Co-founder, Chicago Innovation Awards and President, Kuczmarski Innovation
Thomas D. Kuczmarski, president and founder of Kuczmarski Innovation, is a nationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services. Over the course of his career he has helped hundreds of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations, learn to systematically unlock the value of innovation. Tom teaches product and service innovation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he is Senior Lecturer and Visiting Scholar in the Center for Innovation and Technology. Tom is also founder, along with journalist Dan Miller, of the Chicago Innovation Awards, which annually celebrates, educates, and connects innovators in the Chicago region. Tom is the author of six books on innovation and leadership.
Chief Executive Officer, Noodle.ai
Steve is Founder & CEO of Noodle.ai, the Enterprise Artificial Intelligence company. Noodle.ai provides AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) solutions focused on core business operations. Prior to Noodle.ai, Steve was responsible for all implementations of Watson worldwide for IBM Global Business Services. His leadership as founder and CEO of Infosys Consulting is taught in case studies written by Stanford and Dartmouth business schools. Prior to Infosys, Steve established the Deloitte Consulting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) practice, leading over a hundred technology transformations in sales, marketing, and customer service operations. His career began doing classified projects in the intelligence community focused on electronic warfare, satellite communications, and applying neural networks to detect illegal activity. Steve has a Master’s degree in Digital Signal Processing from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University. He serves on the Board of Valley Emergency Physicians and the Board of Advisors for MC2.
Julie Friedman Steele
Chairman of the Board, World Future Society
Julie is a social entrepreneur and futurist, with a background in entertainment, science, technology and structured finance. She is the Board Chair and the driving force behind the World Future Society, a 50 year-old global organization which unites the architects of the Future and exists to guard tomorrow and ignite the futurist in everyone.
Intel recently featured her on America’s Greatest Makers in their new online series for her work as CEO and Founder of The 3D Printer Experience, working to realize the vision that digital manufacturing will change the world. The 3D Printer Experience is the only storefront venue in the United States that combines a versatile event space with custom 3D printing services, education experiences, and a community-oriented futurist perspective.
Julie has been named by The Chicago Tribune as a top 100 innovator in the City. She's garnered national and international media attention appearing in over 20 countries in print, radio, and television including The Today Show, Time Magazine, and a profile in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Julie is a regular keynote speaker and panelist including for TEDX, Unites States Patent and Trademark Office, IMTS, TechWeek, and Women in Technology to name a few. She also serves on the Advisory Board of The UN Women For Peace Association.
In college she studied biochemistry and molecular biology at Boston University, Music Synthesis at the famed Berklee College of Music, and Artificial Intelligence through Stanford University.
Co-founder, Narrative Science
Dr. Hammond is a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University as well as co-founder and Chief Scientist of Narrative Science, an Artificial Intelligence company focused on the generation of natural language narratives based on data and advanced analytics. At Narrative Science, his focus is on defining the future of automated language generation and its use as the communication channel between machines and people. Prior to Northwestern, Kris founded the University of Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His academic focus is on artificial intelligence, machine-generated content and context-driven information systems. This year, he has also taken on the role of faculty lead for Northwestern’s CS Plus X initiative, aimed at amplifying the impact of Computer Science in other fields.
He recently sat on a United Nations policy committee run by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) focused on the regulation of autonomous lethal weapons. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University.
Technical Director Azure Data Services, Microsoft
Mike has been with Microsoft over 14 years working in the Midwest District with data management and business intelligence technologies. Mike has held the roles of Data Platform TSP, Business Intelligence SSP, Application Platform SSP, Data Platform Solution Architect and most recently as the Midwest District Technical Director Azure Data Services. Mike has academic learning in computer science, data management, and predictive analytics. Mike has extensive experience working with customers on a variety of Microsoft technologies including Azure, SQL Server, Cortana Intelligence Suite, and Power BI. Mike presents on a various cloud, data management advanced analytics and artificial intelligence topics at local, national and industry user groups, classes, and conferences.
Director, Assistive & Rehabilitation Robotics Lab, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Brenna Argall is the June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Northwestern University, and also an assistant professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Her research lies at the intersection of robotics, machine learning and human rehabilitation. She is director of the assistive & rehabilitation robotics laboratory (argallab) at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the premier rehabilitation hospital in the United States. The mission of the argallab is to advance human ability by leveraging robotics autonomy. Argall is a 2016 recipient of the NSF CAREER award, and was named one of the 40 under 40 by Crain's Chicago Business (2016). Her Ph.D. in Robotics (2009) was received from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as her M.S. in Robotics (2006) and B.S. in Mathematics (2002). Prior to joining Northwestern and RIC, she was a postdoctoral fellow (2009-2011) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and prior to graduate school she held a Computational Biology position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).