Northwestern Events Calendar


Tom Wagner | Creating A Technology Company, From Idea To Impact Dogs And Cats Living Together

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2024
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, The Hive, Room 2350, 2133 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

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

Contact: Sonia Kim   (847) 467-0446

Group: Innovation and New Ventures Office

Sponsor: Querrey InQbation Lab

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


Join Tom Wagner, Ph.D., the founder & CEO of an AI and robotics company named Berkshire Grey, as he shares elements of his journey, and that of his team, to have commercial impact with technology.  During the talk, Wagner will take you along the path that started with a simple goal to have impact with technology, and then moved to a specific idea, to building a team, to venture capital investment, to material business, to taking the company public, to being acquired and taken private again as the play continues.  During this talk Tom will offer candid thoughts and take aways in technology and markets, building a team, working with venture capitalists, customer adventures, creating choices when there seem to be none, what terms like “work life balance” really mean in this context, and the importance of embracing uncertainty and ambiguity from time to time.  On a semi-technical front, some of the topics Wagner will cover include sparse data, search heuristics, bounded rationality, and the path from sensor inputs to information-based decision making.

For those interested in learning about starting a technology company, or simply looking for possibly entertaining and useful anecdotes, please Register here!


Speaker Bio:

Tom Wagner would generally describe a portion of his existence as the quest to have impact with technology.  He has served as CEO of Berkshire Grey since the company’s inception in 2013. Previously, he had the privilege of serving as the Chief Technology Officer of iRobot Corporation, a publicly traded robotics company, from 2008 to 2012. Prior to joining iRobot, Wagner served at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, where he created, managed, and transitioned programs in artificial intelligence, robotics, logistics, communications, command and control, telehealth, connected devices, and connected intelligent assistants. Earlier in his career, Wagner served as a principal lead at Honeywell, a professor at the University of Maine, spent time at General Motors, and held various roles in small & startup companies. He holds a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a M.S. from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. from Michigan State University.

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