Jim Piro, retired President and CEO - Portland General Electric
Jim Piro is the retired president and CEO of Portland General Electric, Oregon’s largest utility company. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University in 1974, and began his 43-year career in the energy industry as a civil engineer with Pacific Gas and Electric, before transitioning to Portland General Electric in 1980. From that point on, Mr. Piro worked his way up through the organization, first as an engineer, which led to higher-management positions, including a promotion to CFO in 2000, before assuming the president and CEO roles in 2009. Under his leadership, Portland General Electric gained a reputation for safety, operational excellence, and continued growth, as well as an increased commitment to renewable energy solutions. Portland General Electric now serves over 872,000 customers in 51 cities and employs more than 2,900 people.
Mr. Piro also currently serves as chair for the STEM Investment Council for the state of Oregon, which is tasked with developing and overseeing a long-term strategy to increase proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics among Oregon students to help them pursue future STEM career pathways. In 2018, he was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering Hall of Fame, which honors Oregon State engineering alumni who have made sustained and meritorious contributions throughout their careers.
Tracy Mack-Askew, managing director of HD vocational platform development - Daimler Trucks North America
"'Minding' Your Business: Leading Yourself and Others with Purpose"
Tracy Mack-Askew is the Managing Director of HD Vocational Platform Development at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), a $15B heavy duty, class 6-8 OEM truck and tractor manufacturer. Mack-Askew previously served as the Vice President of Engineering for Thomas Built Buses OEM subsidiary of DTNA. Prior to joining DTNA, she called General Motors Company home, starting out as Project and Design Engineer before becoming the Vehicle Line Director of the Chevrolet Malibu, and then Chief Interior Engineer for midsize crossovers and Global Commodity Leader. Mack-Askew has led engineering, purchasing, and manufacturing teams to new heights in performance, growth, profitability, and transition, while building a reputation for vision, quality, and servant leadership.
Mack-Askew received a Master’s Degree in Management from Harvard University, A Master’s Degree in Engineering from Purdue University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a published author, holds a patent in automotive lighting, and is a loving wife and mother to three amazing children.
Brad Hermanson, Manager, Environmental Sciences and Engineering - Hart Crowser, Inc.
Brad Hermanson, PE, PMP is a consultant and project manager in Portland, Oregon. He has a BS in chemical engineering and a MS in civil/environmental engineering, both from Oregon State University, and a MBA from the University of Oregon. He is a licensed professional engineer in Chemical and Environmental Engineering and is certified by the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®.
Brad is Company Officer, Manager of the 40-member Environmental Sciences and Engineering Business Unit and also Manager of the Portland Office for Hart Crowser. Hart Crowser is a 120-member engineering consulting firm concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and Hawai’i. Previously Brad was Company Director of Project Delivery and Quality and member of the Board of Directors for a 550-person consulting engineering firm with a combined total active project revenue of over $1/3 billion.
Brad is experienced in organizational and individual improvement. He is an enthusiastic and entertaining speaker. He has developed and delivered half- to multi-day training programs, spoken at international conferences, and delivered training programs to global audiences of over 700 listeners.
Tracy Drain, Deputy Chief Engineer: Juno Mission - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
"Navigating 'Space': Leadership When Things Go Wrong"
In this session, Tracy Drain, the Deputy Project System Engineer for Mission Juno to Jupiter, will share leadership perspectives from her personal life experiences and incredible work at NASA. With over 18 years of experience leading to successfully align the people working across the myriad systems of a space mission in each area of design, testing, and operation, Drain has worked on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, the Kepler planet hunting mission, the Juno mission to Jupiter, and now Psyche - mission to visit the largest metal asteroid in our Solar System!
As the first person in her immediate family to earn a college degree, Tracy Drain graduated Summa Cum Laude in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky and continued on to complete a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in mechanical engineering. After completing four rotations as an engineering co-op student at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia while in school, she graduated and was hired directly into NASA full-time working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she has been on an accelerated career trajectory ever since.
Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Involvement for Civic Engagement & Sustainability - Oregon State University
"The Grand Challenges and Social Change Model of Leadership"
Emily’s professional interests are sustainability education, civic engagement, critical community-engaged learning, experiential education, and transformative learning. She has worked in Student Affairs since 2006 and has held positions in the areas of residence life, first year programs, civic engagement/service-learning, and sustainability. She has managed the Center for Civic Engagement at OSU since 2011.
Emily was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Susquehanna University and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Policy (Leadership for Sustainability Education) from Portland State University.
As an ardent supporter of experiential, place-based education, Emily's work is centered on facilitating student’s leadership development for working toward a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Striving to motivate students around issues of social and environmental justice is both hugely rewarding for Emily and one of her primary professional passions. Emily enjoys building stronger collaborations with campus and community partners. She focuses her work on creating space for students to identify where their specific talents, energy, and passions meet the world's needs.
Ben Nader, founder - Butterfleye, Inc.
"EntrepreLeadership in Artificial Intelligence"
Ben is vice president and general manager of the Butterfleye group at Ooma. Previously Ben was the founder and CEO of Butterfleye, which introduced a smart video camera for home monitoring, built on a platform of innovative imaging, video, and audio technology powered by machine learning and advanced cloud-based intelligence. He led Butterfleye from the start, through shipment of thousands of products globally, securing multiple round of funding from notable Silicon Valley institutions and angel investors, through the acquisition by Ooma in December 2017.
Prior to Ooma and Butterfleye, Ben held various engineering and product management roles at Texas Instruments, Maxim Integrated Products, Intel and InFocus. He has been recognized as a “Change Agent” by USA Today, and has written and published technical articles on audio and video engineering throughout his career.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Oregon State University, where he was recently the graduation speaker for the college of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and was previously named to OSU’s Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers.
Sue Galatz, Retired Business Director - NikeID at Nike.
"Engineering YOUR Path"
Sue Galatz recently retired from Nike. While there, she served in various Business Director roles that spanned disciplines and fields. Before joining Nike, Galatz gained experience in directing global supply chain, engineering management, and corporate strategy at Mentor Graphics as well as Tektronix. She also has experience working as a business development consultant with numerous Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and education institutions (examples include: Ford, IBM, FedEx, BMW, Nordstrom, Calpine, the US Navy, the State of Oregon, and the University of Nebraska). Galatz leverages strong communications and relationship building skills to bring great ideas to life. She is adept at making innovative ideas real, and making the complicated simple. She enjoys hiking, cycling, and other outdoor sports, along with art, travel, and community service.Galatz holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University, a Master’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Portland, and a certification in Japanese from Shibusawa International School in Fukaya Japan.
Ross McLaughlin, General Manager, Stoneridge Custom Development
"Design Thinking for Grand Challenges"
Ross McLaughlin has traversed an exceedingly diverse professional career, adding value and producing results across multiple industries—even earning multiple utility patents. After graduating with an Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering degree from OSU, McLaughlin went to work for Tektronix, designing and implementing automated assembly systems for electronics manufacturing. His performance enabled a unique technical exchange experience, on an ex-patriot assignment in Japan. He later transitioned to a role at Nike as Senior Product Development Manager where he spent nearly a decade leading teams to develop compelling product solutions. From Nike, McLaughlin accepted the challenge of helping grow entrepreneurial ventures Qsent and then Auctionpay. Inc. He now runs a business as General Manager for Stoneridge Custome Development, building luxury homes in the Portland area.
Lou Radja, Co-Founder and Executive Director, EduCongo
As an International Speaker, Lou Radja’s mission is to uplift, educate and inspire his audience to live up to their greatness. Lou has motivated and challenged audiences worldwide to shake off disempowering beliefs and live up to their full human potential.
Lou has engaged global citizens from all over the world on topics such as: Leadership, Humanitarianism, Following Your Dream, Diversity, Personal Accountability, and Education. Living by the global metaphor that “life’s a gift”, Lou’s powerful message is built on gratitude.
Lou is Co-Founder and Executive Director of EduCongo, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing funding and support for the schooling of underprivileged children of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before establishing EduCongo, Lou developed culturally specific curriculum and worked to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities for African Americans in Oregon as a member of the African American Health Coalition, Inc.
Lou has a strong passion for cross-cultural learning and intercultural communication. He graduated from Portland State University with a degree in International Affairs, focusing on issues related to African development. Before moving to America, he lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now he is invested on both sides of the Atlantic. Lou is an active Rotarian with the Portland Pearl Rotary Club, a member of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. In addition to English, he's fluent in French and Swahili.