2012 Speakers

Dr. Lawrence Burns, Professor, Engineering Practice, Industrial and Operations Engineering University of  Michigan and Director on Sustainable Mobility Columbia University

Dr. Lawrence Burns completed a distinguished career with General Motors, serving as corporate vice president of Research & Development. In addition to driving innovation into today’s vehicles, Burns led GM’s development of a new automotive “DNA” that marries electrically driven and “connected vehicle” technologies.

Today he is Professor, Engineering Practice, Industrial and Operations Engineering, at the University of Michigan and an advisor to numerous organizations including Google, Hess Corporation and VantagePoint Capital Partners. He serves as a Director of the Roundtable on Sustainable Mobility at The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

He has been a major voice for the “reinvention” of the automobile and the diversification of transportation energy. Within GM, he personally championed vehicle electrification, “connected” vehicles, fuel cells, bio-fuels, advanced batteries, autonomous driving, and a series of innovative concept vehicles. He has been a leading advocate for design and technology innovation focused on the total customer experience and the application of operations research.

A leading advocate for diversified transportation energy, connected vehicles and autonomous driving, Dr. Burns is co-author of Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century (MIT Press, January, 2010). He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from UC, Berkeley, an M.S. in Engineering / Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the GM Institute. He was elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2011.

Joe Cvengros, Director of Engineering, FANUC Robotics America, Corp.

Joe Cvengros is Director of Engineering for FANUC Robotics America, Corp. In his current capacity, Cvengros is responsible for Marketing, Training and the company’s Education market. Cvengros joined FANUC Robotics in 1987 and held various management positions in the Paintshop, Purchasing, and Customer Resource Center groups. He was named Director of Engineering for FANUC Robotics America, Corp. in March, 2001. Prior to joining FANUC Robotics, Cvengros held engineering positions at Acumen Industries. Cvengros holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Lawrence Technological University.

Andrew Dallas, Vice President, Federal Systems, Soar Technology, Inc.

Mr. Dallas oversees the company’s business development and customer coordination activities within the federal government and brings over thirty years of extensive executive experience in the federal government. He is a founding member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) and currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the RTC. As part of this capacity he works towards transitioning robotics research into the field. Mr. Dallas has also served as a senior consultant on the State of Michigan’s 21st Century Job Fund which was created to help diversify and grow Michigan’s high-tech economy by investing in: basic research at universities and non-profit research institutions; applied research at small business; university technology transfer; and the commercialization of products, processes and services. Prior to his employment at Soar Technology, he held senior positions at the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, where he played a leading role in the research, development and advancement of Information Technologies to support the maritime community. Mr. Dallas was also a senior analyst and a personal assistant to the Commander, Second Fleet where he designed, tested, and implemented warfighting tactics adapted for use in large multinational operations, and was awarded a Letter of Commendation for helping to transition Naval operations from the Cold War to the new asymmetrical threat. In the private sector, Mr. Dallas directed business activities relating to the federal government for Saffron Technology, and for Veridian ERIM International, leading the creation of information technology supporting data collection, information sharing and knowledge generation. Mr. Dallas holds BSE (1979) and MSE (1986) degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Andy Denny is Vice President for FANUC Robotics America, Corp.

In his current capacity, Denny is responsible for Marketing, the Material Handling Segment, the Customer Resource Center, and the company’s General Industry Regional Offices. He is also President of FANUC Robotics Canada and Mexico.  Denny joined FANUC Robotics in 1985 and held various management positions in the Paintshop, Bodyshop, and Information Systems groups. He was named Vice President of FANUC Robotics America, Corp. in October, 2000. Prior to joining FANUC Robotics, Denny held engineering positions at Copper Weld Robotics. Denny holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Lawrence Technological University.

Rick Jarman, President & CEO National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.

Rick leads NCMS, the largest collaborative R&D consortium in North America which is dedicated to driving innovation in commercial, defense, and robotics manufacturing. Prior to this position at NCMS, Mr. Jarman was Director of Technology Partnerships at the Eastman-Kodak Company where he was a driving force to forge alliances with industry and government in order to improve commercialization processes through innovation and technology. Rick managed global relationships and programs with policy makers, partners, and consortia management in order to leverage synergistic and strategic partnerships.  In 1988, he represented Kodak on the President’s Commission on Executive Exchange. He played a key role on the trade committee during the Commission’s meetings in the USSR and Western Europe and served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Production and Logistics in the Pentagon. Rick serves on industry boards and advisory groups related to his work in building collaborative alliances. He is the Co-author of the book “Collaborative R&D: Manufacturing’s New Tool” published by John Wiley & Sons N.Y.

Jim L. Overholt Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist of Robotics,  U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center

In March 2010, James L. Overholt, Ph.D. was appointed to a Scientific and Professional service position (ST), a system equal to Senior Executive Service, designed for specifically qualified scientific and professional personnel engaged in research and development.  As the Senior Research Scientist in Robotics for the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Dr. Overholt is responsible for defining the strategic vision for robotics science and technology and for conducting, mentoring, and sponsoring cutting edge robotics research.  Recently, Dr. Overholt was the U.S. co-chair of the Multi Autonomous Ground-robotics International Challenge (MAGIC) event held in Australia in November 2010.   In 2009 Dr. Overholt was appointed Director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise (JGRE), where he was responsible for providing science and technology guidance to the OSD with an emphasis on closing gaps between war fighter requirements and technology, and coordinating efforts between Services to ensure interoperability and commonality among unmanned systems and supporting the strategic goals of the OSD and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L).  From 2007 to May 2009, Dr. Overholt served as the Director of the Joint Center for Robotics (JCR) at the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Tank Automotive Research and Development Center (TARDEC).  He was responsible for establishing a portfolio of programs that strived to rapidly transition robotics technology into the hands of the Soldier, leveraging industry and academia.   His current research interests are machine intelligence and high-speed mobile robot navigation and control.  Dr. Overholt is the co-author of more than 50 scientific papers, and was awarded the Bronze Medal at the 2006 Army Science Conference for his contributions in writing “High Speed Hazard Avoidance for Unmanned Ground Vehicles in Emergency Situations.”

Dr. Overholt has been conducting robotics research for the Army and DoD for over 25 years.  He started his career in the Computational Dynamics Research Lab in Warren, Michigan and has held numerous lead research positions at TARDEC, including the Government Director of the Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Overholt was also a member of the development team for the Omni-Directional Inspection System (ODIS) robot.  He was on the planning team for the USMC Gladiator robot and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Learning Applied to Ground Robotics (LAGR) programs.  He served an eight month detail assignment as the Systems and Control Program Manager at the Army Research Office (ARO) in Durham, NC.   In June 2008, Dr. Overholt was named to the Board of Directors of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and was an invited Panelist on the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government sponsored workshop titled, “Unmanned and Robotic Warfare: Issues, Options and Futures.”

Dr. Overholt earned a BS in Physics from the Lawrence Institute of Technology, and a MS in Systems Engineering from Oakland University.  He earned his Ph. D. from Oakland University in 1999, emphasizing the development of neural-fuzzy sensor fusion behavioral architectures for unmanned vehicles.