Northwestern Events Calendar


NUTC Industry Technical Workshop - "Advancing Freight Automation"


When: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
2:00 PM - 4:30 PM CT

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Open to the public / Registration required via Zoom - 

Contact: Bret Johnson   (847) 452-0209

Group: Northwestern University Transportation Center

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


NUTC & CCITT Industry Technical Workshop | Advancing Freight Automation

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020 @ 2:00 PM CT

Workshop Schedule: 

2:00 PM - 2:05 PM      Welcome / Opening Remarks 
2:05 PM - 3:15 PM      Speaker Presentations 
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM      Panel Discussion / Audience Q&A
4:00 PM                       Adjournment / Closing Remarks

Featured Speakers:

Imad Al-Qadi - Bliss Professor of Engineering; Director, Illinois Center for Transportation; Director, Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Paul E. Denton - Senior Vice President, Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company
Peter James - VP of Product, Outrider
David Kassen - Vice President, SameDay Transportation 
Chelsey Tanaka - Head of Product, Ike


Zoom Advance Registration* 

*After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Or an H.323/SIP room system:
    H.323: (US West) (US East) (China) (India Mumbai) (India Hyderabad) (Amsterdam Netherlands) (Germany) (Australia) (Hong Kong SAR) (Singapore) (Brazil) (Canada) (Japan)
    Meeting ID: 923 6479 9971


Speaker Bios:

Imad L. Al-Qadi, Bliss Professor of Engineering, is the Director of the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL), the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT), and the Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (STII) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Al-Qadi is also President of the Transportation Engineering Solutions and Technologies, Inc. He served as an instructor and research engineer at Penn State University from 1988 to 1990 and was a member of the faculty of the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech from 1990 to 2004. By 1998, he had been promoted to full professor, and by 2002, he was named the Charles E. Via Jr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Al-Qadi holds a B.S. (1984) from Yarmouk University and M.Eng. (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees from Penn State University, all in civil engineering.

Paul Denton is Progress Rail’s Senior Vice President of International Rolling Stock Sales, Advanced Rail Technology and Marketing, with responsibility for the company's international locomotive and freight car sales team, the analytics and advanced rail technology strategy, and Marketing for the enterprise. With a career spanning more than 20 years in the energy and rail sectors, Paul joined Progress Rail in 2013 and has since been responsible for introducing advanced technologies across the company’s entire product portfolio. This includes the latest smart analytics through Progress Rail’s Uptime product suite, and our Automated Train Operation (ATO) and energy management, product strategy and development. Progress Rail serves as one of the largest global providers of rail and transit solutions, and is the premier manufacturer of EMD locomotives, engines and aftermarket parts. The company also offers a complete line of trackwork, signaling, rail fasteners, rail welding and Maintenance-of-Way equipment.

Peter James is the Vice President of Product at Outrider.  Peter is passionate about developing production-ready systems to autonomously perform dull, dirty, and dangerous work. In the product role, Peter leads Outrider’s efforts to define the product roadmap to meet customer requirements. He has more than 15 years of experience in unmanned ground vehicle system development, spanning all aspects of complex electronic system design and implementation. Prior to joining Outrider, Peter was the Director of Unmanned Systems at Stratom and served as the lead Systems Engineer for the eXpeditionary Robo-Pallet (XR-P) project, which developed an MV-22 Osprey compatible autonomous pallet mover designed for rugged environments for the US military. Peter was also the Chief Engineer and Integrated Product Lead for the Autonomous Mobility Applique System (AMAS) project at Lockheed Martin, which upgrades existing tactical wheeled ground vehicles to be robotic assets for the US military. Peter holds a BS degree in Computer Engineering from Clemson University.

Bret Johnson is the Senior Associate Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC), and the Director of the Center for the Commercialization of Innovative Transportation Technology at Northwestern. Bret manages corporate relations and engagement for NUTC, and develops strategic research collaborations and executive education programs with and for industry and public sector partners. In this role, he also helps nurture, grow, and develop programming for the Transportation Center’s Business Advisory Council. Bret also conducts primary market and industry research for NUTC-led research projects and serves as a project manager for the same. Prior to joining Northwestern, Bret held senior engineering and project management positions at 3COM, Grayhill, Northrop-Grumman, and GE Astrospace. He received an M.A. in Science, Technology and Public Policy from The George Washington University, an M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

David Kassen is Vice President of SameDay Transportation and assumes responsibility for the FedEx Office transportation network, which includes pickup and delivery support for the FXO retail store network and our nationwide SameDay City service – including the continued development and global launch of the FedEx SameDay Bot. David and his Transportation team handle the network’s strategic planning, operations, safety, product development and infrastructure buildout. David joined FedEx 18 years ago. When FedEx purchased Kinko’s, he played a key role in bringing FedEx shipping services into the retail environment, and has served in leadership roles in Operations Planning, IT and Emerging Initiatives, as well as Customer Marketing. Known as much for his collaborative skills as he is for his innovative ideas, David is a two-time Five Star Award winner and a QDM expert.

Hani S. Mahmassani is Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC), and the William A. Patterson Distinguished Professor in Transportation at Northwestern University, which he joined on September 1, 2007, with joint appointments in the McCormick School of Engineering and the Kellogg School of Management. He previously served in endowed faculty positions at the University of Maryland and at the University of Texas at Austin. Mahmassani has over 35 years of experience as a researcher, scholar and professional in the transportation and logistics area. Mahmassani is recognized nationally and internationally for a broad array of transportation research achievements; his applications span both passenger and freight, and he has been especially effective at connecting advanced models to emerging policy issues. He has pioneered the use of novel data sources and real-time data streams in transportation modeling and decision-making, including sensor data from intelligent transportation systems deployments, probe data from GPS and smartphones, transaction records from payment systems, and vehicle-based tracking systems. His current research is focused on autonomous vehicle deployment, including fleet operations for emerging mobility service models.

Chelsey Tanaka is the Head of Product at Ike, a developer that is building technology to enable Class 8 tractor trailer trucks to drive safely and reliably on the interstate highway system without a driver. She specializes in building products that span the digital and physical worlds to solve problems for people working in critical industries such as trucking, construction, and energy. Prior to Ike, Chelsey led a product group at PlanGrid (later Autodesk), building software to help construction professionals manage multi-million-dollar projects. Before that, she helped utility companies better engage their customers by building digital engagement tools at Opower. Chelsey earned her MBA from the Berkeley Haas School of Business and her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.



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