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COL Ryan A. Howell

Program Manager, Main Battle Tank Systems, Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (MBTS, PEOGCS)

Colonel Ryan Howell was commissioned in the Field Artillery (FA) through the ROTC program at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He was a Platoon Leader with 6-37 FA in the Republic of Korea and a Fire Support Officer with 3-29 FA at Fort Carson, CO. He served as Battalion Fire Direction Officer, Battery Commander, and Assistant Operations Officer with 1-10 FA at Fort Benning, GA.

After transitioning to the Army Acquisition Corps, he served as an Armor Materials Research Team Leader, Field Assistance Science and Technology Team Leader, Assistant Program Manager (APM) to PM Mission Command, and APM to PM Ground Combat Vehicles while stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he served the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a Materials Engineer and Research Scientist in Europe; Product Manager for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle at the Detroit Arsenal, MI and Executive Officer to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. COL Howell completed an Army War College Fellowship. He assumed duties as Project Manager Main Battle Tank Systems on 22 July 2021.

He has been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Global War on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

COL Howell’s military and civilian education includes: the Command and General Staff Officers Course, the Combined Arms Service and Staff School, the Field Artillery Officer Advance Course, and the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. He completed his Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and has over 17 publications.

His major awards and decorations include the Combat Action Badge, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Dr. Alvaro Velasquez

Program Manager, Transfer from Imprecise and Abstract Models to Autonomous Technologies (TIAMAT), DARPA

Dr. Alvaro Velasquez joined DARPA in August of 2022 as a program manager focused on artificial intelligence. His current research interests are at the intersection of formal language theory and machine learning for sequential decision-making. He holds an interdisciplinary research record of more than 50 publications, including work in the areas of artificial intelligence, combinatorial optimization, and logic and circuit design.

Prior to joining DARPA, Velasquez led the machine intelligence portfolio of investments for the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory. In this capacity, he managed and proposed new research direction and technology transitions for the Air Force in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. This work entailed close collaboration with both the academic and private sectors to develop new fundamental technologies for the warfighter. Velasquez has also held visiting scientist appointments at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Central Florida. He currently serves as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Artificial Intelligence journal.

Velasquez holds a doctorate, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in computer science from the University of Central Florida (UCF). While at UCF, he was a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program award and the University of Central Florida 30 Under 30 award.

COL M. Ryan Howell

Chief of Staff, Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT)

COL Ryan Howell is a career U.S. Army Armor Officer currently serving as the Chief of Staff at Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team (NGCV CFT) for US Army Futures Command (AFC). He oversees the daily operations of the team responsible for delivering modern and effective combat and robotic vehicle capabilities to the US Army. He has more than 26 years of experience as an organizational leader; including multiple combat and operational assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Korea. COL Howell has extensive experience working with Allies, Partners, and Civilian Governments in both training and combat environments.

NGCV CFT is responsible for supervising requirements development, documentation, and support to Army decision making that improves the quality and speed of new materiel development activities. The NGCV CFT developed, refined, and delivered achievable and stable requirements for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the M10 Booker, the XM30 Combat Vehicle, the M1E3 Abrams modernization, and the Robotic Combat Vehicle through the adoption of 21st century technologies, business practices, and talent development to deliver new ground maneuver capabilities that overmatch peer threats and provide for proactive, persistent modernization.

Ryan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies. He holds a master’s degree in military studies from Marine Corps University, as well as a master’s degree with distinction in emergency management and homeland security from Arizona State University. Additionally, Ryan was the 2019 Army Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Dr. Dawn Tilbury

Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Department Chair of Robotics at the University of Michigan

Dawn M. Tilbury is the inaugural Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Department Chair of Robotics at the University of Michigan, and the Herrick Professor of Engineering. She received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests lie broadly in the area of control systems, including applications to robotics and manufacturing systems. From 2017 to 2021, she was the Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, where she oversaw a federal budget of nearly $1 billion annually, while maintaining her position at the University of Michigan. She has published more than 200 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She is a Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of ASME, a Life Member of SWE, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Dimitar Filev

Senior Henry Ford Technical Fellow in Control and AI of Ford Motor Company (ret)

Dr. Dimitar Filev is Senior Henry Ford Technical Fellow in Control and AI of Ford Motor Company (ret). He is currently a Fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and Visiting Professor, Texas A&M University. His research is in computational intelligence, AI and intelligent control, and their applications to autonomous driving, vehicle systems, and automotive engineering. He has been awarded the IEEE SMCS 2008 Norbert Wiener Award, the 2015 IEEE Computational Intelligence Pioneer’s Award, and the 2023 IEEE SMCS J. G. Wohl Outstanding Career Award. Dr. Filev is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He was President of the IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Society (2016-2017).

Dr. Henry Liu

Director of Mcity, University of Michigan

Henry Liu is director of Mcity, the University of Michigan’s public-private research partnership devoted to transforming mobility. He is also a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at U-M, a research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, and director of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Region 5 Center for Connected and Automated Transportation. In addition, Liu founded U-M’s Next Generation Transportation Systems program. In September 2023, Liu was appointed the Bruce D. Greenshields Collegiate Professor of Engineering.

Liu conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface of transportation engineering, automotive engineering, and artificial intelligence. He is recognized for his foundational work in cyber-physical transportation systems, particularly on the development of smart traffic signal systems with connected vehicles, and testing/evaluation of autonomous vehicles. His work on safety validation of autonomous vehicles has been published in Nature and featured as the cover story. Liu is the managing editor of Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems and a board member for the ITS America and IEEE ITS Society.

Dr. Rada Mihalcea

Michigan AI Director, Janice M. Jenkins Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan

Rada Mihalcea is the Janice M. Jenkins Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan and the Director of the Michigan Artificial Intelligence Lab. Her research interests are in computational linguistics, with a focus on lexical semantics, multilingual natural language processing, and computational social sciences. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of the Journals of Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluations, Natural Language Engineering, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, and Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. She was a program co-chair for EMNLP 2009 and ACL 2011, and a general chair for NAACL 2015 and *SEM 2019. She is an ACM Fellow, a AAAI Fellow, and served as ACL President (2018-2022 Vice/Past). She is the recipient of a Sarah Goddard Power award (2019) for her contributions to diversity in science, an honorary citizen of her hometown of Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2013), and the recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers awarded by President Obama (2009).