DCFlyin18 Speakers



Christopher Bates
Senior Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee

Christopher Bates serves as Senior Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee with primary responsibility for technology issues and intellectual property. Prior to working in the Senate, Bates was a litigation associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C., where he focused on commercial litigation, white collar, and appeals. Prior to joining Sidley, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as the Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brigham Young University.


Brent Parton
Deputy Director, Center on Education and Skills, New America

Brent Parton is the deputy director of the Center on Education and Skills with the Education Policy program at New America. The Center is dedicated to building learning-based pathways to economic opportunity that can begin inside or outside of formal higher education. His work focuses on federal and state policies to scale those pathways, and ensure their quality and relevance within an evolving economy. Prior to New America, Parton served as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor. There he advised leadership on a range of skills issues including the expansion of apprenticeship, the design of investments in regional industry-workforce partnerships, and enhancing federal interagency coordination on skills initiatives. Parton has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in international education policy, both from Vanderbilt University, where he is also an adjunct professor.


Jeremy Robbins
Executive Director, New American Economy

Jeremy Robbins is the executive director of New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of more than 500 CEOs and mayors making the economic case for immigration reform. Robbins previously worked as a policy advisor and special counsel in the Office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Robert Sack of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow working on prisoner rights issues in Argentina, and a litigation associate at WilmerHale in Boston where, along with working on general corporate litigation matters, he was part of the firm’s team representing six Bosnian men detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and federal courts in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts. He received a JD from Yale Law School and a BA in political science from Brown University.


Tracey Welson-Rossman
Founder, TechGirlz

Tracey Welson-Rossman is the founder of TechGirlz. She is also a founding member of, and chief marketing officer for, Chariot Solutions, a Philadelphia-based Java and open source software development and consulting firm. After graduating from Drexel, Welson-Rossman started her career in retail management and advertising sales. She learned about lead development, marketing, and distribution in these roles, but what she really learned was that she’s an entrepreneur at heart. In 1996, she bought a New Jersey-based child transportation company called KangaKab. In 1999, with revenues at $2.5 million and having started a branch in Pennsylvania, she sold KangaKab. As the director of sales and marketing for accounting software provider Skylight Systems, she developed and executed marketing and channel efforts around one of the first-ever hosted accounting products. This program supplemented the existing sales of RFS, Skylight’s server based flagship product. It was very early on for the web-hosted software concept, but several firms began to use this product for their clients. Welson-Rossman is also the founder and current chair of the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference, (ETE), which is held in Philadelphia each year. ETE attracts world-renowned thought leaders in cutting-edge technologies and serves as a community forum for regional technology companies. She is one of the founding board members of Philadelphia Startup Leaders, a regional organization dedicated to growing technology startup businesses.


Joel Waterfield 
Director, State and Local Tax Practice 
Grant Thornton

Joel Waterfield is a Managing Director within Grant Thornton’s Atlantic Coast Market Territory for the State and Local Tax Practice. In addition, he serves as the National Tax Leader for the firm’s Technology Industry Practice (TIP). He is experienced in all areas of state and local taxation with an emphasis on transaction taxes for diverse industries including high tech, manufacturing, utilities, construction, and retail. With over 20 years of experience with state and local taxes, Waterfield is considered the area expert in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, as well as an industry expert in the high-tech, telecom and government contracting fields. He received a B.A. from Virginia Wesleyan College.


Darrell M. West
Vice President and Director, Governance Studies
Founding Director, Center for Technology Innovation

Darrell M. West is vice president and director of Governance Studies and holds the Douglas Dillon Chair. He is founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings and Editor-in-Chief of TechTank. His current research focuses on educational technology, health information technology, and mobile technology. Prior to coming to Brookings, West was the John Hazen White Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University. West is the author or co-author of 22 books and is the winner of the American Political Science Association’s Don K. Price award for best book on technology (for Digital Government) and the American Political Science Association’s Doris Graber award for best book on political communications (for Cross Talk). He has delivered many lectures in more than a dozen different countries around the world.