Government As a Catalyst: Prizes 4 Tech Innovation
Want to make some money? Federal agencies have recently been given the authority by Congress to sponsor competitions for individuals, groups, and companies to develop new ideas and technology innovations for a chance to win potentially lucrative prizes. These competitions can range from new mobile outreach technologies to web-based data analytics tools to even vehicle-to-vehicle communications; the government is looking for breakthrough technologies from the minds of the most innovative and forward thinking Americans, many of whom are at SXSW. This session will highlight some of the coolest prizes for technology development that the government has been involved in to date, including the DOT’s Connected Vehicle Challenge, the VA’s Open Source and blue button projects, and NASA’s centennial challenges. Additionally you will learn about some prizes government did NOT play a role in to explore what role the government should be playing in these activities moving forward.
Chris is an advocate of NASA’s Open Government Initiative and is a leading voice on the concept of participatory exploration and collaboration. He has fifteen years of experience working on complex, technology-intense projects at NASA.
Chris has a passion for technology both personally and professionally, and has worked on projects ranging from planning human missions to the Moon, to specializing in the operation of US and Russian space suit systems on the International Space Station.
Chris is also an explorer and has firsthand experience working and surviving in extreme conditions. In 2007, he participated as a crew member on NASA's undersea mission aboard the NOAA Aquarius Underwater Laboratory off the coast of Florida, living underwater for 10 days to study the effects of long-duration spaceflight and test lunar exploration concepts. Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, and currently lives in Houston, TX with his family.
James Pol is the Team Leader for Program Management and Evaluation in the USDOT ITS Joint Program Office. He was involved in the development of data and information management programs such as traveler information/511, archived data management, transportation management center operations, and road weather management (including the Clarus Initiative). James was cited as a national expert in traveler information programs in a 2010 report on the topic by the Government Accountability Office.
James now oversees the independent evaluation of all ITS research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure the greatest validity in costs and benefits information on ITS for stakeholders worldwide. James also is responsible for applying rigorous program management practices to align the Federal ITS program with other Federal research programs.
James has a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a master’s in Computer Systems Management from the University of Maryland, and he is a registered professional engineer in Delaware. James is also a certified Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute.
Ms. Gustetic’s experience has focused on the public sector with concentrations on open government, innovation, public private partnerships, grants management, and technology policy. Most recent experiences have involved the combination of management and strategy consulting to help define and foster business transformation within the public sector. Ms. Gustetic is the lead for the Open Government and Innovation practice at Phase One Consulting Group. Currently, for the Department of Transportation, Ms. Gustetic has managed the development of the DOT Open Government Plan and its subsequent implementation. In this role, she works with several White House level working groups and acts as an advisor on innovation and open government to senior executives and political appointees across the Department. Ms. Gustetic spent several years as a Federal employee at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the senior program analyst for $400 million in annual transportation security grant programs. She was honored as a TSA-wide Unsung Hero for her work on modernizing the grants programs. Ms. Gustetic is experienced with social media and has led the development of a federal government blog from conception to operations. She is also a featured blogger on the government social network www.govloop.com. Ms. Gustetic speaks often at events and has also authored several papers on many topics including security policy, harnessing public-private partnerships to optimize public service delivery, and the evolution of e-democracy.
Mari co-founded GlobalGiving with Dennis Whittle, and currently leads the organization. In 2011, Mari was named one of Foreign Policy's top 100 Global Thinkers for "crowdsourcing worldsaving." Before GlobalGiving, she worked at the World Bank where she managed and created some of the Bank's most innovative projects including the first ever Innovation and Development Marketplaces, and the first series of strategic forums with the World Bank's president and senior management. Mari also designed a range of investment projects in the Russia reform program, including a residential energy efficiency project, structural adjustment loans, and legal reform project. She currently serves as chair of the board of the Global Business School Network and on the board of Guidestar US. In addition to her native Japanese, Mari also speaks Russian, Italian, and French. She has an undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and did graduate work in Russian and Japanese history and politics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. Mari also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Mr. Michael O’Neill is Senior Advisor to the Director, Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative (VAi2) with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where he drives the identification and deployment of new solutions addressing VA’s top priorities.
Mr. O’Neill has been involved in the commercialization of new products and technology as an executive and in both startups and large companies, and as an early stage venture capital investor. He served as a Clean Energy Fellow with the New England Clean Energy Council, working with a variety of startup businesses in the Boston area. He was Senior Vice President of AMI Semiconductor’s Digital ASIC and Communications Products division, and continued to run the division following ON Semiconductor’s acquisition of AMI. At semiconductor startup Philsar Semiconductor, he served as Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Business Development through Philsar’s acquisition by Conexant Systems. Mr. O’Neill led a number of seed and early stage investments as a General Partner with Kodiak Venture Partners. He started his career in engineering and management positions with IBM. He currently serves on the board of directors of OSEHRA, the open source electronic health record foundation, and Prime Photonics.
Mr. O’Neill received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.