Dallas AI Platform Worlds Forms Advisory Board with ‘Industry Giants’ to Lead Automation in Industrial Metaverse

Dallas-based Worlds' 2023 Strategic Advisory Board includes seven prominent industry leaders and change makers from the manufacturing, distribution, transportation, logistics, national defense, and government sectors. The move is part of the company's efforts to lead automation in the Industrial Metaverse, a concept that one advisor says has "untapped potential" well beyond digital twins.

Worlds, the Dallas-based creators of the AI platform for building the Industrial Metaverse, has formed its 2023 Strategic Advisory Board that includes seven industry leaders from integral companies within manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, and the national defense and government sectors.

They are “literally industry giants,” said Worlds co-founder Dave Copps.

The advisors possess C-level experience at such renowned companies as FedEx, The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft, United States Department of Defense, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Ford Motor Company, and XPRIZE.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the invaluable insights and feedback from this exceptional group of leaders,” Copps said.

The new board serves as a resource to Worlds’ executive leadership helping the company deliver AI-based automation into the core operations of large industrial companies.

According to Copps, the advisory board has been a game changer for Worlds, “completely transforming” how the company approaches the market.

“Right now is an incredibly exciting time for us,” Copps said. “The biggest players in the game are choosing to build their industrial metaverse with Worlds.”

From left: Worlds co-founders are CTO Ross Bates, CEO Dave Copps, and President Chris Rhodes, shown in front of their new company logo. [Photo: Michael Samples]

The startup said that two-thirds of the world’s economy is derived from the supply chain, but that persistent labor shortages across the entire sector have increased the focus on automation.

By 2030, Worlds said, job shortages will reach 85 million jobs, so increasing real-world automation is a mandate, not just a thing to consider. Worlds converts real-world actions into a live data stream that enables organizations to measure, analyze, and build AI-based automation into their physical operations.

“Introducing AI into a corporation is a major leap, and our advisory board is comprised of some of the best change management minds in the industry,”Worlds President Chris Rohde said in a statement.

“The advisory board not only has deep domain expertise but also understands how our technology can combine with existing processes to supercharge digital transformation.”

Worlds 2023 strategic advisory board

Here are the seven 2023 advisory board members and their background and their take on the industrial metaverse, per Worlds:

Worlds’ 2023 Strategic Advisory Board includes(left to right): Lee Slezak , Cheryl Peace, Amir Ansari , Tracy Black, and Alan Jacobson. Not pictured are Ken Spangler and Tony Scott.

Ken Spangler, executive vice president IT of FedEx Global Operations Technologies, is responsible for strategic direction through execution of the world-class technology that enables global operations for FedEx. He also leads the FedEx Enterprise Operations Technology Innovation team which is responsible for many FedEx innovative solutions such as SenseAware ID.

Spangler’s more than 35 years leading the development and implementation of massively scaled physical and digital automation, combined with experience in all types of operations technology at the center of one of the globe’s largest logistics and transportation companies, enable him to bring Worlds a wealth of knowledge across all aspects of working with complex global enterprises.

Spangler says while the idea of an industrial metaverse is still in its infancy and “too often” perceived as just a digital twin capability, it has much more potential. By capturing and measuring the real world in motion and leveraging AI to understand, optimize, and transform it, significant untapped value can be unlocked.

According to Spangler, Worlds’ powerful AI platform, which captures and measures the real world inside live in-motion digital twins, enables enterprises of all sizes to bring AI-based automation directly into their operations and reveal previously unknown and unrealized value.


“The Worlds powerful AI platform captures and measures the real world, inside of live in-motion digital twins, so enterprises of all sizes and scale can bring AI-based automation directly into their operations in ways that shine the light on incredible levels of previously unknown and unrealized value,” Spangler said in a statement.

Tony Scott is the CEO and president of Intrusion, a leading cybersecurity company, CTO of General Motors, and former CIO of the United States Government, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney Company. With his breadth and depth of experience serving in the highest levels of government and across diverse business sectors, Scott counsels Worlds’ market strategy in both the private and public sectors.

Scott calls Worlds’ core capabilities “a perfect fit for helping organizations respond to the modern challenges facing every industry as they increasingly deal with complex digital ecosystems, including sensor data, supply chain complexities, and operational data overload.”

Lee Slezak is vice president of information technology for Tyson Foods where his work is focused on leveraging technology to deliver insights and capabilities that drive material business outcomes. He works across the company to deliver significant value through technology.

According to Worlds, Slezak’s extensive experience in supply chain, manufacturing, consumer goods, and logistics brings an uncommon depth and understanding to how Worlds approaches potential clients and partners.

Cheryl Peace stewards Worlds’ U.S. Government, DOD, and Intel strategy by providing her unique insight and understanding of the critical value the Worlds platform brings to force protection and full-spectrum situational awareness. She brings 30 years of senior executive experience with roles in the White House, NSA, FBI, DoE, and most recently, as chief operating officer of Cyxtera Federal. Peace aims to leverage her government experience to help Worlds access doors that are traditionally hard to open.

Amir Ansari, the co-founder and inaugural executive director of the IDEA Factory at the University of Maryland, which aims to promote innovation, creativity, and interdisciplinary design. He is a member of the XPRIZE Foundation’s Vision Circle and its board of trustees. He’s also the Founder and General Partner of VaticX, a global hybrid-accelerator that optimizes value creation for growth-stage technology-based companies by providing them with market access, mentorship, and access to capital.

Ansari, an inventor and entrepreneur at his core, encourages the Worlds leadership team to always “think big” while remaining strategic.

Tracy Black is a partner at New Road Capital and brings 30 years of experience in leadership and supply-chain technology to the board. As SVP of IT for Fortune 500 transportation company J.B. Hunt Transport Services, she built and led the technology team. Black’s “unparalleled transportation industry expertise” helps the company address a key market with insights into operations and the investment funding process.

Alan Jacobson is chief data & analytics officer at Alteryx, focused on driving data initiatives and digital business transformation. Before Alteryx, he held leadership roles at Ford Motor Company across engineering, marketing, and sales and led a team of data scientists to drive digital transformation across the enterprise. He brings a “brilliant mix of technology and strategy” and challenges Worlds to deliver measurable results tactically, acccording to the company.

AI is big business in North Texas

Worlds is one of the major AI players in North Texas.

Inside Worlds, companies are building live digital twins of operational environments, making it possible to measure the real world in motion. Market leaders such as Chevron and Petronas worked with Worlds to build their Industrial Metaverse and provide a solid AI framework for digital transformation.

In January, Worlds announced it completed a $21.2 million Series A1 funding round led by Moneta Ventures with participation from existing investors Align Capital, Green Park & Golf Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Piva Capital, Perot Jain, and Capital Factory.

At that point, Worlds had raised a total of $31.2 million, bucking a trend in what Copps called at the time “a much harsher” fundraising environment than any he’s ever seen.

In Addison, another AI player, Lone Star Analysis, offers predictive and prescriptive analytics and guided artificial intelligence, helps companies make smart decisions in a variety of business sectors, from aerospace and defense to manufacturing, transportation, logistics, and oil and gas.

For the oil and gas industry—a critical mainstay of the Texas economy—Lone Star provides an advanced, “hybrid AI” solution that analyzes every aspect of the electrical submersible pumps that are used in well drilling, for example. Its so-called Evolved AI analysis, which augments certain raw pump data with specific information that’s already known, helps reduce pump failure and enhances the operator’s productivity.

Other AI-focused firms in the region include Spacee, which offers robots that roam stores and warehouses to provide supply chain data, and Cien, a 6-year-old SaaS company that uses AI and machine learning to track salespeople’s performance in real time.

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