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!
Senior Research Engineer, Engineering R&D Group, Cargill
Erik Allen is a Senior Research Engineer in Cargill’s Engineering R&D Group in Minneapolis, MN, where he works across business units and geographies to solve technical challenges including those related to throughput and automation. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Assistant Director, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota UAS Center of Excellence.
As a pilot, technical Program Manager and Assistant Director, Mike Corcoran brings a broad range of strength to the University of North Dakota’s School of Aerospace Sciences. Massing over 22 years and 3000 hours of flying experience, Mike is dual-rated in rotary and fixed wing aircraft, holding both FAA ATP and Army Aviator ratings. Culminating as the founding Director of Air Operations for Predator-B flight operations at the Grand Forks AFB, Mike leverages combined experience as a Federal Agent and OT&E pilot for DHS aircraft, including remote sensing programs for both manned and unmanned platforms. The overwhelming majority of Mike’s experience comes from in-the-field activities while performing flight crew duties and senior program leader roles. Dual-branched as an Army Aviation and Military Intelligence Officer, with multiple international deployments Mike sustains a background in program management which positions him lead technical projects related to manned aircraft flight operations, UAS/RPA, Remote Sensing, Imagery Intelligence and Signal Intelligence disciplines.
Co-Founder, Pulse Therapeutics, Inc.
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.
Chief Technology Officer, Aerospace & Environment, PaR Systems
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.
Med Student, University of Minnesota
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
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.
Paul D. Gunderson is currently director of the Dakota Precision Agriculture Center located at Lake Region State College, Devils Lake, N.D. He is the former director of the National Farm Medicine Center (1992-1996) and former director of the Marshfield Clinic's Medical Research and Education Foundation (!993-2000) both in Marshfield, Wisconsin. In each of these capacities, he has conducted numerous research initiatives exploring the health effects of agricultural exposures, convened scientific meetings and seminars including chair of the first Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) review of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Agriculture, Foreslly, and Fishing Research Program in
2006-2007, and more recently chair of the International Labour Organization's Expert Panel on Safety and Health in Agriculture, under the sponsorship of the United Nations, that drafted the international code: Safety and Health in Agriculture- A Code of Practice. He has chaired scientific review mechanisms for the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that rated applications for federal funding, and testified before Congress about the need for a national agenda on agricultural occupational health and safety. His career exploring the health impact of human activity in agricultural work settings began in 1976 with research on the respiratory effect of working in upper Midwest poultry barns and continued through his initial retirement in 2000. Upon discovering retirement did not suit his lifestyle, he return to academe, after having served in the 1980's and 1990's as an adjunct professor in public health administration at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, and in the Health Services Management and Administration Program of St. Mary's University, Winona,
Minnesota. He is currently exploring the reach and impact of precision agricultural technologies upon U.S. and Canadian agriculture. He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals. Dr. Gunderson received his PhD in education and computer system technology from the University of Minnesota, his MAin industrial technology from Ball State University, and his BS in both English and industrial technology from Moorhead State College, Minnesota.
Business Segment Leader, Material Handling Solutions, PaR Systems
Robotdalen - Manager Health Robotics, Technologies for Independent Life, Mälardalens University
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.
Harlan Jacobs is the founder and president of Genesis Business Centers, Ltd., a diversified high tech, for-profit incubator program established in 1993. Mr. Jacobs is a seasoned CFO with over 20 years’ experience as a corporate controller and treasurer prior to becoming involved in the fields of incubation and early stage venture (seed) capital. He was the CFO for FilmTec Corporation, a successful Minnesota high tech start-up company with a unique reverse osmosis membrane technology. Formed in 1977 with only $100,000 of founders capital, the company went public in 1979.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Operations Manager & Systems Engineer, Field of View LLC
Kaci Lemler is a Systems Engineer at Field of View LLC, a company that engineers and sells innovative aerial remote sensing solutions for the agricultural and mapping industries. Before working at Field of View, Kaci attended the University of North Dakota where she was employed by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering Laboratory. At UASE, Kaci was involved in the development and flight testing of payloads for small UAS. In 2010, Kaci was a member of a team that traveled to Australia and won a record setting first place in the international UAV Outback Search and Rescue Challenge. Kaci earned her bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Dakota.
Engineering Fellow, PaR Systems
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.
Co-Director of Graduate Studies, W.E. Larson Chair for Soil and Water Resources, University of Minnesota
Dr. Mulla received a Ph.D. degree in Agronomy from Purdue University with emphasis in soil chemistry and soil physics (1983). He is currently Professor and Larson Chair for Soil & Water Resources in the Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate at the Univ. of Minnesota, and Director of the Precision Agriculture Center. Dr. Mulla is an internationally recognized researcher and scholar. His research has taken him to over 20 countries. His peers elected him as a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and as a Fellow in the Agronomy Society of America. In 2012, he received the Pierre C. Robert Precision Agriculture Research Award from the International Society for Precision Agriculture. In 2013, he received the Soil Science Applied Research Award from the Soil Science Society of America.
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.
Chief Executive Officer, Co-Owner, Adventium Labs
Mr. Nelson is responsible for establishing the strategy and securing the resources necessary to grow Adventium’s reputation as a nationally recognized research and development laboratory. Since becoming CEO in 2010, Mr. Nelson has streamlined operations and established infrastructure to support future growth, invested in employee development and well-being, and initiated a strategy to accelerate the transfer of Adventium’s technology to practical use. In addition, he continues to oversee Adventium’s business development strategy, a role he has held since the inception of Adventium in 2002. Significant achievements include contract awards on highly competitive AFRL, DARPA, and DHS programs and numerous SBIR projects, including a recently awarded $24 million Phase III SBIR task order. In 2011, Adventium finalized a license to a third party for cyber security technology and one of Adventium’s SBIRs was recognized by the Air Force as a technology transfer success.
Mr. Nelson's technology-related accomplishments at Adventium include innovations on an NIH-funded effort to enable the elderly to safely reside in their homes. This work led to a commercialized product called e-Neighbor, based on issued and pending patents, and resulted in a royalty-based revenue stream for Adventium. For NASA, he supported development of a system-level tool called SLATE that provides the user a means to reason about system-level properties for verification and validation of complex cyber and physical systems. Mr. Nelson has supported numerous other technical programs for customers including DARPA, AFRL, NSF, and others.
Prior to joining Adventium, Mr. Nelson spent 14 years at Honeywell’s corporate research laboratories serving in both business leadership and technical roles. He served as Manager of the Honeywell Labs Business Development department and was awarded the Business Development Top Performer award for his efforts on a successful multi-division rotorcraft avionics pursuit. His Honeywell technical roles involved work in mixed-initiative decision support, multi-agent systems, maintenance and diagnostics, and human centered systems.
Mr. Nelson is active in STEM initiatives including volunteering as a First Lego League team coach and First Robotics Competition team mentor in the Minneapolis urban school district. He serves on the University of Minnesota Computer Science Associates board, a group of industry advisors for the Computer Science and Engineering Department. He also has served on review panels for the National Science Foundation and on the board of advisors for the Center for Strategic Information Technology and Security, a consortium consisting of Minneapolis Community Technical College, Inver Hills Community College, and Metropolitan State University. He has two issued patents and three pending.
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, Ph.D.
President, RxFunction Inc
Lars Oddsson, PhD, is an experienced biomedical scientist, inventor, visionary leader and entrepreneur. He is President and Co-founder of RxFunction Inc., a medical device start-up based on Dr. Oddsson’s invention that commercializes Walkasins™, a wearable device to help at-risk fallers improve balance. Previously between 1994 and 2007, he was research professor at Boston University’s Neuromuscular Research Center, where he also held adjunct appointments at Harvard Medical School and MIT. In 2007, he was recruited to establish and lead the Sister Kenny Research Center in Minneapolis, where he established an academic-like research center, mentored and engaged clinicians in research and implemented a novel innovation process and business incubator working with early medical device start-ups. He held this position through July of 2014. Dr. Oddsson is a Senior Fellow of the IEEE and serves on the Board of Directors of LifeScience Alley and the Alley Institute.
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.
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.
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.
Clinical Manager, North Central Center of Excellence – Minneapolis, Minnesota, Advanced Arm Dynamics (AAD)
Patrick Prigge, CP, FAAOP, is the clinical manager of Advanced Arm Dynamics at the North Central Center of Excellence in Minneapolis. He has presented nationally and internationally on the subject of Upper Limb Prosthetics, authored and co-authored a variety of articles and participated in numerous development projects to enhance the functionality of prosthetic limbs.
Mr. Prigge is an American Board for Certification certified prosthetist, a member and Fellow of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) and Chair of the AAOP Upper-Limb Prosthetics Society.
Business Development, Northrop Grumman Corporation
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.
Regional Extension Education, University of Minnesota Extension
Jim Salfer is a Regional Extension Educator – with University of Minnesota Extension. Jim has served in his present position for 18 years. Before that, he worked as a dairy nutritionist, a district sales manager for an AI company and managed a dairy farm.
Jim’s primary responsibilities include conducting applied research and developing educational programs that improve the profitability of dairy producers throughout Minnesota. Most recently, he has been involved in research projects on Automatic Milking systems and Automatic Calf feeders. Jim received his degrees from South Dakota State University and from the University of Minnesota.
Workforce Development Project Manager, Department of Employment and Economic Development
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.
Takanori Shibata, Ph.D.
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.
Control Systems Engineer, CAMotion
Engineering Fellow, PaR Systems
Associate Program Director, University of Minnesota Medical School
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.
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.
MDC Fellow, University of Minnesota
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 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.
Matthew K. Tollefson, M.D.
Associate Professor of Urology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Matthew Tollefson, M.D., is a Consultant in the Department of Urology at Mayo Clinic as well as Associate Professor of Urology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Tollefson is a Minnesota native having graduated from Saint Olaf College prior to his arrival at the Mayo Clinic where he completed his residency and a fellowship in Urologic Oncology in the Department of Urology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Dr. Tollefson has authored and co-authored many scientific publications at both the national and international levels. He has been an invited speaker locally, nationally, and internationally regarding robotic surgery. Dr. Tollefson is a reviewer to several journals including Journal of Urology, European Urology, Cancer and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He currently serves on the Robotics Interest Group at the Mayo Clinic.
Ownership Advisor, Tesla Motors
Ashley Vaness is a long time ad gal and car lover turned Teslavangelist. Based in Minneapolis, Ashley manages sales and marketing for Tesla across Minnesota and the five surrounding states. Prior to joining Tesla, she worked as a marketing executive across clients and agencies like BMW, OLSON and Colle+McVoy. Last year, she received the inaugural 32 Under 32 award, sponsored by The Advertising Federation of Minnesota, recognizing the best and the brightest marketing professionals in the Twin Cities.
Director of Facilities, Equipment & Tooling, ATK Aerospace Structures
Scott Voldness is the director of engineering, Aerospace Structures Division for ATK Aerospace Group. Voldness was named to his current position in October 2010. In this capacity he leads Aerospace Structures facility, equipment, reliability and tool engineering teams as well as maintenance activities for all of ASD business units located in Utah, Mississippi, and Ohio.
Voldness has 30 years of experience in the aerospace structures, propulsion and space industry. He has held leadership positions in engineering, operations and program management. Most recently, he was Director of Operations for ATK Launch Systems. Other leadership positions include Director, Facilities and Plant Maintenance, Director of Science & Engineering Test Services, and Chief Program Manger over Alternative Fuels Technology Programs.
A native of Minnesota, Voldness holds bachelor’s degrees in engineering and in economics from St. Cloud State University. Voldness joined ATK in May 1984 and has supported NASA, DoD and Commercial Aerospace Programs.
ATK has operations in 22 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion.
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.
Mary E. Wilson
President and CEO, ReconRobotics
Mary Wilson has more than 26 years of finance and accounting business experience and has been with ReconRobotics since its first year. Previous roles at the company include CFO and VP of Operations. Mary is responsible for the strategic direction of the company, managing its day-to-day operations, evaluating appropriate financing strategies, and reporting to investors on a regular basis. In her previous roles, Mary was responsible for establishing all accounting policies and procedures, forming banking relationships, and partnering with its contract manufacturer. In addition, she actively participated in all equity financings and has relationships with most of the company shareholders. Prior to joining ReconRobotics, she was a business consultant and owner of Mary Wilson Financial Services, Inc., which provided a wide range of financial services to businesses. Mary holds an MBA with a finance concentration from University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and holds an active CPA license with “Big Four” public accounting experience.
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.
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.