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October 06, 2016 | Tom Ballard

GRIDSMART holding INTERSECT16 conference


By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

As many as 150 intelligent transportation professionals from around the world are expected to be in Knoxville later this month for a three-day event hosted by GRIDSMART Technologies Inc.

It’s the West Knoxville company’s second annual INTERSECT16 Conference, with the subscript number designating the year. The inaugural event, dubbed INTERSECT15, drew more than 100 attendees from seven countries.

“We had never held a full-fledged user conference,” Bill Malkes, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GRIDSMART, says in describing the 2015 event. “After last year, we said we’ve got something here; we need to step it up for 2016.”

The result is INTERSECT16, set for October 25, 26 and 27 under the overall theme of “Blocking and Tackling First.”

The philosophy of applying innovative technology to the transportation sector is at the heart of GRIDSMART. The nearly 10-year old company makes the world’s only single camera system for intersection control and traffic data collection.

“Our clients have to solve problems of today but also get ready to keep their cities safe and efficient while managing everything from growing populations to cyber-attacks on infrastructure to someday, even autonomous vehicles.” Malkes says in explaining the challenges that those who work in the traffic management and transportation sectors face.

“We talk about it (the conference theme) reflecting the intersection of technology and execution,” he adds.

INTERSECT16 includes open floor panel discussions on new technologies as well as debates on the future of transportation. One of the panels will compare and contrast adaptive traffic systems and how they use data.

“We work with all of the controller manufacturers,” Malkes says, adding, “We play nice in the sandbox with everyone and truly appreciate those who understand that collaboration creates solutions”

Another panel will focus on the intersection of Smart Cities, big data and connected vehicles, and the implications for local governments as well as product distributors.

INTERSECT16 features two well-known speakers. One is Randell Iwasaki, former Director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and currently Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority who also serves on the GRIDSMART Board of Directors. His topic, described in this article from Government Technology magazine, is “Redefining Mobility and City 5.0.”

With the theme of blocking and tackling, the conference starts with a keynote presentation by Brian Holloway, a former All-Pro player with the New England Patriots. The INTERSECT16 theme plays for all three days with participation from GRIDSMART’s own Will Overstreet of the 1998 National Championship Volunteers as well as other GRIDSMART partners who earned their way through college playing football.

“In an age where there is a new disruptive innovation flavor of the week, transportation professionals must balance moving the technology bar forward while being cognizant of public safety and good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Malkes says. “We have to move faster but also be but never forget that someone you love depends on us to make the road safe every time they get in the car.”

For more information on the conference, contact Lauren Jochum at 865/466-3860 or

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