Connect With Industry Leaders

Excel Engineering is proud to bring you our annual technical conference on April 25th, 2024, an event designed to bring professionals, clients, and business partners together for a dynamic and educational experience. Our conference is the premier event for anyone looking to advance their knowledge and skills in engineering and technology.

Attendees can attend informative workshops throughout the conference, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and network with peers and industry experts. With a focus on the latest advancements and best practices, our conference provides a platform for attendees to gain insights and knowledge that will help them stay ahead in their careers.

In addition to providing valuable education opportunities, our conference is also an opportunity for us to share knowledge with our clients and business partners. Our team of experienced professionals will be on hand to answer questions, share their experiences, and engage in productive discussions.

2023 Technical Conference Speakers

2022 Technical Conference Speakers


Thursday, April 25th 2024 Agenda

7:45 AM – 8:00 AM Check-in, Coffee & Juice

General Morning Session

8:00 AM – 8:05 AM

Welcome, Introductions, Logistics

8:05 AM – 9:00 AM 

Speaker 1

9:00 AM – 9:10 AM Refreshment/Stretch Break
9:10 AM – 10:00 AM  

Speaker 2

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM 

Speaker 3

10:50 AM – 11:00 AM  

Refreshment/Stretch Break

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Speaker 4 – demo immediately following  

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Buffet Lunch


Afternoon Sessions

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Afternoon Speaker 1

1:55 PM – 2:45 PM

Afternoon Speaker 2

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Refreshments/Stretch Break

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

Afternoon Speaker 3

3:55 PM – 4:45 PM

Afternoon Speaker 4

2024 Conference Speakers

Topic: Using Generative AI for Engineering tasks

Session: Afternoon – Industry 4.0

Hi! I’m Justin Grammens. I’m a lifelong learner, passionate about Software Development, Artificial Intelligence, and driven by giving back to the community through entrepreneurship and education. I’m the Founder and CEO of Lab651 and Recursive Awesome where I help companies successfully launch mobile, web, and Artificial Intelligence applications using our talented team and proven process. I am the creator, producer, and host of the Applied AI Podcast, Meetup, and Conference which allows me to interview and host some of the world’s leading experts on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. I am a co-founder of the 501(c)(3) non-profit Emerging Technologies North and an Adjunct Professor teaching graduate-level IoT and Machine Learning classes at the University of Saint Thomas.

Justin Grammens

Founder and CEO
Lab651 and Recursive Awesome

Jingdong Sun

Senior Technical Staff Member and Master Inventor

Topic: Digital Transformation and AI

Session: Afternoon – Industry 4.0

Jingdong Sun holds the position of Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM) and is recognized as a Master Inventor at IBM and is currently serving as the Architect for IBM watsonX Orders. With over 20 years in technology, product development, leadership, and architecture, Jingdong has successfully constructed software platforms, products, and services, leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as real-time data processing, data-oriented architecture and computing, hybrid cloud Infrastructure and platforms, and AI/ML.

Topic: Electrification and Electromagnetic Compliance

Session: Afternoon – Electrical Engineering

Prior to joining the Technological Leadership Institute, Travis was a White House Fellow charged with developing and executing export content policy for transformational technologies and coordinated economic diplomacy outreach as part of the Abraham Accords. These efforts helped to facilitate 27 billion dollars in export credits to American manufacturers and yielded Memorandums of Understanding with the governments of Oman and Sudan.

Travis previously served as Dean of Technology at Minnesota State College Southeast. There, he and his team of 35 faculty reimagined technology education. This included the Rural Advanced Manufacturing Education Hub, deploying applied engineering education to regional high schools; the Advanced Manufacturing Infrastructure Initiative, raising over $1M to build rapid prototyping labs; and the world’s first Bicycle Design and Fabrication degree, bridging the gap between Generation Z and the world of practical engineering. Travis is also a reserve Coast Guard Commander and the managing partner of 2T2J, Inc.

Travis Thul, PE

Senior Fellow and Director of Operations
University of Minnesota

Joel Lemke, PE

Senior Business Development Manager

Topic: Wireless Sensing Technology to Enable Improved Plant Health

Session: Afternoon – Controls & Automation

Joel Lemke is Senior Business Development Manager for Pervasive Sensing at Emerson.  In this capacity, he is responsible for the proper application of wireless technology to improve plant health, mainly in the areas of safety, reliability, energy and sustainability.  He has over 30 years of experience in the application of pressure, flow and acoustic measurements, with an emphasis on utility systems.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, is an AEE Certified Energy Manager, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Minnesota.

Topic: Industrial Data Operations

Session: Afternoon – Controls & Automation

Tom Steffen is a Senior Solution Consultant at Rockwell Automation. Tom has over 40 years of professional experience in Automation and Information Systems, working to help customers achieve their goals. His expertise includes automation, process, drive, motion, information and analytics systems. At Rockwell, he is primarily focused on Digital Transformation and Operation improvements utilizing information Technologies.

Tom Steffen

Senior Solution Consultant
Rockwell Automation

Roger Horak, PE

Technical Design Engineer

Topic: MV Digital Metal-Clad Switchgear – increased reliability and safety

Session: Afternoon – Electrical Engineering

Roger Horak has a BSEE degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  He has over 28 years of experience in the electrical power industry primarily in low voltage and medium voltage power system designs.  This experience is complimented with a strong background in control systems and numerous protective relaying schemes with a considerable amount of his career spent with generator paralleling switchgear systems.  Other work experience includes working as a switchgear and controls specialist on a data center design team, leading projects through UL testing at high current labs and NETA testing.  He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Minnesota.

Topic: Using AI for Anomaly Detection

Session: Afternoon – Industry 4.0

Mitch graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Mitch has been involved in controls and automation engineering projects and services since 2015 as a controls engineer, with the majority of his experience in the Biotech, Life Sciences, and Gas Storage & Distribution processes. He is an expert in ISA-88 Batch Control. He is leading Excel Engineering’s AI services for anomaly detection and process optimization.

Mitch Cleveland

Consultant, Automation & Controls – Life Sciences

Excel Engineering

Carla Vita

Director of Energy Transition

MN – Employment and Economic Development

Topic: Minnesota’s Energy Transition in Power Plant Communities

Session: Morning General

Carla is the Director of Energy Transition for the Department of Employment and Economic Development with the State of MN. Carla started in 2022 creating the department. This is a relatively new department created by the MN State Legislature and Governor to assist the communities, counties and workers impacted by electric generating power plant closures. Prior to joining the State of MN, Carla worked in local government. Carla has won a MN Planning award, MN Economic Development Association Award, among others for past projects. She also sits as Chair on a nonprofit board, vice-chair on a community advisory board, and volunteers in a variety of ways. Carla has her undergrad from the U of ND and Master’s from MN State Mankato.

Topic: Ultra High Pressure Fire Suppression

Session: Morning General

Doug has been involved with Business Ownership, Development and Sales for 30 years. His experiences range from business start-ups to Distribution, Brand Development, Territory Sales management, and Division management.
His strengths lie in finding those new technologies and tipping points that drive new sales and distribution. He does this through his relationships, creative ideas and tenacity.
He understands the need for efficiency to gain ROI as a result of operating his own profitable businesses.
Doug has degrees in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Minnesota. He has continued his education with Sales & Leadership courses through Dale Carnegie.

Doug Eno

Director of Sales and Marketing

K3 Fire

Jeremy Newbold

Managing Director

Project Consulting Group

Topic: Unleashing Business Agility: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Agile, Data, and AI

Session: Morning General

Jeremy Newbold serves as Managing Director at Project Consulting Group (PCG), a distinguished business and technology consulting firm based in the Twin Cities, known for its 25-year track record of achieving client success. Jeremy’s expertise lies in collaborating closely with clients to comprehend their unique challenges and devising bespoke solutions that align with their strategic needs. He is instrumental in steering comprehensive project deliveries and spearheading the Artificial Intelligence Practice at PCG, a testament to his visionary leadership in harnessing innovative technologies for business agility.

With over two decades of experience, Jeremy has been at the forefront of driving transformative change across various sectors, including financial services, healthcare, and consumer packaged goods. His adept leadership and strategic acumen have been pivotal in navigating complex transformations, underpinning his commitment to delivering exceptional value and outcomes for clients.


Topic: Boosting OEE – Unleashing the Power of Predictive Maintenance

Session: Morning General

Toni Etten is an Information Solutions Architect at Van Meter with over two decades of experience in discrete manufacturing, specializing in configuring custom solutions to improve reliability and throughput while decreasing downtime in production environments. Before Van Meter, she worked at a discrete manufacturer in the construction industry in multiple roles, including controls, quality, and software engineering, and business applications specialist.

Toni Etten

Information Solutions Architect

Van Meter

Michael Sanford

Energy Policy Leader

Cummins, Inc.

Topic: Emergency Power System Fundamentals of Installation and Application

Afternoon – Electrical Engineering: Morning General

Michael serves as Cummins Business Development Manager for North America within the New Energy Solutions team while also managing Federal and state energy policy related to microgrids and distributed energy resources. He has over 12 years of experience in the power generation industry having started his career with MTU Onsite Energy in 2012 and joining Cummins in 2014. He has served Cummins in a variety of roles including having led the North America Sales Application Engineering organization, the Technical Marketing team and most recently served as the US Energy Policy Manager and Product Strategy and Sales Enablement Leader for Cummins Sales and Service, North America. Mike also serves the Electrical Generating Systems Association (EGSA) as an Executive Director and is actively engaged in a number of energy trade organizations.

Michael Munson

Director, Sales Application Engineering

Cummins, Inc.

Topic: Emergency Power System Fundamentals of Installation and Application

Afternoon – Electrical Engineering: Morning General

Mike is the Director of Sales Application Engineering for Northern Region within the Cummins Sales and Service organization. Mike leads a group of eight Sales Application Engineers covering 26 states in the Midwest and Eastern part of the US. Mike started his career in 1989 in the electrical distribution industry working for an independent switchgear manufacturer. Mike has held several positions since joining Cummins in 2004. He has served as a Regional Sales Manager for the Power Electronics group of Cummins Power Generation and as a Territory Manager for Cummins Power Generation covering Canada before taking on his current role. Outside of work, Mike enjoys outdoor activities, gardening, skiing, and travelling.

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