Speaker Series 2021


The Open Source North Conference is excited to announce and host the OSN Speaker Series. The OSN Speaker Series will be 4 monthly mini-conferences (January, February, March, April) with each mini-conference featuring multiple presentations (2 to 4).

The OSN Speaker Series 2021 Schedule:
~ Thursday, January 21 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST
~ Thursday, February 18 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST
~ Thursday, March 18 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST
~ Thursday, April 15 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST

The mini-conferences will also be hosted on the virtual conference platform, Hopin.

The speakers listed below have been confirmed. We are still finalizing all of the speakers for each of the dates. Stay tuned for more details!


Casie Siekman

Software Engineer & Instructor

Prime Digital Academy

“I work better alone”, and other lies you tell yourself

January 21, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
I'm a software developer based in Minneapolis|Saint Paul, and am passionate about making the Twin Cities and Midwest tech community more diverse and accessible to all. Along with that, I am also interested in communication, the meanings and motivations behind what we say, and how all that can bring us together (or, push us apart).

DESCRIPTION
Gone are the days of the stereotypical developer; one single person, typing furiously in a dark room, drinking copious amounts of caffeine. The caffeine part hasn't changed, but the rest of the experience has. No matter what role we take on in the tech industry, we are dependent on the help, knowledge and experience of others. Our output is the product of several minds coming together. This talk will focus not only on WHY it's so important to work together, but also HOW to work together.


Jay Landro

Software Engineer

Mode

Visualize your Data

January 21, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
User Interface Engineer with strong creative, technical, and enterprise experience. Proven teamwork, communication, and leadership skills. Committed as both a teacher and a student of ongoing technological progression.

DESCRIPTION
Data drives the world around us and is accumulating at a lightspeed pace in gargantuan proportions. In this session I will equip you with tools & patterns from basic to advanced to quickly derive value and insight into everything from your local SQL instance to modern data lakes. Whether your use case is a web dashboard or debugging an unruly application, this session is sure to boost your confidence.


Joe Karlsson

Developer Advocate

MongoDB

A Gentle Introduction to Building Serverless Apps

January 21, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Joe Karlsson is a software engineer turned Developer Advocate at MongoDB. He comes from the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, Minnesota (and yes, it does get really cold here, and no, not everyone here has the accent from the movie, Fargo 😝). Joe has been primarily a Node and JavaScript engineer. He has been writing, teaching, and talking about code his entire career. Sharing what he knows and continuing to learn about programming is truly the thing he loves doing the most.   Joe is the co-creator of open source software, including bechdel.io, a web app that tells you if a movie script passes the Bechdel Test or not. In his free time, he is usually drinking Gin and Tonics, eating at a new restaurant, or tinkering on a new art project or open source project

DESCRIPTION
Do you want to crank out features the business wants, or spend a lot of time writing code and capacity planning for authentication, authorization, and complicated data access? Of course, we all know the answer. In this session will begin a beginner-friendly introduction to Serverless computing. We will then do a quick overview of the MongoDB ecosystem in the 3 major cloud providers for rapid application building. Then we will walk through a guided tutorial of how to use the MongoDB Stitch serverless platform to build your elastically scalable microservices based app within minutes, complete with end-user authentication and access rules, on a fully managed MongoDB cluster in your favorite cloud platform.


Michael Heldebrant

Solutions Architect

elastic

How can you prove your application is working? Observability – Logs, metrics, traces, availability, and more with the Elastic stack

January 21, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Michael Heldebrant has been using open source technologies for over 2 decades. He currently works for Elastic as a Solutions Architect. He started with open source in support of his Ph.D research in Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Michael continues his passion for getting the answers that matter to you from questions asked of your data at Elastic.

DESCRIPTION
What do you need to definitively answer the question of is your application working, and furthermore is it working well? Observability: Consisting of at least the logs, metrics, and traces of your services and potentially additional data such as availability and response time from multiple geographies, the load balancer and firewall protecting and serving your application, packet-level tracing between services, and security information you can get a complete picture of what is happening inside, between, around, and to your application. You can collect all of this information however your application runs, on a server, vm, cloud, container, or serverless. But to make sense of all that data you've got to get it into a place where you can search, correlate, and pivot between sources to rapidly identify the root cause of issues in real-time, search for leading indicators before application impacts to achieve a proactive rather than reactive response to issues, and have the historical view you need to make decisions about trending and capacity planning.


Jason Scherschligt

Product, experience, and strategy consultant

SDG

Making the shift: projects to products

February 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
I’m a digital product, experience, and strategy executive and consultant. Equally comfortable in the board room and the product design studio, I work with executive teams to develop business, product, and user experience (UX) strategies to attack big business problems, and with product teams on discovery-based methods to achieve them. I've held product, content, and UX leadership roles at organizations including the Star Tribune (product manager, interactive media); Capella University (various titles, including director of product and UX); Jostens (Director of digital products and experience); and Edmentum corporation (VP of product strategy and experience). In December 2019, I co-authored "The North Star Playbook" with noted product expert John Cutler and the team of product experts at Amplitude. In January 2020, I joined SDG, where I’m working on product strategy with SDG clients and also building SDG’s product mindset and product management practices.

DESCRIPTION
Technology teams increasingly need to become product teams: skilled, cross-functional groups of experts who are solving problems for customers and producing results for businesses. In this session, I'll explain the essentials of this shift and describe some frameworks for helping your organization become more product-driven.


Jenna Pederson

Senior Developer Advocate

Amazon Web Services

Setting yourself up for failure: cultivating a culture where failure is celebrated

February 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Jenna Pederson is a Senior Developer Advocate for Amazon Web Services. She works to empower developers with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to bring their idea to life through technology. Jenna is a community builder at heart and is passionate about making space for more underrepresented folks in tech and entrepreneurship to come as their full selves. She is a proud Co-founder Emeritus of Hack the Gap and serves on the Minnestar Board of Directors.

DESCRIPTION
I'm a failure. And though the word 'failure' has never really been a part of my vocabulary, I've been successful at it my whole life. From failed businesses to taking down an entire datacenter with a single SQL statement, I'll lay it all out there. I'll share my failures, the lessons I've learned, how to set yourself up for failure, and how to have fun doing it.


Mark Sielaff

Production Engineer

Facebook

Moving Fast and Delivering Quality

February 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Mark Sielaff is an experienced full-stack maker and passionate advocate for reliable systems. As a Production Engineer at Facebook, he is currently leading the effort to scale up centralized disaster-recovery testing as-a-service for Facebook’s network infrastructure. He previously worked in a start-up he founded, based in Minneapolis.

DESCRIPTION
“Move Fast” is a company value at Facebook, deeply embedded in its culture since its earliest days. At the same time, Facebook’s systems must reliably serve billions of people. Engineering at Facebook must strike the right balance between quality and speed of delivery. Production Engineers at Facebook are hybrid software/systems engineers with a special interest in building reliable, scalable, and secure systems. From this perspective, I’ll share experience and observations about three key components of quality software delivery at Facebook: * “Ruthless” prioritization and the importance of obtaining buy-in from peers. * Accelerating individual and team learning through code review. * How we think about safe deployment and quality assurance inside Facebook infrastructure, without dedicated DevOps or QA roles.


Todd Gardner

President

TrackJS

Observable Web Applications

February 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Todd Gardner is a curmudgeonly developer who believes that old solutions are often better than new ones. He advocates for simple designs and balancing complexity against risk. He is the cofounder of TrackJS, where he helps thousands of developers find and fix bugs in their web applications. You can find him online at TODD.MN. Ask him about whisky, craft cocktails, and software comedy.

DESCRIPTION
Users don’t see your distributed services, cloud architecture, or instrumentation—they only see how the web app is working. Understanding their experience in the client-side is the first step towards understanding the rest of the system. We’ll explore how to make your client-side applications more observable through error tracking, web performance, and usage analytics. With better understanding of real-user experience, you’ll better understand the real behavior of your systems.


Erica Prairie

Director - Technology Development Program

Optum Technology

All who wander in their career are not lost

March 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Erica Prairie defines herself in the words of Albert Einstein, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Most recently, while embracing that curiosity, Erica has started in a new role as the Director for Early Tech Career Programs at Optum and is especially focused on building more diverse, equitable, inclusive talent experiences. Erica has also spent the past several years researching the work of Carol Dweck, the study of Growth Mindset and trying to help others learn their way forward to more fully realize their best self. Erica received her MBA from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota).

DESCRIPTION
How can breadth and range give you an advantage in an industry that often demands specialization? This session is for anyone who has felt inferior, hasn’t found a true passion yet, recently made a career move (at any age), or engineers with vast interests that lead to experiences often unrelated to a day job. In this talk we’ll focus on why breadth and range are an advantage for technologists, what these traits look like in leadership and in successful, yet non-linear career paths, and how you intentionally create more range to your skills, experience and perspectives. Along with leaving this session with insights into your individual dimensions of difference, you’ll learn why the tech industry is the ideal place to merge or exit from any career path and how to build breadth and broad experience while working in an often hyper-specialized field. David Epstein, author of Range, says “As technology spins the world into vaster webs of interconnected systems in which each individual only sees a small part—we also need more… people who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress. People with range.”


Isaac Johnson

Principal Software Engineer

Medtronic

Full Stack CICD of Kubernetes Microservices using DevOps and IaC

March 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Isaac has managed DevOps teams from Applied Biosystems, Vital Images and Ahead. As a Principal SW Engineer at Medtronic he's a key member of the DevOps group working the CRHF Organization on future cloud-based versions of Carelink. He's passionate about process, DevOps, tooling, and Kubernetes and maintains a large blog of tooling guides at freshbrewed.science.

DESCRIPTION
Developing Kubernetes Microservices on the cloud or on-prem can be rapidly accelerated using Infrastructure as Code principals and proper CI/CD. We will look how we developed a future Carelink at Medtronic leveraging Azure Key Vault, Azure Kubernetes Service and Azure DevOps as well as illustrate Azure DevOps creating IaC with Terraform for a variety of clouds (including LKE, GKE and AWS). We'll cover traceability (via WI tracking and branch policies) through to full CI/CD pipelines to various downstream environments. This will include a demo of an IaC pipeline that creates an RBAC enabled AKS cluster that is then leveraged by a dotnet and java based microservice pipeline to deploy to a k8s namespace. We'll go over how we use Azure Key Vault as a key store between our IaC and Development Pipelines and lastly we will go over what Azure DevOps does well and where it has shortcomings. Demo will be scoped to the duration.


Justin Grammens

Co-Founder

Lab651

Deep Learning with TensorFlow

March 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Justin leads our team of mobile & web applications and data science engineers. Justin lives at the intersection of emerging technology and leading communities on the Internet of Things. He has been building mobile applications and cloud-based software solutions for more than 20 years with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Justin is a Co-founder of IoT Fuse, a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission to position Minnesota as a leader in connected products and is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas teaching a graduate-level course on the Internet of Things.

DESCRIPTION
TensorFlow is arguably the best and most deployed open-source machine learning platform today. Since being released in 2017 by Google, it's quickly become the go-to choice for creating neural networks and applying Artificial Intelligence in production applications. In this talk, we'll start from the beginning on how we got to where are today with Deep Learning and Convolutional Neural Networks, how it's different from traditional programming paradigms and dive into a few examples using TensorFlow and an open-source web application called Jupyter Notebooks. You will leave this session having hands-on experience training a model with a public image data set, learn the configuration pitfalls and limitations of AI and being able to test and validate the accuracy of the model using a validation data set. If you've ever wanted a quick dive into Machine Learning and using open source tools like TensorFlow and Jupyter Notebooks, this is the session for you.


Kristin Schneider

Lead Program Manager

Target

All who wander in their career are not lost

March 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Kristin Schneider is passionate about supporting young professionals as they bridge from college to career and brings experience from both sides of that exciting journey. She leads the team behind Target’s early career programming for Tech, including two unique development programs for new engineers that onboard over 200 recent graduates every year. Previously a tech and STEM education administrative leader, Kristin spent over eight years in higher education leadership roles. First, as an Assistant Professor of Marketing & Management at St. Catherine University and later as a Director and Career Coach for Masters in Technology and M.S. Business Analytics students at the University of Minnesota. Kristin received her MBA from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota).

DESCRIPTION
How can breadth and range give you an advantage in an industry that often demands specialization? This session is for anyone who has felt inferior, hasn’t found a true passion yet, recently made a career move (at any age), or engineers with vast interests that lead to experiences often unrelated to a day job. In this talk we’ll focus on why breadth and range are an advantage for technologists, what these traits look like in leadership and in successful, yet non-linear career paths, and how you intentionally create more range to your skills, experience and perspectives. Along with leaving this session with insights into your individual dimensions of difference, you’ll learn why the tech industry is the ideal place to merge or exit from any career path and how to build breadth and broad experience while working in an often hyper-specialized field. David Epstein, author of Range, says “As technology spins the world into vaster webs of interconnected systems in which each individual only sees a small part—we also need more… people who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress. People with range.”


Steven Hicks

Senior Engineer

Artsy

Getting Unstuck: Strategies For Solving Problems

March 18, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Steven Hicks is a web development generalist with 20 years of experience. He believes that code is for humans, and should be written with them in mind. He is a big fan of JavaScript, and believes that if you ain't falling, you ain't learning. Steve embraces continuous improvement and believes that a developer's job is to solve problems, not just write code. He is a speaker, a writer, a teacher, a learner, and a teammate. When he isn't talking to the duck or smooshing 1s and 0s, you can find Steve outside. He's probably camping with his family, racing a triathlon, running trails, or climbing fake rocks.

DESCRIPTION
You’ve followed along with the docs. Everything seems like it should be working. You’ve looked over this code 20 times, but you can’t figure out why it’s failing. You’re frustrated, and you’re ready to give up. Even with the simplest of problems, we can get stuck. It happens to engineers of all experience levels - new hires and senior engineers alike. The key to success as a developer is knowing how to get yourself unstuck. In this session, we’ll start by reframing the act of getting stuck as a positive. Then we’ll talk about many strategies for identifying the problem and moving on. We’ll discuss the psychology behind these strategies, and answer questions like “Why do my best ideas come to me in the shower?” Finally, we’ll look at ways to harden yourself for the next time you get stuck. Getting unstuck is a skill. This session will help you sharpen that skill, and prepare you for the next time you want to throw your keyboard out a window.


Amy Dempsey

Senior Software Engineering Manager

U.S. Bank

Let’s crack the code: Decoding Virtual Challenges for High Performing Teams with agility in the time of pandemic

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
A technology leader and Women in technology advocate, Amy is currently a Software Engineering Manager at US Bank. Her career in technology and banking started in the Philippines in 2001. She worked as IT consultant in Citibank Singapore for 6 years. Her team at US Bank, the API Framework, is responsible for creating automated tools and processes that will make API development and deployment easier and faster within the bank. Amy is passionate on helping development teams embrace DevOps strategy and trying to find efficient and faster ways to delivery quality products to customers. Also, Amy is the current Vice President of Women in TOS at US Bank. She works with different organizations like Girls Who Code (GWC) and Women who Code (WWC) in encouraging the next generation of female innovators and technologists. When she is not working, she likes to travel and hike with her husband Rob and kids Alex and Ayla.

DESCRIPTION
News was announced where working style will be shifted to remote/virtual/home based. Leaders know their teams can adapt. High Performing teams are quickly changing course, staying focused & collaborating more intensively , facing hard lessons objectively and learning quickly with no adverse effects on businesses. Experimenting virtual agile practices act as tool to unlock virtual challenges with key focus on achieving organizational goals.


Andrea Stubbe

Head of Product

commercetools

Head of Product

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Andrea started coding as a kid, paused for some years trying to find more interesting things, but then ended up doing that for a living. After working with software and code in different roles - as a freelancer, researcher, teacher, speaker, developer and product manager; in small or giant or self-founded companies - she found her happy place at commercetools, as Head of Product.

DESCRIPTION
Creating great roadmaps is both - art and science. You'll have to think about what brings the most value to the company, to customers, to users. Consider feasibility. Have a decent understanding of the time it needs to build something, even if the team isn't even hired yet. Align with the product vision. Be dependable, but embrace change. Make your prioritization methodology clear. Tell a story. Get customers and colleagues excited. Join this session to learn some things that worked for me - or not!


Justin Rassier

Senior Software Engineer

Infinite Campus

Jamstack – A Fancy Name for an Old Idea

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
My name is Justin Rassier. I'm a senior software engineer at Infinite Campus. I love keeping up with the wild ride that is the front-end space and trying to share what I've learned to anyone who is willing to listen.

DESCRIPTION
Static assets on a CDN. Boring right? Believe it or not, servers are good at serving up static content...like really good at it; it's kind of their ...jam (eh? eh?) And browsers are really good at rendering HTML. So why do we insist on sending megabytes of JavaScript down the pipe just to dynamically render something in the DOM? If you're like me, who has spent the better part of their professional career learning the latest and greatest JavaScript frameworks, the answer is obvious. These platforms have unlocked an amazing amount of features and composability that enable complex functionality on the web. So this apparent rejection of these amazing platforms feels a bit unexpected. The good news is we don't have to throw away all of these amazing tools and frameworks and start hand crafting each HTML document from scratch again. In this talk, we will first define what Jamstack is and why we should care. We'll find out that at its core, it's not any crazy new concept. Then we'll take a look at Gatsby and how we can leverage React to build blazing fast sites while still leveraging the modern tooling and framework features that you have come to expect from the modern JavaScript ecosystem.


Mike Wagner

Test Architect / Principal Consultant

tap|QA

AI and Machine Learning in a Selenium World

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Mike Wagner is a Test Architect and Principal Consultant with tap|QA. He has over 13 years of industry experience as a Software Tester, Engineer, Developer, and Architect; He is primarily focused on driving innovative test automation practices and strategies within a number of organizations ranging from software to hardware. He enjoys sharing his technical prowess with industry colleagues and has given several technical presentations on test automation strategies and best practices. His areas of expertise are software testing, artificial intelligence, test automation and open source technologies.

DESCRIPTION
Many testing teams today use Selenium for their automation needs and rightfully so, Selenium allows for cross browser and mobile support, it’s free and has a large open source community behind it. Regardless of its feature set, Selenium and test automation in general has its own list of pain points like test maintenance and test coverage. These pain points can have a large impact on testing metrics depending on the test architecture used and the design patterns being followed. To address these pain points a team can utilize areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) via open source libraries. This enables the tests to find their own elements and attempt every possible combination of test cases, which a tester could then store, rerun, and iterate on. This approach effectively gives Selenium a brain in the form of models and actions. Join Mike Wagner, Test Architect and Principal Consultant for tap|QA as he leads this informative session for teams interested in integrating Artificial Intelligence into their existing Selenium framework. Takeaways: Understanding of the different areas of Machine Learning/AI with an emphasis on: * Convolutional Neural Networks (How they apply to element selection) * Reinforcement Learning (How it applies to test coverage) Approach for implementing Convolutional Neural Networks and Reinforcement Learning into an existing Selenium framework. * Introduction to top open source libraries related to Machine Learning


Nick Morgan

Machine Learning Engineer

C.H. Robinson

Neural Style Transfer

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Nick has 5 years of experience in various data science & machine learning positions and is in the process of completing a Master's degree in Software Engineering.

DESCRIPTION
Neural Style Transfer is an application of transfer learning. It utilizes a pre-trained neural network to combine a content image with a style image in order to generate a new image. This presentation will focus on 2 prominent research papers in this area, and all code will be made publicly available.


Poonam Garg

Chief Engineer

U.S. Bank

Let’s crack the code: Decoding Virtual Challenges for High Performing Teams with agility in the time of pandemic

April 15, 2021 12:00 pm

BIO
Poonam Garg is a technologist, working as Principal Engineer - Software Engineering Coaching at U.S. Bank Experience Studio. Her inspirational qualities as a role model have built a new organizational culture around DevOps and the value it brings. She began by transforming the Banking division (old technology) through an agile and collaborative approach to development underpinned with the use of new technology. Her skill set not limited to DevOps but shifting mindset for security toward left. She lead the technical transformation in her organization by helping engineers adopt industry best practices and cloud ready solutions. She coached and mentored 50+ teams this past year with activities such as rearchitecting mainframe to a modern stack, CICD pipeline creation, and creating a DevOps culture. Learn by applying is key factor for her which led to complete her Certifications on Clouds Technologies. She is an active member of Women in Technology Network externally as well as internally. She is also an active member of the AWS Women's Twin Cities group. Poonam is also currently working towards an MBA at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

DESCRIPTION
News was announced where working style will be shifted to remote/virtual/home based. Leaders know their teams can adapt. High Performing teams are quickly changing course, staying focused & collaborating more intensively, facing hard lessons objectively and learning quickly with no adverse effects on businesses. Experimenting virtual agile practices act as tool to unlock virtual challenges with key focus on achieving organizational goals.