Blockland in Cleveland Adds Speakers to December Conference


CLEVELAND, OHIO, Sept. 21, 2018Blockland, a community-wide movement to establish a blockchain ecosystem in Cleveland, Ohio, and put the region at the forefront of blockchain thought leadership, today announced the addition of 19 speakers to the lineup for the inaugural Blockland Solutions Conference, which is scheduled to take place at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland from Dec. 1-4, 2018. Registration is open and an early bird registration rate of $595 is available until September 28. Sponsors of the Blockland Solutions conference include Cuyahoga County, Ownum and Destination Cleveland.

In addition to daily keynote presentations, the conference content will include concurrent tracks of Learning Block sessions in various verticals including banking, finance, insurance, healthcare, government, legal, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, emerging technologies and venture capital as well as workshops and meetups.

“Cleveland is serious about creating a blockchain ecosystem in which companies will want to build their businesses, and the speakers we’ve lined up for the inaugural Blockland Solutions Conference illustrate that” said Steven Santamaria, co-chair of the Blockland Thought Leadership node and CEO of Folio Photonics. “We already have nearly 30 respected thought leaders. The keynote presenters combined with the speakers for the learning sessions, workshops, meetups and block study presentations will ensure that attendees get a clear understanding of how blockchain technology can solve problems for organizations and government entities, as well as have a positive effect on the everyday lives of citizens.”

Confirmed keynote speakers include Nick Szabo, cryptocurrency and blockchain innovator; Joseph Lubin, founder of Consensus Systems (ConsenSys) and co-founder of Ethereum; Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia; and Alex Tapscott, author of “Blockchain Revolution” and co-founder of Blockchain Research Institute. Newly announced presenters for sessions taking place throughout the conference are:

Blockchain 101 Workshop

Thamim Ahmed, Entrepreneur in Residence, UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies  Thamim Ahmed works at the world leading Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London (UCL CBT) on key fintech initiatives, from designing solutions for central banks and governmental institutions to advising SME’s on building technical capabilities of their blockchain applications. Thamim has a background as a physicist and specializes as a software engineer.

 Women in Blockchain Meetup

Hilary Carter, MSc CBP, Managing Director, Blockchain Research Institute  Hilary Carter is Managing Director at the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), a multimillion dollar think-tank. At the BRI, Hilary is responsible for the program’s operations and research deliverables. As Director of Research, she built a team of thought leaders and subject matter experts in blockchain technology to conduct the definitive investigation into blockchain applications, strategy, and use cases. Hilary’s career began in financial services then her career pivoted to digital technology where she focused on mobile communications and digital media consulting, working with the C-Suite. Her writing on digital transformation has been featured in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, on topics such as digital leadership, authoritative branding, and most recently, blockchain technology. Hilary is a graduate of the London School of Economics and holds the Certified Bitcoin Professional designation.

Learning Block Breakout Sessions

Jason Barkeloo, Chairman & Founder, Open Therapeutics – Jason Barkeloo has 34 years of experience as an entrepreneur, researcher, investor, and educator. He began his career as a U.S. Army air defense operations and intelligence assistant. After his military service and five years of teaching, Jason became an entrepreneur and launched a number of startups including TouchSmart Publishing, Somatic Digital and Pilus Energy. His current effort is Open Therapeutics, an open science company that crowdsources orphan therapeutic intellectual properties (IP) to the global scientific community, particularly the underserved scientists in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The blockchain-enabled collaboration platform is that is currently in alpha testing. His is also currently involved with Knowbella Tech, an open science effort crowdsourcing dormant non-therapeutic IP to researchers around the world. Knowbella Tech will provide Helix tokens (cryptocurrency) based upon Ethereum blockchain to the researchers who collaborate within the Knowbella Platform.

Edward Chan, Managing Director, Innova PFM, LLC – Dr. Chan has over 30 years of international industrial experience. He has a demonstrated record of accomplishments in U.S., European, and Asian markets with extensive experience in food, medical devices, filtration, composites, military packaging, automotive, nanotechnology, renewable materials and energy, building products, nonwovens, consumer and industrial products. Dr. Chan received his Bachelor of Science with honor in Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology. He graduated from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in the same field. He spent most of his career with Fortune 500 companies, including DuPont, James River (now Georgia Pacific) and International Paper. His roles progressed from process engineer, research scientist, research manager, product development manager, Director of R&D, Director of Marketing and New Business Development, Vice President of R&D and QA and Executive Vice President. He now leads an executive-led M&A investment for family offices and serves as board advisor to Knowbella Tech.

Hilary Carter, MSc CBP, Managing Director, Blockchain Research Institute  See above.

Dawn Dickson, Founder & CEO, PopCom – Dawn Dickson is the Founder & CEO of PopCom, an automated retail company that uses facial recognition, AI and blockchain technology to help retailers collect valuable customer insights. The first CRM, data, and analytics software provider for unattended retail, PopCom has developed technology to make kiosks and vending machines intelligent through data and analytics at the point of purchase. As a serial entrepreneur with over 16 years of experience in marketing and business development, Dawn has launched four successful cash flow positive companies since 2002. Her most recent ventures include Flat Out of Heels and PopCom, after identifying a need to make vending machines more intelligent. Dawn received her B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University. Additionally, Dawn was selected to participate in some of the nation’s top accelerator programs for entrepreneurs including the NewME (San Francisco), Canopy Boulder (Boulder, Colorado) and Techstars (Los Angeles) and is recognized as one of the nation’s top entrepreneurs on the rise.

Bob Eckman, Security Principal, MCPc, Inc.  Bob Eckman is an Adjunct Professor teaching cyber security for Kent State University’s School of Digital Science where, in 2016, he was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award and recognized by the Ohio State Senate for his achievements in the classroom. Bob also serves as an Adjunct and as the Executive Director of Cleveland State University’s Marshall Law College’s Center for Cyber and Privacy. Bob’s career background includes serving as the Cyber Security Program Manager for FirstEnergy’s Nuclear division. In addition to cyber security, Bob is an experienced technologist and project/program management specialist having served in a leadership capacity in IT for over 25 years for Progressive, FirstEnergy Corp., and Shearer’s Foods in addition to non-profit experience with Oriana House, Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1997, master’s degree with a concentration in Technology in 2007, holds an active PMP Certification, and is an active member of ISC2 where he also holds his CISSP Certification. 

Chris Ferris, Distinguished Engineer & CTO Open Technology, IBM  Chris Ferris has been involved in the architecture, design, and engineering of distributed systems for most of his 37+ year career and actively engaged in open standards and open source development since 1999. Responsible for IBM's overall open source and open standards strategy and execution, Chris is focused on IBM's engagement with the Hyperledger project and working to ensure its success. He is also responsible for technical oversight and leadership in OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Cloud Native Compute Foundation, Open Container Initiative, Mesos, Docker and more. Chris leads a team of engineers who are contributing to a number of the OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Mesos, CNCF, OCI, Node.js, Hyperledger and Docker projects, to name a few. He works across IBM to drive adoption of these technologies. He also serves on the Board of the Hyperledger project and was twice elected Chair of the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee. Chris is also a contributor and maintainer on the Hyperledger Fabric project.

Adam Gall, Co-Founder & CTO, decent – Adam Gall is an experienced computer engineer & software developer and co-founder of decent, a software development and consultancy firm specializing in blockchain technology in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2016, Adam finally had his “aha” moment and realized how blockchains are much more than just technical systems. Blockchains are social systems. He created Crypto Cleveland in March 2017, which through grassroots educational efforts and minimal marketing has grown to over 800 members and counting, including miners, investors, developers, students, lawyers, educators, doctors, advisors, and curious people alike. In early 2017, Adam met his future co-founder Parker McCurley, and they formed decent in May 2017, creating a niche market in the industry where they have developed products for an array of clients, including biometrically enabled smart-contracts, novel new proof-of-work hashing algorithms, and tokenizable renewable energy systems. Adam has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Greg Harris, President & CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame  Greg Harris is in his sixth year as President and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The Museum is 23 years old, has welcomed 12 million visitors, and has had an economic impact of over $2.2 billion to the region. As CEO, he has guided the organization through an era of unprecedented transformation with a focus on innovation to drive growth. Under his leadership the Museum has significantly increased attendance, revenue, fan engagement and community impact in fulfillment of their mission to “engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll.” In the 1980s, he and a partner founded, owned and operated the legendary Philadelphia Record Exchange, a retail store that specializes in selling rare, used and independent records. The store mirrored and amplified his love of soul, blues, country, folk, punk and other forms of rock. A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he holds a B.A. in history from Temple University and an M.A. from the Cooperstown Graduate Program for History and Museum Studies.

Susan Joseph, Blockchain Consultant  Susan Joseph is a high energy, trusted, innovative strategic JD/MBA Blockchain Consultant and former General Counsel who can strategize, build and lead blockchain working groups, consortia and nfps. She is the North America Representative for the B3i Insurance Consortium, advises Fortune 500 and other global companies as well as startups on blockchain and insurance, identity, financial services, supply chain, real estate and humanitarian concerns. She is a founding member and Executive Director of the Diversity Blockchain Group (DiB) that was incubated by MIT. She sits on the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Identity Working Group and is a member of both the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and the Chamber of Digital Commerce. She writes and speaks on blockchain and has guest lectured on fintech to Cornell undergrads. She also founded and runs the womeninfintech group on LinkedIn which has approximately 2,000 members in 47 countries.

Nina Kilbride, Chief Commercial Officer, Monax Nina Kilbride is Chief Commercial Officer at Monax and leads its legal engineering team. She is an experienced former commercial lawyer who combines logical, automated processes with technology to create innovative legal products. Her mission is to translate the functional tools of law into smart contracts that support the networked economy. Monax empowers developers to embrace participatory software architecture via distributed computing and smart contract systems using a toolklit of blockchains, smart contracts and legal engineering.

Pete Martin, Founder & CEO, Votem  Pete Martin is the Founder & CEO of Votem, a blockchain-based mobile voting company, and he is the author of the upcoming book, "Sparking a Mobile Revolution; How Mobile Voting Will Change the World as We Know It,” scheduled for release in late 2018. His four previous start-up exits generated an average return to investors of 14 times invested capital. Previously, he was the Founder & CEO of Kompliant Software, a trade compliance software firm and Co-Founder and & CEO of EntryPoint Consulting, an SAP Systems Integration Company which was sold to KPMG. Pete has spent his career in technology-related businesses including as EVP of Worldwide Operations for Marketswitch Corp, Vice President at SAP America and sales positions with IBM. Involved with blockchain technology since 2015, he is a sought-after speaker on topics related to the use of blockchain technology in various use cases including corporate and political governance.

Mark Stephen Meadows, Founder & CEO, and Co-Founder & Trustee, – Mark Stephen Meadows is an American author, inventor, artist, and entrepreneur. With 18 years in AI, 22 in VR, and 7 years in blockchain he has designed and developed AI applications at some of the world’s top research labs including Xerox-PARC and SRI. In 2017, Mark co-founded Seed Vault, Ltd, a nonprofit dedicated to building a blockchain-driven platform and marketplace for companies, developers, and individuals to create, sell, and use conversational AI interfaces for bots. Since 2011, Mark has led, which is pioneering the development of AI, blockchain, and conversational interfaces for bots in finance, healthcare, and other industries. Botanic customers include Fortune 100 companies, three government agencies, and startups around the globe. Mark is the author of four books and eight patents related to social robotics, AI, avatars and blockchain.

Panos Panay, Vice President for Innovation & Strategy, Berklee College of Music – Panos Panay leads strategic initiatives at Berklee College of Music and also serves as the founding managing director of the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE). For BerkleeICE, he spearheaded the founding of the Open Music Initiative, which brings together over 170 leading music, media, technology industry organizations and academic institutions to create an open protocol for uniform identification of music rights owners. Prior to Berklee, Panos was the founder and CEO of Sonicbids, where he created the leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online. Earlier in his career he was an international talent agent for artists such as Chick Corea and Pat Metheny.

Mark Pohlkamp, CEO, Knowbella Tech  Mark launched his career as a mechanical and aerospace engineer for Boeing Airplane Company. He has over 20 years of technology sales and start-up experience. They include an Autodesk spin-off (engineering collaboration tools) and a start-up (research and science reference tools) acquired by Elsevier. Most recently he helped launch and exit a healthcare IT recruiting & staffing firm that achieved $60 million in revenues in four years. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to the University of Missouri where he earned his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and went on to earn his MBA at Xavier University.

Jon Schlinkert, CEO, Sellside  As an entrepreneur, Jon Schlinkert founded several companies including Auralinx, Transactive, and most recently Sellside, a b2b omni-channel market network. In 2013, after spending nearly 20 years as a data-driven marketing-focused entrepreneur, Jon started learning how to program. Less than 12 months later, Jon was listed in "Open Source at Scale" as the #8 contributor to Open Source Software in the world. As a full-stack software engineer, Jon has authored and published more than 1,400 open source software projects that are downloaded more than 2.2 billion times a month and are used by millions of developers and teams in every country around the world. Jon's code is used by NASA, GitHub, LinkedIn,, Alibaba, Microsoft, Google, Target, IBM, Veritas, Apple, Facebook, Airbus,, BBC, and the Canadian Federal Government and many others. Jon has been listed as the "top trending developer" on GitHub, was named "Top Maintainer" for Node.js, and is currently ranked as the #2 developer in Node.js based on total monthly downloads of his projects.

Joel Telpner, Partner, Sullivan & Worchester LLP  Joel Telpner, a partner in Sullivan & Worcester’s New York office, is a sought-after legal advisor in the blockchain space, actively working with a large number of clients in structuring token distributions and enterprise blockchain applications. Joel brings more than 30 years of legal experience in a career that includes time as an AmLaw 100 partner, the former U.S. general counsel of a global financial institution and a venture capitalist. Joel is leading policy initiatives on global regulatory issues for blockchain on behalf of the Global Blockchain Business Council and the BRI. He is also a member of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance’s Legal Working Group, which is developing guidance on best practices for ICOs. Joel gave the keynote speech "ICOs – Best Practices" at the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Central in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018. He represents a diverse client base, including financial institutions, top 10 crypto-currencies, governments, corporations, investment managers, mutual and hedge funds, and pension plans.

Shane Tews, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute  Shane Tews is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she works primarily on cybersecurity and internet governance issues. She is also president of Logan Circle Strategies, where she focuses on information and communication technology and cybersecurity policy issues. Previously, Shane managed internet security and digital commerce issues as vice president of global policy for Verisign Inc. She began her career in the George H. W. Bush White House as a deputy associate director in the Office of Cabinet Affairs and later moved to Capitol Hill as a legislative director for a member of Congress. She studied communications at Arizona State University and American University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis on communications and political science.

Mark Yusko, CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Morgan Creek Capital Management, LLC – Mark Yusko is CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment adviser formed in July 2004 to provide investment management services based on the University Endowment Model of investing to wealthy families, individuals and institutional investors. Morgan Creek currently has $1.6 billion in assets under advisement in non-discretionary accounts and discretionary funds. Prior to Morgan Creek, Mark served as Chief Investment Officer for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked as Senior Investment Director for the University of Notre Dame Investment Office. Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from the University of Chicago.


Cleveland is building a blockchain technology ecosystem called Blockland. This unprecedented, community-wide movement puts Cleveland at the forefront of blockchain thought leadership as developers, business leaders, government representatives, entrepreneurs, philanthropic organizations and universities collaborate to explore and accelerate the adoption and growth of this disruptive technology. In August 2018, a first-of-its-kind partnership between Cleveland-based JumpStart Inc. and the Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) became reality as JumpStart joined BRI on behalf of the entire Northeast Ohio region. The membership allows JumpStart to provide Greater Cleveland entrepreneurs and existing businesses valued under $1 billion with access at no charge to BRI’s 80 groundbreaking research projects. Visit for more information.

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