We are very excited to share our confirmed 2024 speakers! Stay tuned for more updates.
Inspired Leaders Now
Carolyn is the founder of Inspired Leaders Now and is a certified business and executive coach. Her business experience ranges from Fortune 100 companies to organizations with fewer than 50 staff members. She is recognized as an outstanding business strategist and leader. Her true passion is working with business owners to help them develop leadership capacity, grow their business and achieve
maximum results. She is instrumental in implementing strategies and building relationships that positively impact growth, increase effectiveness, improve operational efficiency and help owners enhance their leadership skills while driving for results.
She has extensive senior executive leadership experience in information systems and technology, risk management, marketing and finance with demonstrated ability to guide major global initiatives to successful completion for a Fortune 100 company. Her experience includes management of over 400 resources in multiple locations as well as senior leadership responsibility for multi-million-dollar international projects. She also has more than 15 years of experience in small business management including starting up new businesses and coaching existing businesses.
Carolyn has excellent communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills with a reputation for forming productive business relationships at all levels. She works with her clients to achieve results and focuses on helping them create an environment that is collaborative and inclusive, resulting in improved information sharing and team building. She helps create greater synergy within organizations and transforms learning into results.
Her combination of technology and business background enables her to ensure that all areas are successfully represented and recognized. Carolyn believes that shared outcomes with a customer satisfaction focus and collaboration are key to success. She is recognized for the ability to align people, processes and information technology with business objectives.
Carolyn strongly supports many community organizations and was given the Hon Kachina Award for Volunteerism. She is active in her church and strongly supports expanding volunteer opportunities in the community through her work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, HandsOn Phoenix and the Salvation Army as well as supporting educational growth through the Future City Competition involving youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management with undergraduate studies in business and computer system analysis. She is an Amazon best-selling author and a national and international speaker and trainer.
Andrews & Associates
Mr. Andrews is Managing Partner of Andrews & Associates (https://andrews-associates.com), a consulting firm specializing in new product creation, product and service innovation, business leadership and management development, operations and logistics, and Emergency Planning for business, schools, and government entities.
Mike is also a Founding Partner of the Inception Advisory Group (https://inceptionadvisorygroup.com), a consulting firm that provides design, development, construction, operations, strategic planning, and financing solutions to entities in the cannabis industry.
Mr. Andrews is a Senior Life Member of IEEE and is currently serving IEEE members as the Past Director (Director 2013-14), AdCom member for the Technology and Engineering Management Society (TEMS) and past Vice President of Membership, Marketing and Communications; IEEE Awards Board Presentation and Publicity Committee Chair; IEEE Vision, Innovation and Challenges Summit (VICS) Chair; IEEE Life Members Committee and Region 6 Life Members Affinity Group Coordinator; EPICS Committee; Executive Producer and Champion of the IEEE Rising Stars Conference, Creator of the inaugural Life Member Conference 2024, and member of the Phoenix Section Executive Committee in multiple roles.
Mr. Andrews’ commitment to the community includes serving as President of the Smart Education Foundation, host to the SMART Competition; the Arizona Region Coordinator for the Future City Competition; the Salvation Army Advisory Board past chair and current member, Commissioner on the City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission; member of the Grand Canyon University Engineering Advisory Board; and member of the Williams Institute for Ethics and Management Board of Directors.
Mike was awarded the Salvation Army Sally Award for outstanding volunteerism, the Hon Kachina Award (Excellence in Volunteerism, State of Arizona), and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Arizona Award of Distinction. He has also received the IEEE Millennium Medal for outstanding achievements and contributions to IEEE, the IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor Award, and the IEEE-USA Robert S. Walleigh Award for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism.
Director RAS Architecture
IEEE Computer Society President
Jyotika is a Director and Principal Architect at Synopsys, leading Silicon health and Lifecycle Management RAS architecture for automotive and data center use cases. Prior to Synopsys, she was Lead Technologist, Functional Safety Architecture at NVIDIA, driving capability development, safety architectures and methodologies, system safety engineering activities and pathfinding for safety critical systems. Prior to NVIDIA, Jyotika was Principal Engineer (Director) at Intel Corporation where she led corporate-wide RAS and Functional Safety methodologies and architectures for automotive, data center and avionics use cases.
Jyotika also serves as the 2024 President of the worldwide IEEE Computer Society, overseeing overall IEEE-CS programs and operations.
She chairs the IEEE P2851 Standard on Functional Safety interoperability which has WG membership from over 30 companies.
For her leadership in service, Jyotika was awarded the IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Award in 2022. She was also recognized as a Distinguished Alumna by her alma-mater VJTI.
She has authored patents and many technical publications in various international conferences and journals.
Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Vinton (Vint) G. Cerf is the co-designer with Robert E. Kahn of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. Cerf’s tireless commitment to the Internet’s evolution, improvement, oversight, and evangelism throughout its history has had an indelible impact on the world. It is largely due to his efforts that we even have the Internet—and it is largely due to the Internet that we have changed the way we live today. The Internet has enabled a large part of the world to receive instant access to news, brought us closer to friends and loved ones, and made it easier to purchase products online. It’s improved access to education, scientific discourse, made smartphones useful, and opened the door for social media, cloud computing, video conferencing, and streaming. Cerf saw early on the importance of decentralized control, with no one company or government completely in charge of the Internet.
In the 1980s, Cerf served as vice president of MCI Digital Information Services, where he led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial e-mail service to be connected to the Internet. In the 1990s, Cerf, Kahn and others co-founded the Internet Society in aid of standards and policy development for the Internet. In the 2000s, he promoted the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit that helps to ensure a stable, secure, and interoperable global Internet and served as its chairman from 2000-2007. Cerf has worked continuously speaking around the world to evangelize the Internet’s growth and adoption in service of the public good.
Cerf has received many accolades for his work on the Internet, including the US National Medal of Technology, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Japan Prize, the Charles Stark Draper award, the ACM Turing Award, and more.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Cerf is vice president and chief Internet evangelist, Google, Reston, Virginia, USA.
Bluetooth Software Engineer
Elizabeth is a Bluetooth Software Engineer at Apple. She graduated with her B.S. in Computer Engineering from UC San Diego in 2019. She has served on the Rising Stars committee for many years on the Publicity Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the 2024 Conference.
Project Engineer in Training
Andrei Gavrilov is a 2021 Dean's Honour List Graduate and APSC Rising Star from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, specializing in Computer and Mining Engineering and minoring in Commerce. Andrei is currently a Project Engineer-In-Training on the Business Unit Projects Team at Suncor Energy, following three years of experience in the Data & Analytics sector. Andrei has experience in various organizations in the Public and Private Sectors, including roles of Business Continuity Student, Engineering Assistant and Autonomous Haul Systems Data Analyst. He is also an active IEEE member since 2019, volunteering in the IEEE Canada Student Activities Committee and Region 7 Young Professionals Committee. He has conducted four research projects on the topics of machine learning, biometric facial recognition and parametric building design and holds three publications. Having attended the IEEE Rising Stars Conference last year, Andrei hopes he will inspire students and professionals alike through his unique presentation and engagement style.
Grand Idea Studio, Inc.
Joe Grand, also known as Kingpin, is a computer engineer, hardware hacker, teacher, advisor, daddy, honorary doctor, occasional video maker, member of legendary hacker group L0pht Heavy Industries, and proprietor of Grand Idea Studio. He has been creating, exploring, and manipulating electronic systems since the 1980s.
Smart Grid Business Development Leader
GE Grid Solutions
John D. McDonald, P.E., is Smart Grid Business Development Leader for GE Vernova’s Grid Solutions business. John has 49 years of experience in the electric utility transmission and distribution industry. John received his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. (Power Engineering) degrees from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. (Finance) degree from the University of California-Berkeley. John is a Life Fellow of IEEE (member for 52 years), member of IEEE-HKN (inducted 52 years ago) and Tau Beta Pi (inducted 50 years ago), and was awarded the IEEE Millennium Medal, the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Excellence in Power Distribution Engineering Award, the IEEE PES Substations Committee Distinguished Service Award, the IEEE PES Meritorious Service Award, the 2016 CIGRE Distinguished Member Award, the 2016 CIGRE USNC Attwood Associate Award, the 2021 CIGRE Honorary Member Award and the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) Lifetime Achievement Award. John is Past President of the IEEE PES, the VP for Technical Activities for the US National Committee (USNC) of CIGRE, the Past Chair of the IEEE PES Substations Committee, the IEEE Division VII Past Director, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. John was on the Board of Governors of the IEEE-SA (Standards Association), is an IEEE Foundation Director and Chair of its 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee and is a Founding Board Member of the SECC. John received the 2009 Purdue University Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award and the 2023 Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. John teaches Smart Grid courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a Smart Grid course for GE, and Smart Grid courses for various IEEE PES local chapters as an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer (since 1999). John has published one hundred fifty papers and articles, has co-authored five books and has one US patent.
Global Engineering Executive Director and Senior Business Strategist - Founder
Brevir Solutions LLC
Schneider Smart Design
Design, leveraging his experience and knowledge to deliver innovative solutions for smarter designs for a sustainable world. Mr. Schneider has recently retired from Bentley Systems, where he was responsible for driving digital advancement for Infrastructure and Digital Twins for large global organizations.
Mark is a pioneer in computer engineering design and digital workflows. He has over 40 years of knowledge and experience in civil engineering and computer enabled engineering. He has over twenty years of experience in civil engineering, starting with
computer aided 3D design and modeling in 1982 on mainframe systems. In 1997, Mark joined a Bentley System integrator, then transitioned to Bentley Systems in 2001. At Bentley Systems, Mr. Schneider has gained experience with global technical leadership for integrated Infrastructure lifecycle solutions from design applications to digital twins for construction and operations in a common data environment.
Chief Technology Officer
Al Tadros is the Chief Technology Officer of Redwire. In this role, he is focused on making strategic investments that support Redwire’s customers, advancing technology development and commercialization, and maintaining a nimble and collaborative technical culture. With nearly three decades of experience as an aerospace executive, Al is a thought leader in in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing with a proven track record in maturing satellite and space systems programs for exploration, national security, and commercial innovation.
Previously, Al was Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice President of Space Infrastructure at Redwire. In this role, he oversaw the company’s long-term growth strategy and business development activities, and was responsible for advancing development, increasing adoption, and building momentum for Redwire’s mission-enabling capabilities within the civil, defense, and commercial space sectors.
Prior to Redwire, he served as Vice President of Space Infrastructure and Civil Space at Maxar Technologies, where he led significant innovation in next-generation spacecraft design and space infrastructure, integrating robotics and in-space satellite manufacturing, servicing, and assembly capabilities. Over the course of his career at Maxar, Al contributed to 13 missions and launch campaigns, many of which deployed cutting-edge communications and remote sensing systems. Al has worked with both commercial enterprises and government agencies to develop space systems for communications, satellite servicing, remote sensing, and exploration.
An authority in in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing, Al holds patents in the field of attitude control systems and was responsible for early telerobotics research for the International Space Station.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
SVP & GM, Space Applications Sector, CTO
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Rusty Thomas is the SVP & General Manager of Sierra Space’s Space Applications Sector and Chief Technology Officer, driving the development and operations of our team.
With nearly 34 years of experience in the space industry, Thomas has spent his career leveraging commercial approaches for on-time, zero-defect, delivery of spacecraft and launch vehicles. Thomas joins Sierra Space from Amazon where he led the Kuiper Government Solutions team, responsible for leading Kuiper Government engagement and advanced project teams.
Prior to Kuiper, Thomas led the Project Blackjack and Pit Boss teams for DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office that are demonstrating the military utility of proliferated LEO small satellites, including autonomous operations and direct tactical communication links from space assets to warfighters.
Prior to DARPA, Mr. Thomas was Senior Director of Dragon Production at SpaceX, where he led the team that built the first commercial spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station. His team also manufactured the Falcon9 landing legs and actuators.
He has held positions at Motorola on the original Iridium satellite integration and launch team, worked on Space Shuttle and SpaceLab structural analysis, led the DARPA MiTEX mechanical design team, and held multiple program management positions at Northrup Grumman’s (previously Orbital) advanced projects groups developing and launching classified spacecraft.
Rusty holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical and Astronomical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace, from the University of Texas at Austin.
Technical Program Manager
Senior Financial Advisor
David formerly worked for SpaceX, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as an engineer before he transitioned to the financial services industry.
After his father passed away, David helped his mom through the financial planning process, and that gave him the spark to pursue a career in financial planning.
David is passionate about serving others and lives by Zig Ziglar’s famous saying, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” He knows first-hand that true happiness is experienced when helping others and he is always looking for ways to encourage others to reach their goals.
David is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Financial Advisor with Wise Wealth, LLC – an SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm. David has a passion for education and understands that the key to successful retirement planning begins with knowledge.
Founder & CEO
I am an Eisenhower Fellow, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Liaison for Strategic Partnerships for the Entrepreneurship Steering Committee at the IEEE, the first Ambassador to CERN and Society, founding partner of the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP), recipient of the IEEE Entrepreneur Achievement Award for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Spirit, and co-founder (with the United Nations ITU & UN Women) of EQUALS; The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age.
I currently serve as co-founder and General Partner at Ecliptic Capital, and founder and CEO of Strangeworks, a quantum computing startup in Austin, Texas. Prior to starting Strangeworks I was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs [NYSE: GS]. I came to Goldman Sachs via the acquisition of my startup, Honest Dollar. Prior to Honest Dollar I founded Chaotic Moon Studios which was acquired by Accenture [NYSE: ACN].