Former Global Vice President of Enterprise Business Improvement & Productivity
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President & CEO - Enterprise Automation & Transformation, AI, ML, RPA, RFID, OPEX, Rapid Business Recovery & Turnaround
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Global Head of the RPA & Conversational AI (Chatbot) CoEs
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VP of Research and Development & Technology Transformation
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Dr. Ash Pahwa
Educator, author, entrepreneur, and technology visionary
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AVP Lean Management- Operational Effectiveness
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Vice President – Enterprise Project Management Office & Strategic Initiatives
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Senior Vice President Product
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Director of Quality & Transformation
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Chief Automation Officer, Data Science Executive & Digital Transformation Leader
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Senior Solutions Architect
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Chief Technology Officer
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Dr Marlene Kolodziej
Vice President, Centralized Services
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Senior Director Transformation and R&D
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José Pires serves as the Global Excellence & Innovation (E&I) Leader for Andeavor Corporation, where he oversees the global identification, prioritization and execution of mission critical business improvements and innovations that add value to the company, business partners and external clients in multiple markets.
Prior to his current role, Pires held Excellence and Innovation leadership positions in large, global companies in the electronics (Sony), semiconductor (Cymer-ASML), food (Nestlé) and infrastructure (Black & Veatch) industries. Throughout his career, Pires developed and refined E&I as an award winning program for innovation, leadership development, strategy execution and value creation globally.
Pires is an advisory board leader and keynote speaker for several global conferences on innovation, operational excellence, leadership development, strategy execution, business transformation, customer engagement and growth acceleration.
He holds a Bachelor in Engineering Physics from the University of Kansas and a Master in Business Administration focused in Investment Banking and Entrepreneurship from the University of San Diego.
Donald Kuk is an innovative, multiple industry award winning Global Transformation, Cognitive Automation and Operational Excellence Senior Executive with 20 plus years of delivering record setting top line growth, customer and employee satisfaction, and margin improvement leading rapid Enterprise Transformation and Intelligent Automation for the world’s most highly regarded manufacturing, retail and centralbanking, insurance, technology, health care and health sciences industry leaders.
Widely published successes include advanced metrics, analysis, strategy, mission, vision, opportunity identification, milestones, budget and roadmap development, multi-tiered communication, transformation and improvement program management, training, change and performance management, and results verification.
Named the “Enterprise Whisperer” by Fortune Magazine, Donald is a frequent invited Conference Chairperson, Keynote Speaker, Session Chairman and Tutorial Presenter at CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, Operational Excellence and Enterprise Strategy events worldwide.
Rajesh currently heads the RPA & Conversational AI (Chatbot) CoEs at Nokia. He is responsible for globally implementing these technologies to deliver extreme automation benefits. Prior to this role, Rajesh was heading Platforms/Automation for HCL’s Business Services Division, where he delivered Automation solutions to multiple large global companies.
Rajesh brings strategic and operational expertise in Technology & Process led Transformation, Automation, Outsourcing and Emerging Technologies, and has held global leadership positions in these areas with people & PnL responsibilities, including board positions.
He holds a Business Management diploma (PGDBM) from XLRI and a Bachelor of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur, India. He is a trained Six-Sigma Black Belt and a certified Information Security Lead Auditor for ISO 27001.
VP of Research and Development &Technology Transformation accountable to profitably transform the associate’s experience and the customer’s journey into a cohesive experience through all Kroger’s digital and physical properties leveraging an expansive partner ecosystem, and the latest in technologies, paradigms, methods and science.
Prior to joining Kroger, Wesley spent 17 years with IBM where he served in numerous capacities including as the Chief Technologist in Artificial Intelligence and Cloud computing, as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Sensemaking, as the CTO for Corporate Strategy, as the Deputy CTO for US and NATO National Security and Defense, as Director of the Network Science Research Center as well as a subject matter expert in cyber security and disaster recovery.
Wesley holds numerous academic appointments, is a former Prince of Wales Fellow at MIT and has graduate degrees from the University of Houston, the University of Western Carolina, the University of Texas at Austin and from the University of Maryland, University College.
Ash Pahwa, Ph.D., is an educator, author, entrepreneur, and technology visionary with three decades of industry and academic experience. He has founded several successful technology companies during his career, the latest of which is A+ Web Services.
Dr. Pahwa earned his doctorate in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is listed in Who's Who in the Frontiers of Science and Technology. He is also a Google Certified Analytics Consultant. His expertise includes search engine optimization, web analytics, web programming, digital image processing, database management, digital video, and data storage technologies.
In Industry, Dr. Pahwa has worked for General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Xerox Corporation, and Oracle. He founded CD-Gen, Inc. and DV Studio Technologies, LLC., which introduced successful products for CD-Recording (CDR) and MPEG encoding. His book, CD-Recordable Bible was published in English, Japanese, and German.
In Academia, Dr. Pahwa teaches courses at California Institute of Technology (Caltech Pasadena) and the University of California system. Since 2008, he taught many courses at UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC San Diego.
Rias Attar is an accomplished operational excellence and project management professional. He is recognized for his ability to help strategize business architecture, identify areas to improve processes and outcomes, turn around businesses from deficient to profitability, champion continuous improvement efforts, deliver challenging cross-functional programs while working collaboratively with diverse types of stakeholders, lead and coach winning teams, and inspire staff to deliver ambitious results.
Mr. Attar has planned and executed transformational projects (Business and Technology) that contributed over $500M of combined EBITDA impact and is managing a portfolio of initiatives that adds between $200 and $300M of EBITDA annually. He established PMOs, led Lean and Six Sigma efforts, championed Change Management, ensured proper Governance while reducing Bureaucracy, and has set proper business directions while staying focused on motivating staff, inspiring trust and confidence, developing people’s skills, and generating enthusiasm.
Mr. Attar worked for different companies at a variety of industries such as: Michelin (Tires), Friede Goldman Halter (Oil & Gas) , DHL Express (Courier), and General Electric/Genworth (Mortgage Insurance), and Maple Leaf Foods (Food Processing and Supply Chain). Prior to working at Caesars (Entertainment/Hospitality), he spent a few years in the consulting business working with companies such as Danone Dairy (Food Processing), Steel Tech (Steel Manufacturing/Rolling Mill), Sport Master (Clothing/Retail), and dipndip (Chocolate F&B).
Mr. Attar started his professional career in Finance as an FP&A analyst then moved to project management and operational excellence about 18 years ago. During that time, he worked/lived in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, The Middle East, Toronto-Canada, and now in Las Vegas.
Mr. Attar has a bachelor degree in Finance, got his MBA from University of Texas, and have a few certifications in project management such as (PMP) Project Management Professional, (ACP) Agile Certified Practitioner, and (CSM) Certified Scrum Master. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB).
Outside of work, Rias is a devoted family man with a wife and 3 kids. His best time is when he spends it with his kids playing board games, riding bikes, swimming, or just watching movies. Rias loves sport, tries to work out often, practiced Jiu Jitsu and Kick Boxing for years, and enjoys lap swimming every once and a while. He also loves music and plays the classical guitar.
Brandon Nott leads Attended Automation at UiPath. As a former customer, he has built a successful RPA practice and brings firsthand knowledge of all aspects of the RPA life cycle to the product team. An award-winning technologist with a deep focus on sustainable, robust systems design.
From automating mortgage operations to testing wireless technologies, Brandon takes a holistic approach to digital transformation that brings humans and technology together, seamlessly. Not only does he create attending automations/robots at night, he is also avid race car driver, proud father of 3 and recently relocated to the NW area!
Marco Chmura is Director of Quality & Transformation at Morningstar, whose mission is to create great products that help investors reach their financial goals. Marco’s spent the past 5+ years helping Morningstar achieve that mission by developing a process mindset and client-centric culture by championing the voice of the customer and mentoring/guiding leaders as they manage LEAN Six Sigma and Agile development projects. For the past year and a half, he’s also been responsible for helping Morningstar enhance the customer experience through the adoption of emerging technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, AI, ML, Chat, etc.
As Chief Automation Officer at LexisNexis, Vinay manages an enterprise-level organization to deliver digital transformation and automation for 14 business units. He set the vision and roadmap for building world class products and services leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Data science and emerging technologies, in partnership with the CEO, COO and CFO.
As an SVP, Enterprise Head of Automation and Process Excellence COE (RPA, BPM, Cognitive Automation) at Bank of America, he established a global organization to deliver Process Excellence, RPA and Intelligent Automation strategy, innovation, standards and digital transformation programs. He had similar roles and responsibilities at UnitedHealthcare and Virtusa and spent the early part of his career at Tech Mahindra, his last role as the VP and Global Head of Enterprise Business Solutions including CRM, ECM, Supply chain, Supplier relationship management, BPM, Business consulting, PLM, process consulting.
He has a Masters in Science from the University of North Carolina.
Eric Fisher is a Senior Solutions Architect at Micro Focus. With over 10 years of industry experience at Micro Focus, (and HPE, HP, and Opsware by heritage), he works with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the US to evangelize automation, promote Micro Focus' cloud and automation solutions, and help to translate technology into business value.
Based in Phoenix, AZ, he has a passion for technology and over 20 years’ experience working with data center engineers and IT experts, both as a consultant and a customer.
Tony Higgins is the Chief Technology Officer at Blueprint Software Systems where he oversees product development efforts to bring Blueprint's technology vision to life, within a philosophy of continuous innovation.
With over 20 years’ experience leading digital teams, he has been instrumental in driving the vision and evolution of Blueprint’s Enterprise Automation Suite, a modern and intuitive tool for scaling process automation initiatives to enterprise scale.
Tony has a broad base of software delivery skills and experience ranging from start-ups to global enterprises. He is passionate about building technology that helps teams to rapidly optimize, automate and digitally transform their organizations.
Dr. Marlene Kolodziej is a recognized leader in the development and implementation of customer-focused transformative technology and support solutions, with over three decades of experience in end-user, infrastructure, network, data center, programming/development, and applications experience. Formerly the Assistant Vice President of End User Services for Northwell Health, Marlene has recently taken over as Vece President Cetralized Services for Ricoh USA.
Dr. Kolodziej has broad industry experience, including chemical, publishing, finance, data retention and storage, and healthcare, with a focus on leading and directing global technology and business teams to implement innovative client support solutions that increase standardization, strengthen the organization, and decrease maintenance costs. She has provided strategic worldwide client support services, call center, operations, disaster recovery, and infrastructure management, with a focus on driving operational excellence to ensure that service levels and performance are met or exceeded.
Dr. Kolodziej holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences, and has both her Masters and her Doctorate in Business Administration.
Rai Phakay is a versatile solutions architect with Micro Focus specializing in automation, orchestration and cloud migrations technologies. He has 16 years of industry experience working with Fortune 500 companies.
Rai’s current stint is in IT Operations Management, focusing on delivering automation solutions for enterprise environments with mission critical infrastructure, helping translate technology to business value. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, he is a post graduate in wireless networking and VOIP, and holds a bachelor's degree from Delhi University, India.
Senior Director Transformation team charged with engagements to enable the transformation of customer and associate experiences through the harmonization of strategies across business units, technology departments and external partnerships and a value-based approach to utilizing data, science, technology and engineering methods. Asked to re-join Kroger in 2015 to lead the initiative that would transform the organization to an enterprise approach to data and analytics architecture, technology, practices and strategy.
In between Kroger tenures, Dan served as the CTO and Vice President of Business Development for a technology services organization transforming to a data and analytics consultancy eventually acquired by Data Intensity.
Additionally, served six years consulting at IBM on Information & Analytics strategy and architecture in multiple industries including retail, healthcare, manufacturing and U.S. intelligence. While at IBM, Dan served in the IBM Federal CTO office, the Information and Analytics Tiger Team, the Big Data Champions team, as a client software advocate for IBM R&D, the IT Architecture Certification board and the Information On Demand Executive Architecture team.