In addition to Mendez, the conference's list of international attendees include insect scientists, industrial engineers, sustainability experts, architects and keynote speaker Eric Bonabeau, founder of Boston-based Icosystem Corporation. Bonabeau is one of the world's leading experts in complex systems and distributed adaptive problem solving. His book "Swarm Intelligence" has been a scientific bestseller for eight years and provided inspiration for another bestseller, Michael Crichton's "Prey."
Mendez's career began with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he helped create nature dioramas. From there, he went into television and advertising. Mendez says that while he is perhaps most notably recognized for designing Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar for McDonalds that by "combining his skill in design with his interest 'obsession?' for insects, he has made a career bringing the public in closer contact with the sometimes creepy, sometimes inspiring world of insects. Currently, he rears colonies of ants for live-insect displays in museums around the world and raises naked mole-rats; one of the few mammal species that have a society resembling ants and bees. Mendez and his mole-rats were featured in the 1998 avant-garde movie "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control."
Arizona State University