Envision a world with ample, affordable, and healthy food for everyone on the planet, where our local farmers and fishermen have access to insights from spacecraft, wireless networks and machine learning to help them make better decisions. This forum showcases the transformative impact of technology on agriculture and aquaculture, taking better care of our crops and animals, informing and engaging consumers, strengthening our societies, and radically rethinking how to feed the planet.
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Founded in 1998 in New England, OPEN is a global organization, with chapters in twelve cities worldwide. Our mission is to accelerate entrepreneurship and business growth by bringing together entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals to collaborate, learn, and create lasting positive change worldwide.
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Dr. Adil Najam (عادل نجم) is the inaugural Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University which was founded in 2014 . He is also a Professor of International Relations and of Earth and Environment. Earlier, Prof. Adil Najam served as Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Lahore, Pakistan and as the Director of the Boston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. In addition to Boston University, Prof. Najam has taught at MIT and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research focuses on issues of global public policy, especially those related to global climate change, South Asia, Muslim countries, environment and development, and human development.
Jared Auerbach, Owner & CEO, Red's Best, originally from Newton, MA, worked on commercial vessels in Alaska and Cape Cod during the early 2000’s after he finished college. Working alongside hardworking fishermen, Jared saw how the advent of industrial technology and strict governmental regulation of open oceans impacted traditional fishing communities and family fishing businesses. He first-handedly witnessed their struggle for survival.
Jared also saw the quality, abundance and vast variety of species available in New England’s pristine cold waters. He notes, “Even early in my fishing career, I saw a misalignment of supply and demand in the seafood industry. Small vessels landing in New England are literally bringing in the best fish in the world, yet they are struggling to make a living. Meanwhile, less superior fish is being imported into the US in massive amounts. It didn’t make sense. And all the while, local fish seemed really hard to find as an everyday consumer. Something needed to change.”
In 2006, Jared founded Red’s Best envisioning a brand that would represent each and every fisherman and the pride of the profession. He set out to create a way to create efficiency in government reporting and to make it easier for consumers to have direct access to the freshest seafood while helping to sustain the livelihoods of American fishermen.
Megan Sheahan is the Director of Operations at Precision Agriculture for Development. Previously, she held research, research management, project management, and technical assistance roles at Cornell University, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), and Chemonics International and has worked as a consultant for various organizations, including the World Bank and African Development Bank. She holds an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Boston University.
David Potere is the co-founder and CEO of TellusLabs, a Boston-based startup that combines decades of satellite imagery with a machine learning platform to answer critical, time-sensitive economic and environmental questions. David co-founded Boston Consulting Group’s global data science practice. At TellusLabs, David is combining his love of satellite remote sensing with nearly a decade of practical experience addressing the geospatial and data-driven questions of the Fortune 500. Prior to BCG, David served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy. He received an AB from Harvard College, an MA in satellite remote sensing from Boston University, and a PhD in geo-demography from Princeton.
Fernando Rodriguez-Villa is the General Manager at TellusLabs, responsible for leading the business and operations functions within the company. He has a passion for building commercial organizations at companies using large and unique data sets to confront pressing societal challenges.
Fernando's previous management role was at Knewton, an adaptive learning company that uses big data to personalize online learning. As a senior manager, he supported Knewton’s international expansion throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and India, signing partnerships with leading education companies, universities, and governments. Previously, he worked on large-scale transactions in the Financial Institutions sector in the Investment Banking division at J.P. Morgan in London. A Boston native, Fernando is a Mentor at TechStars Boston, a tutor at the Epiphany School and an advisor to seed-stage companies locally. He holds a B.A. in History and Economics from Dartmouth College."
Rory MacKean is Founder/CEO of Franklin Robotics. He is a hands-on technology leader who has developed multiple robotic platforms, with a focus on mobile outdoor robots. After starting at MobileRobots/Adept working on a variety of indoor and outdoor robots, Rory joined Harvest Automation, helping to develop the HV-100 agricultural robot. Prior to founding Franklin, Rory worked at Superpedestrian on the Copenhagen Wheel.
With a background in Mechanical Engineering (S.B. MIT; M.S. Rensselaer) and Engineering Management (M.S. TGI @ Tufts), Rory has deep experience in all aspects of developing mobile robots.