A Silicon Valley icon, technology entrepreneur and philanthropist for more than forty years, Steve Wozniak has helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products the Apple I and II. He also influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry. He is listed as the sole inventor on four Apple patents.
In 1981, he went back to UC Berkeley and finished his degree in electrical engineering/computer science. To date, Wozniak has received ten Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees. In May 1982 and 1983, Wozniak, founded the company Unuson, an abbreviation of “unite us in song”, which sponsored two US Festivals. Initially intended to celebrate evolving technologies, the festivals ended up as a technology exposition and a rock festival as a combination of music, computers, television, and people.
For his achievements at Apple, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators. In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.
Through the years, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on, experiential learning that encouraged creativity and innovation by students. Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he adopted the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment.
He also founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. In 2014, he was awarded the Hoover Medal, a prestigious honor given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity,” and was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame. In 2015, Wozniak received the Legacy for Children Award from the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. The Legacy for Children Award honors individuals whose legacy has significantly benefited the learning and lives of children. The Cal Alumni Association (UC Berkeley’s Alumni Association) presented Wozniak with the 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award.
Wozniak is the author of iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon (Norton Publishing), his New York Times best-selling autobiography. His television appearances include: ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, The Big Bang Theory, My Life on the D List, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Celebrity Watch Party.
Wozniak continues to pursue his entrepreneurial and philanthropic interests to this day. In October 2017, Steve co-founded Woz U — a postsecondary education and training platform focused on software engineering and technology development.
When Woz and his wife, Janet, are not traveling the world trying to inspire the next generation or building sustainable businesses, they live a happy life in Los Gatos, California with their four Bichon Friese dogs Ziggy, Zelda, Jewel and Wozzie.
Fireside Chat Moderator Luis Rodriguez
Luis Rodriguez is an executive leader, technologist and enthusiastic advocate for the Kansas tech industry. He is truly a developer at heart, in every sense of the word. His zeal for both the advancement of technology and helping unlock the potential of people, communities, and businesses drives his actions and motivates him every day.
After growing his career in technology and business leadership through his company NerdUnit, Luis earned successive roles at large companies including Bombardier Aerospace, where he became a Six Sigma Agent. After serving as Senior Director of Software Development at High Touch Technologies, Luis joined keycentrix™ in 2015 as Chief Technology Officer. During his time as president from 2017 to 2023, he grew the company into one of the top competitors in specialty pharmacy software. He now serves as a thought leader for the specialty pharmacy industry, as a voice of technology on the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) board of
directors, and by participating in national speaking opportunities and providing insights to multiple industry publications.
Luis’s passion for technology runs deep. He is a member of the Forbes Technology Council at a national level but also encourages local tech industry progression and education as a founding member and board member of FlagshipKansas.Tech. In 2019, he appeared before the Kansas Board of Education to advocate for the advancement of technology programs in Kansas schools, which led to changes in graduation requirements to include computer science education. He served as the organization’s Board Chair in 2022, when the organization received two innovation awards and hosted its inaugural Ad Astra Technology Summit. That same year, the organization grew to more than 40 member companies and received more than $645,000 in grant funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Microsoft for workforce development initiatives. Luis also provided a technology perspective in the Business Education Innovation Partnership, a collaborative effort between the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Public Schools.
Originally from Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, Luis moved to Wichita more than 29 years ago and has long considered it home. Over the past several years he has participated in several community business organizations and not-for-profits, as a member of the Wichita Downtown Rotary and serving on the boards of The Workforce Alliance, Dress for Success, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He has taught web development at Friends University, serves as a technology faculty advisor for WSU Tech, and was named to the Wichita State University President’s Council.
Away from his day job, Luis is deeply dedicated to his family and loves to keep up with their antics and interests, whether it’s participating in the annual family Halloween costume theme, helping assemble experiments for the Science Olympiad, rocking out to musical performances, or conquering a fear of healthy respect for horses.
Also, GO SHOCKS.
Ad Astra Technology Summit Get Tickets
Conference tickets are limited and include admission to the awards and fireside chat with Steve Wozniak or purchase tickets for the awards and fireside chat only. Scholarships are available for teachers, and discounted tickets are available for FlagshipKansas.Tech members, teachers and students. Contact us for promo codes and group ticket sales.