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The theme of our 2024 conference will be: “Building a Human Performance Culture.” With the recent push by the industrial and military sectors to incorporate a sports team training mindset, human performance practitioners play an ever more critical role in our world today. Having the right human performance staff, however, doesn’t always mean this health and safety training approach is built on the right foundation or solving for the right problems. Before any technology is purchased to monitor the human and data aids in decisions making, the basics of performance must be baselined, and the right questions must be asked. This year’s Athlete Engineering Summit will provide all human performance verticals (sports, industry, military, medical, and academic) with information and actionable takeaways based on four key areas:

  • Nutrition, hydration, and fueling,
  • Sleep, recovery, and mental health,
  • The building blocks for sustaining a true human performance culture, and
  • Future Casting: Integrating AI and data for accelerated readiness.

The format for this year’s summit will be modified to emphasize interactive learning sessions for the entire audience and additional networking.  The experts presenting will include sports team coaches, health and safety managers from industry, human performance trainers from the military, along with engineers, data scientists, and wearable and human performance technology experts. Combining practitioner experience with applied research across all sectors is the foundation from which Athlete Engineering was built.

“During last year’s event, attendees learned that we need to speak the same language across sectors as we are often solving for the same human performance problems. This year, it’s important that we equip practitioners serving all athlete types with the right tools for problem solving and culture building,” Associate Vice President for Research, Reuben Burch said. “Understanding how the body performs and the technology collects data is important but means little if we are focusing our attention in the wrong areas. I think attendees over the last couple of years have walked away with great information and a much deeper, national network of contacts, but I want these experts to return home from the event with actionable direction and next steps. The 2024 Athlete Engineering Summit will highlight existing health and safety opportunities within the state of Mississippi, how we approached those needs, and focused our resources to bolster athlete cultures while looking into the future with AI in human performance. Let us teach you how this was accomplished so that you can ensure all your athletes, regardless of type, are happy, healthy, and productive.”

This summit’s theme and topics intentional target health and safety experts from all sectors because, as the last two summits have demonstrated, we still have a lot to learn from each other. Athlete Engineering Summit 2024 will empower all attendees to walk away with actionable steps.

Free Dinner Events (limited space so register early) – Monday, April 15th at 5:30pm – 8:30pm at the Scoreboard club in the north section of Davis Wade Football Stadium; and Tuesday, April 16th at 5:30pm to 9:00pm at Dudy Noble Field for MSU Baseball versus Alcorn State.
PRE-EVENTSMonday, April 15, 2024
12:00 – 1:00FREE WORKSHOP KEYNOTE: Dr. Cory Smith (Baylor University)
TOPIC: Optimizing the Physiological Monitoring and Performance in Extreme Cold-Weather Environments. This talk will overview the important factors related to monitoring and optimizing human performance in extreme cold-weather environments. An emphasis will be placed on near term human performance monitoring and the engineering difficulties that need to be overcome to achieve these goals.

Anyone may attend this free workshop. Attendees can select this free option when registering for the AE Summit 2024. This meeting will be hosted at MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development (301 Research Blvd, Starkville, MS 39759).
1:00 – 2:30FREE LAB TRAINING: Technology Workshop Session #1 – Motek GRAIL Hands-on Training with the Athlete Engineering Team (Mississippi State University)
TOPIC: Hands-on training for how to use and the benefits of the Motek GRAIL for clinical-level human performance research.
This training event will be hosted at MSU’s Athlete Engineering Research Lab (301 Research Blvd, Starkville, MS 39759).
2:30 – 4:00FREE LAB TRAINING: Technology Workshop Session #2 – Markered VS Markerless Motion Capture with the Athlete Engineering Team (Mississippi State University)
TOPIC: Hands-on experimentation with the benefits of motion capture systems including when and when NOT to use either markered or markerless solutions.
This training event will be hosted at MSU’s Athlete Engineering Research Lab (301 Research Blvd, Starkville, MS 39759).
4:00 – 5:00SPECIAL MEETING: Tactical Athlete Leadership Board (TALB) – Annual in person meeting hosted by Kevin Forbes (Booz | Allen | Hamilton)
TALB members may select this free option to attend when registering for the AE Summit. This meeting will be hosted at MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED; 301 Research Blvd, Starkville, MS 39759).
5:30 – 9:00FREE NETWORKING EVENT: Reception Social at MSU Football Stadium Scoreboard Club
Located through the main entrance in the north side of Davis Wade Football Stadium.
Food & drinks will be served for all attendees. Music entertainment will be available.
Please park in the Barnes & Noble north section of the parking lot. Enter the stadium at G-1 which is located at the north end-zone.
Space may be limited so sign up for this free event during registration.

DAY 1Tuesday, April 16, 2024 @ The Mill
Located at 600 Russell St. Starkville, MS 39759 (1st Floor)
8:00 – 9:00Registration, Continental Breakfast, & Networking Time
9:00 – 9:15Day 1 Welcome Remarks & Conference Opening
9:15 – 10:15Day 1 Panel Intro-Session: The Summit’s Theme and Vision – Dr. Reuben Burch (Mississippi State University), Ted Lambrinides (Sports Science Consultant), Collin Crane (University of Georgia), & Munjeet Singh (Booz | Allen | Hamilton)
TOPIC: Culture should drive technology change, not the other way around in a human performance environment.

The initial panel session will set the tone for this 2024 event by describing the pitfalls of basing a human performance culture around technology versus focusing first on ensuring the basic building blocks, such as fueling and recovery, are in place. Attendees will learn from panelists representing elite sports, industry, and military who will provide examples of why more than just technology is needed for building a human performance culture.
10:15 – 10:30Networking Break
10:30 – 11:30Day 1 Keynote – Justin Haley (NASCAR)
TOPIC: The elements of an effective human performance culture from the perspective of a professional athlete.

Being a professional athlete means having a team of experts focused on competition preparation and longer-term injury mitigation and quality of life. Attendees will learn that, just as Justin Haley has a pit crew team tasked with keeping his vehicle in competition, he also has a human performance “pit crew” focused on keeping him happy, healthy, and productive.
11:30 – 12:40Lunch & Networking Time
12:40 – 1:00Post Lunch Briefs – Dr. Meeta Singh (Performance & Sleep Consultant)
TOPIC: How sleep and recovery play a critical role in development of cultures from professional sports to business.

Attendees will learn from Dr. Singh, a consult to a wide range of clients – from professional sports teams to corporate leadership, all with the focus for how critical sleep is to performance in any sector. Learn how to increase performance outcomes on the field and in the meeting room by inserting sleep and recovery into an organizational culture.
1:00 – 1:45Block 1 Keynote – Joel Totoro & Wesley Barnett (Thorne)
TOPIC: The foundation dictates the strength of your program – a framework for a culture of performance (aka Don’t build a house on stilts).

We tend to optimize at the very top end and forget to look at what the basic human needs are and how they are being met.  Often basic changes here lead to improved top end performance. The talk will describe basic human needs in nutrition that can have elite impact on performance.
1:45 – 2:45Block 1 Panel Session Chaired by Dr. Bill Burgos (Mississippi State University) – Jim Weinstein (USAF), Craig Gile (CoolMitt), Meridith Cass (Nix Biosensors), Alexis Moran (Ingalls), & Dylan Dahlquist (Booz | Allen | Hamilton)
TOPIC: What can military and industry human performance teams learn from sports culture when creating branding, messaging, and processes around fueling.

Elite sports teams use shared language around the importance for athletes to focus on fueling. Attendees will learn from experts in sports technology, military, and industry sectors about why nutrition, hydration, and fueling is a critical cultural component as well as how to take what has worked well in sports to the industry and military sectors.
2:45 – 3:00Networking Break
3:00 – 3:45Block 2 Keynote – Dr. Pat Ivey, Dr. Ernie Rimer, & Dr. Andreas Stamatis (University of Louisville)
TOPIC: Fostering Well-being Across the Board: A Comprehensive Mental Health Framework for Student-Athletes, Coaches, and Administrators

The University of Louisville’s pioneering mental health and wellness initiative extends beyond student-athletes to encompass coaches and athletics administration, advocating for a systemic and cultural transformation across the entire athletic department. This session explores the multi-tiered strategy of our program, which engages with coaches as both beneficiaries and facilitators of mental health practices and employs a top-down approach from athletics administration to instill a culture of well-being. Attendees will learn about the challenges and triumphs of securing program funding, instigating cultural shifts within sports programs, and the critical role of leadership in championing mental health awareness. This comprehensive approach not only enhances the resilience and productivity of student-athletes but also sets a standard for embedding mental health awareness in high-performance cultures across various sectors. Discover the actionable steps and lessons learned from our journey to create a sustainable model of mental wellness that can be adapted and applied in any high-performance setting.
3:45 – 4:45Block 2 Panel Session Chaired by Dr. Adam Petway (University of Louisville) – Allison Dekuiper (Tampa Bay Rays), Justin Foster (The Excelling Edge), Dr. Michael Dial (The Ohio State University), Dr. Gregg Steinberg (Austin Peay State University), & Oliver Moorhouse (BrainLit)
TOPIC: Creating awareness of the importance of sleep, cognitive training, and mental health for all human performance sectors.

Attendees will hear from panelists who are experts in sleep, cognitive training, and mental health at the collegiate and professional sports levels, within academia and consulting, and who work for technology companies in this area. Panelists will describe what sports, industry, and military are doing in the areas of sleep, cognitive training, and mental health and how to take this information back to all sectors for improvements in performance.
4:45 – 5:00Day 1 Closing Remarks
5:30 – 9:00NETWORKING EVENT: Baseball social dinner event at Dudy Noble Field on MSU campus
Located in the Lofts at the north side of Dudy Noble (see the Attending page for location details). Please park in or near the Barnes and Nobles Parking lot and follow the signs and support staff to the event location.
Join us for our big networking event at the Mississippi State University baseball stadium as the Bulldogs take on Alcorn State University. Food and drink will be provided as you will have access in the Lofts and the stadium to watch the baseball game. Tickets are limited so sign up soon.
While spaces are limited, anyone may attend this special dinner event by selecting to attend when registering for the AE Summit.

DAY 2Wednesday, April 17, 2024 @ The Mill
Located at 600 Russell St. Starkville, MS 39759 (1st Floor)
7:00 – 8:00Continental Breakfast & Networking Time
8:00 – 8:30Day 2 Welcome Remarks
8:30 – 9:15Day 2 Keynote – Andrea Hudy (University of Connecticut)
TOPIC: The effects of high demand training load on performance and health in Division 1 Women’s Collegiate Basketball players.

Coach Hudy is one of the most recognized strength and conditioning coaches in college basketball. She has developed a human performance culture in elite programs such as UConn, Kansas, and Texas. Now, PhD Candidate Hudy is taking on a new role as an academic researcher. Attendees will learn how she has taken her experience in building an elite culture to create her research path, further bridging athletics practitioner experience and research.
9:15 – 9:30Networking Break
9:30 – 10:15Block 3 Keynote – Jesse Wright (High Performance Consultant)
TOPIC: What can one basketball injury teach us about high performance culture?

Using an injury in basketball as the focal point, attendees will gain insights into the essential steps for developing and maintaining  an elite, high performance culture. This talk will cover practical strategies and actionable steps to cultivate a mindset of collaboration, adaptability, and peak performance; team qualities that are necessary for success, not only in a long-term, return-to-play case in sports but across all professional settings and industries as well.
10:15 – 11:15Block 3 Panel Session Chaired by Mondlie Brave (Ingalls) – Nick Zimmerman (MSU), Ashley Kowalewski (Louisiana State University), Spenser Posey (Army), Brett Grelle (UFC), & Scott Dembowski (Special Operations Command)
TOPIC: Taking Lessons learned for establishing and applying a sustainable performance culture in elite sports, tactical, and industry sectors.

Attendees will hear from culture building experts in college and professional sports as well as from military special forces as they give advice to all health and safety culture developers, especially those in industry and tactical training. This elite group of panelists will speak to the challenges versus benefits of establishing long-term culture change, the hurdles of developing change, and what to focus on first to make the most impact for any sector.
11:15 – 11:30 Lunch Remarks
11:30 – 12:40Lunch & Networking Time
12:40 – 1:00Post Lunch Briefs – Dr. Robert Faulk (Pat Tillman Scholar Community)
TOPIC: How to develop a culture of giving back to athletes, with athletes, and beyond.

The Pat Tillman Foundation identifies remarkable military service members, veterans and spouses, empowering them with academic and leadership development opportunities. Just as the military is using sports as a template to create a performance-focused culture, there is also much to be learned from sports on how we give back to the athletes who represented their team. Serving those who serve and protect us is just as important as fueling and recovery for a culture of health. Attendees will learn about the Pat Tillman program and how elements of this opportunity can be adopted across human performance sectors.
1:00 – 1:45Block 4 Keynote – Dr. Chris Shumeyko (Booz | Allen | Hamilton)
TOPIC: Athletics in the Age of AI: How data-driven decision making will transform human performance.

It is no secret that we’ve entered an age of digital transformation with the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI). Every aspect of our lives has or will be transformed in one way or another through the integration of data science and AI. Specifically, we will explore what commonalities can we draw between humans and machines and the data they create to understand how AI can increase our efficiency and effectiveness every day. Further, we’ll examine how humans in industry, athletics, and the military can all benefit from an infusion of human-centric AI capabilities for maximum readiness.
1:45 – 2:45Block 4 Panel Session Chaired by Dr. Bill Burgos (Mississippi State University) – Paul Jones (The Ohio State University), Anna Cruse (University of Utah), David Chambers (Southwest Research Institute), & Sonya Rahmani & Maggie Corry (Booz | Allen | Hamilton)
TOPIC: AI is quickly appearing everywhere: preparing human performance cultures for where AI is, where AI isn’t, and where AI should be to make a lasting competitive advantage impact.

Attendees will learn about the future of human performance as tools based in Artificial Intelligence continue to replace laboratory and field gold standards such as markered motion capture, force plates, and wearables. To have the best culture of human performance, practitioners must be aware of what their field could look like in the coming years as AI use becomes more widespread. Just as gaining the practitioners’ trust in wearable solutions took time, so too will the adoption of AI when making health and safety decisions. This discussion will start the narrative of preparation for trust for future human performance cultures.
2:45 – 3:15Day 2 Closing Remarks
3:15 – 3:30Final Remarks & Door Prize Giveaways
All times are Central Standard Time.
NSCA Approved for 1.5 CEUs | PT Approved for 14 CC Units