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Clean Water Challenge Team Bios

Amanda Manna - Head of Storytelling, Lowe’s Innovation Labs
Amanda Manna

Amanda is head of storytelling for Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the disruptive technology arm for Fortune 50 retailer Lowe's. Storytelling is core to the Labs, beginning with envisioning the future through science fiction prototyping, and continuing through a strategic approach to sharing our work with internal and external audiences. Prior to joining Lowe’s Innovation Labs, Amanda has nearly ten years combined experience in strategic communications and public relations across the retail, sports, consumer packaged goods, and technology industries. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Communications.

Dr. Bob Metcalf - Emeritus Professor in Microbiology at CA State University at Sacramento, Founder of International Water and Health Alliances
Dr. Bob Metcalf

Dr. Bob Metcalf, one of the founders of International Water and Health Alliances (IWHA) as well as Solar Cookers International (SCI), is an emeritus professor in Microbiology at California State University at Sacramento. Bob has traveled extensively on projects for IWHA and SCI, working cooperatively with the UNHCR, Plan International, World Vision, and other international organizations. Bob is well known for his work on solar water pasteurization and solar cookers in many countries. He has been able to confirm that contaminated water need only be heated to 65 degrees Celcius to make it safe to drink. His work with communities in Kenya has provided safe drinking water for 70,000 people.

Chris Carstens - Clean Water Challenge Technical Lead and Inventor
Chris Carstens

Chris is a second generation Berkeley trained Mechanical Engineer and Inventor. He was a member of the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program in 2013. Finding elegant solutions to seemingly intractable problems is his passion. For for the last decade he has worked to identify scalable greenhouse gas mitigation pathways and develop modular technologies to rapidly exploit them. Chris was struck by the simplicity and potential of solar pasteurization and set out to find out why this solution is not more widely championed and deployed. He conceived of the Clean Water Challenge to mass develop and deploy prototypes in the real world to identify what is holding this seemingly obvious solution from gaining traction.

Julián Ugarte - Founder and Director of Socialab; Singularity University Ambassador
Julián Ugarte

Julián is the Founder and Director of Socialab. Socialab's platform allows more than 300,000 creative people to propose solutions to overcome poverty and other social problems. These proposals become projects that have affected more than half a million people in less than 2 years. Julián is also a founding partner at IF (an innovative pole of business and culture in Santiago, Chile) and is one the directors of the innovation festival, FiiS. Julián's work, and the work of Socialab, has been distinguished by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, Harvard, the Washington Post and CNN. Julián is an Ashoka Fellow, Ambassador of SocialGood at UN Foundation, a Singularity University alumni, and nominated for World Impact Design Prize (Finland).

Kyle Nel - Executive Director, Lowe’s Innovation Labs
Kyle Nel

Kyle Nel is the Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, part of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., where he is responsible for driving retail innovation through disruptive technologies. Kyle has led Lowe’s Innovation Labs to develop and introduce technologies including the Lowe’s Holoroom, an augmented reality home improvement design tool, the OSHbot autonomous retail service robot, and 3D scanning and printing in­store services. Prior to Lowe’s, he was part of Walmart’s Global Insights group, where he contributed to the growth of shopper insights and innovation for the multinational retailer, and served as Research Director for Clear Channel Radio. He serves on a variety of advisory committees and boards where he further explores his passion for consumer research and innovation, including Google Consumer Surveys, Fringe Factory, and the Insights and Innovation Exchange.

Robert Suarez - Managing Director of Innovation and Design for Singularity University Labs
Robert Suarez

Robert is a veteran of IDEO, the global design firm, leaving after nearly a decade to join the founding team of Level Money, a mission­driven design­led financial services organization in San Francisco. Throughout his 15­year career in consumer experience design Robert has created product and service experiences that change the way people live, work, and play. Robert is a certified Biomimicry professional and strives for solutions that integrate social, environmental, and educational considerations while proving that purpose and profit can combine for the greatest impact.

Tess Edmonds - Designer & Clean Water Challenge Project Manager
Tess Edmonds

Tess is a designer with a background in mechanical engineering and human­centered design. She has engaged with, taught, and facilitated the design process in diverse contexts. She co-created two undergraduate programs: Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship at Olin College, a senior capstone program aimed at alleviating poverty through international technology ventures, and the Energy Technology Program at Creighton University, a project­based interdisciplinary degree in renewable energy and sustainable design. She has also developed and facilitated workshops for a variety of organizations, such as the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute and the Presencing Institute.