Haiti Tech Meet-Up: Presenter Biographies

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
May 10, 2010

Luke Beckman serves as the U.S. National Response Manager at InSTEDD, developing its U.S.-centered efforts in humanitarian relief and disaster response. In that position he manages relationships with crisis response organizations around the nation and his focus is geographical rather than topical, focused primarily on issues inside U.S. borders, but capitalizing on InSTEDD's international experience. Mr. Beckman has been working in disaster response and pandemic influenza for the past five years, focusing on community resilience and the increasing of collaboration between citizens and the government in times of crisis. He began working in disaster management as a Red Cross office and shelter manager following Hurricane Katrina as a member of the Washington, D.C. Armory Disaster Response Team, and has most recently worked in the U.S. Senate on the design and implementation of a National Disaster Response Corps. He has worked in Southeast Asia on regional health and disaster initiatives, on health education and treatment in the highlands of Guatemala as a public health team leader for the Global Healthcare Project, and in Palo Alto as a member of a team writing a Pandemic Flu Preparedness manual that is now distributed globally in more than seven languages. Most recently, he helped to coordinate the cross sector response to the earthquake in Haiti. Mr. Beckman also serves as a member of the National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue.

Bradley Blanken brings 17 years of telecommunications and digital industry leadership to his responsibilities as COO of Mobile Accord. Most recently, he was VP of Carrier Business Development at Thumbplay, the leading mobile music provider. Previously, he led the carrier relations team at mobile advertising software firm Third Screen Media (now AOL Advertising). In that position, he created the MADX|Carrier Interface, enabling carriers to monetize inventory while monitoring third-party consumption. Mr. Blanken was also Director of Business Development at Syniverse Technologies. As Assistant Vice President of Technology Programs for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, he led all CTIA efforts on wireless industry intercarrier issues, including such major initiatives as intercarrier SMS, creation of the U.S. Common Short Code program, and wireless AMBER alerts. Brad has served on the CTIA Wireless Internet Caucus, and he is a current member of the Mobile Marketing Association's Consumer Best Practices committee. He is a former United States Marine.

Carline Cazeau is an engineering and program management professional with over 20 years experience in the federal contracting sector. A Haitian American, Ms. Cazeau is now the President of Altimax Solutions LLC, a minority owned small business that provides technical and management consulting services in the areas of systems engineering, process development, IT and program management to the Federal Government. In 2003, Carline Cazeau was elected to the Board of Directors of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable - a group representing over 50 major Aerospace Companies. She also served as a member of the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Investment Board (GWIB) Aerospace Subcommittee that works to develop solutions to address the technical workforce challenges the State of Maryland will face in the future.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Ms. Cazeau led efforts to use technology tools to relay message between earthquake survivors in Haiti and their families, in the US, Brazil, and France. She facilitated connections between local community leaders and organizations with resources to support the relief effort.

Ms. Cazeau holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from The City College of New York (CCNY) where she graduated Cum Laude, and an M.B.A. from The McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University.

Scott DiPretoro is a Program Officer in the International Services division of the American Red Cross. He recently returned from Haiti where he led the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) efforts to design and implement a cash transfer program. In addition to Haiti, Scott has also implemented post-disaster cash transfer programs for the IFRC in Chile and Costa Rica. Mr. DiPretoro coordinated the initial response of the American Red Cross to the 2007 San Diego wildfires and later managed the Recovery Planning & Assistance program. Previous work experience includes the International Rescue Committee, UNHCR, Banc of America Securities LLC and the Pacific Stock Exchange. He has a Masters in Public Administration in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Brady Forrest is Chair for O'Reilly's Where 2.0 and co-Chairs Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and NYC. Mr. Forrest writes for O'Reilly Radar tracking changes in technology. He started Ignite, a geek event which has spread to over a hundred cities worldwide (including Seattle). Mr. Forrest lives in Seattle, where he builds robots and cars for Burning Man and competes for Mayor of finer establishments. You can track his web travels at Truffle Honey or @brady.

Suzanne Hall is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. She currently works as New Media Advisor for the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau in Washington, D.C. Her previous assignments include press and consular assignments at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia and the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium. Ms. Hall previously worked as a Country Manager for Central & Eastern Europe at the U.S. Trade & Development Agency. She received her B.A. from SUNY Binghamton in 1999, and her M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 2001. Ms. Hall is from New Hampshire.

Dan Hodges, Managing Partner of Conceptiviti, Inc., is the former Head of Global Sales, Mobile & Emerging Products at the Associated Press. Before joining AP, he led the world's largest global sales force dedicated to mobile advertising and marketing at Nokia Interactive. In 2008, his Nokia team won the MMA Award for Innovation with mobile advertising for Unilever's Seda Teens. He has worked for over twenty years at several of America's premier media companies and advertising agencies, and has held leadership positions at Nokia, Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), WebMD/Medscape Inc., MediaVest, BBDO and Foote Cone & Belding. Mr. Hodges has also served as a Board Member, advisor and/or consultant to companies in the Internet, mobile and television industries.

Emily Jacobi is the Co-Director of Digital Democracy, a New York-based nonprofit organization that works globally, using digital tools to empower civic engagement in marginalized communities. Through Digital Democracy, which she co-founded in 2008, Emily conducts trainings, creates curriculum focused on new media literacy and works directly with grassroots actors to design projects that leverage technology to solve pressing problems. Emily began working internationally at the age of 13, when she traveled to Cuba as a youth journalist in 1996. Since then she has worked on media and research projects in Latin America, West and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as “En Los Campos,” a multi-media exhibit highlighting the lives of teenage migrant farm workers in the U.S. Her work experience includes Internews Network, AllAfrica.com and Y-Press Assistant Bureau Director.

Caitlin Klevorick is Special Assistant to Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton. In that capacity she works on a range of both long and short-term issues, including currently working on bridging humanitarian efforts with long-term development and rebuilding in Haiti, and increasing transparency and public access to information on foreign assistance spending and programs, as well as on innovation projects such as the Text Haiti campaign. Prior to the State Department, Ms. Klevorick was Vice President of a strategic communications firm specializing in crisis and strategic communications. She has worked for Former President Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the Clinton Global Initiative on projects focused on communications and research, including his two books (My Life and Giving). Ms. Klevorick also worked on several political campaigns for national and state-wide office as well as the New York City Olympic bid (NYC2012).

Alland Léandre was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 while in High School. He earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and worked as an engineer for several years. He later attended the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan where he earned an MBA (Finance and Strategy) in 2002. Mr. Léandre is a seasoned entrepreneur who has mentored a number of very successful other entrepreneurs.

After receiving his MBA, Mr. Léandre founded Vyalex Management Solutions, Inc., a Columbia, Maryland management consulting firm that uses cutting edge technology to help public and private enterprises set their goals and adopt strategies and tactics best suited to achieving them. As President/CEO, Al leads VMS in providing goods and services to US government agencies and the private sector. The firm’s exclusive Vyalex Total Technology Pipeline (V-TTP) is a platform to manage the recruitment of students for government agencies and private industry for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields. Students get real world professional experience, while clients get a pipeline of eager and qualified future leaders for their technical organizations. Mr. Léandre formerly played a key role in a global microfinance organization that conducts micro-enterprise projects in developing countries as Director of Caribbean Partnerships for five years. He also launched an international division of his company for international development opportunities.

The Foreign Born Information Referral Network (FIRN) of Howard County, Maryland presented Mr. Léandre its American Success Award in 2006 as one of the county’s most successful foreign-born business proprietors. He serves as a consumer member of the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, the public agency that licenses and monitors pharmacists and pharmacies in the state. In addition, Mr. Léandre is a graduate of Leadership Howard County, a program that grooms potential leaders in the county for greater responsibility. In 2007, the University of Maryland University College in conjunction with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs selected him as one of their Top 100 Minority Business Entrepreneurs. The Washington, DC Minority Business Enterprise Center also selected him as its 2007 Client of the Year. He was also selected the following year for the Entrepreneur Black Engineer of the Year in 2008

Robert Munro is a computational linguist specializing in software and infrastructure for processing and analyzing natural language for social development, especially for less widely-spoken languages. He has worked for 10 years in content management and communication systems, including commercial and not-for-profit SMS-based communication services and infrastructure for crisis relief. He joined the Haiti emergency response system on day 1, where his most prominent role was coordinating more than 1000 Kreyol-speaking volunteers around the world who where translating, geolocating and categorizing every emergency SMS as it arrived.

Jeffrey Nesbit is a senior communications strategist with 25 years of experience working in the national media, Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Labor Department, the White House and private industry, serves as director of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nesbit oversees the agency's communication activities with the public, Congress, the news media, states and governors and various scientific, engineering and education organizations. In addition, Nesbit has led the creation of the Science360 daily news service and Science360.gov, a news portal that shares video, audio, and written content, as well as images, culled from universities and institutions that NSF funds. Prior to NSF, Nesbit managed a successful strategic communications consulting business for more than a decade. His clients and projects have included dozens of national nonprofit, trade associations, media companies, Fortune 500 companies, major health foundations, public relations agencies and advocacy organizations such as Discovery Communications, the American Heart Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Red Cross, Porter-Novelli, CTIA-the Wireless Association, the Koop-Kessler Committee on Tobacco Policy and Public Health, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Burson- Marsteller and others. He was also a senior communications official at the White House, the FDA, the Labor Department and in Congress. In addition, he was also a national journalist with media organizations such as Knight-Ridder Newspapers (now The McClatchy Company), ABC News' Satellite News Channels (acquired by CNN), States News Service, Public Citizen magazine and the Roanoke Times. Nesbit is also the author of 17 novels for children and adults.

Josh Nesbit is the Executive Director of FrontlineSMS:Medic. His work as FrontlineSMS Ambassador is supported by the Open Society Institute and the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation. As an international health and bioethics student at Stanford, his qualitative research focused on access to pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment. Mr. Nesbit has implemented text message networks in Malawi, Haiti, Uganda, and Cameroon, advising ICT development projects in more than 15 countries. He is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Rainer Arnhold Fellow, Strauss Scholar, and Haas Public Service Fellow, and recently received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development.

Judy Payne is USAID’s e-Business Advisor where she helps USAID missions around the world use information and communications technologies as a tool for economic growth. Her work includes helping USAID’s implementing partners find ways to use ICT-enabled approaches to increase their projects’ success in sustainable and scalable ways. Applications include mobile banking, market price information systems, and new technical and business models to extend access to the Internet to the poor. Prior to joining USAID, Judy worked for over 25 years in the U.S. private sector, including 15 years working in all aspects of e-business, electronic commerce, and e-government: from strategic planning to hands on implementations, marketing, and pricing; from grappling with the details of transaction standards to software design and development. For five years, Ms. Payne was Vice President, Products and Services, at a small business in the U.S., a venture capital backed electronic commerce company specializing in services to government suppliers. She has also been a management consultant to business and government at Coopers & Lybrand and AMS and led research projects related to electronic commerce usage by governments while a scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Edward (Eddie) Pickle is a 25 year+ geospatial industry veteran who has worked with a wide range of government, commercial, and non-profit organizations worldwide. He has been active in creating data and applications for emergency management, and in the field of OGC web services for the past several years, with significant side forays into geospatial data sharing. In recent years Mr. Pickle was one of the founders of IONIC Enterprise and served as its Chief Operating Officer until its purchase by ERDAS in 2007. In 2003 he headed an initiative by IONIC that led to a long-term contract developing many of the critical infrastructure data layers for the U.S. Homeland Security Infrastructure Protection (HSIP Gold) database. He later directed content development for ERDAS, where he was very active in the launch of TITAN, a geospatial data-sharing program combining visualization with social networking capabilities. In his earlier career, Eddie was a senior executive involved with data development and data solutions at Claritas (now part of Nielsen) and IXI. A demographer by training, Mr. Pickle has accumulated a broad range of solutions expertise combining GIS software and both raster and vector data, and works to apply that knowledge to benefit OpenGeo's customers and partners.

Prem Ramaswami has been a Product Manager at Google since 2006. Currently, Prem focuses on Google's Dotorg efforts around Disaster relief and NGO outreach. He has worked on projects such as Google Checkout, Google's ecommerce shopping solution, and the Internet Bus Project aimed at increasing Internet penetration in India. Additionally, Mr. Ramaswami was instrumental in launching Google Checkout for Non-Profits. Prem was also part of Google's Network Infrastructure team as part of the Make the Web Faster Initiative launching Google Public DNS. Mr. Ramaswami graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in Biomedical and Computer Engineering and worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on an airborne 3D laser radar wide area mapping system before joining Google. He also is a diehard Jets fan, loves college basketball, and is addicted to TV.

Sean Rankin is the COO of One Cent Banking, a mobile platform operations and advisory firm. He joined the team in 2009 as a strategic consultant via Frontier Markets Partners, a consulting partnership specializing in helping companies operate in developing countries. Mr. Rankin’s principal competencies include early-stage enterprise development and new market introductions; venture finance with a particularly expertise in emerging and frontier markets; and management and operations. Mr. Rankin has worked in venture capital as an Associate with New Markets Venture Partners and in private equity as a Principal with Silverhaze Partners, a hybrid fund, making Fund of Funds investments as well as direct investments in media & entertainment, technology, consumer packaged goods, and retail operations. He was also a Vice-President for SilverHaze’s sister company, M5 Investments, directing, evaluating, and overseeing investments and partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa. His global experience includes operating businesses, financial transactions, or investments in Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Qatar, UAE, and Jordan. Prior to this, Mr. Rankin worked in politics. Amongst numerous accomplishments, he provided policy and political guidance on staff and as a consultant in 13 States and DC for officials and electoral candidates. He also built a 50-state political and regulatory advisory network (State and Federal practices) that included former U.S. Senators, Governors, Senior Regulators, and White House appointees for a primary market research firm providing regulatory due diligence services.

George Reyes is the Executive Vice President of PayCargo, LLC. Mr. Reyes is responsible for planning, business development and special projects. He focuses on identifying and assessing potential strategic alliances, negotiating those alliances with associations of Carriers, Shippers and others, identifying new technology opportunities, sales force training and development. Mr. Reyes played a major role in conceiving and refining the PayCargo business model. He has been associated with the Maritime Industry for over four years. In his 17 year business career, Mr. Reyes has been a successful entrepreneur in all areas of business. Mr. Reyes brings to Pay Cargo his vast knowledge and ability to develop innovations and bring them to fruition. He has been a principle in well over $100 million of significant transactions.

D. Rosalind (Roz) Sewell is the Director of Crisis Mapping for the Ushahidi Haiti project. Along with serving as the Ushahidi Haiti field representative in Haiti for two weeks, Ms. Sewell oversees the various teams that work with and develop the Ushahidi Haiti platform. Ms. Sewell is also a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, studying Islamic Civilizations and Security Studies. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics and Economics from Randolph- Macon Woman's College. In 2009, she completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Morocco evaluating the impact of tourism on traditional culture and society in the Fez Medina. She is also a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow and will be joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 2011.

Katie Jacobs Stanton works in the Office of Innovation at the State Department. Prior to the State Department, Ms. Stanton was President Obama's first Director of Citizen Participation at the White House. She joined the government from Google where she was a senior product manager and business development executive responsible for OpenSocial, Google Moderator, Google Finance and various election-related initiatives. Ms. Stanton joined Google from Yahoo! where she helped build the investing program on Yahoo! Finance as well as lead Yahoo Finance's growth internationally. Ms. Stanton's professional experience also includes three years as an Investment Banker, a Fellow at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a volunteer position in Kenya, and a teaching role in Japan. Stanton has an MA in International Affairs at Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from Rhodes College.

Dan Stoneking is the Director of the Private Sector Division within FEMA's Office of External Affairs. His resume includes extensive experience in risk/crisis communications, media relations, media training, strategic messaging, branding, and reputation management. In his current capacity, he leads an experienced team to improve information sharing and coordination between FEMA and the private sector during disaster planning, response and recovery efforts. This position follows and builds upon a career in both the corporate and government arenas focused on public affairs, culminating most recently as the Deputy and Acting Director of Public Affairs at FEMA. Previously, Mr. Stoneking was employed as an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in strategic communications in support of Homeland Security and Defense markets; he worked for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide as a Vice President in the Social Marketing practice group; and was responsible for risk and crisis communication leadership in support of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and CDC’s Personal Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza outreach program. Prior to Ogilvy, Mr. Stoneking served for more than 25 years in the Army and the National Guard. He spent three of those years under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and was instrumental in establishing a public affairs crisis communication center immediately following the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.