Keynote Speakers


Michael Schleich
Itron, VP of Product Management

Since joining Itron in 1995, Michael has held a number of positions, most often in roles leading teams to bridge the space between Engineering and Marketing of various utility oriented data collection systems. Currently, Michael is involved in Itron’s rollout of Smart Grid and Smart City solutions. His work has resulted in several patents related to the technology used in Automatic Meter Reading and Smart Grid. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Engineering from Arizona State University.


Nick Smoot
Innovation Collective and Mountain Man Ventures (VC fund)

Nick Smoot co-founded and sold 3 tech companies. Now as the founder of Innovation Collective and Mountain Man Ventures (VC fund) he is focused on redefining how communities large and small participate in the global innovation economy. He holds a deep belief that inclusive economic prosperity and authentic community are inseparable.



Kim Zentz
Washington State University, Director ETM

Kim is director of the Engineering and Technology Management graduate program for Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Kim is additionally co-founder and CEO of Urbanova, Spokane’s smart city proving ground in The University District. Established by founding partners Avista, Itron, McKinstry, the City of Spokane, Washington State University and The University District Development Association in 2016, Urbanova is a living laboratory to design cities for the future.

With 30 years of senior executive leadership experience, Kim has held positions as CEO of Innovate Washington, executive director of Sirti (also known as the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute), CEO of the Spokane Transit Authority, founding president and COO of Avista Labs (now ReliOn/Plug Power) and manager, gas and electric technical services for Avista Utilities.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho and a Master’s of Engineering Management, from Washington State University.


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