Robotics Alley 2015 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, and Legal & Business, to join our 5th Annual Conference.

Kurt Amundson

Kurt Amundson

Director, Ekso Labs

Dr. Kurt Amundson is the Director of Ekso Labs, the Research and Development arm of Ekso Bionics™, and has been with the company since 2007. He played a pivotal role in the technical development of the Ekso GT, Ekso Bionics’ medical device as well as the development of the HULC exoskeleton, the exoskeleton for military applications. Prior to Ekso Bionics, he worked on the early stages of exoskeleton technology as a graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Human Engineering Laboratory. Kurt holds four US patents with another 16 pending, all of which are related to exoskeletons. He received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and his master's and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Beeker

Daniel Beeker

Senior Member of the Technical Staff, Freescale, Inc.

With more than 39 years of experience in electronic system design and EMC, Daniel Beeker provides applications support for Freescale Automotive customers worldwide. Daniel also supports Freescale customers globally with special function development tools and instrumentation (almost all of the "LFxxx" tools on the Freescale website). Daniel also specializes in EMC and signal integrity design techniques for systems and PCBs, especially in low layer count designs. Daniel teaches field based design techniques at Freescale and industry conferences worldwide. Daniel is also involved with Freescale IC package design and IC development tool teams to support improved EMC performance.


keynote Keynote Speaker

Martin Buehler

Executive R&D Imagineer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Martin an Executive R&D Imagineer with Walt Disney Imagineering, where he leads robotics and A.I. His passion is to translate new technologies into transformative new systems, capabilities and experiences that improve people’s lives. After an academic career in robotics at McGill University from 1991 to 2003, he has worked on robotics in industry at several companies, advancing consumer, defense, surgical, logistics and entertainment robotics. Martin is best known for breakthroughs in legged robots like BigDog and RHex. He holds several patents, served on the editorial boards of the top three robotics journals, is an IEEE Fellow and holds the prestigious Robotics Industry Association’s Engelberger Award for Technology.

Tara Butler

Tara Butler

Ascension Health Ventures at Managing Director

Tara Butler came to Ascension Ventures in 2002 after completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. She primarily focuses on investments in the medical device and diagnostics sector. Tara has been a board member or observer at several Ascension Ventures portfolio companies, including Apama Medical, Augmenix, CHF Solutions, Confluent Surgical, CSA Medical, HemoSphere, Interventional Spine, ISTO Technologies, Ivantis, MindFrame, Neurolutions, Novasys, Ocular Therapeutix, OptiScan Biomedical, PathoGenetix, Stereotaxis (NASD:STXS), and TomoTherapy (NASD:TOMO). Prior to attending medical school, she held positions in business development at Medtronic, in finance at Honeywell and as a laboratory research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She holds a BS in Economics and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Tara Butler

Marie F. Calabria

VP of Operations, Blue Belt Technologies

Ms. Calabria has over 25 years of experience including leadership and technical management positions in both start-up and larger companies. She has successfully brought products to market in emerging and established companies in the medical device, life science and bio tech industries. Her experience with Blue Belt Technologies, NeuroVasx, Boston Scientific, J&J, Covidien and Pfizer, among others, has led to a seasoned approach to management. Previously a program management consultant, both domestically and internationally, implementing effective product and process development strategies. Currently an active member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Michigan Technical University Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Michael Corcoran
Michael Corcoran

Business Development Manager; Defense and Remote Sensing Programs

Michael Corcoran is the Business Development Manager/Chief Pilot for Defense and Remote Sensing Programs at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, University of North Dakota (UND), where he provides program expertise to foster the growth of industry/government-driven research for Department of Defense (DOD)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiatives. He functions as the subject matter expert/Chief Pilot for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used for environmental assessments, wildlife surveys, and oilfield/wind turbine monitoring, collaborating with departments across UND, and Chief Pilot/Operations Manager for the UND Biology Department for field research and Arctic research programs. Previously, he served as Assistant Director for UND’s UAS Center of Excellence. Mr. Corcoran holds an M.A. in Business and Organizational Security from Webster University, a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from ESI International, a B.A. in Criminal Justice Studies, and is a Distinguished Military Graduate from St. Cloud State University.

Francis (Duke) Creighton
Francis (Duke) Creighton, Ph.D.

Founder, President and CTO, 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.

Mauris DeSilva

Patrick Alexander Deegan, PhD

CTO, Personal BlackBox

Dr. Patrick Deegan is the CTO of Personal BlackBox (PBB, http://pbb.me/), a Public Benefit Corporation, that has developed a user-centric data platform that enables individuals to claim their personal digital assets, establish trusted relationships in a digital economy with the products and services that they use, and share in the benefits of the increasingly immersive new data ecology, while maintaining privacy and control in unlocking its value.

Patrick earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts where he also designed and implemented several humanoid robots including the uBot-5 and uBot-6. He also co-founded digitROBOTICS, a start-up that developed mobile manipulation software in partnership with the NASA Johnson Space Center. This work was subsequently utilized as the mobile dexterous base for the MIT Media Lab Nexi, named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008. He holds several patents and while at Rethink Robotics, helped to develop Baxter, a collaborative robot for workforce flexibility that was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012.

Patrick joins PBB from the Institute of Data Driven Design (ID3), a research non-profit in collaboration with the Human Dynamics Group at MIT’s Media Lab. He served as CTO and continues as the Chief Architect of the Open Mustard Seed (OMS) Project, an open-source Trust Framework for developing and deploying secure and cloud-based and mobile applications. Harnessing the latest advances in Trusted Computing, Internet of Things, and Blockchain technologies, OMS empowers its users with Self-Sovereign Identity, enables the governed exchange of digital assets, financial instruments, and personal information, and forms the basis for the next generation of transparent and responsive digital ecosystems.

Mauris DeSilva

Mauris DeSilva, PhD

Founder & CEO, 3D Printing and Advanced Robotics Solutions, LLC (3D PARS)

Mauris DeSilva, PhD, is the founder and CEO of 3D Printing and Advanced Robotics Solutions, LLC (3D PARS). Dr. DeSilva has a research background spanning the disciplines of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Ophthalmology, Neuroscience, and Nanotechnology. He is also a Professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and an Assistant Professor of Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. DeSilva is a sole or co-inventor on four patent applications.

Dr. DeSilva created 3D PARS as a lean, flexible, and geographically responsive startup company with expertise in delivering biotech and research products and services to a wide array of customers in a variety of settings. By bringing scientists, technologists, engineers, policy makers, resource managers and educators together, Dr. DeSilva envisions 3D PARS as a facilitator for creative, innovative translational research in biotechnology, 3D printing and robotics. 3D PARS is also developing novel training and education programs geared to inform professionals and engage K-12 students and teachers.

Prior to starting his own company, Dr. DeSilva was a principal investigator at the Naval Medical Research Unit, San Antonio, Texas (NAMRU-SA). He conducted innovative research addressing gaps in military medical care which required novel methods and materials. Dr. DeSilva conducted research in infection and bio-film prevention, nanoparticles and nanomaterials, coatings for extended-release drug delivery, drug and toxic substance testing on the nervous system, pain control, traumatic brain injury, tissue engineering, stem cells, and opto-acoustics. He has extensive experience in government funding procedures, acquisition, program development, project management, cross functional team building and leadership for supporting translational biomedical engineering.

Dr. DeSilva earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Augsburg College, a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering with specialization in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and completed a post-doctoral position in Ophthalmology, Neuroscience, and Nanotechnology at the Miller School of Medicine at University of Miami.

Bob Doyle
Bob Doyle

Director of Communications, The Association for Advancing Automation (A3)

Bob Doyle is Director of Communications at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is responsible for all comprehensive communications efforts for A3. He has extensive experience in strategic communications planning, media relations, crisis communications and stakeholder relations. He comments frequently on the robotics industry in North America.

Before coming to A3 in 2013, he was marketing and communications manager at EQ – The Environmental Quality Company. Prior to that, he was an environmental engineer at General Motors.

Doyle holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University, a M.S. in Engineering Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a M.A. in Public Relations & Organizational Communication from Wayne State University. Doyle is also a Director on the Board of South Oakland Shelter, a non-profit homelessness assistance agency based in southeast Michigan.

Stephen Durrant
Stephen Durrant

Principal, Patent Attorney, Schwegman, Lundberg, Woessner



William Durfee
William Durfee

William Durfee is Professor and Director of Design Education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His professional interests include the design of medical devices, rehabilitation engineering, advanced orthotics, biomechanics and physiology of human muscle including electrical stimulation of muscle, product design and design education.

William Durfee
Dr. Susan Ellis- Felege

Susan earned her B.S. in Biology at Penn State University (2005) and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Georgia (2010). She is currently as Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at the University of North Dakota. Susan’s research interests include studying wildlife populations and animal behavior relative to management actions, land use, and environmental changes using new and emerging technologies, such as nest cameras and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Susan also collaborates with computer scientists to evaluate methods of storing, filtering, and analyzing large ecological image and video datasets including through the use of a web-based citizen science project (Wildlife@Home). Specifics of her projects can be found on her website: http://und.edu/faculty/susan-felege/index.cfm.

John Fischer
John Fischer

Principal, Patent Attorney, Schwegman, Lundberg, Woessner


Norston Fontaine
Norston Fontaine



Dennis Fowler
Dennis Fowler, MD, MPH

Executive Vice President at Titan Medical Inc. 

Dennis Fowler is Executive Vice President at Titan Medical Inc. He is responsible for completion of the development and regulatory approval of new surgical robotic technology. He received his M.D. in 1973 from Kanas University and his MPH from Columbia University in 2008. Formerly, he was the Gerald and Janet Carrus Professor of Surgical Science at Columbia; Director of the Simulation Center at Columbia; V.P.-Medical Director of Perioperative Services at New York Presbyterian Hospital; and General Surgery Division Chief at Cornell. After many years as an academic surgeon, he now focuses on bringing value to healthcare through innovative new technology.

Dennis Fowler
Michael Garrord

CTO, NPC Robotics

Michael Garrod is CTO of NPC Robotics and the company’s specialist division BlackDog Robotics. He has 25 years’ experience working in Europe and the USA in technology, electronics, systems architecture and software; creating the foundation of his expertise in robotics.

Founded in 1983 in Minnesota, NPC has expanded to become one of US Military’s most trusted suppliers of motion control technology.

BlackDog® Robotics was formed as a division of NPC Robotics to pursue innovation in robotics; to assist law enforcement, first responders and the military by providing a resilient and dependable modular robot. The goal: to design and develop a reliable and durable adaptable robotic tool to assist at high-risk scenes by providing planners and decisions makers with real time critical information to make optimized outcome decisions. Michael has responsibility for ideation and innovation of modular robotic systems, and software development for artificially intelligent robotic systems and machine learning.

Andy Gates
Andrew Gates

President, Gates Manufacturing, Inc.

Andy earned his B.S. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering – North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND (1990). Over 25 years manufacturing experience with facility management, process engineering management, project management, product design and Six Sigma projects. President of Gates Manufacturing since November 2009 and is responsible for corporate direction and management, new product design, production expansion along with sales and marketing activity. Recently introduced a new product (called Dynamic Adapt Control - DAC) which integrates electronics with hydraulics on a piece of farm tillage equipment to automate the process of adjusting hydraulic cylinders with increased precision. Further development with sensory input based on residue conditions, soil type and moisture will adjust machine automatically without any operator involvement.

Greg Gorman
Greg Gorman, ESEP

IBM Director, Internet of Things Engineering Solutions

At IBM Greg leads the IoT Engineering Team, including Rhapsody, RELM, DOORS and all related components and industry solutions. Greg joined IBM through the Telelogic acquisition in 2008, where he served in several positions ranging from field engineer to sales executive to Vice President of Product Management over his 20 year history. Prior to joining Telelogic, Greg was with McDonnell-Douglas and then Honeywell Air Transport, where he led a software and systems team creating crew station displays for fighter aircraft and commercial jetliners. Greg graduated from the University of Missouri and is a Certified Product Manager, AIPMM and INCOSE Expert Systems Engineering Professional. Greg also serves as one of IBM Rational’s thought leaders in the areas of complex systems development and is IBM's Corporate Advisory Board Representative to the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). He is also active in Scouting (and is an Eagle Scout), mentors a FIRST Robotics team and volunteers as INCOSE's Associate Director of K-12 Youth Outreach.


keynote Keynote Speaker

Robert H. High Jr.

Chief Technology Officer, IBM's Watson Solutions

Rob High has overall responsibility to drive Watson Solutions technical strategy and thought leadership. As a key member of the Watson Solutions Leadership team, Rob works collaboratively with the Watson engineering, research, and development teams across IBM.

Prior to joining the Watson Solutions team, Rob was Chief Architect for the SOA Foundation and member of the IBM Academy of Technology, Rob championed an open industry architectural definition of the principles of business and IT alignment enabled by SOA and Business Process Optimization, as well as ensuring IBM's software and services portfolio is architecturally grounded to enable for efficient SOA-based solutions. This responsibility extended across the IBM software portfolio, including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus, and Information Management offerings. Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, objectoriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 26 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and the WebSphere Application Server.

Rob previously served as Chief Architect for the WebSphere foundation with architectural responsibility for the WebSphere Application Server and the related products integrated on that core runtime.

Tommy Kenville

Tommy Kenville

Rainmaker, Chair, Valley Angels

Tommy K. Kenville ’88 a graduate of the University of North Dakota in Marketing, and then working with the UND Aerospace Foundation for 15 years. Tom created working alliances between the University of North Dakota and the Aerospace foundation. Tom joined the Center for Innovation Foundation to help leverage the support of UND Alumni, friends and successful entrepreneurs around the world. In addition to his work at the Center, Tom is himself a successful entrepreneur. Tom founded (Unmanned Applications Institute International) UAI as the first Institute for research, testing, and consulting in the UAV industry. UAI is co-organizer of the UAS Summit in North Dakota and founding partner of the annual AUVSI IARC competitions and founding member of the Great Plains Chapter of AUVSI. He owns and operates manufacturing, property development and consulting businesses. Tommy raised $5M to build the first Hilton Garden Inn in the Dakotas and chairs the Valley Angel Fund.

Bill King

Bill King

Manufacturing Manager, Mate Precision Tooling

Bill is the Manufacturing Manager at Mate Precision Tooling in Anoka. Mate Precision Tooling is the leading manufacturer of original and replacement tooling for Amada, Euromac, PrimaPower, LVD, Murata Wiedemann, Salvagnini, Strippit, Trumpf and other punch press machines. Before coming Mate in 2007, he served in the U.S. Army and began his business career in production control for a small medical device firm in Silicon Valley, which was later purchased by Abbott Laboratories. He then worked for Abbott in various operations positions ranging from Production Planner, Warehouse Supervisor, Senior Production Supervisor, and Manufacturing Manager. Since 2002, he has taught in the University of Minnesota’s Manufacturing Operations Management degree program and served as the program’s Faculty Director for four years. He holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and M.S. in Operations and Technology Management from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Jerry Larsen

Jerry Larsen

President & CEO, Pivotal Vision

Jerry brings the unique experience of both industry application and development of technology.

The former President/CEO of NSP Wisconsin, an Xcel Energy subsidiary, held a breadth of positions in a major electric utility. As part of the operating experience in this critical infrastructure industry, he played a large part in implementation of computer based technologies that included Geographic Information systems(GIS), remote monitoring/ control systems, (SCADA, Energy Management, state estimation, crisis management- system restoration software ) during his 30-year career.

The last 8 years have been in the security manufacturing sector with Pivotal Vision. He has lead Pivotal Vision to apply concepts of remote control & data acquisition and geographic systems, used by industries to gather real time operations data, to create similar technology for physical security.

He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University Minnesota and graduated from the Minnesota Management Institute at the Carlson School of Management.

Rick Lowenberg

Rick Lowenberg

President and owner of RSR Electric, LLC (DBA Highland Electric) and Zephyr Management, LLC. 

Rick Lowenberg '88 a BSIT graduate of the University of North Dakota and '94 MBA graduate of the University of St. Thomas. Rick began working for several manufacturing companies for 12 year most notably Graco, Inc. in engineering and management roles. Then spent 6 years as a consultant in turnaround management restructuring 100+ privately held business in the Midwest. Mr. Lowenberg has since acquired 6 companies for the companies he manages. In addition, is a member of the Valley Angel Fund.

Donald Mark

Donald Mark

Partner and Co-Founder at Fafinski Mark & Johnson, P.A.

Donald Chance Mark, Jr. is a founding member of the Minnesota-based law firm of Fafinski Mark & Johnson. He has more than 35 years of experience handling general litigation, aviation litigation, products liability and other commercial litigation and medical malpractice defense matters. He is the head of FMJ’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice group, working with businesses and individuals looking to operate, manufacture, buy, lease, sell, or insure UAS.

His law firm was the first in the state of Minnesota to start a dedicated UAS practice. In 2014, Don was asked to testify before the Minnesota Senate and House Judiciary and Civil Law Committee in a joint hearing on the topic of UAS. The hearing covered public, private and commercial usage of UAS and the data they collect. Don addressed UAS regulations at state and federal levels, uses of UAS and data gathered by them, as well as current and future legal issues.

Adam Marsh

Adam Marsh

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

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

Doug McDonald

Director of Special Projects, UAI International


Nilesh Mohan

Nilesh Mohan

Group Manager, Logistics, Supply Chain & Distribution, Target Corporation

Nilesh Mohan is a Group Manager at Target Corporation, where his team manages Material Handling Systems, Robotics, & Automation across entire Supply Chain & Distribution. Nilesh has been with Target Corporation since 2007 in a variety of roles across Supply Chain. Prior to that Nilesh worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as a Management & Strategy Consultant, where he primarily focused on supply chain technologies & operations. Previous to that he had a brief stint in IT Consulting with Tata Consultancy Services. Nilesh received his M.B.A. from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, and has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Delhi College of Engineering.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson

CEO, Adventium Labs


Emily O’Brien

Emily O’Brien

Entrepreneur Specialist, Center for Innovation; President, Dakota Venture Group

Emily O’Brien a native of Lakeville, MN and a graduate of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Entrepreneurship and Business Management and pursuing her Master’s in Entrepreneurship.

Emily has had the privilege to be a part of many different organizations at UND. She held positions in her sorority; Gamma Phi Beta as VP of Risk Management, Recruitment, Panhellenic Council VP, Chair of Greek Judicial Advisory Board, and currently holds positions in the School of Business and Public Administration Student Advisory Board as President, and also serves as the President in Dakota Venture Group.

Currently, she works as an Entrepreneur Specialist with the Center for Innovation helping entrepreneurs with their business ventures.

Emily was also a part of the team that helped establish 1 Million Cups Grand Forks, developed by the Kauffman Foundation. She is now working on Startup Weekend Grand Forks, which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. Additionally, Emily is hoping to help establish a Co-Working Space in Greater Grand Forks, creating entrepreneur synergy, providing workstations, meeting space, office services, technology infrastructure, and programming for independent professionals, freelancers, visiting business people, telecommuters, micro-business owners, and startups. Emily is also working on planning a Student Venture Capital Summit-bringing together Student Venture Funds and professional leaders from all over the U.S.

Emily serves on the GF Herald Advisory Board, GF & EGF Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee, and UND School of Entrepreneurship Professional Practice Advisory Council.

She has a passion for helping startup companies, nonprofits, investing, event planning, and working with others. Emily strives to learn all that she can, that pushes her to continue to grow her knowledge and contributing to that entrepreneur ecosystem is an opportunity that she truly values.

James Orrock

James E. Orrock

VP FDM Materials Dev., Stratasys

Jim currently manages the FDM materials development team for Stratasys. He has over 8 years’ experience leading Additive Manufacturing systems and materials development. During his tenure at Stratasys he has led the development of 4 Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Additive Manufacturing (AM) system products and 8 new FDM materials. Prior to joining Stratasys Jim worked in the Printed Electronics industry where he developed a flexible Additive Manufacturing line for printing various types of electronic circuits on flexible substrates.

Michael Pereira

Michael Pereira

EVP Technology & Operations

As head of technology and operations, Michael leads Ximedica’ s product development service and manufacturing operation and is responsible for ensuring the proper execution of the programs and guaranteeing that their overall goals, as well as their technical, financial, operational, quality, and compliance metrics are achieved by Ximedica’ s management and teams. Michael emphasizes Ximedica’s philosophy of cross -functional collaboration with clients, continuous improvement processes and qual ity systems, and accountability towards delivering superior products.

Michael has over 20 years of product development and manufacturing experience and has been at Ximedica for 15 years. During his tenure at Ximedica, he has been involved in the development of hundreds of medical and consumer products in a variety of roles, including Lead Engineer, Program Manager, and Head of Program Management and Engineering.

In addition to his responsibilities within Ximedica, Michael presents at industry events and is a member of Medical Design Technology's Editorial Advisory Board. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University.

Dion Perkins

Dion Perkins

R&D Engineering Manager, Kroger

Dion Perkins is the R&D Engineering Manager for the Kroger Co. He has over 10 years’ experience in retail leading numerous enterprise level projects. During his tenure with Kroger R&D he has led development of custom temperature monitoring hardware that recently won an award at the CIO 100. His past experience includes indoor location systems, computer vision design, video management systems and industrial mobile design.

Douglas Ramler

Douglas Ramler

Attorney, Gray Plant Mooty


Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie

Former Secretary of State, Office of the Secretary of State, Minnesota


Wesley Rhodes

Wesley Rhodes

Security Architect; CTO Sensemaking and Director NSRC

Wesley Rhodes is an Executive Security Architect at IBM responsible for resolving hard Commercial and National Security Cyber issues. Wesley also serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Sensemaking and Director of the Network Science Research Center. He specializes in cognitive and context computing technologies, high risk program management, technology development, disaster recovery and business continuity, advanced analytics and streaming real time systems.

Wesley hold an MBA from the University of Houston, a MS in Project Management from the University of Western Carolina, a MS in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin and a MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland, University College. Wesley is a Sensemaking Fellow at Swansea University's Network Science Research Center and is a Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois Center for Advanced Design, Research and Exploration.

Dave Russick

David Russick

David Russick uses his visionary leadership to transform markets with environmentally progressive and economically sustainable businesses. He has patented and marketed new products and processes, scaled businesses to serve mass markets, and developed award winning brand strategies. Russick is also experienced in angel investing, business evaluation, strategic planning and business development.

Russick is a Founder, Managing Director, and Board Member of Gopher Angels LLC, an investment organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and early stage businesses in the state of Minnesota.

Russick also founded and was President of TUBS, Inc., based in the Twin Cities with operations in Denver and Cleveland.

Russick Founded BAGSTER LLC, and grew it into a nationwide waste services company. He served as President and Board Member prior to Bagster’s acquisition by a Fortune 500 company.

Russick is a graduate of the University of South Dakota. He earned a Master of International Management degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with studies at Oxford University, Oxford England.

Dave Russick

Corey Ryan

Manager of Medical Robotics, KUKA Robotics Corporation

Corey Ryan is the Manager of Medical Robotics at KUKA Robotics Corporation. He joined KUKA in 2009 and has been responsible for research sales and growth of the medical business for all of North America. KUKA’s medical business has some long established OEM relationships but has recently been focusing on innovative robotic applications and startup partnerships.

With a BSc in Electrical Engineering Technology from Lake Superior State University and an MBA for Science and Technology from Queen’s University in Canada, Corey manages all medical customer relationships for KUKA and leads the strategic growth objectives for KUKA’s medical segment. Before joining KUKA, Corey spent 8 years with GE Healthcare in various sales and marketing roles.

Steven Sandler

Steven M. Sandler

Managing Director, Picotest

Steve Sandler has been involved with power system engineering for more than 37 years. Steve is the founder of PICOTEST.com, a company specializing in accessories for high performance power system and distributed system testing. He frequently lectures and leads workshops internationally on the topics of power, PDN and distributed systems.

Steve Sandler frequently writes articles and books related to power supply and PDN performance and his latest book, Power Integrity: Measuring, Optimizing and Troubleshooting Power-Related Parameters in Electronics Systems was published by McGraw-Hill in 2014. He was also the recipient of the ACE 2015 Jim Williams Contributor of the Year ACE Award for his outstanding and continuing contributions to the engineering industry and knowledge sharing.

Steve is also the founder of AEi Systems, a well-established leader in worst case circuit analysis and troubleshooting of satellite and other high reliability systems.

Max Seeley

Max Seeley

Senior Electrical Engineer, PCB and Manufacturing Engineer, Advanced Electronics Group, 3M SEMS Corporate Research Lab

Max is the domain lead for the Advanced Electronics group within 3M’s Corporate Research Lab. This group focuses on the development of advanced small form factor high speed electronics. Previously, he worked at Imris on the development of the SYMBIS® Surgical System — a robotics system capable of minimally invasive micro-neurosurgery. Prior to Imris, he worked at ReconRobotics where he engineered numerous integral parts of the Throwbot® tactical micro-robot system. These parts included an enhanced wireless video link and the next generation robot motherboard.

He has degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, is an IPC Advanced Certified Interconnect Designer (CID+), and a certified Altium Designer instructor.

Max is passionate about Robotics Alley because he believes effective designers should strive to improve their knowledge. He also brings an extensive professional network to the organization that has helped him solve difficult design issues in the past. Furthermore, Robotics Alley provides a forum for the discussion and advancement of the cutting edge technology involved in the emerging field of robotics.

Julie Sherman

Julie Sherman

Principal Medical Research Manager at NAMSA

Ms Sherman has over 25 years of US and International Regulatory Affairs experience in medical device and pharmaceutical companies including Medtronic, BioVascular (now Baxter Health Care), Solvay Pharmaceutical and LifeCore Biomedical. Ms Sherman has extensive experience in PMA, 510(k), Design Dossier, Technical Files, as well as Quality and Manufacturing Systems in the device and pharmaceutical industries. Ms Sherman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems with a Concentration in Medical Devices.

Eric Taipale

Eric J. Taipale

Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Sentera, LLC has over 20 years of experience advancing drone, sensor, and software technologies.

Preceding Sentera, Taipale was the Chief Technology Officer of FourthWing Sensors LLC. He joined FourthWing from Lockheed Martin where he held senior technical, business development, and program management roles, most recently serving as Chief Engineer of the Unmanned Solutions business area. Previously, he served as Director of Engineering at Goodrich, now UTC Aerospace Systems.

Taipale holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.

Craige Thompson

Craige Thompson, J.D., E.E., P.E.

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.

Josue Villalta

Josue Villalta

Patent Attorney, Partner at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP

Josue’s practice focuses on patent prosecution, patent portfolio management, IP due diligence and general counseling on validity and infringement issues.  Josue has over 13 years of experience representing clients in a wide range of technologies, including medical devices.  Within the medical device field, Josue represents clients in the areas of robotic surgical systems, prosthetics, orthopedics, including spinal surgical devices, and ophthalmic devices.  Josue has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and obtained his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  More information on Josue can be found at www.knobbe.com/josue-villalta

Patrick Weldon

Patrick Weldon, 

Product Manager at Polaris Industries

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 make Polaris vehicles unmanned.

Scot Wesolaski

Scot Wesolaski, 

Senior Director, Business Development and Product Marketing, Z Aerospace

Scot Wesolaski graduated with a B.A from UW-Milwaukee, attended flight school in the USAF, Squadron Officer School, and Air Staff and Command College, attended Stanford School of Business for Project Management, and Received Mini-MBA from St. Thomas in the Twin Cities. Scot is a retired Senior Military Officer, and aviator, having served 23 years, and flown over 4,000hours, and over 120 combat missions, and several tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Central America. He has worked for Major OEM’s to include ATK, and GE Intelligent Platforms. In 2012, Scot decided to start Z Aerospace and go out on his own as a Veteran Owned Small Business, VOSB, serving the business community in areas of Business and Product Development/Marketing.

Z Aerospace supports the Yellow Ribbon Network in Hugo, MN, Wounded Warriors Project, Habitat for Humanity, and Heroes Heart Project in MN.

Rand Whillock

Rand Whillock,  MS

Senior Principle Research Scientist, Adventium Labs

Mr. Rand Whillock specializes in image processing and computer vision and has extensive experience with robotics and sensors, initially with Honeywell and now with Adventium Labs. Mr. Whillock has worked on numerous government funded research projects developing sensor processing technologies for applications including: unmanned airborne systems, target recognition, people detection, tracking and recognition. Highlights of Mr. Whillock’s achievements include leading a team to develop and flight test an automatic target cueing system and developing an award winning standoff face and iris recognition system. Mr. Whillock has an MS in computer science from the University of Minnesota and holds over a dozen sensor processing related patents. Mr. Whillock is a prolific robotics hobbyist, building numerous robots for demonstrations in schools and has been coaching, judging, and mentoring First Lego League Robotics teams for over 17 years. Mr. Whillock also teaches an industrial automation class at Normandale College.

Dan Whitacre

Senior Director of Enterprise Data Strategy, Kroger

Dan is the Senior Director responsible for defining the strategy and roadmap for enterprise data and analytics architecture at Kroger Co. Throughout his 30 yr career, Dan has led the development of information strategy, analytical applications, business intelligence, data warehousing, data integration, and operational system initiatives at Kroger. Prior to re-joining Kroger in mid-2015, Dan spent 3 years as the CTO of Data Intensity Analytics Consulting and 5 years at IBM working primarily in the Retail and DoD industries.