d5 logo

  • 5 May 2017
  • Rice University
  • Houston, Texas, USA

d5 Keynote Speaker

d5 Speakers

d5 Panelists for "Connect the Dots" Panel Discussion

"Connect the Dots" Panel Moderator



Academic, Researcher, Writer and Entrepreneur

Vivek Wadhwa is a Fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; and Faculty and Advisor at Singularity University.  He is author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which was named by The Economist as a Book of the Year of 2012, and of Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women.

Vivek Wadhwa researches exponentially-growing technologies that are soon going to change our world. These advances – in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials – are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health, and security. They will also disrupt industries and companies which can understand and lead the disruption will be tomorrow’s leaders.

In 2012, the U.S. Government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “Outstanding American by Choice”, for his “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans”.  In September 2015, he was second on a list of “ten men worth emulating” in The Financial Times; in June 2013, he was on TIME magazine’s list of “Tech 40”, one of forty of the most influential minds in tech; and in 2012 he was named one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine.

Wadhwa lectures on subjects such as entrepreneurship and public policy; helps prepare students for the real world; and leads groundbreaking research projects.  He is an advisor to several governments; mentors entrepreneurs; and is a regular columnist for The Washington Post, and a contributor to TechCrunch, LinkedIn Influencers blog, and the American Society of Engineering Education’s Prism magazine.  Prior to joining academia in 2005, Wadhwa founded two software companies.



Riaz SiddiqiFounder & Managing Partner, Denham Capital

Riaz Siddiqi is a Founder and Managing Partner of Denham Capital and brings more than 35 years of experience to the firm in the energy and asset management fields. He is responsible for the Portfolio Services Group and is a member of the Executive Committee, Investment Committee and Valuation Committee.

Prior to joining Denham in 2004, he was President and CEO of Capstone Global Energy, and before that he held executive positions at Cinergy Capital and Trading and other Cinergy companies. Previously, he served as Manager of Market Management Research for the Electric Power Research Institute. He also served in various capacities with Georgia Power Company, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern Company, after spending some time as a project engineer in Pakistan.

Riaz Siddiqi is Chairman of the Board of the American Pakistan Foundation, and is also a member of the Board of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution.  He is a volunteer pilot for Grace Flight of America, Pilots for Patients and Veterans Airlift Command, and is a recipient of the Asia Society Houston Center’s award for leadership in business and philanthropy. He is a member of the Business Executives for National Security, an organization of private sector leaders that offer their expertise probono to the US Government on national security matters. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Mining Ventures Brazil, Endeavor Energy Holdings, LLC, and Greene’s Energy Group, all Denham portfolio companies.


Nina SimoskoPresident and CEO, NTT Innovation Institute Inc.

Nina Simosko serves as President and CEO of NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3), the prestigious Silicon Valley-based innovation center for NTT Group, one of the world’s largest ICT companies. Focused on fostering strategic innovation, NTT i3 works with established enterprise companies interested in investigating new approaches to evolving into digitally-driven businesses. Likewise, it partners with early stage digitally-native businesses looking to expand their presence and challenger advantage.

Accelerating the movement of innovation from initial idea to marketplace implementation, NTT i3 combines access to the significant global infrastructure resources, investment fund, research knowledge, and trusted long-standing customer relationships of NTT Global with its own software startup expertise and deep enterprise relationships.


Jose Olalla

Head of Business Development, BBVA Compass

José Olalla serves as the Head of Business Development at BBVA Compass. His responsibilities include marketing, consumer and business banking, payments, customer experience, channel development and business strategy. He is a member of the BBVA Compass Management Committee. Olalla has worked for BBVA for more than 24 years, initially serving in executive roles at Argentaria before it merged with BBV to form BBVA. He most recently served as the group’s Chief Information Officer of Digital Banking and has held a variety of positions in digital banking, technology and operations, commercial development and marketing, innovation and more. Olalla, who began his career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in 1989, has been cited on both sides of the Atlantic for his innovative work in banking technology.



Tony Cucolo

Major General, US Army Retired

Tony Cucolo is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Leadership Development and Veterans Affairs for the University of Texas System. In this dual capacity, his duties include leader development of all students and executive academic and medical leadership across the system, as well as responsibility for coordinating support for all veterans and military related students and employees. Additionally, he leads UT System strategic planning efforts, is the System’s liaison to the Faculty Advisory Council, and is a senior leadership coach.

Tony completed more than 35 years of service in the United States Army. Serving as a General Officer in the last eleven years of his career, he developed a remarkably unique portfolio of experience. In just the last decade, he led Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, led analysis teams in combat zones and on natural disaster recovery efforts such as Hurricane Katrina, commanded the largest Army base east of the Mississippi, developed the $35B equipment program for the Army, served as the US Army’s Chief of Public Affairs, and was most recently a college president equivalent, serving as Commandant of the US Army War College.

Tony holds a Bachelor's Degree from the US Military Academy and a Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco. Among his awards are three Distinguished Service medals, the Bronze Star, the US State Department Superior Achievement Award and the French Legion of Honor.


Susan CunninghamExecutive Vice President, EHSR, New Frontiers and Innovation

Susan M. Cunningham serves as Executive Vice President of Noble Energy, where she is responsible for global exploration, geoscience, frontier and new ventures. She also established the company’s business innovation department and oversees environment, health, safety and regulatory. Susan, who brings more than 30 years of industry experience to her role, joined the company in 2001.

Before joining Noble Energy, she served as Texaco’s vice president of core worldwide exploration from April 2000 to March 2001. Employed by Statoil from 1997 through 1999, she advanced from management of West Africa exploration to vice president of deepwater Gulf of Mexico exploration. She began her career in 1980 in Calgary as a geologist at Amoco Canada. She moved to Houston in 1981 to join Amoco’s International Region and held various exploration and development positions including managing director of Denmark and Sweden, based in Copenhagen, and deepwater Gulf of Mexico exploration manager.

Active in the industry and the community, Susan served as chairman of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in 2010 and 2011, representing the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). She served on the board of Cliffs Natural Resources, an iron ore and metallurgical coal mining company from 2005 to 2014. She also served on the boards of the Houston Area Women's Center and the Houston Geological Society.

Susan holds a bachelor's degree in geology and physical geography from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She also completed a management program through Rice University's Office of Executive Development.


Mario RuscevEVP, President Global Product Lines & Chief Technology Officer, Weatherford International

Mario Ruscev, PhD joined Weatherford in 2016 as EVP, President Global Product Lines & Chief Technology Officer.  He brings more than 30 years of global operations experience in the oilfield service and technology industries, including 23 years at Schlumberger and, most recently, serving as Chief Technology Officer of Baker Hughes. Prior to joining Baker Hughes, Mario served as Chief Executive Officer of Geotech Seismic Services and as Chief Executive Officer of FormFactor, a semiconductor testing equipment manufacturer that uses nanotechnology.

Early in his career, Mario led a team that developed a container imaging system based on a new type of sensor and a luggage screening system still in use today.  Subsequently, he has led a number of teams whose work has significantly advanced the success of wireline logging tools, seismic resolution and measurement capabilities and underground water management and carbon sequestration.  He is also a former Director of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

He earned his doctorate in nuclear physics from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and his PhD in nuclear physics from Yale University.


Kristian JohansenChief Executive Officer and Interim Leader North and South America, TGS

Kristian Johansen is the Chief Executive Officer of TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) based in Houston, Texas. Prior to this, he served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer for TGS since 2010. TGS is the world’s largest geoscience data company with a current market capitalization of about USD 2.3 billion. Kristian also has executive experience from the IT-services and construction industries and he has been on the board of several publicly listed companies in Europe.

He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of New Mexico.




Neal AndersonPresident, Wood Mackenzie

Neal Anderson is President of Wood Mackenzie, a global leader in data analytics and commercial intelligence for the energy, chemicals, and metals and mining industries. He is responsible for the overall business performance of the company. 

Since joining Wood Mackenzie in 1996, he has held several other senior roles, including chief operating officer, executive vice president of Consulting, and head of Global Research.

During his  more than 27 years in the industry, Neal has worked for BG Group as a petroleum geologist in the Asia-Pacific and UK regions and in the strategic planning group, where he was involved in the development and implementation of upstream and downstream corporate strategy, economic evaluation, and asset acquisition. 

Neal holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Queen’s University Belfast and a Master of Science Degree from Imperial College London.

He has been an active member of the US National Petroleum Council since 2010.


Ram Shenoy

Chief Technology Officer, The RBR Group

Ram Shenoy has 25 years of experience in the oil & gas industry having worked both on the oil & gas operator and the integrated oilfield services parts of the E&P value chain.   Among his prior roles, he was Chief Technology Officer at ConocoPhillips and Vice President of Research for Schlumberger Limited.   Dr. Shenoy is currently Chief Technology Officer of The RBR Group, providing advisory services on new technology commercialization to Fortune Global 500 clients, as well as providing expertise and solutions development capabilities in advanced data analytics for oil & gas operations.  He is also Technical Director and Chair of the Technical Committee of the Project Production Institute, devoted to the applications of operations research methods to provide step improvements in the execution and delivery of large capital projects across a range of industries such as oil & gas and civilian infrastructure.   Finally, he is a Principal at Innovation Impact LLC, working with venture capital firms on business, strategic and technological issues with startups and with corporate boards on enterprise risks and the impact of technology on business, strategic, policy and operations.     

Dr. Shenoy has given presentations on industry trends and technology innovation in a variety of industrial and academic settings.  He currently sits on a number of advisory boards for VC firms and startup companies.  From 2013- Jan 2017 he served as the sole representative from the oil & gas industry on the Advisory Board for the US Secretary of Energy.   He obtained a B. A. and M.A. in Electrical Sciences from the University of Cambridge UK, a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca NY, and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Our Sponsors