FiRe CTO Challenge Panel - 04 October 2018

Future in Review 2018

Wednesday, October 10 (Full Agenda)
2:00p – 2:30p “The Fire CTO Design Challenge: Building Zoolingua” Creating the world’s first AI-driven interspecies translator to enable animal communication.

Mark Godsy, Chairman and CEO, Exro Technologies


Mark Godsy is the chairman and CEO of Exro Technologies, a company whose goal is to improve the efficiency with which we can convert nature’s variable energy into electricity.

Mark is a serial entrepreneur, having first practiced law for approximately four years in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has served in a variety of positions, including advisor, CEO, CFO, director, and chairman, depending upon how to best serve the interests of particular ventures, which cover many sectors but with an emphasis on the healthcare of people and the planet. Mark is passionate about building teams and realizing on synergies that can help create a great result. He has also been involved in programs that mentor CEOs of junior biotechs and law students, and he is frequently approached to do the same for budding entrepreneurs.

Mark has started or co-founded many companies in the tech sector, including ID Biomedical, which became Canada’s largest vaccine company and the fifth-largest in the world; and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, which created the first coated stent, which has gone on to save tens of millions of lives.

In addition to working with Exro, Mark is a co-founder and chairman of Mojio, director of Nuview Life Sciences, and advisory board member for the McGill Faculty of Law.

Mark loves the outdoors and outdoor sports. He has ski-raced internationally and was the head coach of junior racing at Blackcomb. He has also taught water skiing and competed on the track teams when attending university. He holds a BA from the University of British Columbia and a law degree from McGill, and is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia.

Gali Hagel, CEO, Hagel Consulting

A member of the board of advisors of Zoolingua, Gali Hagel is a corporate and nonprofit strategist; advocate for the welfare, rights, and conservation of animals; and former attorney. She sits on the board of Pets in Need, the Bay Area’s oldest no-kill shelter. A fervent believer in the power of documentaries to change the world, she is also a member of the SNS FiReFilms steering committee.

A graduate of Duke University, Gali attended the Vanderbilt University School of Law, with adjunct studies at Georgetown. At Vanderbilt, she served as the first female editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

Gali served as in-house counsel with BellSouth Corp. from 1983 until 1998, primarily as international mergers and acquisitions counsel. After two life-changing trips to Kenya, she left BellSouth to establish her own corporate and entertainment law practice with a pro bono focus on animal law. As an early animal-rights attorney, she joined the initial strategic team of the Great Ape World Heritage Species Project; co-wrote and helped pass Georgia’s first felony animal cruelty law; represented pioneering, world-class researchers in the field of interspecies communication; and served as an advisor to sanctuaries and other animal-related entities. Somewhere along the line, she also earned a certificate in Applied Zoo Biology from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. From 2002 to 2009, she served as general counsel of the Hoover Group, a multinational manufacturing company.

Gali is the author of “A Practitioner’s Introduction to Saudi Arabian Law” (Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law) and other legal articles; co-author of “The Great Ape World Heritage Species Project” (Conservation in the 21st Century: Gorillas as a Case Study); and author of “The Myelin Repair Foundation Accelerated Research Collaboration Model: Innovative Disruption in Biomedical Research” (Collaborative Innovation in Drug Discovery: Strategies for Public and Partnerships). She is currently working on a law-review article on the legal recognition of nonhuman animal sentience, as well as on a memoir.

Chris Johnson, Director, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute; and Distinguished Professor, School of Computing, University of Utah

Dr. Chris Johnson is the founding director the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute at the University of Utah, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and holds faculty appointments in the departments of Physics and Bioengineering. His research interests are in the areas of scientific computing and scientific visualization.

Chris founded the SCI research group in 1992; it has since grown to become the SCI Institute, employing over 200 faculty, staff, and students. Chris serves on several international journal editorial boards, as well as on advisory boards to a number of national research centers. He has received several awards, including the the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow (PFF) award from President Clinton in 1995 and the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology from Utah Governor Michael Leavitt in 1999.

Chris is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and received the Utah Cyber Pioneer Award. In 2010, Chris received the Rosenblatt Award from the University of Utah and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. In 2012, he received the IEEE IPDPS Charles Babbage Award.

Greg Ness, Founder, Actium Bay Group

Gregory Ness is the founder of Actium Bay Group, a Silicon Valley-based boutique marketing agency. As a Future in Review (FiRe) conference panelist, he was among the first to point out network and security issues with virtualized IT infrastructures and then emerging cloud operating models, which led to the formation of the Infrastructure 2.0 Working Group with FiRe advisor Dan Lynch and a host of leaders in the networking industry.

Greg’s Archimedius blog was one of the world’s most influential cloud computing blogs. He has published two science fiction novels (Antioch and Alexandria) and is working on his third, scheduled to be published in 2019.

Greg was formerly VP of Marketing at Vidder, a leading cybersecurity software and services company; VP of Marketing at CloudVelox, a leader in hybrid cloud software for the Global 2000; CMO at Vantage Data Centers (acquired by Digital Realty Trust); VP of Corporate Marketing at Infoblox (IPO April 2012); and VP of Marketing at Blue Lane Technologies (acquired by VMware). Previously, he held marketing executive roles at Juniper Networks, Redline Networks (acquired by Juniper), IntruVert Networks (acquired by McAfee), ShoreTel (IPO), and Verizon (then GTE). He has spoken at Interop, Cisco Live, and Future in Review on topics related to virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. Greg has a BA from Reed College and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin.

On a personal note, Greg enjoys reading and writing, travel, and spending as much time as possible with his family.

Katherine O’Donnell, Marketing & Communications Advisor, Zoolingua; and Director of Development & Communications, LifeLong Medical Care

Katherine S. O’Donnell is marketing and communications advisor for Zoolingua, the technology company that promises to let us finally talk to the animals, starting with dogs. Katherine spent more than a decade speaking for the animals, working with pet shelters, animal hospitals, and rescue agencies. She has led multimillion-dollar capital campaigns, established major donor programs to garner six-figure charitable contributions, and directed a local animal shelter’s crisis communication effort that reached a worldwide audience. She has also published expert content about the human-animal bond in a national publication.

Katherine is director of development and communications for LifeLong Medical Care, a publicly funded community health center serving 60,000-plus low-income patients in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties in California. In her five-plus years there, she has earned the organization national media coverage, built a robust social media presence, and created and implemented strategic marketing communication plans, as well as written and placed publicity articles that have reached a nationwide audience.

Katherine is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where she majored in Advertising and minored in Russian. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her three rescue dogs, cats, and rabbit.

Roger Payne, Founder / President, Ocean Alliance

Roger Payne is best known for his discovery (with Scott McVay) that humpback whales sing songs and for his calculation showing that the sounds of fin and blue whales can be heard across oceans (since confirmed). His BA degree is from Harvard, and his Ph.D. from Cornell. His earliest work was on directional hearing in bats and his Ph.D. dissertation on how owls locate mice in total darkness based solely on hearing them move. From 1967 to 1982, he had a dual appointment at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Rockefeller University. He remained at Rockefeller University until 1985, before leaving to devote full time to Ocean Alliance, the institute he founded and of which he now serves as president.

Since 1967, Roger has studied the behavior of whales, led over 100 expeditions to all oceans, and studied every species of baleen whale in the wild. His institute has recently completed the Voyage of the Odyssey, a five-year, around-the-world research expedition to measure pollution levels in ocean life. The voyage collected 955 skin samples from sperm whales (obtained by biopsy dart and harmless to the whale), which are currently being analyzed for a suite of synthetic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), heavy metals, and brominated fire retardants. When complete, the resulting data will provide the first worldwide bioassay of the levels of these contaminants in the oceans.

Roger has pioneered many of the benign research techniques now used in more than 60 countries to study free-swimming whales. He has participated in numerous international meetings regarding conserving whales and trained many of the current leaders in whale research, both in America and abroad. Besides founding the Voyage of the Odyssey, he is the founder of long-term research projects on the songs of humpback whales and on the behavior of over 3,000 individually known Argentine right whales – the longest such continuous study of any baleen whale.

Roger publishes technical articles and writes for general audiences. One of his articles in National Geographic magazine contained a phonograph record of whale sounds for which 10.5 million copies were printed (which remains, to this day, the largest single print order in the history of the recording industry). His publications include the book Among Whales (1995) and three recordings: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1970), Deep Voices (1975), and Whales Alive (1989 – works composed by whales but arranged and played by humans). He has appeared in over 40 documentary films for television, a few of which he has presented and/or written. He co-wrote and co-directed the IMAX film Whales. An award-winning film about his work – A Life Among Whales – is currently being screened worldwide.

Roger’s honors and awards include a knighthood in the Netherlands, a MacArthur Fellowship, the similar Lyndhurst Prize Fellowship, the Albert Schweitzer medal of the Animal Welfare Institute (shared with his first wife, Katy Payne), the Joseph Wood Krutch medal of the Humane Society of the U.S., the James Duggan Memorial Award of the American Littoral Society, the University of Massachusetts Writing and Society Award, a United Nations (UNEP) Global 500 award, the Emmy for Best Interview (for his interview with Charlie Rose, in One-On-One With Charlie Rose). He was a finalist in 2006 and 2008 for the Indianapolis Prize and the 2007 winner of Oxford University’s Dawkins Prize.

John Petote, Founder, Santa Barbara Angel Alliance

John Petote is an angel investor who has invested in 75 startup and early-stage companies as well as various VC funds and real-estate partnerships. His private company investments include organizations from the following industries: information technology, Internet marketing, shared economy, biotech, medical devices, consumer goods, and financial institutions.

John is the founder of CIO Solutions and currently serves as the company’s chairman. CIO Solutions designs and implements customized cloud-based IT solutions and also provides IT management services to SMB and enterprise organizations.

John has held sales and technical-related positions in a variety of industries. He currently serves on the boards of directors for Apeel Sciences,, UCSB Economic Forecast Project, Central Coast MIT Forum, United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, and the South Coast Business & Technology Awards. Past board memberships include, TeraMatrix, CMC Communications, and We Teach Sports. John also serves as an active member of the Santa Barbara Downtown Rotary Club.

John’s primary skills include assessing investable startup organizations, mentoring, strategic planning, business development, and creative problem solving. He graduated with honors from the ICM School of Business (Pittsburgh).

Lorien Pratt, Chief Scientist, Zoolingua

Lorien Pratt has been delivering AI and DI solutions for her clients for over 30 years. These include the Human Genome Project, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of Energy, and the Administrative Office of the US Courts. She currently also serves as chief scientist for startup Zoolingua.

Formerly a computer science professor, Lorien is a popular international speaker and has given two TEDx talks. Her Quantellia team offers AI, DI, and full-stack software solutions to clients worldwide. Previously a leading technology analyst, Laurien has also authored dozens of academic papers, co-edited the book Learning to Learn, and co-authored the Decision Engineering Primer. Her next book, Link: How Decision Intelligence makes the Invisible Visible (Emerald Press), is in production. With media appearances such as on TechEmergence and GigaOm, Lorien is also listed on the Women Inventors and Innovator’s Mural. She blogs at

Dave Roberts, Associate Professor of Computer Science, North Carolina State University

Dave Roberts’ background and formal training are in statistical machine learning, but his professional interests lie at the intersection of computation and behavior. More specifically, Dave works on how technology can provide insight into, or shape, behavior in the physical world and how behavior in the physical world can be modeled computationally to create new computational capabilities.

Throughout his career, Dave has worked on problems involving two main application areas: virtual experiences (i.e., computer games) and animal-computer interaction. In the context of games, he works on techniques to identify and influence cognitive and social psychological phenomena with the goal of better understanding users and providing more powerful, more engaging, authorially intended experiences. When it comes to animal-computer interaction, his primary efforts have involved the design of integrated hardware and software systems to support two-way, computer-mediated communication between humans and animals, with a primary emphasis on dogs.

Dave’s projects have spanned computer-assisted training systems (CATS) for dogs, wearable physiological monitoring, and drone-assisted handling of search and rescue (SAR) dogs. His research has attracted substantial external funding from the National Science Foundation and the intelligence community, as well as corporate and nonprofit partners such as IBM and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. In addition, his collaborative work on technologies for SAR dogs resulted in a visit and demonstration at the White House in 2014.

With a real passion for animal behavior, Dave has spent time training many species of animals, including chickens, cats, horses, and dogs. In addition to his professional interests, he shares his home with four dogs, including two Labrador retrievers he trains for hunt tests and field trial competitions.

David is an associate professor of Computer Science and interim director of the Digital Games Research center in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, where he runs the CIIGAR Research Group ( He received his PhD in 2010 from the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from Colgate University in 2003. In 2017, Dave took a leave from NC State to co-found a startup company in Silicon Valley and now serves as one of its scientific advisors.

Con Slobodchikoff, CEO, Zoolingua; and Professor Emeritus, Biology Department, Northern Arizona University

Con Slobodchikoff is CEO of Animal Communications Ltd, director of the Animal Language Institute, and author of Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals. He is an expert at decoding animal language, using innovative experimental and analytical techniques. His work has shown that prairie dogs have a sophisticated animal language having all of the design features of human languages.

Con has been featured in a variety of news media articles and interviews, including magazines such as Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Discover Magazine, People Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and Boy’s Life; radio interviews such as “Radiolab,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and NPR Flagstaff, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Idaho, and Colorado; on television on NBC Dateline, ABC World News with Peter Jennings, CNN, Country Canada, Quantum (Australia), Tierzeit (Belgian-German TV), Turner Broadcasting, and Brixen Productions (Discovery Channel); and in newspapers such as the LA Times, Boston Globe, Denver Post, Arizona Republic, Arizona Daily Sun, Arizona Daily Star, Washington Post, and the New York Times. A joint production by BBC and Animal Planet did a one-hour documentary of his work, shown in 2010 by BBC TV in Europe and in 2011 on Animal Planet as part of the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom series.

Con has written or co-written some 100 scientific papers and popular articles on animal language, animal behavior, and evolution. He has also edited three books on these topics.

Con also writes or co-writes several blogs, including the Reconnect with Nature Blog (, the Dog Behavior Blog (, and the Dr Con page on Facebook ( His website is

Con has a BS degree and a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Holly Counter Beaver, Principal, Lighthouse Experience Design and Zoolingua Busy Body

Digital UX Solutionary; Founder and Principal, Lighthouse Experience Design

Holly Counter Beaver is founder and principal of Lighthouse Experience Design, a small user experience design consulting and creation company. She serves as a solutionary and bridge with teams large and small – enterprise, small business, nonprofit, startup – to discover, model, and create digital solutions that solve meaningful people problems.

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