Presenting the First-Ever AI 75: Meet the Most Innovative Leaders in Artificial Intelligence in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Innovates, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Dallas AI have teamed up to launch the inaugural AI 75 list. The 2024 program honors the most significant people in AI in DFW in seven categories—the visionaries, creators, and influencers you need to know.

The first-ever AI 75 — the most innovative people in artificial intelligence in Dallas-Fort Worth — is revealed on May 2 at Convergence AI.

One honoree has implemented generative artificial intelligence to help airline customers book flights. Others are using AI to create new cancer drugs, or to advance healthcare for underserved populations. Still others are developing the technology to manage traffic networks, detect and respond to cyberthreats, and accelerate real-world AI learning by up to 1,000 times.

All these breakthroughs are happening in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is uniquely positioned as a burgeoning hub for applied AI and advanced AI research. This is all-important, because the AI revolution is reshaping the global economy and—according to a Deloitte survey of top executives—will be the key to business success over the next five years.

That’s why Dallas Innovates, in partnership with the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) and Dallas AI, has compiled the following, first-ever AI 75 list of the most innovative people in artificial intelligence in DFW. Consisting of academics, entrepreneurs, researchers, consultants, investors, lawmakers, thought leaders, and corporate leaders of every stripe, our 2024 AI 75 spotlights the visionaries, creators, and influencers making waves in AI in seven categories.

Online nominations for the inaugural list were opened in February, focusing on North Texans making significant contributions to AI, whether through innovative research, catalytic efforts, or transformative solutions. Nominees were reviewed for demonstrated excellence in key criteria, including recent AI innovations, adoption impacts, industry technological advancement, thought leadership, future potential, and contributions to society.

The editors of Dallas Innovates, including Co-Founder and Editor Quincy Preston, led the nomination review and honoree selection process. Aamer Charania and Babar Bhatti of Dallas AI and the DRC’s Duane Dankesreiter provided strategic guidance and input on the editors’ selections across award categories.

The inaugural class of AI honorees is set to be announced live on Thursday, May 2, at the DRC’s Convergence AI event at the Irving Convention Center. The AI 75 is supported in part by the City of Plano, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Amazech.

Because this is the first year for Dallas Innovates’ AI 75, we know there must be other AI leaders you need to know who are deserving of future consideration. We invite and welcome your feedback on the 2024 program—as well as your suggestions for next year’s list.


Naveena Allampalli
Senior Director AI/Gen AI Solutions and Chief AI Architect, CBRE

Allampalli is a leader in the fields of AI, machine learning, and cloud solutions at Dallas-based CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment company. A frequent conference speaker on AI and AI applications, she has advised AI startup companies, served as a mentor for data scientists, and was recognized as a woman leader in AI and emerging technologies by Fairygodboss, a career community for women. Allampalli, who previously was director of AI/ML and financial analytics for IT services and consulting company Capgemini, holds a master’s degree in computers and mathematics focusing on computer science and artificial intelligence.

Sumit Anand
Chief Strategy and Information Officer, At Home

Anand is part of the executive team and is responsible for leading the technology and cybersecurity capabilities, among other things, for At Home, a Dallas-based chain of home décor stores. There, he has partnered with Tata Consulting Services to leverage Tata’s patented Machine First Delivery Model to create standardized processes and, eventually, run At Home’s infrastructure operation with AIOps. Up next: leveraging AI with AR and VR to help merchants visualize product assortments. Says Tata’s Abhinav Goyal: “Sumit is a strategic thinker and sets the vision for the organization.” In 2023, Anand was named to the Forbes CIO Next List of 50 top technology leaders who are transforming and accelerating the growth of their businesses.

Jorge Corral
South Market-AI Lead, Accenture

Corral leads the large Data and AI Transformation team for Accenture’s South Market unit. That unit helps Fortune 500 companies digitize their enterprises in a number of areas, including productivity, supply chains, and growth outcomes. To hasten the effort, Accenture said in 2023 that it would invest $3 billion globally into generative AI technology over three years. Recently, Corral spoke on “Bringing Business Reinvention to Life in the Era of Gen AI” at HITEC Live!, a gathering of the Hispanic Technology Executive Council. He’s also among the expert speakers appearing at Convergence AI, the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s first-ever conference dedicated to enterprise AI.

Robert Hinojosa
Sr. Director, AI/ML, Staples

Before becoming senior director, AI/ML at Staples, Hinojosa worked at Ashley Furniture Industries. As the chief AI officer and vice president of IT at Ashley, he led the manufacturer/retailer’s AI transformation across the company, overseeing its data science function, its enterprise innovation lab, and the AI upskilling of its workforce. Before Ashley he was CTO at Irving-based Cottonwood Financial and a software engineering leader at Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports. He currently serves as an industry advisor on various academic boards, including at Texas Christian University and The University of Texas at Arlington.

Chithrai Mani
CEO, Digit7

Under the leadership of Mani, who has an extensive background in AI and digital transformation, Digit7 has become a trailblazer in the field of self-checkout and autonomous stores. Leveraging his experience in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Digit7’s cutting-edge systems like DigitKart and DigitMart have been pivotal in shaping the future of the global retail and hospitality industries. Before becoming CEO of Richardson-based Digit7, Mani served as the chief technology and innovation officer at InfoVision Inc., where he helped drive innovation and digital transformation for Fortune 500 companies. The much-sought-after tech influencer is a frequent keynote speaker on topics related to AI and ML, and an emerging-tech evangelist.

Shannon Miller
EVP and President of Divergent Solutions, Jacobs

Miller, a 26-year veteran of Dallas-based Jacobs, is the point person for a collaboration between the company and Palantir Technologies to harness the power of artificial intelligence in critical infrastructure, advanced facilities, and supply chain management applications. Last year, for example, Miller explained in a YouTube video how Jacobs was harnessing the power of Palantir’s comprehensive AI solution in wastewater treatment to optimize decision-making and long-term planning. As president of Divergent Solutions, Miller is responsible for delivering next-generation cloud, cyber, data, and digital solutions for the company’s customers and partners globally. She has a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and petroleum refining from the Colorado School of Mines.

Shahmeer Mirza
Senior Director of Data, AI/ML and R&D, 7-Eleven

A public speaker and inventor with a robust patent portfolio, Mirza is responsible for data engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and innovation at Irving-based 7-Eleven. Earlier at the company, he led an interdisciplinary team that delivered a fully functional, AI-powered solution from prototype to full scale in less than a year. The so-called Checkout-Free tech solution tracks what customers take and automatically charges them, making for a frictionless shopping experience in a cashier-less store. Before joining 7-Eleven, Mirza was a senior R&D engineer with Plano-based PepsiCo, where he piloted projects to demonstrate the long-term impact of AI/Machine Learning in R&D.

Timo Nentwich
Executive Vice President and CFO, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Nentwich has made a significant impact on AI through his role as Siemens’ EVP and head of finance. His recent projects have centered around development of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, a key part of Siemens’ transformation into a Software as a Service company. The portfolio is designed to help engineering teams create and leverage digital twins, harnessing the potential of advanced AI-driven predictive modeling. A partnership between Plano-based Siemens and NVIDIA is intended to take the “industrial metaverse” to the next level, enabling companies to create digital twins that connect software-defined AI systems from edge to cloud. Nentwich, a native of Germany, holds an MBA from Great Britain’s Open University Business School.

Justin J. Nguyen
Head of CS Data Engineering and Analytics, Chewy

Nguyen is an accomplished leader with a strong background in AI, analytics, and data engineering. As head of data and analytics at Chewy, he has improved the company’s operational efficiencies using AI and designed anti-fraud algorithms. He has demonstrated his thought leadership in the field with articles in multiple publications, peer-reviewed research papers, symposiums, and podcasts—including hosting Chewy’s AI in Action podcast. In 2022, he was recognized in CDO Magazine’s “40 Under Forty Data Leaders.” With undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Nguyen previously was a senior director and head of enterprise data and AI at Irving-based 7-Eleven.

Joe Park
Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Yum! Brands

Park has been a leader in the integration and advancement of an “AI-first mentality” within Yum! Brands, which owns several quick-service restaurant chains including Plano-based Pizza Hut. He’s helped develop and deploy innovative technologies aimed at enhancing kitchen operations, improving the tech infrastructure, and bolstering digital sales growth. For example, Park’s team oversaw the rollout of an AI-based platform for optimizing and managing the entire food preparation process, from order through delivery. Yum! has doubled its digital sales since 2019 to about 45% of total sales, thanks in part to his AI initiatives. Park, who joined Yum! in 2020 as its first chief innovation officer, previously was a VP at Walmart.

Joshua Ridley
Co-Founder and CEO, Willow

Ridley, a serial entrepreneur, leads Willow, a global technology company whose tagline is “Digital twins for the built world.” The company’s AI-driven, digital-twin software platform analyzes and manages data to power smart buildings at scale. Launched in Australia in 2017, Willow relocated to Dallas in 2022 and has partners and customers including Johnson Controls, Walmart, Microsoft, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The company’s collaboration with D-FW Airport, which includes creating a digital twin for the maintenance and operation of assets including Terminal D, was called “a game-changer for our industry” by an airport official. Ridley previously founded a pioneering Australian digital design/construction firm and a company that leveraged the internet to deliver building services.

Shri Prakash Singh
Head of Data Science & Analytics, McAfee

Singh is a prominent thought leader in AI, particularly in the context of cybersecurity. His position at Dallas-based McAfee has him playing an increasingly significant role in detecting and responding to cyber threats, which are constantly evolving and growing in sophistication. Singh has shared his expertise in AI and data science at a number of public forums, including at last year’s Dallas CDAO Executive Summit. At a private, executive boardroom session there, he discussed opportunities for data-driven innovation, among other things. In 2023, AIM Research named Singh one of the country’s 100 Most Influential AI Leaders.

Subhashini Tripuraneni
Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase

As a managing director, Tripuraneni serves as JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s global head of people analytics and AI/ML. In that role, she leads machine learning initiatives and applies artificial intelligence to enhance the giant financial institution’s critical business processes. Previously the head of AI for Dallas-based 7-Eleven, Tripuraneni was recognized as one of the top women aiding AI advancement in Texas in 2020. She has spoken widely about the use of AI in retailing and banking and co-authored “Hands-On Artificial Intelligence on Amazon Web Services,” a book aimed at data scientists and machine learning engineers.

Vincent Yates
Partner and Chief Data Scientist, Credera

Yates serves as the chief data scientist and a partner at Credera, an Addison-based company that helps transform enterprises through data from strategy to implementation. One of Credera’s analytics platforms, for example, leverages generative AI to provide marketers with insights and personalized consumer experiences. Previously, he held leadership roles at companies including GE Digital, Zillow Group, Uber, and Microsoft. Yates is a member of the Global AI Council, where he’s contributed to developing a framework to assess AI readiness. He has spoken widely about the economic impacts of GenAI—especially in customer operations, marketing, R&D and software engineering—and has addressed the challenges executives face aligning AI with their business objectives.


Milind Borkar
Founder and CEO, Illuma Labs

Borkar is founder and CEO at Illuma, a fintech serving credit unions and other financial institutions with voice authentication and fraud prevention solutions. The Plano-based software company’s AI, machine learning, and voice authentication technologies derived from its R&D contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Illuma says its flagship product, Illuma Shield, utilizes AI and advanced signal processing, among other things, to achieve much faster and more accurate authentication compared to traditional methods. Borkar, who previously worked at Texas Instruments, graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Ph.D and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.

John Carmack
Founder, Keen Technologies

The legendary game developer and VR visionary shifted gears in 2022 by founding Dallas-based Keen, intent on independently pursuing his next grand quest: the achievement of artificial general intelligence. Last fall, Carmack announced a new partnership for his pioneering, out-of-the-mainstream effort with Richard Sutton, chief scientific advisor at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. Now the two are focused on developing an AGI prototype by 2030, including establishing and advancing AGI signs of life. “It’s likely that the important things that we don’t know are relatively simple,” Carmack has said. In 2023, he was a keynote speaker at the Future of AI Summit hosted by the Capital Factory Texas Fund at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas.

Dave Copps
Co-Founder and CEO, Worlds

Serial entrepreneur Copps, who’s been building artificial intelligence in North Texas for more than 15 years, is one of the region’s most accomplished and respected AI pioneers. With a string of successful startups, including Brainspace, Copps’ latest venture is a leader in the field of real-world AI. Dallas-based Worlds, co-founded with President Chris Rohde and CTO Ross Bates, recently launched its latest groundbreaking platform called WorldsNQ, creating the Large World Model (LWM) concept in AI. The breakthrough technology, ushered to completion by Bates, leverages existing cameras and IoT sensors to improve and measure physical operations through LWMs and “radically accelerates” AI learning—by 100 to 1,000 times—without needing human annotation. This enables systems to continually learn and adapt from their surroundings autonomously. Copps, a University of North Texas grad who hosts the “Worlds of Possibility” podcast and speaks about AI at conferences worldwide, received EY’s regional Entrepreneur Of The Year award in 2022.

Skip Howard
Founder, Spacee

Howard, the mastermind behind Dallas-based Spacee, is blazing a trail in the retail and hospitality industries with AI solutions for real-world challenges. By leveraging computer vision AI, robotics, and spatial augmented reality, Spacee is transforming how businesses operate and engage with customers. Its Deming shelf-mounted robot tracks inventory in real-time, while the HoverTouch platform turns any surface into an interactive touchscreen. Howard’s vision extends beyond Spacee, as he helps nurture other AI-oriented tech ventures seeking a community of like-minded companies. A sought-after speaker and key contributor to The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Retail Innovation and Strategy Excellence (RISE), Howard also bridges the gap between academia and the STEM side of retail. In 2019, his industry expertise earned him recognition as a finalist for EY’s regional Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

Ravi Shankar Kumar
Co-Founder and CTO, Theatro

Kumar has pioneered multiple AI and generative AI technologies at Theatro, a Richardson-based software company offering a mobile app platform for hourly retail workers. As CTO and co-founder, he was instrumental in developing an award-winning application for Tractor Supply called “Hey Gura,” for example, enabling store associates to seamlessly access detailed information about products, processes, and policies. He also has led the development of prototypes and new projects that utilize GenAI to initiate diverse digital workflows, and worked to establish initiatives ensuring that Theatro’s AI applications are ethical and unbiased. Kumar has more than 40 patents in analytics, voice technology, and AI, and Theatro has been ranked No. 1 in technology innovation for four straight years by RIS News.

Ben Lamm
Co-Founder and CEO, Colossal

Lamm’s breakthrough company, Dallas-based Colossal, is putting AI on the map for genetics. The serial entrepreneur co-founded the VC-backed company to focus on genetic engineering, reproductive technology, and AI solutions in support of renowned geneticist George Church’s de-extinction efforts. Recently Colossal has been leveraging synthetic biology as well as software and hardware to bring back the woolly mammoth. As a prelude to that so-called rewilding effort, the company has partnered with an elephant orphanage in Africa, deploying AI to study elephant herd dynamics. Lamm has appeared as a thought leader on innovation and technology in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He previously founded multiple successful tech companies including AI startup Hypergiant.

Richard Margolin
Associated Partner, Highwire Ventures

A serial entrepreneur and researcher, Margolin is an associated partner at Highwire Ventures, a strategy-led, Dallas-based consulting firm where he builds AI tools for evaluating investment deals. He also co-founded and, until last November, was CEO of Dallas-based RoboKind. RoboKind is an EdTech company that designs and builds facially expressive robots that facilitate learning for STEM education and individuals with autism. Margolin is a Forbes Technology Council member, a 2017 Tech Titan, and a 2019 winner of EY’s regional Entrepreneur Of The Year award. More recently, he was a presenter at the Global AI Summit 2022 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Panna Sharma
President, CEO, and Director, Lantern Pharma

As president, chief executive, and director of Dallas-based Lantern Pharma, Sharma is the driving force behind Lantern’s use of AI in oncology drug discovery and development. The company’s proprietary AI and machine learning platform, called RADR, leverages billions of data points and more than 200 advanced ML algorithms to personalize and develop targeted cancer therapies. Under Sharma’s leadership, Lantern has made strides in using AI to reduce the time and cost associated with oncology drug development. Using AI, he told a reporter, the cost of drug development could be slashed from the typical $2 billion or more to less than $200 million. Before joining Lantern, Sharma was president and CEO of Cancer Genetics, where he helped expand the company’s global footprint.

Sanjiv S. Sidhu
Co-Founder and Chairman, o9 Solutions

Pioneering technologist and thought leader Sidhu continues to shape the future of AI applications after creating two multibillion-dollar companies in Dallas: i2 Technologies and o9 Solutions (the former with co-founder Ken Sharma, the latter with Chakri Gottemukkala). Supply chain software company i2 came out of Sidhu’s foundational work in computerized simulations for manufacturing processes at Texas Instruments’ AI lab. o9—the name stands for “optimization to the highest number,” he says—has developed a dynamic business-planning platform that enables AI-driven decision-making. Sidhu has shared his insights on the role of AI in transforming business operations in podcasts, feature interviews, and appearances at prominent industry events.

Patrick Strittmatter
Director of Engineering, Shield AI

Strittmatter, who’s director of engineering at Shield AI, has years of experience in engineering and product design. Shield is currently building Hivemind, an AI pilot, which it says will enable swarms of drones and aircraft to operate autonomously without GPS, communications, or a pilot. Strittmatter’s previous employers include Amazon Lab126, where he led product design teams for Kindle E-readers and IoT products, and BlackBerry, where he served as mechanical platform manager. He holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Dmitry Turbiner
Founder and CEO, General Radar

Turbiner says the startup he founded and serves as CEO is to the military’s large space radars that detect aerial threats what the commercial company SpaceX is to NASA. While the main customers so far for General Radar’s advanced, AI-enhanced commercial aerospace radar have been in the defense industry, the groundbreaking technology has applications in other areas, including for providing early hazard warnings in autonomous cars. Turbiner previously was an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where 12 of his phased array antennas continue to orbit on a group of six heavy NASA satellites. He has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from MIT and a partial master’s of science in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

David C. Williams
Assistant Vice President, AT&T

As the leader of “hyper-automation” at Dallas-based AT&T, Williams develops and deploys AI tools and strategies and advocates for responsible AI use and digital inclusivity. His organization has solved multiple business challenges with AI innovations, including projects to fine-tune AT&T’s software-defined network platform and to summarize conversations between the company’s agents and customers. Williams, a sought-after speaker on tech topics, also has authored two patents—for reprogrammable RFID and bridging satellite and LTE technology. They illustrate his ability to innovate across different technology domains, an essential quality for creating comprehensive AI solutions leveraging data from diverse sources and systems.

Feng (Albert) Yang
Founder & Advisor, Topaz Labs

Yang, a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in video and signal processing, founded Topaz Labs, a provider of deep learning-based image and video enhancement for photographers and video makers. Under his leadership, the Dallas-based company has developed cutting-edge, AI-driven software tools that improve sharpening, noise reduction, and upscaling of images and videos. A former assistant professor at China’s Harbin Institute of Technology, Yang remains a Topaz advisor but stepped down as the company’s president and CTO in 2021. Says one of his former employees: “He was the core developer of the code base for every single Topaz product. … He is a doer and not a talker.”


Bryan Chambers
Co-Founder and President, Capital Factory

Chambers is a leading, high-profile proponent of AI’s transformative potential, proactively building and nurturing a supportive ecosystem for the space as the Capital Factory’s co-founder and president. An accelerator and venture capital fund that’s described as “the center of gravity” for Texas entrepreneurs, Capital Factory has invested in a number of AI-focused companies, including Dallas-based Worlds and Austin’s Big Sister AI. Under Chambers, Capital Factory also has hosted a wide variety of AI events, co-working sessions, and challenges. Among them were The Future of AI Summit in Dallas last September, February’s AI Salon at Old Parkland in Dallas, and the $100,000 AI Investment Challenge held during the company’s 2019 Defense Innovation Summit in Austin.

Mark Cuban
Founder, Mark Cuban Companies

Cuban, the influential, nationally known billionaire entrepreneur, has long championed the AI ecosystem through multiple initiatives, investments, and educational efforts. He’s stressed the importance of AI education for everyone, including business owners and employees, and founded the Mark Cuban Foundation’s Intro to AI Bootcamp program for underserved high school students. AI-powered companies Cuban has invested in include Node, a San Francisco-based startup, and British company Synthesia. The minority owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks has predicted that AI will have a more significant impact than any technology in the last 30 years—and has warned that those who don’t understand or learn about AI risk becoming a dinosaur.

David Evans
Managing Partner, Sentiero Ventures

Evans’ Dallas-based VC firm, Sentiero Ventures, invests in seed-stage, AI-enabled SaaS companies that improve customer experiences or enhance financial performance. Evans, a veteran technologist and serial entrepreneur, was exposed early to AI while working on a NASA project in the late 1990s. Widely considered one of the most knowledgeable, best-connected thought leaders and speakers on Dallas-Fort Worth’s AI scene, he’s said Sentiero is most interested in founders with velocity, revenue, and pragmatic strategies for growth. In the last year, he’s led investments in the likes of Velou, a San Francisco-based e-commerce enablement startup, and Montreal-based Shearwater Aerospace. Sentiero’s successful exits include Dallas-based MediBookr, a healthcare navigation and patient engagement platform.


Rep. Giovanni Capriglione
Texas House of Representatives

Capriglione, a Republican House member representing District 98 with an IT background, co-chairs a new state advisory board on artificial intelligence with Sen. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound. The state’s Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council will submit a report to the Legislature by Dec. 1 that makes policy recommendations to protect Texans from harmful impacts of AI and promotes an “ethical framework” for the use of AI by state agencies. Capriglione says he recognizes AI’s potential for streamlining and fiscal efficiencies. But, in a video recorded for the National Conference of State Legislatures, he added, “We have to be careful with how it’s being used, that it’s being done in a similar way as humans would have done it, and that we measure outcomes.”

Victor Fishman
Executive Director, Texas Research Alliance

Fishman’s in the middle of the action as executive director of the Richardson-based Texas Research Alliance, which works to ensure that North Texas industry, universities, and governments are able to leverage research and innovation resources to grow and lead their markets. Last fall, the alliance was pivotal in the first-ever DFW University AI Collaboration Symposium, where Fishman was a participant. “Our students are running towards AI, so we need to run faster,” he told the symposium. “Let’s keep this momentum to create more collaboration between our North Texas universities and partners, turning Dallas-Fort Worth into a leader for AI research.” The alliance also was instrumental in proposals supporting the Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub, led by Southern Methodist University.

Sen. Tan Parker
Texas State Senate

Parker, a North Texas businessman and Republican state senator representing District 12, was named earlier this year to the state’s Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council, where he serves as co-chair with state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. The council, created by the Legislature during last year’s session, studies and monitors AI systems developed or used by state agencies. The council also is charged with assessing the need for an AI code of ethics in state government and recommending any administrative actions state agencies should take regarding AI. It’s supposed to submit a report about its findings to the Legislature by Dec. 1. Observers say the council could recommend a new office for AI policy-making, or advise designating an existing state agency to craft policy for artificial intelligence.

Kevin J. Scott
CTO/CIO, PGA of America

Scott is a thought leader driving AI adoption and comprehension inside the PGA and the broader golf industry, as well as among Dallas-Fort Worth technology executives. While he’s set the PGA’s internal strategy for efficiency improvements—including enhancing the organization’s app user experience with AI—Scott says the Frisco-based group is planning additional AI initiatives that are more sophisticated and comprehensive. At the same time, he’s helped guide industry leaders in crafting their own AI roadmaps via workshops and public speaking appearances. A former senior director for innovation and advanced products at ESPN, Scott also has worked with Frisco ISD to facilitate AI meetups and mentoring for its students. 

Deepak Seth
Creator/Founder, DEEPakAI: AI Demystified
Product Director–Trading Architecture Platform Strategy & Support, Charles Schwab

Seth has been recognized as a Top 50 global thought leader and influencer for generative AI, in part on the strength of his DEEPakAI: AI Demystified newsletter. The weekly LinkedIn missive with more than 1,500 subscribers has played a key role in making AI more accessible and understandable to a wide audience, as well as opening up discussion about inclusivity, ethics, and the practical applications of AI. In addition to his thought leadership, Seth has been a driving force in the adoption and integration of AI technologies at Charles Schwab, where he initiated C-suite engagement for generative AI adoption, analyzing risks and tools, developing use cases, and achieving a proof of concept that enhanced customer service response by 35%. The product director also pioneered a cross-functional AI-driven employee engagement initiative targeting a 15% boost in agent engagement metrics, earning recognitions with the President’s Innovation Award. An adjunct professor at Texas Christian University, Seth has been a featured guest on multiple webcasts.

Dan Sinawat
Founder, AI CONNEX

After arriving in North Texas from Singapore a few years ago, Sinawat has made a name for himself as a visionary leader in the local AI community with a decidedly global perspective. His enthusiasm for the space led him to found AI CONNEX, a Frisco-based community and networking group for AI enthusiasts, experts, and professionals. Under Sinawat’s proactive leadership, the group put together an accelerator program for early-stage startups as well as various events promoting AI and technology. The latter included one in partnership with Toyota Connected that focused on innovation in the auto industry. Sinawat also has conducted podcasts and been active in AI panel discussions and on social media.

Stephen Wylie
Lead AI Engineer, Thryv

Wylie, who leads all AI and ML projects at Grapevine-based Thryv, has more than 130 software patents in the AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, and IoT spaces. “Above all,” he has said, “I innovate.” A Google Developer Expert in AI/ML, Wylie has long been an active AI educator, writing a blog and speaking frequently before user groups and conferences locally (at UT Dallas and TCU), nationally, and internationally. His talks, aimed at engineers, have included topics such as fusing AI with augmented reality and how AI will affect the careers of future engineers and practitioners. Wylie worked earlier as a senior software engineer for rewardStyle and Capital One.


Khaled Abdelghany
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern Methodist University

Abdelghany is a faculty member at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering and a pivotal member of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board committee on AI and advanced computing. His groundbreaking work, documented in multiple peer-reviewed journals, focuses mainly on the use of advanced analytics and AI to make infrastructure more efficient, resilient, and equitable. He has developed and adopted AI techniques in such “problem” domains as real-time traffic network management and urban growth predictions, for example. Over the last year, he secured a three-year, $1.2 million federal grant to develop advanced AI models for traffic-signal operations, elevating SMU’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge AI research and innovation.

Lee Brown
Associate Professor of Management and Director of Research, Texas Woman’s University

In his roles as a management professor and research director at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Brown is continually learning about and exploring ways to apply generative AI technologies to improve classroom engagement and workplace efficiency. In addition to incorporating AI in MBA courses, enabling students to take advantage of AI for data analysis, decision-making, and strategic planning, he has spoken extensively at TWU and at outside conferences about how AI can revolutionize educational methodologies, promoting innovation and inclusion. Says Brown: “My commitment to leveraging AI in education is driven by a vision of creating an empowered and adaptable workforce, capable of contributing meaningfully to our increasingly interconnected and technologically driven world.”

Gautam Das
Associate Dean for Research and Distinguished University Chair Professor, The University of Texas at Arlington

Das is an internationally known computer scientist with more than three decades of experience in AI, ML, and Big Data analytics. His research has been supported by grants totaling more than $9 million, and he has published 200-plus papers, many of them featured at top conferences and in premier journals. As a professor and associate dean for research at The University of Texas at Arlington’s college of engineering, he is responsible for promoting research excellence across the college and at UTA. Over the years Das’ research has included all aspects of AI, machine learning, and data mining. He’s currently working in areas such as machine learning approaches for approximate query processing, and fairness and explainability in data management systems.

Douglas DeGroot
Director, Center for Applied AI and Machine Learning, The University of Texas at Dallas

DeGroot is co-founder and director of the Center for Applied AI and Machine Learning (CAAML) at UT Dallas in Richardson. The center was founded in 2019 to help Texas companies and organizations use leading-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance their products, services, and business processes. So far, the industry-facing, applied R&D center has been involved in about 10 projects for companies including Vistra Corp., Rayburn Corp., Infovision, and Nippon Expressway Co. The projects have been diverse, from building an explainable machine learning system to coming up with an optimal model for electricity pricing. In addition, DeGroot has shared insights on solving industry problems using AI and ML at community events such as The IQ Brew. At CAAML, he works closely with Co-Director Gopal Gupta, a professor of computer science known for his expertise in automated reasoning, rule-based systems, and artificial intelligence.

Yunhe Feng
Director, Responsible AI Lab, The University of North Texas

As an assistant professor in UNT’s department of computer science and engineering, Feng directs the Denton school’s 2-year-old Responsible AI Laboratory, which advances AI research with a focus on Responsible AI, Generative AI, and Applied AI. He also co-directs UNT’s master’s program in artificial intelligence—the first of its kind in Texas. He has published research on a variety of AI topics and co-authored a paper on the impact of ChatGPT on streaming media. Financial Times and Business Insider have reported on his work, and he’s served as a guest lecturer for various courses, including “AI for Social Good.” Last year, Feng received the IEEE Smart Computing Special Technical Community Early Career Award for his contributions to smart computing and responsible computing.

Beata Jones
John V. Roach Honors Faculty Fellow at Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University

Jones is a professor of practice in business information systems at TCU’s Neeley School of Business in Fort Worth. As a regular contributing writer for Forbes, she often explores the transformative potential of AI in higher education and its impact on business. (Another TCU Neeley faculty member, marketing instructor Elijah Clark, also is a regular Forbes contributing writer on AI.) Jones has written for the publication about how generative AI tools are transforming academic research by fact-checking, for example, or by supporting data visualization or by offering feedback on drafts. Jones, who’s been passionate about artificial intelligence since her teenage years, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New York’s Baruch College and a Ph.D. from The Graduate Center at City University of New York.

Guanghua Xiao
Mary Dees McDermott Hicks Chair, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Xiao has made significant contributions to the field of medical AI, especially in the application of artificial intelligence to pathology and cancer research. He holds the Mary Dees McDermott Hicks Chair in Medical Science at UT Southwestern in Dallas. He’s also a professor in UTSW’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health, Biomedical Engineering, and the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics. Xiao’s research has focused on AI models that enhance cancer understanding and treatment through advanced image analysis and bioinformatics tools. His key contributions have included developing an AI model called Ceograph, for analyzing cells in tissue samples to predict cancer outcomes, and helping develop the ConvPath software tool. It uses AI to identify cancer cells from lung cancer pathology images.


Amy Blankson
Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Digital Wellness Institute

Blankson, a wellness author and motivational speaker on overcoming the fear of AI through the lens of neuroscience and “fearless optimism,” co-founded the Digital Wellness Institute, a Dallas-based tech-based startup. As the institute’s chief evangelist, she uses AI to benchmark the digital wellness of the institute’s organizations and speaks externally about the evolving future of AI in the workplace. A graduate of Harvard and the Yale School of Management, Blankson has been a contributing member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Standards for Artificial Intelligence. Earlier this year she presented at SHRM’s inaugural AI+HI (Human Intelligence) Project conference, where she discussed AI and the Future of Happiness at Microsoft’s campus in Silicon Valley.

Corey Clark
CTO and Co-Founder, BALANCED Media Technology

Clark co-founded and serves as CTO at BALANCED Media Technology, whose tech infrastructure fuses AI and machine learning with data to bring “purpose to play” through distributed computing and human computational gaming. Securing nearly $30 million from various funding sources, the Allen-based company was co-founded with CEO Robert Atkins. The motivation behind establishing BALANCED was to leverage the intersection of human intelligence and machine learning through video games to solve complex problems, particularly in the medical field. This innovative approach works to develop, among other things, AI-powered games that aim to combat human trafficking and treat ocular diseases more efficiently. Clark also is an assistant professor of computer science at Southern Methodist University and deputy director for research at the SMU Guildhall. Last year, he contributed to a research paper on eXplainable artificial intelligence, focusing on making AI decision-making more transparent.

Pranav Kumar
Digital Project Manager, LERMA/ Agency

Pranav and his team at Dallas-based LERMA/, an independent multicultural agency, have pioneered the use of AI in advertising and diversity efforts. Their achievements include using AI to produce a Super Bowl commercial and developing a module for Stable Diffusion that enhances diversity, equity, and inclusion in creative outputs. Pranav and a colleague—content creator Roscoe McGee—have driven these innovations at the agency, literally changing the face of AI-generated imagery in an effort to counteract its inherent biases. Pranav has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and media studies and a master’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M University.

Steve Miff
President and CEO, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

Miff serves on multiple committees guiding AI policy and implementation at Dallas’s Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, where he’s president and chief executive. Under his leadership, the nonprofit center has developed cutting-edge solutions using artificial intelligence to advance the health and well-being of underserved individuals and populations. Examples include a unique, in-patient model that can identify and intervene in high-risk sepsis cases; a system designed to prevent pediatric asthma; and an innovative, preterm birth prevention program to better serve pregnant women. Miff also has been active nationally, helping to draft codes of conduct and “best practices” guides as AI continues to progress at a rapid pace.

Taylor Shead
Founder and CEO, Stemuli

Shead’s Dallas-based EdTech, Stemuli, is a pioneering gaming company that leverages AI and the metaverse to create personalized learning experiences, making education and career navigation more accessible and inclusive. Under her leadership, the company has partnered with the Dallas Independent School District and other school districts across Texas and is looking to expand nationwide. Shead’s AI-driven educational technologies have also been applied to the EDA Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub consortium, where she’s helping bridge the gap between academic learning and practical industry skills. Stemuli’s marquee backers include Google for Startups, the Yass Prize, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Stemuli recently won the North American leg of the United Nation’s ‘AI for Good’ competition, earning a spot at the Innovation Factory World Competition in Geneva and a $200,000 prize to facilitate global scaling.

R’Kes Starling
CEO, Reveles

Starling leads Southlake-based Reveles, a digitally oriented, clinical research company focused on enhancing healthcare engagement through AI-driven innovations. For example, the company is harnessing artificial intelligence to revolutionize recruitment strategies, especially in addressing the historical lack of diversity in clinical trials. Its platform operates across all stages of R&D, offering solutions tailored specifically to engage and educate underrepresented communities. Starling has fueled the company’s AI focus, which is backed by tech investors like Vista Equity Partners CEO Robert F. Smith. Starling, who has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, recently spoke in Dallas at the Future of Healthcare Summit presented by Kellogg DFW Alumni.

Kristen Brent Venable
Senior Research Scientist, Institute of Human & Machine Cognition

A resident—and native—of Dallas, Venable serves as a senior research scientist for the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit institute in Florida’s state university system. She also is a professor of computer science at the University of West Florida. Her main research interests are within artificial intelligence, including temporal reasoning and incorporating ethical considerations into AI systems. In addition to her dual roles at the Florida institutions, Venable is a parent and board member of Dallas’ private Alcuin School, where she consults for the school’s STEM and AI programming. An active champion for women in computer science, she serves as co-editor-in-chief of AI Magazine, the official publication of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.


Ruben Amarasingham
Founder and CEO, Pieces Technologies

Amarasingham, a medical doctor, is a pioneer in healthcare generative AI and the founder of Pieces, an Irving-based AI R&D firm that applies AI methods to support the work of doctors and nurses. The firm’s Sculpted AI platform, for example, leverages Amazon Bedrock and other technologies to embed AI in electronic health record clinical workflows. The Pieces engineering team, under VP Joshua Grob, has played a critical role in the company’s success in enhancing patient care, improving health outcomes, and reducing clinician burnout. Amarasingham, who founded and served as president and CEO of the Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, has been honored by the Texas Senate for his contributions to healthcare.

Sanjay Basu
Senior Director Cloud Engineering, Oracle Inc.

Basu is at the forefront of advancing AI, machine learning, and cloud computing at Oracle, the Austin-based computer technology company. He’s also an industry-recognized subject matter expert in AI, recently penning a three-part Medium series addressing AI ethics and the use of responsible AI in enterprise applications. The holder of a Ph.D in applied management with neuroscience focus from the London School of Business, Basu is a graduate of the FinTech Program at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. He also has multiple certificates in AI from Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education, as well as several advanced graduate certificates from MIT.

Luther Birdzell
Chief AI Officer, Krista

Birdzell, who has more than 20 years of experience in technology products and services, says he’s “on a mission to help teams succeed with AI.” As chief AI officer at Dallas-based Krista, he’s taken to heart Wayne Gretzky’s “skate to where the puck is going” mantra by helping grow Krista’s unique, conversational AI automation capabilities for enterprise companies. Birdzell, an early pioneer in the adoption of AI technologies for the oil-and-gas industry, has been a panelist at the IBM TechXchange Conference and written for LinkedIn about AI’s critical role in a company’s human resources function. He has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor of arts in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College.

Justin Bundick
Managing Director, Artificial Intelligence & Data Transformation, Southwest Airlines

In his position as managing director, Bundick leads teams focused on the development and management of AI, machine learning, and process automation products at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. He has worked on multiple projects aimed at improving the customer experience and boosting operational efficiencies at the airline. One initiative, for example, uses video cameras and computer vision on the jetway to speed up airplane load times. Before joining Southwest nearly 16 years ago, Bundick worked for EDS, an HP Company, in financial planning and corporate strategy. He’s a graduate of The University of Texas.

Gaylia Campbell
VP of Engineering & Technology, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control

As vice president of engineering and technology for Grand Prairie-based Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Campbell oversees an organization with more than 6,000 employees and has responsibility for its operational leadership and strategic direction. She has spent nearly 37 years at Lockheed Martin, which was an early adopter in developing and deploying AI technologies in missile systems. AI also helps the company enhance U.S. Navy radars, predict what defense tools will need maintenance, and improve operator decision-making. Campbell graduated from SMU with bachelor of science degrees in mathematics and computer science and a master’s of science in business management.

Margot Carter

Seven years ago—well ahead of the AI curve—Carter co-founded, a Dallas-based company leveraging artificial intelligence to revolutionize sales productivity. Since then, leading private equity and consulting firms have incorporated Cien’s platform for optimizing customer data into their go-to-market processes. Previously EVP and chief legal officer at Dallas-based RealPage, a property-management software firm, Carter is a sought-after director for corporate boards. She is recognized as an AI thought leader regionally, nationally, and internationally, and is chair emeritus of the nonprofit National Association of Corporate Directors North Texas. There, she has championed the evaluation and adoption of AI across multiple industries.

Tassio Carvalho
Senior Manager, AI Strategy, American Airlines

Carvalho has steered Fort Worth-based American Airlines over the last year through the landscape of generative AI, orchestrating collaboration between business units and shaping GenAI contracts, strategy, and governance throughout the company. Under his leadership, the carrier has provided GenAI programs to help customers book flights and used machine learning to streamline the assignment of airport gates, reducing taxi times by 20%. The company also has used machine learning to better plan cargo shipments and has explored its use to improve aircraft maintenance. In addition, Carvalho has written about the challenges faced by businesses engaged in the “complex, risk-filled strategy of GenAI adoption.”

Harvey Castro
CEO, Medical Intelligence Ops

As chief executive of Dallas-based Medical Intelligence Ops, Castro—a practicing ER doctor and serial entrepreneur—is recognized globally as a leading voice for the integration of AI technologies into healthcare delivery and management. He is a ChatGPT Healthcare Advisor, developed an online educational course focusing on healthcare AI, and speaks extensively on the use of AI in diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and mental health. In addition to authoring numerous books about the practical applications of AI in medicine, Castro is a member of the influential American Board of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. Says one of his peers: “Harvey not only knows the current science and materials; he sees the future. Then he teaches others with enthusiasm.”

Stephen Ellis
Generative AI Technical Product Manager, Toyota North America

As Toyota North America’s Generative AI Technical Product Manager, Ellis oversees the integration and management of GenAI technologies that are so critically important for enhancing innovation and operational efficiency in the auto industry. In that position he works closely with leadership of the Plano-based company’s Enterprise Artificial Intelligence group. Previously, Ellis worked in various research strategy and technology-related roles, including focusing on the strategic deployment of AI. He was a co-founder and CTO of Plymouth Artificial Intelligence, for example, which concentrated on the intersection of AI and other emerging technologies such as blockchain, robotics, and DNA sequencing. He’s a former director of the North Texas Blockchain Alliance.

Dan Ferguson
Co-Founder, Groove Jones

Ferguson is co-founder of Groove Jones, a Dallas-based studio that specializes in next-generation technologies, including AI, for agencies and brands. Ferguson, who has three decades of experience in the digital space, is responsible for consulting and creating strategies for the studio’s commercial clients using AI, ML, AR, VR, and WebGL. For example, the studio’s AI-powered sELFie Studio for Keebler used generative art to turn users into Keebler elf characters. Among clients Ferguson has directly served are American Airlines, Intel, Meta, and NASCAR. A former director of interactive digital at Dallas’ Reel FX, he is considered the “forefather” of the practice of using game mechanics and techniques for advertising and marketing purposes.

Kelle Fontenot
Chief Digital Officer, KPMG

As KPMG’s first-ever chief digital officer, Fontenot is charged with overseeing the firm’s internal innovation, internal IT, and enterprise data services teams. In that role, she has led teams worldwide to successfully deliver transformation projects for big KPMG clients with complex challenges. Those projects often involve the integration of AI technologies to enhance the clients’ business processes and operational efficiencies. Fontenot also is active in the Dallas AI community, speaking recently at the nonprofit’s Women in AI event. She has a BBA degree from Baylor University and an MBA from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

Tim Gross
Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Gross leads Deloitte Consulting’s finance and performance group, focusing on technology, media, and telecommunications companies. In his role as principal, he helps finance and business leaders understand and prepare for how AI will impact their operations and management. He has helped clients reduce costs, streamline processes, and improve employee engagement through new AI capabilities. Gross often works alongside Jide Sobanjo, a Deloitte senior manager/associate principal who led the team in selling and implementing one of the first GenAI solutions for an enterprise client. Gross and Sobanjo co-authored an article last year about the implications of GenAI for business.

James Harding
Google Customer Engineers Manager, Google

Harding is the go-to guy helping Google clients in North Texas with their digital transformations using generative AI. In addition to building the company’s local GenAI team, he’s responsible for setting Google’s data management solutions strategy for North America. Harding also has been active in Dallas-Fort Worth’s AI community. He’s participated in gatherings like the HackDFW Marathon, where he highlighted the potential of the future AI workforce, and the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Q3 Executive Circle event. At that meeting he discussed the impact of AI on business and the importance of considering access and equity in the rollout of new AI technologies.

Matthew Holvey
Director, Enterprise Digital Systems, Bell Flight

Holvey is Bell Flight’s head of enterprise digital systems, leading an organization that’s responsible for continually transforming the digital ecosystem of the aerospace manufacturer’s engineering and manufacturing tools. In that role he focuses on integrating AI technologies to enhance the Fort Worth-based company’s aircraft systems. Bell Flight, for example, developed a digital mobility platform called AerOS that leverages AI for managing and maintaining vehicle fleets. A prominent speaker at aerospace and technology conferences, Holvey also is involved in educational initiatives, promoting STEM education and urging students to engage with cutting-edge technologies like vertical-lift robotics. He has a master’s of engineering/systems engineering degree from Penn State University.

Abhi Ingle
Chief Business Officer, Qualtrics

As chief business officer in Dallas for Qualtrics—an experience management software firm based in Seattle and Provo, Utah—Ingle is described as an AI thought leader for the company, which says it’s “supercharging” experience management with AI. He also is on the advisory board for Dallas AI, the largest nonprofit AI professional group in North Texas, and is an active advisor in the AI space. Ingle previously worked nearly 18 years for Dallas-based AT&T, where he’d last served as senior vice president, AT&T Business, and was considered an AI thought leader. He’d also served as chief digital officer, AT&T Business.

Mano Mannoochahr
SVP and Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Travelers

Mannoochahr is helping the Travelers insurance company reimagine every part of its business through the lens of AI and machine learning. A member of the Dallas AI advisory board with more than 25 years of experience in data, analytics, and technology, Mannoochahr leads a team using AI to improve Travelers’ underwriting processes, risk assessment, and customer experiences. In 2023, Mannoochahr was named to CDO Magazine’s Data Leaders 100, a list of the “most disruptive trailblazers transforming the future of data in North America.” He has a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Kansas and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Andy Minteer
Senior Director, Leverage AI, Walmart Global Technology

Minteer, who’s worked for more than two decades in AI, oversees the growth of Walmart’s Emerging Technology group focusing on AI, IoT, and other advanced technologies. His global team of 140-plus scientists and engineers in Texas, Arkansas, and India builds generative AI software products to enhance the giant retailer’s efficiency, decision-making, and customer experience. One project involved a new search function that makes the digital shopping experience more seamless and intuitive, for example. Minteer, the author of a book titled “Analytics for the Internet of Things,” is a member of the SMU Big Data advisory board and speaks frequently on AI’s use and potential.

Ram Ramisetti
Analyst (Emerging Tech & Innovation), McCarthy Building Companies

Ramisetti is a founding member of McCarthy Building’s Emerging Tech team, where he leads the company’s Enterprise AI/ML and Robotics initiatives. The son of a construction tradesman in India, Ramisetti says he’s intent on making construction more innovative, “human-centric,” and environmentally sustainable with the help of cutting-edge technologies like AI. His multiple achievements include developing an AI model with Joist AI that revolutionized McCarthy’s RFP processes, making them more accurate and efficient. In partnership with Field AI, Ramisetti also was instrumental in automating and enhancing field-collection data through the deployment of a construction robot, resulting in significant savings in time and costs. In addition, he developed an AI/ML legal template to establish ethical guidelines and data protection measures for McCarthy’s AI applications.

Steve Roemerman
Chairman and CEO, Lone Star Analysis

Roemerman leads Lone Star Analysis, an Addison-based company that offers predictive analytics and guided AI to companies in aerospace and defense and other industries. Lone Star’s Evolved AI generative artificial intelligence capability has led to multiple breakthroughs, including the company’s FAID product, which deploys GenAI to create a digital twin of an aeronautical system like a drone or hypersonic missile. Roemerman writes and speaks frequently about AI, recently addressing a symposium at The University of Texas at Arlington on the topic, “Can We Trust the Future of an AI Driven Society.” In February, Lone Star opened a new headquarters in Lincoln, England, aiming to expand its offerings, including AI, beyond the defense community in the U.K., Europe, and the Middle East.

Jason Roys
President, SDV International

Roys is president of SDV International, which offers custom, cutting-edge tech and management solutions using AI and ML to organizations in the national security, aviation, and health care industries. Most notably in that role, according to one observer, Roys is leading efforts by the U.S. and its allies to integrate and promote AI in their defense systems. Last year, SDV landed a $249 million contract from the U.S. Army and the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence office. Under the contract, SDV said it would provide state-of-the-art AI solutions to boost defense department capabilities and advance the department’s strategic goals. Roys has published multiple research and white papers and has appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal.

Behrouz Saghafi
Principal Machine Learning Engineer, Capital One

As a principal machine learning engineer at Capital One, Saghafi has designed and developed a number of successful AI products and ML solutions, especially in time-series forecasting and detection using graph machine learning. These solutions have been deployed at scale and have generated significant business value, showcasing how AI can enhance operational efficiency and drive innovation in the financial sector. Prior to joining Capital One in 2019, Saghafi, who holds a PhD in computer science, worked at Harman (a Samsung company) and UT Southwestern Medical Center, where he developed deep learning-based solutions for Driver Assistance Systems and Medical Imaging, respectively.

Alka Siddiqui
Senior Director of AI and Intelligent Automations, Enterprise Architecture and Application Platforms, RTX

As senior director of AI and intelligent automations, enterprise architecture and application platforms at RTX, Siddiqui oversees the integration and application of advanced AI capabilities within the giant aerospace and defense company. She has been instrumental in driving digital transformation initiatives at the company, including the development and implementation of AI-driven solutions. She has been an active participant in industry events and discussions related to AI, kicking off last year’s RTX Digital Fundamentals Learning session, for example. Previously, Siddiqui worked at Collins Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Tata Consultancy Services, and Thomson Reuters.

Latheef Syed
Associate Vice President, Verizon

Syed is said to have transformed Verizon into “an AI powerhouse.” As head of data products, data engineering, data governance, and architecture, he oversees the development and implementation of AI technologies within the company. He also is an influential thought leader with extensive AI knowledge across industries. Syed has been a guest lecturer on emerging technologies and innovation, including AI, at The University of Texas at Dallas, as well as a TDWI speaker on streaming AI and other tech topics at multiple conferences. He has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Madras, two MBAs from the University of Dallas, and certification in AI and ML analytics from Harvard University.

Vimal Vasudevan
Head of Digital Parcel, Korber Supply Chain LLC

Korber Supply Chain’s Vasudevan is a leader in innovation in the material handling industry, utilizing artificial intelligence to empower frontline maintenance workers and customer service technicians. Through strategic initiatives focused on data-driven decision-making and the integration of AI and IoT technologies into everyday tasks, he’s unlocked new efficiencies, reduced downtime, and minimized maintenance costs throughout the Dallas-based company. Writing in publications, and through blogging on platforms like LinkedIn, Vasudevan also has educated the community about the use of digital technologies including AI, cloud computing, and big data in industrial processes and systems.


Duane Dankesreiter
Senior VP of Research and Innovation, Dallas Regional Chamber

As the Dallas Regional Chamber’s senior vice president of research and innovation, Dankesreiter oversees the chamber’s business information and research team. The team’s responsibilities include identifying, prioritizing, and delivering information products and services that support the chamber’s economic development, public policy, and member services priorities. In that role, Dankesreiter has helped organize and coordinate multiple conferences and other events focused exclusively on AI, including the chamber’s Convergence AI Dallas conference on May 2 and its Q3 Executive Circle event last September. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in geography, Dankesreiter also has a master’s of public administration from The University of Texas at Dallas. Previously, he was manager of research for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Aamer Charania
President and Co-Founder, Dallas AI
Head of Applied Machine Learning & Senior Director, Best Buy

Charania is president and co-founder of Dallas AI, the largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit AI forum in North Texas. In addition, he is head of applied machine learning and a senior director at Best Buy. In that position, he leads Best Buy’s Applied Machine Learning organization, which provides the enterprise with AI/ML products and services. Before Best Buy, he held important machine-learning roles at Capital One, Humana, and Verizon. Charania, who holds more than 10 patents and is a frequent speaker at top AI events, is a board member for SMU’s Big Data Advisory and the governing body co-chair for the Dallas Evanta Chief Data & Analytics Officer (CDAO) community. He’s also an MIT Alumni Club advisor.

Babar Bhatti
EVP and Co-Founder, Dallas AI
AI Customer Success, IBM

Bhatti is executive vice president and co-founder of Dallas AI, the biggest 501(c)(3) nonprofit AI forum in North Texas. He’s also principal, customer success, at IBM. In that role he’s responsible for helping the company’s clients leverage data and AI to transform their businesses. Bhatti, who has more than 15 years of experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics, is an accomplished public speaker, author, and blogger on AI topics. He has spoken about AI, for example, at venues including the UT Dallas Business School, the Data Science Conference in Chicago, and Harvard Business School. From 2018 to 2021, he helped Richardson-based Tech Titans organize its AI and ML education events.

Quincy Preston
CEO and Founder, Dallas Next; Editor-in-Chief, Dallas Innovates and DALLAS Publications

As the CEO and founder of Dallas Next and the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Dallas Innovates, Preston builds platforms that spotlight the region’s groundbreaking advancements in AI and technology. Mission-based, and with a collaborative mindset, Preston also serves as a connector among executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and change agents seeking a competitive edge in shaping the future of North Texas business. Her diverse background spans media, marketing, entrepreneurship, and consulting, equipping her with a unique blend of expertise to champion the Dallas-Fort Worth innovation ecosystem. A board member of The DEC Network, Preston previously was a publisher and media development director at D Magazine Partners and led teams at publications including the Dallas Business Journal and other media brands.

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