Each year, the Arizona Middle School Science Bowl hosts a keynote speaker at its Opening Ceremony. These speakers represent some of Arizona’s most successful STEM innovators and entrepreneurs. They share their experiences and encourage students to pursue their passions as well!

2017 Science Bowl Speaker

dhruv-bhateDhruv Bhate, PhD., Senior Technologist, Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT)

Dhruv Bhate is a Senior Technologist at Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) where he leads R&D efforts in Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), with a focus on high performance polymers, metals and biomaterials. Prior to joining PADT, Dhruv spent 7 years at Intel Corporation developing several laser-based manufacturing processes, taking them from early-stage research to High-Volume-Manufacturing. He also spent a year in the automotive industry, working for India’s largest car manufacturer, Tata Motors.

Dhruv has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University where he developed constitutive and failure models for the prediction of fatigue fracture in ductile metal alloys. Prior to this, he obtained his M.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied the phenomenon of adhesion in MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) structures.

Dhruv’s passion lies in combining theory, experimental methods and simulation to solve challenging problems in new and effective ways. He has 2 patents, 8 peer-reviewed journal publications and over 30 conference presentations to his name. He enjoys exploring the world with his wife and son, listening and playing music and learning about developments in science and technology.


2016 Science Bowl Speaker

Dean and Professor, College of Engineering
Dean and Professor, College of Engineering

Dr. Ronald Madler, Dean and Professor, College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle University

Dr. Ron Madler has been the Dean of Engineering at the Prescott Arizona campus of Embry-Riddle University since 2010. With over 900 students and 40 faculty and staff, the College of Engineering is the largest college on the campus.

Madler joined the Embry-Riddle faculty in 1994. In addition to co-founding the astronautics track in the Aerospace Engineering program at the Arizona campus, Madler served as the faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, and as Chair for the Aerospace Engineering Department. Outside of the university, his primary service roles are as past-Chair of the College-Industry Partnerships Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and as an Associate Director for the Arizona Space Grant Consortium.

Madler had also been active with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in the Phoenix chapter. His research interests are in space debris, astrodynamics, and engineering education. Madler has continued his research by spending summers working at NASA, Boeing, JPL, Phillips Lab, and OceanIT. Professor Madler has continued to teach space related courses in addition to the engineering science core courses.

He received his BS, MS and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ron lives with his wife Tracy, and their four children in Prescott Valley Arizona.



2015 Science Bowl Speaker

Steve PhillipsSteve Phillips, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Avnet, Inc.

Steve Phillips is senior vice president and chief information officer for Avnet, Inc., reporting to Avnet CEO Rick Hamada. He is also a member of the Avnet Executive Board and a corporate officer.

Mr. Phillips came to Avnet with the 2005 acquisition of Memec, where he had served as senior vice president and chief information officer since 2004. Prior to joining Memec, Mr. Phillips was senior vice president and chief information officer for Gateway Inc. He joined Gateway in 1999 and served as vice president of information technology (IT) in London and San Diego before his appointment in 2003 to chief information officer.

Between 1996 and 1999, he worked for Diageo, the international food and drinks group, where he was the IT director for its European foods division. He previously spent eight years in a variety of leadership roles at Thorn EMI, a U.K. defense-electronics company.

Under Mr. Phillips’ IT leadership, Avnet has been recognized with multiple IT awards, including CIO100, InformationWeek Elite 100 and InfoWorld Green 15. Additionally, he received an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO Leadership Award in 2012. In 2011, Computerworld named Mr. Phillips a “Premier 100 IT Leader.” This lifetime recognition honors executives for exceptional technology leadership, innovative ideas that address business challenges and effectively managing IT strategies.

Mr. Phillips is chairman of the board at Wick Communications, a news and specialty publications company. From 2008 through 2011, he served as chairman of the board of the Arizona Technology Council, a trade association that connects, represents and supports Arizona’s technology industry.

Mr. Phillips holds a BSc (Hons) in Electronic Engineering from Essex University and a post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies from Thames Valley University. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology.


2014 Science Bowl Speaker

Bob WitwerRobert Witwer, Vice President of
Advanced Technology for Honeywell Aerospace

Bob Witwer is currently the Vice President of Advanced Technology for Honeywell Aerospace.  In this role Bob is responsible for defining the technology strategy and developing the technology for all of Honeywell Aerospace’s products; engines, auxiliary power units, air management systems, electric power systems, flight controls, avionics, and sensors. Bob has over 30 years of aerospace engineering experience, all with Honeywell.  Prior to holding his current position, Bob was the Director of Crew Interface and Platform Systems Advanced Technology, Director of Aerospace Integrated Electronic Systems, and Director of Aerospace Communications and Navigation Engineering.

Bob has held key management positions on a number of ground-breaking avionics development programs, including the A320 Flight Management System, the Boeing 777 Airplane Information Management System, and the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated modular avionics system for regional jets, business jets and helicopters.  He served as Chief Engineer responsible for all Honeywell avionics delivered to Cessna.   Bob has extensive experience with Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) design and avionics systems integration, as well as in avionics hardware, software, and systems design.

Bob has taught various professional classes at Honeywell, including classes on Flight Management Systems and Aerospace Program Management, and was a Covey Learning Center certified instructor for “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.  He has done numerous interviews with aerospace trade press on topics ranging from “Next Gen Air Traffic Management” to “Cockpits of the Future”.  He is a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for Arizona State University Polytechnic, is on the board of directors for the Arizona Technology Council, and is an officer on the Board of Directors for the Challenger Space Center in Arizona.


2013 Science Bowl Speaker

Sharon-Kortman-PhDDr. Sharon Kortman, Vice President of Learning at Arizona Science Center

Dr. Sharon Kortman is Vice President of Learning for the Arizona Science Center. Dr. Kortman oversees the Center for Leadership in Learning and outreach for educational organizations, leaders, teachers, parents, and the community. She resources partnerships to support learning and development. Dr. Kortman is an inductee in ASU’s College of Education Hall of Fame.

Previous to her work with the Arizona Science Center, she co-founded and directed BEST Professional Development. She provided leadership through district partnerships, locally and nationally, providing comprehensive support, training, curriculum, courses, and resources in professional development for teachers and leaders. Dr. Kortman is the recipient of a distinguished program award through ATE and recipient of a President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness. Dr. Kortman is co-author of a series of publications and interactive DVDs in the areas of induction, mentoring and coaching, teacher, and leadership professional development.

Dr. Kortman is actively involved in supporting national and state education initiatives. She has served on certification, NCLB, and induction and mentoring committees through the Arizona Department of Education and State Board of Education. She was a lead content expert and editor for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the U.S. Department of Education under the auspices of the Eisenhower Professional Development Grants Program, was lead PI of a two-year Improving Teacher Quality Grant: Teacher Quality and Student Achievement through ASU University/District Partnerships, and a leader in the U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership Grant and the U.S. Department of Education Teacher Incentive Fund Grant in the areas of comprehensive school reform and professional development. Her research and consultant emphases are in educational partnerships, systemic support, leadership excellence, shared administrative leadership, mentoring and coaching, teaching quality, professional learning and development, standards in education, classroom management, personality and interaction styles, and increasing student success.


 2012 Science Bowl Speaker


Peter Rillero, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Science Education at Arizona State University 

Peter Rillero, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Science Education, College of Education at Arizona State University West. He conducts scholarly and service activities in science education.

Dr. Rillero has an extensive  background in science education both in the US and abroad. He has served as a Science Education Consultant at the University of San Carlos, Cebu, Philippine and was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Akureyri in Iceland. Since 1998, he has been an Education Materials Developer for Glencoe/McGraw Hill where he is a writer, editor, and researcher for middle and high school science textbooks and auxiliary materials.

He was a Science Education Analyst at the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education at Ohio State University. He also served as Assistant to the Editor at the Journal of Science Teacher Education. He has been a Science Teacher Trainer for Peace Corps Trainees in Naivasha, Kenya.  As an agricultural worker in Israel, he lived in Kibbutz and worked with community on cotton, watermelon, and almond tree farming. He also served  as a Science Teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer in Kisii, Kenya.

Dr. Rillero has received numerous distinctions for his work in education. He holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Ohio State University, an M.A. in Biology from the University of New York, an M.A. in Science Education from  Columbia University and a B.A. in Speech Communication from the State University of New York.

It is Dr. Rillero’s mission to  improve the means by which people understand the world and their place in the world.

For more information, please visit Dr. Rillero’s website at www.west.asu.edu/rillero/index.htm


 2010 Science Bowl Speaker

Armando Viteri, President and CEO for Neubloc

Armando Viteri is the President & CEO of Neubloc, a U.S.-based outsource software design and development firm, and a principle investor and partner at Ameritege Technology Partners, a privately equity firm, headquartered in San Diego, California.

He has more than 25 years of experience in enterprise  computing, software, networks and services with an impressive record of accomplishments.  Mr. Viteri earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a Member of MIT Educational  Council.

Prior to Neubloc and Ameritege, Mr. Viteri was President and CEO of RF Code, Inc., an emerging growth RFID solutions business where he successfully raised Tier 1 venture capital financing and delivered premier RFID hardware and software products to market. Prior to RF Code, Mr. Viteri co-founded and served as president of Pinpoint  Corporation, the industry’s first active RFID and Real-Time Locating Systems  (RTLS) company where he pioneered the use of this technology for mission critical applications.

Previous to Pinpoint, Mr. Viteri was Executive Vice President of TriTeal Corporation where he was responsible for creating both domestic and international sales channels and infrastructure, drove the advanced JavaTM development organization resulting in three patents, and was responsible for growing direct and OEM sales significantly over a three year period. Following three private financings, Mr. Viteri played an instrumental  role in TriTeal’s successful IPO in 1996 and secondary public offering in 1997.

From 1983 to 1993 Mr. Viteri held various sales, marketing, and management roles with Sun Microsystems, Inc. Joining Sun during its start-up phase he held numerous management roles for multiple disciplines during his tenure, and created, managed, and executed many initiatives that account for the success and growth of the business today. In addition to building and managing highly successful sales and marketing organizations, Mr. Viteri also managed systems engineering organizations.

Mr. Viteri has served on several technology company boards and variety of industry standards bodies.


 2009 Science Bowl Speaker

Kevin Margeson, Manufacturing Program Manager for Honeywell Aerospace on NASA’s Project Orion

Kevin Margeson is currently working on design to production issues for spacecraft avionics, displays, and navigation. Kevin has been active in manufacturing solutions that enable complex engineering development for 20 years. He has led a wide range of projects, including construction of power systems for the International Space Station, manufacturing and marketing satellite control systems and components, and in implementing Lean Manufacturing, Manufacturing Execution Systems, and Product Data Management Systems. Kevin’s career includes positions with Anheuser-Busch, Allied-Signal, Honeywell, Motorola, and EDS. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University in 1989 and an MBA from Arizona State University in 1996.


NASA Project:

The Constellation Program is NASA’s initiative to continue the human presence of the  United States in space. Constellation will allow human beings to travel to the Moon and on to Mars. It includes a constellation of new space vehicles starting with a new crew exploration vehicle, Orion, to carry crew and cargo to the  International Space Station and to the Moon. It also includes the Ares I rocket to carry Orion to low earth orbit (ISS) and the Ares V heavy lift rocket. This rocket will provide humans with access to the Moon by enabling us to launch the Earth Departure Stage, consisting of a lunar lander, lunar surface exploration vehicles, and habitat modules. Future elements of the program will include equipment to put human beings on Mars by the year 2040.


 2008 Science Bowl Speaker

Matt Kim, Founder and President of QuantTera and the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster Chair

Dr. Matt Kim is the Founder and President of QuantTera.  QuantTera’s vision is to advance the capacity and economic scale of the fiber-optic networks and  satellite-to-satellite communications to transform global telecommunications.  QuantTera specializes in a new class of LASER devices for photonic integrated
circuit applications, which combine the advantages of nano-engineered materials  and the integration of the materials into standard electronic circuit platforms.  Dr. Kim has a background in the microelectronics industry and has developed innovative LASERs, detectors and amplifiers, which form the enabling components for telecommunications.  He is also Chair of the Arizona
Nanotechnology Cluster, which is a fully non-profit 501c3, for nanotechnology education of the general public.  In 2000, Dr. Kim co-founded MicroLink Devices, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high performance transistors for cellular communications in Niles, IL.  At MicroLink he was Vice President of Operations and supervised the transistor manufacturing program.  From 1994 to 2000, Dr. Kim served as Principal staff scientist at Motorola’s corporate research laboratory, for prototyping high speed transistors, microwave devices and optical devices.  From 1989 to 1994, Dr. Kim was a senior scientist at Bandgap Technology Corporation where he was in charge of the characterization of transistors and LASERs for telecommunication applications.  Dr. Kim received a Ph.D. in Physics from the Univ. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University.


 2007 Science Bowl Speaker

Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO of the Arizona Science Center

Chevy Humphrey leads the largest science center in the state of Arizona. The Arizona Science Center’s mission is to inspire, educate, and entertain people about science. Before joining the science center, Ms. Humphrey served as the director of development for The Phoenix Symphony and held similar positions at the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center and The Houston Symphony. She is a member of many professional associations, including the Large Format Cinema Association Board of Directors, Association of Science and Technology Centers, and Association of American Museums. Her insight in the science field has proven valuable on many projects including the Don Harrington Discovery Center. She is the first African-American woman to become CEO of a science and technology center in the country.