SAE 2014 Convergence

October 21-22, 2014

Detroit, Michigan, USA

COBO Center

Enhancing User Experience to Improve Personal Mobility

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Organized by Ed Griffor, Michael Runyon, Bryon Wasacz

The abundance of personal electronic devices is causing a shift in individual expectations of personal mobility. These expectations are conflicting: consumer's desire personalization of their devices, but manufacturers strives for commonality; some consumers view personal mobility as a chore, others as an expression of their individuality. We will explore these dichotomies, and discuss the near and mid-term shifts in the expectation of how consumers will perceive personal mobility devices.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Innovation That Addresses Changing User Expectations
  • The Connected Vehicle
  • Autonomous Driving

John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press
Catherine Lovazzano, Chrysler Corporation
Marios Zenios, Chrysler Corporation
David Strickland, Venable LLP, former Director of NHTSA
Christian Gerdes, Stanford University
James A. Buczkowski, Ford Motor Company
Dan Loop, Freescale Semiconductor
Chris Thomas, Fontinalis Partners LLC
Kent Helfrich, Flextronics Automotive


John Gallagher John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press

John Gallagher is a veteran journalist and author whose book, "Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City," was named by the Huffington Post as among the best social and political books of 2010. His most recent book is "Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention." John was born in New York City and joined the Detroit Free Press in 1987 to cover urban and economic redevelopment efforts in Detroit and Michigan, a post which he still holds. His other books include "Great Architecture of Michigan" and, as co-author, "AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture." John and his wife, Sheu-Jane, live along Detroit's east riverfront.


James A. Buczkowski James A. Buczkowski
Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director
Electrical and Electronics Systems, Research and Innovation
Ford Motor Company

Jim Buczkowski is a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director, Electrical and Electronics Systems Research and Innovation. He is responsible for the research and design of electrical and electronic systems including in-car information and entertainment, telematics, driver information, and active safety systems for Ford vehicles globally.

An in-demand speaker with a knack for engaging his audience, Buczkowski has spoken at Intel Labs, Texas Instruments, Cisco and Microsoft and participated as part of Ford Keynotes at CES, IFA and other technology venues. These forums bring together leaders in their field to speak about how technology trends will impact future experiences as well as how successful strategies resonate with customer needs.

To say Jim Buczkowski is an early adopter is an understatement. He's always anxious to experience how technology can change our lives and his home is filled with gadgets ranging from Nest thermostats, a 3D home theater, to a web app to control the family swimming pool from a phone or tablet. He is a subscriber to various Beta test programs including Slingbox and TIVO and experiments with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and satisfies his thirst for continuous learning through hands on software coding and home automation projects. He says the best way to evaluate technology is hands on. "It's easy to envision what technology can do, but I've learned that you really don't understand it until it's in your hands and you are using it." He believes a quick prototype, even if it's not elegant, demoing the experience is extremely powerful and necessary before one can really decide whether the technology can deliver a valuable consumer experience.

Kent Helfrich Kent Helfrich
Vice President Chief Technology Officer
Flextronics Automotive

Kent Helfrich is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Flextronics Automotive where he is responsible for defining and executing the Flextronics Automotive global technology portfolio by merging the strengths of Silicon Valley and the global automotive industry.

Mr. Helfrich has over 25 years of automotive electronics, embedded microprocessor system and large-scale software and controls engineering leadership experience.

Prior to his current position, Helfrich was General Motors' Executive Director and Global Functional Leader for Electrical Systems. He led 10 global development centers and over 2000 engineers responsible for many major electrical systems as well as GM's global electrical and embedded software architectures.

Helfrich also has deep experience in engine, transmission and hybrid propulsion control system development.

Mr. Helfrich is a member of SAE and IEEE and is a registered professional engineer. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the Ohio State University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Catherine Lovazzano Catherine Lovazzano
Head of Consumer Trends & Foresight
Chrysler Corporation

Catherine Lovazzano is Head of Consumer Trends & Foresight for Chrysler, Catherine leads the discovery and understanding of macro forces that shape the future of human mobility. She brings expertise in human behavior and attitudinal insight to inform the development of new experiences, products and services. Her team advances research, design and engineering of future products for Chrysler.

David Strickland David Strickland
Venable LLP, former Director of NHTSA

A partner in Venable's Regulatory Group, David Strickland's practice focuses on transportation policy, consumer protection, Internet privacy, data security, and legislative and government affairs. He has significant federal government and private practice experience.

Most recently, Mr. Strickland served as the fourteenth Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As the top automotive safety official in the United States, he was responsible for executing the agency's mission to reduce crash-related fatalities and injuries while insuring the highest standards of safety on the nation's roads. Mr. Strickland oversaw a broad range of vehicle safety and policymaking programs, including setting vehicle safety standards, investigating possible safety defects, and tracking safety-related recalls; annually distributing over $600 million in highway safety grants to states and leading the behavioral safety program; and establishing and enforcing the regulations on fuel economy. His major accomplishments at NHTSA include overseeing the development of the first national fuel economy programs for both passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, and implementing the vehicle safety and highway safety grant mandates included in the 2012 Highway Reauthorization (MAP-21). He also issued the first ever ejection mitigation standards for passenger vehicles to help keep passengers from being partially or fully ejected from vehicles during a rollover crash; mandated lap and shoulder belts be installed on all new motorcoaches; launched the nation's largest connected vehicle (V2V) safety pilot program, and issued the first ever automated vehicle policy. In addition, Mr. Strickland brought national attention to child passenger safety issues and was a leader in the campaigns to fight impaired and distracted driving.

Prior to his appointment to NHTSA, Mr. Strickland spent eight years on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation as Democratic Senior Counsel. Through this position he served as lead counsel for the subcommittees overseeing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), NHTSA, and the Department of Commerce. Mr. Strickland provided legal and legislative advice to Members on a range of issues including insurance, antitrust, consumer protection and fraud prevention, Internet privacy, tourism, consumer product safety and liability, passenger motor vehicle safety and fuel efficiency, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. His accomplishments during his service in the Senate include serving as the lead Democratic staff drafter and negotiator for the Do-Not-Call Registry in 2003 and the U.S. Safeweb Act in 2006; the highway safety/NHTSA title of the 2005 Highway Reauthorization (SAFETEA-LU); the 2007 passenger vehicle and heavy-duty fuel economy mandates included in EISA; and the 2008 reauthorization of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSIA). Mr. Strickland also served the Committee as its Democratic investigatory counsel and led the panel's Enron inquiry in 2002; the 2004 Olympics/BALCO steroids investigation; and the Abramoff/Indian Gaming investigation in 2004.

Mr. Strickland began his career as an associate at a Washington, DC-based law firm. He focused on complex litigation and communications.

Christian Gerdes Christian Gerdes
Associate Professor
Stanford University

Chris Gerdes is associate professor of mechanical engineering, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) and interim director of the Revs Program at Stanford. His laboratory studies how cars move, how humans drive cars and how to design future cars that work cooperatively with the driver or drive themselves. When not teaching on campus, he can often be found at the racetrack with students, instrumenting historic race cars or trying out their latest prototypes for the future. Vehicles in the lab include P1 and X1, two entirely student-built test vehicles, and Shelley, an Audi TT-S capable of climbing Pikes Peak without a driver and turning a respectable lap time around the track. Professor Gerdes and his team have been recognized with a number of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Ralph Teetor award from SAE International and the Rudolf Kalman Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Dan Loop Dan Loop
Multimedia Product Marketing
Freescale Semiconductor

Dan is a semiconductor industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience at Motorola, SigmaTel and Freescale, holding multiple roles in technical program management, marketing and business development. Dan has led the i.MX Automotive business development efforts for the past seven years and brings strong international experience in the area of automotive infotainment and driver information systems.

Marios Zenios Marios Zenios
Vice president - Global Software Quality
Chrysler Group LLC

Marios Zenios was appointed Vice President of Global Software Quality, Chrysler Group LLC in September 2013. In this position he is responsible for deploying processes and technology to assure continuous improvement in software quality for Fiat and Chrysler Group vehicles.

Zenios has held a variety of increasingly responsible positions in the within Chrysler Group including Vice President of Uconnect Systems and Services where he was responsible for vehicle features related to connectivity and advanced technology.

Since joining Chrysler in 2008, Zenios has made use of his experience in wireless technology and advanced electronic features for Chrysler Group vehicles. Significant elements of his professional background include:

  • 2009, Vice President - Uconnect Systems and Services, Chrysler Group LLC
  • 2008, Vice President - Connectivity, Chrysler LLC
  • 2005, CEO, Alto Management Consulting LLC
  • 2001, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Automotive Electronics Group, Motorola Inc.
  • 1998, Corporate VP and General Manager, Telematics Communication Group
  • 1996, Corporate VP and General Manager, Communications Component Group
  • 1994, President, Motorola Lighting Inc.
  • 1978, Engineering Manager, Core Electrical, Caterpillar Tractor Company
Marios Zenios holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and attended an executive leadership program at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Chris Thomas Chris Thomas
Founder and Partner
Fontinalis Partners, LLC

Chris is a Founder and Partner of Fontinalis, where he is responsible for a wide range of critical processes ranging from deal sourcing and execution to corporate operations and business strategy. Chris also acts as a business development executive on behalf of Fontinalis' portfolio companies.

Prior to Fontinalis, Chris worked at Ford Motor Company in Sustainable Business Development and Treasury, where he conducted financial and strategic analysis. Previously, Chris served in the U.S. Army as a Communications Officer in Iraq where he was responsible for data communication systems and organizational change management. Before joining the military, Chris worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at UBS in San Francisco and New York within its Technology and Energy groups. He was responsible for due diligence, financial analysis and execution on a broad range of transactions.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of one of Fontinalis' portfolio companies, QuickPay, and is the Chairman of Read to a Child, a national children's literacy and mentoring nonprofit that inspires adults to read aloud to children regularly, increasing their chances to lead healthy, productive lives. Additionally, he serves as a Board Observer of five of Fontinalis' portfolio companies: Life360, Masabi, ParkMe, SQLstream, and Zagster. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Personal Transportation Systems and the Global Cleantech 100 expert panel.

Chris earned his Master's degree in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management with a concentration in strategy. While at Yale, he served on the Honor Committee and graduated with distinction in former Prime Minister Tony Blair's seminar on Faith and Globalization. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Economics and International Relations from Michigan State University. Chris is a staunch advocate of urban redevelopment and the revitalization of the City of Detroit.