IdaVation Welcome:
Ben Quintana

Ben is the Director of Public Relations and Leadership Development at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Ben oversees the Chamber's public, media, and social media relations, Leadership Boise, Leadership Boise Academy and Boise Young Professionals (BYP). Ben is the founder and director of BYP, which has grown into one of the premier YP programs in the country. In addition to these roles, Ben has held positions in economic development, small business, and program and membership development. Ben received his B.A. in Communication from Boise State University (BSU) and his M.A. in Organizational Leadership from George Fox University (GFU). He has been recognized as one of Idaho's "Accomplished Under Forty" by the Idaho Business Review and was awarded the Meg Carlson Leadership Award by Kickstand. Ben currently serves on the Board of Directors for Kickstand, Advisory Board for GFU's School of Business, Advisory Board for BSU's College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, and the Board of Directors for the Foothills School of Arts & Sciences.

Mayor Dave Bieter

David H. Bieter was elected Mayor of Boise in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. Born and raised in Boise, Bieter is a graduate of Bishop Kelly High School, the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and the University of Idaho College of Law. He has worked as a municipal attorney for Ada and Bonner counties and several Idaho cities, and served five sessions in the Idaho House of Representatives.

As Mayor, Bieter has dedicated himself to making Boise the most livable city in the country. He created the first local government ethics commission in Idaho, succeeded in funding three new neighborhood libraries with no tax increase, and has overseen the addition of hundreds of acres of parks and Foothills open space. Bieter has provided leadership on the countywide Blueprint for Good Growth effort, worked with local businesses to streamline Boise's permit and inspection process, and was the first mayor in Idaho to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. As local entrepreneurs drive forward the economy in our State, Mayor Bieter has spearheaded a project to turn an unused municipal building into a business incubator, and is working with local business leaders to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

Bieter has been married to his wife, Julia, since 1998. They have a daughter, Josie, born in 2005.

Eric Bjorkman

Eric Bjorkman, a member of Perkins Coie's Business practice, focuses on the representation of corporate clients in matters relating to entity formation, negotiation and drafting of sales, service and technology licensing agreements, debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and general business counseling. Eric also represents clients in real estate transactions and energy-related projects.

Eric has been recognized as one of America's Leading Corporate/Commercial Lawyers, by Chambers USA and as a 'Rising Star' by Mountain States Super Lawyers. Eric also received the Idaho State Bar Denise O'Donnell-Day Pro Bono Award in recognition of his ongoing commitment to provide legal services to those with limited means.

Eric has served on the Board of Directors for Kickstand since 2006 and is currently the acting Secretary for the organization. He is also a member of the Idaho Technology Council's Finance Committee.

Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Idaho College of Law. He is a near-lifelong resident of Idaho.


  Keynote Speaker:
Mitch Ditkoff

Mitch Ditkoff is the co-founder and President of Idea Champions, a highly acclaimed management consulting and training company. He specializes in helping forward thinking organizations go beyond "business as usual" and establish dynamic, sustainable cultures of innovation.

Educated at Lafayette College and Brown University, Mitch has worked with a wide variety of Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies who have realized the need to do something different in order to succeed in today's rapidly changing marketplace. These clients include: GE, Merck, Allianz, Lucent Technologies, NBC Universal, AT&T, Goodyear, Pfizer, A&E Television Networks, General Mills, MTV Networks, Duke Corporate Education, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dominos, and a host of others.

At the heart of his work lies the fundamental belief that a company's most important capital asset is the collective brain power, creativity and commitment of its work force and that this asset can be significantly leveraged when people are provided with the appropriate setting, systems, tools and techniques to think (and act) out of the box.

Prior to his work with Idea Champions, Mitch was a principal in Ki Learning Systems and a Senior Consultant with the Inner Game Corporation - both organizational development firms dedicated to catalyzing superior performance in the workplace.

In addition to his consulting work, Mitch is also an accomplished public speaker and writer. Author of Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Idea Rolling (in an uphill world), Banking on Innovation, Free the Genie, Thirst Quench Thirst, and the very popular Heart of Innovation business blog. In addition, he is the founder of Face the Music (the world's only interactive business blues band) and co-founder of Ingenuity Bank (enterprise-wide idea management software).

Mitch lives in Woodstock, New York, with his wife, Evelyne, and their two children, Jesse and Mimi.

  Creativity and Innovation in Isolation - How Idaho companies are leveraging place to their advantage:
Mark Rivers

Mark Rivers is the CEO of Brix and Company, a Boise-based real estate development and services company. Rivers was the developer of the award-winning BoDo project in the heart of Idaho"s capital city. The $60 million investment transformed a declining warehouse district and brownfield site into a bustling neighborhood of shops, offices, residential, entertainment and hospitality. For his efforts, Mark was named the 2006 "Visionary of the Year" by the Idaho Statesman.

Mark is one of Idaho's most active voices and action leaders in economic and community development. In 2008, he developed, funded and opened the WaterCooler, Boise's first-ever small business incubator. The facility has accelerated growth companies and provided an important venue for community discussions and entrepreneurial organizations. In 2009, Mark was named "Innovator of the Year" by the Stoel Rives Idaho Innovation Awards.

At the heart of his work lies the fundamental belief that a company's most important capital asset is the collective brain power, creativity and commitment of its work force and that this asset can be significantly leveraged when people are provided with the appropriate setting, systems, tools and techniques to think (and act) out of the box.

Mark organized the first Curb Cup in 2009, a summertime arts and creativity performance, that has been called Boise's signature arts event. And in 2010, he founded the Boise Sports Council, a community group that advocates the advancement of the sports and recreation industry as an economic development tool.

Michael Boerner

Michael Boerner is the founder and CEO of Unity Media Group and Unity Medical, Inc. Boerner has fine-tuned the strategic focus of both companies to include three long-term growth opportunities: next-generation web 3.0 communication products and services; superior user engagement; and the development of a personalized information ecosystem. Michael was appointed by the governor of Idaho to the Governor's Coordinating Council for Families and Children and has appeared nationally on CNN, Fox News, ABC Radio Network News, and many others in connection with innovative media and PR events.

Prior to founding Unity Media Group & Unity Medical, Boerner founded Mission Media a successful values-based media production and syndication company. Boerner is a national speaker and award-winning film and video producer who specializes in media communications and public relations.

Bob Lokken

Bob Lokken is the founder and CEO of WhiteCloud Analytics, an analytic software company focused on health care solutions that unlock the insights necessary to improve performance and outcomes.

Bob was previously the founder and CEO of ProClarity Corp., winner of over 40 industry awards for analytic and performance management technologies. Lokken authored the key patents behind the company's market-leading technology, and led the company from its founding until May 2006, when ProClarity was acquired by Microsoft Corporation. After the acquisition, Lokken joined Microsoft and led the Business Intelligence (BI) Product Management Group, driving the development of product and commercial strategies for the company's BI products.

Lokken is a frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences on the use of analytics to drive business results. Additionally, Lokken has an extensive background in health care. He has personally consulted with numerous health care organizations around the world and has helped cross-pollinate BI best practices into the health care industry.

Bob holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Montana State University and has studied Operations Research and Business Administration at two different universities. Currently Bob serves on the Board of several community service and health system organizations.

John Sosoka

John Sosoka is the CEO and co-founder of Pulse-Robotics, a robotics company located in Eagle that focuses on creating social robots for consumer, education and medical applications.

John was previously CTO and co-founder at Ugobe where he assembled and led the team that created Pleo, one of the first commercial social robots. John established an academic alliance with several universities to allow Pleo to be used in human-computer interaction research at UC Berkley, Georgia Tech, Yale, MIT and many other schools.

John co-founded Neurosmith to bring exploratory, child directed learning into the tactile, physical world of the child. During this time John also worked with Lego to lead the design of a line of music-based products.

John Sosoka is a serial entrepreneur, multiple patent holder, technologist and designer with dozens of award winning products to his credit. He was CTO and head of development at software publisher Davidson & Associates (MathBlaster/Blizzard).

John has been active in artificial intelligence, computer graphics, robotics and education across many industries. In 2003 John and family left the beach for the desert and mountains of Idaho. He's a strong believer that there is a unique opportunity for greatness right here that is often overlooked.

  Lunch Keynote:
Shawn Shepherd, Ph.D.

Shawn Ann Shepherd is the Head of School at Foothills School of Arts and Sciences, a progressive and vibrant pre-school through 9th grade school in downtown Boise. She is an ideal leader for this "out of the box" school, having completed her Ph.D. work in the psychology of creativity, and having worked professionally as an actor and stage director, university professor and administrator, successful fundraiser, and nonprofit executive.

Before moving to Boise, she worked as the Western United States Director of Planned and Major Giving for the American Lung Association, serving major donors and Lung Association affiliates in 13 states.

Shawn is a graduate of the Leadership Boise program and served as the volunteer leader for the Chamber of Commerce's high school leadership program, the Leadership Boise Academy. Shawn is joined in her presentation by members of the faculty from Foothills School.

  World-Class Research Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Idaho-based ideas ready for commercialization Panelists:
Mike Reynoldson

Mike Reynoldson is the Idaho Government Affairs Manager for Micron Technology, Inc. in Boise, Idaho. In this position he serves and the lobbyist and government affairs contact to the federal and state government, the Idaho Legislature and local government throughout Idaho. He has worked for Micron since June 2004.

Prior to working for Micron, Reynoldson worked as the Public Affairs Manager for Qwest in Idaho.

Reynoldson has extensive experience in the state and national political arena having worked for the Republican National Committee, serving as Executive Director of the Idaho Republican Party, and as the Campaign Manager for U S Senator Larry Craig's 1996 re-election.

Reynoldson grew up in Parma, Idaho and graduated from Boise State University in 1990 with a degree in Marketing.

Reynoldson and his wife Laurie live in Boise, along with Hank, their four year old yellow lab.

Mary Givens

Mary Givens is the Director, Office Technology Transfer at Boise State University. 

During the last 10 years, Mary has been integral to Idaho economic development initiatives including Kickstand, Idaho Department of Commerce's Office of Science & Technology, and the Boise Angel Alliance.

Mary is a venture capital industry veteran with experience providing investment evaluations, business advisory services and financing transaction management. She began her career in the financial services industry with the international firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mary is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a graduate of the University of San Francisco McLaren School of Business.

Mary's favorite pastimes are playing golf and skiing with her husband Dan and hiking in the Boise foothills with their two dogs.

Gene Merrell, Ph.D.

Gene is the Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Chief Technology Transfer Officer at the University of Idaho. Gene oversees the Office of Technology Transfer, which is responsible for the management of the University's intellectual property portfolio. He is also working with the Entrepreneurial Task Force in establishing the University's formal economic development program.

Prior to joining the university, he was Vice President for Research of the ProChem and EnChem subsidiaries of BetzDearborn, Inc. Gene was with the company for 19 years and is listed as inventor on seven U.S. patents. He was also co-founder of Analytical Laboratories, Inc, a small independent service organization providing consultation and testing on environmental issues.

Gene received his B.A. in Chemistry and Physics from Houston Baptist University and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Washington State University.

Jason Stolworthy

Jason Stolworthy is the Technology Transfer and Commercialization and Licensing Manager for the Idaho National Laboratory. 

Jason is the acting Deputy Director for Battelle Energy Alliance's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Department. Jason also leads the commercialization of Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) energy and materials patent portfolios and has been successful in forming many successful relationships with commercial partners. Jason has developed strong and diverse expertise in identifying, evaluating, licensing, exploiting and securing intellectual assets. Jason chairs INL's patent committee, was appointed by Idaho Governor C. L "Butch" Otter to the Idaho Innovation Council, has served as vice chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the Idaho State Bar, has publications in the areas of chemical engineering and intellectual property, offers volunteer services in patent drafting and family law and is involved in many Idaho based initiatives to promote the commercialization of new technology. Jason is passionate about his work and is motivated by the profound human and economic impact that commercializing new technology can have on society.

Prior to working for INL Jason drafted patent applications, provided opinions, and licensed intellectual property for Washington State University Research Foundation. Jason also worked for FMC, Simplot and Chemonics. Jason graduated from Idaho State University with a B.A. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Biochemistry (1998) and from University of Idaho with a M.S. in Chemical Engineering and J.D. in Law (2003). He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Idaho State Bar, and the Montana State Bar.

  Disruptive Technologies: Risk taking and focusing on future markets:
Jay Larsen

Jay Larsen is founder and CEO/President of the Idaho Technology Council, a private sector organization focused on developing the innovative ecosystem in Idaho and the region. Larsen is a native Idahoan who graduated from Boise High School and obtained his BA from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Boise State. Telecommunication has been the industry where Jay has spend 20 years of his career, with start-up long distance companies and has managed and led teams with U S WEST Cellular, AirTouch Cellular, Qwest Communication, and Verizon Wireless in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah. During these 20 years, Larsen led teams pioneering new wireless technologies and managed through several mergers and acquisitions. He has served on a U. S. Congressman's staff as Director of Economic Development.

Jay's key areas of focus are organizational development, marketing, networks, innovation, and leadership. Larsen has coached several sports teams and lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and four sons.

Layne Simmons

Layne Simmons is the owner and president of Motionetics, Inc., a company developing innovative technology products in Middleton, Idaho. Previously, she was the vice president and chief operations officer of TenXsys, Inc., in Eagle, Idaho, which developed small devices for monitoring human health and tracking animal movements. Prior to that, she was a program and project manager and software development engineer for Hewlett Packard, where she developed software for HP's LaserJet printers. In addition, she served as a senior systems engineer for ERC Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, where she integrated the communications systems monitor and control subsystem for the NASA enhanced mission communications system.

Layne is a member of IEEE and is active in IEEE's Women in Engineering group and Robotics and Automation Society. She also is a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering and is president of the Society of Women Engineers, Southwest Idaho Section.

Layne has a BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the University of Washington.

Clay Young

Clay Young is the co-founder and CEO of Inovus Solar (TM). Mr. Young worked in various business development, product management, marketing and channel development roles in the early stages of the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet business. He moved on to build out new computer software and hardware businesses and help stage Extended Systems for their Initial Public Offering. Subsequent to leaving Extended Systems he co-founded ProClarity Corporation and was the executive responsible for strategic alliances, business development, building OEM sales, corporate development, marketing and product strategy. ProClarity grew rapidly and was on the Upside 100, Inc. Fast 500, and Software 100 hot growth company lists for the years running up to Microsoft's acquisition in 2006. Mr. Young was integral to the very successful integration of ProClarity within Microsoft and played and a key role in helping Microsoft get new products to market as well as acquire another company.

Mr. Young is a member of the Boise Angel Fund and is an active investor and advisor with growth companies. He has a BA in marketing and an MBA from Boise State University.

Von Hansen

Von Hansen is Vice President and General Manager of the Value Enterprise Products & Supplies organization in the HP Imaging & Printing Group (IPG). Von is responsible for the overall product strategy and development of HP's enterprise products including the Color & Monochrome Multi-function and Single Function LaserJet portfolio, the Digital Copier portfolio, and HP's complete line of consumer to enterprise scanners.

Von has held a variety of key management and research and development (R&D) positions within HP's Imaging and Printing Group, including Vice President & General Manager of the Business InkJet Products & Technology, Director of Engineering, R&D Manager, and R&D Section Manager for color, monochrome, and MFP LaserJet printers.

Von joined HP in June, 1976 as an R&D engineer. In this role, he helped to develop the controller hardware and firmware for HP's first laser printer. As the project manager on the original "LaserJet Classic" printer introduced in 1984, Von and his team were responsible for the HP LaserJet Printer Command Language (PCL) and firmware development.

Von holds a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Stanford University, and received his bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering from Utah State University.


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