Hardik Bhatt rejoined the public sector when he was appointed the State of Illinois CIO in March 2015. As the State CIO, he works with all state agencies to align, utilize and streamline technology to drive business priorities to transform services provided by State agencies to their constituents. Hardik also leads the Bureau of Computer and Communication Services and is responsible for IT infrastructure, service delivery and governance across the state. Prior to joining the State of Illinois, Hardik returned to the private sector as a Senior Director with Cisco to lead the market development of the Internet of Everything for the Global Public Sector. He worked with Mayors, Governors, CIOs and Prime Ministers around the globe to extract value by connecting the public assets like parking spots, fleets of vehicles and streetlights. Hardik led Internet of Everything strategy and execution planning with cities such as Hamburg, Rio, Barcelona, Jakarta and many others. Prior to that, Hardik lead Cisco’s Business Development for the Americas for Cisco’s Smart and Connected Communities business. Hardik joined Cisco in October 2010, after being the Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago and Commissioner for Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology for 5 years. Hardik also built and lead the Smart Chicago program, which is considered a national model for improving access to affordable broadband in the community, while increasing technology awareness, talent and usage.


Arthur Tan-Chi Yuan is the director of the Chinese Intellectual Property Resource Center, an adjunct professor and the former director for the John Marshall Law School Patent Clinic. He brings years of patent preparation and prosecution experiences from the intellectual property law firms of Senniger Powers, LLP in St. Louis, Missouri and currently with the law firm Loeb & Loeb, LLP as a senior counsel. He prepared and prosecuted the firm’s U.S. clients’ patent applications and prosecuted the corresponding foreign patent applications relating to electronics, computer systems, software systems and business methods. He has authored patentability opinions and non-infringement/freedom-to-operate opinions, advised U.S. clients on Chinese patent law issues, advised Chinese/Taiwanese clients on U.S. IP laws, patent infringement litigation before the U.S. District Court, ITC proceedings, re-examination proceeding before the USPTO, and practiced appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.


For inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs looking to raise capital, create buzz or best position a product for licensing, crowd funding can provide numerous opportunities. Bret Gould currently works with Trident Design LLC in Columbus Ohio. Trident is a product accelerator with expertise in designing products and developing successful crowd funding campaigns for clients. Bret has over 20 years of product development experience. He worked in Chicago as a toy inventor for many years, developing toys that sold hundreds of millions of units for companies like Hasbro, Mattel and Spinmaster.