System Applications for Global Challenges

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Wanda Austin

    Dr Wanda Austin

    Interim President, University of Southern California

    Speaking Topic: Interdisciplinary Systems Engineering inspired by da Vinci

    Biography & Abstract

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    Dr. Austin is the former president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation, a leading architect for the nation’s national security space programs. The Aerospace Corporation has nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $850 million. She assumed this position on January 1, 2008 and retired from this position 2016. She is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering, and system simulation. Austin served on President Obama’s Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009, and in 2010 was appointed to the Defense Science Board.
    Austin is a fellow of the AIAA, and is a member of the Defense Science Board, the National Academy of Engineering, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Space Foundation, and on the Board of Trustees for the University of Southern California and the National Geographic Society.
    Among her numerous awards and citations. are the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious Service, the Air Force Scroll of Achievement, and the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal. In 2010 she received the AIAA von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management, and is a recipient of the 2012 Horatio Alger Award and the 2012 NDIA Peter B. Teets Industry Award.
    Austin is committed to inspiring the next generation to study the STEM disciplines and to make science and engineering preferred career choices. Under her guidance, the corporation has undertaken a number of initiatives in support of this goal, including participation in MathCounts, US FIRST Robotics, and Change the Equation. Austin was among the first CEOs to commit to Change the Equation.


  • Prashant Dhawan

    Prashant Dhawan

    Co-Founder, Biomimicry India

    Speaking Topic: Biomimicry - A Bioinspired approach to Systems Thinking

    Biography & Abstract

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    Prashant Dhawan is the Co-founder of the Biomimicry India Network. He holds a degree in MS (Master of Science) in Biomimicry from the Arizona State University, U.S.A and Biomimicry Professional Certification from Biomimicry 3.8, USA. He also holds a degree in Architecture from SPA Delhi, and an MBA from ISB Hyderabad. Prashant has conducted Biomimicry workshops and talks in various forums and educational institutes which include IIT Gandhinagar, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT University in Ahmadabad), NIT (Trichy), NID (Bangalore, Vijayawada & Kurukshetra), NIFT (Hyderabad & Delhi), Ahmedabad University, RVCA, BMSCE, BMSIT and Shristi school of Art, Design and Technology (Bangalore) amongst others. He has also conducted Biomimicry workshops for corporates and these include a full day workshop for senior executives of Mahindra & Mahindra (Mumbai) and Axis Bank. Prashant prefers to call himself an amateur researcher of issues related to sustainable happiness.


  • Capt. Winston Scott

    Capt. Winston Scott

    Director, Environmental, Tectonics Corporation

    Speaking Topic: To the Stars. The Sky Is No Longer the Limit

    Biography & Abstract

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    Mr. Scott is a retired U. S. Navy Captain and former NASA Astronaut and currently serves as Dean of the College of Aeronautics of the Florida Institute of Technology. His professional experience includes significant industry and academic positions as well as a 27-year career in the U. S. Navy. During his Navy career, Mr. Scott accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time in 20 different military and civilian aircraft and more than 200 shipboard landings. Mr. Scott was selected by NASA for their Astronaut program in March 1992. He served on two space shuttle missions, logging more than 24 days in space including three spacewalks totaling over 19 hours. Mr. Scott’s civilian experience includes serving as the Vice President for Student Affairs for Florida State University, an Associate Dean and Adjunct Instructor position at FSU College of Engineering, Executive Director of the Florida Space Authority, and as Vice President and Deputy General Manager of the engineering and science contract group for Jacobs Engineering in Houston, Texas. Mr. Scott holds a B.A. in Music from Florida State University, a M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and honorary doctorates from Florida Atlantic University and Michigan State University. Mr. Scott belongs to the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, and Bronze Eagles Association of Texas. Since 2003. Mr. Scott has served as a director of Gulf Power Company, a subsidiary of The Southern Company, a public company which is traded on NYSE. Mr. Scott also serves as a Director for a non-profit entity (the Astronaut Memorial Fund).


  • Grant Begley

    Grant Begley

    CEO, Rocket Crafters

    Speaking Topic: The Underway Global Unmanned Systems and Robotics Revolution

    Biography & Abstract

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    Grant Begley is an aerospace, unmanned systems and robotics leader, manager and consultant enabling next generation capabilities. An accomplished initiator, developer and implementer of strategic planning, change management, and resource development to achieve compelling products, dramatic future capabilities and enterprise successes.
    Mr. Begley is a public speaker, author and moderator and participant of expert panels, on the Global Robotics Revolution. Mr. Begley was Corporate Senior Vice President for Alion Science and Technology, developing and implementing the $1B annual revenue Business Development Enterprise, including unmanned systems, ahead of schedule. Prior to Alion, Mr. Begley served as Pentagon Senior Advisor to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, for Unmanned Systems, advising on critical issues and leading development of DoD’s 2011 Unmanned Systems Roadmap. Mr. Begley’s career includes Defense Industry leadership positions for the development of advanced capabilities with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin where he initiated and led cross-corporation unmanned systems and robotics successes.
    Mr. Begley served in the United States Navy for 26 years, to include operational assignments flying fighter aircraft, designated Top Gun, followed by acquisition assignments for the development and management of next generation manned and unmanned aircraft systems, weapon systems and joint executive acquisition assignments. Mr. Begley holds master's degrees in Aerospace and Aeronautic Engineering from the Naval Post-Graduate School and a bachelor's degree in General Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.