2024 Global Symposium Speaker Bios

3D city and the logos for Mcity, UMTRI, and WAT

2024 Global Symposium Speaker Bios

3D city and the logos for Mcity, UMTRI, and WAT

Speaker Bios (In Alphabetical Order)


Headshot of Gina Ahlstrom

Gina Ahlstrom is the Pavement Materials Team Leader in the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Preconstruction, Construction, and Pavements. She provides technical and program leadership for the development and implementation of pavement policies and innovative technologies in the areas of asphalt and concrete pavements and materials. Gina’s responsibilities include the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies Program and leading the Agency’s $2 Billion Low Carbon Transportation Materials Grant Program. She is the US representative and English-speaking Secretary to the PIARC World Road Association Technical Committee on Pavements. She has more than 20 years of experience related to pavement life cycle cost, design, construction, rehabilitation, and sustainability. Ms. Ahlstrom holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Headshot of Imad Al-Qadi

Imad Al-Qadi is the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering and the founding Director of the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). Prior to that, he was the Charles E. Via, Jr. Professor at Virginia Tech. He has led more than 150 research projects to completion, manages more than 60 projects annually as ICT Director, and advised more than 100 PhD students and postdocs. Professor Al-Qadi has received numerous national and international honors and awards, including the NSF Young Investigator Award, the quadrennial IGS Award, ASCE James Laurie Prize, ARTBA Steinberg Award, ASCE Turner Award, TRR of the National Academies D. Grant Mickle Award and Woods Award, the ASCE Robert Horonjeff Airport Transportation Award, the French Limoges Medal. He is an Emeritus Member of TRB and a Life member of AAPT. He served as the President of the ASCE T&DI Board of Governors and the Chair of the Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering Board of Directors and is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Pavement Engineering. In 2010, he was elected as an ASCE Distinguished Member and was recently honored with the prestigious TRB Roy W. Crumb Distinguished Service Award.

Headshot of Dr. Rose B. Bellanca

Now in her second decade as president, Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, Ed.D., continues to embrace the opportunities of leading Washtenaw Community College, an institution that is nationally recognized for delivering excellent programs and student success. During a recent international symposium on transportation mobility, President Bellanca shared that in this warped-speed changing world, standing still is not an option: “If we stand still, we fail,” she told industry, business, and academic leaders in attendance. Dr. Bellanca’s remarks opened day two of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) Annual CCAT (Center for Connected and Automated Transportation) Global Symposium. WCC is the only community college on the CCAT team, joining the University of Michigan, Purdue University, the University of Illinois, the University of Akron and Central State University in Ohio.

Headshot of Administrator Shailen Bhatt

On January 13, 2023, Shailen Bhatt was sworn in by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as the 21st Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Bhatt was confirmed unanimously by voice vote in the U.S. Senate on December 8, 2022. He is the first person of Indian descent to lead FHWA. In this role he oversees over 2,700 FHWA employees in all 50 States, U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia, and provides executive leadership on strategic initiatives and policy, including administering more than $350 billion as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and its formula and competitive grant programs that are available to State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, Tribes, territories, federal land management agencies, and other organizations. As Administrator, Bhatt brings a record of successful project and program delivery needed in this once-in-a-generation level of infrastructure investment in which the impacts of FHWA policy and funding choices will last for generations, and will make people safer, reduce the emissions in our air while implementing resilient transportation systems for our changing climate, create a fairer transportation system, and strengthen our economy. Bhatt brings to this role a passion for improving safety and protecting all road users on America’s roads, bridges, highways, and other surface transportation infrastructure, including people using them for walking and biking. He is also committed to transforming our nation’s infrastructure systems to address transportation’s impacts on our global climate, while making them more equitable and fair for all.

Headshot of Ashlee Breitner

Ashlee Breitner is Managing Director of the Economic Growth Institute and Workforce Director for the Electric Vehicle Center at the University of Michigan. Ashlee works to ensure the university continues to be a trusted partner for communities and companies to address their ever-changing needs. Additionally, Ashlee teaches innovation courses in the College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship and holds a BS in Education from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from Wayne State University. Ashlee sits on a variety of workforce boards and working committees to ensure companies have the resources they need to prepare their workforce for the future of mobility. Prior to her current roll, Ashlee managed global business operations for product and systems certification programs in the public health and safety sector. A native of and current resident in rural Michigan, Ashlee has a passion for working toward equitable access to resources for companies and communities across the state.

Headshot of Brandy Brown

Dr. Brandy Brown is an innovative energy expert who is best known for leading the development of equitable advanced energy projects, workforce development initiatives, and mobility solutions. She currently leads the Michigan team of DNV, a leader in tackling global transformations. Prior to joining DNV, Dr. Brown served as the Chief Innovation Officer of Walker-Miller Energy services, the premier Detroit-based energy services B corp focused on equity in the clean energy economy. Dr. Brown also formerly served as the inaugural Climate & Energy Advisor within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy. In that role she led the Office of Climate & Energy and was responsible for developing the policy and implementation strategy for state-wide decarbonization efforts, coordinating state departments on climate action, providing guidance to local governments, and advancing renewable energy throughout Michigan. Additionally, Dr. Brown is honored to serve as an appointee to Michigan’s National Resources Trust Fund Board in addition to serving on the boards of MiCAN and Oji:sda’.

Headshot of Deng Cao.

Dr. Deng Cao received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from West Virginia University in 2013. He also has two master’s degrees in Statistics and Physics, both from West Virginia University. Dr. Cao currently serves as an associate professor of Computer Science at Central State University. His research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Biometrics. His research received support from the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

Headshot of Sikai Chen

Dr. Sikai (Sky) Chen is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a focus on Computational Science & Engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Chen’s research centers around three major themes: human users, AI, and transportation. He aims to innovate and develop safe, efficient, sustainable, and human-centered transportation systems using cutting-edge methods and technologies. The focus is on incorporating human behaviors, interactive autonomy, and intelligent control frameworks. He is a member of two ASCE national committees: Connected & Autonomous Vehicle Impacts, and Economics & Finance; and TRB Standing Committee on Statistical Methods (AED60).

Headshot of Bogdan Epureanu

Bogdan I. Epureanu is the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and has a courtesy appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1999. With a background in nonlinear dynamics, during his tenure of more than 22 years at the University of Michigan, he pioneered interdisciplinary research directions enhancing aircraft safety and performance, early detection of neurodegenerative diseases, and forecasting tipping points in engineered and physical systems such as disease epidemics and ecology. As Director of the Automotive Research Center he leads research in control and teaming of autonomous vehicles, human-autonomous vehicle interactions, high performance structures and materials, intelligent power systems, fleet operations, and vehicle system of systems integration. He has published more than 200 papers in leading peer reviewed journals, more than 200 conference papers and books in the field, and delivered more than 250 conference presentations, lectures, and invited talks. He is the founding president of the Beta chapter of INCOSE Sigma Mu Theta, Vice-President of Pi Tau Sigma (PTS), the International Honor Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics. Among others, he is the recipient of the Myklestad Award, the Dedicated Service Award – ASME Design Engineering Division, Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award – American Society for Engineering Education, 1938E Award, Monroe-Brown Foundation Research Excellence Award, Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award, John Ullrich Education Excellence Award – College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Rackham Faculty Recognition Award, and he is an ASME Fellow.

Headshot of Elise Feldpausch

As the Connected Vehicle Technical Specialist for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s statewide ITS Program Office, Elise Feldpausch ensures the continued development of Michigan’s statewide connected vehicle program. This program is where statewide project and device consistency operate hand in hand with the assurance that Michigan continues to remain at the forefront of the national CAV conversation. She works directly with regional and national efforts to move the needle on the implementation of transformational technologies. Elise began her career at the ITS Program Office in 2012 with a focus on post-construction asset management including, software system framework development, statewide ITS device and network maintenance, and RWIS program development. Elise is a licensed professional engineer with the state of Michigan and is a graduate of Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.

Headshot of Yiheng Feng.

Dr. Yiheng Feng received his Ph.D. from the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering at the University of Arizona in 2015. His research areas include connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) and smart transportation infrastructure, with a focus on intelligent traffic control and transportation system cybersecurity. He has served as PI and Co-PI in many research projects funded by NSF, USDOT, and USDOE. He has published more than 50 research articles, which appeared in top journals, including Nature Communications, Transportation Research Part B/C, and IEEE Transactions on ITS. He is the co-chair of the Traffic Signal Systems Committee Simulation Subcommittee at the Transportation Research Board and serves as an editorial board member of Transportation Research Part C. He is the recipient of the inaugural best dissertation award from the Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (COTA) in 2015 and INFORMS ITS best paper award in 2021.

Headshot of Todd Fronckowiak

Todd Fronckowiak is the Vice President of Safety at Cavnue, a technology company that bridges digital and physical infrastructure to unlock automated, safe, and efficient transportation. Before joining Cavnue Todd spent nearly 4 years as the Executive Director of Safety at Argo AI where he led internal efforts to build their safety case and safety management systems, as well as proactive external interactions with senior safety officials in the U.S. and Europe. Prior to Argo, Todd spent over 30 years at Ford Motor Company, including leading their Global Automotive Safety Compliance Office which was responsible for regulatory developments, vehicle safety compliance, and safety defect investigations around the world. Todd holds an M.S. degree in Computer Controlled Systems Engineering and an M.S. degree in Engineering Management, both from Wayne State University, and a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.

Headshot of Tony Geara

Tony Geara currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mobility innovation at the City of Detroit. He is a professional engineer who comes into the mobility realm with a diverse background in CAV, ITS, and Transportation Planning. After over a decade in consulting, he made the move to public service to lead and grow Intelligent Transportation, Smart City efforts, and mobility Innovation for the City of Detroit. Throughout his career, Tony has led diverse teams through multiple traffic, ITS, and mobility projects, both locally and internationally. His passion is promoting safety and efficiency, human-centered design and engagement, and actively interacting with residents and stakeholders for the betterment of the community, where every voice matter. He has brought that momentum into the City to help envision and build the future of #DetroitMobility through innovation, sustainability, and equity. Outside of industry and academia, Tony is passionate about rowing, loves cooking Lebanese food, has an amazing wife who is an academic researcher in organizational behavior and gender roles in the workplace, and not three, but now four very active kids who are growing way too fast.

Headshot of Clint Harper

Clint Harper blends 25-years of aviation experience with a passion for urban design and community involvement. An Air Force veteran, Clint’s military roles spanned aircraft dispatch, airport operations, and airport, heliport, & UAV facility planning. After his military service, Clint pursued his interest in community and the built environment by earning a Master’s in City and Metropolitan Planning and a graduate certificate in Urban Design. His efforts in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) integration led him to work with the Utah Division of Aeronautics, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and NASA. Clint was among the first to advocate for AAM integration, emphasizing the need for the aviation sector to collaborate with communities for integrated transportation solutions. Central to his vision is the aspiration to shape AAM to benefit the broader public.

Headshot of Jerry He

Jerry He is Executive Director at CARTS (Corporation for Automated Road Transportation Safety), a nonprofit think tank dedicated to connecting communities with mobility innovations. At CARTS, Jerry leads its interdisciplinary team of engineers, urbanists and researchers to initiate, design, facilitate, and scale people-centered deployments of innovative urban and mobility technologies for public good. Jerry also manages research at CCNY’s University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) and Center for Social and Economic Mobility for People and Communities through Transportation (SEMPACT), the USDOT Region 2 UTC covering the New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands regions. Jerry combines his background in computer science, urban design & architecture (B.A. NYU; M.Arch. Princeton) through his expertise in autonomous vehicles, sustainable urban systems, and community activation. His work has been recognized by the ITSNJ with the “Outstanding Young Professional” and “Outstanding Project” awards. He co-organizes the annual Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summits.

Headshot of Edward T. Hightower

Edward Hightower is an electric vehicle OEM CEO, public board director, and published author. He is the managing director of Motoring Ventures LLC. Previously, he served as the chief executive officer and president of Lordstown Motors Corp. In 2022, he led the operational turnaround of the company and launch of its first vehicle, the Endurance. In doing so, over 700 jobs were saved, and Endurance was selected as a finalist for 2023 North American Truck of the Year. Hightower also served as CEO of the EV design and engineering joint venture between Lordstown and Foxconn. Earlier, Hightower served in several product development, engineering, brand marketing, and global senior executive roles between Ford, BMW, and GM. He also worked as a consultant at AlixPartners, LLP. Hightower authored the book Motoring Africa: Sustainable Automotive Industrialization (2018). Originally from Chicago, Hightower earned a BS in General Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Michigan | Ross.

Headshot of Elizabeth Irvin

Elizabeth Irvin is Deputy Director in IDOT’s Office of Planning and Programming. In her role she is focused on implementing sustainability initiatives, including the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) and Carbon Reduction programs funded by the recent federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Prior to IDOT, Elizabeth worked at the Union of Concerned Scientists advocating for equitable deployment of clean transportation, including electrifying ridehailing and automated vehicles, and better incorporating equity and sustainability into transportation decisionmaking. Elizabeth has also worked in both the non-profit and public sector in Illinois, at the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. She has a masters degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Headshot of Kathleen D. Klinich

Dr. Kathleen D. Klinich is a research scientist and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. She has 34 years of experience performing research on how to protect occupants in motor-vehicle crashes. She attended Case Western Reserve University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical engineering as well as a bachelor’s in English. After her first job working at NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center, she came to the University of Michigan to earn her PhD in Mechanical Engineering and stayed to become a member of the research faculty. Since 2010, she has worked on over 45 research projects and has served as principal investigator on 32 of them. In 2023, she received the University of Michigan Research Faculty Achievement award in recognition for her work in automotive safety. Her most recent research efforts have focused on child passenger safety, wheelchair transportation safety issues, autonomous vehicles, and assessing factors contributing to motor-vehicle fatalities.

Headshot of Paul Krajewski

Dr. Paul E. Krajewski is the Director of Connected Vehicle Experience Research at the General Motors Global Research and Development Center. His laboratory is responsible for R&D in a variety of areas including Interior and Safety Systems, Connectivity, User Experience, Cybersecurity, Displays, Biosensing, and Accessibility. Paul also represents GM as the USCAR Leadership Group Director, as a JOG member for USDRIVE, and as the Technical Director for HRL. He received his Bachelors and Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Krajewski has over 75 publications and has been awarded 68 US Patents. He has been recognized by Fortune Magazine (40 under 40) and MIT’s Technology Review (TR100) as a leading innovator, and is a Fellow of ASM International. He has appeared as a subject matter expert on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels Aluminum Program, won numerous automotive industry innovation awards. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2020. Paul has also published three children’s STEM / STEAM books entitled “What’s In Your Car” and ” What’s In Your Body” and “What’s In Your Plane”.

Michele Lee Headshot

Michele Lee leads Accessibility on the Commercial Business Development, Strategy and Planning team at Cruise, General Motors’ self driving car subsidiary. In this role she cultivates relationships with key advocates, community organizations, and experts representing the full diversity of the disability community to build a more accessible AV service. Michele has used a power wheelchair for almost twenty years after a spinal cord injury from a motor vehicle crash. Combining a professional background in corporate and nonprofit organizations with a long passion for disability rights advocacy she is committed to an equitable accessible transportation future.

Headshot of Stephen Lesh

As Vice President of Aurora Hardware Operations, Stephen Lesh leads the team responsible for the Quality, Hardware Safety, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, and Service Engineering of the Aurora Driver hardware systems. Stephen began working on self-driving technologies in 2016 at Uber ATG as Head of Hardware, and joined Aurora in 2021 as part of the Uber ATG acquisition. Prior to joining Uber, Stephen worked for over 20 years at Ford Motor Co. in a variety of vehicle program and engineering development roles in both the U.S. and Europe. He held key leadership roles as a Chief Engineer, and also Global Director, Program Management. He has led the development of vehicles for markets all over the world, and is highly experienced in joint engineering/manufacturing development with companies in Europe, China, Japan, and South America.

Headshot of Matthew Letourneau

Matt Letourneau is a Vice President and Project Manager with AECOM. Located in Chicago, he has over 25 years of experience in the fields of traffic engineering and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) across the US and Canada. This includes ITS strategic planning at the state and county levels, extensive ITS and traffic signal infrastructure design experience, and oversight of traffic management teams. His most recent projects include systems engineering for a Regional Arterial Traffic Management Center in northeastern Illinois, electric vehicle charging infrastructure planning and design in Indiana and Ontario, and conceptual design of ITS infrastructure for the University of Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track (I-ACT). Matt is a graduate of Marquette University, a professional engineer in six states and two provinces, and Past President of ITS Midwest, a four-state chapter of ITS America.

Headshot of Jane Lin

Jane Lin is Professor in the Department of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), and holds a joint appointment at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy (IESP) at UIC. Her research focuses on environmental sustainability of multimodal transportation and sustainable designs of transportation systems via advanced data analytics and systems modeling. Lin is an Editor of Transport Policy, Associate Editor of Transportation Research Part D: Transportation and Environment and Future Transportation. She also serves on the editorial boards of Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice and International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. She chairs the Sustainability and Resilience Group at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) (2020 – 2024). Prior to that, she was Chair of the TRB Committee on Transportation and Air Quality (ADC20) (2011-2017) and Vice Chair of the TRB Section on Energy and Environment (ADC00) (2017- 2020). Lin serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2022 – 2025). She received her MS and PhD degrees from University of California, Davis, and her BS from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard University’s Center for the Environment before joining UIC.

Headshot of Yan Liu

Yan Liu is a Professor in the Computer Science Department and the Director of Machine Learning Center at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interest is machine learning and its applications to climate science, health care, and sustainability. She has received several awards, including NSF CAREER Award, Okawa Foundation Research Award, New Voices of Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Best Paper Award in SIAM Data Mining Conference. She serves as general chair for KDD 2020 and ICLR 2023, and program chairs for WSDM 2018, SDM 2020, KDD 2022 and ICLR 2022.

Headshot of Henry Liu

Dr. Henry Liu is the Bruce D. Greenshields Collegiate Professor of Engineering and the Director of Mcity at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and a Research Professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Dr. Liu conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface of transportation engineering, automotive engineering, and artificial intelligence. He is recognized for his foundational work in cyber-physical transportation systems, particularly on the development of smart traffic signal systems with connected vehicles, and testing/evaluation of autonomous vehicles. He has published more than 140 refereed journal articles. His work on safety validation of autonomous vehicles has been published in Nature and featured as the cover story. He has also appeared on a number of media outlets including Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Science Daily, Tech Xplore, CNBC, WXYZ, and more for transportation innovations. Professor Liu is the managing editor of the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems and a board member of the ITS America and IEEE ITS Society.

Headshot of Hani Mahmassani

Professor Hani S. Mahmassani is the William A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation at Northwestern University and the Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center. Dr. Mahmassani specializes in multimodal transportation systems analysis, planning and operations, dynamic network modeling and optimization, transit network planning and design, dynamics of user behavior and telematics, telecommunication-transportation interactions, large-scale human infrastructure systems, and real-time operation of logistics and distribution systems.

Headshot of Z. Morley Mao

Dr. Morley Mao received their B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. They are a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, Sloan Fellowship, and the IBM Faculty Partnership Award. They have been named the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor. Their research interests encompass network systems, mobile and distributed systems, and network/systems security. Their work involves both empirical data collection and analysis, as well as the design and implementation of new systems.

Headshot of Enoch Morishima

Enoch Morishima is a principal designer at Toyota Boshoku, with over a decade of experience in mobility design that spans air, land, and sea vehicles. With a degree in transportation design from Art Center College of Design, his professional journey began in startups working on electric last mile solutions before joining Kawasaki and Adient. His current role encompasses experience design, advanced research, technology scouting, and pioneering new business models to shape the future of mobility.

Headshot of Eric Muir

Dr. Eric Muir is founder and CTO of Volair Technologies where he leads technology development of pioneering safety, pilot-assist, and autonomy systems for aviation. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He began his career at Boeing where he led a team of ~50 Boeing software and hardware engineers in pioneering autonomous flight technologies. These efforts spanned CONOPS definition, test aircraft integration and flight test, flight simulation, and perception/localization algorithm development with particular focus on autonomous taxi capabilities and autonomous landing capabilities. He then led a team at Rescale, a cloud computing company, developing solutions to compute-heavy simulation problems. Eric has demonstrated leadership and technical expertise relating to multi-modal autonomous flight system development including motion planning and concept of operations definition.

Headshot of Krishnakumar Nedunuri

Dr. Krishnakumar Nedunuri is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Central State University and the Director of the C.J. McLin International Center for Water Resources Management. Dr. Nedunuri got his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering area of Civil Engineering from Purdue University. He is a STEM fellow at the Dayton Regional Center and a Scientific Teaching Fellow at the Summer Institutes organized by the National Science Foundation and Howards Hughes Medical Institute. Nedunuri also teaches graduate courses in Clean Energy Engineering at Wright State University. He served as PI/Co-PI in over 25 research and educations grants and a reviewer for NIFA and for professional journals. He is a member of the State technical board for the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA, Ohio.

Headshot of Gary F. Newton Jr.

Gary Newton, Jr is the Director for Simulator Sales in the Americas where he engages with customers across the automotive industry to advance virtual prototyping and validation. Gary strongly believes that VI-grades simulator technology can help bring vehicles to market faster in a way that is less expensive and safer. He seeks opportunities to assist engineering teams to embrace the digital transformation of the automotive development process. Gary has more than 30 years of automotive experience and multiple technical credits in both conferences and peer reviewed publications and journals. He also supports student engineering efforts to help develop the next generation of automotive engineers. Currently Gary is a member in good standing with SAE supporting many conferences and events as an organizer and technical contributor. In 2021 he was added a contributing member to SAE’s Vehicle Dynamics Standards Committee and in 2022 received the SAE McFarland Award for his technical contributions and in 2023 was named future Chair of SAE NVH Conference. Gary has also been a member of IEEE and The Tire Society. Gary holds degrees in business and marketing and has spoken previously at multiple automotive industry events.

Headshot of Edwin Olson

Dr. Edwin Olson is co-founder and CEO of May Mobility, Inc., an Ann Arbor, Michigan based startup that is transforming cities using self-driving shuttles. May Mobility uses its industry-leading autonomy technology to deploy AV fleets in cities and rural environments in the US and Japan, helping to create a safer, greener, and more accessible world. Edwin Olson earned a PhD from MIT in 2008 in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and is on leave from the University of Michigan, where he is a Professor of Computer Science. Dr. Olson has worked on autonomous vehicles for over a decade, including work on the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and vehicles for Ford and Toyota Research Institute. He was awarded a DARPA Young Faculty Award and named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10. In 2023, Ed was recognized by Crain’s Business as a ’Notable Leader in Energy. In 2024, he was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by New Enterprise Forum.

Headshot of Diana E. Páez

Diana E. Páez is Senior Director, Energy & Mobility at the William Davidson Institute. Her role involves helping energy and mobility businesses and stakeholders in low and middle-income countries take advantage of business opportunities and adapt to changes brought about by the energy transition. To do so, she leverages more than a decade of global development experience working with partners across government, private sector, academia, and civil society. Prior to WDI, Páez was based in Washington, D.C., where she held positions at the Higher Education for Development office of the American Council on Education; the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; and The World Bank Institute, among others. Páez has a Master’s degree in Public International Law from Université de Paris II, Panthéon Assas; a Master’s degree in International Prospective (Future Studies) from Université de Paris V, René Descartes; and a JD (Law and Social Sciences) from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico.

Headshot of Dimitra Panagou

Dimitra Panagou received the Diploma (2006) and PhD (2012) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Robotics at the University of Michigan, with a courtesy appointment with the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Her research program spans the areas of nonlinear systems and control; multi-agent systems, autonomy and control; and aerospace robotics. She is particularly interested in the development of provably-correct methods for the safe and secure (resilient) operation of autonomous systems in complex missions, with applications in robot/sensor networks and multi-vehicle systems (ground, marine, aerial, space) under uncertainty. She is a recipient of the NASA Early Career Faculty Award (2016), the AFOSR Young Investigator Award (2017), the NSF CAREER Award (2020), the George J. Huebner, Jr. Research Excellence Award (2024), and a Senior Member of the IEEE and the AIAA.

Headshot of Edison Perdomo

Dr. Edison Perdomo is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Central State University (CS). He is also the current Chair of the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Perdomo earned his bachelor’s degree at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey where he focused on the effects of behavioral contrast in the development of anxiety in animal models. Later, Dr. Perdomo earned his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. As a biopsychologist, he examined the role of early behavior in the development of cardiovascular and thermoregulatory systems. He is working on a cross-disciplinary, multistate project that aims to reduce the disparity in access to technical assistance and resources for minority-owned, underrepresented farmers using sustainable methods in response to climate change. He participated in research to understand the psychological implementation on regulating air, water, and solid waste. While primarily engineering issues, there is a need to investigate the role psychology plays in the Environmental-Energy Health nexus. Communities of color are equally affected by energy-related issues and environmental factors, but often lack the access, training, and ability to respond to the challenges of climate change. Additionally, Dr. Perdomo has been working on issues of health disparities, food insecurities, and environmental justice. This research has also led to interest in exploring the role of urban gardening and horticultural therapy in the psychological and nutritional well-being of individuals living in poverty and in food deserts across the globe.

Headshot of Sherwin Prior

Sherwin Prior is the Chief Executive Officer of Kuhmute Inc., a micro-mobility charging infrastructure company. Prior to Kuhmute, Sherwin has served as a corporate executive and venture capitalist since 2010. As a corporate executive he launched and managed the corporate venture capital arm of General Motors, GM Ventures. He also served in executive roles for Orbia Ventures, Lear Innovation Ventures and the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund. Sherwin’s industry experience includes automotive, mobility, clean tech and sustainability, and Industry 4.0. Sherwin earned his MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Eastern Michigan University. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Headshot of Kathleen Rizk

As the subject matter expert for advanced vehicle technology and mobility, Kathleen Rizk leads the Technology Experience Index (TXI) Study, which measures automakers’ performance, and the user experience as advanced technologies first enter the market. Kathleen is also responsible for the Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study, which examines consumer readiness for automated vehicle technology across transportation modalities. She most recently created J.D. Power’s U.S. Robotaxi Experience Study, measuring attitudes and experience with robotaxis from both riders and non-riders. Kathleen’s extensive experience, built upon the foundation of ensuring safety, effective technology usage, and consumer trust, remains at the forefront of J.D. Power’s ADAS consulting service and has resulted in her being a trusted mobility partner for clients and an advocate for vehicle technology innovation and adoption. Prior to joining J.D. Power, Kathleen founded and spent 20 years leading The Planning Edge, a company that specialized in integrating Voice of the Customer into the automotive product development process to improve product quality and the user experience. Kathleen began her career at Ford Motor Company.

Headshot of Jim Sayer

Dr. Jim Sayer is Director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). In addition, he conducts both basic and translational research in the areas of advanced vehicle safety systems, human interaction with highly automated vehicles, connected vehicle and infrastructure technology, naturalistic driving behavior, driver distraction, and pedestrian safety. He is an internationally recognized leader in the conduct and evaluation of field operational tests of vehicle safety systems, connected vehicle technology, and the study of naturalistic driving behavior. He also has an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Headshot of Nanette Schieke

Nanette Schieke has served in management roles in state and local government almost three decades. Nanette’s main role at MDOT MVA since 2008 has been Chief in Driver Safety with focus on building and sustaining partnerships in the driver safety arena. In recent years, she’s been instrumental in developing Maryland’s Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) program. As CAV Program Manager at MDOT MVA, which is designated lead agency for CAV in the State, Nanette leads a core CAV team and is Coordinator for the Maryland CAV Working Group with hundreds of stakeholders interested in engaging with CAV in the State. Nanette serves as Chair of the Automated Vehicle Subcommittee for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and a member of the Standing Committee on Vehicle User Education, Training, and Licensing with the Transportation Research Board. Nanette is especially passionate on education of ADAS – lower-level vehicle technology – that is here now!

Headshot of Tom Sherony

Mr. Tom Sherony grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula attending Michigan Technological University and graduating with a BSME in 1998. After graduation Tom moved to Southeast Michigan for work in the automotive industry. In the early 2000’s he discovered civilian helicopter flight training, this new hobby quickly grew into a new career. In 2004 Tom left the auto industry to operate his own helicopter flight school. Since then, Tom has flown in various commercial roles including civilian flight training, helicopter electronic news gathering, and the helicopter air ambulance industry. Mr. Sherony has been with UofM’s Michigan Medicine Survival Flight program since 2009, joining the group as a line pilot in 2009, taking on the additional role of Instructor Pilot and Check Airman in 2012, and becoming the programs Aviation Manager in 2014. Mr. Sherony holds FAA Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor certificates with Rotorcraft-Helicopter ratings.

Headshot of Nathan Sturdevant

Nathan Sturdevant is the Director of the Connected and Automated Vehicle Division for the Indiana Department of Transportation with 13 years of operations experience within the Agency. Nathan leads INDOT’s CAV program, EV program and Emerging and Transformational Technology program. Additionally, Nathan serves on the Technical Advisory Board for the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation and the Board of the ITS Midwest chapter. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and is a licensed professional engineer.

Headshot of Alireza Talebpour

Dr. Alireza Talebpour is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has more than 12 years of experience in teaching, research, and consulting in vehicle automation, connected transportation system, traffic analysis, and traffic flow theory. He was leading Texas A&M’s team in SAE/GM AutoDrive Challenge (before joining UIUC), a four-year competition to develop a fully (level 4) autonomous vehicle among eight Universities. He is currently leading an FHWA-funded project focusing on trajectory data collection from CAV operations in highway and arterial environments, “Third Generation Simulation Data (TGSIM)”. He has been working on developing algorithms for vehicle safety and efficiency in a connected and automated driving environment and has developed simulation tools to simultaneously simulate wireless communications and drivers and automated vehicles.

Headshot of Sarasina Tuchen

Sarasina Tuchen, Senior Scientist at the USDOT Highly Automated Systems Safety COE specializing in advanced aviation technologies, autonomy, integration, and interoperability, has over 35 years of experience in private industry and federal government. Sarasina is the USDOT lead of the automation strategy for the AAM IWG, which is developing the AAM National Strategy for the AAM Coordination and Leadership Act. Prior to her Federal service, Sarasina was Group VP of Engineering at Digitas. For 20 years, she has been the technical lead of many of the FAA’s NexGen Air Transportation system technologies and platforms including System Wide Information Management where she developed the first SWIM service, Surface Terminal Data Distribution System (STDDS) used by 1000s of subscribers today (including airports and industry partners). She was the USDOT’s lead at the NASA Ames Research Center working with NASA researchers to integrate advanced automation technologies to increase the air traffic capacity and efficiency of the NAS and spotlight the importance of multimodal integration and interoperability with AAM and autonomy for higher density operations in urban environments. Sarasina earned her M.S. in Engineering Economic Systems from Stanford University (1992) and her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University (1989).

Headshot of Daniel Van Sant

Daniel Van Sant is a disability rights attorney who has practiced most extensively in the areas of inclusive education, gender-based violence, and inclusive international development. He draws on his personal and professional experience with disability in leading the disability policy work at The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University. All of the disability work at The Harkin Institute is tied, somehow, to increasing access to competitive, integrated employment for all people with disabilities. From conducting focus groups in Iowa related to Medicaid services, to presenting at universities, providing consultation to corporations, and organizing the international Harkin Summit on Disability Employment, Daniel works on disability inclusion in many spheres and across many locations. Prior to joining The Harkin Institute, Daniel worked as an attorney first at a legal aid program in Texas representing survivors of sexual assault across much of the state and with a variety of legal issues. Then, in Iowa as a special education attorney who represented students in inclusive education, monitored facilities that house youth in Iowa, and worked on other youth cases as well. Daniel received bachelor’s degrees in International Relations, Rhetoric, and Politics from Drake University. He earned his Juris Doctorate and a Master of Science in Cultural Foundations of Education with a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disability Studies from Syracuse University. When he is not working, Daniel enjoys traveling, learning languages, and tending to an excessive number of houseplants.

Headshot of Kristin White

Kristin White was named Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in July 2023. In this role, Ms. White oversees all aspects of FHWA’s legislative, regulatory, and other programs to advise the federal-aid highway program and the secretary on matters relating to the 2,700-person agency and $59 billion Federal-aid highway program. Ms. White serves as part of the FHWA senior leadership team to advance the FHWA mission to deliver a world-class system that advances safe, efficient, equitable, and sustainable mobility voices for all while strengthening the Nation’s economy. Before joining USDOT, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), a nonprofit founded by Congress to advance safety and mobility through transportation technology and innovation. Previously, Kristin was the founder and Executive Director of Minnesota’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV-X), one of the nation’s leading tech startups and idea incubators within government that researches and deploys transformational technology and policy. The CAV-X program’s innovations have garnered national attention, including winning the National Cronin Award, WTS Innovative Solutions Award, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce/AASHTO America’s Transportation Award. Kristin has a B.A. from St. Olaf College, a law degree from Hamline University School of Law and global arbitration certification from Queen Mary University of London.

Headshot of Yolanka Wulff

Yolanka Wulff is Executive Director of CAMI, the Community Air Mobility Initiative, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the responsible and sustainable integration of aviation into community transportation through education, communication, and collaboration. Yolanka is responsible for CAMI’s programs including the development of topical resources, webinars, conferences, and collaborations. This includes the Urban Air Policy Collaborative, a cohort-based curriculum for state and local agencies and airports. Prior to co-founding CAMI in 2019, she was a sustainable aviation consultant for ten years, working with industry, government, academia and nonprofits on policy, standards, industry development, market challenges, and communications. Yolanka is a member of the FAA’s Advanced Aviation Advisory Committee (AAAC), the Transportation Research Board New Users of Shared Airspace Committee, the GAMA Electric Propulsion Innovation Committee, the Vertical Flight Society Board of Directors, and is the organizer and convener of the annual VFS Electric Aircraft Symposium. She is a nonprofit and business attorney and consultant with over two decades of experience in the successful development, implementation, and management of mission-driven programs, with a focus on sustainable transportation, land use, and collaborative solutions.

Headshot of Nicholas Xenakis

Nick Xenakis is Of Counsel at Covington and Burling LLP, where he draws on his legal and Capitol Hill experience to provide regulatory and legislative advice to clients in a range of industries, including technology, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and connected and autonomous vehicles. Prior to joining Covington, Nick served as General Counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he oversaw all policy efforts in that Committee’s jurisdiction.

Headshot of Zhi-Li Zhang

Zhi-Li Zhang is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor & Qwest Chair Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota and the Associate Director for Research at the Digital Technology Center. Dr. Zhang received a Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts. He joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1997, where he is currently the McKnight Distinguished University Professor and Qwest Chair Professor in Telecommunications. He currently also serves as the Associate Director for Research at the Digital Technology Center, University of Minnesota. Prof. Zhang’s research interests lie broadly in computer and communication networks, Internet technology, multimedia systems and content distribution networks, cyber-physical systems and Internet-of-Things, and (applied) machine learning and data mining. Prof. Zhang has published more than 100 journal and conference/workshop papers, many of them in top venues in networking and related fields. He is the co-recipient of several Best Papers awards including IEEE INFOCOM, ICNP and ACM SIGMETRI.CS Prof. Zhang has chaired the program committees of several major conferences in networking including IEEE INFOCOM, ACM SIGMETRICS, IEEE ICNP and ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), and served on the Editorial Board of several journals such as IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, ACM TOMPECS, and PACM MACS. He is a Fellow of IEEE.