Summerfest Tech 2022 

Summerfest Tech Celebrates 5th Year with Focus on Innovation - Grows to 2 Days, Adds New Locations, Doubles Pitch Competition Prize

The fifth annual Summerfest Tech will take place Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Events will take place across the city of Milwaukee, including at

  • Saint Kate Arts Hotel - 139 E Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • New BMO Tower - 790 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • Milwaukee Artist Resource Network’s (MARN) - 191 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • Henry Maier Festival Park during Summerfest - 200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202


Summerfest Tech 2022’s focus will be on innovation, with keynotes discussing Innovation by Design, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Collaborations, Cybersecurity, Machine Learning, and Cryptocurrency/Non-Fungible Token (NFT).


Event Schedule

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Opening Night Welcome Party

Hosted by Northwestern Mutual. Join fellow attendees as we kick-off Summerfest Tech 2022!

5:30 pm

Welcome by: David Manske, Senior Director in Digital Innovation, Northwestern Mutual

6:15 pm

Artist Working In Education

Speaker:LaShawndra Vernon, Executive Director, Artists working in Education Inc.

7:30 am

Check-in & Breakfast, brought to you by Rite-Hite

8:10 am

Welcome: MKE Tech Hub Coalition

8:10 am - 9:00 am

Innovation | Discovering the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible (Simone Ballroom)

Innovation – it continues to be a buzzword for many organizations. They have innovation hubs, innovation initiatives, and even innovation departments. Yet, despite all the talk, most companies struggle to innovate. Hear from Chuck Swoboda, author of “The Innovator’s Spirit,” how innovation is fundamentally about people, not process. It starts with your mindset, and for many, our life experiences have created beliefs and behaviors that actually hinder innovation. He will describe the six principles that make up the Circle of Innovation and how you can apply these principles in your daily life to uncover your own Innovator’s Spirit. And then he will provide some ideas as to how to identify this mindset in others. 

**The first 250 in-person attendees and the first 50 virtual attendees will receive a FREE copy of Chuck’s book “The Innovator’s Spirit”. 

Chuck Swoboda, Innovator-in-Residence at Marquette University, Executive Chairman of Vast Therapeutics, and the retired Chairman and CEO of Cree, Inc. 

9:00 am


9:15 am - 10:00 am

Breakout Sessions: Innovation

(1) Leading with Digital, Data, and Disruption (Simone Ballroom) 
With new technologies being implemented into manufacturing and industrial organizations, data is being created and generated at unprecedented amounts. Led by Dr. Kris Ropella, Dean of Engineering at Marquette University, hear from Rite-Hite, Zurn, Sargento, and Milwaukee Tool how they use the power of the data to drive customer value and innovate products, create new corporate culture that is tech-centric, and rise to innovation challenges in their specific industries.

Dr. Kristina Ropella, Dean of Engineering, Marquette University  

Joe Manone, President and CEO, Rite-Hite Products Corporation 
Mike Troutman, Chief Information Officer, Zurn Water Solutions Corporation 
Chad Jones, Director of Software Engineering, Milwaukee Tool 
Bruce Wisnefske, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Operations, Sargento Foods Inc. 

(2) Innovating for Diversity (The Arc Theatre)
In this discussion, moderated by Art Hopkins (Consultant and Co-Lead of Technology Officers Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates), "Innovating for Diversity" co-authors Bertina Ceccarelli and Susanne Tedrick discuss why traditional approaches to DEI programs have not led to meaningful changes while discussing how innovation principles - courage, risk-taking, trust, collaboration, and leadership - may help to produce results. 

Art Hopkins, Consultant and Co-Lead of Technology Officers Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates  

Susanne Tedrick, Azure Technical Trainer, Microsoft Corporation
Bertina Ceccarelli, Chief Executive Officer, NPower 

(3) Supporting Innovation In Your Community (DaDa Breakout Room)
Discussion on innovation principles and applying those to revamping DEI initiatives within an organization. How do we go beyond “compliance” and make meaningful changes in tech and most other industries? Hear from our leaders on innovative ways we ensure diverse talent thinks of NM as a destination for a career in technology. From our STEM and early career programs, to how we source diverse tech talent through authentic community partnerships, we want the audience to walk away with models you can apply at your company to accelerate your DEI values. 

Kisha Keeney (Moderator), Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual 

Stacy Zaja, Assistant Director - STEM/K12 Programs & Tech Ecosystem Partnerships, Northwestern Mutual 
Que El-Amin, Co-Founder, President, Young Enterprising Society, Scott Crawford, Inc. 
Jon Ogden, Assistant Director, Infrastructure & Cloud, Northwestern Mutual 
Rashi Khosla, Founder and CEO, MARS Solutions Group & MARS Returnship Program

10:00 am


10:15 am - 11:00 am

Collaborations | Engineering and IT Working Together (Simone Ballroom)

The importance of cross-department collaboration between engineering and IT teams continues to grow more important every day. Learn from Generac Power Systems and Rockwell Automation on how their organizations collaborate these two teams to support agile delivery, increase efficiencies in process, and leverage their collaborative knowledge to drive technology innovation. 

Sabha Museteif, Director, High Performance Organization, Rockwell Automation 

Chris Nardecchia, SVP & Chief Digital & Information Officer, Rockwell Automation 
Greg Gernert Jr., Vice President & General Manager, Rockwell Automation
Amber Malone, VP Global Engineering Controls & Automation, Generac Power Systems 
Tim Dickson, Chief Information Officer, Generac Power Systems 

11:00 am


11:15 am - 12:00 am

Breakout Sessions: Collaborations

(1) Future-Proof: Bridging the Digital Divide In a Post-Pandemic World (DaDa Breakout Room)
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed where the greatest barriers to digital equity and inclusion exist in our community. Our community needs to continue addressing these barriers, while also looking ahead to future crises that could limit access to essential digital resources. This panel will discuss how we can strive to “future-proof” digital equity and inclusion, ensuring all residents have access to affordable broadband, internet-enabled devices, and digital skills and literacy training. Though the pandemic is not “over,” we need to be thinking now about how to prepare for the future, so that all residents and neighbors have the essential tools and resources they need to live well.

David Berka, Project Manager: Techquity and Resource Equity, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County

Tim Baack, President & CEO, Pathfinders
Angela Johnson, CISO, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Joan Johnson, Library Director, Milwaukee Public Library
Nadiyah Johnson, CEO & Founder, Jet Constellations & Milky Way Tech Hub

(2) Dream Building  (Simone Ballroom) 

Our tech ecosystem and the support for its development continues to evolve. Join us as our American Family Insurance community partners lead a critical discussion on the importance of developing inclusive partnerships. The absolute importance of catalytic investments in STEM/STEAM for the advancement of Milwaukee and beyond will be the highlight. 

Leana Nakielski, Community and Social Impact Investment Director, American Family Insurance 

Joseph Werner, Project Operations, BlocPower
Anique Ruiz, WiscAMP STEM-Inspire Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 
Blanca Gonzales, Executive Director, i.c.stars 
Kenge Adams, CEO and Founder, Connect Business Consulting, LLC 

(3) Collaboration Intelligence: Innovating with People Who Think Differently (The Arc Theatre)
The Internet of Intelligent Things holds great promise. It also requires great collaboration between technology, product, and customer leaders to deliver success with digital business. Technical leaders and builders will be vital to increasing value and impact of digitally connected products and exceptional customer experiences. We must all strive to support and sustain the advanced product management processes and skills for a new generation of products. It will require empathetic product and system design, analytics, and a new focus on intelligence distributed through the Internet of Things. Our panel has experience with all of that and will share the hard-won lessons and near-blunders that you can avoid to meet the future more confidently.

Doug Barton, Director, UW-Madison E-Business Consortium 

Jody McDonough, Chief Information Officer, Sub-Zero Group 
John T. Bartucci, Vice President Connected Products, The Master Lock Company 
Dave Jones, Sr Marketing Manager, Broan-NuTone
Sam Girard, Vice President of Customer Success, Johnson Controls

(4) Private CIO Event - Led by WisconsinCIO  (Deep Image)

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Networking Lunch

12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

Mke Tech Hub Community Speaker Blitz (Simone Ballroom)

Attend this lunch session to learn about different organizations doing interesting work within the tech ecosystem. The following community organizations will showcase their work and present ways people can get connected and involved: UWM-SOIS, MKEsports Alliance, FOR-M, MARS Returnship, Microsoft Teals, Society for Information Management-WI Chapter, WIT WI, and i.c.stars

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm

Justice Tech Workshop (The Arc Theatre)

Milky Way Tech Hub and The Way Out are breaking the cycle of incarceration through technology and bridging the tech gap for our justice-involved population. This workshop aims to educate the audience on the Justice Tech Industry along with the work happening around the MKE Tech ecosystem, and how Milky Way Tech Hub and The Way out are making a collective impact. There will be opportunities to learn from justice-involved individuals. 

Nadiyah Johnson, Founder, Milky Way Tech Hub
Eli Rivera, Co-Founder, The Way Out
Ruben Gaona: Co-Founder, The Way Out

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Cybersecurity | Trends - Global, National, Regional (Simone Ballroom)

Hear from the FBI on what companies and consumers should continue to be diligent about as we move into a more technologically advanced world. 

Amanda Knutson, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI 

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm


3:00 - 3:45 pm

Breakout Sessions: Cybersecurity

(1) Protecting Critical Company Assets  (DaDa Breakout Room)
As the world becomes more connected, manufacturing, healthcare, utilities, and public safety segments need secure, reliable, controlled and low latency protection of valuable data in areas where there is limited connectivity. Hear from Cole Crews & James Rose as they bring industry knowledge and use case experience on Private Cellular Networks (PCN) and share examples on how PCNs can help businesses improve uptime and control over critical operations – from people and machines to sensors and analytics. 

Cole Crews, Business Development - Private Cellular Networks, UScellular 
James Rose, Sr. Manager of Private Cellular Networks, UScellular 

(2) Future of Cybersecurity Workforce  (Simone Ballroom) 
This programming will provide an analysis of the current supply vs. demand within, and overall diversity of, the cybersecurity workforce.  It will also cover an overview of strategies employed by organizations working together to expand career pathways into cybersecurity careers to address workforce shortages in a manner inclusive of those historically underrepresented in tech.

Dr. Tom Kaczmarek, Director, Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense Marquette University 

Chytania Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, Employ Milwaukee 
Laura Schmidt, Chief Talent Development Officer, MKE Tech Hub Coalition  
Dr. Davina Pruitt-Mentle, Lead for Academic Engagement, National Institute of Standards and Technology 
Rafat Elsharef, Instructor of IT Networking and IT Security, Milwaukee Area Technical College 

(3) Cyber Insecurity  (The Arc Theatre)
Ryan Brooks, CEO and co-founder of Stack41, will discuss the current threat landscape, with real world examples of impacted organizations and how they responded, along with what can be done to prevent attacks and reduce their impacts. Actionable advice and insights will be explored in detail and discussed - which will help keep your organization safe and out of the headlines. 

Ryan Brooks, CEO and Founder, Stack41

(4) Private CISO Event - Sponsored by Netskope (Deep Image)

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm


4:00 pm 5:00 pm

Building Responsible AI, powered by AWS (Simone Ballroom)

The future of machine learning depends on it being done responsibly. Machine learning can imitate and enhance human decision-making and amplify human prejudices. As machine learning moves from the research lab to the enterprise, questions around Explainability and Bias become even more critical and need to be considered from the beginning and throughout the development process. Attend this talk to learn about the history of AI innovations at Amazon, as well as the AI/ML tools offered to the public by AWS, with a particular focus on how to build Responsible AI using them.

Denis V. Batalov, PhD, Worldwide Tech Leader for AI/ML, Amazon Web Services 

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Networking Happy Hour - hosted by Zscaler

9:00 am - 11:00 am

VC MKE Investor<>Startup Meetings

Summerfest Tech is partnering with VC MKE to hold one-on-one meetings in Milwaukee between Midwest founders of color and national investors that specifically work with these underrepresented founders. For more information about being a startup or investor in this program visit VC MKE.

11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Lunch Break - Private Lunch Hosted by BMO and Michael Best

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

VC MKE Investor<>Startup Meetings Continued

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

WARF "Innovation Day", Presented by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Get on the inside to hear university innovation presentations and ask questions of some of Wisconsin’s most innovative scientific researchers.  These early- stage technologies are prime for investment.  Be one of the first to learn how Wisconsin is innovating in healthcare, semiconductors, fusion power, hemp and much more. 

Hear from the following groups:

Control and Disrupt: Next-Generation Semiconductors Outperform Silicon
Mike Arnold, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at UW-Madison

Neurosetta: Brain & Spinal Cord Screening Platform
Randolph Ashton, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UW-Madison and Co-Founder/CEO of Neurosetta LLC

Viable Fusion: Breakthrough Physics for Clean Energy Generation
Kieran Furlong, Honorary Fellow, UW-Madison College of Letters & Science and CEO of RealTa

MegaPerceptron: Revolutionizing the Healthcare Ecosystem with AI
Sandeep Gopalakrishnan, Assistant Professor and the Director of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair Lab (WHTRL) at the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing and CEO/Co-Founder

Beyond CBD: Optimized Hemp Cultivars
Mike Petersen, Senior Scientist at the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC) at UW-Madison

Health Monitoring and Imaging System for Concrete Structures
Adhira Sunkara, Assistant Director at WiSys

8:00 am


8:30 - 10:15 am

Pitch Competition – produced by Young Enterprising Society

The following 8 pitches will compete for their chance to win a portion of $50,000! Space is limited. First come first served

Event emcees:

Jonah Turner, Head of Emerging Technologies, Molson Coors Beverage Company
Carrie Mahone

1.     Fly Parrots 
2.     Rex Academy 
3.     ecourt reporters 
4.     Light Pong 
5.     Cirkled-in 
6.     Huupe 
7.     Kwema 
8.     Isemantics

Kathleen Gallagher, Executive Director, 5 Lakes Institute 
Daniel Gawronski, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP 
Dawn Nguyen, Associate, Hyde Park Ventures 
Keaton Nankivil, Principal, Alumnit Ventures 
Darrin Vohs, Chief Information Officer, Molson Coors Beverage Company  
Robert Wynn, President, CLIMB USA, Inc. 

10:15 am


10:25 - 11:00 am

Funding All Ventures


Fundraising, whether through traditional means of investment, grants, contributions from friends and family, crowdfunding, or pre-sales, takes networking and commitment. Join Matthew Friedel Senior Lecturer at UWM and Co-Founder of Milwaukee Venture Partners MVP Angel Network as he shares his perspectives on how to fund any venture.  In this informal session, Matthew will walk through some statistics, tactics, and strategies for funding your next venture at any stage. 

Mathew Friedel, Senior Lecturer, UWM; Angel Investor & Co-Founder, Milwaukee Ventures Partners, Inc. 

11:15 am - 12:00 pm

Economic Impact of Cryptocurrency and NFTs In Music And Art

The panel will focus on providing some basic education on blockchain technology and it’s participants and review the value proposition of digital assets. Panel discussion will be appropriate for learners of all backgrounds and will feature conversation about economic impacts of NFTs within the Music and Art community.

Jake Rohrer, Manager, Wipfli LLP.  

Mal Montoya, President and CEO, Milwaukee Artist Resource Network and MARN ART + CULTURE HUB 
Christopher Perceptions, Founder, PerceptForm, Inc. 
Alec Shaw, Partner, SperaxUSD

12:00 - 4:00 pm

Summerfest Tech Networking Event at Dockside

Brought to you by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Information Studies

**All Summerfest Tech attendees can scan their Summerfest Tech badge to enter Summerfest for FREE on June 30th, July 1st, and July 2nd.

2:00 pm

Announce Pitch Competition Winner at Summerfest, Dockside Bar

7:30 pm - 12:00 am

Summerfest Sponsors VIP Deck Parties


Booth Sponsors

Media Support Provided By

Community Support Provided By

gener8tor • i.c.stars • Milky Way Tech Hub • MKE Tech Hub Coalition • New North Inc. • Techquity •
The Commons • UW-E-business Consortium • Wisconsin Tech Association • Young Enterprising Group

Remember to follow us for updates and announcements on our Summerfest Tech associated pages:
Facebook: Click Here  |   Twitter: Click Here   |   Instagram: Click Here   |   LinkedIn: Click Here