Retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau was appointed as President, Naval Postgraduate School on January 29, 2019. She brings to the assignment an unparalleled record of leadership and achievement within the military and academia in the areas of education, training, research, executive development, change management, and strategic planning. Prior to her appointment, Adm. Rondeau served as the sixth president of the College of DuPage. Her most recent military position was as the President of the National Defense University, a consortium of five colleges and nine research centers in Washington, DC.
Rondeau has extensive leadership experience in significant military and educational roles. In 1985, she was selected and served as a White House Fellow in the Reagan Administration and went on to serve as the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command in Illinois, Pentagon Director/Chief of Staff for the U.S. Navy Staff, Commander of the Navy Personnel Development Command in Virginia, Commander of the Naval Service Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill., Pacific Fleet Staff Chief of Staff in Hawaii, Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity in Tennessee and other staff and commanding responsibilities with policy, planning, Fleet support, joint logistics, training and education. Rondeau retired from the U.S. Navy as a three-star admiral in 2012 and was the second woman to have achieved that rank in the Navy. She then served as a partner and later an independent consultant with the IBM Watson group.
Rondeau holds a B.A. from Eisenhower College (NY), an M.A. from Georgetown University (DC) and an Ed.D. from the College of Education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. She also holds an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (Chicago, IL).
Bonny Simi is Joby Aviation’s Head of Air Operations and People. Prior to joining the team at Joby, Bonny held several operational and strategic roles at JetBlue within Flight Operations, System Operations, People, Airports, and Customer Support. Most notably, she founded and led JetBlue Technology Ventures. As a pilot, Bonny has commanded Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft at both United Airlines and JetBlue Airways. She is an Emmy-nominated sports reporter and a 3-time Olympian in the sport of Luge.
Dr. Glenda Humiston was appointed vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Aug. 3, 2015.
Humiston was born in California and raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado, where she was a member of 4-H. She came to UC ANR with more than 25 years of experience working on public policy development and program implementation supporting sustainability.
She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, as executive director of a nonprofit organization advocating farmland preservation and value-added agriculture development, and several years as a consultant on environmental and agricultural issues throughout the West.
She served President Clinton as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment at USDA from 1998 to 2001. She managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa and the 2006 World Water Forum in Mexico City. In 2009, Humiston was appointed by President Obama to serve as the California State Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development.
Humiston produced a widely acclaimed guidebook on “Access to Capital” and has led efforts to bring rural issues to the forefront of the state’s Economic Summit and policymakers throughout California.
Humiston earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management in 2009 with research focused on U.S. Farm Bill policy. She has a master’s degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University.
Under leadership of John MacMillan, the UC Santa Cruz, Office of Research has primary responsibility for research policy, planning and administration of the UC Santa Cruz research enterprise. VCR MacMillan’s current research lab and prolific career has focused predominantly on the therapeutic areas of infectious disease and oncology, combining phenotypic screening, isolation and mechanism of action studies towards the discovery of more than 100 new natural products. This work has led to establishment of the Center for High Functional Annotation of Natural Products (HIFAN), which is a multi-institutional center funded by the NIH to study the mechanism of botanicals and natural products. His work in the area of oncology has yielded a first in-class inhibitor of Hypoxia Inducible Factor 2 (HIF-2) that is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma.
Dr. MacMillan holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis. Prior to moving to the University of California, Santa Cruz he was on faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Mr. Matthew Merighi is the Director of Operations (Acting) and Northeast Regional Director for the National Security Innovation Network, a program office in the Department of Defense (DoD). In his role, Matthew manages NSIN’s 25+ Regional Network personnel across the U.S. who build relationships between DoD entities, universities, and startups. Matthew is also the President of Lazuli Advisors LLC, a
consulting company specializing in defense technology.
A graduate of Georgetown University and the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, he has co-founded two startups and spent time building academic programs at Tufts. He began his career working on security cooperation programs for the Air Force (SAF/IA).
Toks Omishakin was appointed the 33rd Director of the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) by Governor Gavin Newsom and sworn in October 2019. Director Omishakin manages a $15 billion budget and nearly 22,000 employees who oversee 50,000 lane miles of highway, maintain approximately 20,000 bridges, provide permitting of more than 400 public-use airports, fund three of Amtrak’s busiest intercity rail services and provide transit support to more than 200 local and regional transit agencies.
Director Omishakin’s transportation vision for California features a safe, equitable, sustainable, and multimodal transportation system that builds on strong local partnerships. He and the leadership team established the 5 Priorities for the Department in 2019 and, in 2020, finalized a new Strategic Plan with a focus on Caltrans’ foundational principles of Equity, Climate Action and Safety. He also encourages a Caltrans culture of innovation and intelligent risk-taking, as transformative innovation will be needed to achieve zero traffic-related deaths and reduce GHGs by 40% by 2030.
Having been immersed in the transportation industry for almost two decades, Director Omishakin came to Caltrans following eight years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). There, he successfully established environmental, multimodal and planning policies to make TDOT one of the best state DOTs in the country. As Deputy Commissioner for Environment and Planning, he was responsible for an administrative and project budget of more than $300 million annually. He also led the activities of the divisions of Environmental Services, Long-Range Planning, Multimodal Transportation Resources, and the Freight and Logistics Division.
Prior to that role, he served as Director of Healthy Living Initiatives in the Nashville Mayor’s Office. In that capacity, he led development of Nashville’s Complete Streets Policy and helped establish a more balanced approach to transportation planning and design. This included spearheading creation of two bicycle sharing programs.
In December 2019, Omishakin became Chair of the Council on Active Transportation for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This came after serving two years as committee vice chair and serving as inaugural chair of AASHTO’s Multimodal Task Force. He is on the Board of America Walks, Veloz, Mineta Transportation Institute and ITS World Congress and has advised the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis through its Transportation Council Board.
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Omishakin and his wife have two children. He is completing a Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University; and a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering Technology from Mississippi Valley State University.
Moderators & Panelists
Adam Cohen is a transportation futurist and researcher at the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Since joining the group in 2004, his research has focused on innovative urban mobility solutions, including urban air mobility, shared mobility, urban goods delivery, automation, smart cities, smartphone apps, and other emerging technologies. Cohen recently completed two exploratory studies of the opportunities and challenges of Urban Air Mobility using electric vertical take-off and land (eVTOL) aircraft for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Toyota Motor Corporation. He has also co-authored numerous articles and reports on innovative mobility in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Previously, Cohen worked for the Information Technology and Telecommunications Laboratory (ITTL) at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). His academic background is in city and regional planning and international affairs.
Adrienne Lindgren is an urban planner and economic development professional, with a focus on integrating advanced transportation technology into the built environment to enhance urban and regional mobility outcomes. Adrienne joined Hyundai Motor Group in 2020 and now serves as the Head of City Activations; in this capacity, Adrienne and her team partner with entities across the globe to better understand how UAM technology can deliver universal, affordable, and human-centered cities, while driving and supporting initiatives that increase capacity for UAM solutions in a multi-modal mobility environment. Her work is guided by principles of equity, accessibility, and ecological and fiscal sustainability.
Prior to joining Supernal (Hyundai Motor Group), Adrienne worked for WSP USA, an engineering services firm, where she assisted transportation owners and operators in delivering innovative transportation technology programs, while leading a new practice in aviation innovation.
She has worked with international transportation and aviation authorities, airports, DOTs, and local planning entities across the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK/EU. Before moving into the private sector, Adrienne spent time in local government under the Garcetti administration in the City of Los Angeles; she continues to serve local government as a private citizen through the local planning commission.
Alexander L. Wolf serves as Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering and is a Distinguished Professor in the department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz (US).
Prof. Wolf received the B.A. degree from Queens College of the City University of New York, majoring in both Geology and Computer Science. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prof. Wolf was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories (now AT&T Labs Research and Bell Laboratories) in Murray Hill, New Jersey, before joining the University of Colorado faculty. During his years at the University of Colorado, Prof. Wolf held the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor. He also held the Charles Victor Schelke Chair in the College of Engineering. At the University of Lugano he helped found the Faculty of Informatics, the first computer science faculty in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Before moving to his present position, Prof. Wolf held a chaired professorship in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London.
Prof. Wolf’s research interests span the areas of distributed systems, networking, and software engineering. His achievements include seminal work in software architecture, business analytics, and information-centric networks. His more recent projects concern cloud computing, data-center networking, and service-based systems hosted on MANETs.
Prof. Wolf served as President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and chaired the Executive Committee (EC) of the ACM Council, the governing authority of the association. He was also a founding member of the ACM Europe Council and was a long-time participant in the ACM Distinguished Speakers Program (DSP). He previously served as Secretary-Treasurer and then Vice President of the ACM, Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) Governing Board (SGB), Vice Chair and then Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group in Software Engineering (SIGSOFT), and Chair of the ACM Software System Award committee. He served on the editorial boards of the Research Highlights section of ACM‘s flagship publication Communications of the ACM (CACM), the ACM journal Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM), the IEEE Computer Society journal Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE), and the Wiley journal Software Process – Improvement and Practice (SPIP), and has chaired a number of international program committees.
Prof. Wolf is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), holder of a Royal Society–Wolfson Research Merit Award, two-time recipient of an ACM SIGSOFT Research Impact Award (,), recipient of both the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award and Distinguished Service Award, and recipient of an Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Alvaro A. Cardenas is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before joining UCSC, he was the Eugene McDermott Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. Earlier in his career, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and a research staff member at Fujitsu Laboratories. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.S. from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. His research interests focus on cyber-physical systems and IoT security and privacy. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the 2018 faculty excellence in research award from the Erik Johnson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Eugene McDermott Fellow Endowed Chair at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has also received best paper awards from the IEEE Smart Grid Communications Conference and the U.S. Army Research Conference. One of his papers was also a finalist to the CSAW competition in Israel.
Andrea Pesce is the Director of Industry Alliances & Licensing at UCSC. She serves all divisions of campus by creating new and strengthening existing corporate partnerships for research sponsorships and collaborations, in addition to other faculty and student engagements with industry. She also oversees the licensing operations which include marketing IP, identifying licensing partners and negotiating licenses to realize the best value for UCSC intellectual property. Before joining the Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization team, Andrea worked in the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University for over seven years, and before that she in-licensed university IP for a biotechnology company. Andrea holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Hampshire and a M.S. in Biology from San Diego State University, as well as professional certificates from Stanford.
Anna is an industry-recognized leader in the urban air mobility (UAM), eVTOL, and innovative personal aviation industries. She is an expert in policy, certification and government relations in the aviation industry, as well as start-up company operations, and generally solving complex problems in unique ways while inspiring innovation within a sustainable framework. In addition to her policy and consulting work, Anna is a sought-after speaker.
She began her career in the aerospace industry early, participating in Mars rover prototype testing and two around-the-world balloon attempts with Steve Fossett while in high school and receiving both her BS and MS in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Co-founding Terrafugia in 2006, Anna served as Chief Operating Officer and acting CFO there until 2014 when she stepped back to focus on her consulting and policy interests. Anna is now active in creating the policy and regulatory landscape for urban air mobility (UAM) and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft including being the Co-Founder and Director, Industry & Strategy of the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI). She has leadership roles in both the ASTM international industry consensus standards committees for aviation and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association EVTOL committee.
In July 2018, Anna testified on the urban air mobility (UAM) industry for the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Her speaking experience includes the 2019 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit, TED Global, Good Morning America, South by Southwest (SXSW), Uber’s Elevate Conference, the Vertical Flight Society EVTOL Symposium, and the Air Force Agility Prime 2020 Kickoff Event, as well as lectures at MIT, Embry Riddle, and UC Berkeley. She was named one of the Boston area’s top 15 Innovators by the Boston Globe, was one of the 10 women selected for the 6th annual Mass High Tech Women to Watch Award, and has been recognized by Engineers Week New England with their annual Achievement Award. Anna also served on the Board of Directors of Women in Aviation International (WAI). She has also been published at outlets such as Aviation Week & Space Technology, Ms. Magazine, and CNN.com and has a private pilot license.
Cassie Meigs is the Director of Account Management at the Seattle-based startup DroneSeed. DroneSeed’s mission is to use technology and science to scale reforestation to a level that adequately responds to the climate crisis. DroneSeed is pioneering enhanced seeding technology distributed via heavy lift drone swarms to maximize the speed and scale of reforestation, especially after large-scale disturbance such as wildfire. DroneSeed was named the World’s Most Innovative Company in Robotics by Fast Company in 2021.
Before joining DroneSeed in 2019, Cassie earned her MS in Forest Science from Oregon State University, where she studied the effects of fire severity on forest ecosystem recovery. This research led her to discover geospatial technologies and the power to analyze our world through lidar. Cassie spent over a decade working for Quantum Spatial (now NV5 Geospatial), pushing the boundaries of data and analytics to deliver actionable intelligence. This experience has led to her deep understanding of cutting- edge sensors and UAS platforms.
Chris Bley is a Santa Cruz-based serial entrepreneur and co-founder of drone innovation hub, Airspace Integration. Chris has been active in the wind energy industry for 19 years since founding Rope Partner, a rope access service company located in Santa Cruz. Rope Partner currently has 10 supporting staff and 90 technicians that use rope access on utility scale wind turbines throughout the world for inspection, maintenance and repair. In 2012 cofounded InspecTools, to apply emerging drone, database and software capabilities in solving wind energy, solar and utility industries problems. Following years of InspecTools was acquired by PrecisionHawk in September of 2018,, who continues to develop unique solutions in the Monterey Bay region. Chris is currently focused on several additional drone related projects including Monterey Bay DART (a non-profit focused on supporting and connecting drone innovators), Insight Up Solutions (drone and sensor resale) and AirSpace Integration (provides shared work spaces, air spaces and training). These companies are located in the Monterey Bay region, La Selva Beach and the Marina Airport. Chris holds a BA in Biology from UC Santa Cruz.
Chris Medina is Managing Partner & Co-founder of Tesserakt Ventures, a venture capital firm and accelerator that specializes in operational support. Through its product engineering, design, fundraising, and customer development services, Tesserakt has helped its portfolio of global companies raise over $80M so far. An alum of UC Merced, Chris is excited to be building a new accelerator program to help students and faculty launch and scale startups. As an undergrad, Chris studied poverty and income inequality, ran a campaign for city council, and advocated for expanding voting access at the California Secretary of State’s office.
Chris’s mission is to radically elevate authenticity in community engagement to meet the challenges of environmental justice and climate change. He builds relationships across a wide range of stakeholder groups to equitably improve environmental policies, processes, and outcomes. Chris has served in multiple federal government and consulting leadership roles, including leading improvements to nationwide noise and air emissions policies at the Federal Aviation Administration and serving in technical director roles for the John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport noise studies in support of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Christopher E. Manuel is the California Central Coast Tech Bridge Director and the Associate Dean of Research for Technology Development at the Naval Postgraduate School. Prior to joining NPS, Chris initiated two start-up technology companies. He also worked for Sierra Nevada Corporation as a Corporate Vice President for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Networks (C4N). Mr. Manuel is a US Army Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer 4 with 33 years of service and 15 years of special operations experience in multiple countries including Namibia, Mozambique, Kuwait, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.
Clint Cowden was raised in Wyoming, where his family ran corporate-sized cattle ranches. A love for agriculture led him to Cal Poly, SLO, where he received a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) and a Master’s in Agricultural Education. Upon graduating, Clint moved to Napa designing vineyard irrigation and later to the Central Valley to start his precision agriculture consulting company. He later worked as lead scientist for J.M. Lord representing Coachella Valley growers. Clint entered education at West Hills College as Director of the Farm of the Future after 10 years in the classroom. Clint worked on increasing agriculture technology as a founding member of the Apps for Ag hack-a-thons and Ag Tech Roundtable tasked with increasing broadband in rural areas. Clint continues these efforts as Dean of CTE at Hartnell College, where they have expanded the advanced manufacturing program to include Mechatronics in static and dynamic environments. Clint oversees career technical programs as well as topnotch regional conferences including the Western Food Safety Conference (thewesternfoodsafetyconference.com) and the Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit (www.salinasvalleyagtechsummit.com).
Russell Cole is an agriculture technology entrepreneur and expert who is passionate about reducing waste and putting more food into the supply chain, while earning farmers more money. His work began in organic amendments, where he certified, branded and labelled rare and unique soil inputs derived from bug excrement and volcanic rock dust to help farmers of high value crops. This experience gave Russell first hand knowledge of where improvements could be made in the AgTech space, which led to his conclusion that a data science and informatics must be leveraged in order for farmers to meet the needs of our growing population. To this end, Russell has built AGXactly Crop Insights – an AgTech informatics platform that incorporates its own proprietary algorithms, providing farmers with critical information in rapid fashion and massively impacting their bottom line and the entire farming value chain. Russell believes that the future of AgTech and Agriculture is very bright and welcomes anyone who would like to learn more, to join him on his and AGXactly’s journey.
As the 11th chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, Cynthia K. Larive leads an institution known throughout the world for its interdisciplinary approach to research for the public good, and for its commitment to social and environmental justice. Since its founding fewer than 60 years ago, UC Santa Cruz has been on an unprecedented trajectory, with its faculty advancing world-changing research and establishing its reputation as one of the most innovative, collaborative, impactful institutions in higher education. It is a place where ideas are converted into action, and action into real, transformative change.
UC Santa Cruz, which enrolls 19,000 students, joined the Association of American Universities in 2019 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities in 2020, remarkable achievements that underscore the impact and quality of the campus’ research as well as the breadth and caliber of its graduate and undergraduate teaching. UC Santa Cruz also shares the distinction of being the youngest member of the esteemed 66-member AAU and is one of only four members that is also a Hispanic-serving institution. Additionally, underscoring the school’s reputation for positive change, UC Santa Cruz was named the No. 3 public university in the nation for students focused on making an impact on the world in the Princeton Review’s latest college rankings.
A common thread throughout Larive’s career has been her commitment to student success, inclusion and equity. She has led programs for undergraduate research and curricular innovation and has written extensively on active and experiential learning and mentoring. She has personally mentored 30 doctoral and master’s students, and she has been active in encouraging the participation and success of women and other underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.
Upon her arrival in Santa Cruz in 2019, she immediately prioritized improving graduation rates and eliminating graduation gaps for low-income and first-generation students, and for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. She elevated the role of the campus chief diversity officer, and restructured the Office of Student Affairs and Success to align with her goals.
She also has been a booster of regional economic development, fostering the university’s relationship with Startup Sandbox, the premier local technology incubator, and launching the new Innovation and Business Engagement Hub to give potential industry partners and supporters a clear point of entry to the campus innovation ecosystem. She serves as a member of the board of directors of the California Campus Compact, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
An accomplished bioanalytical chemist, Larive came to UC Santa Cruz from UC Riverside, where she was provost and executive vice chancellor. As provost, she was responsible for the academic enterprise, managing large-scale initiatives as well as the daily operations of the Riverside campus. Over her career at UCR, she served in a variety of other leadership roles including Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Divisional Dean of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, and interim Dean of the College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences.
Larive has authored more than 155 publications, and has received funding to support her research from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and a range of foundations and corporate grant makers.
She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, and has received campus and national awards for her teaching, research and leadership.
Larive is a first-generation college graduate, earning her bachelor’s of science from South Dakota State University and her master’s from Purdue University, both in chemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from UC Riverside while raising daughters Erin and Megan with husband Jim.
David Merrill is the co-founder and CEO of Elroy Air, where he leads a diverse team of kind, dedicated experts working to expand the reach of express logistics. Dave is a technology executive and startup founder with a background in computer science and robotic, interactive systems. Alumnus of MIT (Ph.D.) and Stanford Computer Science / Symbolic Systems (BS, MS), and TED speaker. Elroy Air is developing advanced, autonomous, safe vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) cargo aircraft systems in collaboration with NASA and the US Air Force. The company has been featured by Wired, Forbes, VentureBeat, The Verge, Aviation Week, TechCrunch, Business Insider, and eVTOL.
David Will is the GIS manager for Island Conservation where his role has often been directed towards bridging the gap between conservation managers and technical specialists, ensuring that technical solutions can solve conservation problems and are serviceable in the field. These experiences include implementing technology in the field on more than 15 island restoration projects spanning from the sub-Antarctic to the tropical Pacific, and recently managing a successful $1.5 million restoration project on Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge, Puerto Rico. David’s previous work includes developing a UHF remote trap monitoring system to improve staff efficiency and response time, digital field data collection apps, and a Bayesian statistical metric framework for determining when eradications are complete.
Dejan Milutinovic is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz. Professor Milutinović earned Dipl.-Ing (1995) and Magister’s (1999) degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia and a doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering (2004) from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal. From 1995 to 2000 he worked as a research engineer in the Automation and Control Division of Mihajlo Pupin Institute, Belgrade, Serbia. His doctoral thesis was the first runner-up for the best PhD thesis of European Robotics in 2004 by EURON. He won the NRC award of the US Academies in 2008 and Hellman Fellowship in 2012. Prof. Milutinović is currently a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC Santa Cruz. His research interests are in the area of modeling and control of stochastic dynamical systems applied to robotics. He has served as an associate editor for multiple conferences and journals in the area of robotics and control (IROS, ICRA, ACC, DSCC), ASME Journal for Dyn. Sys. Mes. and Control, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. He is currently a senior editor-at-large for the Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, Springer.
Professor Britta Hale is a cryptographer and faculty in the Computer Science Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. She holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and a Master’s of Science in the Mathematics of Cryptography and Communications from Royal Holloway, University of London. Prof. Hale specializes in cryptographic key exchange and authentication protocols, and has research spanning cryptographic self-healing from cyberattacks, post-quantum cryptography, UxS security and C-UxS, as well as security with AI. She is a member the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) working group on the design of the Messaging Layer Protocol (MLS), and has active collaborations across industry, international academia, and defense organizations.
Heather Richman is a seasoned corporate development and strategy expert with a longstanding focus on the intersection of national security, technology, and investment. Post-9/11, while managing appropriations for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (NY), she focused on the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and helped set up the Department of Homeland Security from a funding standpoint. She ran government relations for Stanford University and was a founding team member of the $30M Navy initiative, Elemental Excelerator, where she leveraged more than $900M in private capital.
Richman now serves as Entrepreneur in Residence for BMNT Partners where she leverages her experience and vast network to build vibrant ecosystems of entrepreneurs, investors, and experts to rapidly transition impactful, national security/dual-use focused solutions for internal USDOD and Intelligence Community clients. In 2019 she launched the Defense Investor Network in response to investor and family office concern around certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States, in order to determine the effects of such transactions on the national security of the United States and create alternative pathways.
Jeremy A. Abbate is the VP & Publisher of Scientific American and its related titles. He is responsible for developing and executing new media programs, brand extensions and collaborative ventures serving the international opinion leadership that turns to Scientific American for the best views of the future. He is the founder of the global biotechnology program, Scientific American Worldview.
He appears regularly at conferences and events to facilitate high-level discussions on healthcare, innovative science and technology and has spearheaded co-branded partnerships with several international organizations including TEDMED, CES, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Carter Center. Working to bring important scientific ideas into a dynamic media environment, he has led projects serving some of the world’s largest corporate organizations, including Colgate Palmolive, Johnson& Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Philips, Amgen, BMS and others.
His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Psychology Today and other national publications. Abbate penned the forward to the popular medical travel guide, Patients Beyond Borders. He serves on several advisory committees in the life science and healthcare space, including BioFuture, Health Innovation for People (HI) and Bioethics International.
Jesse Gipe is the Pacific-South Regional Director for the National Security Innovation
Network (NSIN). Prior to joining NSIN, Jesse spent six years developing and executing regional initiatives to support aerospace, tech, cybersecurity, and defense sectors with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC). His experience with the EDC includes creating and supervising the implementation of a three million dollar grant to increase defense resilience; collaboration with a wide variety of companies, military leaders, academic institutions, and government officials; program development and management; global marketing; and budget analysis.
Jesse also has experience in local government as a Deputy Campaign Manager and a District Representative where he gained experience in community outreach, data infrastructure, and legislative research. Jesse received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from The University of
California San Diego.
Mr. Eberhardt is the Chief Technology Officer ATA, LLC. Mr. Eberhardt has over 25 years of experience in Solution Architecture, Systems Engineering, Data Science, and Analytics, managing teams of scientists and engineers to rapidly create customer-centered solutions in the Aviation, Defense, Healthcare, Security, and Biotechnology sectors.
Mr. Eberhardt has delivered data sharing systems in federal agencies, streaming data processing systems in commercial aviation, clinical decision support systems for cancer treatment, and logistics analysis systems, including award winning healthcare quality applications. Mr. Eberhardt is one of the founders of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange and led ATA’s efforts to become an FAA onboarded LAANC UAS Service Supplier.
With three patents, five patent applications, and over 50 publications and invited speaking engagements, John is a thought leader in advanced analytics with experience in machine learning, statistical algorithms, and user interface design for decision support in Aviation, Healthcare, Defense, and Logistics.
John Pyrovolakis is the founder and CEO of Innovation Accelerator, created in 2008 as the private side of a public private partnership. Innovation Accelerator has developed a new innovation model that has been credited in the 2012 PCAST report for attracting $200M into IA’s portfolio of companies. John also founded the Innovation Accelerator Foundation (IAF), a non-profit organization committed to nourishing innovation beyond the lab. Previously, John worked as a banker for Jesup & Lamont Securities, and did diligence on technology investment targets for large corporations such as Mastercard, Suntrust Bank, and the US Department of Education. John founded Collegescape, an online college admissions system, out of the 1996 MIT Entrepreneurship Competition, and sold it two years later to the Thomson Corporation (TSX: “TOC”), a large multinational conglomerate. John is a graduate of New York University with a triple major in mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. He proceeded to the doctoral program on teaching fellowship and scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a focus on mathematical logic. At MIT, John did research on automated theorem proving at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. John was also a Teaching Fellow at Harvard, where he taught “Space, Time and Motion” at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Laboratory, and won the Derek Bok Prize for teaching excellence.
Josh Metz is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Monterey Bay DART Initiative, which grew out of his tenure as Economic Development Manager, then Executive Officer at the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA). In those roles, Josh worked with multiple public and private sector partners to advance regional recovery from the economic impact of the 1994 Fort Ord base closure. Josh was instrumental in securing the Joby Aviation presence at the Marina Airport, and continues to work to realize a robust DART-related innovation ecosystem in the Monterey Bay and greater Central Coast region. Most recently, Josh led the development of a James Irvine Foundation funded workforce development pilot project with Joby Aviation and CSU Monterey Bay. Along with supporting the continued growth of the Monterey Bay DART Initiative, Josh also serves as a Senior Economic Development Advisor to local agencies, public universities and non-profits with the Regional Government Services Authority. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from UC Berkeley, and completed post-graduate research in spatial data systems and remote sensing at UC Santa Barbara.
Joshua is a founder and CEO of Parallel Flight Technologies which is developing new propulsion technology for heavy-lift, long-duration unmanned systems. The target applications are firefighting, public safety, and remote logistics.
Before coming to California, he lived in Alaska for 12 years where he designed hybrid power systems for commercial fishing vessels. These systems were designed to survive in the world’s most challenging industrial marine conditions. During this time he was the PI for a combined Federal and State of Alaska grant (Emerging Energy Technology Fund) aimed at exploring hybrid power for commercial marine vessels. Working on this project, he led a small team which developed a novel Variable Speed diesel Generator (VSG) technology and hybrid propulsion drive system. The engineering focus was on enhancing fuel economy, power-density, and modular design.
Following this grant project, he led electrical engineering and system architecture for the Tesla Semi Truck Program from the early prototype phase through the Alpha reveal. This work was done over a three-and-a-half-year time frame. In addition to leading electrical engineering for this program, he developed the mechanical systems for power steering and air compression.
Joshua graduated in 2001 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a BS EE.
Justin Cummings, Ph.D. is based at UC Santa Cruz and has been a drone operator and sensor technician since March of 2020. Justin Cummings, holds a BA in Spanish and a BS in Biology from Eastern Illinois University and a Ph.D. from the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a designated emphasis in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work has focused on tropical forest restoration, plant physiology, invasive species ecology, ecosystem. physiology, conservation science, environmental instrumentation, remote sensing using drones, and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion program development and management. He also served as Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz in 2020 and has been on the Santa Cruz City Council since December of 2018.
Kate Roberts is the President of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), a regional nonprofit, membership organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the Monterey Bay Region.
Prior to joining MBEP in September 2015 , Ms. Roberts spent seven years running her own independent management consultancy, The Wired Woman, that helped organizations solidify strategies and accelerate growth. Over her 25 years in the high-tech industry Ms. Roberts held leadership positions in sales, marketing, partner management, and corporate social responsibility. She spent a decade at Cisco Systems, Inc. leading strategic initiatives and creating successful partnerships with the United Nations, USAID and other global partners to further tech education and workforce development in the developing world.
Kate’s varied nonprofit board experience spans both the social and environmental spectrum at the regional and national level. As a volunteer ambassador with Save the Children, she led a women’s empowerment delegation to Ethiopia and Uganda, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with CARE to raise funds and awareness for their community-based programs in Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is an active community member, supporting a number of social and environmental causes.
Kate graduated with honors from the University of California at Irvine and received a post-graduate certificate in cross-sector partnership from Cambridge University in England. She is an avid traveler, speaks 4 languages, is an award-winning photographer, an accomplished knitter, and an intrepid hiker. A native Californian, Kate lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband of 29 years, Buz Roberts.
Keith Nilsson is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Xplorer Capital and primarily focuses his efforts on deal sourcing and execution, supporting portfolio companies, and general management of our Firm. Keith has more than 25 years of experience in venture capital, corporate and private equity technology investment and M&A.
Previously, Keith was a Partner with private equity firm TPG, where he led technology investments for TPG’s Growth Fund. Keith also served as a senior executive at Yahoo! for 12 years, where he led all investments, acquisitions and strategic partnerships as the Head of Corporate Development. Prior to Yahoo Keith held investing and management roles with Intel, Alex Brown, and Bankers Trust.
Keith received an MBA and an MIA from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from the University of California.
Kenyon has worked as a degreed electrical engineer and engineering manager for 24 years. Currently Director of Electrical Engineering at Zero Motorcycles, Kenyon leads a team designing world class electric motorcycles. In addition to being very involved in designing and understanding electric vehicles Kenyon has worked on charging infrastructure and standards committees. Before the electric vehicle industry Kenyon spent many years in field programable logic chips, and high bandwidth layer three networking with Altera and Extreme networks.
Dr. Kevin Jones came to the Naval Postgraduate School as an NRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in 1994, after receiving his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado. During his tenure as a PostDoc he developed numerical simulation software to investigate unsteady fluid dynamics, with applications to aeroelastic phenomena and flapping-wing propulsion which culminated in the development of palm-sized flapping-wing propelled micro-air-vehicles. In 1997 he joined NPS as a Research Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and later transitioned to the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where he has been the lead designer of autonomous aerial systems. Dr. Jones is the author or co-author of more than 40 refereed publications and contributions to books, and more than 70 conference papers.
Dr. Larry Samuels is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at CSU Monterey Bay and Executive Director of the University Corporation. Prior to this role Dr. Samuels had an extensive career in Silicon Valley, including stints as CEO of PredPol, CEO of Communities.com, COO/Exec. VP of Creative Labs, and General Manager of Atari (US). He holds a BA from UC Berkeley, and an MA in Educational Policy and a PhD in Higher Education from Stanford University. As a long-term resident of the Monterey Bay region, Dr. Samuels is committed to educational attainment and economic opportunity for all residents of the Central Coast.
Lee Silvestre has over 30 years of progressive, executive leadership in commercial technology, Defense sector, and non-profit arena, from Fortune 100 to a private start-up company; responsible for technology innovation, business operations, program development and execution, and team development. Passionate about innovative ventures, transforming vision to execution, concepts to solutions, and talented people to high performing teams.
Manel Camps is Professor in Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at UC Santa Cruz. His research program focuses on the evolution of new biochemical activities, both at the level of single proteins (DNA repair and antibiotic resistance genes) and of bacterial genomes (plasmids, toxin-antitoxins). His training includes a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine degree (Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1993), a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology (Stanford University, 2001), and six years of postdoctoral training in directed evolution and cancer mutagenesis with Dr. Lawrence A. Loeb at the University of Washington. He joined the Department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at UCSC in 2007. In 2014, he became Provost of Crown College, where he oversaw the development of a new educational program in I&E with the generous support of Crown alumni and of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation. This program includes service-learning opportunities, established through a partnership with GetVirtual. In July 2021, he was appointed Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) to continue to grow I&E educational programs and to support the growth of a dynamic and sustainable entrepreneurship community on campus in partnership with the Innovation and Business Engagement Hub and other stakeholders on the UCSC campus.
Megen Schlesinger, MBA, is currently the Deputy Director of the Central Coast Tech Bridge at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California. Megen is responsible for providing strategic advisement to NPS regarding collaboration between industry, academia, and government to improve Department of Defense technology. Her expertise in non-traditional defense acquisition and technology-focused small business are leveraged to bring non-traditional players to NPS’s technology ecosystem and to accelerate technology transfer at NPS.
Megen’s career began in the Army, where she served on active duty as a Military Intelligence officer for seven years. Megen’s experience in the intelligence field has supported a multitude of operational capabilities; she has served in a spectrum of units ranging across mechanized infantry, airborne, and special operations. Her leadership opportunities allowed her to lead and support intelligence collection across a variety of platforms, including signals intelligence, human intelligence, geo-spatial/imagery intelligence, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Megen served in numerous locations in the United States and has deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She most recently served as a Military Intelligence officer in the US Army Reserve at Fort Carson, Colorado. Her military awards include a Bronze Star Medal.
Following her active duty career, Megen earned her Master of Business Administration at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with an emphasis in Management in 2017. Prior to graduation, she began working at the Center for Technology, Research, and Commercialization (C-TRAC), a 501(c)(3) in Colorado Springs, CO that was a Partnership Intermediary organization to the United States Air Force Academy. At C-TRAC, Megen served in a variety of roles, including Program Manager for the US Air Force CyberWorx program, C-TRAC Director of Operations, and finally as the company’s Managing Director. C-TRAC continues to serve the Mountain West collaborative defense innovation ecosystem through its close partnerships with organizations such as Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, the US Air Force CyberWorx program, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, among others.
Outside of her professional career, Megen is a busy mother to three young sons, Will, Ben, and Charlie, and is married to an active duty US Army Special Forces officer. She also volunteers as the Chief Operations Officer of a non-profit organization focused on connecting high-profile mentors to underserved communities, The Mentor Project. Megen enjoys running, hiking, yoga, reality television, murder mysteries, and is an NCAA Division I “swammer” (former swimmer).
Michael Matkin is the Executive Director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, UC Santa Cruz. He works with Director, J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, managing and developing programs at the UC Santa Cruz main campus and Silicon Valley extension. Prior to joining CITRIS he served as COO of an award-winning public relations agency in New York City that specialized in technology and healthcare clients.
Michael has a deep technical background in autonomous flight, and a lifelong passion for aviation. He spent the majority of his childhood building (and crashing) model aircraft and has since contributed to a wide variety of electric aviation projects at Joby, Cora, and Kittyhawk. In 2017, Michael founded Pyka. His relentless enthusiasm and continual push for a happy and hyper-productive team has helped propel Pyka to be the first and only certified autonomous electric aviation company in the world.
Michael is the founder of Skybase, an industry leading BLOS drone data service provider. Michael boasts an industry career spanning nearly 20 years in manned, unmanned and optionally piloted aviation, and across military, civilian and humanitarian operations, he is well placed to lead the establishment and growth of Skybase.
Mothusi Pahl is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of California at Santa Cruz; Chief Commercial Officer at private equity firm B3\; and President of UAV Recon, a Texas-based software and services company focused on electrical infrastructure inspection. The cofounder of several startups in demand-side management, hybrid power systems, and data contextualization, Mothusi specializes in the commercialization of new technology in heavy industry including: Energy, Power Generation, Utilities, Infrastructure, Mining, and Automotive. Mothusi formerly spent five years at Cummins Inc (NYSE: CMI) as part of the Corporate Strategy and Business Development team and later as the executive in charge of the Power Generation division for 11 countries in southern Africa. A former investment banker (NASDAQ: ZION), Mothusi has led hardware and software introduction for companies and projects tied to top research institutions like Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and private equity groups including TPG & Ares. An alumnus and mentor at two of the top technology accelerators in the world (StartX -Stanford University and Alchemist Accelerator -GE/Khosla), Mothusi is also a member of the National Science Foundation’s SBIR review committee for advanced Applied Research in Energy & Power Technologies. A former Grand Canyon river guide, Mothusi studied at Beijing University and UC Santa Cruz; he holds an MBA from Yale with distinctions in Environmental & Land Use Law.
Pauline Canteneur was born to multi-generation farmers in the North-Eastern part of France. She earned a master’s degree in business management from EDHEC Business School in France before accepting a position at the French Embassy in Berlin for the Department of Food and Agriculture and later on working as a consultant for BNP Paribas’ Innovation Department in Paris, then San Francisco. Pauline is the current Head of Business Development and Partnerships for farm robotics company FarmWise. For the past 3 years, she’s been in charge of identifying new opportunities for the company and supporting the fundraising effort.
Raja Sengupta is Professor in the Systems Engineering Program, Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. He holds a Systems Phd from the University of Michigan. His research has spanned automated cars, drones, connected cars, smartphone Apps for Economics & Transportation, wireless networking, and control theory. He likes to do research with industry and get it into the marketplace. He holds car-to-road networking patents with Toyota, a UAV patent with BAE Aerospace, and has car-to-car networking contributions standardized by the SAE into J2945. He created technology for the successful start-up automatic.com and is founder of Responsible Robotics.. He has been an advisor to the World Bank, recipient of USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Technology award, UC Berkeley’s Energy and Climate Lectures Innovation Award, and has authored over a hundred papers spanning control theory, networking, drones, and transportation.
Dr. Ray Buettner joined the faculty as Military Instructor in 1999 and stayed on after retirement and earning his doctorate at Stanford University. With undergraduate work in political science/sociology and graduate work as an engineer, Ray is very comfortable moving between the highly technical and less technical domains.
Since initially joining the NPS faculty Ray’s teaching has been interdisciplinary in nature. His student count is over a thousand students with 101 segments in 22 distinct courses that engaged students in 8 curricula, 3 departments (IS, DA and SE) and 2 schools (GSOIS and GSEAS). Course subjects range from Systems and Software Engineering (IW04500/SE4003) to Information Operations (IW-3101/SI-2104). He has taught students from all US services as well as several foreign countries to include classes specifically for foreign officers. His courses run the gamut from non-technical to technically challenging, from 2000 level to 4000 level.
He has served on doctoral committees for 4 PhD awardees from two schools (GSOIS and GSEAS). This included a Brazilian GSOIS graduate (maintenance enterprise resource planning) as well as a GSEAS PMP graduate (mission-based architecture for swarm composability). He is currently on the committees of 3 additional candidates.
Professor Ricardo Sanfelice is the Director of the Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center. Having received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor Sanfelice leads research on hybrid and cyber-physical systems, with more than 150 articles and a book published. His work has been funded by AFOSR, the National Science Foundation, NASA, Honeywell and others. Now an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Professor Sanfelice also leads the Hybrid Systems Lab.
Dr. Rodrigo Nieto is a geostrategist and defense futurist focused on the consequences of the accelerating pace of change in homeland security and policing environments. He is a research professor at the National Security Affairs Department and at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School and he is also a certified facilitator for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and an instructor at the Executive Academy of the Emergency Management Institute. He is also a faculty member of Singularity University.
Dr. Nieto has a Ph.D. in Geopolitics from the French Institute of Geopolitics of the University of Paris. He holds a J.D. from the State University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
For a decade, Dr. Nieto has taught hundreds of high ranking law enforcement, military, and homeland security leaders how to create and execute strategies to transform their agencies to meet the requirements of rapidly changing environments and threat profiles. As an innovation expert and an academically trained geostrategist, he has built a reputation as an expert on future threats to national security and policing and how to confront them.
Dr. Nieto has multiple publications describing the adaptation capacities of global organized crime, the public policy challenges of innovation and entrepreneurship in government and homeland security, asymmetric warfare and cybersecurity.
Dr. Nieto has been recognized as one of the top 5% performing faculty members at NPS and had the honor of winning on two occasions the NPS LCDR David L. Williams Outstanding Professor Award.
His native language is Spanish and has bilingual proficiency in English, full professional proficiency in French and elemental knowledge of German.
As an aviation enthusiast, he holds a private pilot certificate.
Vanessa Ventura is a Human Factors Engineer at Joby Aviation, with a focus in flight deck development and urban air mobility operations. Her work is centered around flight deck design, working alongside operational and project test pilots, specifically targeting human aspects of the design. Using psychological methods and formal evaluations to study how pilots interact with the pilot console, she is able to use this understanding to support and implement features that better meet pilot, passenger, and ground crew needs. She received her Bachelors of Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Cognitive Science with an emphasis in Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction.
Whitney has a diverse background. She has a MA in International Development Studies, was a teacher for three years, released her first musical single in 2017, and spends most of her time trying to transfer concepts from one field to the next. She serves as the National Tech Bridge Director for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy’s Agility Cell, NavalX, and as a Program Manager for the Office of Naval Research. She specializes in identifying and cultivating projects, programs, and relationships with other federal, state, university, and private partners.
Join us October 19-21, 2021