Innovations 2024 Monday Keynote

General Session Keynote
Monday, March 18
9:00 - 10:00 AM

Ryan Ackels

Regional Director, Server Operations, Google Cloud

Nathaniel Tindall

Head, Simulation, Modeling, Automation, Robotics, and Technology (SMART), Google Cloud

Maria Reyes

Manager, Global Workforce Innovation and Development, Google Cloud

Traci Thomason

Manager, Global Social Impact Strategy, Google Cloud

Keynote Address

Promoting Pathways to Technical Skills and the Future of Work to Power AI

This plenary session invites you to explore the dynamic intersection of data centers, supply chain, and the future of work. The effort to power Google’s AI advancements occurs at data centers around the globe. The workforce needed to power this new advancement will require innovation and new approaches; this presents a prime opportunity for development within community college certificate and degree programs. Google seeks to further develop talent by connecting with local community college leaders and faculty members in key areas to help build the workforce of the future for data centers and technical infrastructure. Join us to examine the diverse and in-demand skill sets shaping the building, maintenance, supply chain, and 24x7 operations at Google’s data centers. This session will (1) explain how Google’s data centers support AI advancement and demonstrate the diverse skill sets needed within the centers, (2) showcase innovative pathways for developing technical skills and share industry insights on effective learning and development, and (3) discuss innovative pathways to bridge the skills gap for AI advancement and data center workforce preparedness.


Ryan Ackels

Ryan Ackels serves as the U.S. West and Central Regional Server Operations Director for Google Cloud. His deep knowledge of data centers, understanding of operations, and passion for business success allows him to bridge the gap between theoretical strategic forecasting and sustainable implementation. He inspires an environment of trust from the conference room to the data center floor, which enables optimal operational outcomes.

Ackels started his career in IT as a summer intern at EDS while in high school and now manages the largest data center in the world. Prior to Google, he was in senior positions managing regional data center operations at EDS, HP, Capgemini, and Yahoo. He was a scholarship athlete at Texas Christian University, where he graduated with degrees in history and English. He completed his post graduate work in engineering management at Southern Methodist University.

Nathaniel Tindall

Dr. Nathaniel Tindall leads innovation pipeline for server products, digital twins, and automation at Google data centers for the Cloud Supply Chain & Operations organization. Before Google, he led operations and supply chain strategy at Raytheon Technologies. He also worked at United Technologies, BAE Systems, and Booz Allen Hamilton. As an operations and innovation leader, he has led teams and programs for scaling enterprise data platforms, delivering new tooling systems, and advancing operations analytics capabilities to the business. 

Tindall has a passion for STEM education. As a student leader at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), he served the CEISMC program during graduate school. He has continued to leverage these skills to guide Google Atlanta’s development of educational partnerships with area schools. He earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Georgia Tech and dual degrees in applied physics and materials science and engineering from Morehouse College and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, respectively.

Traci Thomason

Traci Thomason serves as Google's Global Social Impact Strategy Manager with a focus on leveraging community data to improve outcomes for underrepresented groups in Google’s global data center communities. Thomason began her career as an aerospace engineer with a concentration on space flight. She hails from Georgia Tech, where she was named a Gates Millennium Scholar and later graduated with high honors. She spent her undergraduate career interning and conducting research at NASA and Boeing.

Following her passion for solving problems that impact traditionally overlooked groups, Thomason later transitioned to a career in management consulting. She spent six years at Deloitte Consulting creating equity-centered solutions for Fortune 500 companies across five continents. In her role on the Google Global Social Impact Team, Thomason has driven community programs that have served thousands of people by providing resources such as food, education, and scholarships since 2022.

Maria Reyes

Maria Reyes serves as Google Cloud’s Global Workforce Innovation and Development Manager, with a focus on fostering innovation and workforce development into Google's vast hardware fleet. As a former administrator in higher education, she developed a diverse portfolio of public-private partnerships, securing over $25M in grants for STEM education from funders such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Labor, all of which focused centrally on promoting STEM education among K-16 students.

Reyes holds a master’s in public administration from Harvard University and a bachelor’s and master’s in civil engineering from Arizona State University. She is an author and contributing writer for more than 20 academic publications with an emphasis on the social and cultural pedagogies of minority students in STEM. In 2023, President Biden appointed Reyes as a Commissioner for the President’s Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics.

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