Engineering Manager of the Year!

Naga Chandrasekaran is process R&D senior vice president at Micron Technology. Dr. Chandrasekaran leads process, materials, and equipment technology development and supplier roadmap development efforts for all memory and non-memory products. He also manages corporate characterization labs and R&D fabrication operations at Micron’s headquarters in Boise, Idaho.

In 2001, he joined Micron as a CMP development engineer and has since held positions of increasing responsibility in process development across multiple R&D process areas, leading manufacturing and technology transfer efforts, integration of new business units, and development of solar, LED and display technology. From 2007–2008, he also served as fab engineering manager for IM Flash, Singapore Operations.

Dr. Chandrasekaran has authored several keynote publications and patents and has served as an invited panel speaker at several conferences. He has also received several awards, including Jiri Tlusty Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer of the Year, awarded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 2003. Dr. Chandrasekaran completed his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras with a bronze medal. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. His master’s and doctoral thesis was awarded a Graduate Research Excellence Award by Oklahoma State University. In 2011, he completed his dual executive Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management and the National University of Singapore, and he received a gold medal for his graduating class.

Keynote Speakers

Chris Cochran
Innovation Collective

Chris Cochran: Chris is the Chief Operating Officer of Innovation Collective an organization focused on redefining how communities of all sizes can participate in the global innovation economy. Chris started his professional life in the non-profit sector focused on leadership development with junior high and high school students. Upon leaving the non-profit world, Chris started several consulting companies focused on new media, podcasting, and later IT. He leveraged his startup experience to a full-time role in executive IT and Infrastructure Consulting, working with both startups and established firms. Chris has a passion to build inclusive communities where human flourishing is the norm, not the exception.


Michael Schleich
Itron, VP of Product Management

Since joining Itron in 1995, Michael has held a number of positions, most often in roles leading teams to bridge the space between Engineering and Marketing of various utility oriented data collection systems. Currently, Michael is involved in Itron’s rollout of Smart Grid and Smart City solutions. His work has resulted in several patents related to the technology used in Automatic Meter Reading and Smart Grid. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Engineering from Arizona State University.


Kim Zentz
Washington State University, Director ETM

Kim is director of the Engineering and Technology Management graduate program for Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Kim is additionally co-founder and CEO of Urbanova, Spokane’s smart city proving ground in The University District. Established by founding partners Avista, Itron, McKinstry, the City of Spokane, Washington State University and The University District Development Association in 2016, Urbanova is a living laboratory to design cities for the future.

With 30 years of senior executive leadership experience, Kim has held positions as CEO of Innovate Washington, executive director of Sirti (also known as the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute), CEO of the Spokane Transit Authority, founding president and COO of Avista Labs (now ReliOn/Plug Power) and manager, gas and electric technical services for Avista Utilities.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho and a Master’s of Engineering Management, from Washington State University.


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