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Middle East Dignitaries & Featured Speakers (Partial List)

Her Excellency Dr. Sahar Nasr
Minister of Investment and International Cooperation
The Arab Republic of Egypt

Her Excellency Dr. Sahar Nasr was sworn in as the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation on February 16, 2017 then reappointed on June 14, 2018.

Dr. Nasr earned her Professorship from the Supreme Council of Universities. She is a Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo and a Lecturer at several Egyptian and foreign universities. Throughout her academic career, she published over 60 research papers, technical reports and books. Some of these papers have contributed to drafting and structuring economic policies in various developing countries and emerging markets, including Egypt. 

Since assuming her role as Minister of International Cooperation on September 19, 2015, Dr. Nasr has made several strides in restructuring and reforming the Ministry, such as the establishment of a unit for monitoring and evaluation and a policy development and strategic planning unit in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Egypt.

Furthermore, Dr. Nasr has focused on strengthening Egypt’s ties with its existing international partners, as well as exploring new opportunities for cooperation, all through the establishment of mutually-beneficial partnerships. Dr. Nasr also serves as Governor of Egypt to several institutions such as The World Bank, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Dr. Nasr has extensive experience in negotiating and securing international grants and loans, especially within her role as Lead Economist at the World Bank.

In 2015 Her Excellency was named the most influential woman in the Arab economic sector.


Speakers In Alphabetical Order (Partial List):

Bill Flanagan
Chief Corporate Relations Officer
Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Mr. Bill Flanagan serves as Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliated regional development organizations: The Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh LLC, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Mr. Flanagan guides the development of regional and organizational messaging strategy and supervises Investor Relations activities, including membership development and programming, as well as fundraising.

As President of The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership in 2009, Mr. Flanagan helped to organize the public/private partnership of organizations from across southwestern Pennsylvania that came together to welcome the world for the Pittsburgh Summit. He also hosts “Our Region’s Business” on WPXI-TV, WJAC-TV, WTOV-TV and the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (PCNC). A graduate of Northwestern University (B.S. Speech), Bill holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Mark Johnson, Ph.D.
Founding Director, Center for Advanced Manufacturing
Clemson University

Mark Johnson, Ph.D., is the former Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  AMO is focused on creating a fertile innovation environment for advanced manufacturing, enabling vigorous domestic development of new energy-efficient manufacturing processes and materials technologies to reduce the energy intensity and life-cycle energy consumption of manufactured products. 

Previously, Mark served as a Program Director in the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) where he had the longest tenure in that post—from ARPA-E’s formation in 2010 to mid-2013.  At ARPA-E, Mark led initiatives to advance energy storage and critical materials, as well as projects in small business, advanced semiconductor, novel wind architectures, superconductors and electric machines.  

He also served as the Industry and Innovation Program Director for the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center. This is a National Science Foundation Gen-111 Engineering Research Center targeting the convergence of power electronics, energy storage, renewable resource integration and information technology for electric power systems.

Mark joined EERE on assignment from North Carolina State University, where he was an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.  His research has focused on crystal growth and device fabrication of compound semiconductor materials with electronic and photonic applications.  Mark also taught in the Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization program jointly between the NC State Colleges of Management and Engineering.  In addition to his academic career, Mark is an entrepreneur and early stage leader in Quantum Epitaxial Designs (now International Quantum Epitaxy), EPI Systems (now Veeco) and Nitronex (now GaAs Labs). 

Mark has a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a Ph.D., from NC State, both in Materials Science and Engineering.


Fraser Kitchell
KEF Robotics

Fraser serves as the CEO of KEF Robotics, a software startup based in Pittsburgh, PA, and leads the company’s partnership development, technology commercialization, and corporate strategy.  KEF Robotics develops technologies to accelerate the deployment of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) autonomy for applications in defense and aerospace. KEF has extensive experience in robotics research and development and commercialization, and finished as the leading team in the Drone Racing League (DRL) and Lockheed Martin’s AlphaPilot Challenge.  

In Fraser’s prior role at Astrobotic Technology, Inc., he founded and led the company’s research and development group to notable successes, including a $10M NASA Tipping Point award, numerous SBIRs (Space Based Infrared Surveillance), and technical development contracts with Bosch Research and a large US Aerospace contractor.  Fraser has a B.S. in Biology from Amherst College and M.S. in Energy Science from Carnegie Mellon University.


Steve Lutes
Vice President, Middle East Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Steve Lutes is vice president of Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for managing the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, U.S.-Iraq Business Initiative, the U.S.-GCC Business Initiative, and serves as executive director for each. In this capacity, Lutes is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that promote U.S. business opportunities and investment in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. He works closely with Chamber member companies and business and government leaders to deepen and expand commercial relationships.

Lutes came to the Chamber from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) where he was a senior legislative affairs specialist in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. He focused on educating members of Congress on the benefits of trade and foreign direct investment and on advancing the Administration’s trade agenda on Capitol Hill, including securing passage of the United States-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Lutes also served as the congressional liaison to the President’s Export Council and the Manufacturing Council for the Department.

Earlier in his career, he worked on Capitol Hill and held a variety of positions, including press secretary, legislative director, and chief of staff.

Lutes earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American University in Iraq – Sulaimani Foundation.  Steve and his wife met while working on Capitol Hill and live in Alexandria, Virginia.


Chris Moehle 
Managing Director 
Coal Hill Ventures & The Robotics Hub 

Chris Moehle is the managing director of The Robotics Hub in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Moehle, a firm believer in the power of robotics to improve economies and communities, founded the robotics-based venture capital fund with the goal of increasing the amount of companies that tackle the most pressing problems in our society.   

In addition to serving as a chairman and CEO of JDV Robotics, an assistive robotics software enterprise, Moehle advises cutting-edge firms such as Agility Robotics, Allvision IO, Module, Seismic (robotic clothing) and many others. He frequently lectures on the topic of “Robotics For Humanity: How Advanced Robotics Are Improving our Lives.”

Moehle previously served as an associate director of new ventures at the National Robotics Engineering Center. He holds a PhD in Applied Science from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.


Douglas Ramsey
Chief Development Officer

Douglas Ramsey has over 25 years of experience working across a number of manufacturing industries including primary metals, automotive, aerospace, energy, defense, and consumer products in the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

Douglas is an international thought leader in advanced manufacturing technology and policy. Most recently, he served as the Chairman of the Industrial Control Board for the US National Lightweight Metals Innovation Institute (LIFT) in Detroit and as a manufacturing technology policy advisor and contributor to the White House as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP 2.0). He has also held board and advisory roles with a number of manufacturing institutes in the US including the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), America Makes, the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), and Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

Douglas holds a Masters in Science and Economics in Strategic Studies from the National University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies and a Minor in Japanese from the Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Ramsey is fluent in English and Japanese.


Evening Speakers Biography Links Below:

Thomas Friedman, Evening Lecture Keynote
Morgan O’Brien, Peoples Natural Gas Company, Introduction of Thomas Friedman
Bryan Salesky, Argo AI, Q&A Discussion with Thomas Friedman