Keynote Speakers

Ben Parr (WCAS '08)

venture capitalist and former editor-at-large of Mashable

Ben ParrBen Parr is an award-winning journalist, author, entrepreneur, investor and expert on attention. He is co-founder and managing partner of DominateFund, a venture capital firm that invests in and accelerates the growth of early-stage technology companies through its expertise in strategic celebrity relationships, press, marketing, customer and user acquisition, and viral products.

Parr is the author of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention, due in early 2015 from HarperOne/HarperCollins. His book dives into the science of attention, why we pay attention to certain people, products, companies and ideas, and how to capture, retain and grow attention.

Previously, Parr was the co-editor and editor-at-large of Mashable, where he wrote more than 2,400 articles on social media and technology and managed Mashable's editoral team. He also served as a columnist and commentator for CNET.

Parr was named one of the top ten tech journalists in the world by Say Media and named to the 2012 Forbes 30 Under 30.

Norbert G. Riedel, PhD

president and CEO of Naurex, Inc.

Norbert RiedelDr. Riedel currently serves as CEO of Naurex, and formerly was a corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer at Baxter International.  Earlier in his tenure at Baxter, Dr. Riedel was president and general manager of the recombinant proteins business unit and vice president of research and development for Baxter’s Bioscience business.  Previously, Dr. Riedel was head of worldwide biotechnology and core research functions at Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Sanofi.  He also held a number of scientific management positions at Hoechst-Marion Roussel and Hoechst.  Dr. Riedel serves on the boards of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Ariad Pharmaceuticals and the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization.  Dr. Riedel is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the Illinois Innovation Council.  Dr. Riedel received a Diploma and PhD from the University of Frankfurt and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, an associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University, and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.