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CONNECTIONS™ Speaker Biographies

Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113. Submit to Speak.


Dr. Melissa Gregg Dr. Melissa Gregg, Director of Research for Intel Smart Home, Intel Corp.

Melissa is an international expert in the field of gender studies, cultural studies and affect theory and a commentator on the future of work. She is the author of several books, including Work’s Intimacy (2011), The Affect Theory Reader (2010), and Counterproductive: Time Management after the Organization (coming in 2018).

After a career in academia, Melissa joined Intel in 2013 to co-direct an academic center for social computing. She is currently a Principal Engineer and Research Director in the Intel’s Connected Home and Commercial Client Division. Her research informs investments and user experience requirements across Smart Home and Business Client platforms. She is part of the core team preparing the company for the shift to ambient computing. Her research on coworking in Asia, Europe, the US and Australia has been critical for Intel’s future office vision, making workplace transformation efforts relevant for the growing gig economy.

Miles Kingston Miles Kingston, General Manager, Smart Home Group, Intel Corporation

Miles Kingston is the General Manager of the Smart Home Group at Intel Corporation. He leads the strategy and collaboration of product development for smart home technologies from multiple business units.
Kingston joined Intel in 2000 as a supply chain planner.  Over the next five years, he led various teams before moving into the Desktop Platform Group in 2005 as a product manager.  Kingston managed dozens of central processing unit (CPU) product families and was promoted to lead the product management team in 2010, and became the Director of Strategic Marketing for desktop platforms in 2011.  In 2015, Kingston was promoted to General Manager of the Consumer Desktop PC segment where he began focusing heavily on the smart home market.  In June of 2016, Kingston became exclusively focused on Smart Home and was named the General Manager of the Smart Home Group at Intel.
Kingston holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Tufts University, and a master of business administration degree from Portland State University.  Kingston has completed several executive education programs, including the Design Thinking Boot Camp at Stanford University’s D-School.

Yoon Lee Yoon Lee, SVP, Head of Product Innovation Team and Head of Content Services, Samsung

Patti Loyack Patti Loyack, Voice President, IP Services, Comcast Cable

Patti Loyack Vice President, IP Services, Comcast Cable Patti Loyack is responsible for launching next generation residential service offerings in Comcast's rapidly growing Internet and Communications businesses. She manages all aspects of the product life cycle from business development to launch in addition to analysis and enhancement to ensure growth. She has over 16 years of experience in the cable and telecommunications industry. Previously, Patti served in a variety of leadership positions at Comcast, including Vice President of Communications. She oversaw the growth of Xfinity Communications, including Xfinity Voice, the nation's fourth largest residential phone service provider with more than 11 million customers. Under her leadership, Comcast redefined its voice product into a multimedia communications service. She played an integral role in the launch of the Xfinity Connect mobile app, which provides customers access to Comcast.net email, readable voicemail, and Voice 2go, a suite of mobile features such as the ability to use up to four virtual phone numbers and to make and receive calls and texts for free from a device connected to WiFi. Before joining Comcast in 2001, Patti was a consultant for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. She focused on strategic planning, supply chain optimization, and business process re-engineering for the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences practice. In 2014, Patti received the 40 Under 40 award from Multichannel News. In 2015, she graduated from the Cable Executive Management program at Harvard Business School sponsored by the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM). Patti also attended the Comcast Women in Leadership program at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. Additionally, she is a member of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). Patti holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science from Saint Joseph's University. She resides in Center City Philadelphia.

Mark Spates Mark Spates, Product Lead for Smart Home, Google

Mark is the product lead for Smart Home and IoT capabilities across Google Assistant and Google Home. Mark is also the founder iotlist.co, a platform for discovering IoT products. Prior to joining Google, Mark was Head of Connected Home Platform at Logitech.

Balaji Sridharan Balaji Sridharan, Vice President, IoT & M2M, T-Mobile

Balaji Sridharan is currently VP of IoT & M2M at T-Mobile US, Inc. In his current role, he heads up IoT related efforts, including sales, solutions and marketing, on both the business and consumer side. Prior to his current role, Balaji ran the Corporate Strategy & Analysis group at T-Mobile during which he championed an effort to develop a comprehensive strategy for T-Mobile to enter the IoT market. Before his career at T-Mobile, he spent 4 years as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company focused on technology & telecom clients. Earlier on in his career, Balaji worked at a couple of startup companies in the technology space pioneering some of the early innovations in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).
Balaji has an MBA from Wharton, an MS in Manufacturing Engineering from UCLA and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, India.


Autumn Braswell Autumn Braswell, COO, iQor
Twitter ID: @iQor

Autumn Braswell, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Global Solutions, Marketing and LinQ, has over 15 years of experience in the aftermarket services and manufacturing industry. From 2009-2012 she led strategic growth for the Aftermarket Services division tasked with several important objectives for the division's profitability and growth. In 2012 Braswell moved over to lead strategic development for diversified manufacturing, then moved into the Medical Division after their acquisition of Nypro in 2013. After iQor's acquisition of Jabil's Aftermarket Services in 2014, Braswell became the COO of Global Solutions, Marketing and LinQ. She obtained her Bachelor's of Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Kentucky, and completed her MBA in 2005.

Rob Conant Rob Conant, CEO, Cirrent
Twitter ID: @cirrent

Rob Conant started Cirrent to make it easy for everyone to use connected products. He has a long history in the Internet of Things and connected products. Rob was a pioneer in the Internet of Things as a co-founder of Dust Networks in 2002 where he ran sales and marketing for the company and set the product direction as the company enabled a new market for wireless connected products in the industrial markets. After Dust, Rob joined Trilliant to bring the benefit of connected products to the energy industry, where he delivered smart meters and energy management to millions of customers across the US, Europe, and Asia. Rob first ran the engineering team to ensure the company had market-leading products, then took the position of Chief Marketing Officer to drive the company’s growth. Rob’s deep technical background and business orientation gives him a unique perspective on the interactions between business models, technology, and consumers. Rob has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Mike Hackett Mike Hackett, Co-founder and SVP, Qolsys

Morgan Hertel Morgan Hertel, Vice President of Technology & Innovation, Rapid Response Monitoring

Jim Hunter Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist, Greenwave Systems
Twitter ID: @theiotguru

Jim Hunter is the Chief Scientist and Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, where he is responsible for oversight of technology, architecture and innovation of the AXON Platform®. As Technology Evangelist, Jim promotes the Greenwave platform and technology message through industry engagement. Prior to joining Greenwave Systems, Jim was with Motorola Mobility (a division of Google) where he led the architecture and strategy for driving the future of the smart, connected home. During this time, Jim invented several key patents and served on several patent boards mentoring other inventors. In December 2010, Jim joined Motorola Mobility through the acquisition of 4Home, a company he founded and served as CTO and Chief Architect. Earlier in his career, Jim founded Premise Systems, the first IP-based connected home platform company, which was acquired by Motorola in 2003. Jim's specialties include Software Architecture, User Interface Design and Development and Intellectual Property Development. Jim is a passionate inventor and futurist, inventing a number of patents across a broad spectrum, including data algorithms, user interaction, contextual data and device management. Prior to the advent of the connected home, Jim served in the US Navy as a Nuclear Engineer and Nuclear Certified Instructor.

Joe Liu Joe Liu, CEO, MivaTek / Home8

Joe Liu currently leads strategy and operations at MivaTek, a smart home and healthcare service company. MivaTek changes the way people protect their loved ones, property, and possessions with solutions that integrate connected devices, cloud backup, and complete control from a single mobile app. The name MivaTek, shorthand for “Mobile Interactive Video Assurance Technology,” alludes to the mobile-enabled, video-integrated focus at the heart of MivaTek’s core product offerings.

Despite MivaTek’s status as a Silicon Valley startup, MivaTek products and solutions are the product of five years of R&D.

Prior to launching MivaTek in 2015, Liu co-founded and led California-based Oplink Communications, Inc., an optical network company. When Koch Industries/Molex acquired Oplink Communications in 2014, Liu led a team of investors and purchased the Oplink Connected portfolio back from Koch/Molex and used this technology to power MivaTek solutions.

Liu’s background includes engineering and serial entrepreneurship. After earning his Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering at California State University, Chico, he worked for companies including Mostek Semiconductor, Motorola Semiconductor, and National Semi.

Alton Martin Alton Martin, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Trusource Labs
Twitter ID: @altonmartin

For over 25 years, Alton Martin has been a globally-recognized expert in defining performance standards & metrics within service operations. In July 2013, he co-founded Trusource Labs, a contact center focused on supporting products and services that are complex, risky, or both. In 4.5 years, the company has grown rapidly to over 500 employees worldwide and has supported over 20 leading-edge Smart Home companies. Prior to founding Trusource Labs, he helped launch COPC Inc., a leading contact center consultancy and training organization. He led their international expansion initiatives, as well as the development of the COPC-2000 Vendor Management Organization Standard. He served as CEO until June 2009, when he started another consultancy firm focused on applying Vested Outsourcing techniques in outsourced service operations. He has worked with a number of leading organizations throughout his career, including Accenture, American Express, Apple, CapitalOne, Convergys, Dell, DirecTV, Microsoft and others in over 40 countries.

Dr. Chris Mitchell Dr. Chris Mitchell, CEO and Founder, Audio Analytic
Twitter ID: @audioanalytic

Dr. Chris Mitchell is the CEO of Audio Analytic, which he founded in 2010. As well as the holder of multiple patents, Chris is an internationally published author, an associate lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and an accomplished public speaker. Following the completion of his PhD in sound information systems and signal processing, Chris received a prestigious Kauffman/NCGE Fellowship to investigate the commercial implications of his research, which included attending Harvard Business School and a short spell with Cisco Systems in San Jose, USA. Audio Analytic was founded during his fellowship and Chris has gone on to guide the company through funding rounds and now spends his time setting the overall direction and strategy for the company.

Duane Paulson Duane Paulson, VP - Strategic Partnerships, Fing
Twitter ID: @duanepaulson

Duane Paulson is a 20-year veteran of the security, home automation and consumer electronics industries. As vice president for strategic partnerships at Fing, Paulson leads the company's partner strategy and works with third parties to implement Fing's network security, network performance, and parental controls solution on a white-label basis. Paulson sees the convergence of physical and data security as one of the next big trends in the connected home market. For the past two decades, Paulson has served in executive management, business development and marketing roles for some of the best-known brands in security and home control. He sits on several industry boards and is a frequent speaker at various international connected home and security symposiums.

Roel Peeters Roel Peeters, CEO, Roost Labs

Aditya Pendyala Aditya Pendyala, Co-Founder | VP Growth, mnubo
Twitter ID: @mnubo

Adi is passionate about solving complex business challenges. He adapts a customer-centric approach to deriving synergies and he leads the products, partnerships, business development and marketing initiatives at mnubo. He strongly believes in building relationships that maximize benefits for all partners. Adi loves to work closely with customers and the development team to transform and adapt technology into business value solutions. Adi has a B. Eng in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and an MBA (Honors) from John Molson School of Business.

Oren Schetrit Oren Schetrit, VP of Product, Whisker Labs

Mike Wajsgras Mike Wajsgras, Director of Channel Development, Constellation

As director, Channel Development, Wajsgras is responsible for the development of product partnerships and channel relationships for Constellation’s Mass Markets business.

Prior to joining Constellation, Mike spent over 25 years in the communications and technology industries with companies such as MCI, Qwest, Nextel, and Salesforce.com in a variety of management roles including business development, marketing, finance and accounting.  He began his career as an auditor with Ernst & Young. Mike received both a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Jeff Weiner Jeff Weiner, VP, Product, Marketing and Sales, Mersoft
Twitter ID: @jeffw3000

Jeff Weiner is the VP of Product, Marketing and Sales for the Networks division at Mersoft Corporation based in Kansas City, USA. He is responsible for developing new business for Mersoft's line of innovative real-time communications technologies across several market verticals. With leadership roles in product marketing, strategy, sales and software engineering, Jeff has successfully brought multiple technology products to market in both large and small companies. Jeff has a BS in Finance and Information Systems from Shippensburg University and a MS in Information Systems from The American University in Washington, D.C. He enjoys time with his family, cycling, restoring his '76 Corvette and is a passionate advocate for both Kansas City and the arts. 

Joe Wodark Joe Wodark, AVP, IoT Telematics, Verisk Analytics

Richard Wolpert Richard Wolpert, Co-Founder & CEO, HelloTech

Richard Wolpert, a veteran entrepreneur and a pioneer in the fields of consumer technology, digital media and entertainment, has over 30 years of extensive experience as an executive and as an investor. Wolpert holds an impressive and highly diverse career having worked for companies such as Apple as an early software engineer alongside Steve Jobs and for Walt Disney as the President of Disney Online. He's also launched a series of innovative startups such as AudioMill and After Hours Software, both of which were successfully acquired. Wolpert is currently co-founder and CEO of HelloTech, an on-demand, in-home tech support service company that is changing the way consumers get help with their tech devices. HelloTech offers access to a national workforce of vetted, background checked and hand-selected tech agents that can solve almost any technology need from consolidating the smart home to upgrading and installing wifi, mounting TV's, upgrading wifi capabilities and much more. In addition to HelloTech, Wolpert currently serves as an investment advisor at Accel Partners, and investment partner at LA-based accelerator Amplify.la. Wolpert has also invested in more than 50 companies such as AdECN, AMG, AndroMedia, AudioMill, Data Sage, GameFly, GameSpy, Jukin Media, Kongregate, Laurel & Wolf, Mob.ly, Scopely, Scour.net, MobCrush, People Support, Smilebox, Sometrics, Three Rings, Universal Audio and more.


Dina Abdelrazik Dina Abdelrazik, Research Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @DinaAtParks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

Dina Abdelrazik joined Parks Associates in 2016 as a part of the Consumer Analytics research team. She currently studies market trends and consumer behavior, focused in emerging technology products and services.

Dina earned her MS in Marketing, with a concentration in Marketing Analytics, from the University of Texas at Dallas and a BA in Advertising from Southern Methodist University.

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Kristen Hanich Kristen Hanich, Researcher, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @KristenAtParks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

Kristen Hanich studies digital and connected health and mobile trends across the globe. Kristen is a trained anthropologist with skills in ethnography, development/programming, and geoanalytics. She has a background in the areas of health behavior and epidemiology.

Kristen is completing her Master's thesis for a duel anthropology and public health degree between the Universities of North Texas in Denton and Fort Worth. She earned her B.Sc. in health at the University of Texas at San Antonio and has a graduate certificate in GIS.

Jennifer Kent Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @JenniferMKent
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

As Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Jennifer manages Parks Associates' process for producing high-quality, relevant, and meaningful research. She acts as an internal advocate for Parks Associates clients and leads the company’s efforts at conceptualizing and implementing digestible, relevant research presented in an optimal manner. Jennifer is always looking at the most effective ways to provide research to Parks Associates clients.

Since joining Parks Associates in 2009, Jennifer has worked on the mobile and health research team, specializing in the connected health, mobile payment, and connected car markets, as well as the consumer research team, analyzing consumer data related to the connected home and consumer electronics markets.

Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in religion, politics, and society and an M.A. in church-state studies from Baylor University. She earned her B.A. in politics from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Industry Expertise: Digital Health Products and Services, Portable and Mobile Access Platforms and Applications

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Tom Kerber Tom Kerber, Director, IoT Strategy, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @TomAKerber
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Tom leads Parks Associates research in the areas of home controls, energy management, and home networks. Tom authors numerous reports on energy management and home controls covering the evolution of technology, partnership opportunities, and new business models. Tom’s work at Parks Associates includes managing consumer surveys that track trends and market opportunities and enable insightful evidence-based forecasting for energy, security, and home controls. Tom speaks frequently at key industry events, and his views are sought out by national press organizations and publications.

Tom has done extensive consulting with electric utilities operating in a variety of regulator structures and numerous firms within the smart home ecosystem. Recent utility engagements include defining the home area network roadmap for a California IOU, updating the consumer engagement strategy for a traditional vertically integrated IOU, providing consumer and industry analysis to refine EE and DR programs for an IOU in a restructured market, and providing insights on the evolution of the connected home for a large Midwest IOU. Tom has also led projects for many Fortune 500 companies, helping clients refine smart home strategies, develop scenarios of the future of the smart home market, enhance product roadmaps, and refine specific product features.

Prior to working at Parks Associates, Tom worked as director of engineering and director of product management in multiple industries. Tom began his career in the U.S. Navy nuclear power program on submarines. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in systems engineering and a master's in software engineering from the University of Texas.

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Elizabeth Parks Elizabeth Parks, Senior Vice President, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @elizparks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

As Senior Vice President, Elizabeth leads the marketing team and supports the research and operations teams. Elizabeth manages and directs the integrated strategic communications plan for Parks Associates, including advertising, public relations, and marketing campaigns for research and events hosted by Parks Associates. Elizabeth is the key organizer for all of Parks Associates' events, including CONNECTIONS™. She also supports Parks Associates' Business Development Team with prospective client searches, overall support, and maintenance of Parks Associates' databases.

Elizabeth joined Parks Associates on a full-time basis in 1998 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in psychology.

Brad Russell Brad Russell, Research Director, Connected Home, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @bradrusselltech
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Brad Russell explores leading-edge issues in connected consumer electronics, robotics, IoT data privacy and security, and machine vision applications. He has a background in marketing communications, technology startups, and online media. Brad balances the art and science of marketing research to generate insights that lead to more astute business decision making and value-generating practices.

Brad received his BS degree in advertising and marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. He also earned MDiv and DMin degrees from two leading seminaries with concentrations in ethics and cross-cultural leadership.

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Patrice Samuels Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @PatriceatParks
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Patrice Samuels studies digital home technical support services across global markets, with a focus on market trends, business models, and provider strategies. In addition to exploring events and disruptions in the technical support space, she examines pay-TV and broadband services in North America and Europe, digital media, and digital music services.

Patrice earned her MBA from Texas A&M University at College Station and BSc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Television Services, Broadband Services, Technical Support Services, International Markets, Digital Music

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Brett Sappington Brett Sappington, Sr. Director, Research, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @BrettsView
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

As a senior director of research at Parks Associates, Brett Sappington leads Parks Associates services research team, including access and entertainment services, digital media, OTT, cloud media, video gaming, and technical support services. Brett is an expert in worldwide television and broadband services. His personal research focuses on the activities and trends among operators and the market forces affecting their businesses. Brett is a regular speaker and moderator at international industry events.

Brett has spent over eighteen years in the industry as an analyst, executive manager, and entrepreneur. Previously, he founded and served as vice president for Teligy, a software company specializing in software for wired and wireless communications systems. Brett established new divisions for networking and audio/multimedia software for Intelligraphics. He has also been involved in the development and marketing of early-market products for 802.11 wireless networking, VoIP, and other technologies.

Brett holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in high-tech marketing and a BA in physics from Baylor University.

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: International Digital Living Trends, Television Services (IPTV, cable, satellite/DTH, terrestrial/DTT), Broadband Services, Multiscreen Services, Value-added Services, Cloud-based Consumer Services, Set-top Boxes, Residential Gateways, Electronic Program Guides, Video Search and Recommendation, Video Metadata, Middleware, Technical Support Services

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Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113.