AVSummit2018_Speaker Bios2


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2018 Keynote & Speakers



James Sproul, AV Summit 2018 Program Director

James Sproul is Founder of Sproul Company (TSC) headquartered in Boston’s North End. James has over 25 years of experience working in business development for technology-driven companies in fast-changing and dynamic markets.

To address the challenges of climate change and improve urban mobility, TSC spearheads events, initiatives, and innovation in the urban mobility and connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) markets.  Inspired by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s call for technology innovation, forward-looking policy, and pilot programs, TSC launched the Autonomous Vehicle Summit 2017 sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International -New England Chaper (AUVSI-NE), the first autonomous vehicle summit in the Boston area.

TSC leads the Rapid Autonomous Mobility Pilot Project (RAMPP), which seeks to address the challenges of urban mobility by sponsoring pilot projects in the field of connected, autonomous vehicles.  Working with the city of Boston, TSC is currently organizing a project to establish a teaching curriculum related to autonomous vehicles at the Madison Park Technical High School, providing Boston students with training that could lead them to careers in automation and other exciting technology-driven industries.

James is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. A dual resident of the North End and Cape Cod, he enjoys family life with his wife Molly, three children and five grandchildren.

Jeffrey Adams , President, AUVSI - New England

Jeff is Co-Founder and President of UAS Development, Inc., a technology consulting and design contracting company. UASd supports commercial, industrial and civic unmanned systems application integration and platform validation services.

Jeff continues to conduct business as a commercial imaging creative for advertising and broadcast clients. His photography and video production work has been seen across national ad campaigns, regional marketing placement, and in corporate proprietary online channels. 

Jeff holds a degree in Economics from Nichols College. He currently sits on the board of several local start-ups and has been actively involved in AUVSI and the New England Chapter since 2013. He was recently appointed to the organization's national advisory committee for maritime autonomous systems, where he is leading future workforce training and transitional crew strategic planning.


Tara Clark, Vice President for Commercial, Draper

Tara Clark joined Draper in January 2016, bringing to Draper over 25 years of experience in the commercialization of biomedical products.  

Prior to joining Draper, she was the North American General Manager for Miltenyi Biotec where she initiated and secured FDA approval for the various medical devices, led the business development efforts, and established the commercial launch strategies. Recently, she was recognized by the “Boston Business Journal” as a “Woman to Watch in Science and Technology, 2017”.

As Vice President, Commercial Programs, Tara is responsible for developing and managing the Company’s business and strategic plans within the Transport, Energy Systems and Biomedical Program Offices, including the successful execution of programs that support these business areas.  While the Commercial Programs area includes both commercial and government customers, the emphasis is on leveraging Draper’s broad engineering capabilities and intellectual property with commercial partners.  products into the commercial marketplace.  

Tara holds a degree in Microbiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 


Jane Lappin, Director, Public Policy & Government Affairs, Toyota Research Institute

Toyota Research Institute was created as an independent subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, charged with using artificial intelligence to develop automated vehicles, assistive indoor robotics, and materials discovery.   Ms. Lappin's responsibilities include working with elected and appointed officials, state and local transportation authorities, and the transportation community to address shared policy issues related to the future of highly automated vehicles. 

Prior to joining TRI, Ms. Lappin worked for the USDOT at the Volpe Center, where her research focused on consumer response to advanced vehicle technologies, and evaluating the impact of advanced technologies on traveler behavior.  At the USDOT, Ms. Lappin was Secretariat to the trilateral US-EU-Japan ITS Steering Group and co-chair of its Automation in Road Transportation Working Group.  She is co-founder of the Automated Vehicles Symposium, chair of the Transportation Research Board ITS Committee, and a founding member and past president of the ITS International Benefits, Evaluation, and Costs Working Group. 

Ms. Lappin studied sociology as an undergraduate at Boston University and earned an MBA from the Simmons College Graduate School of Management.


Bryan Reimer, Research Scientist, MIT AgeLab 
Associate Director New England University Transportation Center

Bryan's research seeks to develop theoretical and applied insight into driver behavior by fusing together traditional psychological methods with big data analytics in computer vision, deep learning, and predictive modeling. His work leverages laboratory experimentation, driving simulation, field testing, and naturalistic study to develop a comprehensive understanding of visual, physiological, behavioral, and overall performance characteristics associated with how drivers respond to the increasing complexity of the modern operating environment. His work aims to find solutions to the next generation of human factors challenges associated with driver attention management, distraction, automation and the use of advanced driver assistance systems to maximize mobility and safety. He is an author on over 200 technical contributions in transportation and related human factors areas.

He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, an M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.


Augustin Wegscheider, Principal, BCG, Lead of Future of Mobility and Autonomous Mobility, World Economic Forum

Augustin is a Principal in the Chicago office of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He specializes in working with automotive manufacturers and suppliers on strategy, sales, marketing, distribution and new mobility topics.

Prior to joining BCG in 2015, Augustin worked at Audi of America for 4 years where he led Sales Planning, Order Management and Distribution team. He also drove improvements in vehicle ordering process, introduced best-selling configurations and supported definition and execution of sales company strategy.

Prior to that he spent 5 years at Siemens Management Consulting in both Munich and New York offices.

Augustin holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School. He holds undergraduate degrees in European Business from both Dublin City University Business School as well as European School of Business in Reutlingen, Germany.

Find great articles and reports on BCG's studies in Boston


Mark Fagan, Lecturer in Public Policy and former Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School

Mark Fagan is a Lecturer in Public Policy and former Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Mr. Fagan teaches Operations Management, Policy Analysis, and Lobbying: Theory, Practice, and Simulations in the degree program. In executive education programs, he teaches about strategy and cross boundary collaboration. Previously, he was a Lecturer in Law at Boston University School of Law where he taught courses on securitization, lobbying, and ethics.
The focus of his research is on the role of regulation. He is presently spearheading an HKS initiative examining the policy and associated regulatory impacts of autonomous vehicles. He has written about the impact of deregulation in the railroad industry including a paper published by Transportation. He has also published papers examining the safety and security externalities associated with the transportation of hazardous materials. He has explored the impact of electricity restructuring in the United States. The research in electricity markets has been published in the Electricity Journal and cited in the New York Times.
Mark Fagan was a founding partner of Norbridge, Inc. a general management consulting firm. Mr. Fagan specializes in helping companies solve managerial challenges. 

Mr. Fagan earned a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning at Harvard University and a BA at Bucknell University.

Session 1
    Integrating Autonomous Driving into the "New Automotive Reality"



Chris Bessette, Program Manager, Highly Automated Vehicles, Draper

Chris Bessette has a B.S. and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  Early in his career, he developed navigation filters for various military and space applications.  After that, Chris served as the PM for Draper’s Airdrop programs, overseeing programs in guided and unguided Airdrop, as well development of tools to aid personnel jumpers in achieving their drop zones.  Currently Chris serves as the PM for Draper’s support of various Automotive OEMs and Tier 1’s.

Session 2    

Autonomy on the Streets of Boston:
Current success & future of Autonomous Mobility



Aakash Arora, Principal, BCG

Aakash is a core member of BCG's Automotive practice. He has more than 10 years of automotive experience. In his role at BCG, Aakash has led numerous programs researching automotive technology development and strategic planning for manufacturers. Aakash co-authored BCG publications on Advanced Driver assistance systems, innovation in automotive industry and led several analyses for BCG publications on
 Autonomous Vehicles. He also led strategy assessment of automotive digital map data provider growth strategy and developed fleet sales growth strategy for one of the largest car manufacturers in North America.

Aakash holds an MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an MS in Computer Engineering from the Wayne State University and a BE in Mechanical Engineering with First Class from Panjab University

Session 3

Current Policy Landscape:
Autonomous & Self-Driving Vehicles in Massachusetts



Alison Sander, Director, BCG Center for Sensing & Mining the Future

Alison Sander has served as the Director of BCG’s Center for Sensing & Mining the Future since 2005 and brings more than 20 years’ experience working with senior teams on complex global challenges. Alison has designed significant growth strategies for CEOs and Boards of Directors across many sectors and has used Megatrends to help clients form long term visions and to find the next billion dollars of growth. Alison joined BCG in 1997 serving as Globalization Topic Advisor—a job that allowed her to see shifts across many countries.

Alison has an MBA from Harvard Business School, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA in political science with high honors from the University of Chicago.

Alison is a member of the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org), the Association of Professional Futurists, a former overseer at the Museum of Science (www.mos.org), and a former Board Member of WRI (www.wri.org) a leading global environmental think tank.

Alison is the founder of AltWheels (www.altwheels.org) an award winning non-profit focused on bringing smarter transportation solutions to New England. Alison has worked in or traveled to more than 91 countries. Alison is a noted speaker on future trends and brings creative and innovative perspectives to many senior Boards and executive teams.


Justin Colson, Sr. Director of Global Marketing & Business Development, Sensata Technologies

Justin Colson is a Principal and Operating Partner in the office of the CTO at Sensata Technologies.  In this role, Mr. Colson leads strategic initiatives related to the megatrends in electrification and autonomy across Sensata.  Prior to this role, he was Sr. Director of Global Marketing and Business Development within Sensata’s Automotive Business, where he led strategy for autonomy and electrification in auto, as well as core product marketing and growth for the automotive business.  Mr. Colson joined Sensata as Director of Business Development in 2014, where he developed and implemented a number of strategic growth initiatives.
Justin was previously an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, leading development of growth strategies for Automotive and Aerospace companies.  He also spent time at McKinsey working in operations and product/process design to drive growth for automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industry clients.  Prior to McKinsey, Justin was an aerospace engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, an engineering research and development center, where he worked on a number of government research programs.
Mr. Colson received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics from Cornell University in Ithaca NY, and his Masters of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Masters of Business Administration degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He lives with his wife and child in Milton Massachusetts.


Bob Leigh, Director of Market Development, Autonomous Vehicles, RTI

Bob Leigh brings more than 15 years of experience developing new markets and building technology companies to his role as Director of Market Development at RTI.

He graduated from Queen's University with a degree in Mathematics and Engineering and has used his education in control and communication systems to engineer embedded solutions for a variety of industries including energy, manufacturing, and transportation.

At each venture, he has lead the charge to create new technologies for emerging markets and disruptive applications.

      Bernard de Mersseman, Principal Engineering Fellow, Autoliv (invited)

Ryan Chin, CEO, Optimus Ride

Dr. Ryan Chin is the CEO and Co-founder of Optimus Ride Inc – an MIT spinoff company based in Boston, MA that develops self-driving technologies that enable safe, sustainable, and equitable mobility access.
Dr. Chin is a leading expert in the area of Smart Cities and urban mobility systems. He was the Managing Director of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab (2012-2015) where innovative research was conducted on urban housing, transport, energy, and big data analytics. He researched Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand (MoD) Systems – a network of self‑driving, shared-use, electric vehicles (EVs). He developed EVs including the GreenWheel, RoboScooter, Persuasive Electric Vehicle, and the CityCar – a foldable, electric, two-person vehicle. Time Magazine named the CityCar the “Automotive Invention of the Year” in 2007. His research led to the MIT Press publication of Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century by Mitchell, Borroni-Bird, and Burns in 2010.
Dr. Chin advises industry and government agencies on Smart Cities innovations. He was a member of the White House PCAST’s (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) working group on “Technology and the Future of Cities.” His MIT Professional Education course “Beyond Smart Cities” attracts global participants from corporate, public, and educational sectors. He frequently travels as a speaker at conferences like TEDx, MIT EmTech, and Smart City Expo. His op-ed articles have been featured in publications like the Guardian and BBC. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt, Venice Biennale, and London Science Museum.
Dr. Chin has won awards for his research including the Katerva Award (2014) and the 100K Buckminster Fuller Challenge (2009). Esquire Magazine named him as one of the “Best and Brightest Innovators” under the age of 35 (2006). He received at MIT his PhD (2012) and MS (2004) in Media Arts and Sciences and a MArch (2000) in Architecture. He earned both his BCE and BSArch from the Catholic University of America (1997).


Kate Fichter, Assistant Secretary of Policy Coordination, MassDOT

Kate Fichter is the Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, where she has served in various capacities since 2004. 

Kate is a graduate of the University of Chicago and MIT, and has professional expertise in transportation planning and policy.  Prior to her current role, Kate served as the Project Manager for the extension of the MBTA Green Line to Somerville and Medford (2007-2010) and the expansion of Boston South Station (2012-2014).

She has also worked for the US Department of Transportation at the Volpe Center, and for the Massachusetts Legislature, where she worked on transportation-related issues.  Kate is now responsible for overseeing multiple policy initiatives, and insuring that MassDOT policy priorities are implemented through investments and projects.


Barry Einsig, Global Automotive & Transportation Executive, Cisco Systems

Barry Einsig is the Global Automotive and Transportation Executive in Cisco’s Internet of Things and Applications Group responsible for driving the growth strategy, business planning, thought leadership and solutions designs and validation for all modes of transportation.

Barry has been in the industry for over 19 years serving in a variety of roles providing industry leading solutions for Automotive, Transportation, and Public Sector systems.

Barry is a patent holder for Video Quality of Service deliver over LTE services.

He is an advisor for Singapore Ministry of Transport for their Connected and Highly Automated vehicle systems. Barry works globally with customers in all modes of transportation including: Network Rail, Deutsche Bahn, Dallas Fort Worth Airport, Port of Hamburg, SFMTA, Transport For London, BNSF, WMATA, AMTRAK, DART, PA Turnpike, TMR Australia, Metrolinx Toronto as well many


Kristin Kolodge, Executive Director, Driver Interaction & HMI, J.D. Power

Kristin Kolodge is Executive Director of Driver Interaction and Human
Machine Interface (HMI) at J.D. Power. She is responsible for developing a new HMI Practice at the company and monitoring customer insights, perceptions and behaviors of the consumers interacting with the technology in their vehicles and around them.

Ms. Kolodge received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Michigan.


Christopher Tassone, Assistant Director, Strategic Transportation Partnerships, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Chris leads the Shared Services & Consulting Team at Liberty Mutual and manages the company’s autonomous vehicles partnership strategy. His group works with automakers, transportation disruptors, and governments to understand customer demand and minimize risk while bringing new mobility products to market. He has extensive experience helping established companies compete in new markets using scenario planning and a customer-centric product design process.

Previously, Chris worked on State Farm’s Innovation Team and in Marketing at Zipcar.


Chris Osgood Chief of the Streets, City of Boston

Chris Osgood serves as Mayor Walsh's Chief of the Streets, Transportation & Sanitation.  He works with the Public Works and Transportation Departments to deliver exceptional City services, build great streets, and implement a transportation plan that works for everyone.

Prior to serving in this role, Chris co- founded, in 2010, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, a nationally replicated civic innovation group that experiments with new ways of using data, design and technology to improve the constituent experience.

Osgood joined the City in 2006, serving as a Mayoral Policy Advisor and working on the team that implemented the City's performance management program and rebuilt its 24-hour hotline. Chris is a graduate of City Year, Haverford College and the Harvard Business School.


Jonathan Koopmann, Division Chief, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Invited)

Jonathan Koopmann is Division Chief of the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. He leads a multidisciplinary team analyzing policy and institutional issues to plan, develop, and deploy innovative transportation technology including vehicle automation, connected vehicles, data systems and connected cities.
Prior to managing the automation vehicle research program Mr. Koopmann led a development team creating an aviation environmental modeling software tool for the Federal Aviation Administration and several projects investigating the capability, user acceptance, and safety effectiveness of prototype advance warning safety systems for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Mr. Koopmann has a M.S. in Transportation Engineering from Northeastern University and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.


Amy Korte, Principal, Arrowstreet

As Principal, Amy leads the design of much of Arrowstreet’s residential work and has played a key role in orchestrating the firm’s large-scale mixed-use and commercial projects in Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, and Revere.

Her multi-disciplinary background in environmental design, retail design, and development allows her to deliver creative project solutions that bridge multiple disciplines. Amy leads much of the research thinking at Arrowstreet, and launched the firm’s Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Studio.

She is the recipient of Banker and Tradesman’s award for Women in Real Estate, which recognizes Massachusetts women who demonstrate talent, ambition, innovation, and philanthropy.


Rafael Mares,  Conservation Law Foundation

Rafael Mares is Vice President and Director, Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice. He joined CLF in 2009. For 10 years, prior to joining CLF, Rafael served as a clinical instructor and lecturer on law at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, where he founded the Healthy Homes and Environmental Justice Project.

Before and during law school, Rafael worked on environmental justice issues in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Boston.

Rafael holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. in Integrated Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He is admitted to the bar in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.


Alison Felix, Senior Transportation Planner, MAPC

Alison Felix, Senior Transportation Planner and Emerging Technologies Specialist, has been with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston, Massachusetts since 2009. Her projects focus on how the use of new technologies impact the roadway network, how they can enhance transit, and reduce emissions. Projects Alison is involved with include:
-  Developed regional policy guidelines for Autonomous Vehicles and developing a memorandum of agreement for Autonomous Vehicle testing in communities.

-  Recently led an effort to conduct an intercept survey of TNC riders to better understand travel patterns and behaviors in the greater Boston area.

-  Serving as a sourcing team member to develop and promote an Advanced Vehicle Technologies Statewide Contract for public fleets.

Responsible for reviewing proposed development projects to assess transportation impacts, ensure compliance with transportation policy goals, and develop mitigation strategies.

Alison is an active member of the American Planning Association and chairs the Massachusetts Chapter’s Transportation Committee. She is also an active member of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS). She has previously worked for Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP), the Boston Planning & Development Agency, the Boston Transportation Department, and the City of Newark, New Jersey. Alison holds a Master in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.



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