top of page

Saturday, July 22nd

1:00 - 4:30 PM


Berkshire Innovation Center

45 Woodlawn Avenue, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

2023 Speakers
Burr Purnell

Description:  In this talk, Burr will share how a seemingly insignificant moment in his day changed the trajectory of his and his family's lives forever.  He will share how aligning the head with the heart can not only transform the way we work and live, but can also transform how businesses show up in the world.

Burr Purnell is a seasoned executive with a passion for helping nonprofits amplify their message through video. He most recently served as the Executive Director of Social Good at VidMob Gives, VidMob's 501(c)3 organization, where he provided nonprofits with easy, fast, and affordable tools to create impactful video content. Burr has led successful campaigns for renowned nonprofits like Direct Relief, NRDC, Ronald McDonald House-NYC, Movember, and Equality Now. [Prior to joining VidMob, Burr worked as the Executive Creative Director at ROI·DNA, a performance marketing agency in San Francisco. There, he oversaw the creative team, shaping brands across various media channels. He also held the position of Vice President & Group Creative Director at MRM Worldgroup, where he managed direct marketing and online campaigns for clients such as Microsoft, AMD, MasterCard, and Charles Schwab. Burr's entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found Manifeste Marketing in 2007, a boutique agency that helps brands clarify their essence, personality, products, and core values. He also served as the head of Brand and Marketing at All Good Products, an organic body care company that promotes a balanced lifestyle.] Outside of work, Burr is an avid ultramarathon runner, toeing start lines from California and New England. Burr is a graduate of Northeastern University and resides in South Dartmouth, MA with his wife and two daughters.

Chris Draft
Founder, President & CEO of The Chris Draft Family Foundation

Chris Draft is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Chris Draft Family Foundation (CDFF) whose mission has been to empower families to lead healthy lifestyles. He is also the Co-Founder of Team Draft, leading the creation of a national campaign that is changing the face of lung cancer. He is an internationally recognized speaker, community leader, and family and character advocate who serves as an NFL Ambassador and a national spokesperson on many health-related issues, including the care and treatment of asthma, from which he suffers, and lung cancer, the disease that claimed the life of his wife, Keasha in 2011.  A graduate of Stanford University with a BS in Economics, Chris played football and baseball with the Cardinals. As a three-year starter at linebacker, and senior captain, Draft was an All-Pac 10 performer.  In 1998, he was drafted by the Chicago Bears, ultimately spending 12 years in the NFL. In addition to the Bears, Chris played for the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins, finishing his NFL playing career in 2010.  In 2006, while with the Carolina Panthers, Chris established the Chris Draft Family Foundation, which focuses on several primary initiatives that stress the importance of family, education, healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline, and physical fitness. His playing career has earned him a national platform to become a powerful community advocate across the country using his skills as a leader and speaker, and to act on his compassion for helping those less fortunate. Chris was and continues to be the face to the community within every stop of his career.

Sienna Leis
Venture Development Manager at MassVenture

Description:  An examination of how Industry 4.0 has impacted what it means to be a child in modern day society and how we can look to children to predict future solutions by giving them a blend of character and technology building blocks to shape a better tomorrow.

We live in a culture of crises. The common thread of a career that started with leading implementations nationally on behalf of start-ups in the education industry has now come full circle as Sienna Leis works to design solutions for a contact tracing solution fighting COVID-19 in cities, counties, states, provinces, and countries throughout North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.  As she finishes her graduate studies, her focus on crisis management has been heightened during this global pandemic, but more crises lie ahead.  She's committed to helping public and private sector leaders apply lessons learned in leadership, communications, resilience, adaptation and mitigation in their roles, governments, and businesses.  Her own work is inspired by a focus on environmental justice and the disproportionate impact crises like COVID and natural disasters have on those who are most disadvantaged. She's been focused on this in The Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian.  Ultimately she considers herself an enabler. Enabler of the dreams of individuals and organizations seeking to do good for our earth and people, and make a positive difference in the world.

Charlotte McCurdy
Designer and Researcher at Arizona State University

Description:  What happens when we take a carbon-centered approach to thinking about climate change? Just maybe, we can shift from seeing sustainability as less of what we currently have and instead see a truly new set of materials, energies, and behaviors. What happens when we design for regenerative futures instead of just sustainable presents?

Charlotte McCurdy is an award-winning designer and researcher who works at the intersection of emerging technology, futures, and existential threats. Her work on carbon-negative materials, “After Ancient Sunlight,” debuted as part of “Nature - The Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” in 2019, won the Experimental category in the 2019 FastCompany Innovation by Design Awards, and was most recently on view at The Design Museum, London. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, Dezeen, Wallpaper, and Vogue, and has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Swarovski, The UN Office for Partnerships, and Science Sandbox. She holds a degree in Global Affairs from Yale University and in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Arizona State University where she teaches courses at the intersection of climate change, design research, and experimental design.

Shivang Dave
Co-Founder & CEO of PlenOptika

Description:  In healthcare innovation, the popular tech industry bias to move fast and break things often falls short of meaningful impact and can even do more harm than good.  Medical device design that successfully addresses persistent unmet need and care disparities demands careful coordination of diverse stakeholder inputs, dedication to thoughtful design, and iterative clinical evaluation.  Shivang Dave will share his team's insights and practices for technology innovation that balances competing pressures to achieve economic and mission success.

Shivang R. Dave, PhD is CEO and Co-Founder of PlenOptika, which designs and produces tools to vastly expand access to vision care globally.  As CEO, Shivang led PlenOptika's growth from startup to an international company with products in global distribution, improving vision for millions of patients worldwide.  A passionate advocate for technology innovation to address care disparities, Shivang has positioned PlenOptika as a thought leader in vision health research, optical care, and global health policy with strong strategic partnerships in academia, industry, and public health.  He earned his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and doctorate in Bioengineering and Nanotechnolgy from the University of Washington, and completed an advanced research fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  A veteran of two commercial startups prior to PlenOptika, Shivang mentors rising entrepreneurs by sharing his experiences and insights regarding innovation, translational medicine, and leadership.

John Hart
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT
Co-Founder of Vulcan Forms 

Description:  For more than 30 years, adoption of various 3D printing technologies has grown steadily - and now 3D printing has been used in tens of millions of consumer products, medical and dental devices, jet engines, and more.  Yet, a new architecture - of both the 3D printing process, and the complete productions system - is needed for true industrialization of 3D printing.  John will share this vision through the story of VulcanForms, a MIT-born company that is completing the world's highest throughput additive manufacturing facility in Devens, MA.

John Hart is Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies, and Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, at MIT. John’s research group aims to accelerate the science and technology of production, focusing on additive manufacturing, materials processing, machine design, and computational methods. John has been recognized by awards from the United States NSF, ONR, AFOSR, DARPA, SME, and ASME, along with two R&D 100 awards. He has also received the MIT Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching in Mechanical Engineering and the MIT Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, for his leadership in manufacturing education using new pedagogical models and digital resources. He is a co-founder of Desktop Metal and VulcanForms, and a Board Member of Carpenter Technology Corporation.

Ben Downing
Vice President of Public Affairs
The Engine

Description:  We have the tools to build a carbon free world, I have seen them, they have given me reason to be hopeful. Here's what we need to do to put them to work. 

Before joining The Engine, Ben Downing was Vice President of Market Development at Nexamp, a veteran-owned, Boston-based clean energy company.  There he led the firm's strategic development efforts across growing geographies and the firm's entry into the energy storage market.  Prior to this, Ben represented the State's largest Senate district while serving as State Senator for 52 communities in Western Massachusetts.  He received a BA in Political Science from Providence College and an MA from Tufts University. 

Jeremy Brisiel
Award Winning Host and Creator
Swelloquent Arts
Jeremy Brisiel_headshot (2).png
TEDx Berkshires Master of Ceremonies

JB is an award-winning creative producer, host and writer. He's innovated content that includes live events, podcasts, streaming content and broadcasts. He’s developed and delivered custom franchises including multiple original series, game shows, awards shows and a one-of-a-kind talk show. He’s collaborated with brands across multiple industries to bring all these ideas to life. With his background working with Major League Baseball Advanced Media, JB's collaborations have led to best-in-class content for streaming and broadcast. Now, he collaborates with brands of all sizes, crafting content that keeps people entertained, informed, and connected. And when the world went virtual, he applied those critical on-camera skills to a coaching and mentoring curriculum that connects speaker and audience despite geographic distance.

MCLA logo.png
1 Berkshire logo.png
2012-09-28 peda_logo.jpg
GFCU logo.png
MTF 23_PNG_logo.png
Logo_Sinicon 2.jpg
Logo_New Dalton.jpg
National Grid logo.png
Boyd Biomedical Logo - Blue with Transparent Background(Medium).png
Synagex Logo.png
HBSR Logo.png
Berkshire Eagle logo.png
bottom of page