrick Weldon

Product Manager, Polaris Industries, Inc.

Patrick Weldon is a product manager at Polaris, working advanced programs both in military, business to business and commercial lines. He has held product development and program manager positions at Honeywell Aerospace, L-3 Communications. Patrick served in the Air Force and as a Dept of Defense agency civilian conducting unmanned missions in support of national objectives. He is an avid snomobiler and off-road vehicle rider and sometimes wonders why anybody would want to make Polaris vehicles unmanned.

Mathew Woodlee

Mathew Woodlee

Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce

Mathew D. Woodlee currently serves as a Senior International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS)/International Trade Administration (ITA) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, having returned to federal service in October 2010. Mathew first became affiliated with the USCS as an undergraduate in 1995 when he received the Ron Brown Fellowship administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. After graduate school, Woodlee served with the USCS in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland from 2002 through 2006. During that time, he served within the E-Business Development Unit, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce/Director General of the U.S. Commercial Service. In Baltimore, Woodlee served as an International Trade Specialist, focusing on the aerospace, defense, security, IT and telecom industries. In 2005, he was the Aerospace & Defense Global Team Leader for the USCS/ITA.

In May 2006, Mr. Woodlee was appointed by Governor Bill Richardson as the Director of International Trade for the State of New Mexico. In that position, he led the efforts of the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s services that enhance New Mexico’s international economic competitiveness. In addition to his international responsibilities, Mathew led the Department’s efforts on Legislative Affairs and served as an advisor to the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment. Mr. Woodlee has held other positions in his career, including Fiscal Analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (1998-2002) and as a Managing Director for WG Scorpion LLC, a private consulting firm (2009-10).

Mathew received the Ronald H. Brown Commercial Service Fellowship in 1995, through which he completed a Summer Institute for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1996. Mathew earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Economics Minor) and an MBA in International Management from the University of New Mexico. Mr. Woodlee has been active in the community in a variety of ways, including serving on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico, a contributor and volunteer with the United Way and a member of Social Lodge No. 1, F.&A.M., PHA, District of Columbia. He is currently a member of Minneapolis Rotary Club #9. He lives in the Twin Cities area with his wife and son.

Delore Zimmerman, Ph. D.


Delore Zimmerman, Ph. D.

Executive Director, Red River Valley Research Corridor

Delore is the President of Praxis Strategy Group, which has managed the Research Corridor since 2004. Praxis Strategy Group is an economic research, policy, strategy and development company that works with leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to build competitive, innovation-driven ventures and communities. Delore has been awarded eight Small Business Innovation Research awards to develop leading-edge strategy and development practices and tools. He has served as the Honorary Vice Commander at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and on North Dakota’s Advisory Council of the US Global Leadership Coalition, which supports a smart power approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. Delore is a native of Wishek, North Dakota. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Dakota and a doctoral degree from the Pennsylvania State University where his work focused on the mobilization of territorial-based alliances for economic development.