National Academy of Engineering
American Association of Engineering Societies
2017 Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies


Participant Biographies

Subra Suresh the ninth President of Carnegie Mellon University, is an acclaimed scholar and seasoned administrator.

A distinguished engineer and scientist, Dr. Suresh is one of only 17 Americans with membership in all three National Academies —Medicine, Sciences and Engineering— and is the only current university president elected to all three.

Prior to taking the helm at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Suresh served as Director of the National Science Foundation, a $7 billion interest, and the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education.

Before joining the NSF, Dr. Suresh also served as the Dean of the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Suresh received his bachelor of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, in first class with distinction; a master's degree from Iowa State University; and a doctor of science degree from MIT. He has also held faculty and research positions at the University of California at Berkeley, and at Brown University.

He has co-authored more than 250 journal articles, registered 25 patents and written three widely used books. More than 100 students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars have been members of his research group, and many of them now occupy prominent positions in academia, industry and government worldwide.

Dr. Suresh is married to Mary (Delmar). They have two daughters, Nina and Meera.

Alan S. Brown is an associate editor for ASME’s Mechanical Engineering magazine. Since joining ASME in 2005, he has written extensively on artificial intelligence, robotics, manufacturing, and economics.

Prior to joining ASME, he covered many of the same issues (as well as many other engineering and scientific topics) as a freelance writer for publications as varied as Scientific American, Nautilus, and IEEE Spectrum. He served as editor of magazines and newsletters devoted to advanced materials, advanced coatings and surface technologies, environmental technologies, and homeland response. He was also an econometric consultant and business analyst with Probe Economics, and fought forest fires for the US Forest Service. 


Kevin A. Wise is a Senior Technical Fellow, Advanced Flight Controls, in the Phantom Works division of  The Boeing Company, is President and CEO of Innovative Control Technologies, LLC, and is a Chief Advisor at Kelda Drilling Controls in Norway. He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1980, 82, and 87, respectively. Since joining Boeing in 1982, he has developed vehicle management systems, flight control systems, and control system design tools and processes for advanced manned and unmanned aircraft and weapon systems. Some recent programs include KC-46 Tanker boom, Dominator UAS, Phantom Eye Hydrogen Powered UAS, QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target, X-45 J-UCAS, X-36, and JDAM. His research interests include intelligent autonomy and battle management, aircraft dynamics and control, robust adaptive control, optimal control, robustness theory, and intelligent drilling solutions. He has authored more than 100 technical articles and seven book chapters; he has published a textbook titled Robust and Adaptive Control Theory, with Aerospace Examples; and he teaches control theory at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Wise is the recipient of the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, and the IFAC/AACC Control Engineering Practice Award, and the IEEE Technical Excellence in Aerospace Control Award. He is an IEEE Fellow, and Fellow of the AIAA.


Michael C. Murphy is the Chief Engineer, Surface and Mining Technology, Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Illinois. He has responsibility for Caterpillar’s mining technology strategy for both surface and underground.

Michael joined Caterpillar in 1979 in Melbourne Australia. Over his 38 years at Caterpillar, he has worked numerous assignments in Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Rockhampton with the key focus mining. In 1996, he moved on assignment to Peoria, Illinois in the United States.

His first assignment in the United States was setting up the Caterpillar agreement with Trimble to jointly develop high precision GPS machine control and guidance for mining – now known as Terrain. He has remained extensively involved in developing Caterpillar’s MineStar suite of technology products. Michael has been engaged in all aspects of Caterpillar’s automation program including large mining trucks, track type tractors, blast hole drills and underground LHD’s. During 2013 and 2014, he launched the Caterpillar Autonomous Haulage System in Western Australia with both BHPB Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group. The Fortescue Metals Group project is the largest automation projects in mining with 55x 240 ton trucks in operation.

Michael is a dual citizen of Australia and the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. 


James F. Davis co-founded the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) that was recently selected to lead DOE’s Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), the 9th Manufacturing USA Institute and the 3rd DOE institute to be awarded. Jim is the interim CTO and CIO of CESMII.

Jim is Vice Provost, IT and CTO at UCLA with broad responsibilities focused on the investment and deployment of information technology in the university's academic research, education, and public service mission. He has accountability for university-wide planning and strategic investment in computational research, research informatics, educational technologies, mobility applications, research and education data strategies, privacy/security and internal and external community partnerships. Jim oversees UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE).

Other Boards include the Manufacturing Leadership Board, an international organization of manufacturers and the Governing Boards of the UCLA IS Associates and Southern CA CIO Executive Summit. Jim is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of CENIC (Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California), the non-profit corporation responsible for network connectivity and services to all higher education and K-12 institutions in the State of California.

Jim is also on UCLA’s engineering faculty where he has done research and consulted extensively on intelligent systems, monitoring and control, and data/modeling systems across diverse industries including chemicals, refining, paper, packaging, metals and glass. Jim has work experience with Amoco Chemicals. 


John C. Havens is Executive Director of The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. The Initiative created a document called, Ethically Aligned Design to provide recommendations for values-driven Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems as well standards recommendations. Guided by over one hundred thought leaders, The Initiative has a mission of ensuring every technologist is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritize ethical considerations in the design and development of autonomous and intelligent systems.

John is also a regular contributor on issues of technology and wellbeing to Mashable, The Guardian, HuffPo and TechCrunch and is author of Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity To Maximize Machines and Hacking Happiness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World.

John was an EVP of a Top Ten PR Firm, a VP of a tech startup, and an independent consultant where he has worked with clients such as Gillette, P&G, HP, Wal-Mart, Ford, Allstate, Monster, Gallo Wines, and Merck. He was also the Founder of The Happathon Project, a non-profit utilizing emerging technology and positive psychology to increase human wellbeing.

John has spoken at TEDx, at SXSW Interactive (six times), and as a global keynote speaker for clients like Cisco, Gillette, IEEE, and NXP Semiconductors. John was also a professional actor on Broadway, TV and Film for fifteen years.


Leslie Collins is the Executive Director of DiscoverE. She is responsible for development and stewardship of a coalition comprised of more than 150 corporate, government, engineering society, education, and diversity partners, representing more than 1.5 million engineers and engineering students. 

Collins initiated the DiscoverE K-12 volunteer program for Engineers Week 1990, National Engineers Week Future City Competition in 1993, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day in 2001, Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering in 2005, the Foundation’s Diversity Council in 2008 and Global Day of the Engineer in 2016. Collins is also responsible for all resources and materials and all programs for the organization.

Collins began her career in public relations at the American Gas Association.  Later she became the public relations director for the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Collins is a graduate of Boston College and attended graduate school at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.


Kodi Jean Verhalen is the 2016-17 President of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the youngest Professional Engineer to advance to this position since the Society’s founding in 1934. Ms. Verhalen is an associate in the Energy Section at the law firm of Briggs and Morgan, P.A where she works with many Professional Engineers, Engineers-in-Training, and engineers on large energy infrastructure projects both from a regulatory and an environmental perspective. Prior to joining Briggs, she was an environmental engineer for a Minnesota electric utility company.

Since 2001 she has been an active member of both the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers (MnSPE) and NSPE. She started MnSPE’s first student chapter at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a year after college was elected to the MnSPE Executive Committee advancing to MnSPE president in 2010. Her leadership roles with NSPE have included membership on the Board of Directors and House of Delegates, chairman of the Membership Committee, the Bylaws Review Task Force, and the Position Statement and Professional Policy Development Task Force. In 2012 she was named a Fellow of NSPE.

Ms. Verhalen received a BS with honors in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Juris Doctor cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota state and federal courts, and Wisconsin state courts, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Minnesota. 


Jason Borenstein is the Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His appointment is divided between the School of Public Policy and the Office of Graduate Studies. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law (jpsl.org). He is an assistant editor of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, co-editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s Ethics and Information Technology section, and an editorial board member of the journal Accountability in Research. He is also Leader of the Research Ethics Editorial Board and a member of the Engineering Ethics Editorial Board for the National Academy of Engineering's Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science.

Dr. Borenstein is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on a five year project funded by the National Science Foundation entitled "Institutional Transformation: The Role of Service Learning and Community Engagement on the Ethical Development of STEM Students and Campus Culture." His other research interests include bioethics, engineering ethics, robot ethics, and research ethics. His work has appeared in numerous professional journals including AI & Society, Communications of the ACM, Science and Engineering Ethics, the Journal of Academic Ethics, Ethics and Information Technology, IEEE Technology & Society, Accountability in Research, and the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review.


Joseph Herkert is Associate Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society (STS) and a Visiting Scholar in the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, North Carolina State University. He was formerly Lincoln Associate Professor of Ethics and Technology at Arizona State University (retired May 2015). Herkert has been teaching engineering ethics and STS courses for thirty years. He is editor of The Growing Gap between Emerging Technologies and Legal-Ethical Oversight (Springer, 2011) and has published numerous articles on engineering ethics and societal implications of technology in engineering, law, social science, and applied ethics journals. Herkert previously served as Editor of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine and an Associate Editor of Engineering Studies. He has been a leader in many professional organizations including the Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) of IEEE, the National Institute for Engineering Ethics, and the Engineering Ethics and Liberal Education/Engineering and Society (LEES) Divisions of the ASEE. In 2005 Herkert received the Sterling Olmsted Award, the highest honor bestowed by LEES, for “making significant contributions in the teaching and administering of liberal education in engineering education.” Herkert is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Senior Member of IEEE. He currently serves on the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on IEEE Ethics Programs and the Advisory Group of the Center for Engineering Ethics and Society of the NAE. Herkert received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and his doctorate in Engineering & Policy from Washington University in St. Louis.


Chris Gerdes is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. His laboratory studies how cars move, how humans drive cars and how to design future cars that work cooperatively with the driver or drive themselves. When not teaching on campus, he can often be found at the racetrack with students, instrumenting historic race cars or trying out their latest prototypes for the future. Vehicles in the lab include X1, an entirely student-built test vehicle; Shelley, an automated Audi TT-S that can lap a racetrack as quickly as an expert driver; and MARTY, an electrified DeLorean capable of controlled drifts. Chris and his team have been recognized with a number of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Ralph Teetor award from SAE International and the Rudolf Kalman Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

From February 2016 to January 2017, Chris served as the first Chief Innovation Officer at the United States Department of Transportation. In this role, he worked with Secretary Anthony Foxx to foster the culture of innovation across the department and find ways to support transportation innovation taking place both inside and outside of government. He was part of the team that developed the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy and represented the Department on the National Science and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. He continues to serve U.S. DOT as Vice Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation. 

Chris is a co-founder of truck platooning company Peloton Technology and served as Peloton’s Principal Scientist before joining U.S. DOT.  


Joan Walker joined UC Berkeley in 2008 as faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a member of the interdisciplinary Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) initiative. She currently serves as Co-Director of GMS. She received her Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley and her Master's and PhD degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, she was Director of Demand Modeling at Caliper Corporation and an Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment at Boston University. She is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) – the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. She is an Associate Editor of Transportation Science and the current Chair of the Committee on Transportation Demand Forecasting (ADB40) for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. 

Her research focus is behavioral modeling, with an expertise in discrete choice analysis and travel behavior. She works to improve the models that are used for transportation planning, policy, and operations.


Bryant Walker Smith is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law and (by courtesy) in the School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He is also an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, an adjunct clinical professor at the University of Michigan Law School, a member of the US Department of Transportation's Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation, the chair of the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the reporter to the Uniform Law Commission's Study Committee on State Regulation of Driverless Cars, the chair of the Planning Task Force for the On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee of the Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers, a faculty affiliate of the Rule of Law Collaborative, and a member of the New York Bar.

Bryant's research focuses on risk (particularly tort law and product liability), technology (automation and connectivity), and mobility (safety and regulation). As an internationally recognized expert on the law of self-driving vehicles, Bryant taught the first-ever course on this topic and is regularly consulted by government, industry, and media. His publications are available at newlypossible.org.

Before joining the University of South Carolina, Bryant led the legal aspects of automated driving program at Stanford University, clerked for the Hon. Evan J. Wallach at the United States Court of International Trade, and worked as a fellow at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He holds both an LL.M. in International Legal Studies and a J.D. (cum laude) from New York University School of Law and a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his legal career, Bryant worked as a transportation engineer.