We are pleased to announce the keynote & breakout speakers for the 2018 World Affairs Seminar!
President Elect 18-19, Rotary International
Opening Address: Saturday, June 23rd, 7:00PM
Barry Rassin earned an MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida, and is the first fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in the Bahamas. He recently retired after 37 years as president of Doctors Hospital Health System and continues as an adviser. He is a lifetime member of the American Hospital Association and has served on several boards, including the Quality Council of the Bahamas, Health Education Council, and Employer’s Confederation.
A Rotarian since 1980, Rassin has served Rotary as director and is vice chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. He was an RI training leader and the aide to 2015-16 RI President K.R. Ravindran.
Rassin received Rotary’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award, as well as other humanitarian awards for his work leading Rotary’s relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. He and his wife, Esther, are Major Donors and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.
President Rassin will join World Affairs Seminar via video, as he will be in attendance at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Canada during the seminar.
Principal Product Manager, Amazon Headquarters (Seattle)
Keynote #1: Saturday, June 23rd, 8:00PM
Neal Patel is Principal Product Manager for Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Prior to arriving at Amazon, Patel was Head of Human/Social Dynamics at Google, where he led a team of software engineers and data scientists charting the terrain of human emotion: how, why, and what we feel. He is also a computational sociologist. His approach to product management applies advanced empiricalmethods and frameworks for understanding motivation, social structure, and people to connect products with users. Patel founded and was Technical Project Lead with Google’s Advanced Technology & Projects (ATAP), developing three hardware and software R&D efforts advancing scientific and business application of emotional processing. He has also authored many research projects including Project Oxygen—a Wiley Award-winning study quantifying the impact of effective management—featured in The New York Times and Harvard Business Review. Patel holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Reporter, Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)
Keynote #2: Sunday, June 24th, 3:00PM
Chuck Quirmbach is a reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio who covers developments and issues in Southeastern Wisconsin that are of statewide interest. He has numerous years of experience covering state government, elections, the environment, energy, racial diversity issues, clergy abuse claims and major baseball stadium doings. He enjoys covering all topics. Chuck is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and several other regional or national radio outlets. He has won several individual awards, and several as part of a collaboration with other reporters. He will be discussing the limits of innovation, as seen in the way that innovation can often exact a terrible toll on the environment.
Founder & Former CEO, Growing Power
Keynote #3: Sunday, June 24th, 6:30PM
Will Allen founded Growing Power in 1995. He bought property with two rundown greenhouses in 1993 and started to sell his produce. It evolved into the nonprofit Growing Power as Allen brought young people into his farming and started thinking about food as a tool for social change.
Will Allen was a high school state champion in basketball at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Allen played collegiately for the Miami Hurricanes at the University of Miami, where he was on basketball scholarship. He was the first African-American to play basketball for the University of Miami.
After college Allen was selected by the Baltimore Bullets in the 4th round (60th pick overall) of the 1971 NBA draft. He never played in the NBA, but appeared in seven games with The Floridians of the ABA during the 1971–72 season. He also played professionally in Belgium.
Allen retired from basketball in 1977, when he was 28. Upon retirement, Allen moved to his wife Cynthia’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Allen was awarded a $500,000 “genius grant” in 2008 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award recognizes people with “exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances.”
Allen’s mission has often been to create new infrastructure to grow food to increase access to affordable, healthy food. According to its website, Growing Power works with more than 70 projects and outreach programs in Milwaukee and across the country. Growing Power extends beyond dirt and seeds with vermicomposting and aquaponics.
Director of Thought Leadership & Executive Communications, Johnson Controls
Keynote #4: Monday, June 25th, 9:30AM
Alex Runner is the Director of Thought Leadership & Executive Communications at Johnson Controls. He has also held positions with Johnson Controls including Manager and Senior Manager of Global Executive Communications, as well as various editing, consulting, and freelance writing positions across Wisconsin. Runner graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from University of Kansas.
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. Their commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat.
Dr. Jon Riehl
Transportation Systems Engineer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Keynote #5: Monday, June 25, 3:30PM
Dr. Jon Riel is Transportation Systems Engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an expert on transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O), traffic operations, transportation engineering, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), connected and autonomous vehicles, transportation economics. He will be discussing the present and future of autonomous automobiles.
To Be Announced
Keynote #6: Monday, June 25th, 6:30PM
Dr. John Walz
President of Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)
Keynote #7: Tuesday, June 26th, 9:30AM
Dr. John Y. Walz, was appointed fifth president of MSOE and assumed the role on July 1, 2016. Throughout his career, Walz has had the opportunity to work in industry, at big public schools and also at small private schools. He earned his degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University, about an hour from his hometown of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. After graduation Walz was a process support engineer for Shell Oil Co. at a large plant outside of New Orleans. During that time, Walz took graduate courses at night at Tulane. It was then that he became interested in the science side of things and the technology.
Dr. Walz has taught in the Chemical Engineering Departments at Carnegie Mellon University, Tulane University and Yale University. His first academic leadership role was as chairman of Yale University’s Chemical Engineering Department. From there he went on to Virginia Tech, where he was a professor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and most recently he served as a professor and dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky.
He will discuss the the various trends and challenges in STEM education
Director of Interactive Media, Brinn Labs
Keynote #8: Tuesday, June 26th, 6:30PM
Pete Prodoehl is Director of Interactive Media at Brinn Labs, where he designs and builds exhibits for the Milwaukee-based Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. These exhibits are displayed not only in Milwaukee; they travel and get sold to institutions across North America. Prodoehl also serves as Communications Director for the Milwaukee Makerspace, a place for people who like to build, invent, tinker and/or learn new skills and expand their minds. He has been involved with Milwaukee Makerspace for the last 8 years and serves on the Board of Directors helping to manage the space. Prodoehl is also a producer of Maker Faire Milwaukee, the largest free Maker Faire in North America, with over 250 makers and 45,000+ attendees. The fifth annual Maker Faire Milwaukee will take place at State Fair Park on September 28-30, 2018.
President & CEO Molecular Imaging and Computed Tomography, General Electric (GE) Healthcare
Keynote #9: Wednesday, June 27th, 9:30AM
Starting with GE in 1982, Michael has built his career with an entrepreneurial spirit, a record of innovation, and highly admired leadership skills. He first addressed the World Affairs Seminar in 2014 when the theme was “World Health.”
Mr. Barber has had a variety of roles in engineering, operations and product management. As the Manager of the Digital X-ray Detector Platform, Michael led a team that eliminated the need for film in X-ray procedures. Michael holds patents for novel X-ray system designs and has been directly involved with many product advances in the field of diagnostic imaging.
The enterprise Mr. Barber currently leads, Molecular Imaging Computed Technology (MICT), is a significant part of GE Healthcare, a company that in Wisconsin employs thousands of people and contributes billions of dollars to the state’s economy.
Previously he was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare, leading a technology team of more than 7,000 engineers, technologists and scientists working in such diverse fields as MRI, CT, ultrasound, patient monitoring, anesthesia, life sciences, imaging contrast agents and health-related R&D at GE Healthcare.
Michael is a graduate of Milwaukee’s John Marshall High School and earned an electrical engineering degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Six years ago, his alma mater awarded him an honorary doctorate degree citing his professional achievements and his dedication to MSOE.
Michael and his wife, Rotarian Jackie Herd-Barber reside in Mequon and have two children – Dr. Lauren Barber, an orthopedic surgeon resident in New York City and Justin Barber, a Lean Leader in GE Operations Management Leadership Program.
The Rotary Person of the Year Award recognizes individuals, executives and entrepreneurs who, through their profession, are making the Milwaukee community a better place to live and work. The purpose of this award is to highlight the second objective of Rotary: to foster high ethical standards in business and professions, to recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations, and to dignify each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
View Barber’s 2018 TEDMED Talk, “Can a ‘healthy imagination’ bring life saving innovation?”
Producer and Visual Journalist
Keynote #10: Wednesday, June 27th, 4:00PM
Maddy Power is a producer and visual journalist working in both traditional film and virtual reality (VR). She has produced for The New York Times, Planned Parenthood, the Washington Post, PBS, Milwaukee Public Radio and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Maddy has been with Custom Reality Services (CRS) since 2015. CRS is a team of award-winning filmmakers, visual artists, technologists, producers and storytellers who are passionate about transformative applied virtual reality technologies and how they can make our world better.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)
Keynote #11: Thursday, June 28th, 9:30AM
Michael Swedish is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Professor Swedish has worked with such partners as the City of Milwaukee, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center. With NASA, Professor Swedish worked on lunar lander thermal systems.
Breakout Session Speakers
Session #1 – Monday
- Tim McCollow: “Innovation and City Government”
- Dr. Christine Cheng: “Women, Innovation, and Technology”
- Derek Urben: “Cryptocurrency and the Future of Money”
- Dr. Susan Lloyd: “Funding Social Change”
- Aneri Pradhan: “Innovation and Alternative Energy in the Developing World”
- Darci Malone and Camille Speca: “Innovation and Recreation: The new Milwaukee Bucks Arena”
- Erik Wolbach: “Innovation and Underwater Robotics”
- Paul Kjelland and Moriah Iverson: “Innovation and Public Health”
Session #2 – Tuesday
- Dr. Michael Schlappi: “Innovation, Biology, and Farming”
- Shelly McClone-Carriere: “Innovation and Economy: The Cooperative Model”
- Reggie Jackson: “Innovation and the Museum: The Black Holocaust Museum”
- Fidel Verdin: “Hip Hop, Education, and Innovation”
- Bridgette Binczak: “Innovation and Education: Addressing Mass Incarceration”
- Alex Tyink: “Innovation, Education, and the Future of Food”
- Nick Brnot and Josh Wankowski: “Innovation and Education: Addressing Homelessness”
- James Davies, “Innovation and Transportation: Rethinking the Bicycle”
Session #3 – Wednesday
- Justin Hegarty: “Innovation and Water”
- Ben Koller: “Innovation, Placemaking, and the Power of the Neighborhood”
- Peter Murphy: “Innovation and Solar Energy”
- Gregg Wandsneider: “Technological Innovation for the Visually Impaired & Blind”
- Jordan Nelson: “Innovation and Architecture”
- Tyler Weber: “Innovation and Community Redevelopment”
- Dr. Michael Carriere: “Innovation and the Arts”
- Marisa Rieponhoff: “Innovation and Literacy”