Come face-to-face with Ann Arbor’s tech visionaries.
Subscribe below to get the latest updates on this year’s virtual programming
Join us for an inspiring morning as we hear from the brilliant minds behind the Ann Arbor region’s innovative companies. From origin stories to behind-the-scenes accounts of the fascinating technologies being developed here.
Tech Talk features inspiring TED-style talks by leading innovators in their respective fields. This event is hosted by Ann Arbor SPARK
Erika Block is the CEO of Saganworks, a knowledge management platform that makes it easier to organize, find and share your digital knowledge. Saganworks is building software that works the way our brains work, using 3D technologies to tap into the power of visual and spatial memory.
Prior to Saganworks, Erika was the CEO and founder of Local Orbit, a software service for local food producers and distributors who are building a more equitable and sustainable food system.
She started her career as a playwright and theatre director, creating 15 plays that were produced across the US, Great Britain, and South Africa. She also led the transformation of a vacant furniture factory in Detroit into a theatre and gallery space.
Throughout her career, Erika has created collaborative environments that facilitate conversation, learning, and action across communities and among people who don’t usually connect.
She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, has an MFA from Columbia University, and studied Interactive Technology at NYU. Awards include PopTech’s Social Innovation Fellowship, Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, and the NEA/TCG Career Development Fellowship for Directors.
Joram Clervius is a Senior Software Engineer at Nexient where he serves as a team lead for one of their largest consulting projects. Before this, he served as the President of SOLCEF, INC., a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization founded in 2011 by his family in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti the year before.
SOLCEF’s projects include a school in Dubedou, HT. teaching over 500 students today.
Joram is also a National level Bodybuilding Competitor, an avid reader, and an insatiable listener of good music. He balances all this with several gym memberships, subscriptions to Audible and music streaming services, and a pair of headphones.
He has spent the past year and a half building an app that better facilitates the purchase of goods for Haitians in Haiti by their loved ones living overseas. The service provided by the app will help to significantly increase Haiti’s reliance on its own products/vendors over imported/shipped goods from abroad.
Lee Dobryden is an Ann Arbor native and has worked in the local tech scene for over 10 years. He currently leads the software engineering team at FordLabs. When he is not coding Lee enjoys photography, running, and spending time with his dog Gracie.
Danny calls himself an “accidental entrepreneur”. What started as an innocent project at the University of Michigan turned into his full-time career and took him from the aerospace industry to renewable energy. Danny is the CEO and co-founder of SkySpecs. He is a two-time graduate of the University of Michigan with a BSE and MSE in Aerospace Engineering. Danny has been recognized as a leading entrepreneur with the 2014 Detroit Crain’s “20 in their 20s” award, 2016 Forbes’ “30 under 30” award, and as a finalist for the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. Danny is a TechStars alum, Endeavor entrepreneur, and an active mentor to other entrepreneurs both in Michigan and around the world. Danny believes entrepreneurship is what drives innovation and is the best tool for solving some of the world’s biggest problems.
Kevin M. Guthrie
Kevin M. Guthrie is an executive and entrepreneur with expertise in high technology and not-for-profit management. Kevin was the founding president of JSTOR (1995) and Ithaka (2004). The organizations merged in 2009, becoming known as ITHAKA and continuing under Kevin’s leadership. Today, Kevin leads the ITHAKA staff of more than 300 people across 4 locations, empowering a diverse set of teams from technologists and designers to content experts and researchers.
Previously Kevin co-founded a software development company serving the needs of college and professional football teams, and later served as a research associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he authored The New-York Historical Society: Lessons from One Nonprofit’s Long Struggle for Survival (Jossey Bass). In 2017, Kevin edited Ever the Leader: Selected Writings (1995 – 2016) William G. Bowen (Princeton University Press). His diverse background also includes experience as a professional football player, a sports broadcaster and producer, and a consultant for an Oscar-winning motion picture (Rain Man, 1988).
Kevin serves on several non-profit advisory committees and boards including Princeton University’s Keller Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, LYRASIS, Media Source, Inc ., and the National Humanities Center.
Kevin holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Princeton University and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Sari Chang, and their three children.
Talbot Hack has over 25 years’ experience in early-stage IT ventures and fast growth networking and security infrastructure firms. He has held various leadership roles in product management, marketing, business development, and operations. Hack oversees product management of Service Provider Security Solutions at NETSCOUT systems, a global leader assuring digital business services against disruptions to network availability, performance, and security. NETSCOUT is the parent of Arbor Networks, a regional tech success story started at the University of Michigan back in 2000. Hack holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BSE from Princeton University.
John McLaughlin is Senior Director & Ann Arbor Site Leader at KLA, a California-based technology company that is building a new global site in Ann Arbor and hiring over 500 people in the region. KLA develops innovative process control and process-enabling solutions for semiconductor chip, packaging, printed circuit board and flat-panel display manufacturing throughout the world. Prior to KLA, John served at the University of Michigan College of Engineering, where he managed the College’s robust engagement with external partners who fund research and recruit students. John began his tenure at the University in the Business Engagement Center, where he developed corporate partnerships across the institution. Prior to returning to Ann Arbor, John resided in Boston where he served in several project management and operations leadership roles and received his MBA from Boston College. John is an Ann Arbor native and earned his undergraduate degree at U-M in Political Science.
Elisabeth Michel, MPH
Elisabeth Michel is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Canopy. Canopy builds digital tools to help people talk about, make, and share their end-of-life healthcare decisions. Elisabeth draws on her background in health behavior to align Canopy’s technology with findings from the best of public health research.
Before co-founding Canopy, she worked for the Institute for Public Health Innovation in Washington, D.C. and as a William Davidson Institute Fellow in Rwanda. Throughout her career, she has provided direct service to aging and differently-abled adults, administered public health programs, and developed health equity training for higher education. Elisabeth received a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Erin Rose & Matthew Attou
Every Two Minutes
Erin Rose is the Founder and CEO of Every Two Minutes (E2M) which creates technology to combat gender-based violence. Its first product, MySideKick, is a complete web-based application and in-person, peer-led training that addresses all the issues of sexual violence, with a mobile interface to help better engage college students. E2M discovered four reasons why sexual violence is not properly being addressed on college campuses and created seven powerful components to address and remedy these issues.
Matthew Attou is the CTO of Every Two Minutes. For the past 10 years, he worked at Fortune 500 companies like IBM and GE in California. He is back in Detroit and is an active member of the Detroit startup community where he advocates for XR technology and speaks to entrepreneurs about how to go from napkin idea to product in the market. Matthew Attou is also the co-founder of XR Design Studios, a design and technology studio headquartered in Detroit, MI. Matthew holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Oakland University.
Linda Teaman jumped into the tech scene in the early 2000s knowing that she could make a big difference in the growth of Shoshana Technologies that was started by her husband and his business partner. Beginning with sales, she gained a vast knowledge of how the home care industry worked and began to craft an overall message focused around customer care. A core competency of the company and their key product is Rosemark, a home care management software that automates most of home care agency operations.
In 2012 Teaman, took on the role of CEO with her visionary leadership. Through the implementation of new systems in operations, sales, contact management, inbound and outbound marketing, and her focus on high performing team, Shoshana has doubled the size of the business. Through engagement with the Ann Arbor economic development community and pulling on their own bootstraps the organization is continually growing and innovating in a booming home care industry to include enabling large homecare agencies’ to expand into other areas like facilities staffing, assisted living, and Medicaid.
Dawn is the founder and CEO of Jottful, a software business whose mission is to make it possible for every small business to be found and tell their story online. Her experience spans industries and company sizes but her passion is in software entrepreneurship. She has extensive early-stage leadership experience, having served as VP of marketing and COO at four early-stage venture-backed SaaS businesses before starting her own.
Dawn also taught management courses at Parsons The New School for Design for seven years and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and two bachelors degrees from the University of Michigan. Originally from the Upper Peninsula, Dawn lived and worked on both coasts and abroad before returning to Michigan with her family three years ago.
An experienced Silicon Valley to Midwest digital content strategist, Brock has brought a modern approach to marketing and is disrupting the status quo of storytelling. He has been a part of numerous company rebrands shaking up their digital footprint by dismantling the standard process of content generation. Between millennials being native to the digital language and understanding the customer he has developed strategies increasing organic traffic to DaySmart’s products by over 150% in less than 6 months.
Megan studied textile chemistry at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, receiving both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. She began her career as a Process Chemist at Milliken & Company in textile manufacturing for automotive and military applications.
In 2005, she joined Wacker Chemical Corporation in Duncan, SC as a Chemist working with liquid silicone rubber for textile coating applications including airbags and insulated sleeving. After relocating to Michigan with WACKER in 2009, she was promoted to Technical Marketing Manager for the market segments textile and chemical industries. In 2012, she earned her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and moved into sales.
Following five years in sales, Megan transitioned into a new role in Human Resources, as Talent Development Manager for the region. She helped to build and teach important management and leadership development programs as well as establish a core course catalog for all employees in the region.
Recently Megan returned to the sales side of the business, as Senior Commercial Manager leading a team of Marketing and Sales Managers in WACKER’s Performance Silicones business for consumer applications.