Past Speakers

​​​​​​​​ciWeek has established a precedent of bringing inspired individuals to the stage. The following speakers are just a sampling of the incredible, creative, impressive minds that have shared their visions at ciWeek!

 

A

Anderson, Clayton
NASA Astronaut

B

Bean, Alan
NASA Astronaut 
Bell, Deanne
Engineer and TV Host
Berger, Howard
Emmy and Academy Award-Winning Makeup and Visual Effects Artist
Berman, David
Actor and Owner of Entertainment Research
Beyer, Danny
Author and Keynote Speaker
Brooks, Max
Best-Selling Author and “Zombie Expert”
Burton, LeVar
Actor and Producer
Byron, Kari
MythBusters Host

C

Calandrelli, Emily
Aeronautics Engineer and Host of Xploration Outer Space
Carroll, Adam
Author, Documentarist and Speaker
Cernan, Gene
NASA Astronaut 

D

Dolby, Thomas
Musician, Producer and Entrepreneur
Draper, Mike
Founder of RAYGUN

E

Eakin, Tom
Author and Cultural Expert

G

Gable, Dan
Olympic Gold Medalist and University of Iowa Wrestling Head Coach
Gaeta, John
Creative Director and Award-Winning Visual Effects Designer
Gallo, Dr. David
Oceanographer 
Ghanem, Dr. Salma
Professor and Dean at DePaul University

H

Herr, Dr. Hugh
Biophysicist
Hickam, Homer
Best-Selling Author and Aerospace Engineer
Hinck, Col. John
Retired Army Colonel and Author

I

Imahara, Grant
MythBusters Team Member

J

Jorgeson, Kevin
World-Renowned Rock Climber

K

Kiesau, Jason
Author and Consultant​​

L

Lee, Cassie
Aerospace Engineer

M

Matthews, Jessica
Co-founder of Uncharted Play
Matthews, Mitch
Dream Coach and Author of “Ignite!”
Mattingly II, Thomas Kenneth (Ken)
Apollo 16 Astronaut and Aerospace Innovator
Maytag, Fritz
Entrepreneur and Craft Brewing Pioneer
McCann, Dr. Niall
Explorer and TV Host
Mullady, Kaila
Beatbox Champion and Artist

P

Paustian, Dr. Anthony
Founder of ciWeek, Author and Educator 
Poor, Dr. Gene
Founder of LifeFormations and Professor of Entrepreneurship 

R

Russell, Greg
Oscar-Nominated Sound Engineer

S

Seager, Dr. Sara
Planetary Scientist and Astrophysicist
Siepker, Scott
Actor and “Iowa Nice Guy”
Silverman, Julia
Co-founder of Uncharted Play

T

Timmer, Dr. Reed
Meteorologist and Tornado Chaser

W

Wellner, Jon
Actor and Owner of Entertainment Research
Worden, Alfred (Al)
Apollo 15 Astronaut and Aerospace Engineer
Wozniak, Steve
Co-founder of Apple​​




Steve Wozniak Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple

Currently the Chief Scientist at Primary Data, “Woz” is best known as the co-founder of Apple and has ascended to the status of an American tech pioneer icon. He has been awarded the ​National Medal of Technology and the Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment, and has bee​n inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame. Woz is also an avid philanthropist with a focus on education and youth.

Wozniak at ciWeek 2012




Daymond John Daymond John, CEO FUBU

Most recognized for his starring role on the ABC hit show, Shark Tank, John is an entrepren​eurial force in the fashion industry. Additionally, he’s a motivational speaker, best-selling author and successful investor. 

 

Alan Bean Alan Bean, NASA Astronaut 

As an astronaut, Bean pushed the boundaries of exploration on Apollo 12 and Skylab Mission II. Bean was the fourth man to set foot on the moon. A retired naval captain, Bean is now an innovative painter who uses moon dust, lunar tools and spacecraft bits to create his works of art. 

 

Gene Cernan ​Gene Cernan, NASA Astronaut 

The distinguished astronaut who traversed space on the Gemini IX, Apollo 10 and Apollo 17 missions was the last man to leave footprints on the moon. After retiring as a naval captain with more than 20 years service, Cernan founded The Cernan Corporation and authored the book, The Last Man on the Moon, among other endeavors.​

Thomas DolbyThomas Dolby, Musician, Producer and Entrepreneur

The English music producer and artist topped the charts in ’80s with the hits, “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!” Dolby has founded companies that innovate tech with music including Headspace (Beatnik) and Retro ​Ringtones. He’s acted as the Music Director of The TED Conference since 2001 and is a Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University. 

Dolby at ciWeek 2015


Grant ImaharaGrant Imahara, MythBusters Team Member

Imahara is most recognized from the Discovery Channel program, MythBusters, but most of the incredibly talented electrical engineer’s claims to fame are behind the camera. He’s made movie magic happen on famous films including the three Star Wars prequels, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Matrix sequels and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Imahara at ciWeek 2013

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Kari ByronKari Byron, MythBusters Host

Byron is the friendly face of reality-based science TV shows including Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, Science Channel’s Head Rush, and Travel Cha​nnel’s Thrill Factor. She is also a sculptor and painter.   

 

Dr. David GalloDr. David Gallo, Oceanographer 

The renowned oceanographer has explored the depths of all the world’s oceans. He was a co-leader in creating a comprehensive map of the Titanic with the technology of manned submersibles and robots. Additionally he co-led the discovery of the remains of Air France flight 447 and documentation of Ernest Shackleton’s sunken ship, Endurance. Gallo has also given numerous TED Talks and has appeared as an expert in multiple documentaries and TV shows. 

 

Levar Burton LeVar Burton, Actor and Producer

Burton is beloved host and executive producer of one of the longest-running PBS kids’ shows, Reading Rainbow. One of his biggest roles as an actor was his first—Kunta Kinte in ABC’s award-winning series, Roots—in addition to his role on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Burton at ciWeek 2014

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​​​​​​​​​​​​ Dr. Sara SeagerDr. Sara Seager, Planetary Scientist and Astrophysicist

Professor Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT who has led groundbreaking research (as well as space instrumentation and missions) on the topic of exoplanet atmospheres. She is currently working on finding a true Earth twin. Seager earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University, was one of Time magazine's “25 Most Influential in Space” in 2012, and was a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. 

 

Dr. Hugh HerrDr. Hugh Herr, Biophysicist

Herr leads the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab and is developing bionic limbs that copy the functions of normal limbs. As a double amputee, he’s designed his own bionic legs that feature the first bionic foot and calf system, called BiOM. The award-winning professor was named the “Leader of the Bionic Age” by Time magazine. 

 

Clayton Anderson Clayton Anderson, NASA Astronaut

Anderson was a member of the Expedition 15 crew and spent 152 days on board the International Space Station, followed by a large resupply mission to the International Space Station. Anderson has been not just to the lands beyond the atmosphere, but the world below the ocean’s surface; he worked as an aquanaut on the NEEMO 5 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory. 

 

Dr. Niall McCannDr. Niall McCann, Explorer and TV Host

McCann is a true modern-day global explorer; he’s biked the Himalayas, climbed giant walls, rowed the Atlantic and canoed the Yukon River. As a conservationist and biologist, he’s explored remote parts of the globe on gripping expeditions. McCann hosted National Geographic Wild’s “Biggest & Baddest,” which followed him and his adventures in exotic, dangerous locales. 

Cassie LeeCassie Lee, Aerospace Engineer

Lee is currently a director at Vulcan Aerospace and has built up an impressive career as an aerospace engineer at Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Space System, and propulsion engineer for NASA. 

 

Dr. Anthony PaustianDr. Anthony Paustian, Founder of ciWeek, Author and Educator 

As the Provost of DMACC West, Paustian created a technology-focused college campus from scratch. He founded Celebrate! Innovation Week and is a publishing entrepreneur and founder of BookPress Publishing; Paustian has authored multiple books including his most recent Beware the Purple People Eaters: A Personal Look at Leadership.

 

Dr. Reed TimmerDr. Reed Timmer, Meteorologist and Tornado Chaser

Timmer is an experienced, avid tornado chaser and trained meteorologist who has educated and informed as the host of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers and the web series, Tornado Chasers

 

Homer HickamHomer Hickam, Best-Selling Author and Aerospace Engineer

After serving in the Vietnam War, Hickam returned home and worked as writer for various publications in addition to his main jobs as an engineer for the U.S. Army Missile Command and then as an aerospace engineer for NASA. His best-selling novel, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, inspired the Universal Pictures film, October Sky

 

Emily CalandrelliEmily Calandrelli, Aeronautics Engineer and Host of Xploration Outer Space

With her background in aeronautics and engineering, Calandrelli is the talented producer and host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. She’s a regular space industry writer for TechCrunch and is an avid speaker on topics that include scientific literacy and space exploration; she is passionate about inspiring females to pursue STEM careers.

 

Howard Berger Howard Berger, Emmy and Academy Award-Winning Makeup and Visual Effects Artist

Berger is an Academy Award and Emmy-winning makeup and visual effects artist who has worked on more than 200 films since 1977. Of his credits, The Walking Dead and The Chronicles of Narnia are among the most popular. He’s the co-founder of KNB EFX Group, which specializes in prosthetic make-up. 

 

Scott SiepkerScott Siepker, Actor and “Iowa Nice Guy”

Siepker, AKA “Iowa Nice Guy,” is comfortable both onstage and behind the camera as a producer, writer, comedian, filmmaker and actor; he co-founded Iowa Filmmakers. 

 

Phil HansenPhil Hansen, Artist

A self-taught artist, Hansen perpetuates his unique style of art by embracing his personal and universal limitations through using unconventional materials and canvasses to create his pieces. He published a book in 2012, Tattoo a Banana, and is a regular public speaker who challenges his audiences to spark their creativity by thinking “inside the box.”  

 

Jon Wellner and David BermanJon Wellner & David Berman, Actors and Owners of Entertainment Research

Veteran CSI actors (among other credits) Wellner and Berman serve as the co-presidents of Entertainment Research Consultants (ERC), which has provided critical research, data and information that is incorporated into the plots for more than 20 films and TV shows such as the CSI franchise, Bones and The Blacklist

 

Mike DraperMike Draper, Founder of RAYGUN

Draper is a Des Moines native and when he went off to college he started making and selling clever t-shirts. Returning to Des Moines, he brought his business back with him. Since RAYGUN’s opening in 2005, Draper’s business has only grown, expanded its headquarters in Des Moines’ East Village, and added two more locations in Cedar Rapids and Kansas City.

 

Dr. Salma GhanemDr. Salma Ghanem, Professor and Dean at DePaul University

 

 

Colonel John HinckCol. John Hinck, Retired Army Colonel and Author

Hinck is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with more than 22 years of military experience. Following his Army experience, he founded a leadership and organizational practices consultancy, Strength and Honor Solutions. Hinck is an avid public speaker, penned the book Strength and Honor and teaches collegiate communication courses. 

 

Deanne Bell Deanne Bell, Engineer and TV Host

After earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering, designing mechanics for military aircraft and engineering CAD software, she became the co-host of the popular children’s show, Design Squad. She’s also hosted shows on ESPN, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and DIY Network. On top of these credentials she founded Future Engineers in 2014 and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation. 

 

Dr. Gene PoorDr. Gene Poor, Founder of LifeFormations and Professor of Entrepreneurship 

Dr. Poor is an excellent representative of what it means to be an entrepreneur and educator. He brings 40 years of business experience from having founded entities that include multimedia software and popular restaurants to his role as Hamilton Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bowling Green State University. One of his more recent investments was in founding LifeFormations, a leading company in the creation and evolution of animatronics used in museums, theme parks and other venues.

 

Jessica Matthews and Julia SilvermanJessica Matthews & Julia Silverman, Co-founders of Uncharted Play

As the founders of Uncharted Play, Matthews and Silverman approach their social enterprise with a clear vision to disarm social hardships through inspiring playful, active lives. Uncharted Play designs and manufactures custom micro-generating systems that use kinetic energy to create power for other needs, such as charging a cell phone or powering a lightbulb; the business partners with manufacturers to integrate into preexisting products. Uncharted Play has seen remarkable success and grew out of Matthews’ initial invention in Harvard Business School of the Soccket, a micro-generator soccer ball. 

 

Adam CarrollAdam Carroll, Author, Documentarist and Speaker

Carroll is an acclaimed speaker and writer of The Money-Savvy Student and Winning the Money Game, used in classrooms as a text for financial literacy. Carroll also wrote, produced and crowd-funded the documentary on student loan debt, Broke, Busted, and Disgusted.

 

Mitch MatthewsMitch Matthews (Dream Coach and Author of “Ignite!”)

Matthews began the “BIG Dream Gathering” back in 2006 with just his family and friends, but since then it has evolved into something much greater in the form of a conference that Matthews and his team take to university campuses, conferences and community events. He’s also created a coach-training program and is hired to speak as an expert on coaching and workplace mentoring. You can read Matthews’ writing in the book, Ignite!, and listen to him on his weekly podcast, “DREAM. THINK. DO.” 

 

John GaetaJohn Gaeta, Creative Director and Award-Winning Visual Effects Designer

As a creative director and visual effects designer, Gaeta turns the surreal and the magical into something that looks very real. His special effects work won an Academy Award for the Matrix Trilogy. Gaeta’s focus is now dedicated to interactive media experimentation with tactics such as virtual cinema, sensor-based human interfaces and immersive theaters at Industrial Light & Magic’s xLab.

 

Fritz MaytagFritz Maytag, Entrepreneur and Craft Brewing Pioneer

Maytag is a diversified food entrepreneur and considered a pioneer in the field of craft brewing. He’s the former owner of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company, founder and chairman of the board of Maytag Dairy Farms, and owner of York Creek Vineyards in California. 

 

Mary Kay ShanleyMary Kay Shanley, Author 

Shanley is a respected author with extensive experiences as a storyteller, essayist, journalist and historian. She has written 10 books across multiple genres and has been named an Iowa Author of the Year. Shanley inspires others’ creativity through sponsoring and directing writing groups and workshops. 

 

Danny Beyer Danny Beyer, Author and Keynote Speaker

Easily recognized by his signature bowtie, Beyer is an author of the book, The Ties That Bind, and keynote speaker about connection-building and networking. He also co-founded the Bow Tie Ball in 2013, which has successfully raised tens of thousands of dollars for Young Variety charity.  
 

Tom EakinTom Eakin, Author and Cultural Expert

Former U.S. Army Officer Eakin founded BoomLife, LLC, and has worked with a diverse set of companies of all sizes to spur innovation, stimulate growth and create opportunities for profit in order to minimize the differences between the reality and the vision. Eakin authored Finding Success: Get What You Really Want and developed his organizational-guiding GPS Theory. 

 

Jason KiesauJason Kiesau, Author and Consultant

Kiesau is enlisted to work with established and emerging leaders across the country to help them master their “Success Skills.” He’s written three books including FOCUSED—Your Future Starts Now, and is highly engaged in leadership and development organizations in his community.  


Kevin Jorgeson​Kevin Jorgeson, World-Renowned​ Rock Climber​

In January 2015, Jorgeson stood atop El Capitan to mark the completion of a successful 19-day free-climb up the Dawn Wall of the Yosemite National Park 3,000-foot tall rock formation . . . it was one of the hardest rock climbs ever completed. The success was more than six years in the making as Jorge​son, along with climbing partner Tommy Caldwell, prepared, planned and imagined their way to the top of a dream that everyone else thought was impossible.
Twitter: @kjorgeson​

 

Alfred WordenAlfred (Al) Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut​ and Aerospace Engineer

Worden was an Air Force test pilot who became a two-time world record-holding astronaut for the first spacewalk in deep space and being the most isolated human from any other person. Both were achieved during his mission as Command Module Pilot on Apollo 15 in 1971. He is also in the small club of 24 people to have ever been to Earth’s moon.

 

Dan GableDan Gable, Olympic Gold Medalist and University of Iowa Wrestling Head Coach 

A native Iowan, Gable achieved an unprecedented wrestling career with highlights to include a prep and collegiate collective record of 182–1 and a 1972 Olympic gold medal among many other national and world wins. Gable isn't just a champion athlete himself. As a successful coach, he has personally inspired hundreds of the athletes to achieve their best. As head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa, he led his team to 15 NCAA team titles. Gable also served as the Olympic head coach three times, and was a six-time World Team head coach. Gable made the list​ of ESPN's Top 10 Coaches of All Time​.
Twitter: @dannygable

 

Thomas Kenneth Mattingly IIThomas Kenneth (Ken) Mattingly II, Apollo 16 ​Astronaut and Aerospace Innovator

Mattingly is not just an astronaut—he served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 16 to Earth’s moon—but he's also an innovative engineer, responsible for the development of the lunar backpack and space suit. Mattingly’s leadership qualified him as Commander for the final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS 4 and the first classified Department of Defense Space Shuttle mission. Mattingly was played by Gary Sinise in the movie, Apollo 13.

Kaila MulladyKaila Mullady, Beatbox Champion and Artist

​Catch beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Mullady in action, and you’re in for a one-of-a-kind, artistic performance that fuses beatboxing with poetry, rap, singing and theater. She’s the 2015 World Beatbox Champion among other well-deserved national competition titles. Based in NYC, Mullady teaches creative workshops across the country. 
Twitter: @kailamullady

 

Greg RussellGreg Russell, Oscar-Nominated Sound Engineer

Russell is one of the most respected sound engineers in the film industry. He has worked on more than 200 films and numerous TV shows such as the Transformers series, RoboCop, Skyfall, The Green Hornet, Salt, Spider-Man, National Treasure and TheDaVinci Code. Russell has been nominated for 17​ Academy Awards in the category of Best Sound and won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Film Sound Mixing in 1984. 

 

Max BrooksMax Brooks, Best-Selling Author and “Zombie Expert”

The New York Times best-selling author has sparked readers to discuss how to better prepare for crises and discover solutions around emergency responses in an unconventional way . . . through zombie-themed fiction. His books, The Z​ombie Survival Guide, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, have established Brooks as a “zombie expert” and propelled the zombie trend forward in pop culture.