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Invited Speakers for 2019 Robotica Workforce Development Summit at WPI Seaport in Boston

Rachel LeBlanc, Assistant Vice President of Academic and Corporate Engagement, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
AUVSI New England Chapter Vice President

Rachel LeBlanc is the Assistant Vice President of Academic and Corporate Engagement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  For the past 15 years, she has been working to bridge the gap between the needs of industry and the skills of the incumbent workforce.  Rachel has managed the workforce development department for the university for several years, focusing on building market-driven programs that leverage WPI’s academic strengths. 

She is also responsible for strategic economic engagement, including the WPI Boston Seaport innovation space and the launch of a new medical cyber-physical systems research and development center, PracticePoint. Rachel currently serves on the board of directors for the International Council on Systems Engineering and AUVSI New England.  She has a B.S. and M.S. in the life sciences, and an M.B.A. 

Simon Mueller, Project Leader, Boston Consulting Group

Simon Mueller is a Project Leader in BCG's Boston office. Over his nearly 8 years with the firm, he has advised more than 20 companies in the technology, industrials and public sector space with a special focus on robotics/automation, additive manufacturing, industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence.

His functional expertise is growth strategy and operations. In his previous role, Simon helped launch BCG’s Henderson Institute, its NYC-based think tank for corporate strategy. He also sits on the board of The Future Society, a Harvard Kennedy School-incubated NGO that focuses on the governance of emerging technologies. Simon lives in Boston, Massachusetts.


Jason Walker, CEO and co-founder, Waypoint Robotics

Jason Walker is the CEO and co-founder of Waypoint Robotics (formerly Stanley Robotics). Waypoint is focused on making autonomous mobile robots accessible to more people and companies.

Prior to founding Waypoint, Mr. Walker was the cofounder and Director of Operations at CyPhy Works. Mr. Walker also served as Lead Roboticist and Principal Investigator for CyPhy Works’ contracts with agencies such as DARPA, NIST, and the National Science Foundation. Mr. Walker has 17+ years of experience in product and business development, including B2B, consumer, and government markets. Prior to co-founding CyPhy Works he was the quality, reliability, and testing manager for the Roomba vacuuming robot at iRobot.

Walker received a BSEE with a concentration in Robotics and Control Systems from Kansas State University and is a lifelong entrepreneur.

Suzanne Sontgerath, Director of Pre-collegiate Outreach Programs, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Suzanne Sontgerath is the Director of Pre-collegiate Outreach Programs within the Worcester Polytechnic Institute division of Enrollment Management.  

Sontgerath has 16 years of experience in the development and delivery of K-12 STEM Outreach programs.  She is currently responsible for the management of more than 30 STEM outreach programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. These programs bring over 2000 K-12 students to WPI each year.  Sontgerath is the co-director of WPI’s Camp REACH program, which was awarded a Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM mentoring in 2011. She has several publications related to developing engineering curriculum for middle school students and encouraging women in engineering.  

Sontgerath holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI and a M. Ed from Worcester State University.  

David Ortendahl, Director of Corporate Relations, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

David Ortendahl currently serves as Director of Corporate Relations at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA.

In this role he oversees the WPI Career Development Center “Employer Team” and actively bridges the strategic corporate development for the career center in parallel with strategic initiatives of the WPI Division of Academic & Corporate Engagement. David has served in a variety of roles in Higher Education from Student Affairs to Development. He is a member of NACE (National Association of Colleges & Employers) and NACRO (Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers) and has over a decade of experience in employer/corporate relations.


Sally J. Phelps, Director of Post-Graduate Planning, Olin College of Engineering

As the Director of Post-Graduate Planning at Olin College of Engineering, Sally is part of the revolution to re-invent engineering education. Olin graduated its first class in 2006, and is committed to innovative pedagogy and hands-on, cross-functional team learning.  With 50% female enrollment, Olin College graduates engineering innovators who are leading the charge in solving the global challenges of tomorrow. 

At Olin, Sally and her team work with students and alumni to find their passion and advance their careers.  They facilitate a wide variety of recruiting events and workshops, aiding in all aspects of the job search and graduate school application process.  In 2017, 88% of Olin freshmen secured a technical internship or research assignment during their first summer.  With the support of Sally and her Post-Graduate Planning team, Olin is a top producer of Fulbright and NSF fellowships.

Before Sally joined Olin in 2007, she spent 22 years in various roles at Bose Corporation from sales to advertising to human resources.  From 2000-2007, Sally and her team created the University Relations program at Bose Corporation, working with the best colleges nationwide to bring the strongest talent to the company. 


Matthew Connors, Vocational Director, Blackstone Valley Technical High School

Matthew Connors serves as the Vocational Director for curriculum and assessment at Blackstone Valley Technical High School.  Part of his current role is to oversee the diverse robotics program at BVT which competes in NRL, VEX and FIRST robotics competitions. 

Prior to his current position, Mr. Connors spent a decade as an engineering instructor and robotics adviser and is fully committed to team-based and project-based learning opportunities for students.  He holds a Bachelor's in Engineering from WPI, a Master's in STEM Education from the University of Cincinnati.


Mary E. Schubert, Deputy Director, Adaptive Engine Programs, Pratt & Whitney, a division of UTC

Mary Schubert has spent the last 13+ years in the aerospace industry, working in various areas including engineering, operations, supply chain, quality, and program management. She is currently responsible for leading a half billion dollar US Air Force program. In her free time, she enjoys sharing her love of running with others and has completed master’s degrees in Manufacturing Engineering and Organizational Leadership, though WPI will always be her favorite place for higher education.

Additional Speakers to be announced.


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