Olwen Morgan retired from Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Redmond facility on February 18, 2016. She has been at the rocket factory for 37 years, initially as a Development Engineer at Rocket Research Co., and more recently as a Business Development Manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
She started work after Voyagers 1 and 2 spacecraft launched, but worked some of the support tasks, such as testing the thrusters on the ground when the camera was temporarily stuck on Voyager 2, just prior to the Uranus fly-by, and Magellan, which included refurbishment of spare Voyager hardware for the mission to Venus.
Steve Mylett, Bellevue Police Chief, “Building a Modern Bellevue Police Department for the 21st Century”
Chief Steve Mylett was sworn in as Bellevue’s Chief of Police in April 2015, after an extensive national search. Chief Mylett joined the Bellevue Police Department from Texas, where he led the Southlake Police Department from 2011 until early 2015, following 23 years with the Corpus Christi Police Department. During Chief Mylett’s tenure at Southlake, property crimes decreased by 30 percent.
Doug MacDonald served from 2001 to 2007 as Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), leading the delivery of billions of dollars of transportation projects and also building national recognition for WSDOT in environmental stewardship, habitat conservation, and preservation, as well as infrastructure facility construction, operation, and maintenance.
Brendan Benzing, Co-Founder & CEO, MyNeighbor, “The Sharing Economy: What is it? And What Will It Become?”
Brendan Benzing is Co-Founder and CEO of MyNeighbor, a Seattle-based start-up facilitating the borrowing and lending of goods and the accessing of services between neighbors. As an early adopter of the collaborative or sharing economy, Brendan embraced ventures like AirBnB, Lyft, and RelayRides in the early days. He started MyNeighbor because he felt the time was right for a dedicated platform to help neighbors borrow and lend — a concept as old as mankind.
Stuart Vander Hoek is President of Vander Hoek Corporation, an independent family-owned real estate development and property management company specializing in retail, office, and multifamily properties, located in the heart of Old Bellevue. Now in its fourth generation, the Vander Hoek family is recognized for its stewardship to promote a thriving business environment in Bellevue and throughout the Eastside.
Vander Hoek Corporation currently owns and manages more than 30,000 square feet of commercial space in Old Bellevue—the city’s oldest shopping district renowned for its eclectic collection of independent shops, boutiques and restaurants.
Susannah Frame, KING 5 Chief Investigative Reporter, “How Investigative Journalism Impacts the Northwest”
Susannah Frame is the Chief Investigative Reporter at KING 5. Her stories have exposed many wrongs, including cases of government waste, real estate fraud, homeland security breaches and the mismanagement of nuclear waste. Frame’s investigations have led to changes in public policy, congressional investigations, federal indictments and created new state laws.
Bryan Mistele is the co-founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of INRIX, a leading provider of real-time traffic information, connected car services, and analytics worldwide. INRIX is at the forefront of connecting cars to smarter cities and serves more than 450 blue-chip customers in more than 40 countries around the world. The company leverages big data analytics to reduce the individual, economic and environmental toll of traffic congestion.
Amber Busch, CPA, Clark Nuber, “Keeping This Year From Being Too Taxing: What You Need to Know About Your 2015 Tax Return”
As a principal in the Clark Nuber’s tax practice, Amber uses her extensive experience to manage and solve a wide range of tax compliance and consulting issues for privately owned mid-market clients, focused on the healthcare, senior living, real estate, and hospitality industries. Prior to joining Clark Nuber, Amber spent time at a Big Four accounting firm, a large regional firm, and most recently was with Clothier & Head in Seattle.
Michael S. Stevens, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Washington, “Nature’s Role in Our Region’s Future”
The relationship between people and nature is the foundation of our region’s prosperity. For thousands of years, a wealth of natural life and diverse people, cultures, and economies have been supported by the rich resources and natural beauty of the Northwest.
But today, we face extraordinary challenges. Unprecedented growth is placing new demands on land and water. A changing climate is compounding that stress. To continue to thrive, we must take action.
Cyrus Oskoui was born in Northeastern Iran in 1942. He was raised in a Muslim family, which was typical of the culture. Upon completing his rigorous primary and secondary education in Iran, he left for England, where he learned English and studied engineering from February 1962 to a August 1963. He then moved to the United States on a student visa.
Rod Skaar, Chief Production Pilot, Boeing Test & Evaluation, Engineering, Operations & Technology, “From the Factory to the Sky, Getting 6 Million Parts to Fly in Close Formation for the First Time”
Captain Rod Skaar is the chief production pilot for Boeing Test & Evaluation, a centrally-managed organization that verifies and validates all Boeing products. In this role Skaar is responsible for the flight test and initial validation of all newly manufactured commercial airplanes, working closely with airline customers from around the world to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of new airplanes.
David B. Williams is a freelance writer focused on the intersection of people and the natural world. He writes about natural history, primarily focusing on geology and how it impacts our lives in myriad ways, from earthquakes to the stone we use in buildings to the hills that make riding a bike more challenging.
Williams will talk about his recently published book, “Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Landscape” (University of Washington Press), which explores how Seattleites shaped the city via projects such as filling in the Duwamish tide flats, rejiggering the drainage of Lake Washington, and regrading Denny Hill.
In this role Smith plays a key role in representing the company externally and in leading the company’s work on a number of critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability, and digital inclusion, among others. He also leads a team of business, legal, and corporate affairs professionals, spanning 55 countries. These teams are responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, and the company’s government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship, and social responsibility work. He is also Microsoft’s corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer.
Kirk Nelson is the President and CEO of AAA Washington, a position he has held since April 1, 2011. AAA Washington is the pre-eminent provider of roadside assistance to more than one million members. Its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public.
Nelson was previously the Washington President for Qwest. He started his business career with Pacific Northwest Bell in 1979 in Seattle and held a wide range of management posts in Washington, Colorado, Utah, and Minnesota.
Robert W. Davidson, President & CEO, Seattle Aquarium, “Seattle Aquarium & Seattle’s Exciting New Waterfront”
Robert (Bob) W. Davidson became the President and CEO of the newly nonprofit Seattle Aquarium on July 1, 2010, after serving as CEO of the Seattle Aquarium Society since 2002. Davidson guided a repositioning of the Aquarium Society leading to the successful Aquarium Operating Agreement with the City in 2009. A key component was the $41.5 million public/private New Currents Aquarium expansion in 2007, which has increased attendance and made Seattle the country’s ninth largest aquarium.
As Vice President of Leasing & Development for Kemper Development, in Bellevue, Kris Allan’s primary role is to select and lease to tenants that will enhance the customer experience at the Bellevue Collection. In addition, she mentors a group of store general managers.
Kris previously spent 22 years with Nordstrom as a leader, key contributor, ambassador, and guardian of the customer service and performance driven culture. Her last two roles spanned nearly a decade, leading the Bellevue and Downtown Seattle stores, respectively.
Ian Morris served as the President and CEO of Market Leader for more than a decade, establishing the company as the leading provider of software-as-a-service solutions to the real estate industry. Under his leadership, Market Leader was ranked the 4th Fastest Growing Technology Company in North America, leading to a successful IPO in 2004 and the sale of the company to Trulia in 2013 for $380 million.
Dr. David Kading is the CEO and clinic director for both of Specialty Eyecare Group’s Seattle and Kirkland practices. As an innovator in eyesight, he strives to make people see the best that they can, whether through vision correction or preventing future disease.
Dr. Kading grew up in South Dakota and attended South Dakota State University before coming to the West Coast for his graduate training at Pacific University and a postgraduate residency in cornea and contact lenses. He has achieved fellowship status in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) and is the only optometrist in Washington to have Fellowship status in the Contact Lens Society of America (FCLSA).
Dan Shapiro is the CEO and cofounder of Glowforge, a startup that is creating a 3D laser printer. Glowforge’s wireless desktop system makes it simple for designers and engineers to take products directly from digital design to reality.
Dan is also the author of “Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook,” published by O’Reilly. Previously, Dan accidentally launched the bestselling board game in Kickstarter history when he crowdfunded Robot Turtles, a game that teaches programming fundamentals to preschoolers.
Kristen Hamilton, CEO & Co-Founder of Koru, “Why College Isn’t Enough: A Revolutionary Approach to Landing College Grads in Great Jobs”
Kristen is an entrepreneur and globalist who has maintained a focus throughout her career on roles where she could have meaningful impact. Her early career was in technology where she worked on go-to-market strategies for IBM, Oracle, and Cisco. With that learning, at age 27, Kristen co-founded e-commerce business Onvia and helped take it public in 2000.
Shortly after, Kristen was COO of World Learning, a global nonprofit committed to preparing people to be effective global citizens and leaders of change in and beyond their communities. Kristen ran operations for their education and development programs in 66 countries. This role led to a passion for education that later took her to a role leading educator strategy for Microsoft.