Traction Summit 2018 Speakers

Meet this year's confirmed speakers for Traction Summit 2018 

  • Art Mayer

    Consultant Smithers Rapra

    Arthur Mayer is a consultant who writes many reports for Smithers Rapra.  Mr. Mayer focuses in his consulting work on business research and strategy consulting, especially in the automotive and life science sectors. Prior to this, he worked (among other roles) as the manager of strategy and new business development at Dealer Tire and as a competitive intelligence analyst and Ernst & Young. 

  • Alessandro Biondi

    Vice President Wriggle Solutions

    Alessandro Biondi is Assistant Professor at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy, and co-founder of Wriggle Solutions SRLS.

    He received a Ph.D. cum laude in Computer Engineering at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.
    In 2016, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (Germany).
    He is leading industrial and research projects in the area of automotive and railway systems, and participated to several international committees in the area of embedded real-time systems.
    He was recipient of five Best Paper Awards, one Outstanding Paper Award, and the prestigious EDAA Dissertation Award 2017. 

  • Paul Burgoyne

    Founder and CEO REACH

    Paul Burgoyne is founder and CEO of REACH. REACH is an open source platform that focuses on ease of communication for drivers and technicians during the breakdown service process. Moreover, REACH is also an observation platform for other stakeholders: shippers, equipment owners, truck dispatchers, and call centers.

    He has a BS in Mathematics from Ohio Northern University and an EMBA from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business.

    In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, golfing, and spending time with his family.

  • Tom Carter

    Technical Communications Director, Product Marketing Michelin North America

    Tom Carter earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1981 and then completed his Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering in1983 at Virginia Tech.  Tom has maintained his contacts with Virginia Tech and served as the president of the national Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board.  For 32 years he has practiced engineering with Michelin Americas Research Center mainly in product development. 

    Beginning in 1992, he spent 4 years with Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France also in product development.  He has been involved in the development of products ranging from large truck tires to European winter tires and performance tires for Acura, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and other luxury-performance sedans. 

    From 2006 to 2007 he directed the Michelin Design School in North America.  After three years working to streamline and speed the Michelin design process, he spent the next four year in Concept where he directed the   Tweel Concept Team and the concept phase of the current Michelin Product – Cross Climate.  Currently, Tom is the Technical Communications Director for Product Marketing, Michelin North America.

  • Chris Coker

    Senior Program Manager Altair

    Chris Coker has been involved in vehicle dynamics simulation starting with his graduate studies at Texas A&M.  Since joining Altair Engineering in 1992, he’s worked on helping customers simulate, design, build, and test a variety of vehicles, ranging from golf-carts, race cars, aircraft, military vehicles, to 500 ton mining trucks.

    Altair is a product design and development, engineering software and cloud computing software company, founded in 1985, with its headquarters in Troy, Michigan, and offices worldwide.


  • Jose Diaz Salazar

    Manager Innovation Lab Silicon Valley Goodyear

    Jose is responsible for driving Goodyear’s innovation efforts in Silicon Valley and manages the Innovation Lab located in San Francisco.

    Jose joined Goodyear in 2015 as a Design and Innovation Manager working and leading multiple projects in the new mobility space. During 2017, he was in charge of understanding the new mobility ecosystem in Silicon Valley and proposing a more permanent presence for Goodyear. After that, Jose became manager of the new Innovation Lab and has been working on establishing partnerships, building a team and testing new concepts in the market.

    Jose enjoys unraveling the new mobility ecosystem and working with startups and corporations to create new value opportunities for Goodyear. Before Goodyear, Jose worked in advertising with the Grey Group as an Experience Director. He holds an MBA with emphasis in Design and Innovation from Case Western Reserve University and an Industrial Design degree from the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. 

  • Dr. Hans Dorfi

    Director of Core Systems Engineering Bridgestone Americas

    Dr. Hans Dorfi is Director of Core Systems Engineering at Bridgestone Americas, where he is responsible for developing strategic tire products and technology and future product concepts. He is also a Past President of the Tire Society, Associate Editor of Tire Science and Technology and an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Akron.  Dr. Dorfi has over 20 years of experience in the tire industry in international leadership roles in technology and product development. He has numerous publications, patents and trade secrets in the area of tires and vehicle systems.

  • Alex Epstein

    Director of Transportation Safety National Safety Council

    Alex Epstein is a highly experienced public communications and policy development strategist and team leader.

    As Director of Transportation Safety, Alex works to develop and execute behavior and policy change initiatives, national public education campaigns, coalitions, road user outreach and other activities to reduce injuries and fatalities associated with the Council’s strategies addressing transportation safety. He serves as a key subject matter expert and spokesperson, building strong relationships within the transportation community, among state and federal government leaders, DMVs, court representatives and NSC corporate and affiliate members.  

    Alex continues in his role leading the Advanced Automotive Safety Technology initiative and its public facing MyCarDoesWhat national driver education campaign on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and vehicle automation. Previously, he developed and managed the DriveitHOME national education project for parents of new teen drivers.

     Alex has extensive broadcast TV news experience, having worked for the Gannett Corporation in the L.A. Bureau of the USA Today On TV national television news program, as well as for the Walt Disney Company as senior producer/special projects for KCAL-TV News Los Angeles, where he wrote and produced television programs, series, specials and mini-documentaries. For corporate work, he and his team were recognized by PR Week magazine for executive producing the Video News Release of the Year, and received the PR News Platinum award, North American Excellence Award in PR and others.

  • Dr. Aaron Franklin

    Chief Technology Officer Tyrata, Inc

    Dr. Aaron Franklin is Chief Technology Officer at Tyrata, Inc and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemistry at Duke University. After spending six years on the research staff at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, he joined the faculty at Duke in 2014. He is most widely known for his work on low-dimensional nanoelectronics with specific emphasis on 1D (carbon nanotube, CNT) and 2D transistors, including device scaling, transport studies, and advanced integration approaches, such as printing. The primary drive of Dr. Franklin’s research is to improve performance or function in electronic devices using nanomaterials. Tyrata’s printed tread wear sensing technology was invented in the Franklin lab through the study of printed CNT electronics.

    Dr. Franklin received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 2008 and his bachelor’s degree, also in Electrical Engineering, from Arizona State University in 2004. He is a prolific scientific contributor and inventor, with more than 60 publications and holding 50 issued patents

  • Matthias Froehlich

    Product Technologist Huf Group

    Matthias Froehlich is a Product Technologist and Sales Manager with global experience in the TPMS industry. He earned his Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Applied Science in Aalen, Germany.

    He has worked in the TPMS industry for over 5 years taking on various roles during that time, holding positions in the United Kingdom, Germany and most currently with Huf in the United States

  • Tim Gorjanc

    Senior Research Scientist XSENSOR Technology Corporation

    Tim Gorjanc is the Senior Research Scientist at XSENSOR Technology Corporation.  He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from the University of Ottawa where he worked on design and fabrication of organic light emitting diodes and organic field effect transistors at the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Microstructural Sciences. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Chemistry Department at the University of British Columbia working on organic nano and molecular electronics before relocating to Calgary where he has been focusing on research and development of sensor technology for over 12 years.

  • Nancy Greco

    Distinguished Engineer TJ Watson Research Center, IBM

    Nancy joined IBM in 1981, in R & D, developing photochemical material for IBMs semiconductor advanced products in East Fishkill, New York.  After one year she moved into semiconductor manufacturing where she became a process expert in several areas of semiconductor processes and tools.  Over 20+ years, she held many diverse engineering and management roles in manufacturing, process development, yield analytics and process flow optimization.  She held leadership roles in ushering new semiconductor technologies like copper,  silicon on oxide, and low k dielectrics. One of the most challenging projects was implementing the tools and software for facilitating a fully automated cleanroom semiconductor manufacturing factory, which won fab of the year in 2005.

    For the past ten years, Nancy has been working in Research developing new systems and software for analytics, targeting manufacturing. She is currently working on IoT  technology , both hardware and software, harvesting data from a host of sensors. She is leading acoustic analytics where machine learning models (AI) are being trained to recognize normal and abnormal sounds of machines, cars and various HVAC systems, with the goal of using sound to detect the early onset of a tool problem. Through acoustics enabled AI, IBM will create a novel communication channel to machines to understand in advance when they are beginning to fail, identify the root cause and identify the best course of action to take.  

  • Dennis Melka

    Co-Founder and President AutoAppClub

    Mr Dennis Melka is the Co-Founder and President of AutoAppClub, a highly disruptive platform for on-demand mobile car care which has announced partnerships with leading Asian fleet operators such as Hertz and car sharing platforms such as SoCar ( Since 2006, he has co-founded and launched companies in agriculture, consumer finance, hotels, sustainable forestry and telecommunications.  Previously, Mr Melka was an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston from 1995 to 2005.  Mr Melka graduated magna cum laude from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in Washington D.C. 


  • Kozaburo Nakaseko

    Senior Executive, R&D Advisor Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.

    Kozaburo Nakaseko completed a master’s course in Mechanical Engineering at Kobe University in 1978, and subsequently joined Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

    As a specialist in tire structure design, he was engaged in tire development.

    In 2003, he became a General Manager of Technology Planning dept.

    In 2006, he became an Executive Officer and joined Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe, serving as a member of the board.

    In 2008, he returned to Kobe as the head of SRI’s R&D HQ.

    From 2010, he had been a Senior Executive Officer.

    Since 2015, he has also served as the President of the Society of Rubber Science and Technology in Japan. 

  • Aaron Neumann

    Section Manager of Product Development Nexen Tire

    Aaron Neumann is the Section Manager of Product Development for Nexen Tire at their America Technical Center in Richfield, Ohio.  He has oversight of both RE and OE tire development for the North American market and is part of Nexen’s Future Tire team.  He has been in the tire industry for 19 years, with past experience in both tire testing and design.  Aaron has worked in both North America and Europe, with past employers including Kumho, Bridgestone/Firestone, and Nevada Automotive Test Center.  He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University.

  • Dr. James A. Popio

    Vice President of Operations - North America Smithers Rapra

    Dr. James A. Popio is Vice President of Operations -  North America of Smithers Rapra and Smithers Pira in the United States. Prior to this he was Vice President and General Manager of Smithers Rapra and Smithers Pira in the United Kingdom; and before that he was General Manager and Director of Engineering at Smithers Rapras’ Ravenna Laboratory in Ohio. 

    Jim has worked with the tire and rubber industry for 20 years and has spent his professional career working for and/or with tire companies, tire dealers, automotive OEMs, industry suppliers, manufacturers, standards organisations and government agencies.  

    Jim has extensive experience in tire performance, characterisation, and methods development. His specialist areas of expertise are force and moment, endurance, aging, compliance, indoor wear, rolling resistance, and characterisation for modeling. Jim is a regular contributor to industry journals as well as a chair and speaker at major tire and rubber conferences. 

  • Trevor Potter

    Founder PBL Strategy

    Trevor Potter has spent the better part of three decades immersed in the global automotive aftermarket working with leading manufacturers, distributors and buying groups specializing in high-technology sensing systems, specialized plastic films and materials, all ranges of automotive replacement parts, and electronic components that help enable autonomous driving vehicles. 

    With his experience and expertise in Tire Pressure Monitoring, business development and maximizing leadership potential Trevor went on to found PBL 2017. His clients includes high-growth eCommerce companies, leading tire retailers, industry councils and program distribution groups where he helps them Plan, Build and Lead their way to breakthrough results. 

    Trevor is also an active board member and featured panelist at BWG Strategy, a private firm that hosts over 1,500 events annually connecting the investment community with major business sectors such as technology and automotive.

  • Chris Rhoades

    Sr. Product Manager - Technology BKT Tires Global Mining Solutions

    Chris is the Sr. Product Manager of Technology at BKT Global Mining Solutions headquartered in Mumbai, India.  He began his career in the OTR tire industry in 1999 with Bridgestone after graduating with a Bachelor of Science from Western Kentucky University.  He has worked around the globe helping to make technology such as tire management software, TPMS, field observational studies become a reality.

  • Kevin Rohlwing

    Senior Vice President of Training Tire Industry Association

    Kevin Rohlwing, Senior Vice President of Training with the Tire Industry Association has extensive knowledge regarding the legal expectations of training and the value of formal training programs and certifications.  He started in the tire business more than 32 years ago as a technician in his family’s dealership in Elgin, Illinois, where he also worked as a salesman and service manager.

    In 1996, he joined the International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA), the predecessor of TIA, as the Director of Commercial Tire Service. Kevin created and produced the Association’s training and certification programs that have educated more than 90,000 technicians since 1997.

    In 2011, he was awarded the Silver Spark Plug for excellence in fleet maintenance from the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Assns.

  • Jay Spears

    Director of Standards and Regulation, The Americas Continental Tire

    Jay is the Director of Standards and Regulations for Continental Tire, the Americas located in Fort Mill, SC.  He is responsible for all tire regulatory and standardization work throughout North and South America and represents Continental within numerous industry organizations including the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire and Rim Association.  Jay has been with Continental for over 15 years with leadership roles in product development, technical product management and racing development.  He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineer from Clemson University - home of the 2016 College Football National Champions.

  • Jan Svoboda

    RFID Business Development FineLine Technologies

    Jan has over 20 years of experience within the high-tech business and product development sectors. His extensive knowledge of RFID technology is based on years as sales, business development and strategy roles at companies such as SMARTRAC, Zebra Technologies, SATO Corp, and most recently at KOMTUS.