Keynote Speakers



Zachary Nelson is the Americas Academic Program Manager (with a focus in Latino America) for National Instruments. Zach currently is an advisory board member of the Mechanical Engineering Department for the University of California, Berkeley and an advisory board member of the Manufacturing, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Department of Oregon State University. Zach started his career with National Instruments in 2000 as an application engineer. Zach has spent the majority of his career with NI’s global academic group pioneering how NI’s field engineers around the world collaborate locally with educational institutions. And as part of this role, he often presents at Conferences, Trade Shows and Special Events. Zach accepted the new challenge of developing the Americas Academic program in January of 2012. Zach holds a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Chris Gale is the President of Heliocentris Energy Systems Inc. (Vancouver, Canada) & the Acting Division Head of Education, Training & Research at Heliocentris Energiesysteme Gmbh (Parent Company, Berlin, Germany).  Chris is a respected leader that has spent the last 16 years in the education sector, many of those as an entrepreneur.  Since joining Heliocentris in 2006, he has been integral in their development into a leading company in the renewable energy education and research field.  He has significant international trade and business development experience which has contributed to successfully developing strategic partnerships throughout the Americas for Heliocentris.  Recent non-profit work includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hydrogen & Fuel Cells Association for two terms.  Heliocentris is a corporate member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).



Joseph Yoder is a founder and principal of The Refactory, Inc., a company focused on software architecture, design, implementation, consulting and mentoring on all facets of software development. Joseph is an international speaker and pattern author, long standing member of the ACM, and the President of The Hillside Group, a group dedicated to improving the quality of software development. Joseph specializes in Architecture, Analysis and Design, C#, Java, Smalltalk, Patterns, Agile Methods, Adaptable Systems, Refactoring, Reuse, and Frameworks. Joseph is the author of many patterns, including being an author of the Big Ball of Mud pattern, which illuminates many fallacies in the approach to software architecture. Joseph has taught, mentored, consulted, and managed various software projects for many years, including applying patterns, designing architecture, creating adaptive object models, utilizing agile methods, developing frameworks, refactoring existing systems, object oriented software development (in Java, C#/.NET, Smalltalk and C++), web development and cloud services.


Alberto Alemán Zubieta is the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, the autonomous agency that manages the Panama Canal, the leading interoceanic waterway that serves world maritime commerce. In 1998, two years into his appointment as head of the Panama Canal Commission, he was appointed Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, the Panamanian entity tasked with the administration of the waterway upon its transfer to the Republic of Panama, on December 31, 1999.  During the following two years, he served simultaneously as Administrator for both the Panama Canal Commission and the Panama Canal Authority, ensuring that the decisions taken under the Panama Canal Commission would have continuity under the Panama Canal Authority.  In 2005, the Board of Directors re-elected him to lead the Panama Canal Authority for another seven years. Under his leadership, the Panama Canal Authority´s vision has been to transform the Canal into a world leader in services to the maritime industry, to be the cornerstone of the global transportation system, and a model of excellence, integrity, and transparency. Alberto Alemán Zubieta has been instrumental in promoting a sense of pride among Panamanians for the Panama Canal.  The maritime industry has acknowledged his leadership in transforming the Canal into a successful model of operation.  For these reasons, his participation is frequently requested in different forums, in order to share his thoughts and best practices.


Panamanian. Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP), in 1984. Master of Science in 1987 and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering and Seismic in 2000, from SUNY University at Buffalo, New York. He works in UTP since 1981. Researcher and full time professor of Structural Mechanics. He has held, among others, the position of Director of the Center for Experimental Engineering at UTP for the period 2000-2007.  His research work “Methods for the design of buildings with passive dampers” has been adopted by two U.S. seismic design standards: NEHRP2003: Chapter15, and ASCE 7-05: CHAPTER 18. He has several publications in technical journals of the United States on Inelastic Behavior and Passive Seismic Energy Dissipation. He was awarded with the Dr. SOFOCLES LOGIADIS-2000, by the State of New York for his substantial contribution to the state of knowledge on technologies of seismic energy dissipation and base isolation and the Dr. Víctor Levi Award-2001 for his substantial contribution to the development of Academy and Engineering. Consultant, designer and co-designer of numerous structural projects, he has been responsible for the design of numerous high buildings in Panama such as the Lighthouse, Trump Tower, Megapolis, Oceania, Waters, Arts and Financial Tower. Member of the Standing Committee of the Panamanian Structural Regulation (REP), Multidisciplinary Center for Seismic Engineering Research of the United States, MCEER, Committee ACI-318 of the American Concrete Institute ACI and the Council on High Buildings of the United States.



Roberto Roy plans and coordinates the design, construction, operation and maintenance process for Line 1 of the Panama Metro which will become the matrix of the public transportation system for this capital city. An engineer, graduated from Georgia Tech, USA, Roy holds three university degrees and has over thirty years of experience in the construction industry. He is President and founder member of Ingenieria R-M, one of the most recognized firm in the engineering fields. He has also been a Member of the Board for various important companies. For nine years he was part of the first Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority, which took control after the reversion of the waterway to panamanian hands. Roy has also been a Director for La Prensa newspaper and the Caja de Ahorros bank. A former President for the Panama Construction Chamber, he was a promoter for the Preferential Interests Law, which has given mortgage benefits to countless panamanians.