Speakers

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. If you are interested in speaking or know an exceptional candidate, place your nomination today!

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.

Nathan Harding

keynote Keynote Speaker

Nathan Harding, MS, Mechanical Engineering

Co-Founder & CEO, Ekso Bionics

Nathan Harding is the co-founder of Ekso Bionics and has served as CEO since November 2012. He is also a co-inventor of the company's core exoskeleton technology. Prior to Ekso Bionics, he worked as a Mechanical Engineer at Carnegie Mellon's Field Robotics Center, at Redzone Robotics and also served as Mechanical Engineering Manager at Berkeley Process Control and as a consultant to the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. Nathan holds ten US patents and has another eight pending. He received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University and his master's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.