Session Speakers

Dr. Tekin Meriçli

Tekin Meriçli, Ph.D. is a co-founder and the CTO of Locomation. Prior to Locomation, he was a Special Faculty – Commercialization Specialist at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute where he was also a Senior Robotics Engineer. Since 2003, Dr. Meriçli has been practicing systems engineering across a wide variety of robots and systems including autonomous and semi-autonomous ground vehicles, mapping, state estimation, and operator assist systems, perception and motion planning for ground and aerial robots, industrial automation and process improvement, wheeled tour guide and service robots, intelligent assistive robotic manipulators and search and rescue robots, and various legged robots. He also has over 40 publications in the areas of robotics and computer sciences, including best paper award recipients.

Session: Autonomous transportation: One step at a time

Long-haul trucking is one particular industry that currently faces serious and pressing challenges like driver shortage, and autonomous driving can help alleviate that pain. We founded Locomation with the vision of developing safe and robust commercial-grade autonomous driving technologies. Given the founders’ over a century long collective experience in building and deploying autonomous systems, we know that full autonomy in real world settings is a very long tailed problem. That is why we are starting with Autonomous Relay Convoying (ARC), which virtually connects two trucks together, keeping an active driver in the lead truck and allowing autonomous technology to operate the follower truck. The lead driver acts as an environmental filter to the autonomy system on the follower truck, greatly reducing the complexity it needs to handle. With the second driver taking mandated rest, twice as much freight volume is transported per driver shift. ARC will be deployed much sooner than fully autonomous trucks, penetrate the market much faster, and will be the first step towards achieving full autonomy.

Tim Worboys

Tim Worboys received his BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada before starting his career at LinkedIn in 2012. Tim has worked at LinkedIn through its hyper-growth phase between 2012 and present where the number of employees grew from 2,100 to 9,200 in only four years. During this time he grew from an entry level Software Engineer to his current role as Sr Manager, Software Engineering. His team focuses on driving productivity on top of LinkedIn’s private cloud and Azure as well as driving knowledge sharing at scale across the company.

Tim is passionate about leadership and management and enjoys speaking and writing about these topics as well mentoring and helping people to grow their careers. Tim has held several positions in the IEEE including Vice Chair, Leadership and Training for the Young Professionals and his current roles as Region 6 – Central Area Chair, and Social Media Chair for the Communications Committee of the IEEE-USA. In his spare time, you can find Tim hiking, snorkeling, kayaking or whitewater rafting.

Session: LinkedIn’s Journey to Developer Agility and Productivity

In 2011 releasing a version of LinkedIn was hard. Releases happened once every two weeks and took a significant amount of time to do. 50% of the time the release of the site would fail leaving new product launches unreleased and engineers unhappy and discouraged. In 2011, we hit a tipping point and decided it was time to seriously invest in this problem. We stopped all product development in the company and invested in [in]Version – a way to exponentially improve developer productivity and allow us to more rapidly release. In this talk we’ll talk about [in]Version and how we changed development at LinkedIn to allow for our economies of scale, but how we’ve made other drastic changes to our deployment cadence through information, modeling, and automation to empower our engineers to go wicked fast.

Joe Decuir

Joe Decuir had contributed in diverse technologies, touching many lives.  He worked in medical electronics, video games, personal computers and network communications. He is an IEEE Fellow, cited for contributions to personal computer graphics and video games. He has been writing public engineering standards for connectivity in mass market products, including modems, USB and Bluetooth.  He supports IEEE in humanitarian technologies, including a new standard for DC Microgrids.  In his encore career, he teaches engineering

Session: How Engineers Impact History

Engineers impact history. Mr. Decuir will address: big things that happened, what is happening now, new opportunities, and how to prepare.

Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates is a widely respected digital storage analyst as well as business and technology consultant. He has over 35 years in the data storage industry with multiple engineering and management positions at high profile companies.

Dr. Coughlin has many publications and six patents to his credit. Tom is also the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide, which was published by Newnes Press. Coughlin Associates provides market and technology analysis as well as Data Storage Technical and Business Consulting services. Tom publishes the Digital Storage Technology Newsletter, the Media and Entertainment Storage Report, the Emerging Non-Volatile Memory Report and other industry reports. Tom is also a regular contributor on digital storage for and other blogs.

Tom is active with SMPTE, SNIA, the IEEE (he is Director for IEEE Region 6 and active in the Consumer Electronics Society where he is chairman of the Future Directions Committee) and other professional organizations. Tom is the founder and organizer of the Annual Storage Visions Conference (, a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference ( He is the general chairman of the annual Flash Memory Summit. He is a Senior member of the IEEE, Leader in the Gerson Lehrman Group Councils of Advisors and a member of the Consultants Network of Silicon Valley (CNSV). For more information on Tom Coughlin and his publications go to

Dr. Nereida Rodriguez-Alvarez

Dr. Nereida Rodriguez-Alvarez is currently a scientist within the Planetary Radar and Radio Science group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology. She got her Ph.D. in Telecommunications, specializing in passive remote sensing applications, from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya. She has more than a decade experience in bistatic radar using signals of opportunity and the development of retrieval algorithms for Earth science. She was a post-doctoral researcher at the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University and was part of the science team of the CYclone Global Navigation Satellite Systems (CYGNSS) NASA Earth Venture mission for more than two and a half years. She has also engaged entrepreneurial activities several times along her scientific career.

Dr. Rodriguez-Alvarez interests are focused on using signals of opportunity to improve the remote sensing of wetlands, polar sea ice, crop growth and floods. Rodriguez-Alvarez has been recently awarded to lead the 2019 Blue Sky Study “The Feasibility of Using Near-Earth Objects as Transportation Vehicles for Strategic Small Low-Cost Sensing Instruments”. She extends her research activities into the planetary radar field by exploring the use of astrophysical radio sources as signals of opportunity to sense planets, moons and asteroids. 

Dr. Rodriguez-Alvarez is the recipient of a NASA Early Career Public Achievement Award in 2019. She is an IEEE senior member. She serves as technical reviewer of the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (TGRS), IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters (GRSL), IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (JSTARS), and Remote Sensing MDPI journal. She is guest editor of a special issue in Remote Sensing MDPI journal. She is also part of the editorial board of Remote Sensing MDPI ‘Engineering Remote Sensing’ section

Session: Signals of Opportunity in Earth and Planetary Science

Signals of opportunity has proven an excellent tool to increase our knowledge in many Earth related natural phenomena. While I introduce the topic and its potential, the talk will focus on how my research expanded to bring innovation to the field.

Fawzi Behmann

Fawzi Behmann held various executive and leadership positions with Tier 1 companies in the areas of communications and networking in Canada and US. He championed the development of Telecom Network Management systems, led efforts in rolling out product releases for network edge and core switch and marketed SoC product line and roadmap. In 2009, Fawzi founded TelNet Management Consulting Inc. offering professional services in the areas of technology positioning, and building smart networking solutions. Fawzi engaged in international forums speaking on disruptive technologies and use cases. Fawzi co-authored a book on Collaborative IoT, and received several awards from Industry and IEEE. Fawzi holds a Bachelor of Science with honors and distinction; Masters in Computer Science and Executive MBA.

Kevin Noertker

Kevin Noertker is Co-Founder and CEO of Ampaire, an aerospace startup based in Los Angeles. Ampaire is on a mission to be the world’s most trusted developer of practical, compelling electric aircraft. The company is building commercial electric planes that are cleaner, quieter, and significantly less costly to operate.

Leading Ampaire enables Kevin to combine his technical and management skills with his entrepreneurial vision, love for the outdoors, and passion for things that fly. He graduated with honors from Caltech, and serves as a Director of the Alumni Association. Prior to Ampaire, Kevin held positions of increasing responsibility in research and development and program management at Northrop Grumman, leading the development and deployment of advanced aircraft and satellite technologies. He has a proven track record for initiating and delivering innovative technical solutions, building and motivating teams, and optimizing systems. Kevin is committed to building communities and connecting the world.

Session: Ampaire: Electrifying Aviation

Ampaire today is test flying the world’s largest hybrid-electric plane, with plans to conduct demonstration flights on commuter airline routes in the coming months. The company is on the fast track to introducing, cleaner, quieter, less costly aircraft to benefit airline and general aviation operators, and improve the passenger experience. The future begins with in-service aircraft adapted for electric propulsion and proceeds to exciting new, clean-sheet and high-performance all-electric aircraft. Hear firsthand from Ampaire’s Co-founder and CEO, Kevin Noertker on Ampaire’s vision, plans and industry-leading progress toward making a new era of electric aircraft a reality.

Nancy Lomeli

Nancy Lomeli is a Senior Manager with Micron Technology, Inc. working on next generation Non-Volatile Memory. Her team focuses on developing and integrating innovative semiconductor technology for 3D NAND memory that will be available in the industry in 2 – 3 years. In her 15 years of experience, she has contributed to or led technical innovations in solar cell technology, advanced chip packaging, laser printing, phase change memory and NAND memory.

As a witness of Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) within her own family, she values the importance of advancing memory technology which, in the short term, provides assistance and extended independence for the ill while enabling longer term medical breakthroughs via Big Data and A.I. advancement.

Throughout her career, she has advocated for diversity of ideas and challenged the status-quo to foster an environment of innovation and execution. She has held positions in Semiconductor Engineering, Technology Strategy, Competitor Analysis, Quality Management and University Professor.

In her free time, she enjoys volunteering as a Judge in the Idaho Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, speaks at Girls Gone Tech (GGT) events in Boise, and participates in Women In Technical Career (WITC) panels. She is also the Program Chair of the annual IEEE Workshop on Microelectronics and Electron Devices (WMED) – a workshop organized by the IEEE EDS Boise Chapter and supported by Micron.

Nancy has a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Electronics Engineering from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Session: Memory- How Semiconductor Devices Mimic and Support the Human Brain through Big Data and A.I.

Man-made semiconductor memory and human memory have a lot in common. Understanding how one works helps develop the other to achieve breakthroughs in technical innovation and medical research. Big data and A.I. are helping us get closer to mimicking the human brain with the hopes of extending its transience.

Mark Wehde

Mark Wehde is Interim Chair of the Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, and Associate Lecturer for the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium program. Mark’s responsibilities include strategic planning, innovation, process improvement, project evaluation, collaboration, intellectual property, and technology investigation.

Mark is on the board of governors for the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society. He is also a technical committee member for the IEEE International Symposium on Medical Measurements and Applications and an affiliate for the University of Minnesota Medical Industry Leadership Institute. Mark is also a juror for the Medical Design Excellence Awards, the R&D 100 Awards, and the Edison Awards.

Mark received a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State University, and a Master of Business Administration through the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Rick Hefner

Dr. Rick Hefner has over 40 years of experience in software development, research, and management, and has served in industrial, academic, and government positions. He received his BS and MS from Purdue University in Interdisciplinary Engineering, and his Ph.D. from UCLA in Applied Dynamic Systems Control. Dr. Hefner has over 80 publications, and teaches at Caltech, UCLA, and UC Irvine. He is an SEI-authorized Instructor, certified CMMI High Maturity Lead Appraiser for the SCAMPI appraisal method, and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.Dr. Hefner serves as the Program Director for the Caltech Center for Technology and Management Education. Caltech CTME provides training solutions to industry professionals in the areas of project management, systems engineering, technology, operations, innovation, and exeuctive leadership.Specialties: training, process improvement, project management, systems engineering, software engineering, Lean Six Sigma, CMMI, organizational culture.

Session: Extending Your Influence through Team Leadership

You can only accomplish so much in solo mode ̶ to implement your ideas, you’ll need to lead others. This talk covers practical tips for creating influence through team leadership. Rick Hefner, PhD, specializes in project management, leadership, and systems engineering.  Dr. Hefner has worked with over 20 technology-driven companies in the aerospace, communications, electronics, and health sciences industries, as well as academic and government organizations. He is credited with over 200 publications and presentations, and currently leads professional training programs at the California Institute of Technology.

Mathew Allred

You are not just another face in the crowd. You are unique, and so are your financial goals. That’s why I take the time to understand what’s truly important to you. I can help you prepare for whatever life brings — both the expected and the unexpected — with personalized advice tailored to you. In fact, Ameriprise is rated #1 in the investment industry for trust.1I deliver personalized financial advice to help you achieve your goals, today and tomorrow, through our Confident Retirement®approach. Working together, I can help you feel more confident, connected, and in control of your financial life.

Andrew Rush

Andrew Rush is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Made In Space, Inc. (MIS). In his current role, Rush oversees strategic direction and operational management for the industry-leading space manufacturing company. Prior to this role, he served as general counsel for MIS.
Since his appointment in 2015, MIS has expanded its operational footprint within the United States with the addition of new office locations and the company’s workforce has increased by more than 50%. Under Rush’s leadership, the company has advanced its technology roadmap to include capabilities for on-orbit manufacturing and robotic assembly; development of space-enabled materials; and continued to advance exploration manufacturing. Additionally, his strategic vision has leveraged strong public-private partnerships and matured the company’s portfolio to include government and commercial markets.
Previously, Rush was a partner at PCT Law Group and prior to that he worked at Masten Space Systems. Rush earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of North Florida and a Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University.

Andy Miller

Product executive who thrives on driving innovation, scaling new products, and creating new ventures — proven success in leveraging human centered design and data analytics to identify opportunity areas, validate concepts, and develop minimum viable products that lead to commercial offerings at both startups and large organizations. Dynamic leader who takes great pride in team development and building a culture of innovation through mentorship and empowerment.

Susan Land

Land is IEEE 2020 President-Elect and a program manager for the U.S. Department of Defense with more than 30 years of industry experience in the application of software engineering methodologies and the management of information systems, as well as leadership of software and systems product development teams. Kathy is a Fellow and longtime volunteer for the IEEE having served three terms on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Board of Directors, 2018 Vice President of IEEE Technical Activities, two terms as a member of the IEEE-USA Board of Directors, and three years on the IEEE WIE Committee.  Ms. Land is the author or co-author of a number of texts, papers, podcasts, webinars all supporting sound software engineering principles and practical application of software process methodologies.

Session: The Fantastic Five, the 5 Soft Skills Every Technical Professional Should Develop.

Soft skills are in high demand, even in the most technical of fields.  A recent Harris poll of hiring managers revealed that 77 percent of employers value soft skills as technical skills. Come and find out from one of today’s IEEE leaders, a hiring manager who will provide practical advice on how to help you translate your technical expertise into terms nontechnical people can understand and why this is critical to your personal and professional success.

Michelle Yung

Michelle is a business development manager at Northrop Grumman Corporation, Innovation Systems.  Michelle joined Northrop Grumman following graduation from the University of Illinois in 2005.  Since 2005, she has served in a variety of functions across multiple programs; from Quality Engineering on NASA programs to Business Development for Strategic Navy and Airforce programs.  Michelle is also the chair of the Northrop Grumman Women’s International Network – Northern Utah Chapter.  In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, dancing and spending time with her newborn son.

Session: Women in Leadership & the Double Bind

Women and men with the same skill characteristics are often described in different ways, creating invisible barriers.  Come learn more about this unconscious gender bias, how it creates a “double bind” and how you can be a part of the solution.

David E. González

David E. González is a graduate of California Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE).  He earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Redlands, Whitehead College of Business.   He finished the coursework the Naval Postgraduate School, Masters of Science in Program Management (MSPM).  He has work for aerospace industry, Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Navy over his 25 years career.  Through his work with the with the U.S. Navy Mr. González in the areas of metrology (calibration) and Research & Development projects that have involved the joint armed services.

Mr. González is also involved and leading an initiative through IEEE-USA in a project called U.S. Government Communities of Interest (USG CoI). One of the areas that USG CoI looks to help is our veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Niru Kumar

Niru Kumar, SMIEEE obtained an undergraduate degree in power systems engineering from University of Mysore, India. After working for IT consulting companies, she decided to move to the U.S. and get back to her first love of power systems engineering. She finished her MS in Energy Systems from the University of Washington in Seattle and went to work for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Dept. of Energy run National Laboratory. Her research interests included effective demand response techniques to improve energy efficiency. She completed her MBA from Cornell University where she was recognized both as an ‘Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellow’ as well as an ‘Emerging Markets Fellow’. From there she went to work for NextEra Energy where worked on Storage analytics, Microgrid analytics and Direct Load Control analytics for both FPL and NextEra. She later work for a FACTS startup based out of Union City called Smart Wires. Currently she works as a Senior Product Manager in Microgrids with Bloom Energy.

Niru’s interests also include the most cost effective methods of making technology accessible to the base of the pyramid. Niru is heavily involved with IEEE and its humanitarian technology efforts. She is currently chair of the Projects Funding committee under the IEEE Humanitarian Activities committee. She is also the IEEE Region 6 Humanitarian Activities Coordinator. She works with the South Asia Working Group of IEEE Smart Village. She is also part of IEEE USA’s Energy Policy Committee. She has also served as Region 6’s Women in Engineering coordinator in 2011-2012 helping set up various Women in Engineering groups for the benefit of IEEE women engineers.

Brian Guidry

Brian Guidry is an Electrical Engineer and Project Manager with 20 years of experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).  Mr. Guidry received his BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Arizona and his MSEE from Stanford University.  Mr. Guidry also has a Masters Certificate in System Design Management from MIT.  Mr. Guidry specializes in Controls and Data Acquisition Systems and has spent the last 7 years in various project management and leadership roles throughout LLNL.  Mr. Guidry also takes an active interest in the mentoring and development of early career individuals at LLNL.