Changing user and industry behavior is never easy, especially when it involves something near and dear to many Americans: their cars. But with the uptick in environmental consciousness and the growth of a sharing economy, is a car really necessary? How do we enjoy wheels while making a minimal environmental impact? Our panelists are revolutionizing personal transportation through innovation and technology. Uber provides an on demand private driver anywhere you need them. Each Zipcar takes at least 20 personally-owned vehicles off the road and leaves the planet slightly greener. And Tesla has reengineered the electric car from the ground up, with one of the sleekest car designs we’ve ever seen. Please join us as we learn about how these resilient and innovative companies shook up the status quo.
We are excited to welcome the following thought leaders and experts to our discussion:
|Mike White ’11
General Manager @ Uber Detroit
Michael is the Operations Lead for Uber in Detroit, where he launched Uber’s flagship BLACK car service in one of Uber’s newest and most geographically dispersed markets. He’s based in the Chicago regional office. Prior to Uber, Michael was Principal at Blink Beverage, a Chicago start-up that applies technology to the transportation and regulatory challenges of state-level wine distribution. He maintains an advisory role to that business now.
Prior to his entrepreneurial roles, Michael worked in brand management at Kraft Foods and served as a Combat Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army. Michael is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Regional Sales Manager @ Tesla Motors
Dustin is the Senior Regional Manager of Tesla Motors Inc. for the Central and Southern US. Dustin joined Tesla Motors in 2009 and has been involved with Tesla’s retail expansion throughout the Midwest and Southern markets, including Chicagoland, Denver, Austin, Houston, and Miami. Throughout this expansion Dustin has been directly responsible for the sales and delivery strategy for both the Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model S. Tesla continues to innovate the way their customers interact with Tesla products, and has completely reimagined the car and the car buying experience.
Dustin has been involved in the automotive marketplace for over 10 years, and previously worked with BMW. Dustin is a Chicago-native, graduate of Aurora University, and currently lives in the Western suburbs with his wife, and son.
|Charles Stephens ’01
General Manager @ Zipcar
Charles is the General Manager of Zipcar’s Chicago market, which includes nearly 600 vehicles serving the car sharing needs tens of thousands of Zipsters in 300 locations around the Chicagoland area. Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing service with approximately 777,000 members and nearly 10,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria.
Prior to Zipcar, Charles was the VP Operations at Threadless, a crowdsourced design and apparel company that draws its strength from its global online community of artists and designers. Before Threadless, Charles held strategy roles at performance marketing agency Performics and Gap Inc. Direct, the e-commerce channel of Gap Inc. These steps on the client side were preceded by a career in consulting with A.T. Kearney and Ernst & Young. Charles is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as well as its undergraduate program.
|David Schonthal ’09 (Moderator)
Partner @ Fusion Ventures
David is Co‐Founder and Partner at Fusion Ventures – an investment and advisory firm focused on growing startups in the early stages of development. Fusion’s portfolio includes companies in healthcare, services, technology and social enterprise located in the US, Europe and Latin America. Prior to joining Fusion, David served as the Director of Strategy and Venture Development at Tavistock Life Sciences in San Diego, part of the Tavistock Group – a private equity firm with broad holdings in 15 countries. While at Tavistock, David served in senior management roles for a number of the firm’s young portfolio companies in both the healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries.
In addition to his position at Kellogg David teaches Entrepreneurship and New Ventures at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and serves as a Venture Catalyst at IDEO – an award-winning innovation and design firm. David is a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship council (ChicagoNext), and is an investment advisor to the State of Illinois’s Invest Illinois Venture Capital Fund. He serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CONNECT, a Southern California-based startup incubator for technology and life sciences companies, and is a Mentor with the Chicago Innovation Mentors program – an organization focused on commercializing cutting edge technologies from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois Chicago and Argonne National Lab. David is a former member of the San Diego Zoo’s Innovation Council as well as a former Entrepreneur-in-Residence for San Diego Sports Innovators – an entrepreneurship and development organization focused on growing the business of sport in Southern California.