2019 Speakers

Dan Price

Founder and CEO of Gravity Payments

Raised in rural Idaho, Dan Price founded Gravity Payments from his university dorm room at just 19 years old. His mission–which remains the core of Gravity to this day–was to help the thousands of hard-working small business owners who are consistently overcharged and underserved by their credit card processors.

Dan built his company on the values of honesty, integrity, and transparency instilled in him during his rural upbringing. These simple values have set Dan and his company apart from others in the industry, making Gravity the most trusted name in payments. Today, nearly 20,000 independent businesses across all 50 states trust Gravity to save them millions in fees and hours in frustration by making it easy for them to accept payments.

Dan captured national attention in 2015 when he decided to raise the company’s minimum salary to $70,000 a year. Since then, he has become an outspoken advocate of income equality and, through speeches, articles, and media appearances, has consistently encouraged other business owners to take responsibility for the well-being of their employees. Although he’s been criticized for what some consider his radical policies on pay and equality (Rush Limbaugh famously derided him as “socialist”), Dan believes businesses have enormous power to promote social good, regardless of what industry they’re in, by serving communities instead of shareholders and putting people over profits. In 2019, Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times that Gravity’s story provides “proof that capitalism can have a heart.”

Dan’s leadership has earned him many awards, most notably Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of 2014” and the 2010 SBA “National Young Entrepreneur of the Year,” awarded to him by President Obama. In addition to these formal awards, Dan has been credited by other business owners who have decided to raise the minimum salaries at their own organizations. Dan lives in Seattle with his rescue dog, Mikey.

Dr. Matt Driller

Researcher and Physiologist at the University of Waikato in New Zealand

Dr. Matt Driller is an academic staff member in Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Matt has published over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles with the majority of these papers in the area of fatigue, recovery and sleep in elite athletes. Matt has worked as a sports physiologist at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (2006-2009) and the Australian Institute of Sport (2009 – 2014) and was previously the Head of Performance Physiology for High Performance Sport New Zealand (2017-2018). Matt has worked with Olympic and Paralympic medalists and traveled with athletes to numerous World Championship competitions and Olympic/Paralympic Games. Matt is currently involved in the supervision of over 15 post-graduate research students (PhD and MSc), all working in the area of athlete recovery. Some of Matt’s recent work has focused on the use of Float-REST to enhance recovery from exercise in athletes.

Dr. Josh Hagen

Director and Researcher of Human Performance Optimization

Josh Hagen received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2000, M.S./Ph.D in Materials Science and Engineering in 2004/2006 all from the University of Cincinnati. Josh executed his graduate research in bioelectronics at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Air Force Research Labs, and shortly after joined the 711th Human Performance Wing where he began his current research thrust in Human Performance Monitoring and Augmentation. At the 711th, Josh started and led the STRONG Team and focused on measuring physiology utilizing wearable sensors and blood biomarkers, developed novel analytics for correlating and modeling the data, and beginning to understand how to take that data to optimize performance in elite military and athletics populations. It was work with Navy Special Operators that Josh first discovered Float Therapy, which immediately inspired a new research thrust in Recovery Science.

In 2018, Josh became the Director of the Human Performance Innovation Center at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University, as well as Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Here he leads a multidisciplinary team focused on optimizing the performance of military, athletics, and clinical patient populations. Recovery Science is a large part of the core mission at the RNI, and Float Therapy is being investigated to help multiple needs for all of these populations.

Dr. Jerry Walker

Clinical Psychologist and Float Therapy Researcher

Dr. Jerry Walker, PhD., ABPP is a licensed, board-certified clinical psychologist who currently holds the position of Psychology Services Manager for Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. In his previous 7 years working with the United States Air Force, Dr. Walker ran an outpatient substance abuse program; provided behavioral consultation in primary care clinics; served as the director of a large, multidisciplinary outpatient mental health clinic; provided psychological support to DoD/NATO forces overseas; responded to multiple Disaster Mental Health incidents, including the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV; and provided strategic psychological consultation to a large military intelligence organization. Dr. Walker additionally provides tele-mental health services in 3 states, is pursuing a postdoctoral M.S. degree in clinical psychopharmacology, and has been personally commended for his work by the U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. His professional areas of expertise include the prevention and treatment of psychological trauma, resilience training, and organizational consultation. He most recently concluded a 1-year research study on the effects of floatation therapy for mitigating the physiological and psychological impacts of chronic physiological arousal experienced by airborne intelligence operators who directly support special operations missions. He earned 2 Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Texas, Austin and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology & Human Systems from Florida State.

Dr. Roy Vore

Microbiologist and Recreational Water Illness Expert

Dr. Vore is a technology manager at BioLab, Inc. His work focuses on the control of microbial growth in recreational water and aqueous industrial systems. Roy is a Certified Pool & Spa Operator, a member of the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Education Committee, an active contributor to Association of Pool and Spa Professionals’ Recreational Water Quality Committee, was a major contributor to the Disinfection Water Quality module of the Model Aquatic Health Code (the “MAHC”), and the lead author of NSPF’s Recreational Water Illness handbook.

Dr. Vore received his Ph.D. in bacterial physiology from the University of Arkansas and his masters and bachelors in microbiology from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas. Dr. Vore has over 70 scholarly papers and presentations on the selection and use of industrial biocides, biocide testing methodology, the microbiological of swimming pools and spas, and the governmental regulation of biocides. Roy’s hobbies include making beer and bird watching – which usually includes drinking the beer.

Dr. Justin Feinstein

Head Researcher at the Float Clinic and Research Center

Dr. Feinstein is Director of the Float Clinic and Research Center (FCRC) at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. The FCRC’s mission is to investigate the effects of Floatation-REST on both body and brain, as well as explore its potential as a therapeutic treatment for promoting mental health and healing in patients who suffer from anxiety.

His presentation will discuss a new NIH-funded clinical trial of floating in patients spanning the spectrum of different anxiety disorders, including PTSD, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, and Generalized Anxiety.

Dr. Sahib Khalsa

Researcher at the Float Clinic and Research Center

Dr. Khalsa is Director of Clinical Studies at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. His research examines how people feel their heartbeat and how the human brain maps cardiac sensation. The long-term goal of this work is to develop new treatments that re-establish a functional dialogue between the heart and brain in psychiatric illnesses.

Sahib will be presenting findings from experiments at LIBR investigating the effects of floatation-REST in individuals with anorexia nervosa.

M. C. Flux

Ph.D. Student Researcher with the Float Clinic and Research Center

Flux has been doing research science for over a decade in about a dozen different labs on topics ranging from biotechnology to mental health. From roots firmly planted in cell and molecular biology, Flux has a B.S. in Biotechnology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, an M.S. in Neuroscience from NYU focusing on primate visual perception, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder looking at the mental health effects of social identity formation, and is currently working on a double PhD in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience at CU Boulder where his work lies at the intersection of molecular biology, neuroscience, and mental health. His dissertation work primarily focuses on the effects of Floatation REST on anxiety and the immune system, along with several other projects exploring biomarkers of stress in other novel therapeutics and their connection to changes in mental health. He is a graduate student therapist at the Sutherland Bipolar Center, and has previous clinical experience working with underserved populations in the Boulder area. Flux is also very passionate about science communication, and has extensive experience as a graphic designer, which he applies to his presentations and educational illustrations.

Will Schoenhals

Electrical Engineer with the Float Clinic and Research Center

William Schoenhals joined the Float Clinic & Research Center (FCRC) at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) as the first engineering intern to join the laboratory, helping design and develop novel ways of collecting biometric data on research subjects while they float in an environment that is highly challenging for the collection of physiological data. After earning his B.S in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa, Will continued his research at the FCRC as a graduate student, which has led to the development of a method for the objective measurement of cardiac interoception (i.e., an individual’s ability to accurately perceive their heartbeat). The research and development of the final device and methodology culminated into his thesis, and in 2018 he graduated from the University of Tulsa with his Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. Will enjoys the challenge of supporting the engineering behind the FCRC, as well as training new students and lab members in data analysis and quality control. His presentation will discuss why the measurement of cardiac interoception is important, as well as present preliminary interoception data from an ongoing float study in patients with severe anxiety.

Michael Ruskow

Owner and Co-Founder of the World’s Largest Floatation Therapy Center

Michael Ruskow is the co-founder and owner of Just Float – The World’s Largest Floatation Therapy Center in Los Angeles, CA. Both an entrepreneur and a businessman, he possesses a wealth of construction experience and a personal interest in self-development, consciousness exploration, and natural pain reduction modalities. As an owner of several businesses, a husband, father, psychonaut, nature lover, and former boy scout – he wears many hats each day. Michael can often be found on the hiking trails in the mountains behind Just Float, in the gym or hanging out with his family and kitty, Janus. He sees floating as an invaluable resource for himself, his family, his community, and as a tool to promote wellness and balance in a chaotic, stressful world. Michael will share his experiences and the trials and tribulations of running an 11 tank center and the effort and decisions that were made to ensure its survival and growth. Averaging 2-3 eye-rolls per day for his constant puns and “dad jokes,” he is an avid learner with an admitted Google research addiction.

Andreas Kraemer

Executive Director of the World’s Largest Floatation Therapy Center

For the past year and a half, Andreas has overseen the complete turnaround of the World’s Largest Float Center, Just Float in Pasadena, CA. In addition to his more traditional experience in the worlds of management and organizational excellence, Andreas is also a Board Certified NLP Practitioner & Executive Coach specializing in helping founders and company leaders move from disconnection, overwhelm, and uncertainty to team unity, a clear plan of action, and maximum profits. In his personal time, he is involved in the Los Angeles classical music and opera worlds as a Board Member and podcast/livestream host for the Pacific Opera Project, and the Special Advisor to the Founder for Orchestra Los Angeles.

Andreas will be presenting with Michael Ruskow, Owner & Co-Founder of Just Float. Their talk will focus on the foundational business principles applied, and the mindset shifts needed, to take Just Float from struggling to thriving in less than one year. The talk will also cover how to apply these business principles and mindsets to any business for maximum fulfillment and profitability.

Zerin Beattie

Founder of XPAND and Manager of Stillwater Float Center

Zerin Beattie is the founder of XPAND and host of The XPAND Podcast, both platforms are devoted to helping push the evolution of consciousness onward. His field of study involves over a decade of meditation, 250+ float sessions, plant medicine ceremonies around the world, and an extensive knowledge base in movement, mind-body integration, and martial arts.

Zerin will be sharing how floating 30 days in a row had a profound influence on how he perceives the world around him, both internally and externally.

Kim Hannan

Voted in Speaker

With more than 15 years of training and marketing experience, Kim is passionate about helping individuals and business owners create a ripple effect on the world. She is a registered yoga, meditation, and mindfulness teacher, co-owner of Sukhino Float Center & Salt Cave, founder of Sukhino Yoga on the Go, and founder and creative director of Mindfull Solutions, whose sole purpose is helping the people who help people.

Known for balancing a buffet of plates, Kim uses the practice of mindfulness – simple observation and awareness of the present moment – to help others consider new and different perspectives, take on new challenges, and practice deep introspection to find what matters most to them. As an owner of several small businesses, she knows firsthand what demands are placed on float center owners each day.

In her talk, she’ll help you create an impactful plan for onboarding new team members at your center. You’ll walk away with tangible ideas that will help you craft your on employee orientation plan, whether you’ve hired employees in the past, or you’re not sure if and when you’ll be ready. Even without a big budget and endless free time, you can create a simple plan that not only guides your employees through the ins and outs of day-to-day operations, but also helps them to feel welcome and wanted in your float fam.

Jon Torn

Teacher, Writer, and Performer

Jon Leon Torn is a teacher, writer, and performer who lives and works in Flagstaff, Arizona. He will present an excerpt from his multimedia performance “The Scientist,” adapted from the autobiography of John C. Lilly, who is widely acknowledged as the first person to use floatation tanks for self-exploration and personal development.

Glenn Perry

Inventor of the first commercial floatation tank

After decades of researching consciousness and reality, Dr. John C. Lilly presented a workshop exploring consciousness. A tool of the workshop was a makeshift isolation tank similar to the ones he had invented and used for his research. Glenn was so affected by his use of the tank that he got John’s blessing to make them for others.

Glenn will be here to speak alongside his wife Lee.

Lee Perry

President of the Samadhi Tank Company

Lee, with Glenn’s help, designed and started the first float center in Beverly Hills. She developed the post float protocol to honor the experience and support the floater’s use of floating for their own consciousness.

Lee will be giving a presentation alongside her husband Glenn Perry.

Ashkahn Jahromi

Co-Founder of Float On, Float Tank Solutions, & Float Helm | Float Conference Board Member
Also Speaking at the Start a Center Workshop

Ashkahn is one of the founders of Float On, a six tank center in Portland, Oregon that opened its doors in 2010. Since then his life has been one salty adventure after another. After years of running a center, hosting a podcast, working on software, and taking road trips around the country, Ashkahn is happy to finally reveal his master plan: to build a dome over the Pacific Ocean and turn it into a float tank large enough to float the entire human population.

Ashkahn will be speaking at the conference with Graham Talley about the Float Conference itself, and how it’s first year as a non-profit entity has gone. He will also be speaking with Graham and their other business partner, Jake Marty, at the FTS Start a Center Workshop before the conference.

When you see him at the conference you should give him a high-five.

Graham Talley

Co-Founder of Float On, Float Tank Solutions, & Float Helm | Float Conference Board Member
Also Speaking at the Start a Center Workshop

Graham is one of the founders of Float On, a six tank center in Portland, Oregon that opened its doors in 2010. Somewhere between then and now, Float On (with Graham firmly in tow) got itself tangled up in pretty much every aspect of the floatation world – from software and consulting to book publishing and music recording. Outside of his salty endeavors, Graham has a broad range of interests that include experimental theater, philosophical debates, complex systems design, and board games.

Graham will be speaking at the conference with Ashkahn Jahromi about the Float Conference itself, and how its first year as a non-profit entity has gone. He will also be speaking with Ashkahn and their other business partner, Jake Marty, at the FTS Start a Center Workshop before the conference.

Jake Marty

Co-Founder of Float On, Float Tank Solutions, & Float Helm
CPO Instructor and Speaking at the Start a Center Workshop

Jake Marty, another one of the Float On owners, will be speaking at the How to Start a Float Center Workshop. He will be sharing experiences from the last several years where he spent countless days (and nights) fighting the good fight against salt damage and defending against rogue sound waves trying to sneak into beautiful, peaceful float rooms.

Jake will also be conducting the NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operator training course taking place on the Wednesday prior to the Float Conference.

Whichever city Jake is in, he can often be found atop the nearest mountain anticipating the sunrise.

Stephen Johnson

Master of Conference Shenanigans

Through professional athletics and performance, to a decades long practice of meditation, yoga, scientific/philosophical/poetic immersion. Retiring from a 30+ year career as a Psychiatric RN, researcher, educator, therapist and Anatomist. Continuing a private practice of an increasingly simple but deepening somato/spiritual nature. Developing into a ‘Float Contemplative’ in which suspension and immersion dynamics inform a growing intertwinement of science and spirit. Hopefully thinking, moving, communicating from a more interconnected sensibility.

Stephen will serve as the MC for the 2019 Float Conference.