OUR team

We are a bunch of friends connected by love for AI and new technologies. It all started through casual meeting at events where we enthusiastically exchanged ideas over a few drinks. No one thought that such a simple idea would take off, but hey, look at us now!


Founder & CEO

Dan is the founder of the AI CONNEX, an AI community that aims to connect people, help businesses to find the right partners that help solve problems using AI and latest technologies. He also has a passion for innovation, collaboration, and making impact to the communities.

Dan loves to play golf, basketball, and any other sports that challenge him physically and mentally. He has lived in many parts of the world and loves to help people in needs.

Dan also has a strong experience in sales, marketing, and event hosting with a passion for consulting and using AI to help solve real world issues.


Executive Advisor

Val has more than 20 years of experience in helping businesses navigate complex challenges and achieve sustainable growth. With creativity and a passion for problem solving, Val has established himself as a trusted advisor to executives across various industries in areas including strategy, growth, team building, corporate philanthropy, and culture.

Val joined Trace3 in 2021 to lead global accounts and drive regional go-to-market strategy and execution, including marketing, sales, systems engineering, partnerships, alliances, recruiting, and business development.

Val has over 20 years of experience building high performance teams at innovative technology companies, participated in three successful IPOs, and one of the largest technology reseller mergers in history.

He is an investor/advisor in several next-generation technology companies, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas.

Val holds BSc degrees in Philosophy and Cognitive Studies from Tulane University.


Chief Community Advisor

A dynamic force in the cybersecurity realm with a profound passion for connecting the community to the newest and most helpful Artificial Intelligence (AI) and leading-edge technologies.

Over the last four years, Michelle has been at the forefront of helping small to global businesses integrate AI-powered threat intelligence and security across their edge, endpoint, and hybrid-cloud environments for enhanced business agility with the world's leading Cybersecurity partner Palo Alto Networks.

As a proud member of the AI CONNEX Global Advisors team, her mission is one thing - to connect those eager to help the next generation of students, workers, educators, and business leaders - acquire the skills, network, and information necessary to excel in the digital age.

If you're looking to get involved in the community, give back, and want to explore partnering with AI Connex on these efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to her!


Global Chapter Advisor

At Aryaka Networks, Elier serves as the Growth & Strategy Program Executive, blending a deep passion for problem-solving with a commitment to creating lasting memories in the tech landscape.

As a first-generation Latino and an ardent dreamer, Elier channels his heritage and aspirations into fostering innovation and simplification in cloud, network, and security solutions, with a particular interest in AI's transformative potential. Leadership, for Elier, is multifaceted, embodying the qualities of a Coach, Visionary, Servant, Pacesetter, and Transformational leader, always focused on motivation, inspiration, and humility.

Beyond work, Elier is an avid sports enthusiast, enjoying soccer, basketball, and staying active, embodying the belief that knowledge is an endless journey. For those looking to impact the tech community and foster digital growth, Elier is eager to collaborate and share this journey of continuous leadership, learning, and partnership. As Global Chapter Advisor, Elier will leverage his role to initiate and connect higher education students with a vibrant community of AI professionals, fostering their growth and advancement in the field.


Chief Technology Advisor

A seasoned cybersecurity visionary with over 16 years of strategic leadership in varied global industries, Nick recently embarked on a new venture with the launch of WhitegloveAI. Combining a unique blend of expertise in enterprise risk management and innovative security architectures, WhitegloveAI is dedicated to securely augmenting human intelligence through customized AI solutions. The company specializes in secure AI implementation and governance, aligning robust cybersecurity protocols with innovative AI technologies.

Well-known for his ability to foster collaborations that bridge technical teams with C-suite executives, Nick continues to bring this asset to WhitegloveAI. Driven by passion, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, he aspires to transform challenges into scalable, future-proof solutions that not only protect but also accelerate business growth.


Chief Marketing Advisor

A charismatic senior digital and traditional marketing director with over 15 years of experience consulting for global advertising agencies and publishers. He began his digital marketing career with the first Google data provider in New Zealand before moving on to work with Yahoo and pioneering programmatic and e-commerce agencies. He has consulted for some of the world's largest brands and has also voluntarily advised over 30 non-profits.

He has developed a reputation for creativity, cultivating long-term partnerships, project management, consistent upskilling in new technologies and promoting social community entrepreneurship.

Jason gives back his professional expertise by serving on the Board of Directors for New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy as Fundraising & Events Chair. He is also the COO on the Executive Board of Directors for chamberofEcommerce.

In collaboration with the Board and our partners, Jason’s mission is to continue the growth and momentum of AI CONNEX by developing new platforms, expanding communications and providing resources to our members and the growing AI community.


Chief Investment Advisor

Meet Takeshi Hirota, a seasoned professional with a stellar track record in driving innovation and excellence in manufacturing, AI datacenters, and venture capital. Currently serving as a Supplier Industrialization Engineer at Tesla, Takeshi plays a crucial role in developing and ensuring the quality of key components, contributing significantly to Tesla's success.

His diverse expertise extends to roles at Zoox Inc., Apple, and Sony, where he showcased proficiency in quality engineering, project management, and production innovation. With a history of international operations, bilingual proficiency in English and Japanese, and a reputation as a respected leader, Takeshi Hirota stands at the forefront of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

Kimberly KJ

Chief AI Governance & Education Advisor

KJ possesses extensive experience in a variety of industries, including finance, technology, healthcare, and government. She has spearheaded the launch of management and security practices. This includes establishing her own firms, initially Knowledge Management & Associates, Inc. and more recently, Nomad Cyber Concepts, LLC, serving clients nationwide.

Her expertise in compliance and business strategy has led to a deep understanding of Cyber Risk Management and Governance. She has held key roles at leading companies such as USAA, Google, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Harris Corporation, Texas Health Resources, and others, where she has been instrumental in creating and enhancing programs. She contributes as a speaker and author and is currently serving as an Adjunct Professor for the Cybersecurity Program at Collin College in Frisco, TX.

Please check out our BLOG page, which is contributed by KJ as well!


Event Advisor

Alyssa is a marketing and branding expert with a passion for AI and leading edge technologies. She has helped several companies grow from obscurity to success by crafting compelling stories and strategies that resonate with their audiences.

She loves connecting with people who share her enthusiasm for innovation and learning. That's why she is excited to be part of the AI CONNEX Global Advisors team, where she can meet and collaborate with other professionals in this fast-changing field. Whether you need advice on how to launch your AI product, promote your brand, or engage your customers, she is here to help. Let's chat and see how we can help you achieve your goals.


Chief Strategy and Alliances Advisor

Alex is a director of strategy and business development at Caterpillar, the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. He has over 16 years of experience in M&A, international operations, corporate development, and strategic initiatives. He is also a board member at Lithos Energy, a startup developing next-generation battery technology.

He has a passion for innovation, sustainability, and solving complex problems. He's always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow, and to connect with like-minded professionals, which are the core values of AI CONNEX. Feel free to reach out if you want to chat about anything related to his work or interests!


Houston Chapter President

TJ Bailey is a visionary cybersecurity and AI consultant with a robust entrepreneurial spirit. His expertise lies in fostering high-level communications and strategic relationships, propelling organizations towards cutting-edge innovation. TJ’s dynamic approach to problem-solving and network building positions him as a key facilitator in the tech landscape, driving progress and securing digital futures. His experience is a testament to his commitment to excellence and transformative impact in the realm of technology.

The empire long united must divide, long divided must unite; this is how it has always been.

Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms

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