Participants for Engineering & Humanity Week 2011
Following are brief biographies of speakers, panelists and musicians for 2011 Engineering & Humanity Week by day of appearance.
Monday, April 11
Maya Ajmera, Founder, Global Fund for Children
Maya Ajmera is the founder of The Global Fund for Children, a philanthropic intermediary that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world's most vulnerable children and youth. Under Maya's leadership, GFC has awarded over $20 million in capital to nearly 420 grassroots organizations in 75 countries. In addition, GFC has a dynamic media program focused on children's books, films, digital media, and documentary photography. She is an award winning children's book author of 20 titles including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid with over 2 million readers worldwide. Maya is a recipient of numerous leadership awards and she is sought out nationally and internationally to address audiences on local and global philanthropy, global children's rights, early childhood education and development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others. Maya serves on the board of visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She is Vice Chairman of the board of Echoing Green, a social entrepreneurship venture capital fund, is a trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and a board member of New Global Citizens. Maya received a MPP from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and an AB in biology from Bryn Mawr College.
Daniel Gross, Emerging Markets Development Manager, WorldHaus
Daniel Gross is Manager of Idealab’s New Ventures Group. Based in Los Angeles, California, United States, Daniel spearheads business and product development for a WorldHaus, an Idealab-invested startup making affordable, eco-friendly kit houses for the developing world. Daniel leads the company’s market research, fundraising and product development efforts in India and sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently building partnerships to bring WorldHaus to market and deploy over 5,000 houses by 2013. He also develops international partnerships for Duron, an Idealab-invested solar home-systems company. Prior to joining WorldHaus, Daniel spent 5 years building and managing businesses and non-profit organizations in China.
R. Gerald Turner, President, Southern Methodist University
As the president of Southern Methodist University since 1995, R. Gerald Turner is leading an era of unprecedented progress as the University approaches the centennial of its founding in 1911 and of its opening in 1915. Under his leadership, The Second Century Campaign, launched in September 2008, seeks resources for a dramatic increase in academic quality and impact. To date, it has raised $460 million toward a goal of $750 million in additional endowment for student scholarships, academic positions and programs, and the campus experience. Beyond the campus, Gerald Turner is a member of the board of the American Council on Education and the National Association of independent Colleges and Universities, and he co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. In Texas he serves on the boards of the Methodist Hospital Foundation, the Salvation Army of Dallas, and two publicly traded companies. Before joining SMU, President Turner was the chancellor of the University of Mississippi. A native of New Boston, Texas, he earned a B.S. degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Geoffrey C. Orsak, Dean, Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, Southern Methodist University
As Dean of the Southern Methodist University Lyle School of Engineering and the founding director of the federally funded Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, Geoffrey Orsak has led the school to national prominence through a clear focus on engineering leadership while also founding and creating a number of nationally recognized programs, including The Infinity Project and Visioneering, that today reach millions of students across our country with innovative engineering curricula and educational experiences. A noted scholar and expert in communications, signal processing, and information theory, Geoffrey is a Fellow of the IEEE, the highest recognition afforded by the profession, and is the recipient of the 2001 KPMG High Tech Award. He has served on a number of National Academy of Engineering panels focusing on education and technology assessment and was recently appointed to the National Petroleum Council. He is currently a featured columnist for Design News, writing a regular editorial under the banner of “At Stake” which identifies emerging national and international issues requiring highly innovative solutions. He received his BSEE, MEE and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University.
David Chard, Dean, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development ,Southern Methodist University
David J. Chard, Ph.D. is the Leon Simmons Endowed Dean and founding dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Chard has been the principal investigator on numerous federal research projects including topics such as response to intervention (RTI), reading, reading comprehension instruction, and early childhood mathematics. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Oregon, he has been awarded state and federal research and training grants totaling over $10 million. Dr. Chard has published more than 90 articles, monographs, book chapters, and books on instructional interventions and modifications in mathematics, reading and expressive writing. He is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, the American Mathematical Association, a Past President for the Division for Research at the Council for Exceptional Children, and a member of numerous national and regional boards supporting high quality educational opportunities for all children. He is the author of numerous instructional programs on reading, early literacy intervention, language arts, and mathematics spanning K-12 education and has been a classroom teacher in California, Michigan, and in the U. S. Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa. Since his arrival at SMU, Dr. Chard has focused on making the Simmons School a national leader in research and development on education reform.
Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International
Recognizing the tremendous volunteer potential of university students, Anthony Shriver first inspired his own college peers to join him in expanding employment opportunities and social experiences for people with intellectual disabilities. That was in 1989. Today, through Shriver’s stewardship and entrepreneurial spirit, Best Buddies has grown into a leading nonprofit reaching six continents, all 50 United States and 50 countries. Anthony and his brother, Timothy Shriver (Chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics) have recently joined forces and aligned Best Buddies and the Special Olympics to create the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge. The event is aimed at encouraging greater acceptance and inclusion for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nearly 700,000 individuals have been directly and positively impacted by Best Buddies. Anthony holds degrees in both History and Theology from Georgetown University.
Joe Dowdle, Austin Musician
Raised in Arlington, Texas and a 2004 UT-Austin graduate, Musician Joe Dowdle describes himself as an artist who loves “the implications of philosophical questions. The answers are always simpler than you think,” he says. Joe is an alum of Survivor: Tocantins, having lasted eight episodes of the 2009 season that was taped in the Brazilian Highlands before a nasty staph infection on his left leg caused him to withdraw. A former commercial real estate broker, Joe is a pursuing a career as a performing and recording artist. Join Joe for a memorable performance at 6:30 p.m. at the Hillcrest Amphitheater at SMU Caruth Hall prior to the documentary American Idealist, The Story of Sargent Shriver at 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday, April 12
Richard L. Kauffman, Chairman of the Board, Levi Strauss & Co.
Richard Kauffman became Chairman of the Board of Levi Strauss in February of 2010. He also teaches renewable energy finance at the Yale School of Management. Richard recently stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer of Good Energies, after having built it into one of the largest private equity investors in renewable energy. He is a member of the board of The Brookings Institution and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Richard was previously a partner at Goldman Sachs, where he was chairman of the Global Financing Group and a member of the firm's Partnership Committee, Commitments Committee, and Investment Banking Division Operating Committee. During his long career, Richard has had broad experience in capital markets and corporate finance. Before joining Goldman Sachs, he was vice chairman of Morgan Stanley's Institutional Securities Business and co-head of its Banking Department. Richard earned a bachelor's degree in History from Stanford University, a master's degree in International Relations from Yale University, as well as a master's in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.
James "Chip" Cottrell, Jr., Partner, Deloitte
An experienced business executive with a unique volunteer focus on large-scale disaster relief efforts, Chip Cottrell is a partner in the Forensic & Dispute Services practice at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP. A forensic accountant, he has nearly 30 years of experience in investigating, building and implementing change and operations management programs for a wide range of companies and public sector organizations. Chip has also developed extensive international experience in a broad array of areas of disaster relief, including providing support for NGO’s, multi-laterals and public sector organizations. Team leader on Deloitte’s global Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief Support for the United Nations Development Program, he has also assisted U.S. government housing agencies on Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery as well as serving as a Partner Champion for Deloitte’s efforts in response to the earthquake in Haiti. Chip holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business from Lafayette College.
Mayra Hernandez, Director Corporate Responsibility, Grupo Financiero Banorte
Focusing on the combination of strategic branding, design, and sustainability, Mayra Hernandez has generated long-term partnerships with clients across a diverse range of industries. She has served as a trusted advisor to companies like Grupo Financiero Banorte, the third-largest bank in Mexico, Mission Foods and Gruma, the global leader in the manufacture of corn flour and tortilla products. Designer Christian Cota presented Mayra with the Fashion Group International’s 2009 Rising Star Award. Prior to her work with Banorte, Mayra founded the graphic design firm Entrelínea with clients in Mexico, Lating America and the U.S. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and conversational Italian. Mayra received a certificate in Special Studies in Administrative Science from Harvard and holds a bachelors in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City.
Bruce McNamer, President and Chief Executive Officer, TechnoServe
Bruce McNamer became President and CEO of TechnoServe in 2004. Since its founding in 1968, TechnoServe has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses in the developing world, benefiting millions of people in more than 40 countries. The non-profit empowers people to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for its corporate partnerships, which include relationships with Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Nestlé-Nespresso, Olam International, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Unilever, among others. Bruce has extensive first-hand knowledge about building start-ups, having been a senior executive/founder at Verified Identity Pass (Clear ID), Appfluent Technology, and Varsity Group. Formerly an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Bruce was a White House Fellow at the National Economic Council (1998-99) and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay (1990-92). Bruce has an AB from Harvard and a JD/MBA from Stanford.
John Mullins, Associate Professor of Management Practice in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, London Business School
A veteran of numerous entrepreneurial ventures, John Mullins teaches entrepreneurship and the management and financing of rapidly growing businesses at the London Business School. An award-winning instructor, John brings his extensive business background to the classroom and students. He has over 20 years of executive experience in high-growth ﬁrms, including two ventures he founded and one of which he took public. Since becoming a professor in 1992, John has published more than 30 articles and written several influential books. His latest book, Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model (Harvard Business Press, 2009) is described by The Financial Times as “...both a handbook for those already on the way to building a successful business as well as encouraging others to think they could do it.” John earned his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and PhD in Marketing from the University of Minnesota.
Ambassador John Simon, Founding Partner, Total Impact Advisors
Founding Partner and Managing Director at Total Impact Advisors (TIA), Ambassador Simon leads a financial advisory firm with a mission to advise both entrepreneurs and those seeking to maximize the social impact of their capital. John knows these opportunities first hand, having served — prior to founding TIA — for seven years in the U.S. government, including as Ambassador to the African Union and Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). At OPIC, John championed the Agency’s involvement in the social impact investment marketplace, spearheading efforts to finance housing in Africa, small and medium businesses in Liberia, a large scale renewable power plant in Liberia, and a series of African private equity funds that recorded extraordinary social results as well as strong financial performance. After leaving government service in 2008, John served as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development, which promotes private investment in low-income countries. John received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Moderator Cheryl Hall, Business columnist, The Dallas Morning News
Known for her wit and wisdom, Cheryl Hall is an iconic figure in the Dallas business community. A business reporter and columnist for The Dallas Morning News over the past three decades, she focuses her reporting on the people, places and connections making a difference in North Texas. A self-described "military brat," she lived in Japan, suburban Washington D.C. and Louisiana before moving to Dallas to attend SMU, where she received her BA degree in 1973. Fresh from a summer internship at The News, she was hired by the newspaper's business desk where she has remained ever since. "Knowing all the connections among key players," she says, is the greatest challenge she faces in covering business in North Texas. Considered tough but fair, Cheryl is a journalist who is not shy in declaring, "I can be both a bleeding heart liberal and a staunch conservative--sometimes over the same issue."
Dallas Camerata is a Dallas-based arts organization oriented towards collaborative interdisciplinary arts programming. Modeled on the Florentine Camerata of the Renaissance period, the Camerata Dallas presents innovative concert programs that, unlike traditional concerts, merge music, visual arts, dance, as well as informative lectures on Beaux-Arts related topics.
Wednesday, April 13
Robert "Bob" Freling, Executive Director, Solar Electric Light Fund
Executive Director of Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) since 1997, Bob Freling has helped numerous developing rural areas use renewable solar power to protect habitat, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and improve their standard of living. During his stewardship, SELF has completed solar energy projects in more than 15 countries, making SELF the leader among non-governmental organizations in realizing practical and cost-effective alternative energy solutions for rural villages. Before joining SELF, he served as a Chinese translator and interpreter for SELF on a 1,000-house solar electrification project in rural Gansu. Fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, and Indonesian, Bob holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from Yale University and an M.A. in Communications Management from the University of Southern California. He is recipient of the 2008 King Hussein Leadership Prize, which was presented by Queen Noor of Jordan at the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Awards.
Jeff Fulgham, Chief Sustainability Officer, GE Power & Water
A 27-year veteran of the water industry, Jeff Fulgham was appointed Chief Sustainability Officer and Ecomagination Leader for GE Power & Water in April, 2010. As the division’s sustainability initiative leader, he oversees the company's Ecomagination program, which seeks to identify the best ideas on how to improve our energy future. He also oversees water reuse and reduction initiatives as well as the company's Water for Humanity program. Jeff began his career in 1981 in industrial water treatment chemical sales at Nalco. In 1989, he joined Betz Laboratories as a field salesman in the Power Division, and then was promoted to Corporate Sales Manager for Power Generation in 1994. From 1998 to 2002, he held positions of increasing responsibility within the commercial and corporate sales organizations until the company was acquired by GE Water & Process Technologies.
Hunter L. Hunt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hunt Consolidated Energy
Hunter Hunt is President and CEO of Hunt Consolidated Energy, the holding company for Hunt Oil Company, Hunt Refining Company, and Hunt Power. Hunt Oil Company was founded in 1934 and is one of the largest privately-owned energy companies in the world. Hunt Power was established in 1998 to seek opportunities in the utility industry. Hunt Power created Sharyland Utilities, L.P., a Texas-based transmission and distribution electric utility, which was the first new regulated electric utility created in the U.S. in over 30 years. Sharyland Utilities is currently developing a 300-mile electric transmission project to bring wind power from the Panhandle region of Texas into the major metropolitan areas. Prior to joining Hunt Consolidated, Hunter worked with the investment bank Morgan Stanley from 1990 to 1998, both in corporate finance and commodity trading. Hunter graduated from SMU summa cum laude with degrees in both economics and political science.
Malcolm S. Morris, Chairman, Stewart Title Company
Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Living Water International
A veteran business executive with a heart for service, Malcolm Morris oversees financial stability and efficiency improvements of title insurer operations as Chairman of Stewart Information Services Corporation on the NYSE. Active in both state and national regulatory matters affecting the title insurance industry, Malcolm also serves as Chairman Emeritus of Living Water International, a Christian service organization that provides water for hospitals, schools, churches, orphanages, and villages in developing countries. He founded and currently serves as Chairman of the Millennium Water Alliance, a collective of U.S. non-profit organizations with a common goal of achieving clean water to 500 million people by the year 2015. Malcolm is a member of the Houston Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, and is a fellow of the Houston and American Bar Foundations. He holds a BBA from SMU. He attended law school at SMU. He transferred to Austin, Texas to work for Senator Charlie Wilson and earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Texas.
Peter Thum, Founder, Ethos Water and Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fonderie47
Peter Thum is Co-founder and CEO of Fonderie47, a social venture addressing assault rifle proliferation in Africa. He is also the Founder of Ethos Water and the non-profit Giving Water. Peter first had the idea for Ethos in 2001 while working in South Africa with McKinsey & Company, where he observed the water crisis firsthand. In 2002, he left McKinsey to pursue his vision to help address the world water crisis and help children access clean water. Over the next six years, Peter led Ethos to become a national brand in the US and raise more than $6 million in humanitarian water grants and helped over 420,000 people worldwide. In 2005, Ethos was acquired by Starbucks. Peter stayed through 2008, managing Ethos and serving as a Director of the Starbucks Foundation. Peter holds a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in Government from Claremont McKenna College.
Moderator Jeffrey Ball, Environmental Editor, The Wall Street Journal
Based in the Wall Street Journal's Dallas bureau, Jeff Ball’s reporting focuses on the economic viability of changing the way society consumes fossil fuels. He spent 2009 writing “Power Shift”, a recurring column in the Wall Street Journal about the changing energy and environmental landscape that won an honorable mention in the National Press Foundation's 2009 Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing. Jeff has a decade of experience writing about energy and the environment for the paper, having covered the auto industry from the Journal's Detroit bureau and the oil industry from the Dallas bureau. He is a host of ECO:nomics, the Journal's annual conference on energy and the environment, and has appeared on PBS, NPR, CNN and the BBC, among other networks. Jeff is also a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in History.
Thursday, April 14
Vincent Cochetel, United States and Caribbean Representative, UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR)
Based in Washington, D.C., Vincent Cochetel is the U.S. and Caribbean Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Vincent joined the UNHCR in 1986, initially working as a legal/protection officer in various duty stations. As manager of the UNHCR field offices in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Vincent participated in several emergency missions in Asia, West Africa and Europe (North Caucasus). In 2002, he was appointed Director of the Investigation Unit of the Inspector General’s Office at the UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. Vincent became Deputy Director of the UNHCR’s Division of International Protection Services in 2005, and was appointed Director of the Resettlement Service in 2006. Before joining the UNHCR, Vincent worked for two years with the European Commission of the European Communities and as legal advisor for the European Court of Human Rights. He graduated from the Law Faculty of Tours (France), Paris II University, and Paris XI University.
Moderator Konstantin Kakaes, Journalist
Konstantin Kakaes studied physics at Harvard University. He then moved to London to cover science and technology for The Economist from 2002 to 2005. He then moved to Mexico City to be The Economist’s bureau chief there, covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. He covered politics, the economy, business and culture throughout the region. In 2009, he left The Economist to become a journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied the origin of the computer and innovation policy. In the fall of 2010 he was a fellow of the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, where he studied the governance of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation. He is currently a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC, where he has written for the Washington Post and The Daily, among other publications.
Ronald Omyonga, Co-founder, HabitHut
Ronald Omyonga is a private consultant in Nairobi, Kenya working on various projects for such organizations as UNHABITAT, Practical Action, and Compassion International in a range of areas from community-led design and planning to training of program staff in all aspects of project management. He is one of the partners behind the HabiHut, a low-cost housing unit designed for slum residents, displaced refugee populations and victims of natural disasters. Prior to starting his consulting company, Ronald worked for several NGOs including HELP International, TechnoServe, and Umande Trust. He is the initiator of the Khwisero Primary Schools Water and Sanitation project implemented by Engineers Without Borders student cahpater at Montana State University aimed at providing clean water and improved sanitation to 57 primary schools in his native Khwisero District. He also initiated the partnership between the schools of architecture at Montana State University and his former university Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology aimed at developing housing solutions for the urban housing crisis in Kenya. Ronald delivered the Martin Luther King Jnr Lecture at Montana State University in 2009 entitled Our Chance at History highlighting the obligations of the current generation to humanity. Ronald delivered the inaugural lecture for the Hunter & Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering entitled “Design: A Holistic Solution to Housing.” He received his degree in Architecture from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and a post-graduate certificate in Gender and Development from the University of Wales.
Sergio Palleroni, Architect and Professor, Portland State University
A leader in socially conscious architecture for the past two decades, Sergio Palleroni is Co-founder and Director of the BaSiC Initiative (Building Sustainable Communities) and a Professor and Fellow of the new Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices at Portland State University. In 1995, while a professor at the University of Washington, he co-founded the BaSiC Initiative with Professor David Riley to support the service learning work they had been doing with students in Mexico and Central America. Sergio has worked on housing and community development programs in the developing world since the 1970's with non-profit, governmental, and international development and relief agencies, such as the United Nations and the World Bank. He has also consulted with the governments of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, India, and Taiwan. His teaching and design efforts on behalf of underserved communities have received numerous awards. Sergio earned his bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon and his master’s in History Theory & Criticism from MIT.
Alejandro Rodal, Executive President, Altta Homes
As the Executive President of Altta Homes, a subsidiary of the Sadasi Group, Alejandro leads a staff of 500. With a history of 35 years and over 200,000 homes built, the Sadasi Group is among the largest real estate developers in Mexico, with a well-recognized philosophy of creating large-scale, integrally designed projects – the largest of which contains upwards of 75,000 homes and includes community schools, commercial areas, shopping malls, assisted living facilities, libraries, sport facilities and industrial land. Sadasi has built more than 35 affordable and middle income subdivisions in 12 cities in Mexico. Prior to joining Altta, Alejandro was a consultant with McKinsey & Company. He has an MBA from The University of Chicago and an MIS degree with high honors from the Monterrey Technological Institute.
Rafael Smith, Entrepreneur and Designer, Uber Shelter
For his undergraduate thesis in the industrial design program at Purdue University, Rafael Smith designed the Über Shelter, an emergency housing unit that looks like a larger gray gurney when dismantled. But the compact pile of aluminum unfolds into a two-story home, complete with lights, stove, porch and a small refrigerator. Each shelter has the capacity to house two families, which could reduce the size of refugee camps and other temporary housing spaces like those established in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina. Smith is currently testing two Uber Shelters in Haiti. While on a vacation in Manila during the summer before he began the project, Smith was shocked by the poverty he observed there. He began researching architecture of shelters around the world, and he consulted with doctors, engineers and even a Sudanese refugee who described camp conditions.The shelter, which can be reassembled with just a few tools, provides victims with personal living space and can be collapsed for ease in transportation. It’s also made from recyclable and reusable materials. Once a crisis is resolved, the shelters can be cleaned out, packed up, and shipped to the next location that needs them.