Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers, renowned experts in industrial engineering and management, set the tone for various sections of the annual conference.

SUNDAY, MAY 19

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Lt. Gen. Stayce D. Harris

U.S. Air Force, Inspector General

As inspector general, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C., Lt. Gen. Stayce D. Harris reports to the secretary and chief of staff on matters concerning Air Force effectiveness, efficiency and the military discipline of active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard forces. She also provides inspection policy and oversees the inspection and evaluation system for all Air Force nuclear and conventional forces; oversees Air Force counterintelligence operations; investigates fraud, waste and abuse; oversees criminal investigations; and provides oversight of complaints resolution programs. Harris is responsible for two field operating agencies: The Air Force Inspection Agency and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Harris received a commission in the Air Force through the University of Southern California's Air Force ROTC program. She served on active duty until joining the Air Force Reserve in 1991. She has commanded an airlift squadron, an expeditionary operations group, an air refueling wing and a numbered air force. Prior to her current position, Harris served as the assistant vice chief of staff and director, Air Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. She holds a bachelor’s in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida.

Highly decorated, Harris has accumulated many awards including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass.

TUESDAY, MAY 21

Sylvia Acevedo

Sylvia Acevedo

CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA 

A lifelong Girl Scout and career G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk Taker and Leader), Sylvia Acevedo was appointed CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA in May 2017, having served as a member of the GSUSA Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016 and an officer and member of its Executive Committee. 

As a young girl growing up in New Mexico, Acevedo’s Girl Scout experience taught her how to create opportunities, to dream big, and to reach for the stars – both literally and figuratively – and nourished her love for math and science that would culminate in a career as a rocket scientist, engineer, and award-winning STEM entrepreneur. Acevedo served in executive and engineering roles at leading technology companies such as Apple, Dell Computer Corporation, Autodesk Inc. and IBM. She began her career as a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she worked on NASA’s Voyager II mission. She played a critical role in helping NASA learn about Jupiter and its moon’s Io and Europa by developing unique algorithms to analyze the data Voyager II sent back. 

Acevedo served on the founding board of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Texas – the largest all girls public school in the nation and co-authored the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Family Engagement curriculum. She is the author of Path to the Stars, an aspirational memoir for middle school students that focuses on her own journey of perseverance, hope and achievement against the odds. 

A recipient of numerous awards such as the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Woman of Distinction in 2013 and national recognition on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top 100 American women in STEM in 2012, Acevedo was one of the first Hispanic students, male or female, to earn a graduate engineering degree from Stanford University – an M.S. in industrial engineering. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University.