Speakers

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!

View the speakers from the 2013 conference below.

Remember to check back for updates on the 2014 Robotics Alley Conference & Expo.

KEYNOTE Rodney Brooks


Founder, CTO, and Chairman, Rethink Robotics
Man and Machine – the Future of Humanity and Robotics

Rodney Brooks (full bio) is founder, CTO, and Chairman of Rethink Robotics, a 2008 Boston-based startup. The company is developing a new class of industrial robot that will help keep manufacturing jobs in America. Rethink's robots are to current industrial robots what the PC was to the mainframe.  The new robots are made in the USA.

Brooks was also a co-founder of iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT) and was variously CTO, Chairman, and board member from 1990 until 2011. From 1984 to 2010 he was on the faculty at MIT as the Panasonic Professor of Robotics, and was the director of MIT CSAIL, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  While at MIT he developed the behavior-based approach to robotics that underlies the robots of both iRobot and Rethink Robotics.

KEYNOTE Eric W. Kaler


President, University of Minnesota
The Importance of Robotics to the Future of Minnesota

Eric W. Kaler became the 16th president of the University of Minnesota on July 1, 2011. Dr. Kaler is only the second alumnus to rise to the University’s presidency. He received his Ph.D. from the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in 1982. He went on to become one of the nation’s foremost experts on “complex fluids,” which are used in many applications, including drug delivery, the biotech industry, food processing, and the manufacturing of coatings and paints. Before coming to the ‘U,’ Kaler served from 2007 to 2011 as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. He also was Stony Brook’s vice president for Brookhaven National Laboratory affairs. Previous to his time at Stony Brook, Kaler was a member of the faculty at the University of Delaware from 1989-2007. He served there as chair of the Chemical Engineering Department from 1996 to 2000 and then as dean of the College of Engineering from 2000 to 2007. He was an assistant professor and an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Washington from 1982 to 1989. Kaler has received many awards and recognitions for his research, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2010.

KEYNOTE Heather Knight


President, Marilyn Monrobot Labs
The Unconventional Communications of Moving Machines: Robots in Human Environments

Heather Knight is currently conducting her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot Labs in NYC, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art. She and her cohort create “charismatic machine performances.” As she describes it: “In one example, robot and human actors will perform the same script and basic set of actions, but each time vary the emotional and social content of those interactions. This variation will … allow the general public to craft and hone robot personalities.”

Her installations have been featured at the Smithsonian-Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, LACMA, SIGGRAPH, PopTech and the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy. Her past work also includes robotics and instrumentation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs (including the award- winning Rube Goldberg machine music video with OK Go), and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics. She was recently named Assistant Director of Robotics at Humanity+.

Her work also includes: robotics and instrumentation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs, field applications and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics, and she is an alumnus from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. She earned her bachelors and masters degrees at MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and has a minor in Mechanical Engineering.

KEYNOTE Lt. General Rick Lynch


U.S. Army (Ret.) and Executive Director, University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute (UTARI)
Robots Saving Lives and “Adapt or Die”

Rick Lynch, Lieutenant General, U. S. Army (Retired), Lynch is the new executive director of the University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute (UTARI). He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He earned his master’s degree with a concentration in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as the Robotics Project Officer in the Directorate of Combat Developments at the U.S. Armor School in Fort Knox, and later as the Armor Center’s Chief of Force Development. In his previous position, Lt. Gen. Lynch managed all 163 Army installations around the world, a workforce of 120,000 people and an annual budget of nearly $13 billion.

Under the direction of Lynch, UTARI will be focusing on short-term commercialization of research. With the UTARI team and collaborators, specific industries and areas of research are being targeted. They include Advanced Manufacturing, Applied Robotics and Medical Technologies, as well as Energy, Water and and Environment.

In addition to Lynch’s work at UTARI, he serves as special adviser to the University of Texas at Arlington president, James D. Spaniolo. Nearly 33,500 students attend UTArlington, a comprehensive research institution, which is located in the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Visit www.uta.edu/utari to learn more.

KEYNOTE Nikos Papanikolopoulos


Distinguished McKnight University Professor, IEEE Fellow, Director of the Center for Distributed Robotics and SECTTRA, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota
Emerging Trends in Robotics Research Worldwide

Nikos P. Papanikolopoulos (IEEE Fellow) received the Diploma degree in electrical and computer engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1987, the M.S.E.E., and the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988 and 1992, respectively. Currently, he is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Center for Distributed Robotics and SECTTRA. His research interests include robotics, computer vision, sensors for transportation applications, and control.

KEYNOTE Mike Toscano


President, AUVSI
AUVSI and the Growth of the Robotics Industry

Michael Toscano is the President and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). In this role, Mr. Toscano oversees all aspects of the more than 7,500 member organization as well as represents the unmanned systems industry before Congress, the media and other stakeholders.

He has appeared on national news broadcasts such as the PBS Newshour and has been widely quoted in U.S. and international media including the Boston Globe, USA Today, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and CNN. Mr. Toscano has also been called to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on issues related to unmanned systems.

Prior to joining AUVSI, Mr. Toscano was the Program Manager for Research and Development for Nuclear Security in the Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters. He was responsible for leading a physical security equipment RDT&E program that supported the protection of tactical, fixed and nuclear weapons systems, DOD personnel and DOD facilities.

He was also the Chairman of the Physical Security Equipment Action Group (PSEAG), overseeing the execution of the joint Department of Defense (DoD) Physical Security Equipment Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (PSE RDT&E) program. His responsibilities included programmatic and technical reviews of selected conventional and nuclear DoD developmental and procurement programs in physical security, antiterrorism, and force protection. He was also the DoD centralized coordinator of research, development, and test and evaluation of the PSE program.

Mr. Toscano has served as the Executive Secretariat to the 2002 Defense Science Board on Combating Terrorism, Advisory Member to the 2003 Army Science Broad on Force Protection and Manpower Reduction, and Advisory Member to the 2002 Naval Research Advisory Committee study on the Roles of Unmanned Vehicles.

Mr. Toscano holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

Kenneth Anderson


Professor of Law, American University; Visiting Fellow, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University; Member, Hoover Task Force on National Security and Law; Non-Resident Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution (Governance Studies); Senior Fellow, The Rift Valley Institute
Robotics and Unmanned Systems - Emerging Ethical and Legal Issues

Tom Anderson


Farm Business Management, Riverland College
Agricultural Robotics 201 Panel

Tom Anderson has been an Adult Farm Business Management Instructor with Riverland Community College for the past sixteen years. He works with over 50 dairy farms in southeast Minnesota. Tom, along with his colleagues of the MnSCU, (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities) system work with farms all across the state to determine farm profitability through an annual analysis system. The Center For Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota creates a data base entitled Finbin, which is available on the web. Tom began studying robotic milking systems during the summer of 2007. Since then, his robotic travels have taken him twice to Europe, and Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Florida and throughout Minnesota, Currently, he has several robotic dairy farms enrolled in his farm management program and has assisted numerous dairy operations develop their robotic cash flow projections and business plans from across the country.

Andrew Borene


Executive Director, Robotics Alley & Director of Corporate Development, ReconRobotics, Inc.

Andrew is leading the development of of Robotics Alley and is Director of Corporate Business Development & Government Relations at ReconRobotics. Andrew’s desire is to drive high technology industrial and financial growth by making connections and sharing stories of how robots improve human lives. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Macalester College and serves as Director-at-Large with the FBI’s InfraGard Alliance Minnesota Executive Board. His corporate experience includes tours at Wells Fargo & Co. and LexisNexis. Andrew is a former Associate Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense and served as a U.S. Marine officer in Iraq. His favorite fictional robot is Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek the Next Generation.

Kent Cavender-Bares


CEO, Rowbot Systems
Agricultural Robotics 201 Panel

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.

Francis (Duke) M. Creighton, PhD


Founder, President and CTO, Pulse Therapeutics, Inc.
Medical Robotics Panel

Duke Creighton is the inventor of the technology employed by Pulse Therapeutics and has been involved in startup-to-post-IPO medical robotic companies for over twenty years. Duke possesses a deep expertise in cardiovascular and stroke therapies. His roles in the company include managing the pilot stroke study at multiple clinical sites in Australia, as well as successfully managing government, CRO, and HREC processes to ensure successful enrollment with a supporting data package. His responsibilities include developing and maintaining strong clinical relationships at thought-leading worldwide sites, including US, Europe, and Australasia. In addition to overseeing GMP, GLP, IEC 60601 compliance for the clinical trial, he managed the worldwide IP plan with fast-approval strategy for core system & method patents, resulting in multiple accelerated US approvals. Duke is also the author of successful SBIR grant proposals to the NIH and was the author of the 1st-Place business plan for the 2011 St. Louis Business Plan Competition. Prior to Pulse Therapeutics, Duke served as Senior Director of R&D at Stereotaxis, where over the course of fifteen years, he designed the current commercial robotic technology platform. He is responsible for at least 30 Stereotaxis patents. During his time at the company, he worked closely with the CEO, President, and Board of Directors to develop new technologies, techniques, and devices for precision EP catheter and IC/INR guide-wire navigation. Duke received his Ph. D. in Physics (emphasis in advanced medical robotics) from the University of Virginia in 1996. Francis also serves as a technology reviewer for the NIH, NCI, and NSF.

Mike Davin


Editor, The Business of Robotics
The Biggest Robotics Stories of the Year and Robotics Trends in 2014
Robot Film Festival Co-Host

Mike Davin, editor of The Business of Robotics news website, is passionate about business and robotics. In addition to his editorial duties, he is helping plan the 2013 Robotics Alley Conference & Expo and serves on the executive committee of AUVSI Twin Cities as communications chair. Before getting involved with robots, he was senior editor of Boating Industry magazine as well as online editor of its sister publication, Powersports Business. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a bachelor's degree from Boston College.

Brandon Torres Declet


Vice President, McAllister & Quinn, LLC
Seizing Federal Business Opportunities in Robotics

Brandon Torres Declet serves as Vice President at McAllister & Quinn. Brandon brings more than a decade of experience working among senior government officials at the federal, state and local level. Prior to joining McAllister & Quinn he served as Counsel to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and as Counsel to Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) on the House Committee on Homeland Security. During his time on Capitol Hill, he played a significant role in shaping landmark pieces of legislation into law including, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Cell Phone Contraband Act of 2010, and Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2010. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) at George Washington University, an advisor to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Counter Terrorism Bureau and an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. He also served as a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Brandon earned a B.A. from Union College, a J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law and an L.L.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the board of directors of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association and on the board of advisors for Homeland Security & Defense Business Council.

Frank Douma


Research Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
The Ethical, Technical and Policy Implications of the Automated Vehicle Panel

Frank Douma is a Research Fellow and Associate Director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a Research Scholar at the Center for Transportation Studies, both located at the University of Minnesota. He manages research projects related to several different areas of transportation policy, including impacts of developments in information and communications technologies (ICT), planning alternative transportation options in both large and small communities, and understanding the impacts of freight transportation. Current research projects focus on understanding value of freight in Minnesota’s economy, legal aspects of self-driving cars, and innovative financing methods.

David Dvorak


CEO, Field of View
Civil and Commercial Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems Panel

David Dvorak is the CEO of Field of View, a company that engineers and sells innovative aerial remote sensing solutions for the agricultural and mapping industries. Dvorak started Field of View with the goal of propagating the many advantages of high resolution, on-demand imagery for the precision agriculture industry. Since 2007, Dvorak has been focused on the problem of efficiently producing aerial imagery that is useful in agriculture by working to automate the capture and delivery processes. Dvorak earned his bachelors and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of North Dakota and was employed by UND’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering Laboratory. He also held positions as a Remote Sensing Systems Engineer, an Unmanned Aircraft Pilot, and a Mechanical Engineering Lecturer at the university. Dvorak has presented at various conferences and multispectral imaging workshops and has been the lead author on eight publications that discuss the intricacies associated with performing successful multispectral imaging missions.

Andrew Falk

-
Farmer and Minnesota State Representative
Agricultural Robotics 101 Panel

Leili Fatehi, J.D.


Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Law School, University of Minnesota
The Ethical, Technical and Policy Implications of the Automated Vehicle Panel

Leili Fatehi is a Research Fellow in the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program area at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Director of the Initiative on Governance of Emerging Technological Systems (IGETS). She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Her research focuses on the legal, societal, and ethical dimensions of emerging areas of science and technology, including oversight and regulatory policy and risk analysis and management. Ms. Fatehi received her JD from the University of Minnesota in 2010 and her BS from Cornell University in 2005.

Bill Fox


Packaging Engineer, General Mills
Industrial Automation Panel

Demoz Gebre-Egziabher


Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota
Agricultural Robotics 101 Panel

Dan Hagen


Business Segment Leader, PaR Systems, Inc.
Industrial Automation Panel

Bin He


Director, Institute for Engineering in Medicine, University of Minnesota; Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine
Medical Robotics Panel

Dr. Bin He is Director of Institute for Engineering in Medicine Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. He is a Fellow of IEEE, International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, and American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. He has made significant contributions to neuroengineering including neuro-robotics and biomedical imaging. His lab demonstrated for the first time the ability for humans to control a flying robot using noninvasive brainwaves. He is an author of about 200 articles published in peer review international journals.

Brian Herman


Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota
MnDRIVE – Robotics, Sensors, and Advanced Manufacturing

Dr. Brian Herman was appointed vice president for research at the University of Minnesota on January 1, 2013. He is responsible for the oversight and administration of an externally funded research program of more than $800 million, which encompasses all five campuses in the U of M system.

Dr. Herman has primary responsibility for the overall vitality of the university-wide research environment, including supporting evolution of new research, maintaining a competitive research infrastructure, developing and managing campus-wide research policies, and overseeing administrative management of all sponsored research activity. He is also responsible for technology commercialization activities and for the administration of regulatory offices associated with research.

Herman received his undergraduate degree in biology from Adelphi University. He received his doctorate from the University of Connecticut Health Science Center and undertook postgraduate training at Harvard Medical School.

Larry Johnson


Owner, LLJ Consulting & Business Development
Agricultural Robotics 101 Panel

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. 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 capable of producing 15 billion gallons of fuel ethanol. He is currently working with several companies introducing new technologies or products to the ethanol industry and has designed the parameters and the business structure to collect, store and deliver 400,000 tons of corn stover annually to a cellulosic processing plant. His deep roots in the agricultural community reflect the values and work ethics of Midwest agriculture and contribute to his efforts to cultivate a strong investment base from local interests into every ethanol project. He brings hands-on expertise and knowledge of agricultural production, marketing, environmental services, project development, financing, public relations, risk management and operations, to minimize development errors and gain community support. Larry and his wife Sandy have three grown children and reside near Cologne, Minnesota.

Dan Kara


Chief Research Officer, Myria RAS
Robotics and Intelligent Systems: Macro Trends and Business Engines

Dan Kara is Chief Research Officer for Myria RAS, a research and advisory services firm that delivers actionable advice, research and best practices models to assist current and future users of robotics and automation technology to enhance operational effectiveness. Myria is also the publisher ARISPlex.com, an open portal offering analysis of, and insight into, automation, robotics and intelligent systems trends. Prior to founding Myria, Dan was President Robotics Trends, an integrated media and research firm serving the personal, service and mobile robotics markets. He was developer and chairman of the RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition series, the RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition series, and the RoboNexus Conference and Exposition series. In addition, Dan was the publisher of RoboticsTrends.com, the leading online portal covering the intelligent, mobile robotics market, and launched Robotics Business Review.

Dan has also worked as Executive Vice President of Intermedia Group, VP of Advanced Information Technology Research at Sentry Group, Director of Research at Ullo International, and Chief Technical Officer of Software Productivity Group. He holds a MS in Computer Science from Boston University.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher


President & CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association
Economic Development and Robotics Panel Chair

Margaret Anderson Kelliher joined the Minnesota High Tech Association earlier this year as its president and CEO following a 12-year legislative career. She served two terms as Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Margaret is a lifelong Minnesotan with deep roots in the Minnesota River Valley. The youngest of six children, she grew up with four older brothers and a sister on a dairy farm near Mankato. Characterized as the “calm inside the storm” by the Star Tribune, Margaret has demonstrated she is a strong, pragmatic leader. She guided passage of a nation-leading renewable energy standard, built a broad coalition to enact Minnesota’s first comprehensive transportation funding bill in 20years and was a champion of the state’s new Angel Investment Tax Credit. Margaret’s life in public service began early when, as a 4th grader, she led a petition drive to preserve a bus route to her neighborhood school. She went on to serve as 4-H State President and was also a Dairy Princess. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter and later was a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow, earning a Masters of Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition to leading MHTA, Margaret teaches a class on negotiations at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. Margaret, her husband David and their two children live in Minneapolis.

Michael Langley


CEO, GREATER MSP
Economic Development and Robotics Panel

Michael Langley is the CEO of the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership, known as GREATER MSP. He brings to the organization decades of experience as a nationally recognized economic development leader. Before leading GREATER MSP, Michael was president of Langley Group, an economic development consulting practice with offices in Pittsburgh, PA, Washington, DC. and Santa Rosa Beach, FL. In that role, he helped private- and public-sector leaders and organizations achieve excellence in their regions by building stronger economies and communities.

The majority of Michael’s corporate career was spent in the technology sector, working in leadership positions for a number of Westinghouse/CBS subsidiaries. He served as president and CEO of Westinghouse Audio Intelligence Devices, a world leader in wireless surveillance technology. A graduate of the Naval Academy, Mike also earned a MS in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He served as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on surveillance and intelligence missions worldwide. He also worked as a technology analyst on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Mike joined the Naval Reserves in 1985, serving as commanding officer for Naval Air Station Norfolk’s Reserve Command in Virginia. He retired as a Captain in 2000 aboard the USS Cole. He has also been awarded a doctorate in humanities by American Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.

Dana Lonn


Managing Director, Center for Advanced Turf Technology, Toro Company
Agricultural Robotics 201 Panel

Dana joined The Toro Company in 1974 and has been a valuable resource in Product Engineering, Computer Aided Engineering and Manager of Advanced Engineering. In his current role as Managing Director of the Center for Advanced Turf Technology, Dana is responsible for leading a corporate research and development group working on what the next generation of product is or to look how to apply leading technologies to our markets.

The Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) team was established in 1998 to develop innovative solutions to customer problems, and environmentally-friendly technologies for customers in the professional turf markets including golf, sports fields, grounds and landscape maintenance. The group’s mission is to work with customers, academic leaders and industry experts to develop solutions that could emerge as breakthrough products. CATT has been influential in the following areas: Water management. Alternative fuels and Labor Productivity. Dana has worked on a wide variety of Toro commercial, residential and irrigation products. Dana holds 10 US patents.

Dana attended the U of M - Twin Cities Campus where he earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, graduating with High Distinction. He continued his Post Grad at the U of M as an Institute of Technology Corporate Fellow earning a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, graduating with High Distinction. Dana is active in the his profession and the industry, Member American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and Member of the Golf Course Superintendents of America.

Chris Lund


Product Manager, Surface and Marine Navigation, Honeywell Aerospace
The Ethical, Technical and Policy Implications of the Automated Vehicle Panel

Chris Lund is a product line manager with Honeywell responsible for its surface and marine navigation products including the Tactical Advanced Land Inertial Navigator (TALIN) and LASEREF® Marine families. Previously he had engineering roles as a researcher, project lead, and technical manager. Mr. Lund has a B.S. in Computer Engineering and an M.S. in the Management of Technology. He has been working on navigation related technologies since the late 90s, holds multiple patents, and has co-authored several conference papers and presentations.

Adam Marsh


Director of R&D and Business Segment Leader for Security and Development, PaR Systems
Industrial Automation Panel Chair

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.

Doug McDonald



Director of Special Projects, UAI International
Civil and Commercial Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems Panel Lead

Douglas McDonald serves as Director of Special Projects for the Unmanned Applications Institute (UAI). UAI is committed to supporting and enabling the integration and development of the unmanned systems industry focusing on civil and commercial use of small unmanned aerial systems. Doug currently serves as President of the Great Plains Chapter of Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. The Great Plains Chapter of AUVSI works to enhance the effectiveness and overall application of unmanned technology through the implementation of best practices for safety. McDonald was appointed to serve on the North Dakota Airspace Integration Team. The team provided ongoing leadership in the integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace and the impact this will have on civilian manned flight in the state of North Dakota.

Kevin McKinnon


Executive Director of Business Development, Department of Employment and Economic Development, State of Minnesota
Economic Development and Robotics Panel

Kevin is the Executive Director of Business and Community Development at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.  Kevin is responsible for DEED’s business development and financial programs, community infrastructure and redevelopment programs, small business assistance and development centers along with the Job Skills Partnership training program.  Prior to accepting this position, Kevin served as DEED’s Director of Business Development for 6 years.

Kevin previously served as the President of the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the Executive Vice President of Economic Development for the River Heights (MN) Chamber of Commerce and as a Senior Economic Development Manager at the City of Colorado Springs, CO.  Prior to entering the field, Kevin served as the Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant Coach of a minor league hockey team.  

Kevin is a member of Economic Development Associations as well as Regional and National Corporate Real Estate Associations and serves on a variety of boards and committees.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and resides in Eagan where he is a volunteer coach for multiple sports. 

Scott Paxton


Partner, Bowman and Brooke LLP
The Ethical, Technical and Policy Implications of the Automated Vehicle Panel

Scott Paxton is a partner in the Minneapolis office of Bowman and Brooke, where he has defended automakers in high-exposure, catastrophic injury lawsuits for more than 14 years. Scott handles product liability and personal injury claims spanning all areas of automotive design, including airbags, seatbelts, vehicle stability control, roof strength, unintended acceleration, seatbacks and electronic power steering control units. He has tried six multi-million dollar design defect cases to defense verdict in various states across the nation. Scott was also an organizer and breakout group leader at TRB's 2nd Annual Workshop on Road Vehicle Automation in Stanford, CA this past July.

Mark Ritchie


Minnesota Secretary of State
Agricultural Robotics Panel Chair

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie partners with township, city, and county officials to organize elections on behalf of Minnesota’s 3.7 million eligible voters. Ritchie also oversees a wide range of services for Minnesota businesses provided by the Office of Secretary of State, including the archiving of official documents. He is also responsible for administering Safe at Home, Minnesota’s address confidentiality program.

Secretary Ritchie serves on the State Executive Council, the State Board of Investment, the Twin Cities Army Community Advisory Board and on the Board of the Minnesota Historical Society. He served as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State during 2011 and has been a member of the NASS executive board since 2010. He was recently appointed by Governor Dayton to co-chair the Civil War Commemoration Task Force.

Secretary Ritchie has been a faculty member for election law seminars conducted by the Minnesota Institute for Legal Education, the Minnesota and Hennepin County Bar Associations, the University of Minnesota and William and Mary Law School.

The Department of the Army presented Secretary Ritchie with their Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service. He was recognized for his dedicated support to the well-being of soldiers and army families, "Secretary Ritchie's unwavering dedication, patriotism, and compassion are an inspiration and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Army Recruiting Command, the United States Army Accessions Command and the United States Army."

The 2011 Dwight David Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Award was presented to Secretary Ritchie. This award recognizes the promotion of peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation; one individual at a time, one community at a time.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie received the 2011 Distinguished Public Leadership Award from Toward Zero Deaths for his leadership in helping to motivate law enforcement officers, legislators and the public to continue to fight against drunk driving.

In the 1980s, Ritchie served in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture working to address the economic crisis threatening family farms and rural communities. He served as the president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from 1988 to 2006.

Sharon Steinhoff Smith


Vice President of Marketing, Stratasys
How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize Manufacturing in America

Sharon Smith is the Vice President of Marketing for Stratasys. She has been with the company for 5+ years. She has extensive experience in marketing and communications. Prior to Stratasys, she held marketing management positions at HID Global, a leading manufacturer of ID card printers. She has a B.A. in communications with expertise in brand management and content marketing.

Scott Sullivan


District Manager, FANUC America Corporation
Industrial Automation Panel

Brian Tang


Chief Engineer, Life Science and Process Automation Division, PaR Systems, Inc.
Medical Robotics Panel

Mel Torrie


CEO, Autonomous Solutions, Inc.
Lessons Learned in Deploying Robots in Agriculture, Mining, and Automotive Industries

Mr. Torrie is a co-founder and CEO of Autonomous Solutions Inc. in Mendon, Utah. He has a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Utah State University. Prior to founding ASI in 2000, Torrie worked at Utah State University where he managed robotics development programs for John Deere, US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Defense. While working at Utah State University he also worked on and managed portions of two NASA Space Shuttle Payloads. He currently serves on the Executive Committee for the SAE robotics standards committee and is a guest speaker for many robotics conferences around the United States. Partners of ASI include Ford Motor Company, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon and government institutions including SPAWAR, NSWC, TARDEC, and AFRL. Founding Executive Committee Board Member on the SAE AS4 Robotics Standards Committee. Board Member for the US Military Robotics Technology Consortium 2009-2011. Distinguished Utah State University Alumnus of the Year 2008-2009. Small Business Leader of the Year Cache Chamber 2007. Advisory Board Member Utah State University College of Engineering.

Richard Voyles


Associate Dean for Research, College of Technology, Purdue University
Robotics Alleys –Going Viral!

Dr. Voyles received the B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1983, the M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 1989, and the Ph.D. in Robotics from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997. He is currently serving as Program Director at the National Science Foundation leading the National Robotics Initiative as well as a founding PD of the Innovation Corps program. He is currently on leave from Purdue University as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Technology where he is Full Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology.

He is also a Senior Member of the IEEE. He was Assistant Professor and tenured Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota from 1997 to 2006 in Computer Science, a tenured Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Denver and has served as Site Director of the NSF Safety, Security, and Rescue Research Center, an NSF I/UCRC, at both the University of Minnesota and the University of Denver. Dr. Voyles’ research interests are in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence. Specifically, he is interested in the development of small, resource-constrained robots and robot teams for urban search and rescue and surveillance.

Dr. Voyles has additional expertise in sensors and sensor calibration, particularly haptic and force sensors, real-time control, and programming robots by demonstration. Dr. Voyles’ industrial experience includes Dart Controls, IBM Corp., Integrated Systems, Inc., and Avanti Optics. He has also served on the boards of various start-ups and non-profit groups.

Dale Wahlstrom


President and CEO, LifeScience Alley and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota
Medical Robotics Panel Chair

Dale retired from Medtronic in 2006 after 24 years. Most recently he served as V.P. of CRDM Venture Programs. Prior to this he served as V.P./G.M. of the CRDM Therapy Delivery business. Before Medtronic, he held management and sales positions at Litton Microwave and Burroughs Corporation and managed a clean technology start-up company.

Today, he serves as the President and CEO for LifeScience Alley and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. LifeScience Alley is the largest state-based life sciences trade association in the United States and provides industry players with a powerful forum for communication and collaboration through education, networking, and advocacy. The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota is an industry led nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of bioscience-based businesses in the state of Minnesota. On November 1, 2010, a Strategic Affiliation between the two organizations was formed that leverages the unique capabilities and resources of each to the benefit of the state and region's life science industry.

Dale is currently a member of several industrial advisory and governance boards for different universities and companies. In 1988, he was a recipient of the Medtronic Star of Excellence Award, and in 1997 received the Wallin Leadership Award. In 2002, Dale was recognized as the outstanding graduate of the year by the engineering department of St. Cloud State University. In 2007, he was honored by Twin Cites Business Magazine and was the recipient of the Bioscience Success Story Award. In 2010, Twin Cities Business Magazine selected Dale as one of 200 "Minnesotans You Should Know." He currently has eleven patents in medical device technology with more pending.

Dale received his M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of St. Thomas in 1994, and his B.S. in Engineering and Technology from St. Cloud State University in 1978.

Patrick Weldon


Product Development Manager, Polaris Industries, Inc.
The Ethical, Technical and Policy Implications of the Automated Vehicle Panel Chair

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 Department of Defense agency civilian conducting unmanned missions in support of national objectives.  He is an avid snowmobiler and off-road vehicle rider and sometimes wonders why anybody would want to automate Polaris vehicles. 

Mathew D. Woodlee

Senior International Trade Specialist , U.S. Commercial Service Minnesota
International Opportunities

Mathew Woodlee serves as a Senior International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) in Minneapolis, focused on the manufacturing technologies, aerospace, defense, and security sectors.

Mathew has worked for USCS in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and was the Director of International Trade for the State of New Mexico from 2006 - 2009.  He has held other positions, including Fiscal Analyst for the New Mexico Legislature and Managing Director for a private consulting firm.

Mathew has a BA in Political Science and an MBA in International Management from the University of New Mexico.