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Keynote Speakers

 Keynote Speakers 

 Wednesday Plenary Session

David Price 
represents North Carolina’s Fourth District—a rapidly growing, research-and-education-focused district that includes parts of Alamance, Orange, Durham, Wake, Harnett, Chatham, and Cumberland counties. He received his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and went on to Yale University to earn a Bachelor of Divinity and Ph.D. in Political Science.  Before he began serving in Congress in 1987, Price was a professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. He is the author of four books on Congress and the American political system.

Price currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Appropriations subcommittees covering housing and transportation and military construction and veterans affairs. He is a recognized leader in foreign policy, co-chairing the House Democracy Partnership, which he initiated to help strengthen parliaments in emerging democracies. In North Carolina, Price’s constituents know him as a strong supporter of improved transportation alternatives, accessible health care, affordable housing, clean air and water, and education.

Price has been a leader in the fight to improve public education by bringing teachers of the highest caliber into the profession. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 2008 included a provision based on his legislation (the Teaching Fellows Act) establishing a Teacher Quality Partnership grant program to bolster development of a high-quality K-12 teaching workforce. Building on this success, Price is currently working to pass his Keeping Teachers Teaching Act, which would provide federal support for innovative state and local teacher retention programs.

Price also has worked to improve higher education and make it more affordable for working families. The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program, established by a Price-authored bill in 1993, helps community colleges upgrade their training programs for jobs in high-tech fields. Price also sponsored the Price Education Affordability Act, enacted in 1997, which allows families to deduct the interest on student loans and make penalty-free IRA withdrawals for education.

Price is a native of Erwin, Tennessee. He and his wife, Lisa live in Chapel Hill and are parents of two children and proud grandparents of a grandson born in 2006 and a granddaughter born in 2009.


Rick Stephens brings knowledge, experience, insight and passion to the subject of preparing our workforce for today and the future and the subject of the ATE 2013 Conference: Sustaining Success and Advancing Innovation.  

He retired from Boeing earlier this year after a 33 year career where he lead large complex businesses and completed his last 8 years leading human resources and administration for the corporation, during which Boeing ramped up production rates to new levels and established new production capabilities, both requiring a keen focus on workforce development and readiness. 

Stephens and his team at Boeing were involved with over 150 community colleges, colleges, and universities across the country and in the last two years at Boeing they hired over 33,000 new employees.

 Stephens is a former commissioner on Secretary of Education’s Future of Higher Education in America, served on the President’s Council for Tribal Colleges, has testified before Congress on education and future workforce, and has given many presentations to organizations such as APGGCU, AAU, NAE, AIA, Aviation Week, ASEE, Decade of the Mind, and at a number of colleges and universities around the country and overseas. He has published numerous articles including most recently in the National Academy of Engineering Bridge, and Science Magazine, and he and Elaine V. Scott wrote and published, “The System: Igniting the Soul of Commerce.”

Stephens received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1974 from the University of Southern California, where he was the Boeing executive focal, and his Master of Science degree in computer science in 1984 from California State University, Fullerton. He is a former Marine Corps Officer.  Stephens is an enrolled member of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and served as tribal chairman from 1988 to 1989.

Stephens and his wife Elaine, between them, have 6 children and 9 grandchildren and well understand the important role that parents and community members have in setting expectations of personal accountability and values from the time children are born until they enter the workforce.  Today, they work together as partners in the not-for-profit organization Birth2Work.  

Thursday Plenary Session

Moira Gunn is Host of Tech Nation and BioTech Nation, which air in such venues as NPR’s 24 hour program stream, National Public Radio’s SIRIUS Satellite Radio channel NPR Now, and internationally to 177 countries via American Forces Radio International. Produced at the studios of KQED in San Francisco, the programming can also be heard on over 200 domestic public stations and through podcasts via ITconversations and other Internet distribution venues.

Tech Nation is the sole national weekly radio program on the impact of technology, and its weekly BioTech Nation segment enjoys the same status in the area of biotech issues. Gunn’s weekly commentaries touch all aspects of our lives in these unpredictable times. The story of building the BioTech Nation segment and the leading biotech issues facing us all in this arena is described in Gunn’s book, Welcome to BioTech Nation ... My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas.

More than simply radio, the family of Tech Nation programs seeks to educate the public on the issues of science and technology. Her guests come from every walk of life: politicians and businesspeople, scientists and futurists, novelists and educators, members of the media and more.  In over 2,000 in-depth interviews, Gunn has engaged with recognizable people from every venue: from business leaders like Intel’s Andy Grove to emergent tech guru’s like Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, from the old guard of science such as Linus Pauling and Crick and Watson to our new generation of scientists like David Haussler and Jay Keasling.

Gunn’s early career at NASA included large-scale scientific computation and global communications, with special emphasis in infrared satellite image processing, computational fluid dynamics, and global climate and weather modeling. She did subsequent robotics engineering work at IBM, Morton Thiokol, United Technologies/Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed-Martin, Rolls-Royce, and the U.S. Navy.  She hold technical patents in conjunction with two USDA nutrition scientists in the area of nutrition measurement systems.

Gunn is currently a professor and director of the Business of Biotechnology Program at the University of San Francisco; a member of the External Advisory Council for the Global Policy Research Institute at Purdue University; and an advisory board member for the Departments of Mechanical Engineering at both Purdue University and Stanford University.

Johann Garcia is a Junior Health Physics Technician for Bartlett Nuclear.  Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Garcia moved to the United States when he was 10 years old.  He obtained an Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology from Indian River State College (IRSC) in 2009.  Due to the fact that were limited job opportunities in the field at that time, Garcia changed his career interests and enrolled in the radiation protection track of the nuclear energy technician program at IRSC and graduated in summer 2011 as a junior radiation protection technician.  His first job was at Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Station, in February 2011. From there, he has been continuously training to become a senior radiation protection technician. 

Keqin Gregg received her Ph.D in Molecular Biology from Princeton University in 1998, and subsequently obtained a NIH research service award to pursue a post-doctoral research project on breast cancer at the University of Texas at Austin from 1998 to 2000. From September of 2000 to July 2001, Gregg worked at GenomicFX, an animal biotech company, focusing on SNP discovering and assay development for the cattle industry. After GenomicFX, she worked at Viagen (an animal genetic improvement company) first as a research scientist and then as the director of animal genetics until November 2010. She and her team developed various genetic tests and pathogen assays for the animal industry. Since December 2012, Gregg has worked as a lab manager for Genotox to establish and maintain a CLIA certified laboratory, focusing on genetic testing for personalized medicine. She is also currently an adjunct faculty member at Austin Community College teaching Biotechnology.   

Wenjing (Melanie) Guo is a Genetics Analyst at Genotox Laboratories; a startup company that provides genetic testing and toxicology services.  She utilizes cutting edge real-time PCR based technology to genotype various drug metabolizing genes to enable health care providers to better personalize medication for their patients. As a child, Guo moved a lot with her parents, finally settling down in Connecticut.  Upon graduating high school, she decided it was time for another change of scenery (and weather) and moved to sunny Austin, Texas.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at Austin.  Afterwards, she enrolled in the Biotechnology Advanced Technical Certificate program at Austin Community College to further hone and polish her laboratory skills.  With the help of the hands-on experience provided by the biotechnology department, she was able to land her current job. Guo currently resides in Austin, Texas with her dog, an Alaskan Malamute, named Scarlett.         

Jerry Hiatt
is the Chief Technical Officer for BHI Energy (BHI) and has over 38 years of experience in the commercial nuclear power industry.  His varied experience includes working as a radiation safety technician, a United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) radiation safety inspector, and as a consultant in the areas of applied radiation safety, training, and emergency preparedness.  He is a 1975 graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has been with BHI in multiple positions since 1985.  Hiatt is Board Certified by the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP) and has served as an actual Member of the Board, Chairman of the Part 1 Examination Panel, and as a member of the Part 2 Examination Panel.  In 2011, Hiatt was presented the William A. McAdams award in recognition of his continuing contributions to the ABHP certification process.  He is only the second commercial nuclear power health physicist to have been honored with this award in the 26 years the award has been conveyed.  Hiatt serves on the Curriculum Advisory Board for several community college radiation safety programs and has assisted the USNRC in a review of grant applications for technical and vocational schools.

Bryant Lekander is currently employed at Hysitron Inc. with a degree in nanoscience technology from Dakota County Technical College.  Hysitron is the world leader in nanomechanical testing and has brought cutting edge technology to the scientific community since 1992. Lekander has applied his nanoscience education and life experiences to his current role where he leads in areas including calibration, metrology, and quality assurance. Lekander oversees calibration of all measurement devices produced by Hysitron and has contributed to the advancement of process techniques and the underlying technology. As a research assistant for Dakota County Technical College, Lekander participated in the development and testing of Nano-Link’s educator curriculum. The curriculum included lab experiments to demonstrate a wide range of nanomaterial properties and phenomenon.

Justin Patten is Operations Manager at Hysitron Inc. with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota.  Hysitron is the world leader in nanomechanical testing and has brought cutting edge technology to the scientific community since 1992. Patten has applied his education and experience in engineering and manufacturing to his current role where he has global responsibilities for manufacturing, information technology, and facilities. Since 2004, Patten has been active in a broad range of projects and responsibilities at Hysitron. Notable accomplishments include commercialization of the TI 950 TriboIndenter and nanoDMA II. Patten is currently an active member of the Dakota County Technical College Nanoscience Technology Industrial Advisory Board. He has previous experience commercializing microfluidic instrumentation for biological applications as well as design and automation of manufacturing and testing processes for a wide range of industries.

Friday Plenary Session

Carolyn Corbin is president of the Center for the 21st Century, which provides speeches, executive briefings, consulting, and organizational training in critical 21st century issues.

As an internationally renowned socioeconomic futurist, author, and speaker whose career spans four decades, Carolyn’s work holds a stellar reputation for its 95% accuracy rate and decisive strategies. She has been spotlighted in hundreds of TV, radio, Internet, and periodical interviews including ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates, CNN, the Gannett (owner of USA Today) newswire, and United Press International throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Carolyn was a pioneer in educational technology in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In those days, the discipline was known as Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI).  In the 1980s, she was an early forecaster of the importance of private space business, which is at the forefront of news stories today.  In 1987, Carolyn was the first speaker/trainer/consultant to have her corporate charter changed to allow her to do business beyond planet earth.

During her career, she has written five books, some of which have ranked  #1 on several best-seller lists and have reached markets on every major continent. Besides in the United States, she receives invitations to speak throughout the world in such places as England, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, Singapore, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, and Turkey.

Her fifth book, Community Leadership 4.0: Impacting a World Gone Wiki, was launched in 2011, in both traditional and digital formats. It immediately became the Number 1 Top Rated Kindle eBook in Public Affairs & Administration, and held that ranking for 18 months. The book has also become a Book Pick of the World Future Society.  And, in March of 2013, Community Leadership 4.0 was named Book of the Month by the Malaysian Foresight Institute of the Prime Minister's Department in Malaysia.

Among her honors and awards, Carolyn has been named: Texas Role Model for Entrepreneurial Women; Distinguished Alumna, University of North Texas; Most Impressive American by the Toastmasters of Peru; Professional of the Year by the American Society for Training and Development; 21 for the 21st Century Leadership Award by Inside Collin County Business newspaper; McKinney Magazine’s “25 Top Women in Business, 2012” award; Distinguished Lion in the McKinney High School Hall of Honor (for MHS alumni).

Throughout her career, clients and sponsors for Carolyn’s work have included such diverse organizations as the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency; Yahoo; IBM; Ericsson; U.S. Department of Defense; Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Detroit Tigers; AMR Corporation; Johnson & Johnson; University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs; American Heart Association; National Kidney Foundation; Arizona State University; California State University; University of Zululand, South Africa; Caribbean Government Consortia; Bureau de Consultores Independentes, Brazil; and myriad other establishments spanning the globe.

Carolyn is active in the McKinney (Texas) community, serving on multiple education, civic, religious, and historical boards and committees.  


Jeff Wacker is a professional Futurist who focuses on the technology revolutions that are driving the next socio-economic environment in which we will work, live and play.

Wacker is an Senior Fellow emeritus, having recently retired from Hewlett-Packard/EDS after 36 years . During his tenure there he was responsible for discovering, developing and bringing to market new capabilities and service offerings.  Wacker’s worked extensively with HP Labs in innovating and pioneering emerging technologies including MEMS and NEMS sensor systems and neuromorphic computing.

Wacker’s leadership resulted in originating and bringing to market new embedded technology capabilities for the oil and gas industry to dramatically improve their exploration for new energy. His work in sustainability has become a cornerstone of dialog within the IT industry and resulted in the creation of ultra-efficient data centers. Wacker has mentored major companies in their transition from traditional to emerging technology positions and corresponding business opportunities.

Wacker is a highly respected technology advisor with substantial influence in multiple geographies with analysts, reporters and business leaders. He is a prolific speaker and has delivered many keynote speeches, been featured in numerous publications, and has appeared on most major U.S. and international television networks. Wacker is a requested contributor by many authors and has worked closely with Thomas Friedman on both The World is Flat (2nd and 3rd Edition) and Hot Flat and Crowded.

Wacker works globally with the next generation of top innovators and futurists through his work with major universities and think tanks. Wacker is currently a member of the Convergence Center National Visiting Committee for the National Science Foundation and in the past has been a member of the Greater Dallas Chamber Technology Business Council, The Chamber Economists Advisory Committee and a board member for SciTech Discovery Centers.  Wacker is a long-time professional member of the World Futurist Society.

Wacker received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska. Wacker and his wife live in Parker, Texas.

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