Meet the WORKTECH 14 West Coast Speakers

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Chair of the Month

Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie is a Workplace Consultant at Herman Miller and the former Editor of Work Design Magazine. She’s currently based in Pittsburgh.
Work Design Magazine is proud to support WORKTECH 14 West Coast. The conference will take place on Thursday, October 9 in raw space at 221 Main Street in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood; speakers and guests will explore workplace themes including the blurring of physical and virtual space, UX and magnet workplaces, and the city as a platform for innovation.
Read more and register for the event here; scroll down to get to know the all-star lineup of speakers, and stay tuned for more coverage after the conference.
Image via Unwired.
Image via Unwired.

Martin Brooker
COO, Condeco Software

Martin Brooker is the COO at Condeco Software. Having joined Condeco in January 2013, Martin is responsible for overall US operations and managing direct and indirect business. Under his leadership, Martin has established an exceptional international sales team that is in charge of growing the Condeco business as it expands into new territories and serves an ever-increasing customer base or multi-national organizations. With more than 25 years experience in the IT software and services industry in a variety of roles, ranging from sales director through to head of international sales, Martin has truly established himself as a workplace technology expert within the industry. Building upon the current Condeco US team in Manhattan, Martin is currently working towards the launch of a new office based in the Silicon Valley’s technology hub.

Ford Fish
Senior Vice President,

Ford Fish is Senior Vice President at and is responsible for global real estate and workplace services supporting 14,000 Salesforce employees operating in 28 countries. Salesforce is the fastest growing and one of the most innovative technology companies in the world. Fish has 40 years experience as a corporate real estate and construction management professional delivering diverse projects worldwide. He has developed over $10 billion in projects for major corporations including, Sun Microsystems, Bank of America, Procter and Gamble, Unisys, AIG and Microsoft, and managed design and construction of over 20 million square feet of projects.

Lori Gee
Vice President for Applied Insight, Herman Miller, Inc.

Lori Gee is Herman Miller’s Vice President for Applied Insight and leads the efforts to translate the company’s research and theories into meaningfully different workplace solutions. She is a design practitioner with 29 years of experience in driving workplace change and has helped many organizations and institutions catalyze their work environments to support their vision and strategy. Specific areas of contribution in her work include aligning organizational strategy with workplace strategy, driving workplace experimentation and learning, leading holistic workplace design projects, facilitating cultural change and change management, and setting direction for corporate identity. Prior to joining Herman Miller, Inc. in 1990, Lori led workplace strategy efforts for the Kellogg Corporation.

Mark Gilbreath
CEO/Founder/Skipper, LiquidSpace

Mobility and choice are the new change masters transforming the commercial real estate landscape. Mark is the Founder and CEO of LiquidSpace, the real-time marketplace that’s redefining the boundaries and behaviors of the workplace. LiquidSpace lets professionals simply find and book the best space to work, onsite at their company or on the go. LiquidSpace supports corporations of all sizes, hungry to improve the economics of their real estate investment and also support the needs of increasingly mobile employees. Mark is a chronic entrepreneur and one of the new voices in real estate technology. He has spent over 25 years in and around Silicon Valley, dating back to when it was still cool to work in the silicon business.

Christopher Henderson
Senior Director Workplace Resources, Cisco

Christopher has been working in the real estate industry for the past 31 years. He joined Cisco in 1996 as Theater Director Services and now is Senior Director Workplace Resources – Bay Area Metro Delivery. Prior to joining Cisco, Christopher worked in corporate real estate at Nortel for 13 years.

Dr. Michael Housman
Chief Analytics Officer, Evolv

Michael Housman is the Chief Analytics Officer at Evolv, Inc. where he applies state-of-the-art statistical methodologies and econometric techniques to databases consisting of hundreds of millions of employee records in order to answer two fundamental questions: what keeps people on the job longer, and what allows them to perform better? Dr. Housman has over 10 years of experience utilizing data analytics to generate insight and then working directly with stakeholders to interpret and put the findings into practice. He has consulted previously for PricewaterhouseCoopers and helped to develop a SaaS platform for Pascal Metrics, Inc., a leading provider patient safety and risk management services to hospitals and healthcare systems worldwide. He has published his work in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, presented his work at dozens of academic and practitioner-oriented conferences. Dr. Housman received his A.M. and Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Managerial Science from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his A.B. from Harvard University.

Prarthana Johnson
Senior Design Manager, Microsoft

Prarthana Panchal obtained her master’s degree in media design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Her education served her well while accruing 12 years of expertise in user experience design from environments to mobility, from corporations to consultancies. She enjoys the infinite variety of paths it takes to solve a design problem, with an endless stream of concepts and brainstorming techniques. She leads highly collaborative and multidisciplinary design projects, merging research, design, usability, and technology for brands like T-Mobile, Intel, Intuit, and Nokia. She currently is a senior design manager leading the next generation of meeting room experiences at Microsoft.

Michael Joroff
Senior Lecturer, MIT Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning

Michael L. Joroff is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with which he has been affiliated since 1971. As founder and program director, Joroff’s accomplishments include the MIT Joint Program for Building Energy, MIT-Shimuzu Building Research Program, MIT-Korean Institute of Construction Program, and distributed work-related projects and consulting for organizations including IBM, Nokia, Nissan, Cigna, American Express, Kodak, AT&T, Xerox, and health care institutions.

Peter Miscovich
Strategy + Innovation, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle

Peter develops innovative business strategies and workplace transformation solutions for the firm’s Global 100 clients within JLL’s $4 billion global real estate advisory and investment business. He is considered by many to be an industry expert in the field of emerging technologies and workplace innovation.

In addition, Peter has been recognized as a global thought leader by Accenture, Brookings Institute, CERES, The Conference Board, CORENET Global, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Urban Age Institute, The Urban Land Institute, and The Woodrow Wilson Center, to name but a few. He has also served on the boards for the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and the CERES Presidents Council, and he is currently serving as Chair and Trustee for The Garrison Institute – all leading organizations focused upon systemic transformation and social change.

Stephen Monaco
Head of Global Real Estate & Workplace Services, Motorola Mobility

Steve Monaco, who recently orchestrated Motorola Mobility’s 607,000 square foot HQ move to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, has successfully led teams from all sides of the virtual real estate roundtable: landlord, licensed architect, general contractor and owner. A serial storyteller and self-proclaimed “designer of all things,” Steve uses his unbounded energy and creativity to make a lasting impression in today’s high-tech workplace. His signature approach to facility management mixes a flare for marketing with a sprinkle of mischief and three measures of hard work. The result is centered around the end-user experience. In 2010, Mr. Monaco joined Motorola to lead the 3.5 MSF Americas real estate operations and is now spearheading the M&A transition with Google/Lenovo. Steve has an MBA and Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Ian Morley
Co-founder, Serraview

Ian is one of the co-founders of Serraview and is one of Australia’s leading experts in workplace management solutions. He has over ten years experience developing SaaS solutions, and has spent the last seven building Serraview. Ian is passionate about building intuitive workplace management solutions that bring people together and facilitate deep conversations, which has enabled many of Australia’s biggest workplaces to optimize the value of their property portfolios.

Kate North
VP, Global Development,

Professionally, Kate North is passionate about two things: workplace transformation and creating community. For 25 years, Kate has been helping organizations to create innovative workplaces and adopt new ways of working. Her global expertise includes change management, workplace strategy, research, sustainable design and leadership. At, her goal is to make workplace change easy and effective by creating “edutaining” e-learning courses designed to help employees embrace new ways of working and organizations transform.

To fuel her passion for community and workplace knowledge, Kate helped launch New Ways of Working, CoreNet’s Workplace Community of Practice and most recently, IFMA’s Workplace Evolutionaries (WE). Kate is an inspiring international speaker and co-authored the award-winning book, Work on the Move. Previously, Kate led the Strategic Business Group at Herman Miller and was the Global Director of Ideation at Haworth.

Primo Orpilla
Principal, Studio O+A

Primo Orpilla is the award-winning co-founder, with Verda Alexander, of Studio O+A, the San Francisco design firm responsible for groundbreaking workplace designs at Facebook, AOL, Microsoft, Yelp, Levi Strauss, and many other companies. A leader in the field of “democratic design,” Orpilla’s expansive, open-plan environments — which stress sustainability, accessibility, and careful coordination of function and form — have become a signature look for some of the West Coast’s most forward-thinking tech innovators. Orpilla and Alexander established their firm in 1991 with an eye to bringing the agility, creativity, and speed of execution then prevalent in the Bay Area’s entrepreneurial economy to the offices in which that economy was being hatched. Studio O+A’s design for the new Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto received the International Interior Design Association’s 2010 Northern California Honor Award and was a finalist in Frame Magazine’s 2009 Great Indoors Awards in the “Concentrate and Collaborate” category. The firm’s AOL West Coast Headquarters won the 2011 FX Design Award in London for Best Workspace Environment. Early in 2011 Contract Magazine named Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander Designers of the Year, culminating months of recognition in the international design press.

Melissa Price
CEO, dPOP! and Director of Facilities and Business Office, Quicken Loans

Melissa Price holds a dual appointment as CEO of dPOP!, a commercial interior design firm focused on reinforcing the client’s culture in design, and Director of Facilities and Business Office for Quicken Loans. With dPOP!, she and her team are out to improve the workplace by making cool, collaborative environments that reflect and embrace each client’s culture. dPOP!’s work received three BOMA Detroit 2013 TOBY awards and was named as one of Inc. Magazine’s “World’s Coolest Offices” in 2012. In an effort to create easily accessible, culture-enhancing facilities solutions, dPOP! developed the online membership in summer 2014.

Kevin L. Ratner
President, Forest City West

Kevin L. Ratner is President of Forest City West, a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises, Inc. Forest City is an owner, developer, and manager of a diverse portfolio of premier real estate located throughout the nation, with approximately $10.9 billion in total assets.

Ratner is responsible for Forest City’s commercial and residential businesses on the West Coast. In addition to the development of market rate, affordable, and high-density urban housing, both new and through the adaptive re-use of preexisting structures, Ratner and his team are currently involved with several mixed-use developments focusing on technology and today’s innovation economy. Ratner has worked in Forest City’s Los Angeles office since 1998 and has been extensively involved in the development of more than 1,500 multi-housing units, including several high-profile redevelopment projects in Southern California.

Ratner has significant expertise in revitalizing urban neighborhoods through public/private partnerships. He is dedicated to the communities in which Forest City works and has participated in many public policy forums.

Bryant G. Rice
Strategic Consultant, Equal C

Bryant is the founder and principal of =C, with over 25 years of experience in business management, architecture, planning, and interior design. He provides clients service in strategic planning, workplace assessment, programming, design, and project and change management. His past experience as a consultant, architect, operations director, salesperson, facilities manager, and entrepreneur have helped him to hone skills in planning, solution development, communication leadership, budgeting, scheduling, and presentation. He works with teams involved in a variety of activities leading to the design or support for change. He has been responsible for projects that are rigorously defined and relatively small, as well as mergers of Fortune 500 companies. Designing processes, tools, roles and procedures, Bryant has led his clients to successful implementation of a variety of programs where results are easily measured.

Philip Ross
Futurologist & CEO, Cordless Group & UNWORK

Philip is an author, consultant, and commentator specializing in the future of work. He predicts the way that new trends and forces such as emerging technology will shape how we work, live, learn, and enjoy leisure.

He has written a number of books on the future of cities, work, and workplace including The Creative Office: The 21st Century Office and Space to Work (all co-authored with Jeremy Myerson). He has also contributed to a number of other books including the Corporate Fool and the Responsible Workplace.

Gerard Taylor
Founder of Gerard Taylor Design and Creative Director of Orangebox

Gerald Taylor is creative director at Orangebox, the UK’s most progressive, innovative, and successful office furniture company. His vision and strategic direction have contributed to Orangebox growing to a £35 + million company. Gerard also researches, writes, and speaks at conferences worldwide, on the changing workplace. He has recently published Boomers & Millennials for Orangebox, which reports on why the new global economy, the consumerization of workplace technology and generations seeing the world differently, has resulted in a perfect storm. Which will require all of us to see how we work, afresh.

Gervais Tompkin
Principal, Gensler

Gervais is a non-conformist raised by two scientists. He is a principal at the design firm Gensler. His work typically determines what should be designed, and why, rather than developing the design solution itself. He is an expert on emerging work styles. Favorite pastimes include garage bathing, mushroom hunting, and fermenting foods.

Kristine Woolsey
Behavioral Strategist, National Director of +CULTURE, CarrierJohnson+CULTURE

Kristine Woolsey is the National Director of +CULTURE for CarrierJohnson+CULTURE, a San Diego based firm that specializes in designing experience, focusing on the power of creating culture as a differentiator in attraction and retention of customers and employees.  Kristine leads the +CULTURE team, which is engaged in creating aligned strategy, business, brand, and facilities with services ranging from branding to organizational behavior to architecture.

Prior to joining CarrierJohnson+CULTURE, Kristine was an independent consultant offering behavioral strategy to support businesses in transition.  She is passionately interested in the way the world is changing (technology and millennials) and enjoys helping her clients create strategies to get in front of the trends. She was professor at Arizona State University, initially in the college of Architecture and Interior Design but more recently engaged with the College of Business.

Read more and register for the event here.

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