Sr. Manager, Future Lab at Renault-Nissan Alliance
Megan Neese is a designer, product manager, business planner and strategist. She is a Senior Manager in a small executive skunk works team – Future Lab, where she studies robo-taxi scenarios for Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi’s Alliance Mobility and Connected Services division. She is also Chair of the Board of the Industrial Designers Society of America where she advocates for expansive practice of industrial design. She has filled similar roles blending design and business as an associate director at BMW Group DesignworksUSA, a senior design strategist at Samsung Design America and as product planner at Nissan North America. As a consultant Neese has helped build design functions at two start-up firms and has led research and strategy programs for clients such as John Deere, LG Electronics, Navistar and Direct TV. Neese holds a bachelor’s in industrial design and a master’s in product development from Carnegie Mellon University.
Sr. Manager and Subject Matter Specialist, Deloitte Insights
Brenna Sniderman leads digital technology and Industry 4.0 research in Deloitte Services LP’s Center for Integrated Research. Her research focuses on advanced, connected, and autonomous technologies and the intersection of digital and physical technologies in production, operations, the supply network, and broader organizational ecosystems. She works with other thought leaders to deliver insights into the strategic, organizational, and human implications of these technological changes. Prior to joining Deloitte, Brenna was the Senior Director of Research for Forbes Insights, the thought leadership and sponsored research division of Forbes Media. While there, she researched global trends among senior executives, developing perspectives on cloud computing, analytics, business transformation, talent management and green technology, along with leadership and diversity. Brenna also wrote about research for Forbes.com. Brenna has deep experience in research, focused largely on primary qualitative and quantitative approaches. Brenna holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degreein strategic communications from Columbia University.
John R. Manuck
Chairman & CEO, Techmer PM
John Manuck is the chairman and CEO of Techmer PM, a leading polymer materials design company that works in partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. The company has seven manufacturing sites across North America.
In 2016 John was named to the Crain 100 list of innovators, disruptors, and change-makers in business for the company’s work in materials design in established industries and emerging markets such as 3-D additive manufacturing. In 2017 he was named a Life Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA).
John has a BS in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union School of Engineering and Science and an MS in Management Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
R&D Magazine recently honored Techmer PM for its innovative materials design work by naming it a winner in the Process/Prototyping category for the 2017 R&D 100 Awards program. The honor was earned for its work collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and BASF to design two compounds for high temperature autoclave tooling applications used in composite part production for aerospace and automotive.
Dr. Thomas Zacharia
Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Dr. Zacharia, who became Laboratory Director on July 1, 2017, is responsible for a diverse portfolio of science and energy research and development spanning fundamental research in physics, biology, and chemistry through clean energy; energy generation, distribution, and end use; and national security programs. Operating responsibilities include a nuclear reactor, a high-power proton accelerator, classified activities, and a complex array of research facilities and construction projects. He is responsible for an annual budget exceeding $1.4 billion.
Dr. Zacharia first joined ORNL in 1987 as a postdoctoral researcher. Soon after accepting a staff position with the Laboratory’s Metals and Ceramics Division in 1989, he established the Materials Modeling and Simulation Group and served as group leader until he was named director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division in 1998. He served as Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for High Performance Computing from 2000 to 2001 and was named Associate Laboratory Director for the newly formed Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate in 2001. He led the creation of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the realization of DOE’s goal of fielding the world’s most powerful supercomputing system. Dr. Zacharia also oversaw the establishment of the National Institute for Computational Sciences, a partnership of ORNL and the University of Tennessee that successfully delivered a petascale supercomputer for the National Science Foundation in 2008 and continues to provide researchers with leadership-class high-performance computing resources, facilities, and support. Prior to becoming Lab Director, he served as the Deputy for Science and Technology, overseeing all the Laboratory’s R&D programs.
Thomas holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India, an M.S. in materials science from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in engineering science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. He holds two U.S. patents and is author or co-author of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes, including superplastic forming, casting and solidification, and the stamping process. He was named a Fellow of the American Welding Society in 2005, elected a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics in 2014, and named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015.
CEO & Chief Technology Officer, Integrated Roadways
Tim Sylvester is an Electrical & Computer Engineer, Project Manager, Entrepreneurship Scholar, ENR- Midwest “Top 20 under 40” honoree, EDC-KC Cornerstone Award recipient, and Kauffman “Entrepreneurial All-Star”. Tim has more than a decade of experience in construction, including residential, commercial, and infrastructure, spanning labor, design, engineering, and management, and has performed multiple research projects for the National Science Foundation. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Business Journal, and numerous local, regional, and online publications.
In-Space Manufacturing Project Manager, NASA MSFC
Niki Werkheiser is the NASA Manager for In-space Manufacturing (ISM). In this role, Niki is responsible for developing the on-demand manufacturing, repair, and recycling technologies required for sustainable, long-duration space missions. The ISM portfolio includes the 3D Printing Technology Demonstration payload on the International Space Station, which made history by being the first 3D Printer to manufacture parts in space, as well as in-space recycling, bioprinting, printable electronics, and more. The project heavily leverages these rapidly-evolving commercial technologies here on earth for adaptation to the space environment.
Previous to this role, Niki served as the Project Manager for NASA’s Ares Crew Safety and Reliability Office. Ms. Werkheiser spent the majority of her career in NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs Payload Offices where she designed,
developed, integrated, and operated multiple NASA payloads. Niki works for Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA and is stationed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.
Ms. Werkheiser’s academic background includes a M.S. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with an emphasis in Gravitational and Space Biology, as well as a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Russian Studies.
Founder Brand Innovation Lab, Sr. Director Global Brand Creative, eBay
Marc is a unique multi-disciplinarian who has a proven track-record for discovering the hidden value between brands, products and services. His ability to connect the dots between Business, Brand, Product Experience, Technology and Marketing has benefited some of the worlds most well know brands such as Nike, RH, HBO, EA, Discovery, Aston Martin, HP and Barnes & Noble. He also advises and invests in category redefining startups like Canary, Molekule, Social Glass, SoftKinetic and Luna.
Marc is currently Senior Director of Global Brand Creative and Experience at eBay and was a founding CXO of Matternet, a startup which is reinventing the paradigm of transportation designing a network of autonomous aerial transportation vehicles that can transport medication and diagnostics beyond all season roads. His role of CXO combined the responsibility for the overall product experience with the more traditional role of a CMO. Matternet received the title of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer in 2016 and recently received rounds of funding from Boeing and Daimler.
Marc is also the author of 'Brands as Patterns' a white paper that has laid the foundation for coherent brand building in the digital age. The paper has been republished by FastCompany, Contagious Magazine and PSFK, and became two wildly successful panels at SXSW and is soon to be published as a book.
Marc has held leadership positions in world class tech led innovation, design, publishing and marketing organizations. He has been extensively awarded as a designer, writer, creative director, and strategist. His experience has given him unique insight into how to build strong, empathetic, cross functional teams who thrive on solving complex and fluid problems.
Founder and CEO of Bridge Innovate
Bridge Innovate's CEO, Jenny Whitener, has more than 25 years of experience of business transformation with top leaders around the world. She enables executives to build leadership, innovate business, and mobilize change using the best of design, innovation, and management
consulting methods. Certified in IDEO's design thinking methodology and seasoned in Ernst & Young's Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE), she is known as an expert facilitator and architect of large-scale design sessions.
Prior to founding Bridge Innovate, Jenny served as Americas Director, Knowledge, Learning and Methods Development and Innovation for Cap Gemini/Ernst & Young where she was responsible for new service innovation with a $30 million budget and a portfolio of more than 100 innovation development projects.
Jenny is a Royal Society of Arts Fellow, founder of the RSA-US Student Design Awards, founding supporter of the Bill Moggridge Awards, and founder of the Bright-Spark.org program for educators and students. She also serves her community as a member of Rotary International and internship sponsor for the Chattanooga Fellows Program.
Principal and Founder of Service Department
Over the course of his nearly quarter-century career, Richard Clarke’s work has been as varied as it has been creative. He has brought his unique vision to various brands where he’s been able to effect strategic change in all aspects of the business from Design, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Brand and Experiential Design. Richard currently serves as Principal and Founder of Service Department, a creative consortium which focuses on establishing new business models to address the future needs of the emerging circular economy. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and a Collaborator at the World Building Institute (WBI)
After beginning his career at J. Crew as a Design Director, Richard joined Nike in 1995. He worked first as a Nike Footwear Design Director then helped to established Nike Sportswear, where he became the Global Creative Director. During this time, Richard worked on or led some of Nike’s most progressive projects and collaborations, including the ahead-of-its-time modular design of the Nike Zvedochka with Marc Newson and The Ovolo with Comme Des Garcons to name a few. In 2004 Richard established the Considered Design Ethos within Nike “a less-is-more” approach to product creation leading to Nike’s current sustainable design practices. As part of this initiative, he designed the first Considered collection, including the Nike Considered Boot, a shoe that was not only memorably striking, but that also a new standard of sustainable design at Nike as well as winning a IDSA Gold Award. Richard also applied his design talents to the retail arena. First as Global Creative Director of Retail Design and then as Nike’s Global Vice President of Direct to Consumer Design (DTC) Advanced Concepts, Richard has shaped some of Nike’s most significant retail concepts, such as the company’s flagship stores in, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Shanghai, Miami and NYC. In 2014 Richard created NikeLab which literally ‘Closed the loop' utilizing Nike waste for its fabrication, and was strongly influenced by the ‘Considered Design Ethos’ he created nearly a decade earlier.
Whether designing shoes, apparel or retail experiences, Richard infuses his work with his belief in design’s capacity to awaken the potential in everyone and his commitment to design as a powerful tool to change the world for the better.