York, PA March 26 - 28


BLUEPRINT isn’t just a lean-back-and-listen conference but an event that will engage all participants actively in a combination of tours, main stage sessions, and several small working groups. 


Throughout the event, we’ll be focused on preparing the heartland workforce for advances in AI and automation.

Tuesday, March 26

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm:

Event Registration at The Appell Center for Performing Arts

5:00 pm:

Cocktail Reception: sponsored by Worldpay

Welcome: Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

Fireside Chat: Honorable Mayor of York Michael Helfrich and Danene Sorace Mayor of Lancaster PA

7:00 pm:

Dinner - explore the great restaurants of York

12:00 pm - 4:00 pm:

Tours of York PA - Historic Downtown York, York Exponential, and United Fiber and Data

Join the thought leaders

Wednesday,  March 27

7:30 am:

Registration and breakfast, The Appell Center for Performing Arts

9:00 am:

Opening: “VentureBeat’s Blueprint: Tech in the heartland”

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

9:20 am:

Keynote: Remarks by Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy, the Whitehouse 

9:40 am:

Lightning Rounds: “Regions embracing talent transitions with unique workforce models designed for 21st-century technologies"

John McElligott, Founder and CEO, York Exponential, York, PA

Matt Lewis, Director of Make It. MSP, GREATER MSP, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 

Ashlee Ammons, President, Mixtroz, Birmingham, AL

Amy Bridger, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy and External Engagement, Penn State Behrend, Erie, PA

Emily Lohse-Busch, Executive Director, Arch Grants, St. Louis, MO

10:30 am:

Breakout Sessions: Choose your region and learn more in a smaller, more intimate setting. Ask questions and share your ideas.

"The York Plan 2.0: Creating the world's first Mech Ecosystem" - John McElligott

"Scaling Up in Minneapolis/St. Paul" - Matt Lewis

"Finding a supportive startup community in Birmingham, AL" - Ashlee Ammons

"Supporting innovative clusters through higher ed collaboration in Erie, PA" - Amy Bridger

"Growth through new business starts in St. Louis" - Emily Lohse-Busch

10:10 am:


3:40 pm:

Venture Panel: "Venture  perspectives on talent and scaling tech companies in heartland"

Les Craig, Partner, Next Frontier Capital

Anna Mason, Partner, Rise of Rest Seed Fund, Revolution

Charles Szrom, Investment Manager, Verizon Ventures

Moderated by Patrick McKenna, Founder, High Ridge Venture Partners

4:30 pm:

Wrap-up - Adjourn for cocktail hour

5:00 pm:

Cocktail Party at the Appell Center for the Arts - sponsored by Technology Council of Central PA 5:00 - 8:00

7:30 pm:

Dinner: Explore and enjoy the amazing restaurants of York

2:35 pm:

Breakout sessions: Meet the workforce model solution experts and large tech employers and share your point of view

"Innovation ecosystems in small communities" - Nick Smoot & Matt Dunne

"Emerging tech solutions for workforce needs" - Kristi Riordan & Chok Ooi

"Deep-dive on Opportunity Zones" - Rachel Reilly

"Silicon Valley expansions in Heartland communities" - James Dougherty

4:10 pm:

Ignite - "A look into the future of work - the challenges of automation and robotics"

Peter Haas, Associate Director, Brown University, Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative

4:15 pm:

Panel- "Accessing untapped talent in unique ways"

Ed Lada, President & CEO, Goodwill of Western MO, and Eastern KS

Jennifer Carlson, CEO, Apprenti 

Robert Herrera, CEO, Code Differently

Moderated by Eileen Cipriani, Deputy Secretary of Workforce Development, PA Dept. of Labor 

1:40 pm:

Panel: “Tech solutions emerging to address workforce needs of 21st century”

Chok Ooi, Founder & CEO, Kenzei Academy

Kristi Riordan, COO, Flatiron School

Moderated by John McElligott, CEO, York Exponential


2:20 pm:


2:00 pm:

Panel: "Unique models for growing innovation ecosystems in small communities"

Nick Smoot, Founder, Innovation Collective

Matt Dunne,  Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation (VT)

Moderated by John McElligott, CEO York Exponential 

11:50 pm:


11:30 am:

Large Tech Panel: "Perspectives from large tech on how AI & Automation  are creating new opportunities for the workforce "  

Kyle York, VP Product Strategy, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Kate Kaufman, Director of Account Operations, Uber Freight

Shelley McKinley, Head of Technology & Corp. Responsibility Group, Microsoft

Moderated by Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

1:05 pm:

Ignite: "Putting more cities in the Silicon Valley growth playbook"

James Dougherty, Partner, One America Works

1:20 pm:

Panel: "Building talent in young ecosystems"

Brian Gaudio, Co-founder & CEO, Module

Andy Chan, Founder & CEO, VIT Initiative

Doll Avant, Founder & CEO, Aquagenuity

Moderated by Skyler Yost, Ecosystem Builder, York,PA

In the Heartland

Thursday, March 28

7:30 am:

Breakfast at Central Market , 34 W Philadelphia St, York (vouchers will be distributed)

9:00 am:

Opening Discussion and recap of Day 2
Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

9:10 am:

Fireside Chat: "Diversity and inclusion strategies for a stronger workforce across the nation"

Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman and CEO, Opportunity Hub

Moderated by John McElligott


9:25 am:

Lightning Rounds: “How Innovative companies are building talent to grow their companies - entrepreneurs share their stories” 

Ian Kanski, President, Integrated Agriculture Systems

Jessica Trybus, CEO, Simcoach

Essam Abadir, Founder & CEO, Aspire Ventures

Gino Rooney, Co-founder & CEO, Bluecrew

Chris Moehle, Managing Director, Coal Hill Ventures


9:55 am:

Panel: "Emerging Collaborations to Build America's Workforce in AI and Automation"
Steve Catt, Deputy Director of Education & Workforce Development, Advanced Robotics & Manufacturing Institute
John Lloyd, CEO, MANTEC
Moderated by John McElligott, CEO, York Exponential

10:55 am:

Fireside chat: "Impact of AI & automation on opportunities in the Heartland"

Jason Ilian Managing Director, Koch Disruptive Technologies.  Moderated by Matt Marshall Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

11:10 am:

Panel: "The growing role of government in revitalizing the workforce"

Craig Buerstatte, Acting Director Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration

David Langdon, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, U.S Department of Commerce

Brittany Sickler, Outreach and Partnership Strategist, Office of Innovation

U.S. Small Business Administration

Garrett Nilson, Technology to Market Program Manager, US Dept. of Energy, Sunshot Initiative

10:35 am:


12:30 pm:

Town-hall style wrap-up:  What are the key takeaways from this event that we can take action on?

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

12:45  pm:


11:30 am:

Breakout Sessions:  Meet the speakers and share your point of view

"Federal Investments in Industries and the Workforce of the Future" - Dep. of Energy

"Federal Funding for Regional Economic Development Efforts" - Dep. of Commerce

"Tapping into $3B in Federal Seed Funding for R&D" - U.S. Small Business Administration

10:15 am:

Fireside Chat: "State of the Heartland"

Mark Muro, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute

Matt Marshall, CEO, VentureBeat


How to get here

For additional info visit:  Explore York

By air we recommend:

  • Flights to Harrisburg, PA (MDT) - 45 minutes from York
  • Flights to Baltimore, MD (BWI) - 1hr. 20 minutes from York
  • Flights to Philadelphia, PA (PHL) - 2 hours from York