Convergence: Ricardo Mobility Summit 2021 Speakers Bios

Convergence: Ricardo Mobility Summit 2021 Speakers Bios

Congress Conversations

Jim Farley, Jr.

CEO, Ford Motor Company

Farley became CEO on October 1, 2020.  He is focused on accelerating Ford’s transformation through operational excellence that benefits customers and delivers sustainable profit growth. In his previous role as chief operating officer, Farley strengthened Ford’s automotive operations, overseeing all of Ford’s global markets and automotive operations including product development, purchasing, enterprise product line management, manufacturing & labor affairs, marketing, sales & service, and quality & new model launch. He also oversaw Mobility Partnerships and Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.

Sanjay Ravi

General Manager, Automotive, Mobility & Transport, Microsoft

Ravi leads the Microsoft team that supports vehicle manufacturers, mobility service providers and transportation & logistics providers, including their suppliers and ecosystem partners, with innovative solutions and services strategies that accelerate digital transformation. Leveraging the breadth and depth of Microsoft technologies, Ravi’s team focuses on working with customers and partners to shape the future of mobility across the movement of people and goods.

Ernie Garcia III

Chairman and CEO, Carvana

In 2012, Garcia founded online car retailer Carvana, the fastest growing used car dealer in the U.S. Prior to Carvana, Garcia held various roles at the DriveTime Automotive Group, Inc., including financial strategist and managing director of corporate finance. From November 2009 thru January 2013, he served as a vice president and treasurer and director of quantitative analytics.

Leaders’ View 1:1

Dr. Ken Washington

Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company

Dr. Washington leads Ford’s global research organization, overseeing the development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy. His responsibilities include Ford’s next generation vehicle electrical architectures; sensing and computing stacks; energy, propulsion, and sustainability; advanced materials and manufacturing; and controls and automated systems. He also leads Ford’s STEM and University research programs. Prior to joining Ford, he was vice president of the Advanced Technology Center at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and was responsible for leading a team of scientists and engineers in performing research and development in space science and related R&D. 

Ulrich Homann

Corporate Vice President, Microsoft

With 30-plus years global experience in development, design and large-scale deployment of software systems and solutions, Homann is a versatile solutions architect with a wide range of hands-on know-how about architecture and assembly of solutions – from originating components to complete products and operational solutions.  As part of the senior engineering leadership team, he is responsible for the customer-led innovation efforts across the cloud and enterprise platform portfolio, engaging with the most complex and innovative customers and partners across the globe.

Monte Kaehr

Group Vice President, Advanced Mobility Research & Development, Toyota Motor North America

Kaehr is responsible for technical strategy and planning of advanced mobility solutions. Previously, Kaehr served as the Toyota Sienna chief engineer, and Camry chief engineer for the North American region. Kaehr joined Toyota in 1992 as a design engineer in Japan and moved to Toyota’s North American Research & Development division in 1998, where he progressed through a series of positions in body engineering and product development. 

Convergence Hosts

Marques McCammon

President, Ricardo North America

McCammon joined Ricardo in 2019 following five years as the head of automotive products and services with former Intel subsidiary Wind River Systems, Inc. A mechanical engineer, McCammon has built an automotive and marketing career that includes leadership roles with OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, venture-backed start-ups and, most recently, embedded software products and services.  McCammon initially worked in powertrain development with the then-Chrysler Corporation and later helped kick-start the company’s SRT performance marque after the Daimler-Chrysler merger. He subsequently moved to ASC, Saleen and electric car start-up Aptera.

Derek Schlonsky

President, Ricardo Strategic Consulting

Possessing more than 15 years’ experience in strategy consulting, Schlonsky’s recent case work has focused on acquisition diligence for private equity clients and growth strategies in the consumer products, energy and med-tech sectors. He worked in the Chicago office of Accenture’s Strategy Group, primarily focusing on the automotive and retail sectors.

Chapter 1: Investment & Environment

Tim Curtis (Moderator)

Managing Director, Ricardo Energy and Environment

Curtis has overall responsibility for Ricardo Energy & Environment’s seven practice areas, providing technical, economic and environmental solutions to governments, international agencies and private sector organizations. A key element of his role is to ensure a focus on continuous improvement in service offerings for clients. For the past 15 years, he has held senior management roles in the energy and environment field, and his experience spans the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Dominick Schiano

Senior Advisor, The Gores Group 

Schiano sources investment opportunities, providing strategic, operational and financial guidance. He is an accomplished dealmaker, having led many successful transactions in a variety of industries. The Gores Group is a pioneer in the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) sector and has completed five transactions since 2016 with a total enterprise value in excess of $25 billion.  Schiano is also the president and co-founding partner of Evergreen Capital Partners LLC.

Josiah Lindsay

Managing Director, Fortress Investment Group

Lindsay is focused on portfolio management of energy investments across the capital structure in the power, midstream and upstream sectors. He is also currently a member of the board of T1 Power Holdings LLC and Birchwood Renewables LLC. Prior to joining Fortress, he was a senior vice president within the Debt Products Group of GE Energy Financial Services. Prior to the Debt Products Group, he concentrated on project equity investments in the U.S. power and midstream sectors.

Jeffrey Nichols (Moderator)

Vice President, Ricardo Strategic Consulting

Nichols is an accomplished senior executive within the automotive industry with US domestic and international experience. He has proven international business, operations and engineering acumen, with a diverse background of automotive OEM, Tier 1 and private equity interfaces within the C-suite. He oversees technology incubators, technical due diligence, open innovation, research investments, etc. Nichols previously served as Executive Director, Advanced Technology Integration and Global Business Development for American Axle and Manufacturing.

Trevor Pawl

Chief Mobility Officer, State of Michigan

Pawl is responsible for working across state government, academia and private industry to grow Michigan’s mobility ecosystem through strategic policy recommendations and new support services for companies focused on the future of transportation.  Prior to this position, Pawl served as the senior vice president of business innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he led the official state programs for mobility (PlanetM), supply chain assistance (Pure Michigan Business Connect), export assistance (Michigan International Trade program) and entrepreneurial assistance (Michigan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program).

Johannes Rott

Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships, Plug and Play

Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play is the world’s largest corporate innovation platform. Rott oversees a Plus and Play team that is managing partnerships with corporations in Silicon Valley and Detroit in the areas of mobility, IoT, real estate, energy and smart cities. Additionally, he is managing the launch and operation of Plug and Play Detroit and working with companies such as Daimler, ZF, Yanfeng, Schaeffler, Lear, Wabco and many more. 

Carla Bailo

President and CEO, Center for Automotive Research (CAR)

Bailo is a leader in engineering and vehicle program management with 35 years of experience in the automotive industry. Under her leadership, CAR continues to be a preeminent resource of objective and unbiased research, analysis and information regarding the North American automotive industry.  In addition to her role at CAR, Bailo was the 2016-2018 vice president of automotive for SAE International, a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries.

Edward T. Hightower

Managing Director, Motoring Ventures LLC

Hightower is an accomplished global automotive engineering and business executive, entrepreneur and author. Motoring Ventures LLC is an investment, growth, strategy and operations consulting firm focused on driving value plus impact in automotive and manufacturing businesses around the world. He also serves on the boards of Tempel Steel and HEVO Power. He previously served in executive roles at Ford, BMW and GM, including leading GM’s $15 billion global crossover business as executive chief engineer and vehicle line executive, and as a consultant at AlixPartners. Hightower authored the book Motoring Africa: Sustainable Automotive Industrialization, published in 2018.

Chapter 2: Evolution of Propulsion

Mark S. Kuhn (Moderator)

Vice President, Ricardo Strategic Consulting

Kuhn consults in the commercial vehicle, off-highway, automotive and energy industries. His expertise includes market growth and product strategy development for engines and powertrain, total cost of ownership assessment for technology introduction, product portfolio planning and technology planning.  He has worked for Ricardo Strategic Consulting since 2008, handling projects related to product, market and technology trends regarding passenger car and heavy duty on-highway and off-highway markets.

Bob Purcell

CEO, VIA Motors International

Purcell is a recognized global leader in the automotive industry with a focus on innovative electric drive systems. He has been CEO of VIA Motors since April 2019 and was COO since 2015, where he has led the company to develop and produce affordable electric commercial vehicles.  Prior to that, Purcell held several key leadership positions at GM, Boston-Power advanced battery company, and Protean Holdings, a leader in in-wheel electric drive motors. He also led the GM team that developed the famed EV-1, the world’s first modern electric car, and the S-10e electric truck.

Tony Pistagnesi

Head of Electrification, American Axle & Manufacturing

After a five-year career as a product engineer at Chrysler, Pistagnesi joined American Axle & Manufacturing and moved into leadership roles in engineering and manufacturing in Asia and Europe for the next 15 years.  Most recently, he served as executive director of product engineering, then executive director of product management and is currently head of electrification.

John Bennett

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Meritor

Bennett is responsible for establishing Meritor’s advanced technology portfolio and leading core engineering development excellence. He began working at Meritor in 1992 and has held various roles, including design engineer and engineering supervisor as well as general manager of global product strategy, which included executing new product programs to deliver value to global customers.  He also served as director of OEM sales and product line director for specialty and defense.  

Yansong Chen

Vice President of Engineering and Organizational Transformation, Ricardo North America

Chen has more than 25 years of vehicle integration, development and delivery experience in the automotive, commercial vehicle, rail, defense and motorcycle verticals in the UK, US, Germany, China, India and Japan.  In addition to her work at Ricardo, Chen has held leadership positions at Marelli, Delphi Technologies and Delphi.

Chapter 3: Software & Autonomy

Alexa St. John (Moderator)

Technology, Mobility and Suppliers Reporter, Automotive News

St. John is curious about the ways people and things move. On the mobility beat for Automotive News, she covers the ever-evolving world of electric and shared vehicles, as well as micromobility and other forms of transportation, for the publication’s Shift magazine, podcast and newsletter.  St. John also reports on global automotive suppliers, manufacturing, supply chain disruptions and innovation, especially technologies related to electrification.  

Aaron Jefferson

Vice President of Product, Luminar Tech

Jefferson is an experienced global automotive executive with a unique blend of engineering, business development, product management and strategy experiences.  With a career spanning over 20 years, Jefferson has been at the forefront of delivering new technologies, from electrification to ADAS and automated driving systems. Prior to joining Luminar as VP of Product in 2020, he led the product strategy and ADAS product growth at multinational German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen and spent over 15 years at Delphi (now Aptiv).

Artur Seidel

Vice President, Elektrobit Automotive Americas, Inc.

Since 2006, Seidel has led the establishment of Elektrobit’s automotive business in North America following EB’s acquisition of 3SOFT in Erlangen, Germany and continues to successfully grow the embedded software business working with major U.S. automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers. Previously, he was a senior manager of EB’s wireless software development business unit. Prior to joining EB in 2000, Seidel managed software development activities for Siemens Corporation in the United States.

Akshat Patel

CTO/Co-Founder, Udelv

Patel leads Udelv’s engineering programs, which includes the company’s recently announced partnership with Intel’s Mobileye for the next-generation autonomous vehicle, the Transporter, due on roads in 2023.  Patel’s team develops Udelv’s autonomous driving, cloud robotics, delivery hardware and fleet management systems for autonomous last-mile and middle-mile deliveries. Prior to Udelv, he worked on Tesla’s autopilot and autonomous driving team, and Apple’s Special Projects program.

Pete Brown

Chief Automotive Architect, Software & Controls, Ricardo North America

Brown examines a broad array of technologies applicable to connected and autonomous platforms, especially open source or standards based. Brown has more than 30 years of experience with software in various disciplines – from safety critical embedded real-time operating systems to desktop applications and server technologies. Prior to joining Ricardo, he spent 18 years at Wind River Systems with roles including Genivi Platform Architect to Chief Automotive Architect for autonomous applications.

Chapter 4: Digitization of Product Development

Judy Curran (Moderator)

Head of Automotive Strategy, Ansys

Curran is an accomplished senior automotive executive with over 30 years of experience in vehicle program, engineering and technology leadership. She currently is responsible for the automotive strategy at Ansys, partnering with OEMs and suppliers in their digital transformation.  She is also a corporate board member at MicroVision, providing guidance on laser beam technology and future applications in the automotive industry.

John Bogema

Manager Powertrain CAE and Data, Ford Motor Company

In his current role, Bogema is responsible for improving the usage of connected data for the powertrain community, refining the capability to collect and analyze data in the development timeframe and supporting powertrain calibration and controls with CAE models and methods. He has been at Ford Motor Company for 22 years, mostly in the powertrain area. During his recent career, he was responsible for Diesel Feature Calibration of SCR, DPF, OBD and Functional Safety, which focused on using data to verify robustness of the controls system and solve in-field issues originating from customer ‘check-engine’ lights or from compliance to ARB/EPA requirements.

Marc Laplante

Global Business Development Director, Ricardo Software 

Laplante has held commercial, technical and expert roles at Hitachi Vantara, GE Digital, PowerPlan and UAE-based Meridium International, handling a range of customer and partner-facing positions related to various applications and enterprise platforms. He has also been involved in the development of international ISO standards  in asset management system standards. His career began in oil and gas, oil sands, mining, power generation, pulp and paper and forestry industries in his native country Canada.  Laplante has since worked on six continents with a range of companies, governments, and organizations, solving business and technical problems.

Przemek Tomczak

Senior Vice President IoT and Utilities, KX and First Derivatives plc

KX is a division of First Derivatives, a global technology provider with more than 20 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest finance, technology, retail, pharma, manufacturing and energy institutions. Tomczak leads the organization’s Internet of Things and utilities industry verticals globally.  He has over 24 years of IT and business leadership experience, implementing and operating big data and analytics systems, delivering program and transformation initiatives, consulting, outsourcing and risk management in energy and utility and other industries. He previously held senior roles at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in Ontario, Canada, top-tier consulting firms and systems integrators. At the IESO, he was responsible for the implementation and operation of the world’s first and largest smart meter data management system for 67 utilities and 5 million end customers. 

Tara Prakriya

General Manager, Azure Division, Microsoft

Prakriya rejoined Microsoft in 2017 after a fun ride – from seed to just before the close of series C – as CPO of Maana, a startup in enterprise AI. Prior to that she worked at Microsoft for 15 years in Windows and Bing. She also had roles at Merck and Scantron, where she tackled automotive, mobility, maps, machine learning, enterprise AI, big data analytics, content management, handwriting recognition, ink /touch and new hardware, educational LMS systems and online advertising.

Mike Gerty

Director of Advanced Research, PACCAR

Gerty joined PACCAR in 2005, where he has managed engine testing, product support, and advanced technology development engineering teams.  He currently develops emerging technology strategy and coordinates research across the global organization.  His main focus is electric vehicles and related infrastructure, with responsibilities also including advanced internal combustion powertrain technology and automated driving systems.  Gerty previously worked in engine controls development at Westport Innovations.