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 Keynote Speakers 

Opening Keynote Speaker

Mike Russo
Director and Corporate Lead
U.S. Government Affairs

Mike Russo leads the corporate office of Government Affairs in the U.S. for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the nation’s largest contract semiconductor chip maker, overseeing government relations, regulatory affairs and strategic initiatives. In this role, Russo is responsible for strategic plan development and execution to support business needs, policy development, and lobbying. Russo is currently leading initiatives that are focused on developing and scaling innovations in the areas of education and workforce development; full spectrum, distributed power grids; supply chain development; cybersecurity; and ensuring technology access for the U.S. government. Russo serves as a private sector advisor to the U.S. Government in the areas of manufacturing industrial base policy and advanced manufacturing, providing an in-depth understanding on issues central to the nation’s defense and maintaining its leadership in technology development and innovation. He is also the Executive Committee Chairperson for MForesight, the nation’s private sector manufacturing advisory group, providing counsel to the U.S. Government and private sector on issues related to manufacturing.

Tuesday Plenary Speakers

James P. Lombella is the President of Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT. He began his career as the founder of a retail and service company and, following a successful start-up, he joined Jen Coat, Inc. where he was appointed to the position of Quality Control and Internal ISO 9000 Lead Auditor. Following Jen Coat, he spent time in two successive companies, Plastipak Packaging Company and the Pepperidge Farm division of the Campbell Soup Company, as an Operations Manager in each company.

Lombella joined Asnuntuck in 2009 in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) as an Adjunct Credit Instructor while assisting to lead the development of the guidelines for the S.M.A.R.T. (Skills for Manufacturing and Related Technologies) grant for the State of Connecticut.

From 2010 through 2012, he was the Director then Associate Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education, where he supervised the operations of Workforce Development, Continuing Education, Business and Industry and the Marketing division of the college. In 2012, he became the CFO/Dean of Administration, which he maintained in a dual role while serving as the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer from May of 2013 to May 2014.

On May 30, 2014, the Board of Regents for Higher Education announced that Lombella was selected to be the fourth President of Asnuntuck Community College. Lombella currently serves as a steering committee member for New England’s Knowledge Corridor, a member of the Rotary Club of Enfield, CT, a board member for the Asnuntuck Community College Foundation, Inc., and a member/college representative for the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Capital Workforce Partners.

Lombella participated as a panelist for the National Association of Workforce Development Professional (NAWDP) regional Conference in 2011. He was also a panelist for the 2015 “State of the Region” Conference of New England’s Knowledge Corridor, discussing the findings and recommendations of the New England Council and Deloitte Consulting LLP report entitled Advance to Advantageous: The Case for New England’s Manufacturing Revolution. Lombella is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.

Lombella is a proud first generation, community college graduate who also holds a Master of Management degree from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA and received his Doctor of Education at the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University.

Victor R. McCrary is the first Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. He is a change agent and serial innovator responsible for developing a comprehensive research strategy, fostering cross-disciplinary research, expanding research programs via engagement with federal and state agencies ($32M in FY16), increasing the University’s intellectual property portfolio, and positioning Morgan State as Maryland’s Public, Urban Research University.  Previously, he was the Business Area Executive for Science & Technology at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), where he directed investments totaling over $60M for basic and applied research projects targeted for national security and space applications. In 2005, Dr. McCrary was selected to the rank of Principal Professional Staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is a former national president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

McCrary serves on numerous committees including the subcommittee for the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT); the Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine; the advisory board for electrical and computer engineering at The Citadel; the board of the Maryland Innovation Initiative of the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO); and the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee for the National Institutes of Health. He most recently was appointed to the advisory board of the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State.

He has authored or co-authored over 60 technical papers and co-edited two books in his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  He is blessed to have received a number of honors and awards during his career including: Most Promising Black Engineer in 1990; co-recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal in 2000; the 2002 NOBCChE Percy Julian Award; in 2005, he was featured in Science Spectrum Magazine as one of the Top 50 Minorities in Science, and elected to the 2007 DVD Association’s Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was honored as Scientist of the Year by the Annual Black Engineer of the Year Award-STEM Conference.  In 2015 he received the Alumni Award for Research Excellence from The Catholic University of America, and Distinguished Alumni Award by Howard University in 2017.

McCrary received his B.A. in Chemistry from The Catholic University of America; his M.S. in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania; and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Howard University.

McCrary was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, in October 2016

Nicole Smith is a Research Professor and Chief Economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce where she leads the Center’s econometric and methodological work. Smith has developed a framework for restructuring long-term occupational and educational projections. This framework forms the underlying methodology for Help Wanted, a report that projects education demand for occupations in the U.S. economy through 2020. She is part of a team of economists working on a project to map, forecast and monitor human capital development and career pathways.

Smith was born in Trinidad and Tobago and graduated with honors in Economics and Mathematics from the University of the West Indies (U.W.I.). She was the recipient of the Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Prize for outstanding research at the Master’s level at the U.W.I. and is co-recipient of the 2007 Arrow Prize for Junior Economists for educational mobility research. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from American University in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the Center, Smith was a faculty member in Economics at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, and the University of the West Indies. Her current research investigates the role of education and socioeconomic factors in intergenerational mobility.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Jin Kim Montclare is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering Prof. Montclare is an Associate Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at NYU Tandon School of Engineering with appointments in Biochemistry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Chemistry at NYU and Biomaterials at NYU College of Dentistry. She is performing groundbreaking research in engineering proteins to mimic nature and, in some cases, work better than nature. She exploits nature’s biosynthetic machinery and evolutionary mechanisms to design new artificial proteins. Her lab focuses on two research areas: (1) developing protein biomaterials capable of self-assembling into supramolecular structures and (2) engineering functional proteins/enzymes for particular substrates with the aim of targeting human disorders, drug delivery and tissue regeneration.  

Prior to joining NYU, Montclare was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Fordham University in 1997, a Master of Science and a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry from Yale University in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

A native of the Bronx, she has been grateful to all of her mentors and teachers who have supported her in her pursuit of STEM. She now gives back through outreach, working with local high schools and creating educational apps to make chemistry engaging. Her outreach efforts has led to the founding of InSchoolApps. She also leads the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Tandon School of Engineering integrating entrepreneurship within the engineering curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students.

Among her many honors and awards are the ACS WCC Rising Star Award, Agnes Faye Morgan Research Award from Iota Sigma Pi, Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering Fellowship, American Chemical Society PROGRESS /Dreyfus Lectureship, the Dreyfus Special Grants Program Award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the Wechsler Award for Excellence, the Othmer Junior Fellow Award, the National Institute’s of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship.

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