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Traction Summit 2019 Speakers

Meet the expert speakers who lead beneficial content at Traction Summit 2019.

  • Jim Cuttino

    Tire Research and Development Link Engineering Company

    Dr. James Cuttino is the Director of Tire Research and Development at LINK Engineering Company in Dearborn, MI.  Jim received his BS and MS degrees from Clemson University in 1985 and 1987 respectively.  He began his career at Michelin Americas Research and Development Center in the 80's, before returning to school to earn his Ph.D. in Precision Engineering at NC State University.  Over the next 14 years he taught Mechanical Engineering at The University of Alabama and UNC Charlotte, where he started the Motorsports and Automotive Research Center.  Jim left teaching in 2009 to start Camber Ridge, a first of its kind tire testing facility, and subsequently sold the technology to LINK in 2017.

  • Paul Burgoyne

    Founder and CEO REACH

    Paul Burgoyne is founder and CEO of REACH. REACH is an agnostic 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.

  • Allison Marie Cooper

    Product Manager Goodyear Innovation Lab

    Allison Marie Cooper is a Product Manager at Goodyear's San Francisco Innovation Lab, where she works on digital platforms for emerging fleet models. To support Goodyear's vision to lead in the future mobility ecosystem, she drives digital development processes and product strategy informed by her background in user experience design and applied anthropology. Previously, she designed new product concepts at Allstate's Silicon Valley Innovation Lab and has led design at startups building technology for a variety of industries. She holds a B.A. from McGill University and an M.B.A. from California College of the Arts, and also enjoys kiteboarding, traveling, and testing new micromobility offerings

  • John Culliton

    Senior Engineer, Chassis Attribute Delivery BYTON

    Three years leading tire development in startup EV programs, including in-vehicle evaluation, modeling, target-setting, and design/release. 

  • Sunjay Dodani, Ph.D

    Co-Founder & CEO Revvo

    Sunjay Dodani is the CEO and co-founder of Revvo Technologies. He is responsible for driving the company’s strategy and product vision with the mission of enabling every tire to be smarter. Prior to Revvo, Sunjay led the data analytics product team at Medallia, an enterprise software company, where his team developed and launched the first machine learning based products at the company. Prior to Medallia, Sunjay founded Advanced Neuro Navigation Systems where he developed brain navigation systems used by neurosurgeons during deep brain stimulation surgeries for patients with Parkinson’s disease. He earned his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.

  • Dr. Aaron Franklin

    Chief Technology Officer Tyrata, Inc

    Dr. Aaron Franklin is Chief Technology Officer at Tyrata and a professor at Duke University in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemistry, holding a PhD from Purdue University in Electrical Engineering. After spending six years on the research staff at the IBM Watson Research Center, he joined the faculty at Duke in 2014. Tyrata’s IntelliTreadTM technology was invented in the Franklin lab through the study of printed carbon nanotube electronics. Dr. Franklin is a prolific scientific contributor and inventor, with more than 70 publications and holding 50 issued patents.

  • Elizabeth Laderman

    Economist, Financial Research Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    Elizabeth Lederman is a Senior Outreach Economist in the Economic Education group in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She speaks to outreach audiences on current economic conditions, the economic outlook, and monetary policy. Liz also does research on household finance, small and new business finance, and small and new business formation and employment. She has published over 50 research papers and articles. Liz has a B.A. in mathematics from Grinnell College and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Roy Littlefield IV

    Director of Government Affairs Tire Industry Association

    Mr. Roy Littlefield IV currently serves as Director of Government Affairs for the Tire Industry Association. Mr. Littlefield graduated from Washington College in the spring of 2013 with a degree in Political Science. Prior to graduation, he served as an assistant to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot as part of a senior internship. After graduating, Littlefield went on to earn a Master of Arts in Public Policy from New England College, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Mr. Littlefield currently works on both state and federal legislation and has testified and submitted testimony on a variety of issues impacting the industry. He also helps to publish a variety of legislative newsletters for the Tire Industry Association.

  • Joe McCabe

    President & Chief Executive Officer AutoForecast Solutions LLC

    As President & CEO of AutoForecast Solutions LLC, Joe leverages his decades of industry experience and knowledge to provide production forecasting and advisory services to the global automotive community. Joe manages the automotive turnkey operations at AFS including the global light vehicle, powertrain, drivetrain, and alternative propulsion forecast as well as a suite of AFS proprietary opportunity and sales planning software. AFS supports all tiered suppliers, VMs, government agencies, financial institutions, and the academic community with data, planning solutions, and personalized support to help identify new business opportunities while mitigating risk.


    AutoForecast Solutions (AFS) – Driving Data into Decisions.


    New customers, new competitors, new products, new markets, new ways of thinking. Industry change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. You need a partner to help you navigate these treacherous roads. 

    AFS is the premier provider of automotive forecasting databases, business planning solutions, & concierge-level support for the automotive industry. Our team of subject matter experts, each with decades of experience, are available to you and your organization 24x7. Our business is your business. Your products, your customers, and the issues shaping your success. The AFS approach adds value to your critical business decisions.  AFS is the right partner to help navigate the volatile automotive industry. We are focused to improve your competitiveness, opportunity identification, and revenue growth.  

  • Dennis Melka

    Founder and CEO Whip

    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. 


  • Chris Napier

    Senior Application Development Engineer ExxonMobil

    Christopher Napier is currently a Senior Application Development Engineer with ExxonMobil Chemical Company, Butyl Polymer Technology located in Baytown, Texas.  Chris began his career with Westinghouse's polymer electrical products division in Nashville, TN.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the rubber and plastics industry.  His primary focus at ExxonMobil Chemical is tire technology and product testing for butyl polymers.

    Chris received his Bachelor degree from Letourneau University.  He is active in the Rubber Division, American Chemical Society.  He is a member of the ASTM F-09 Tire committee and D-11 Rubber committee.

  • Mike Nehls

    General Manager, Tire & Wheel Test Center Smithers

    Coming Soon

  • Eugene Petersen

    Tire Program Manager Consumer Reports

    Petersen is the tire program manager of the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn.

  • Dr. James A. Popio

    Vice President of Operations - North America Smithers

    Dr. James A. Popio is Vice President of Operations -  North America 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 Ravenna Laboratory in Ohio.

    Popio 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 organizations and government agencies. 

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

  • Chris Rhoades

    Sr. Product Manager - Technology BKT Tires Global Mining Solutions

    Seasoned software product manager with over a decade of experience actualizing market requirements for new releases of a industry leading tire management software application used in Bridgestone’s global operations tracking over 5,000 customer locations. Innovative problem solver representing customer needs in a software product that tracks and reports on $8 Billion in assets. Diplomat and negotiator working with cross-functional, international program team to gather internal product requirements to be prioritized against market requirements for consideration to be included in the product releases. Technical leader and mentor for the product as well as effective communicator and accomplished public speaker presenting product information to internal stakeholders, customers, and distribution channel. 

  • John B. Rogers, Jr

    Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Local Motors

    John B. Rogers, Jr. is the CEO and co-founder of LM Industries, which exists to shape the future for the better. LMI makes technology forward products using the four pillars of our innovation ecosystem: co-creation, microfactories, direct digital manufacturing, and lab partnerships. The team begins every product with community-powered, human-centered design and by reinventing manufacturing with microfactories, we create big things on a smaller scale for the local communities that actually need them. LM Industries’ process breaks down the barriers to sustainable product development – reducing waste, consuming less energy, and ensuring we use only the materials we need. We have the unrivaled capacity to make the improbable come to life. Based in San Francisco, LM Industries is the parent company of Local Motors and Launch Forth.

  • Richard Smallwood

    Chief Executive Officer and President Sumitomo Rubber North America

    Richard Smallwood is Chief Executive Officer and President for Sumitomo Rubber North America.  Richard serves as an Executive Officer for Sumitomo Rubber Industries in Kobe Japan, on the Board of Directors for Sumitomo Rubber USA, as well as on the Board of Directors for the United States Tire Manufacturers Association.

    Richard received an undergraduate degree in Organizational Communication from CSU Stanislaus, and his Master’s in Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

    As a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast with 34 years of experience in the tire industry, Richard has been fortunate enough to combine his passion for cars and motorcycles with a career in which he could help develop and market the tires to help them perform better. His latest fascination in the automotive world is with the emerging field of Autonomous Vehicles.

  • Jan Svoboda

    RFID Technology Business & Solution Development FineLine Technologies

    Jan has over 20 years of experience in technology and solutions development within the high-tech industry. His extensive knowledge of RFID and wireless technologies is based on years in product development, product management, business development, sales and strategy roles at companies such as Zebra Technologies, SATO Corporation, SMARTRAC and Komtus.

  • Dr. Saied Taheri

    Director, Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe) Virginia Tech

    Saied Taheri is a Professor and the Director of the Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe), a joint collaboration between Virginia Tech, the University of Akron and National Science Foundation (NSF). He graduated with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University and held positions at Ford Motor Company, TRW Automotive, Goodyear Tire, and Tehran Polytechnic Institute before joining Virginia Tech in 2007. He currently advises 12 graduate students and has in excess of 110 journal and conference papers.

  • Doug Terrill

    Test Team Manager Hankook Tire and Technology Company, Ltd

    Doug Terrill is currently the Test Team Manager for the America Technical Center of Hankook Tire and Technology Co., Ltd. in Uniontown, OH. Doug began his career with Aircraft Braking Systems Corporation wheel and brake division as a technical writer and product development engineer. He has more than 20 years of experience in wheel and brake design in the aircraft and commercial vehicle market and over twelve years of experience in tire testing. Doug holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University as well as an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He is a former member of the Tire and Rim Association, serving on the Truck / Bus committee and an SAE member serving on the Wheel Standards Committee and the Truck Bus Wheel Committee.