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This is the Billism that has me out of my mind, fired-up these days.

I have been around for a little more than forever and a little less than too long. I have started companies and worked in a baker’s dozen of industries. I’ve seen trade shows, conferences and forums where people gather to talk about their great deeds, whine about this or that and/or come to violent agreement through self-congratulatory banter.

INTERSECT17 (I17), taking off on November 13th at the GRIDSMART HQ in Knoxville, isn’t about any of that.

I’m fired up about I17 because we are working to uncover naked truth. The “Intelligent Transportation System” space is at a historical pivot point, which means great opportunity with associated peril and pitfalls. I17’s aim is to debate three sides of a two-sided ledger from unique perspectives. We will explore how to embrace a world moving to nominal traffic fatalities in an amazing future, while working to understand the dark underbelly of monolithic thought. Our future demands a diversity of perspective.

I17 delivers a vibrant stable of speakers and panels staged by GRIDSMART, presenting sponsor ATI21 and special sponsors AARP Tennessee, Amazon Web Services, McCain, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Operations Center for Excellence (NOCoE) and Thinking Highways Magazine.

Keynote speakers include the Hon. Mary Peters, Former Secretary of USDOT; Hon. Bob Walker, Former US Congressman & Chair of the House Science & Space Technology; Governor George F. Allen; Kirk T. Steudle, P.E., Director of Michigan DOT; Carlos Braceras, P.E., Executive Director of Utah DOT; Don Thomas, Ph.D., NASA Astronaut; and Hon. Paul Brubaker, President & CEO of ATI21.

I17 is meant for those who are putting the systems to work every day and those who are trying to figure out what’s next. The week will kick off on Monday with technical training for continuing education credits and then look like this:

  • The Now” on Tuesday with a Data Track;
  • The Journey & Transition” on Wednesday with a Cyber Security Track and;
  • The Future” on Thursday, including Patrick Son, P.E., the Managing Director of NOCoE, delivering a training session on TMC Operations & Management.
  • And because I personally believe in leaving things just a little bit better than how I found them, all of this cumulates with an optional Day of Service on Friday. Volunteers will deliver a day of fun for kids at a local underserved elementary school. Service to the community is the GRIDSMART way.

This is a bit of name dropping, but it excites me that I17 can bring together all-stars discussing how to “Thrive in a Connected World,” and “Peril in the Cloud.” Panelists will focus on “Emerging Technologies Changing the Future,” and “IoT in the Smart City,” and also debate “Connected Vehicle SPAT Data, Will it Happen.” We will also release a very special jobs survey done with GRIDSMART and Thinking Highways Magazine. Of course, there will be GRIDSMART product updates for Smart Cities of all sizes.

I am excited to learn, debate and discuss the future of our industry. I am fired up about the possibility of saving lives by reducing traffic fatalities. The decisions we make can bring greater access to health care, education, and essential services to the under served. Our industry is the lifeline of humanity; it is a time of amazing change and a time to be cautious as the choices facing us are bigger than ever before. I can’t wait to listen, because it truly is Time We Had The Talk. Join us to be a part of the revolution at INTERSECT17.

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