Building a Resilient Mobility Future.
We’re happy you could join us for the third annual Ann Arbor Mobility Summit. We hope you’ll check out our virtual Mobility Row happening this Friday in conjunction with A2 Tech Trek and become more familiar with the type of mobility innovation happening in the region.
Special thanks to all of our guests for providing stimulating, forward-looking conversations.
Finally, congratulations to the Invest360: Mobility finalist Industry Star who took home the $50,000 prize. Watch Industry Star in the Invest360 Investor Showcase finale for a chance to win the “People’s Choice” award — an additional $50,000.
About the Ann Arbor Mobility Summit
Where the automotive industry intersects with era-defining innovation, you’ll find Ann Arbor, Michigan.
A global destination for trailblazing OEMs, researchers, and entrepreneurs — the mobility ecosystem flourishes here. The city is also home to the University of Michigan which in 2019 invested $1.4 billion in research, making it the top-ranked public research university in the United States.
Emerging from this vibrant collection of mobility leadership is the third annual Ann Arbor Mobility Summit, where visionaries from across the globe gather to share, learn, and inspire. The theme for this year is to focus on the strategies to build resiliency within the mobility ecosystem. We will discuss this in the context of supply chain, improving access, smart city, innovative partnerships, and more.
“At a time when industry, academia, and infrastructure providers are examining the transformative needs of our society, mobility innovation has an opportunity to be part of the solution. This summit provides a platform for industry leaders to build connections and share visions for safeguarding the future of mobility.”
– Komal Doshi, Director of Mobility Programs, Ann Arbor SPARK
World Economic Forum
As a leader in automotive technologies, Avary has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the mobility space and has devoted her career in establishing better infrastructures for automotive, autonomous, IoT, and connectivity platforms.
At the World Economic Forum, Michelle oversees a team and portfolio of projects aimed to ensure road transit is safe, clean, and inclusive. The work spans defining what is a safe autonomous vehicle, ensuring mobility is inclusive to all including women, elderly, rural populations, and people of color, as well as accelerating the uptake of cleaner mobility. Avary is the head of the Automotive Governors, a group that meets annually in Davos, Global AV Technology Council aiming to close key technology governance gaps and works with governments around the world to pilot policy frameworks.
Avary has held various positions including Vice President of Products and Strategy at Aeris, Director of Telematics at Toyota Motor Sales, co-founder Drive Time Metrics, founder of Women in Automotive Technology, advisor to several startups, and served as an executive director for the Future of Automotive Security and Technology Research, as well as LA Auto Show’s advisory board.
Her patents for telematics technologies including Automatic Crash Notification Using Pre-recorded Messages, Cross Channel In-vehicle Media Consumption Measurement and Analysis, and Discovery Playlist Creation are recognized worldwide. Avary has several more pending patents.
Avary holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Pennsylvania State University, a Masters of Art in Economics from the University of San Francisco, and studied international law and economics at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Center for Automotive Research
Carla Bailo is the President and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and 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, Ms. 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.
Prior to joining CAR, she was most recently the assistant vice president for mobility research and business development at The Ohio State University. She also has 25 years of experience at Nissan North America, Inc., where she served as senior vice president of research and development. Ms. Bailo also spent 10 years at General Motors. She has an MS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University.
Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston
Kris Carter, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, is a non-practicing engineer, an optimistic urban planner, and a self-taught filmmaker. New Urban Mechanics is the City of Boston’s human-centered civic R&D lab, working collaboratively with research institutions, civic entrepreneurs, and government agencies to explore and prototype what’s new and next in cities. With the Mechanics, Kris oversees a wide portfolio of prototypes while also leading the City’s more experimental mobility and public realm work, including the management of the Boston’s autonomous vehicle and curb management research efforts. Prior to leading the Mechanics, Kris ran the City’s bicycle program, served as an advisor to Mayor Menino on the creation of the Innovation District, and helped operationalize One Fund Boston in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. He spent seven years leading youth development non-profits and he has won awards from the Federal Labs Consortium, American Planning Association, multiple film festivals, and was recognized as one of BostInno’s 50 on Fire for his work. He is a two-time AmeriCorps alum, amateur filmmaker, firmly believes in bagging his own groceries, and has yet to find a role more rewarding and exhausting than raising twins.
Regina is the CEO and Co-founder of Populus, a data platform for cities to manage the future of mobility. Trusted by leading cities and the world’s largest mobility operators, the Populus platform securely ingests real-time data from shared electric scooters, bikes, and cars, and delivers cities with the digital tools to design new policies for their curbs and streets.
Regina has over a decade of experience in transportation, having served as a research scientist and lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis. Prior to forming Populus, Regina was the Director of Business Development and Strategy at RideScout, an early mobility-as-a-service aggregator that was acquired by moovel, Daimler and BMW’s mobility services unit. Regina has been named a 40 Under 40 by Mass Transit magazine and the San Francisco Business Times. She has a Ph.D. in transportation and energy systems from MIT, and a bachelor’s in computer science from Cornell.
Ford – Safety Insights
Cal Coplai is an AICP-certified urban planner, data scientist, and mobility enthusiast serving as the Product Owner of the Safety Insights product at Ford Mobility. Through Safety Insights, he is working to improve road safety by creating actionable insights through software and data analytics. Prior to his role at Ford, he worked with or for a variety of organizations, including local and state government, urban planning & design consultancies, universities & colleges, nonprofits, and more. He received his B.S. in Urban & Regional Planning from Michigan State University and M.S. in Urban Informatics from Northeastern University.
William is the CEO of IndustryStar, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based on-demand supply chain software and services technology company that empowers teams to develop, launch, and improve product supply chains faster. William’s passion is partnering with mobility innovation leaders to enhance supply performance faster for greater company agility and profitability.
William is a trusted advisor in mobility supply chain with demonstrated results starting, launching, and enhancing procurement, logistics, supplier quality, and manufacturing organizations for Honda, Ford, Daimler, Lear, Flex-N-Gate, Multimatic, and Flex-N-Gate, among others.
His work has appeared frequently in the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), Institute for Supply Management (ISM), Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and Sourcing Industry Group (SIG), among others. William’s passion for bringing technologies to market that have a positive impact on the world can be found via his blog Supply Chain for Tomorrow’s Technology.
William is also Host of the Supply Chain Innovation podcast where he interviews top industry change-makers to uncover strategies, tactics, and tools to expedite, optimize, and de-risk supply chain operations.
William holds an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business from the University of Michigan and BBA in Integrated Supply Management from the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University.
Ann Arbor SPARK
Komal Doshi is a mobility expert, urban designer, and design thinker. In her new role at Ann Arbor SPARK she will work with existing and new startups to identify and solve challenges, engage stakeholders, and build new relationships within the mobility industry. In her previous role at SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) at the University of Michigan, she co-developed the Mobi Platform, a global platform for mobility entrepreneurs and industry players. In addition, she focused on the trends and opportunities that accelerate New Mobility and M-a-a-S(Mobility as a service) implementation and related industry and economic development around the globe.
She has provided research and strategic consulting for organizations that include Ford Motor Company, Alcoa Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Mobile Lives Forum, Barr Foundation, and Michigan Environmental Council. She has also been a jury member at prestigious international mobility innovation awards and mentored several startups at local and international mobility accelerators.
She has a Masters in Urban Design from the University of Michigan in the US and a Bachelors in Architecture from Sushant School of Art and Architecture in India.
Jennifer A. Dukarski
Jennifer A. Dukarski is a Shareholder based in Butzel Long’s Ann Arbor office, practicing in the areas of intellectual property, media, and technology. She focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on the legal issues arising from emerging and disruptive innovation: vehicle safety, connected and autonomous cars, shared mobility, infotainment, digital media and content, data privacy and security. Jennifer leads clients in securing and protecting rights in technology through transactions and litigation. Jennifer was named one of the 30 Women Defining the Future of Technology in January 2020 by Warner Communications for her innovative thoughts and contributions to the tech industry.
Jennifer has become a national leader in the area of the connected and autonomous vehicle and advises on automotive threat vectors and data privacy. She also uses her emerging technology expertise to draft and negotiate development agreements and technology licensing. Jennifer also represents automotive suppliers in vehicle safety, connected and autonomous car technology, warranty, and product quality disputes. Her automotive expertise as a former design engineer and quality manager has made her a valuable team member in complex product-related litigation covering warranty disputes, and trade secrets. She represents clients involved in field recalls and FMVSS noncompliance with NHTSA. She is a contributor to the Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA) North American OEM Production P.O. Terms and Conditions Comparative Analysis and currently serves as Counsel to OESA’s Advanced Technology Council.
Bill Frykman is the executive director of Ford Motor Company’s North American City Solutions team. In this role, Bill works with a team of urban mobility experts engaging with cities to accelerate new mobility solutions. Through his 20 years at Ford, Bill has been at the forefront of technology including leadership roles on every connected vehicle program from the industry’s first connected light-duty fleet vehicle to the Mustang Mach-E. Prior to joining Ford, Bill was a commercial banker in Los Angeles. Bill graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and earned an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. Bill resides in Birmingham, MI, with his wife and three children.
Razat Gaurav brings more than two decades of experience in the supply chain planning and execution space to his role as the CEO of LLamasoft, Inc. Throughout his career, Razat has advised leading retailers, manufacturers and logistics service providers across the globe on supply chain strategies and digital transformations. With proven leadership in scaling and growing enterprise software businesses on a global basis, Razat most recently served as JDA Software’s Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer. His experience also includes leadership roles at i2 Technologies and Ernst & Young (EY). He has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Kara Grasso is vice president of Strategic Operations at DENSO’s North American headquarters in Southfield, Michigan. In this role, she oversees Strategic Planning, Business Operations Planning, Sales Strategy, and Systems, Aftermarket, Delivery, and New Entrant Customers. Grasso previously led FCA Sales strategy and DENSO’s Product Sales strategy.
Grasso joined DENSO in 2000 as a senior sales specialist for Chrysler Sales, responsible for leading all Chrysler Engine Cooling Module (ECM) sales responsibilities. From 2004 to 2014, Grasso held various positions within Chrysler Sales, moving up to senior manager in 2011. In 2014, she was promoted to director of FCA Sales with a focus on thermal sales specifically.
In 2016, Grasso was promoted to director of FCA Sales, focusing on sales of thermal, powertrain, engine electrical, body electronics, and service products. Her responsibilities included strategizing and strengthening key FCA relationships within purchasing, engineering, cost planning, and quality departments, and engaging the FCA Sales associates to create alignment between divisional and product group targets.
In early 2017, Grasso was promoted to vice president of FCA Sales. Her increased responsibility included a larger customer base as the lead of Product Sales Strategy for all product areas. In January 2019, she took on her current role that further expands her strategic oversight.
Prior to working at DENSO, Grasso worked at Freudenberg-NOK as a sales engineer in 1998, responsible for managing all market research data for multi-product sales staff and assisting in the management of the Toyota Sales account. From 2000 to 2005, Grasso also worked for Dale Carnegie in as an instructor for The Dale Carnegie Course, where she taught Dale Carnegie techniques for overcoming fear of public speaking, influencing people, and becoming more effective in both personal and professional lives.
Outside of work, she is an executive member of Inforum’s AutomotiveNEXT, an industry group dedicated to closing the talent gap and supporting and promoting female leaders in automotive. She also is a member of the Board of Industry Leaders for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Grasso completed both her Bachelor of Science in Business: Organizational Behavior and her Bachelor of Science in Business: Human Resource Management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1998.
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Greg Griffin, PhD, AICP
Dr. Greg P. Griffin is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, focusing on transportation, public participation, and health. He has over a decade of experience as a planner in Texas. A Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, his doctoral program was in Community and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin. He is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners, continuously since 2005.
His research involves how planners and publics work together with technology through three related topics of crowdsourcing, urban sensing, and co-production. First, he evaluates the impact of crowdsourcing in urban planning, such as whether online public suggestions for bike share stations influenced their eventual placement. Second, he explores new approaches in urban sensing, including the role of street noise in traffic safety. Finally, his work contributes to co-productive planning theory, re-thinking public participation that emphasizes action. Dr. Griffin’s recent work on managing biases in crowdsourced data is published in the Journal of Big Data Analytics in Transportation, Transportation Research Part D, Transportation Research Record, and in popular outlets, including the Chicago Tribune.
Dr. Griffin teaches classes in planning practice, theory, health, and transportation, and he serves on the City of San Antonio’s Vision Zero Crash Review Task Force.
Ann Arbor SPARK
Paul Krutko is Ann Arbor SPARK’s president and CEO. Ann Arbor SPARK is a public-private partnership of business, government, and academic institutions working to create economic prosperity in the Ann Arbor area of innovation. In his role as CEO, he leads the organization’s efforts to expand the regional economy through initiatives to support entrepreneurs and early-stage companies accelerating their growth to full potential. SPARK implements a strategic framework designed to maintain and to enhance the region’s global competitiveness.
Paul has nearly four decades of economic and community expertise. He led San Jose, California’s economic development efforts in Silicon Valley where he served as the chief development officer. Paul founded Peloton Development, a consultancy devoted to advising businesses and municipal, regional, state, and national governments on economic development and climate prosperity strategies and on creating high performing economic development leaders and teams. Paul was responsible for downtown development under Mayor Michael White in Cleveland and Mayor John Delaney in Jacksonville, Florida.
He earned a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Design degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, and Art. In addition to his responsibilities as SPARK CEO, Paul Krutko was honored to serve as chair of the preeminent professional economic development organization in the world, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He was designated an Honorary Life Member of IEDC in 2013. He is board chair of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) and will serve in that capacity in 2019 and 2020. He is also treasurer of the American Center for Mobility.
Ken Laberteaux is a Senior Principal Scientist at the Toyota Research and Development in Ann Arbor, MI. In his twenty-eight years in the automotive and telecommunication industries, Ken has produced 48 scholarly publications and 18 patents. Ken’s current research focus is sustainable mobility systems, including Mobility as a Service, vehicle electrification, automated driving, and US urbanization and transportation patterns. Ken completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and B.S.E., in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Cristi Martabano Landy is the Lead Vehicle Product Manager at Waymo, a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going.
In her role, Cristi oversees the Vehicle Product team, which determines product requirements for the Waymo Driver’s future vehicle platforms and advocates for features and attributes that improve our riders’ experience. This also includes safety features for both riders and trained drivers. In addition, Cristi helps drive the strategy for Waymo’s products and expand its product portfolio.
Prior to joining Waymo in 2017, Cristi was the Director of Global Chevrolet Product Strategy at General Motors. Before that, she was Chevrolet Marketing Director responsible for Small Cars and Electric Vehicles. Cristi was the Product Marketing Manager for the Chevrolet Volt from concept car to production. Throughout her career, she has held a variety of positions in Engineering, Marketing, Program Management and Portfolio Planning.
Cristi holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan
Commission on the Future of Mobility
Alisyn Malek is the Executive Director for the Commission on the Future of Mobility, which aims to reshape transportation policy globally across environmental, safety, and economic opportunity considerations to achieve stronger outcomes. Additionally, she is the founder and CEO of Middle Third, a boutique mobility consultancy helping clients to unlock the potential of technology and transportation.
Prior to this role, her unparalleled understanding of how automotive and innovative technologies work together inspired her to co-found May Mobility, building an autonomous vehicle transportation solution that would solve urban transportation challenges ahead of the competition. As COO, she grew the company from laboratory concept to operations in three states and a strong pipeline for growth in less than three years. Alisyn started her career as an engineer working on electric vehicle charging technology at General Motors before moving to their corporate venture arm, leading investments across electrification, connected vehicles, mobility, and autonomy.
She was recognized as an Automotive News All Star in 2019, a top ten female innovator to watch by Smithsonian in 2018 and named a top automotive professional under 35 to watch by LinkedIn in 2015 for her work in cutting-edge product development and corporate venture.
Alisyn Malek is the founder and CEO of Middle Third, a boutique consultancy focused on mobility strategy. Alisyn has extensive industry experience, from EV product development and corporate venture and strategy at GM to early stage startups as the co-founder and COO of May Mobility, all of which inform her work.
At BP, she is helping to create customer-focused businesses that enable more sustainable movement of people, goods, and services using EVs, CAVs, and related transport-linked tech platforms. The tech is cool – really cool – but she cares more about what the tech can enable to help democratise advanced mobility services and delight cities & citizens. Through focusing on understanding deeply met/unmet needs and then translating them into (branded) mobility products and services, she believes it will nudge more folks to adopt EVs and new transport modes. To do this also means relying on partnerships built across the global e-mobility ecosystem and with both large and small companies.
Before BP, she worked for 25+ years as a global marketer & innovator in the consumer goods & services industry across the globe (Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft/Mondelez, Unilever). She also ran her own award-winning startup and even found time to qualify as a lawyer (both beneficial mid-life crises). She holds a Warwick MBA as well as degrees in science (McGill) and law (London).
Edwin Olson is co-founder and CEO of May Mobility, Inc., an Ann Arbor, Michigan based startup that is transforming cities using self-driving shuttles. May Mobility uses its industry-leading technology to create transportation systems that have launched in four cities, helping to create a safer, greener, and more accessible world. Edwin Olson earned a PhD from MIT in 2008 in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and is on leave from the University of Michigan, where he is an Associate Professor of Computer Science.
Dr. Olson has worked on autonomous vehicles for over a decade, including work on the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and vehicles for Ford and Toyota Research Institute. He was awarded a DARPA Young Faculty Award, named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10,” and was the winner of the 2010 MAGIC robotics competition. In 2019, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region by Ernst and Young.
Office of Future Mobility and Electrification
Trevor Pawl is the Chief Mobility Officer for the State of Michigan and leads Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. In this position, 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 MEDC, 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).
Before joining the MEDC, Pawl brought with him experience in supply chain matchmaking, having led the creation of the economic development program, Connection Point, at the Detroit Regional Chamber, which later became Pure Michigan Business Connect.
Trevor has been named Crain’s Detroit Business’s “40 Under 40” and “50 Names to Know in Government”. He’s also been named Development Counsellors International’s “40 Under 40 Rising Stars of Economic Development” and the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s “Government Advocate of the Year”.
Pawl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Marketing from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Transport For London
Rikesh leads Transport for London’s award-winning market innovation activity to create new value for London by working with start-ups, corporates, academia, accelerators, and venture capitalists. He was responsible for creating TfL’s first Innovation Hub. The Hub sets out the organisation’s key problem statements, bringing in the best innovators from across the world, piloting and scaling innovative solutions with the potential to commercialise, as well as establishing the right culture in the company focusing on agility and design thinking to work with market innovators who either have a new mobility product or an innovative idea to help solve an existing city challenge through new technologies.
Rikesh was previously responsible for TfL’s world-leading open data programme which has 17,000 registered users, 700 apps powered by TfL data used by 42% of Londoners which an independent review stated that it’s worth to London is £130m per annum.
Rikesh also sits on the Smart London Board to deliver the Mayor of London’s vision to make London the smartest city in the world, as well as on the Advisory Boards for Doteveryone focusing on Tech for Good and Citytech Collaborative in Chicago. He has also been recognised as the UK’s Top 100 Tech Influencers.
Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Genevieve Smith is the Associate Director at the Berkeley Haas Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership (EGAL). She directs and executes on strategy to advance equity and inclusion in industry, and works to foster “equity fluency” as a key leadership skill for future business leaders. For over a decade, Genevieve has conducted research and advised Fortune 500 companies on gender equity and women’s economic empowerment. Her current focus is on mitigating bias in artificial intelligence and actions for business leaders, for which she authored, Mitigating Bias in Artificial Intelligence: An Equity Fluent Leadership Playbook. Prior to working at Haas, Genevieve worked for the International Center for Research on Women researching and developing strategies and private sector partnerships related to gender equity. Genevieve also previously worked with UN Women and the UN Foundation’s Clean Cooking Alliance.
City of Ann Arbor
Dr. Missy Stults is the Sustainability and Innovations Manager for the City of Ann Arbor. In this role, she works with all city operations, residents, businesses, the University of Michigan, nonprofits, and others to make Ann Arbor one of the most sustainable and equitable cities in America and to implement the A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. Prior to joining the City, Missy worked with cities and tribal communities around the nation to advance their climate and sustainability goals, including during her time as the Climate Director at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and as a consultant to philanthropic organizations. Missy has a PhD in urban resilience from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Climate and Society from Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology and Environmental Science from the University of New England.
Ann Arbor SPARK
Pamela Taylor is a mobility expert, human-centered designer, and project manager with a track record of bringing ideas to reality. As the Mobility Specialist at Ann Arbor SPARK, Pamela supports early stage mobility startups and deploys cutting-edge technology in Ann Arbor.
Previously, Pamela worked as Mobility Project Manager at Bedrock Detroit, an influential real estate developer investing in Detroit’s Central Business District. In this position, Pamela led a variety of projects, including launching Michigan’s first autonomous vehicle on public streets, executing an ambitious Transportation Demand Management plan, and improving bicycle infrastructure.
Pamela co-founded Women in Mobility, a professional network of women in Metro Detroit who are interested in the movement of people, goods, services, and data. Shie is an ardent supporter of public transit, and served on the board of the Metro Detroit transit advocacy group, Transportation Riders United, from 2018-2019. Pamela is an alum of the Venture for America entrepreneurship fellowship and graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Detroit based creative contributor and culture creator Adriel Thornton has, through decades of consistent imaginative and bold ideation, earned global recognition as a leading authority in the creative arts and event production.
Thornton was born and raised in NW Detroit, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Thornton was introduced to the Techno and House music sound by his older cousins who frequented the seminal nite club The Music Institute. In the early 1990s, he began helping other venues distribute flyers for parties and club nights, kickstarting his career as a promoter.
Since then, Thornton has produced hundreds of events, including major global festivals, award-winning night clubs, screenings, and more. As a leader in creative culture, he has spoken on panels for South by Southwest (SXSW), Cinetopia, Model D and was recently selected to be the representative of Detroit’s entrepreneurial and creative class for Virgin Airlines with co-hosts Bridgette Russo (Shinola), Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans) and Richard Branson (Virgin).
As an event producer, Adriel has achieved international acclaim. His club event, FAMILY, now in its 23rd year, was voted “Best Club Night in America” and hosted talent from around the world. In 2000, Thornton was instrumental in launching the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, and helped produce it through 2002. Additional signature productions include Dally In the Alley, Eastern Market After Dark, Dine Drink Detroit, and the Knight Arts Challenge Award Ceremony. Thornton also serves as an Experience Host for Airbnb, with visitors from around the world partaking in his Techno Tour and Experience. In addition, he founded Digital Laundre, Space 19 and NUDE Magazine.
Adriel Thornton has played a fundamental role in the success of countless projects/events and is truly A Detroit Ambassador of Cultural Goodwill.
University of Michigan
Ram Vasudevan is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, an MS degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering all from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and the ONR Young Investigator Award. His work has received best paper awards at the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, the ASME Dynamics Systems and Controls Conference, and IEEE OCEANS Conference.