Judges committee co-chair
John N. Randall, CEO of Zyvex Labs, Executive VP of Teliatry, Executive VP at NanoRetina, Adjunct Professor at UT Dallas, and Fellow of the AVS, IEEE, and Micro Nano Engineering Society, has 38 years of experience in Micro- and Nano- Fabrication. He has attracted over $45M in research contracts to Zyvex and resulting products have grossed over $100M. He joined Zyvex in March of 2001 after 15 years at Texas Instruments where he was elected Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and worked in high resolution processing for integrated circuits, MEMS, and quantum effect devices and was assigned for 2 years to work at IMEC where he developed a taste for Belgian beer and chocolate. Prior to working at TI, John worked at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory on ion beam and x-ray lithography. He has 119 articles published in refereed journals, more than 50 conference proceedings and other publications with 4489 citations and 34 issued US Patents with 972 citations.
Judges committee co-chair
Owner, SL Partners/SACL
Stacie brings more than 15 years of experience in the medical and research technology arena to the table. Prior to Plexon, she has worked for industry giants including Medtronic and St. Jude Medical, as well as successful early stage and start-up companies, primarily in the cardiac, neurosurgical and wellness disciplines. Her geographic experience spans the globe, including having worked for several years in Europe. Ms. Hyatt earned her bachelor's degree in bioengineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA with triple focus in marketing, operations and health care from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
President & CEO, Argent Associates, Inc.
Beatriz Manetta emigrated from Argentina to Elizabeth, New Jersey, when she was a young girl. Manetta earned both of her degrees while maintaining a full- time job. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Accounting from Rutgers University and holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies from Seton Hall University.
She worked in corporate America for twenty years. The knowledge, skills, training and assignments in human resources, sales, technical support, quality management and her focus on both national and international assignments were great tools for an entrepreneur. In addition, key personal networks and relationships had been woven and were a critical element in helping to create Argent Associates Inc. and Asociar LLC.
Argent Associates was launched in 1998, where Ms. Manetta is President & CEO. In 2012 she launched Asociar LLC where she is now Partner & COO. Both Argent Associates and Asociar have built a reputation by having and maintaining an impeccable reputation and the ability to create technologies that will be the infrastructure for edge computing and IoT implementations. The mantra is, “put smart edges where customers learn and play; and they’ll drive smart experiences”. This is a critical element in being able to grow and sustain a business.
With three successful exits from startups under his belt, and Worlds launching from stealth with $10 million in funding, Copps knows a thing or two about how to build a company. Worlds’ AI platform is a “first-of-its-kind” Extended Reality environment, which captures things in 2D then re-expresses what is captured in a 3D spatial model. The tech can be used to build AI-models and give businesses and organizations a new way to view the physical world. graduate of UNT. talks all over the world on Startup Culture and Exponential Entrepreneurship.
President Emeritus, The University of Texas at Dallas
Dr. David E. Daniel is President Emeritus of The University of Texas at Dallas. He earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and served on the faculty at UT Austin from 1981 to 1996. His research focused on environmental controls for contaminated land and groundwater. From 1996 until 2005, he served as Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and then as Dean of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 2005 to 2015 he served as President of The University of Texas at Dallas. From 2015 to 2018 he served as Deputy Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer of The University of Texas System in Austin. Honors include the Normal Medal, Croes Medal, Middlebrooks Award, Presidents Award, Opal Award for Education, Terzaghi Lecture, and Geotechnical Hero’s Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2000. Past service includes chairing the External Review Panel for ASCE to investigate the causes of the levee failures and flooding of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and service on the NAE panel that investigated the causes for the blowout and explosion of Deepwater Horizon. Dr. Daniel currently serves as President of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST) and Chairman of the Gulf Research Program Division Committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Director, USPTIO Texas Regional Office
As the Director of the Texas Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Hope Shimabuku carries out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and is responsible for leading the Texas regional office. Focusing on the region and actively engaging with the community, Ms. Shimabuku ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region’s unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.
Ms. Shimabuku brings to the USPTO nearly two decades of experience as an engineer and intellectual property attorney. Most recently, Ms. Shimabuku was part of the Office of General Counsel at Xerox Corporation serving as Vice President and Corporate Counsel responsible for all intellectual property matters for Xerox Business Services, LLC. She also worked for BlackBerry Corporation advising on United States and Chinese standards setting, cyber security, technology transfer, and intellectual property laws and legislation. As an engineer, she worked for Procter & Gamble and Dell Computer Corporation.
CEO, Co-founder & Partner, Health Wildcatters
Hubert Zajicek, MD, MBA, is CEO & Co-founder of Health Wildcatters, a top ranked healthcare accelerator and fund in Dallas, TX. Health Wildcatters provides mentorship, capital and guidance to up to 12 healthcare related startups during an intensive 3 month program, annually. The fund has invested in 77 healthcare startups, which have attracted over $200M in capital in about 7 years. Dr. Zajicek has extensive experience with startups and is an active speaker, panelist and thought leader on healthcare startups, entrepreneurship, financing & healthcare. He serves as advisor, mentor and board member on various organizations and startup companies.
In March of 2020, Dr. Zajicek started the Health Hacking Crisis Network (HHCN), a non-profit organization that engages in bringing together a rapid reaction force to deal with acute problems arising in healthcare due to COVID-19. The organization has over 500 volunteer members and has supported the creation of a variety of initiatives that had a big impact on the North Texas region and beyond.
Prior to Health Wildcatters and the creation of HHCN, he was managing director – medical technology at NTEC (North Texas Enterprise Center), where he ran what eventually became the Southwest’s largest medtech investment conference, showcasing startups that attracted in excess of $300M. Prior, he was on faculty at UT Southwestern, as an NIH funded principal investigator, in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology. He has an MD from the University of Vienna and an MBA from SMU. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Beth McNally Zajicek, MD and two daughters.
CIO, Clark Hill Law
Joan Holman, the Chief Information Officer at Clark Hill PLC, has been in the legal industry since 2013. Joan is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of Information Technology and the Legal Library for the firm. Clark Hill is a multidisciplinary international law firm with over 650 attorneys.
Prior to her time in the legal industry, Joan spent over 2 years at Sigma-Aldrich, a leading global life sciences company, as the Senior Director of Portfolio Management, Customer Service and eBusiness.
Joan has over 20 years of experience leading Information Technology, Strategy, Development and Operations for several public and private companies in the Legal, Environmental Services, Telecommunications and Financial Services industries.
Outside of the workplace, Joan spends her time promoting STEM initiatives and giving back to her industry and community through her efforts as a member of the national Board for the Society of Information Management. Joan is a founding member of Dallas CIO and an Executive Host for the DFW Technology Ball. Joan is on the Board of Make-A-Wish North Texas serving as Chair of the Capabilities Committee. She is active involvement in the Dallas Executive Women’s Roundtable and T200, a global group of Female Technology Leaders.
Co-founder & CEO, CollateralEdge
Joe is a gym fanatic, venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He is a founder and current board member of Venture Dallas. Most recently he served as a Partner at Perot Jain, an early stage focused venture capital firm, where he invested in over 40 companies across 4 countries. Prior to joining Perot Jain, Joe spent approximately ten years as an investment banker at firms such as Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. Joe received his BS in Discrete Mathematics from the United Stated Military Academy (West Point) and his MBA from Columbia Business School.
co-founder and CEO, GIACT
As one of GIACT’s two founders, Melissa has led GIACT since its founding and is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the company. With deep expertise in payment processing, risk mitigation and compliance, Melissa identified the need in the market for a new approach to identify and eliminate payments fraud as multiple industries increasingly began to rely on digital payments. Under her leadership, GIACT has grown to include a client roster of over 1,000 companies, many of them in the Fortune 500. Prior to founding GIACT in 2004, Melissa held a broad range of leadership positions across multiple departments including sales, customer service, claims payments and more during a 17-year career in the insurance industry. While the COO of iPromotion, she led new business development while it rapidly grew to $100 million in annual revenue in its first 18 months of operation. Outside of GIACT, Melissa is active in several nonprofits focused on improving the lives of children both locally and internationally. She has helped raise money to build schools in developing countries, send thousands of children to summer camp, and provide children in need with clothing, school supplies, and other essentials.
Global Specialty Head - Security, Risk & Compliance, Amazon Web Services
As the Sr. Practice Manager in the Security and Infrastructure GSP, Mignona leads Security Advisor and Assurance protecting data and managing risk in the cloud. Mignona has over 25 years’ experience working in security, risk, compliance, and audit. She has held senior leadership CTO and CISO positions across large financial institutions, healthcare, and insurance. She has secured and improved technical operations for companies like AIG, Aetna, Bank of America, PepsiCo and Verizon Communications.
SVP & CIO, Reddy Ice
Neelu Sethi is the SVP & Chief Information Officer of ReddyIce, where she is responsible for IT strategies and operational management of IT applications and infrastructure of the largest manufacturer of packaged ice products in the United States, distributing approximately 1.8 million tons of ice annually to 82,000 customer locations.
With reputation of a proven servant leader, Neelu has over 24 years of experience in CPG, Hospitality, Healthcare and Textile industries. She is known for delivering business results by engaging people. She has been recognized as ‘Top 15 Business Women’ in Dallas, ‘WomenInTechnology’ award honoree by DallasBusinessJournal, Stevie Gold ‘Digital Transformer of the year’ winner of 2018 American Business Awards, CGT’s ‘IT Excellence’ Award winner, 2018 ‘Dallas Power 50’ Awardee, 2019 & 2020 Orbie CIO Finalist and TechTitans CIO Finalist. As a business technologist, Neelu offers a unique blend of executive acumen, global team-building, IT solutions development that enables innovation, problem solving and value creation culture.
Prior to joining ReddyIce, Neelu held various executive positions with ClubCorp, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and McKesson. She has successfully led IT Operations delivering broad range of business solutions for Corporate, Commercial and Supply Chain functions including Logistics, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Engineering, Procurement, Consumer Relations, Facilities and Environmental Health & Safety. Her achievements extend across numerous disciplines including strategy, digital transformation, delivering complex system implementations and enterprise wide IT operations including Mergers & Acquisitions.
Principal Consultant, Teknion Data Solutions
Paola Saibene has dedicated 25 years to IT, having been a Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, VP of Enterprise Risk Management, and former Global Privacy Officer. She has spent her career working in large, multi-billion-dollar organizations with global scope, and she has received multiple awards for innovation & digital transformation. She has also received a Governor’s commendation for her cybersecurity initiatives. Paola has led many large scale technology strategy and operations initiatives to modernize IT, while designing approaches that sustain governance, cybersecurity, contextual data privacy, compliance, and overall risk management at the core of such initiatives.
Presently, Paola is a Principal Consultant at Teknion Data Solutions, focusing on data governance. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University (D.C.), the Panamerican Business School (ENAE from Spain), and Dallas Baptist University (Texas), where she has founded the Center of Excellence in Digital Ethics.
She holds a M.S. in Psychology, M.A. in Literature & Linguistics, and a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, having practiced as a psychologist in multiple environments, and having taught Literature & Linguistics, prior to her career as a technologist.
Trude Van Horn
SVP & CIO, NCH Corporation
Gertrude G. Van Horn is the Chief Information Officer at NCH Corporation - a $1 B, privately held, global leader in industrial, commercial, and institutional maintenance products and services with locations in more than 50 countries. Trude leads NCH’s IT Team of 100 + technology professionals based primarily in the Dallas Metroplex area, along with staff located in the UK, Europe and Asia. This remarkable IT team supports a very diverse portfolio of growing NCH businesses, products and services and enables NCH global opportunities for growth and efficiency.
Trude has a professional history of driving results, challenging the norm, and transforming performance. She brings a wide variety of IT skill and leadership expertise to the CIO role, strong executive communication skills, a passion for driving business value, time for coaching and mentoring the next generation of leaders, and a desire for giving back to the community. She is fanatical about developing leaders and speaks on the topic often. Before coming to NCH, Trude held roles in Technology Leadership at American Express, JP Morgan, Jo-Ann Stores, Office Depot, Haggar Clothing Company and Victoria’s Secret.
NCH is unique in that it is one of the largest companies in the world to sell through personal, direct sales. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, NCH was founded in 1919 and has more than 8,500 global employees, and branch offices, sales and manufacturing in more than 50 countries. Trude joined NCH in January of 2011. Under her leadership, the NCH IT team has a strong track record of global achievement, reliable execution, innovative solutions, IT cost savings and cost avoidance.
CEO, BravoTech, Imprimis Group & FreemanLeonard
Valerie Freeman is the Founder and CEO of a group of specialized companies whose services include staffing, search outsourcing and consulting, operating under the names, Imprimis Group, BravoTech, Freeman+Leonard and ANSERteam. Over the years, the companies have been named to the Inc. 500/5000, Dallas 100, WPO Fast 50 and Cougar 100 (Univ. of Houston) and Women’s Business Enterprise of the Year. In 2021 Valerie was inducted into the JA Business Hall of Fame and also received the Women Paying It Forward Award from Women Leading Technology. In 2020, Valerie received the Orbie Leadership Award from the Dallas CIO Assn. and was inducted into the Tech Titans Hall of Fame. Previously she was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Alliance of Technology and Women and the Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Technology. She was also in DCEO Dallas 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders publication several times and was named to the Power 50 Women in Dallas by the Texas Diversity Council. She is a former Chair of the Board of the Girl Scouts of NETexas where she also received their Woman of Distinction Award. She has been a winner of the Tech Titans Community Hero Award and also the Investment Catalyst Award (as co-founder of Texas Women Ventures). She has been an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner and a NAWBO National Woman Business Owner of the Year.
Partner CPA, Moss Adams
Vance has 30 years of experience in public accounting and has focused primarily on the technology sector. He’s provided accounting and consulting services to companies ranging in size from startup operations to large, multinational organizations. His areas of expertise include revenue recognition, business combinations, equity-based compensation, and capital structures. In addition, he’s helped guide companies through initial public offerings, secondary offerings, and private equity transactions.
Vance began his career with a Big Four firm and has spent time in Southern California; Seattle, Washington; and Austin, Texas. He’s been in North Texas since 2002.
BS, accounting, University of Southern California
Xiaolin is Fellow and director of Texas Instruments Kilby Labs Sensing & Processing Group responsible for R&D on connected sensors, embedded AI, timing and clocking technologies for industrial internet and automobile applications. She is chartered to drive various differentiated semiconductor system level solutions using TI differentiated analog and embedded processors, connectivity, mixed signal components and power management devices.
Xiaolin has worked on various embedded processing and communication system programs, including Smart Sensing with edge computing, Intelligent Industrial Internet Sensor Network systems, embedded AI, Narrow Band Power Line Communication Systems, Narrow band and Broadband Wireless and Wired Communication Technologies, Smart Power IPs, Universal MAC for broadband IP, LTE/Wimax Prototypes, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth co-existence and digital mobile TV SoC, etc.
Xiaolin is well-known as an embedded system and software expert inside and outside TI and has given keynote and plenary talks at numerous technical conferences. In addition, she is the author/co-author of more than 60 U.S. issued patents and the recipient of the special recognition awards: 2016 Asian American Engineer of the Year, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and National Women of Color award in the Technical Innovation – Industry category.
Xiaolin is United Way Tocqueville member for community services. In her free time, Xiaolin enjoys yoga practice, playing piano, listening to classical music and leisure travel.