About Toffler Associates

Experts
in Residence

Navigating the Future with Our Renowned Experts

Our cross-industry collaborations have shown that insights from one sector can inspire solutions in another. We established our Experts in Residence program in that spirit. Beyond deep industry expertise, our Experts live our core values and inspire others. Together we tackle global challenges, offering diverse perspectives to advance collective understanding on issues like climate impacts, globalization, cyber-physical security, and workforce shifts. These discussions yield new insights that our Experts bring to their work, while we gain valuable perspective to better serve our clients. Our program enables connections and idea-sharing across sectors for the benefit of all.

Jack Blackhurst

Expert in defense-sector research

Jack Blackhurst previously served as the Executive Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), capping a remarkable 46 years of combined military and civilian federal service. As AFRL Executive Director, he managed the Air Force’s $2.5 billion science and technology program and its $2.3 billion externally funded R&D program, supporting a government workforce of 6,000. His time at AFRL began in 2004, when he served as Director for the Human Effectiveness Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing, during which time he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. Prior to AFRL, Blackhurst served in the Air Force. He received his Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, from Allegheny College, and his Master of Arts, Industrial Psychology, from the Air Force Institute of Technology at St. Mary’s University.

Myra Blanco, Ph.D.

Expert in transportation automation and driver safety

As Chief Growth Officer at the Virginia Transportation Institute, Dr. Myra Blanco cultivates opportunities and develops initiatives to sustain growth. She also provides leadership on diversity, inclusion, and empowerment as a Faculty Fellow at Virginia Tech. Trained as a human factors engineer, Blanco’s expertise extends beyond automated driving to evaluation of in-vehicle devices, driver behavior, training, fatigue, and active safety systems. She has led research in various environments and published extensively on driver performance and safety. Blanco’s honors include awards for women leaders, safety engineering, and contributions to SAE International. Her leadership advances the institute’s growth, diversity, and transportation safety research.

C. Michelle Bryan

Expert in federal organizational transformation

With her distinguished 28-year public service career, Michelle Bryan is an accomplished executive and expert, known for her exceptional leadership and strategic skills. She leveraged her strategic leadership abilities overseeing a $1.5 billion budget at the Federal Protective Service, excelling in areas like human capital, cyber operations, and finance. Michelle showcased her organizational realignment expertise managing a major care facility for five months as the Emergency Management Mission Director. Her advocacy for women’s leadership and committee participation as COO of Rapid Deployment, Inc., complements her remarkable experience. Michelle’s exceptional leadership and commitment position her to drive lasting impacts on government and industry.

Robin Champ

Expert in foresight-based federal planning

Robin L. Champ is a visionary strategic foresight and strategy leader, currently VP of Strategic Foresight at LBL Strategies. With a distinguished career at the Secret Service, DTRA, and DLA, she brings expertise in foresight-based federal planning. At the Secret Service, she led enterprise strategy and co-chaired the Federal Foresight Community of Interest. At DTRA, she pioneered foresight methodologies and led studies addressing national security challenges, forging collaborations. She was instrumental in DLA’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and authored their Transformation Roadmap. A sought-after speaker and US Army-proclaimed “Mad Scientist,” she has earned prestigious commendations. With an MS in National Resource Strategy from National Defense University and Harvard Kennedy School training, Robin is a foremost authority on foresight and has made a lasting impact across government.

Jae Engelbrecht

Expert in creating, advising on, and executing risk studies and strategy

Dr. Joseph A. (Jae) Engelbrecht, Jr.’s career spans over 40 years, and he has served as senior fellow and partner with Toffler Associates and is one the firm’s original members. Jae advises senior executives in business and government around the globe on strategy and change. He focuses on clients in telecommunications, IT, aviation, aerospace and defense industries and clients in intelligence, homeland security, defense, and the military services. He received a Bachelor of Arts, East Asian history and Chinese, from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

 

Mike Groen, LtGen USMC, Ret.

Expert in technology for defense, intelligence, and commercial transformation

LtGen (Ret.) Michael Groen has a distinguished 36-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, culminating as Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and senior AI executive in the Department of Defense. Prior roles include overseeing computer network operations at the National Security Agency and serving as Director of Joint Staff Intelligence (JSJ2), collaborating closely with top defense officials. A seasoned Marine commander and combat veteran, he authored With the First Marine Division in Iraq, No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy. As a change agent, Michael modernizes capabilities, integrates tech, and adapts cultures. With master’s degrees in electrical engineering and applied physics, he is adept in applying transformative technologies such as AI and quantum tech to drive digital transformation for the defense, intelligence, and commercial sectors.

Carolyn Hewson

Carolyn Hewson

Expert in health care transformation

Carolyn Hewson brings more than two decades of strategic leadership and organizational development expertise to her role at Penn Medicine. As a seasoned leader, she guides health system executives in crafting innovative strategies to address critical challenges while proactively positioning them to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate risks. Carolyn’s expertise extends to optimizing the effectiveness of leadership teams and driving large-scale change management initiatives to enable successful system, structural and cultural transformation. Previously, Carolyn worked in community and economic development in Philadelphia and throughout the east coast and is actively involved in community service, holding key leadership positions on the Boards of the Clean Air Council as Vice Chair and City Year Philadelphia.

Mark Lewis, D.Sc

Expert in Emerging Technologies, Defense, R&D, Hypersonics, Space

Dr. Mark Lewis, the inaugural CEO of the Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI), has led major science and technology organizations following an extensive academic career. As Pentagon Director of Defense Research and Engineering managing a $17B innovation portfolio, Lewis oversaw modernization for all military branches. He previously served as Air Force Chief Scientist – the longest ever tenure – spearheading advancements in hypersonics, propulsion, space launches and workforce development. The University of Maryland professor emeritus has produced over 320 publications and received national awards for his groundbreaking aerospace research. Lewis provides unparalleled scientific leadership bridging public and private sectors to tackle complex technological challenges.

Jalal Mapar

Expert in Homeland & National Security, S&T, Policy, Emerging Quantum, AI, Nano, HPC Technologies

Jalal Mapar, a retired Senior Executive Service member at DHS Science and Technology Directorate, focused on identifying and assessing the impact of emerging technologies and threats in the Homeland Security Enterprise. He represented DHS on various NSTC/OSTP subcommittees, established partnerships with NSF and NASA, and was a key advisor on quantum technologies. As the first Director of the Resilient Systems Division, Mapar directed R&D investments in critical infrastructure, novel sensors, and advanced modeling. He also established initiatives to improve the safety and security of first responders. Prior to DHS, Mapar held leadership positions at SAIC and conducted R&D for NASA. He holds degrees from UT Austin, MIT Sloan, and Harvard Kennedy School, and serves on the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Bill Moore

Expert in supply chain management, chemicals, and biotech

Bill Moore served as Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain for a 2B Euro specialty chemical business unit of Solvay, a Belgian chemical enterprise. Prior to Solvay, he served in SVP roles responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations at Cerus Corporation and Quest Diagnostics.  Previously he served as Senior Vice President Operations, Biomedical Services at the American Red Cross, the world’s largest blood banking operation, responsible for all testing laboratories and manufacturing operations. Prior to joining Red Cross, Bill spent more than 20 years in the specialty chemical industry. He received his Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering, from the Cooper Union and his MBA from NYU’s Stern School.

Fred Oswald, PhD

Expert in industrial-organizational psychology and AI

Fred Oswald, PhD, is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences at Rice University and an IO psychologist focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating employment and educational tests through 150+ publications. His research addresses scientific, ethical, and legal implications of AI-based employment tests. He holds leadership positions as Chair of the Board on Human-Systems Integration at the National Academies, Member of the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Board of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Oswald is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Learn more about his graduate students and research at workforce.rice.edu.

L. Eric Patterson, Brig Gen (Ret.)

Expert in security, defense, and counterintelligence

Eric Patterson brings over 30 years of security leadership securing critical assets globally, including as Director of DHS’ Federal Protective Service overseeing 9,000+ facilities. Patterson is a retired US Air Force Brigadier General and previously served as Commander of Air Force Office of Special Investigations, spearheading a worldwide intelligence network. In this capacity, he supervised high-level investigations and protective services for top aerospace assets. Patterson also held key roles as Operations Director for AFOSI and Deputy Director of Defense Intelligence Agency’s Counterintelligence and HUMINT Center orchestrating global operations. He leverages extensive expertise securing sensitive personnel, infrastructure, and information from adversaries.

Professor David Simpson

Expert in advanced technology policy and procurement

Rear Admiral (Ret.) David Simpson is CEO of Pelorus Consulting, covering telecommunications, defense, and public safety sectors, and a partner at DeepWaterPoint. He also serves as a professor at Virginia Tech. Previously, David was Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for the Federal Communications Commission. With over 30 years of Navy experience in global technology leadership roles, his diverse research spans mechanical, technical, and policy fields. He represented the U.S. at the ITU Worldwide Radio-Telecom Conference, Conference on International Telecom, and Cyber Advisory Board for the AICPA Center for Audit Quality (CAQ). David received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and his M.S. from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Michael Soileau

Expert in telecommunications and entertainment

Michael Soileau became CEO of O3 World in 2023, to steer the company through its next growth phase. Previously, he was the Comcast Vice President, Strategy and Planning for Xfinity Consumer Services, where he created and executed plans for new products, verticals, and adjacencies. As Senior Vice President at Innovative Communications, he led customer and employee experience, sales, marketing, government affairs, and PR across the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Michael holds a BBA from UT Austin, where he serves on the board for the Center for Global Business and is a guest lecturer, and an MBA from Louisiana State University. He serves on the boards of the Community College of Philadelphia, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and the Lambda Legal National Leadership Council. Previous board roles include the National Adoption Center, the Humane Society of St. Thomas, and Out and Equal Philadelphia. Michael is a founding member of the Executive Council Network.

Col. Jake Sotiriadis, PhD

Expert in intelligence and geopolitical risk

Dr. Jake Sotiriadis is the Director of the Center for Futures Intelligence at National Intelligence University (NIU), where he serves on the research faculty. Dr. Sotiriadis previously served as the US Air Force’s senior futurist at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, where he founded the Service’s Strategic Foresight and Futures Team. At NIU, his research assists senior leaders in the Intelligence Community in developing anticipatory thinking and intelligence tradecraft. He has served nearly two decades as an Air Force intelligence officer and holds a Ph.D. in political science and geopolitical futures from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He frequently speaks about strategic foresight and global affairs and his forthcoming book, The Invisible Regime: How Ideology Will Shape 21st Century Geopolitical Competition will be published in Winter 2022 by National Intelligence Press.

Denise Sughrue

Denise Sughrue

Expert in strategic transformation

Denise Sughrue has nearly 30 years experience driving strategic change, beginning as a Program Manager for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter acquisition. She then spent 25 years in consulting, helping commercial, government, and DOD clients transform through strategic foresight, strategy definition and implementation, human capital transformation, and organizational change. Denise served as Director at Toffler Associates and now leads Sughrue Consulting. She serves on the Board of Arlington Thrive focused on eviction prevention and is Co-chair of the University of Maryland Smith School of Business Alumni Board. Denise earned her B.S. in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech and MBA from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business.

Kenneth Svendsen

Expert in global hospitality, entertainment, and space

Kenneth Svendsen is a veteran global executive and CEO with over 20 years of C-Suite experience at major companies like Disney, Hilton, and Hornblower Group. He has a strong focus on purpose-driven business transformation, organic growth, M&A, change management, brand building, and diversity/inclusion. Svendsen currently serves as CEO of Oasis Marinas and on several boards and nonprofits aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Having lived and worked internationally, he leverages his deep knowledge of consumer experience economies worldwide to drive innovation and excellence. His diverse cultural exposure allows him to inspire teams with a global perspective.

John Walcott

Expert in journalism and national security

John Walcott is a renowned journalist and national security expert with over four decades of experience. As Bureau Chief for Knight-Ridder, he led award-winning coverage questioning Iraq war allegations. His work inspired the film Shock and Awe. Walcott has held government advisory roles and taught at institutions including Georgetown, where he spent 25 years training Masters candidates in media and international relations. A frequent media commentator, he lends his sharp perspective on national security issues. Walcott has authored books, addressed influential organizations like the Aspen Institute, and shared insights at events worldwide. His illustrious career is defined by speaking truth to power and getting the story right.