Smart Cities Dialogue Speakers


Chaouki Abdallah Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR), Georgia Institute of Technology

Chaouki T. Abdallah is the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As a direct report to President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and a member of the president’s cabinet, the EVPR serves as chief research officer for the Institute. This position provides overall leadership for the research, economic development, and related support units within Georgia Tech. Professor Abdallah conducts research and teaches courses in the general area of systems theory with a focus on control, communications, and computing systems. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, national laboratories, and various companies. He served as the general chair of the 2008 CDC, the premier IEEE conference in decision and control. Abdallah, who is fluent in English, French, and Arabic, is a senior member of IEEE and a recipient of that organization’s Millennium Medal. 

Shan Arora Director, The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design

Shan Arora is the Director of The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, a high performance building that serves as a model through which sustainability principles and practices will be explored, tested, and disseminated to inspire change on the Georgia Tech campus and across the Southeast building industry. Georgia Tech is constructing the KBISD to Living Building Challenge 3.1 certification standards, the world’s most rigorous proven building performance standard. Prior to joining Georgia Tech in July 2018, Shan was with Southface Institute where he worked with local and regional partners to increase the amount of clean energy generated in Georgia, promote energy efficiency in the built environment, and expand the region’s clean energy workforce. Shan has an undergraduate and a law degree from Emory University.

Mariam Asad Doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech

Mariam Asad is a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Her work currently focuses on activism, design, and social justice. She is interested in the different ways that different Atlanta communities discuss, use, and appropriate technologies to do radical political work. She explores how technology design can offer opportunities for civic participation through both policy — and grassroots/community-based initiatives.

Joseph Bankoff Chair and Professor of Practice, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech

Joe Bankoff was appointed chair of The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in spring 2012 following six years as president & CEO of The Woodruff Arts Center and 32 years as a senior partner at the Atlanta-based law firm of King & Spalding. Mr. Bankoff’s association with Georgia Tech spans more than a decade and has been primarily focused on his work as the head of the law firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology practice group. In 1998 he worked with his, then, law partner, Sam Nunn, in the creation of the first of the Nunn Policy Forums at Georgia Tech. He was a member of the advisory board of the College of Computing and served as its vice chair for several years. He has served as a board member of the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT). At the request of Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson, he participated in Georgia Tech’s 2010 strategic planning process. He currently serves as the chair of the nominating committee for the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.

Adam Beck Executive Director, Australian/New Zealand Smart City Council

Adam has spent more than 20 years influencing infrastructure and urban regeneration projects across the world. In this time, he has worked for global consulting firms, as well as transformational non-profit organisations. For the past seven years, he has supported the building of movements and marketplaces for sustainable cities. Most recently, as Director of Innovation at EcoDistricts, a Portland-based non-profit think tank, Adam was central to the design of new model of sustainable urban regeneration that was built using a collective impact framework. From 2009, as Executive Director of the Green Building Council of Australia, Adam’s work was focused on designing tools and assessment systems for accelerating and benchmarking sustainable city projects and infrastructure development.

Andy Berke Mayor of Chattanooga, TN

Under Mayor Berke’s leadership, Chattanooga has taken bold steps to further harness the unique advantage of having the fastest, cheapest, more pervasive internet in the Western Hemisphere. Following a robust public engagement process, Chattanooga established an Innovation District -- 140 acres in the heart of downtown that houses a catalytic mix of start-up businesses, incubators, and accelerators alongside investors and public amenities. In addition, the City has partnered with various nonprofits, businesses, and County Government to launch Tech Goes Home (TGH), a program recently honored for Digital Inclusion Leadership by the National League of Cities and Google. Through TGH, students and seniors receive practical training on how to use the internet safely. After nine weeks of courses, they are given the option to purchase a low-cost Chromebook. To increase connectivity in the home, the City has partnered with EPB to offer a reliable, low-cost, high-speed broadband connection to all families with a child on free or reduced lunch. For these works, Mayor Berke was named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County magazine.

Hardik Bhatt Digital Government Business Leader, Amazon Web Services

Hardik is a business leader with tremendous acumen in both strategy and execution for growth and transformations. Hardik has moved seamlessly between private and public sector. Since 2017, he leads Digital Government business for Amazon Web Services (AWS), where Hardik is responsible for helping US state and local governments become more efficient, competitive, and engaged with the use of cloud, data analytics, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Between 2015 and 2017, Hardik served as the Secretary of Innovation & Technology and Chief Digital Officer for the State of Illinois. In those 2 years, Hardik brought Illinois from bottom 4th to top 3rd in national digital rankings and pioneered Illinois’ data analytics, smart state and blockchain initiatives. Between 2010 and 2015, he led global business development for Cisco’s Smart Cities and IoT businesses, working in 40 global cities in 19 countries. Previously, Hardik has also been the CIO for the City of Chicago and has worked for Oracle Corporation and Tata Consultancy Services. Hardik is also an angel investor, and as a civic leader, serves on the board of Fermi National Labs. Hardik lives in Chicago with his wife and 2 children.

Lynn Blake Vice President Mobility, PSA North America, Inc.

Lynn Blake is Vice President of Mobility at PSA North America, Inc. Groupe PSA is the global automotive company which produces Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall automobiles and the global mobility services brand Free2Move. In this role she is responsible for leading the strategic development of the Free2Move mobility brand and services within the North American market, including the oversight and execution of mobility operations in areas such as P&L management, strategic acquisitions, business case development and marketing communications. Blake’s experience spans more than 20 years in the automotive industry including OEM program/project management, governance, marketing and sales across global, regional and national markets, as well as dealership operations. Blake completed the Strategic Marketing Management Program at Stanford University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers.

Patrick Browne Director of Global Sustainability, UPS

Patrick Browne serves as Director of Global Sustainability for UPS, a worldwide leader in supply chain and logistics solutions. Working with cross-functional teams and executive leadership, Patrick leads strategies and initiatives to advance the company’s long-term sustainability vision. Patrick has managed UPS’s sustainability programs since 2008, including overseeing the company’s global GHG inventory and reporting, and has held various assignments in Plant Engineering and Environmental Affairs during his 28-year tenure with UPS. Patrick is an active participant in organizations focused on advancing sustainable business practices around the world, including BSR’s Future of Fuels working group and Global Reporting Initiative’s GOLD Community.

Kim Cobb Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Tech

Kim Cobb’s research uses corals and cave stalagmites to reconstruct tropical Pacific temperature and rainfall patterns over the last decades to millennia. She received her B.A. from Yale University in 1996, and her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in 2002. She spent two years at Caltech in the Department of Geological and Planetary Sciences before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2004. Kim has sailed on six oceanographic cruises and led five caving expeditions to the rainforests of Borneo in support of her research. Her papers regularly appear in high-profile journals, including 5 papers in Nature or Science. Kim has received numerous awards for her research, most notably a NSF CAREER Award in 2007, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2008, and a Sigma Chi Best Paper Award in 2013. She sits on the AAAS Climate Science Panel, the international CLIVAR Pacific Panel, and the international PAGES-CLIVAR Intersection Panel.

Nancy Cooper Global Editor in Chief, Newsweek

Nancy, the Global Editor in Chief of Newsweek, started her journalism career in the Letters Department at the magazine, answering reader mail. She became a researcher, writer and then senior editor of Newsweek's National and International sections before taking on Special Projects. After leaving Newsweek in 2008, Nancy served as Deputy Executive Producer on The Takeaway, a public-radio show, and as an editor at She joined in April 2014 and moved to Newsweek in 2018. Nancy's teams have won reporting awards from the Overseas Press Club, Deadline Club, Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) and the American Society of Magazine Editors, among others.

Mouchka Heller Lead, Seamless Integrated Mobility, Center for Global Industries, World Economic Forum

Mouchka Heller leads the World Economic Forum's work on smart, integrated mobility, in which capacity she helps design, test, execute and globally scale initiatives that make the movement of people and goods in cities more sustainable, affordable, accessible and efficient, to foster inclusive economic growth while harnessing innovation. In this capacity, she currently manages a pilot bringing a foundational form of seamless integrated mobility systems to Detroit (MI), Ann Arbor (MI), and Windsor (ON). Mouchka joined the Forum from the Consulate of Canada in NY where, as Trade Commissioner of infrastructure, she pioneered international trade programs in smart cities and urban resiliency, advised cabinet-level members, helped close billion-dollar projects, created economic inclusion programs, and contributed to strategic planning on NAFTA and tariff negotiations. Prior to the Consulate, Mouchka worked for The Economist Group, where she was the company’s inaugural global data protection officer. Mouchka is also an Adjunct Professor at Yeshiva University, where she teaches negotiation strategy. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mouchka has lived in Washington DC, Paris, New York, and Tel Aviv.

Eyal Feder-Levy CEO and Co-Founder, ZenCity

An urban planner and smart city geek, Eyal has worked with numerous cities to implement advanced technology and methodologies. In Zencity, he helps local governments around the world make better decisions daily by analyzing millions of citizen feedback data points using advanced AI. Before founding Zencity, Eyal was part of the founding team of “City Center,” Tel Aviv University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Cities and Urbanism, where he led several Smart City programs. Apart from Zencity and academic work, Eyal is part of World Economic Forum's Future of Cities advisory board, a member of the US Conference of Mayors Business Council, and the youngest board member of the Israeli Urban Planners’ Association.

Erwin Gianchandani Deputy Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), National Science Foundationn

Dr. Erwin Gianchandani is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Deputy Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). In this role, he contributes to all aspects of the management of the CISE directorate, including strategic and human capital planning, formulation and implementation of the directorate’s more than $900 million annual budget, and oversight of day-to-day operations. In the last several years, he has led the development, launch, and implementation of several new NSF investment areas, including Smart & Connected Communities and Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research.

Jason Gregory Landscape Architect and Senior Planner, Georgia Techn

Jason Gregory is a Registered Landscape Architect and Senior Planner at Georgia Institute of Technology. With over 20 years of experience, 8.5 at Georgia Tech, his responsibilities include a wide variety of projects across campus. Some examples of these projects include the Campus Arboretum, Eco-commons, Stormwater master plan and feasibility study for blackwater treatment. In addition to these projects, he is responsible for reviewing design submissions with a focus on site and landscape design to ensure the solutions are consistent with the campus masterplan and landscape masterplan vision.

Subhro Guhathakurta Professor and Chair, School of City & Regional Planning, Georgia Tech

Subhro Guhathakurta joined Georgia Tech in 2011 as the director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems and professor in the School of City and Regional Planning. He was previously associate director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) and among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Professor Guhathakurta was instrumental in developing the Urban Modeling and Simulation Lab in ASU’s College of Design. He also serves as the lead member of several research centers at ASU including the GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Decision Center for a Desert City, and the project on Sustainable Urban Systems, Technologies, and Infrastructure (SUSTaIn). He is an author of 5 books and monographs and over 70 scientific papers. His article on the interface between urban modeling and planning theory was awarded the Chester Rapkin Award for the best paper (1999) in Journal of Planning Education and Research. His editorial contributions include books such as "Integrated Urban and Environmental Models: A Survey of Current Applications and Research" (Springer-Verlag, 2003) and "Visualizing Sustainable Planning" (Springer 2009). He has held visiting appointments at the Center for Urban Spatial Analysis at University College London, the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, and at the Center for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. More recently, he held the German National Science Foundation (DFG) Mercator Guest professorship at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Elle Hempen Chief Executive Officer, The Atlas

OElle has spent her career making it easier for the public and private sectors to work together to solve problems. Prior to co-founding The Atlas, Elle served as the Director of Strategy & Partnership at re:focus partners, where she managed a $3 million grant program. She also served as Special Assistant and Communications Director in the U.S. EPA's Office of International and Tribal Affairs, where she managed an initiative that facilitated city-to-city learning on urban innovation, designed a program that supported environmental entrepreneurship, and developed a strategy that educated stakeholders about EPA’s international success stories. Elle is a USMC spouse, dog- mom to Hugo and Charlie and lover of flat water. Elle has an MBA with a marketing concentration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a B.A. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Peter Hirshberg Founder, Maker City Project and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Peter Hirshberg serves as an innovation advisor to cities and companies. He has created two centers of urban innovation from scratch: Maker City Project and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. He’s a founder of the Maker City Project, the national organization tasked with helping cities and towns reclaim manufacturing prowess by leveraging the Maker movement. His research on the Maker City is available in the best selling book – Maker City: A practical guide to reinventing our cities – funded by the Kauffman Foundation. This book was created in collaboration with White House where it was launched in 2016 and with the Brookings Institution, where Hirshberg is an author.

Michael Hunter Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech

Professor Michael Hunter joined the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Fall 2003. He has developed an active research program at the Georgia Institute of Technology with local, state, federal, and industry funding support. Dr. Hunter has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and peer reviewed conference proceedings. Professor Hunter’s research involves the integration of computers, communications, and sensor data with transportation infrastructure to enable applications of Smart Transportation technologies. He seeks to advance transportation operations, management, and safety by leveraging rapidly evolving technologies. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (2003), Master of Science from UT-Austin (1994), and Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1992).

Seth Hutchinson Professor and KUKA Chair for Robotics in the School of Interactive Computing, and the Executive Director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Georgia Tech

Hutchinson is currently a Professor and KUKA Chair for Robotics in the School of Interactive Computing, and the Executive Director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent machines at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ido Ivri Founder and CTO, ZenCity

Ido Ivri is the Founder and CTO of ZenCity, and an open data veteran. Prior to founding ZenCity, Ido worked at the National Library of Israel as Head of Business Development & Innovation and helped found the Library's digital division. He was previously part of the National Library planning team at Yad Hanadiv (the Rothschild Foundation) and a software developer at Check Point Software Technologies, Inc. Ido holds an M.Sc in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an MBA from the Recanati Executive Program from Tel Aviv University.

Greg King Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Georgia Tech

As Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Georgia Tech, Greg works with companies to establish successful partnerships and meaningful relationships with campus to support their business and innovation plans. These partnerships include talented students, as well as the innovations, new technologies, and start-up ventures developed and supported by Georgia Tech. Within Technology Square and other campus innovation areas he works to enhance the alignment and access to research, education programs and technology development important to economic development and growing communities of innovation. In addition to his role at Georgia Tech, Greg represents the University System of Georgia in support the state's industry recruitment and expansion efforts by finding alignment across the system around the talent and technology needs of companies that are considering investment in Georgia.

Debra Lam Managing Director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Georgia Institute of Technology, Executive VP for Administration and Finance, Georgia Institute of Technology

Debra Lam is the Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive innovation for Georgia Tech, a newly created role to drive smart cities and urban innovation work across the university and beyond. Prior to this, she served as Pittsburgh's first ever Chief of Innovation & Performance where she oversaw all technology, sustainability, performance and innovation functions of city government. She crafted the city's first strategic plan for innovation, Inclusive Innovation Roadmap. She has been a receipt of various awards, including one of the top 50 Women in Technology nationally. She has worked and lived in New York, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and University of California, Berkeley.

Timothy Lieuwen Regents Professor and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Tech

Dr. Tim Lieuwen holds the David S. Lewis, Jr. Chair and is the executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. His interests lie in the areas of acoustics, fluid mechanics, and combustion. He works closely with industry and government, particularly focusing on fundamental problems that arise out of development of clean combustion systems or utilization of alternative fuels. A 2018 inductee into the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Lieuwen has authored or edited four combustion books, including the textbook Unsteady Combustor Physics. He has also received five patents, and authored eight book chapters, 110 journal articles, and more than 200 other papers. He is a member of the National Petroleum Counsel and is editor-in-chief of an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics book series. He has served on the board of the ASME International Gas Turbine Institute, and is past chair of the Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions technical committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also an associate editor of the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute and has served as associate editor for the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, and Combustion Science and Technology.  Prof. Lieuwen is a Fellow of the ASME and AIAA and has been a recipient of the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award and the ASME Westinghouse Silver Medal.

Dennis Lockhart Professor of the Practice, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech

Dennis Lockhart’s career includes time in the private sector, academia, and government. He is currently a Senior Fellow in the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a Distinguished Professor-of-the-practice in Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and a principal in Navigation Capital Partners, a private equity firm. He recently stepped down from the position of president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In this role, Lockhart served on the Federal Reserve’s chief monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Within the Federal Reserve System, he chaired the Conference of Presidents for his final two years and earlier chaired the Information Technology Oversight Committee. Before becoming a central banker, Lockhart was a member of the faculty of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service where he chaired the Masters program’s concentrations in global commerce and finance and international business–government relations. He taught courses focused on global business strategy, international finance and investment, project finance, and business-government relations. He also was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Simultaneously, he was chairman of the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, a sponsor of emerging markets venture capital/private equity funds.

Dean Marsh Managing Director, North America, Dassault Systèmes

Dean Marsh is the Managing Director, North America for Dassault Systèmes the 3DEXPERIENCE Company. Dassault Systèmes is the world leader in 3D design software, 3D Digital Mock Up and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, providing businesses and individuals with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Dean is responsible for driving the business in North America which represents approximately 30% of the company’s $3.8B in revenue. Dean joined Dassault Systèmes in 2017 with over 20 years of experience in global sales, services, development and marketing.  Most recently, he worked at IBM as Vice President, Global Cloud Solutions Services before becoming Vice President, Client Success for IBM Analytic Solutions. Dean holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and a B.S. in Metallurgy and Materials Science from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Amanda Meng Research Scientist, Georgia Tech

Dr. Amanda Meng's research lies at the intersect of civics and technology, data and social justice. Currently, she studies civic data work, grassroots data activism, counter data action, and conducts data science projects with residents, local government, and non profits in the City of Atlanta. She completed her Ph.D. in the International Affairs, Science, and Technology program in 2017. Her doctoral research investigated the social impact of open government data through a comparative study of social movements’ use of open government data in Hong Kong, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. Throughout her career as a practitioner and academic she has evaluated and implemented civic tech projects in the Dominican Republic, India, Ghana, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Chile, and Argentina.

Jennifer Musisi City Leader in Residence, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

As the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative City Leader in Residence Jennifer Musisi plays a key role in advising on the design of Bloomberg Harvard programming, with a particular emphasis on programming for cities outside of the United States. She serves as a resource for faculty, students, staff, and participating mayors and other city leaders, and will share insight and information on innovations, solutions, and approaches to common problems across cities.  Jennifer is a transformational leader with three decades of experience in turning around government institutions and systems in challenging settings. Most recently, she was appointed by the president of Uganda to serve as the first executive director of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda (a role comparable to mayor, chief executive or city manager). In this capacity, she earned a global reputation for strong urban governance, organizational leadership, innovation, and building service delivery systems in institutions grappling with crippling corruption, limited financing and systemic dysfunction. She also entered partnerships and mobilized significant funding to advance the city. Jennifer previously served as commissioner of legal services and board affairs at the Uganda Revenue Authority and as legal advisor to Makerere University.

Amol S. Naik Chief Resilience Officer, City of Atlanta

Amol S. Naik is the City of Atlanta’s Chief Resilience Officer. As a key cabinet member in the Bottoms Administration, Amol oversees policy and programming that supports a more equitable and resilient Atlanta. Previously, Amol held several senior roles in the technology sector, including on the Public Policy and Legal teams at Google and Google Fiber. Most recently, Amol was a Director at Atlanta based MailChimp. A seasoned attorney, Amol practiced law at the Atlanta office of an international law firm, focusing on election law, government affairs and complex commercial litigation. Amol has deep civic and political roots in Georgia. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Regional Commission, as Corporate Secretary of the Fulton/Atlanta Land Bank Authority and on the Emory University Board of Visitors. Amol was named one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "40 Under 40" and a Georgia Super Lawyers “Rising Star”.

Jude Mwenda Ntabathia Doctoral Student, Georgia Tech

Jude Mwenda Ntabathia has worked for different non-for-profit and for-profit organizations as a software developer including The Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. He is a graduate from the MIT Media Lab under the Centre for Civic Media research group in 2015. He is an avid lover of open source and studies online communities as a PhD student and researcher at Georgia Tech. You can find him on Twitter at @judemwenda.

Tess O'Brien Media and Digital Strategist, Bloomberg Associates

Tess O’Brien specializes in improving public services through digital innovation and design. As a member of Bloomberg Associates’ Media and Digital Strategies team, Tess supports city governments around the world to develop and implement digital strategies centered on user-needs, to adopt an agile approach to project management, and to leverage technology to solve city challenges and better respond to resident needs.    Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Tess worked for a number of non-governmental organizations in East Africa and South-East Asia with a focus on program quality and business development. Tess also spent a summer working for UN Women where she created a curriculum focused on how the Internet and social media can be used to mobilize public opinion towards positive social change.   Tess holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where she was a Women and Public Policy Program Fellow. For her thesis, Tess consulted the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding coordination mechanisms between federal government agencies and the United Nations on global migration issues. Tess also received a Bachelors in International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney..

David Elisha Olatunji President/Co-Founder, African Smart Cities Innovation Foundation (ASCIF)

Mr. Olatunji has served to date as the Head of Secretariat of the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) as well as President/Co-Founder of the African Smart Cities Innovation Foundation (ASCIF). ASCIF aims at providing affordable/accessible housing, complementing government efforts in creating ideal living and working environment for its citizens across Africa. Mr. Olatunji has also been an administrator for several organizations in Nigeria with over fifteen years’ experience focusing on the promotion of investments in Nigeria and across Africa.

Tarek Rakha Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Georgia Tech

Dr. Tarek Rakha is an architect, building scientist and educator. He is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech, and Faculty at the High Performance Building (HPB) Lab. His research aims to influence architecture, urban design and planning practices through three areas of expertise: sustainable urban mobility and outdoor thermal comfort; daylighting and energy efficiency in buildings, and building envelope diagnostics using drones. Prior to joining Tech, Dr. Rakha taught at Syracuse University (SU), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in building technology at MIT, where he was part of the Sustainable Design Lab as a member of the developing team for umi, the urban modeling and simulation platform.

Nathan Regan Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Invest Atlanta

Nathan Regan currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Economic Development at Invest Atlanta, where he leads the agency’s Small Business Development, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Business Retention & Expansion, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and Creative Industries activities. Before joining Invest Atlanta, Mr. Regan worked in both private industry and the public sector. He served as a Legislative Fellow to a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on economic development, jobs, and energy and environment legislation. Mr. Regan also served as a Senior International Investment Specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA unit, managing an international foreign direct investment team resulting in $500 million worth of investments and creating more than 1,000 jobs. In that position, Nathan served as a liaison with state and local economic development agencies around the country on FDI industry best practices and managed FDI projects coming from Europe. .

John Rice Professor of the Practice, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech

John G. Rice is a Professor of the Practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He retired as vice chairman of the General Electric Company in April 2018.  He began his GE career in 1978 and has held several leadership positions in the United States, Canada, and Singapore.  Beginning in 2010, he led the company’s global operations based in Hong Kong.  Immediately prior to that role, he served as vice chairman of GE and president & CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure; from 2005-2007 as vice chairman of GE’s industrial and infrastructure businesses; from 2000-2005 as president and CEO of GE Energy; and from 1997-2000 as president & CEO of GE Transportation. Rice holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and is a life trustee there.  He was elected a trustee of Emory University in 2006, and currently serves as chair of the Woodruff Health Sciences Board.  He serves on several other boards including Li and Fung Limited; Baker Hughes, a GE Company; the International Advisory Board of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; and the Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Chris Rich Founder and CEO, Hawque

Chris Rich is the Founder and CEO of Hawque, an Atlanta-based security platform powered by technology, which connects customers to vetted and licensed security contractors and vendors. Chris has over 15 years of senior corporate experience across private and public Fortune 500 companies, as well as federal government agencies. Prior to starting his own venture, Chris played a pivotal role in launching the startup division of Mercer’s private exchange market, developing early operational and sales processes, onboarding clients as well as managing Mercer's vendor partners..

John Rossant Founder and Chairman, NewCities

In 2010, John Rossant founded the NewCities Foundation. He believes it is imperative that different stakeholders work together to improve the quality of life and work in 21st century global cities. From the outset, NewCities mission has been to shape a better urban future for all by generating and scaling ideas and solutions through events, research and urban innovation projects. John had previously been Executive Chairman of PublicisLive in Geneva, responsible for the production of some of the world’s most prestigious events, in particular the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos and other WEF events around the world. In 2010, the President of France asked him to organize the e-G8 Forum on the future of the internet. In addition, John has personally led the Foundation’s initiatives in urban mobility and transportation and is the CEO of CoMotion, the leading global event and media platform on new mobility and organizers of LA CoMotion — the annual gathering in Los Angeles of public and private sector leaders of the mobility revolution.

John Selden Airport General Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

As the leader of the world’s busiest and most efficient airport, John Selden oversees Airport operations as well as a multibillion-dollar capital improvement program that will pave the way for growth over the next 20 years. Selden is a former Navy pilot who, among other assignments, served at the Pentagon and in Puerto Rico. After leaving active service, he flew commercially until taking his first airport management role at Republic Airport in New York, the third busiest airport in the state. He joined John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2008 and began serving as Deputy General Manager in 2014, overseeing areas including customer service, rail access, security, maintenance, finance, commercial development and physical infrastructure investment. Selden is excited about leading his team to new heights in strengthening the role ATL plays as economic catalyst of the region and gateway to the world.

Nathaniel Smith Founder and Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE)

Nathaniel Smith serves as Founder and Chief Equity Officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), which advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Among PSE’s notable accomplishments was the creation the American South’s first equity mapping and framing tool, the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas, and co-authoring numerous reports including: “Growing the Future: The Case for Economic Inclusion in Metropolitan Atlanta”, and “Employment Equity: Putting Georgia on the Path to Inclusive Prosperity”. PSE also led a coalition of diverse stakeholders to support a $13 million transit referendum that expanded Atlanta’s metropolitan transit system into a new county for the first time in 45 years. Smith’s advocacy activities were instrumental in the ratification of a 15 percent set aside of Atlanta Beltline Tax Allocation District (TAD) dollars for the development and maintenance of affordable workforce housing within the Atlanta BeltLine Planning Area - $250 million dollars over the 25-year lifespan of the Atlanta BeltLine TAD. A child of Civil Rights Movement and Atlanta native, Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Morehouse College and a Master of Science from the New School. Among many his many accomplishments, The Huffington Post honored Nathaniel as one of the eight “Up and Coming Black Leaders in the Climate Movement” in 2017. Nathaniel was also designated one of the 100 “Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine and named to the Grist 50 by Grist Magazine in 2018.

Deb Socia Executive Director, Next Century Cities

Prior to her role as the Executive Director of Next Century Cities, Deb was the Executive Director of the Tech Goes Home program whose mission is to ensure digital equity. Previously, Deb spent 32 years as an educator and administrator. She was the founding principal of the award winning Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Boston Public School where she led the one-to-one laptop initiative. Deb has been the recipient of many awards for her work, including recognition as the NATOA Community Broadband Hero in 2013, the 2013 Pathfinder Award from MassCUE (Mass Computer Using Educators), and the 2010 Leadership and Vision award from CRSTE (Capitol Region Society for Technology in Education).

Kirk Talbott CIO, MARTA

Kirk Talbott, has more than 25 years of experience in Information Technology spanning the entire gamut of IT functions across multiple industries in the private and public sectors. As the CIO for MARTA, Kirk is responsible for the technology portfolio of the 9th largest Public Transit agency in the United States and is passionately focused on improving mobility through innovation. Among his significant previous positions, Kirk served as the Executive Director Smart City and Deputy CIO for the City of Atlanta, the CIO for a suburban Chicago county and two separate transit agencies in Texas and California. Prior to these roles, Kirk served as the Senior Manager for IT Services at Western Digital Corporation, a Lake Forest, CA based Fortune 500 international high-tech manufacturer. As a consultant, Kirk served a wide range of Fortune 500 firms over nearly a decade in numerous vertical sectors. Kirk Talbott is bilingual and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science and Spanish Linguistics from Rice University.

John E. Taylor Frederick law Olmsted Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech

John E. Taylor is the Frederick Law Olmsted Professor. Taylor studies the dynamics where human and engineered networks meet, making him an ideal fit for an endowed professorship named for the father of landscape architecture and a designer who believed engineered infrastructure should be both functional and aesthetically appealing, serving society’s needs while also creating more livable and healthy communities. Taylor has been an entrepreneur and worked as a project manager before starting his career in higher education. He taught most recently at Virginia Tech, where he was a dean’s faculty fellow in the College of Engineering and a Preston and Catharine White fellow in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Gerben van Straaten Founder and CEO, World of Walas

Founder and CEO Gerben van Straaten, has over 25 years of experience in urban development. He founded World of Walas in 2010 to offer a fundamentally different approach to sustainable urban development. Walas has been experiencing significant growth since then, doubling in size at least once per year. Walas is now a collection of over 25 companies with projects operating in the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, and global partnerships focused on bringing real change to the urban development industry. Gerben is an international speaker and published author on sustainable urban development and new ideas for old buildings. His unique experience bridges between academic best practices and the traditional real estate industry. He works with governments, cities, NGOs and other organizations on policy for urban planning and development to bring about real change. He is a signatory partner for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Special Commissioner for Cities for Earth Charter International. Follow him on Twitter @gerben_walas and @worldofwalas

Jason Whittet 100 Resilient Cities Solutions Development and Innovation Team

Jason works at the intersection of technology and communities with the 100 Resilient Cities Solutions Development and Innovation team. Jason Whittet was previously with AT&T and GE’s smart cities business deploying smart, connected urban infrastructure. Before AT&T and GE, Jason worked with the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) public sector practice where he led public sector business development for the global technology research and advisory firm. Before IDC, he helped launch the Massachusetts Broadband Institute as Acting and Deputy Director and contributed to the successful completion of the $100MM, 1,200 mile MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network in western Massachusetts. Jason has also held positions with Comcast in government relations, with the Massachusetts State Senate Ways and Means Committee as Project Director and with the Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. Jason has a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Northeastern University. Jason served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard and as a member of the 2008 Electoral College. He lives in New York City.

Ellen Zegura Professor and Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications, School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech

Ellen W. Zegura is the Fleming Chair and Professor in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech. She received the BS in Computer Science, the BS in Electrical Engineering, the MS in Computer Science and the DSc in Computer Science, all from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 1993 she has been on the faculty of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech where she conducts research and teaches in computer networking and computing for development. In 2008, she helped create the Computing for Good initiative in the College of Computing, a project-based teaching and research activity that focuses on the use of computing to solve pressing societal problems. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and an elected member of the Computing Research Association Board (CRA). Since Fall 2014 she has been on the Executive Board of the CRA. She served on the NSF CISE Advisory Committee from 2005-2009.

Stephen Zoegall Senior Manager of Innovation Strategy, Accenture Digital

Stephen Zoegall is a Senior Manager in the Innovation Strategy practice of Accenture Digital. He works at the nexus of digital and strategy, collaborating with leaders in the public and private sector to use emergent digital innovations to accelerate progress toward their goals. Professionally and personally, Stephen is passionate about the social, economic and environmental benefits of digital innovation. He co-leads Accenture’s Global Smart Cities community of practice, for which he has led multiple efforts with a focus on next-generation transportation, future city visioning, and urban digital evolution. Stephen has an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, a PhD in Literature from Harvard University, and is LEED-accredited.