Kentucky AI Summit - Speakers

Representative Josh Branscum
Born June 13, 1982. Contractor, Branscum Construction. Christian. Georgetown College, BA Communication. EKU, BS Construction Management. Russell Springs First Baptist Church. Russell Springs Masonic Lodge #941. Russell Co Chamber of Commerce. KY Chamber of Commerce. Associated General Contractors of KY, past Pres. KY State Bd of Elections, past Ch.

Representative Josh Bray, 71st House District, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Rep. Josh Bray represents the 71st House District, which includes Rockcastle County and portions of Laurel, Madison, and Pulaski Counties. He was elected in 2021 and is currently serving his second term as representative. Bray and his wife of over 10 years, Jana, reside in Mount Vernon, Kentucky. The couple has two small children, Trapper (11) and Isla (6).
Bray attended Eastern Kentucky University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was formerly employed as the City Administrator for the City of Mount Vernon. During his time as the City Administrator, he was responsible for securing grant monies to improve the community. All his hard work earned Bray the 2019 Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Employee of the Year Award.
Rep. Bray is Christian conservative who will fight for Christian values every day. He is Pro-life and strong defender of the unborn, believing life begins at conception. He supports legislation that brings more jobs and tax revenue to Kentucky’s economy and believes in protecting our 2nd Amendment freedoms.

Rep. Bray serves as a vice chair of the Local Government, and is a member of the Health Services, Judiciary, Appropriations and Revenue, Banking and Insurance, Economic Development Budget Review committees, and chairs the Jail and Corrections Modernization task force.

Trey Conatser, PhD, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Kentucky
Trey Conatser, PhD, is director of the University of Kentucky's Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), where he leads efforts to foster effective and innovative learning environments for instructors and students. He co-chairs UK ADVANCE, the transdisciplinary team that has been charged with guiding the University community regarding the developments, responsible use, and innovative possibilities of generative artificial intelligence. Trey holds a doctorate in English from The Ohio State University focusing on digital humanities and writing studies, and his research has focused on effective approaches to technology-enhanced learning and writing instruction in the humanities and beyond. He teaches courses in professional and technical writing, college writing, digital humanities, literature, and teaching and learning.

Mark Costin, Government Technology Lead, Google Cloud
Mark Costin is a government technology lead at Google Cloud. Mark spends his time working closely with State Governments building partnerships and outcomes around cloud modernization and AI strategies.

Jordan Harris, Client Relationship Executive, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Jordan Harris is a Client Relationship Executive with Deloitte Consulting, based in Louisville, Kentucky. He previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on his staff in Washington DC. Prior to joining the Senator's staff, Jordan is the Founder and former Executive Director of Pegasus Institute, a state-based public-policy think-tank – the first founded by millennials in the United States. While serving as Executive Director for Pegasus Institute, the organization's research contributed to more than two dozen national, state, and local legislative changes. In the role, Jordan was a regular columnist with work appearing in USA Today and more than 70 newspapers and was cited more than 250 times by national and local media outlets.

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Jamia McDonald, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Jamia McDonald is a highly experienced government leader in Deloitte's Human Services Transformation practice, where she leads our national program and policy team serving our Government and Public Services industry. Her team supports HHS leaders around the country, both state and federal, with policy and program transformation, service delivery transformation, and thought leadership. She had deep expertise in Child Welfare, as well as deep understanding of Child Support and Early Learning, Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, TANF, Unemployment Insurance, LIHEAP, WIC, and other human service programs. Her career has focused on driving change to improve programmatic outcomes, identifying efficiencies, and optimizing financial resources to achieve objectives. Jamia serves as a leader for Deloitte’s State, Local and Higher Ed Artificial Intelligence (AI) practice and is paving the way for Generative AI throughout state and local governments and higher education institutions. These organizations benefit greatly from the innovative opportunities provided by AI and Jamia and her team are thought leaders in the space. Jamia is a regular speaker at national conferences, and frequently publishes industry-leading points of view.

Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Thomas Quaadman is executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), and the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC).

CCMC was established in March 2007 to advocate legal and regulatory policies for the U.S. capital markets to advance the protection of investors, promote capital formation, and ensure U.S. leadership in the financial markets in the 21st century. Quaadman oversees the Center’s policy and lobbying operations. He also works with CCMC staff to create and execute legislative, regulatory, and judicial strategies to reform the financial regulatory system and support policies for efficient capital markets.

C_TEC was established to tell the story of technology’s role in our economy and advocate for rational policy solutions that drive economic growth, spur innovation, and create jobs through the backing of a leading national and global business organization.

And GIPC works around the world to champion innovation and creativity through intellectual property standards that create jobs, save lives, advance global economic and cultural prosperity, and generate breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

Quaadman headed the Chamber’s efforts on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups Act (JOBS Act). In addition, he formed and managed several coalitions, including the Corporate Governance Coalition for Investor Value and the FIRCA coalition on the convergence of domestic and international accounting rules. In directing the Chamber’s work on corporate governance, Quaadman led successful efforts to overturn the SEC’s proxy access rules and have a portion of the Conflict Minerals Rule declared unconstitutional.

He has testified on a number of occasions before congressional committees on issues covering capital formation, financial reporting, and corporate governance. He also led the business outreach efforts for the Working Group on U.S. RMB Clearing and Trading. In 2012, Treasury & Risk magazine named Quaadman as one of the top 100 influential people in finance.

Quaadman graduated cum laude from New York Law School and is a graduate of the College of Staten Island. He is a member of the New York and Connecticut state bars. Quaadman and his wife, Tara, and their children, Creighton and Alexandra, reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ben Reno-Weber, Deputy Director, Health Equity Innovation Hub, University of Louisville
A Louisville native, Ben started his career as a social entrepreneur with the World Bank’s global microfinance unit, focused on creating greater access to capital among marginalized communities, particularly in the Balkans and former Soviet Union. He earned an MBA and MPA from Harvard’s Business and Kennedy School and joined the Boston Consulting Group in 2009, where he focused on corporate culture and change management.

On his return to Kentucky, he ran a series of organizations at the intersection of business and social impact, including a tech start up, several non-profits, a consulting firm focused on company culture, and foundation-funded entities.  As former Director of the Microsoft-funded Future of Work Initiative, he worked to build the local skill-base in the data-economy workforce, with a particular focus on connecting resources that support marginalized community members to obtain “future-proof” jobs in technology and AI-related fields.

As Deputy Director of the Health Equity Innovation Hub at the University of Louisville, the team Ben works with is leveraging an investment by the Humana Foundation to make the innovation ecosystem in healthcare more open, transparent, and equitable, while elevating the voices of those whose lived experiences give them unique insight into the most pressing issues in health.  In the process he gets to hang out with innovators, faith leaders, community members, researchers, technologists, startup founders, industry thought leaders, investors, and health practitioners, which he thinks is pretty cool.

In 2023, his wife Theresa and three children finally acknowledged that his mastery of dad jokes has become apparent.

Ashli Watts, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber
Ashli Watts was named the President and CEO for the Kentucky Chamber, the state’s largest business association, in November 2019. Ashli joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in November of 2012, and during her tenure as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Chamber, she has led efforts in passing significant pieces of legislation such as felony expungement in 2016, right to work legislation in 2017, workers’ compensation reform in 2018 and reinstating arbitration agreements in 2019. As part of the Chamber’s leadership team, the Kentucky Chamber was named National State Chamber of the Year in 2017. Prior to joining the Chamber, she worked at the Kentucky Bar Association and the Legislative Research Commission.