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Keynote Speaker: Paul Misener, Amazon

2019 Prof Con KeynotePaul Misener is’s Vice President for Global Innovation Policy and Communications. An Amazon veteran of 19 years, Paul explains and advocates Amazon’s culture and methods of sustained, customer-obsessed innovation, particularly in the context of Amazon’s Leadership Principles.

Paul will lead attendees through a discussion of the connection of science and technological innovation. This requires an understanding of the nature of science itself. The task for the budding scientists we are educating is to understand what science is -- and is not.

Paul founded Amazon’s public policy operations, and served as the company’s Vice President for Global Public Policy from February 2000 to May 2016. On behalf of Amazon and its customers, he has testified before the United States Congress over 30 times – on net neutrality, privacy, tax, cloud computing, and more – and on many dozens of occasions before other policymaking bodies around the world, and he has given hundreds of public speeches and media interviews.

Paul is both an engineer (Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Princeton University, 1985) and attorney (Juris Doctor, George Mason University, 1993; Distinguished Achievement Award, 2001; Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia, 1993 to present).

Formerly a partner in the law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, Paul previously served as the Senior Legal Advisor to a commissioner of the US Federal Communications Commission, and as Intel’s Manager of Telecommunications and Computer Technology Policy. In the mid-1990s, he led the computer industry’s Internet Access Coalition, which included Intel, Microsoft, and IBM, and which successfully blocked the imposition of telecom access charges on Internet access. In the early 1990s, he was the assistant to the Chairman of the Emmy Award-winning FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service, which established the system that underlies all modern HDTV and computer displays.

In 2013, Paul chaired the technical subcommittee of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s advisory committee that recommended allowing commercial airline passengers to use portable electronics during taxi, takeoff, and landing. He is an inventor named in three patents.

While in college, Paul worked for two summers at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and one summer at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In the late 1980s, after evaluating advanced government telecommunications systems at the Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center, Paul was a public policy specialist for NTIA and a US delegate to several conferences of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union, including the 1988 ITU World Administrative Radio Conference, at which he chaired an international working group.

Paul had intended to become an astrophysicist and he conducted two senior research projects in Princeton’s Physics Department, both of which involved detectors he designed around joint field effect transistors, and one was conducted under the guidance of Dr. David Wilkinson, for whom the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe is named. He remains fascinated and awed by space and time, particularly as illuminated by the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.

Paul serves on the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council; the Board of the Public Affairs Council; the Advisory Board for Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy; and the Board of the Partnership Fund for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), where he also Chairs the Audit Committee. Also for TJHSST, Paul is a certified referee in the Virginia High School League (part of the National Federation of State High School Associations) and serves as the head swim referee and swim officials coordinator. He also is a certified meet official for Potomac Valley Swimming (USA Swimming), and serves as a meet referee, judge, and starter in the Northern Virginia Swimming League, where he is a certified (“patched”) referee. Paul’s thousand-volume p-book library includes hundreds of antiquarian books, most on 18th and 19th Century history, politics, and natural philosophy. He and his family live outside Washington, DC.


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