Speakers

2018 SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

John Weis has been an Education Specialist with NASA for the last 13 years. He is currently stationed at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to providing online professional development for educators, John is responsible for educational outreach including professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers, community programs and liaising with state and local education agencies in the Marshall region of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee.

John earned a BS in Science and Mathematics Teaching with an emphasis in Mathematics and Physics from the Florida State University and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Scranton. Before joining NASA education, he spent 10 years as a secondary science teacher in Volusia County, Florida. His areas of specialization include Mathematics, Physics, Earth/Space Science, and Astronomy.

Gary Dowdy is an award-winning technology executive with experience in innovation, e-Business/mobile, digital marketing, software development, systems integration, business development and strategic planning from start-ups to Fortune 20.

As Head of Innovation and Disruptive Technology at J.B. Hunt, Mr. Dowdy is responsible for systems and partnerships to advance the company’s digital prowess and transformation to a technology driven provider of innovative supply chain solutions.

Gary has a strong entrepreneurial track record.  From 1988 to 1997, he was co-founder and president of two technology companies specializing in the automation of distribution centers and creation of software development products.  In 1993, he received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, presented by the United States Small Business Administration.  From 1998 to 2008, Gary held numerous technology, e-commerce and marketing roles at the executive level at Cardinal Health (Fortune 19) in Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio.  Since 2008, Mr. Dowdy has been a consultant and executive at four startup companies, one of which recently sold for $187 million.

Mr. Dowdy teaches an Internet MBA course at the University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business.  He serves on the boards of the Arkansas Academy of Computing, Mid-America Science Museum and Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and Arts.   Gary also serves on the Governor Hutchinson’s Task Force for the Computer Science Initiative and is a member of the Arkansas Executive Forum.

He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University.

2018 SPEAKERS

David Walker

David Walker

Clear Measure, Principal Architect

David Walker is a Principal Architect for Clear Measure and a Sitecore 2018 & 2015 Technology MVP. He has been building professional enterprise grade, scalable, solutions for over 23 years with over 80% of that as a customer facing consultant.

He has been a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) since 2003, Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) and Microsoft Certified Developer (MCSD) since 2005. He was a three time Microsoft MVP – ASP/ASP.NET from July 2007 to July 2009 prior to joining Microsoft as a Senior Application Development Manager.

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Prior to joining Microsoft, he was also formerly a board member for INETA (International .NET Association) (Vice President, Speakers Bureau), President of the Tulsa Developers .NET users group, founder and President of the Tulsa SQL Server Group and Tulsa Java Developers Group, and Vice President of the Tulsa SharePoint Interest Group. He was the Founder and has been the Chairman of the region’s largest and highly successful technical training event, now going on 14 consecutive years, TulsaTechFest.com and TechFests.com.

In his 12 years working with Sitecore, he has found that to a certain degree it is a niche product and therefore the information and things that he needs are not always easily found when he needs them.

His primary goal is to utilize this site to document and track best practices, code, findings, research, resources, utilities and anything else that he finds as it relates to Sitecore, Azure, .NET, Microsoft, SQL Server, SharePoint, Application Development, Software Development LifeCycle Management, Agile, SCRUM, Software Craftsmanship and anything else that comes to mind and proves beneficial.

Recently he has focused on a wide range of newer technologies, including: IoT, Azure, Azure Machine Learning, Artifical Intelligence, Business Intelligence, AppFabric, MEF (Managed Extensibility Framework), SharePoint, WindowsPhone and Windows8/WindowsStore applications. He has been using WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) since the first Beta release back in 2005/2006!

He will primarily be documenting and preserving them here, so that he does not have to hunt for them again. If it becomes a resource for someone else as well, then he will be truly humbled and extremely happy.

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Daniel Trimble

Daniel Trimble

J.B. Hunt, Sr. Expert Software Engineer

Daniel is a Sr. Expert Software Engineer at J.B. Hunt Transportation. He has been in the industry since 2005, graduating from UALR with a degree in Computer Science. Daniel has a passion for diving into new emerging technologies and integrating them into revenue systems. Daniel is also a BJJ Brown belt and teaches kids and adults weekly.

James Hopper

James Hopper

EAST Initiative, Development Coordinator

James Hopper is the Development Coordinator for the EAST Initiative in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Harding University and a graduate degree in school psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. Previous work experience includes time as a federal law enforcement officer, educational specialist, STEM Coordinator, and general manager of a restaurant franchise. Since transitioning from the Federal government to EAST, James has served in a variety of positions including STEM Coordinator, Director of Special Projects, and provided site support services to local EAST programs. He regularly provides training to students and teachers in the areas of soft skills, ArcGIS software, and grant writing.

Jared Justus

Jared Justus

VML, Technical Specialist

Jared Justus is a Technical Specialist on the Rogers Mobility and Innovation Team and has been a developer at VML Rogers since 2015. He is passionate about web technologies, AI, Animation, VR, AR and how we can use these to improve and streamline the lives of consumers. During his time at VML Rogers, Jared has created unique interactive experiences across the web, AI, VR and AR for a variety of clients including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kimberly Clark, GMI, Murphy USA, Banfield, Metro PCS, Betty Crocker and Ford. Jared also teaches an Advanced Computer Science course at Lincoln High School through the University of Arkansas and VML Rogers. His course covers Web Development, Virtual Reality Development, Programming fundamentals and anything else the class expresses interest in.

Ashanti Poindexter and TaM’ya Jones

Ashanti Poindexter and TaM’ya Jones

LISA Academy North, Students

Ashanti Poindexter and Tamya Jones are two high school sophomores who desire to give back to their community and to support other Girls Who Code. Last year, they won the Arkansas Coding For Good competition sponsored by the AR Women’s Foundation. Over the summer they decided to facilitate a school Girls Who Code. Despite taking multiple AP classes and having a full extracurricular schedule, they knew that they needed to give back to their community.

Meagan Bowman

Meagan Bowman

One Stone, Co-Founder and CIO

Meagan joined Bill Waitsman (Chairman and Founder of Harvest Group) in September of 2016 in order to construct a multi-platform eCommerce service/technology model. Meagan had been consulting large CPG companies (Clorox and General Mills) on their Amazon strategy while serving as Group Director (Digital Strategy) at The MARS Agency for clients including Campbell Soup, Colgate-Palmolive, and Sun Products. In 2013, Meagan led product development, digital integration, and eCommerce retail strategy for Hallmark including Crayola. Meagan built and sold 2 startup concepts focused at the intersection of consumer behavior and digital technology in 2006 and 2012 respectively.

Major Scott Anderson

Major Scott Anderson

United States Air Force, Director of Operations

Major Scott A. Anderson is the Director of Operations,189th Operations Group Detachment 1, Little RockAir Force Base, Arkansas. He is responsible for all directing, training, planning, execution and support of Cyber Operations in the new CyberspaceOperations Squadron in the 189th Airlift Wing.

Major Anderson graduated from Woodland High School in Washington State. Followed by graduating with honors from ITT Technical Institute, he then enlisted in the United States Air Force as a Communications and Navigations Apprentice.

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After serving Active Duty for 8 years, he joined the Arkansas Air National Guard, cross-trained to CyberSystems Operations with the 123rd Intelligence Squadron. He was selected to get commissioned by attending the Academy of Military Science, then attended Intelligence Officer Training at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. After Mission Qualifying as a Mission Operations Commander (MOC), he became an Instructor, MOC Subject Matter Expert, and Evaluator, executing hundreds of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions with the Distributed Ground Station Arkansas (DGS-AR).

Major Anderson was the Chief of Standards and Evaluations for DGS AR for the 123rd Intelligence Squadron, reorganized under the 188th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group in Fort Smith Arkansas, where he continued as the Chief Of Standards and Evaluations. He also served in many other positions with the123 IS and 188 ISRG, Wing Inspection Team, Joint Incident Awareness and Assessment Team, CyberConversion Officer, Officer in Charge (OIC) of Information Technology Flight, OIC of Operations, UnitCompliance Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Information System Security Officer, Physical SecurityManager, Personnel Security Manager, COMSEC Responsible Officer, Operation Security Program Manager,Intelligence Oversight Manager, Lead Technician, and Fitness Program Manager. He has deployed to Columbia supporting Counter Drug Operations as well as Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2009.

Currently, he is the Director of Operations, 189th Operations Group Detachment 1, Little Rock Air ForceBase, Arkansas. Prior to this assignment, Maj Anderson served and continues to serve as the Conversion Officer for the new Cyberspace Operations Squadron. He stood up this new training focused Cyber unit in a matter of months and graduated the first 20 students, March 2017.

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Michael McDermott

Michael McDermott

J.B. Hunt, Expert Software Engineer

I am an architect at J. B. Hunt, where I pursue my passion for elegant solutions, both in code and beyond. I fell in love with computers when I got my hands on my first hand-me-down DOS box with Windows 3.11 and a monochrome monitor. That put me on the path to software development, where I have been working for over a decade across multiple stacks and industries.

Carrie Beach

Carrie Beach

Washington Junior High School, STEAM teacher and Makerspace Coordinator

Carrie Beach is a middle school STEAM teacher at Washington Junior High in Bentonville, AR. Over her 20 year teaching career, she has taught numerous science subjects as well as PLTW Gateway classes. Three years ago she discovered Maker Education and has never looked back. In her free time, Carrie likes to cook, do a variety of crafts, and travel with her family. She strives to be an example of life-long learning for everyone she knows.

Austin Willis

Austin Willis

VML, Technical Specialist

Austin is an Arkansas native, completing Undergrad and Graduate work with a focus on ML/AI at University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He is currently in the role of Technical Specialist at VML, consulting on client pitches and estimations for new data science work. Austin has spent most of his development career in the .Net stack, with some focus on Python as well. Working in Little Rock, NYC, and now NWA, Austin has 7 years of experience in the industry with a focus on data engineering.

Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols

DaySpring, Director of Analytics

Jeff is the Director of Analytics at DaySpring in Siloam Springs, where he lives with his wife and three children. He holds a BBA from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and an MBA from John Brown University. He brings 18 years of experience in Marketing, Supply Chain, Finance, Information Technology, and Data Science. Jeff’s philosophy is that decisions are optimized at the confluence of manager and model.Outside of time with his family, he serves at his church teaching, loves running, and is an Adjunct Professor of Business at John Brown University.

Will Brown

Will Brown

Canopy, a division of ATLAS, Lead Software Engineer

Will is the Development Team Lead at Canopy, a division of ATLAS Technology Group creating a next-generation reporting suite geared towards e-commerce and omnichannel CPG vendors. Since graduating from Henderson State in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Will has gained experience in every aspect of the software development lifecycle by building enterprise-grade systems for the largest vendors and retailers in the world and agile processes for small startups based in Northwest Arkansas.

Kurt Haas

Kurt Haas

QuikTrip, Enterprise Architect

Kurt Haas is an Enterprise Architect with 20 years of experience in retail and technology. Though currently an Enterprise Architect at QuikTrip in Tulsa, he remains active in the Northwest Arkansas region as a board member for the Ozark STEM Foundation and as a blues musician. His favorite type of work, bringing IT and the business together over coffee and common goals, borrows heavily from his previous roles as a public school teacher, application developer, product manager, cloud architect, enterprise architect, board member, and non-profit co-founder. After two decades in technology, Kurt is still driven by his initial passion: connecting and sharing with people.

Chrissy Wainwright

Chrissy Wainwright

Six Feet Up Inc., Senior Developer

Chrissy has been working as a Senior Developer at Six Feet Up for the past 10 years, most of that time working remotely. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Plone Foundation, an open-source organization that oversees the finances and integrity of the Plone content management system.

Ryan Overton

Ryan Overton

Valorem, Software Engineer

As an ICAgile Certified Professional and Certified ScrumMaster with nearly 10 years of software development experience with Microsoft technologies, I have learned a breadth of development technologies for desktop (WinForms, WPF, UWA, and UWP), web (WebForms, MVC, AngularJs, and Angular 2), and mobile (Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7/8/8.1, and Xamarin). Since I first made the turtle dance around the screen using Logo, I have had a passion for development and am fortunate I get to do what I love for a living.

Bill Akins

Bill Akins

Atlas Technology Group Inc., VP

Bill Akins has worked with Consumer Packaged Goods technology and manufacturing companies for twenty years in numerous leadership positions requiring the need to innovate stale business models, including his recent post as Chief Client Officer (CCO) of Rockfish (WPP Digital) for the past eight years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a digital marketing emphasis from California State University, an MBA concentrated on strategic retail alliances from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and will finish his post-graduate work in corporate innovation at Stanford University in Silicon Valley by mid-2018.

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For the bulk of his career, Bill has been a guest lecturer at Walton, SXSW, international retail summits, flagship CPG keynote events, Kantar Retail, industry trade conferences, and over twenty Retail Link User Groups around the world with continuing efforts to engage CPG companies on the philosophy of store-centric micromarketing, digital personalization through shopper marketing, and the technology platforms behind it all (including special emphasis on Marketing Information Systems, Demand Signal Repositories, and Digital Shopper/Shelf).

He was chosen by the NWA Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40”, was “Who’s Who” in Shopper Marketing in both 2017 and 2016, is an Institute Faculty Member of the Path to Purchase Institute, was named to the “Arkansas 200 Executives” Hall of Fame in 2017, and has taught undergraduate and MBA-level courses in marketing research, consumer behavior, and shopper insights.

Bill has been a frequent guest and host for the regional NBC television program, Focus on Suppliers, is a member of the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, served as the President of the NWA Tech Council in 2015, and also has chaired the MBA Advisory Board at the University of Arkansas. Finally, he was a founding leader and current board member of the NWA Tech Summit and Ozark STEM Foundation.

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PAST SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

For 2017, NWA TechFest proudly introduces the event’s first keynote speaker, General Tamhra Hutchins-Frye. General Hutchins-Frye has the distinction of being the first female brigadier general of Arkansas Air National Guard.

General Hutchins-Frye joined the Arkansas Air National Guard in 1984 and has her sights set on being a 2-star general before she retires. To-date she has served one tour in Afghanistan and has been awarded the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star. Devoted to her community, Hutchins-Frye has also served as Co-Chair of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas’s Girls of Promise, an organization that supports and encourages young girls to pursue their interest in STEM subjects.

Accompanying General Hutchins-Frye will be Colonel Bobbi Doorenbos, the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Wing Commander. The 188th Wing’s primary missions are intelligence, surveillance, targeting, and reconnaissance using remotely-controlled aircrafts called MQ-9 Reapers. Col. Doorenbos has many achievements including the Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Aerial Achievement Medal. In 2007, she completed a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, at the Bolling, Maryland Air Force Base.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Kevin Clark is a proven leader with extensive experience scaling diagnostics companies from inception to lucrative exit on a global scale. He has successfully ushered 126 products through the FDA approval process. His career includes the development of a diagnostics company, serving as COO and CEO. He sourced investors and sold that company to one of the largest life sciences companies in the world. He took the company public, managed multinational operations and brokered mergers and acquisitions, all while developing, manufacturing and selling products that required FDA approval.

As CEO of ERBA Diagnostics, Clark brought the company to profitability following losses in nine consecutive quarters. Among his accomplishments was the sale of controlling interest of IVAX Diagnostics (now known as ERBA Diagnostics) to TransAsia Bio-Medicals, the largest diagnostics company in India. He consummated private investment of public equity (PIPE) of $30 million in common stock and warrants to grow ERBA Diagnostics through mergers and acquisitions. He managed facilities across the U.S. and internationally in England, the Czech Republic, Italy, Russia, Brazil, and France.

Prior to that he served six years as COO of IVAX Diagnostics, the parent company of ImmunoVision, Inc., which he founded in 1987 and sold to IVAX Corporation in 1995. During his 18 years at ImmunoVision/IVAX Diagnostics, he was directly responsible for the successful development and clinical trials of 18 diagnostic test kits. He was Executive VP and Founding Member of the Arkansas Biotechnology Association and has served on the Board for the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation and Arkansas BioVentures

About NOWDiagnostics, Inc.

NOWDiagnostics Inc., based in Springdale, Ark., is a leader in innovative diagnostics testing. Its ADEXUSDx® product line features a lab at your fingertip, using a single drop of blood to test for a variety of common conditions, illnesses, and diseases with results in a matter of minutes. By eliminating the need to send tests to off-site laboratories, NOWDiagnostics has the potential to decrease the waiting period to determine test results by days. The company’s Springdale, Ark., facility was officially registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2014. The company is currently offering an hCG (pregnancy) test in the United States and Europe as well as three cardiac (heart attack) tests and three toxicology tests in Europe. Additional tests are in the development pipeline, including sexually transmitted diseases, more cardiac (heart attack), food intolerances, common infectious diseases, and a variety of screening tests. For more information about NOWDiagnostics, visit www.nowdx.com.

Ryan Overton

Valorem Consulting

2017 Talk: DevOps for the Little Guy

Daniel Worthy

Rockfish Digital/U of A Global Campus

2017 Talk: Managing Stress as a Developer

Chris King

J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.

2017 Talk: Making Sense of Sensor Data

James Hopper

EAST Initiative

2017 Talk: 3D Printing

Jeremy Jones

Mainstream Technologies

2017 Talk: Unicorns & Dinosaurs: Working Better Together

Kevin Minehart

WEHCO Media

2017 Talk: VIM

Matt Shull

Aristotle Labs

2017 Talk: The Need for Speed: Site Testing for Real life

Luke Crouch

Mozilla

2017 Talk: Crypto Before Computers

Casey Kinsey

Lofty Labs

2017 Talk: Building Data Pipelines with Python

Abby Sims

Idestini Dev Studio

2017 Talk: Tips for Creating & Managing Small Remote Teams

Mike Johnston

QBox

2017 Talk: Keeping Users & Your Bottom Line Happy: Setting up a Multi-Million Dollar SaaS Service with Kubernetes

Drew Wallis

NWA3D

2017 Talk: 3D Printing

Chris Oswald

Atlas Technology Group

2017 Talk: What’s New in ASP.net Core?

John Koch

The Right Solutions Healthcare Staffing

2017 Talk: 3D Printing for About $200: Beginners Guide & More

Will Bowlin

RevUnit

2017 Talk: Practical Examples of Concurrency in Modern Languages

Whitney Silva

JB Hunt

2017 Talk: What is UX/UI?