Speakers & Presenters

Midwest Aerospace Conference - MAC2022 - Blue header with plane and contrails

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Ronald M. Sega | Department of Defense Highly Qualified Expert in the role of Chief Technology Officer

Dr Ronald Sega - MAC2021 Keynote
Dr. Ronald M. Sega

Dr. Ronald M. Sega joined U.S. Army Futures Command as a Department of Defense Highly Qualified Expert in the role of Chief Technology Officer (“CTO”) in July 2019. Prior to his appointment as CTO, Dr. Sega served as Director, Systems Engineering Programs at Colorado State University (“CSU”) and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives from September 2013 through June 2019.

Dr. Sega remains a professor for the Systems Engineering Programs at CSU, on leave of absence, while serving as the CTO for Army Futures Command. Dr. Sega was also Vice President and Enterprise Executive for Energy and the Environment at CSU and The Ohio State University (“OSU”) from September 2010 through August 2013. CSU and OSU are two Land-Grant universities engaged in efficient, sustainable development of practical products using our natural resources through education, research and outreach.

At CSU, he served as chair of the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Advisory Committee. Dr. Sega also served as chair of the President’s and Provost’s Council on Sustainability at OSU. Dr. Sega held the position of Vice President for Energy, Environment, and Applied Research with the CSU Research Foundation from September 2007 through August 2010.

Prior to joining CSU, Dr. Sega served as Under Secretary for the U.S. Air Force from August 2005 to August 2007. As Under Secretary, Dr. Sega led a team that developed a comprehensive energy strategy emphasizing supply, demand, and culture with results in 2006 leading to the receipt of the overall Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management for the U.S. Government. As Under Secretary, Dr. Sega also acted as the Department of Defense (“DOD”) Executive Agent for space, and the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive for space programs. From August 2001 until August 2005, Dr. Sega was Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense, which is the Chief Technology Officer for the DOD.

From July 1996 to August 2001, he served as Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Dr. Sega is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of two shuttle missions. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in the rank of Major General. Dr. Sega is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dr. Sega became a Woodward board member in 2008 and brings to the Board an extensive background of applying research and development experience to real-world situations, knowledge of U.S. government contracting practices, and expertise in aerospace and energy technology and markets.

Other public company directorships: Rentech, Inc. (2007-2018).

Aerospace Industry Update

Dr. Kevin Michaels | AeroDynamic Advisory
Commercial Aerospace in the Post-COVID World

Kevin Michaels - AeroDynamic - Aerospace Industry Expert
Kevin Michaels

Kevin Michaels is Managing Director of AeroDynamic Advisory, a speciality consulting firm focused on the global aerospace and aviation industries. He has 35 years of experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies across the globe.

Kevin is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and MRO sectors and has significant functional expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, M&A advisory, technology assessment, cluster development, and strategic planning. His experience spans the air transport, business & general aviation, and military sectors.

Kevin is a contributing columnist to Aviation Week & Space Technology since 2013. He chairs the Industry Advisory Board of the University of Michigan’s Aerospace Engineering Department, and is on the Board of Directors of Proponent, a leading aerospace distributor.

Dr Michaels holds BS – Aerospace Engineering and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan, and MSc and PhD degrees in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Kevin authored AeroDynamic: Inside the High-Stakes Global Jetliner Ecosystem, winner of the 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award.

In 2021, he was the recipient of the Annual Gilbert W. Speed Award for leadership across the global aerospace supply chain.

Karl Arvidson | Thayer Energy Solutions
Thayer Energy Solutions Workshop

Photo of Karl Arvidson with white background
Karl Arvidson

Specializes in Lighting Solutions for commercial and industrial applications for interior and exterior lighting. To date, Karl has recommended installed lighting changes for over 35 million sf of indoor space and 20 million sf of exterior/outside lighting. He has a BA from NIU, received his LS-1, Lighting Specialist certification and continues to take education in his field. He has been recognized by lighting manufacturers and lighting reps as someone who technically understands lighting. In the lighting industry, Karl is Rockford’s secret weapon at providing the most attention to detail for any lighting installation. Karl serves on the Board of Directors for Rock Valley Credit Union and the Young Professionals Board for Carpenter’s Place. Push up your glasses and get ready to Nerd out as Karl takes you through the realm of LED lighting.

Denise Ball | ToolingU-SME
Workforce Development

Denise Ball - ToolingU-SME
Denise Ball

Denise Ball is a Workforce Development Specialist for ToolingU-SME, an industry leader in manufacturing workforce education and development. She has served as a practitioner of best-in-class learning and development techniques for the manufacturing industry for over 25 years. Her extensive background includes workforce development at Lakeland Community College in Ohio. She also brings hands-on experience in manufacturing as she assisted her family in running a small machine shop for several years.

For the past 9 years, she has guided the implementation of workforce education and skills training into corporations across the globe to help develop their workforce with success, as well as facilitated workshops on best practices and various webinars across the country.

She resides in Ohio.

John Connell | Fortress Data Management

Photo of John Connell - Fortress Data Management
John Connell

John Connell has over 30 years expertise in risk management, cybersecurity, and high availability business data backup solutions. His firm Fortress Data Management was an innovator in the development of cloud services in provided high availably data protection for industries where data protection and uptime of information services was essential.

Currently, John provides risk management consulting and program development in cybersecurity focused in the areas of compliance and human resources. By working closely with stakeholders, his company develops and integrates cybersecurity and compliance management programs into our client’s corporate culture.
Private sector clients include defense, aerospace, and manufacturing concerns. His firm also works with state and local governments. His expertise includes:

  • CMMC, QMS, AS9100 Compliance Risk Assessment and Gap Analysis
  • Policy Development and Support
  • Cybersecurity Controls Development
  • Compliance Audit Support
  • Vulnerability & Penetrations Scans and Analysis
  • ITAR Compliance Assessments

John currently resides in Burr Ridge, IL. He Graduated from Arizona State University Suma Cum Laude with BS Degree in Economics. Mr. Connell founded Fortress Data Management in 1993 and his professional Experience includes positions as CEO, CFO and CIO.

Rena Cotsones | Northern Illinois University
Workforce Development

Rena Cotsones portrait taken outside on a sunny day
Rena Cotsones

As Chief Engagement Officer for Northern Illinois University (NIU), Rena Cotsones leads NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, advancing the university’s public mission and providing leadership, partnership and support for faculty, staff and students as they engage with the broader region. She oversees NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies, Center for P-20 Engagement, National Public Radio, and the university’s regional centers.

Dr. Cotsones is a Strategic Doing Fellow and an active contributor to the national dialogue on collaboration and engagement. She is former Chair of the Executive Committee of the APLU Council on Engagement and Outreach and is a current Executive Committee member of APLU’s Commission on Community and Economic Engagement. She serves as Executive in Residence for the Engagement Academy for University Leaders. Dr. Cotsones has a Ph.D. in Political Science and is an adjunct faculty member in Public Administration at NIU.

Paul Lepien | Anderson Automotive Group of Rockford
Thayer Energy Solutions Workshop 

Photo of Paul Lepien
Paul Lepien

Paul has served the Rockford community for the past decade on behalf of the Rock River Ford, Kia, & Mitsubishi dealerships. Certified as an Electric Vehicle specialist under the Anderson Automotive Group, Paul enjoys educating buyers on the advancements associated with new electric vehicle technologies. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Outside of serving his local community, Paul supported his country in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. From an early age – getting his hands on and reviewing every car magazine till he could drive, enjoying car shows in the Midwest, and later putting the rubber to the pavement with muscle cars of choice, Paul can tell you firsthand that the horsepower of the EV’s rolling off the assembly line today can put on a show for any automotive enthusiast!

Rebecca MacPherson | FAA
Regulatory Environment Changes Post 737Max Grounding

Rebecca MacPherson

Rebecca MacPherson is the Regional Administrator for the Great Lakes Region. She was appointed on January 8, 2018. As Regional Administrator, MacPherson serves as the principal executive representative of the FAA Administrator in the region, providing corporate leadership in cross-organizational matters and represents the FAA with industry, the public and governmental organizations. The Great Lakes Region encompasses the geographical area of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

From 2013 through 2017, MacPherson worked as a transportation attorney, first as of counsel at Jones Day and then as the principal at Rebecca B. MacPherson, Attorney at Law, PLLC. She specialized in advising clients on the impact of Federal transportation regulations on day-to-day operations, including compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations, hazardous materials regulations, airport slots, and citizenship determinations. She made guest appearances on National Public Radio’s The Diane Rehm Show and Marketplace, as well as CNBC, to discuss the impact of FAA initiatives on unmanned aerial vehicles. She authored the chapter “The FAA’s Certification and Regulatory Scheme for U.S. and Foreign Air Carriers” in the 2014 publication Aviation Regulation in the United States.

MacPherson served as the FAA’s Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations from 2004 to 2013, where she was responsible for providing legal and policy guidance to senior FAA officials on matters associated with the development of regulations governing all aspects of aviation, as well as overseeing the drafting of new and amended regulations and the day-to-day implementation of existing standards and regulations. MacPherson routinely represented the FAA’s interests before the White House and Congress. In 2012, her portfolio was expanded to include legal oversight of the FAA’s international and legislative programs and initiatives.

Prior to joining the FAA, MacPherson was a regulatory attorney at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a trial attorney at the U.S. Maritime Administration. She graduated cum laude from Tulane School of Law in 1990 and magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree from Loyola University in 1986.

MacPherson is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars. She is a two-time recipient of the Secretary of Transportation’s Gold Medal; she was named the Federal Bar Association’s Transportation Attorney of the Year for 2008 and was awarded the Department of Transportation’s Schneider Award for 1995.

Chuck Meyers | Thayer Energy Solutions
Thayer Energy Solutions Workshop

Photo of Chuck Meyers at exhibition booth
Chuck Meyers

Chuck has proudly served in the local fire service for 18 years as an Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal Fire Investigator & Fire Inspector. With a passion for Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Planning, Chuck has various certifications from IEMA, FEMA, and Homeland Security and enjoys planning for the mindset of what could go wrong and making decisions to never have to be in a bad situation! Mitigating issues from cyber security & electrical safety allows Chuck to sleep easy at night. As being a Rockford Chamber –2015 Leadership Rockford Moderator – networking to the extreme is his flavor of choice! As the newest member of the Thayer team, he is currently waxing his surfboard to ride waves for the revolutionary electric vehicles and the charging networks behind them!

Federico Sciammarella, PhD | MxD
Emerging Technologies

Federico Sciammarella Photo
Federico Sciammarella

Federico Sciammarella is the President and CTO for MxD. In this role he is responsible for the prioritization of projects and determines strategy for the organization. He is also leading the academic outreach engagement and launched a new program targeted for emerging technologies that will connect academics to industry with the goal of bringing up early-stage technology through to later stages of technology readiness.

He is also providing support to the operational execution of MxD Cyber as the national center for cybersecurity in manufacturing to ensure its continued growth and impact within the American supply chain.

Prior to joining the institute, he served as the Interim Chair for Mechanical Engineering Department at Northern Illinois University’s College of Engineering & Engineering Technology for two years. He was also the Director of the Advanced Research of Materials and Manufacturing (ARMM) Laboratory, with a focus on Additive Manufacturing (AM) /3D Printing.

He was the PI of a $2.4 Million NIST Measurement Science in Additive Manufacturing award entitled “Development and Validation of Physics-Based Additive Manufacturing Models for Process Control and Quality Assurance” and served as a Co-PI on a DMDII subcontract, on “Rapid Process Certification and Verification for High Value-Added and Low-Volume Production”. These projects were a successful collaboration with organizations such as QCML, IMEC, FMA, and ASM. They developed a solid foundation for processing control and modeling in metal 3D printing which is critical for the future success of the technology.

He is actively engaged with America Makes Roadmap Advisory group in their efforts to create a cohesive vision for the national strategy in additive Manufacturing.

Bill Shumaker | Woodward, Inc.
Supplier Development

Bill Shumaker

Bill joined Woodward in 1986 as a CNC Repairman. From there Bill has progressed through many roles of increasing responsibility including Director of Operations, VP of Operations and now in his current role as VP of Global Supply Chain, with responsibility for Supplier Quality and Development.

Bill began his career with the Ampex Corporation as a Welder and then served in the US Navy as an Electronics Technician. He later returned to Ampex as a Maintenance Technician. Bill has worked in a number of Woodward sites throughout his career which include Fort Collins and Loveland Colorado, Stevens Point Wisconsin, Rockford and Niles Illinois, Santa Clarita California, Cheltenham England, Aken Germany and Suzhou and Tianjin China. Bill earned his Bachelor in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and was the recipient of the Woodward President’s Innovation Award in 2011 and 2014.

Todd Spierling | Collins Aerospace
Emerging Technologies

Todd Spierling Photo
Todd Spierling

Todd Spierling is a Senior Fellow for Systems Engineering with a focus in Electrification. He is a part of the Power & Controls Engineering organization located in Rockford, Illinois.

In his current role, Todd provides technical leadership in all elements of aircraft electrification, including Electric Propulsion, More Electric secondary systems, and Propulsion, Power & Thermal Management Systems. He supports customer technology engagements, new business pursuits, and company and corporate level strategic technology planning.

He has previously led product groups for generators, motors, power electronics and emergency power systems, as well as corporate and business level advanced projects and research organizations. He joined Raytheon (Sundstrand) in 1986.

Todd has been awarded 43 US and foreign patents and has authored multiple conference papers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, an MBA from Columbia College, and is currently pursuing his systems engineering PhD at Colorado State.

Alan Stafford | Collins Aerospace
Supplier Development

Alan Stafford
Alan Stafford

Alan joined Collins Aerospace in January 2009 and held the role of Midwest Regional Lead from 2018 through 2021. He is currently working on the evaluation and selection process for new casting suppliers until his retirement later this year. Prior to his regional office role, Alan held positions of Manager, Supplier Development and Manager, Supply Chain F-35 Value Stream.

Before joining Collins, Alan worked for various manufacturing companies both in and out of aerospace and owned his own business holding positions of increasing responsibly in Engineering, Program Management, Operations and Supply Chain. His 40+ years of work experience contributed to the successful start-up of two operational sites, lean plant operational reorganizations, engineering VA/VE projects with an emphasis on castings and supplier selection/LTA negotiations. These activities provided him with the foundation for his Supplier Development career.

Alan holds Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Management from Capital University and an Associates in Engineering Design from Lorain County Community College. He was granted a U.S. Patent in 2001 for Microassay Device and Methods.

Jana White | Cerberus Sentinel

Jana White - photo - Cerberus Sentinel
Jana White

Jana White is a Director of Operations with Cerberus Sentinel, a leading Managed Compliance and Cybersecurity Provider (MCCP). Jana is one of Cerberus Sentinel’s subject matter experts on the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification and is currently hosting a 15-month webinar series for IMEC on this topic. As a cybersecurity professional she has held many certifications include Security+, CyberSec First Responder (CFR), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Jana’s background experience includes compliance, auditing, loss prevention, penetration testing, project management, and social engineering. Jana is certified as a Crime Scene Evidence Technician and incorporates her varied areas of expertise into all of her webinars as a subject matter expert.


Collins Aerospace - UTCAS
GE Aviation - Rockford - Air Management Solutions
Woodward Logo


Anchor Harvey Logo
IMEC logo with tag line Plan Implement Excel included


Clinkenbeard Logo
Fortress Data Management logo
GROB Logo in blue
Ingenium Technologies Logo
L-T-L Co Logo
Safety Socket Logo
Sugino logo in black and green
Superior Joining Technologies logo in red and black 2022
Thayer Electrical Energy Solutions Thayer logo with a lightbulb and extension cord
Tooling U SME Logo
UCAL Systems - Logo