CBP is excited to announce the speakers and panelists for the Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum. Please see the biographies of our esteemed speakers below.
David Alexander, Ph.D.
Senior Science Officer, Resilience, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Science and Technology
David Alexander, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Science Advisor for Resilience. He also leads the Enduring Sciences Branch of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology’s (DHS S&T) Technology Centers Division focusing on interdisciplinary research across the physical, biological, and life sciences to enhance knowledge, advance state of the art, inform investments and drive actions in national threats, hazards, and risks. Other programs he has spearheaded in DHS S&T include leading the S&T Flood Apex and Hurricane Technology Modernization programs as well as an analysis of Wildland Fire Operational Requirements and Capabilities in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Fire Administration, and other key stakeholders. Before his role in DHS S&T, Dr. Alexander served as the first appointed geospatial information officer for DHS and as Enterprise Geographic Information Systems Branch lead within the FEMA.
Before coming to DHS, Dr. Alexander acquired practical experience across the local, state, federal, and private sectors. Dr. Alexander currently serves as a co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Resilience Science and Technology and is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the Eighth International Conference on Floodplain Management. He previously served as a member of the National Geospatial Advisory Council, DHS representative to the Federal Geographic Data Committee, co-champion for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, chair of the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level Data Subcommittee. Dr. Alexander holds a Doctor of Philosophy from George Mason University and is also an adjunct faculty member at Delta State University.
International Affairs Advisor, Office of the Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Hope Bigda-Peyton is an International Affairs Advisor in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), where she advises on policy related to climate-smart agriculture and co-leads the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) initiative to address climate change and global hunger by uniting participants to significantly increase investment in, and other support for, climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over five years (2021 – 2025).
Prior to her work at OCS, Ms. Bigda-Peyton worked with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Multilateral Affairs Division on sustainable food systems policy in international organizations, and in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division as an agriculture and climate change subject matter expert supporting the Global Methane Initiative (GMI). She has her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Environment, prior to which she worked for six years on sustainable agriculture in Oaxaca, Mexico. She is passionate about sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems as a climate solution.
Director, Green Trade, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Lea-Ann Bigelow is a versatile and solutions-driven operations expert with a unique track record of innovation, strategy and policy development and execution, coalition building and results delivery across the Federal and private sectors. Ms. Bigelow’s 20 years of public sector leadership crosses the Executive Office of the President, two Cabinet Departments (Homeland Security and Commerce); and two independent Federal agencies (Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the National Gallery of Art.) Before entering public service, Ms. Bigelow operated for several years as an investment banker and strategy consultant, specializing in international M&A, venture capital and project finance.
As Director, Green Trade, Ms. Bigelow serves as CBP’s primary champion for execution of its Green Trade Strategy, a strategic framework to guide and inspire CBP’s enterprise-wide actions in the global fight against climate change and environmental degradation in the context of the trade mission. More specifically, Ms. Bigelow leads CBP efforts to develop new green technologies, innovation and research, drive environmental trade enforcement and climate policy engagement with Partner Government Agencies and international customs entities, and engage with strategic partners from industry, academia and NGOs to explore green trade incentives and best practices.
Immediately prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Bigelow served as Director of International Engagement at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), leading global programs focus on government sustainability and climate, including the Greening Government Initiative, a first-of-its-kind community of practice with 48 participating countries working to build climate resilience in the public sector.
In 2016, Ms. Bigelow was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the highest form of honorary recognition Commerce bestows, for distinguished contributions to Organizational Development. Ms. Bigelow and her team were also recently recognized with the 2022 DHS Secretary’s Award for Innovation for their work in trade-facing Robotic Process Automation. She holds a B.Sc., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
Associate Director Global Trade and Investment, Boston Consulting Group
Tim Figures is a senior expert on geopolitics and trade impact within Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Global Advantage practice. He is also a member of the BCG’s Center for Climate and Sustainability Policy and Regulation. He works with private and public sector clients globally to analyze and explain changes to trade conditions and trade patterns, assess impact, and recommend actions to maintain competitiveness and value. Mr. Figures is an expert on EU trade, economics, and regulations, with a particular focus on manufacturing, professional, and business services, as well as network industries. He brings 25 years of experience at the intersection of public policy, international geopolitics, business regulation, and strategy. He has sectoral experience in international aviation, manufacturing, energy, transport, and the digital economy.
Mr. Figures has worked extensively in the UK, EU, and international environments, including over 10 years spent in Brussels negotiating trade, investment, and regulatory issues for both the European Commission and the United Kingdom (UK) Government. Following the Brexit referendum in 2016, he served as the ministerial adviser on EU affairs and trade to the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
AnnMarie R. Highsmith is the Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Trade at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). EAC Highsmith oversees a diverse portfolio of trade enforcement, security, and facilitation to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety. Her work ranges from enforcing over 500 U.S. trade laws and overseeing 14 trade agreements, to directing CBP’s seven Priority Trade Issues in collaboration with 49 partner government agencies.
From 2013 to 2021, EAC Highsmith served as the Deputy Chief Counsel for CBP, where she was the chief operating officer of one of the premier legal offices in Government, managing and directing a staff of 400 legal professionals in 31 offices nationwide. In 2020, EAC Highsmith served as Acting Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In that capacity, she provided effective leadership for the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring public safety and the security of the national food supply chain, while protecting American jobs. EAC Highsmith joined the Senior Executive Service (SES) as the Associate Chief Counsel (Trade and Finance), CBP, in Washington, D.C. In that role, she served as the principal legal advisor for CBP on all matters involving customs laws, as they impact on trade, and a broad range of fiscal matters. In 2013, she served as the Acting Associate General Counsel for General Law, in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, providing leadership and timely, practical legal advice and guidance to successfully implement the over $3 billion sequestration. A native Californian, EAC Highsmith began her legal career in 1992 as a Staff Attorney with the U.S. Customs Service, at the Office of the Regional Counsel, in Long Beach, California.
EAC Highsmith received her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1992, and her bachelor’s degree in business administration, magna cum laude, from Pepperdine University in 1988. She is a 2011 graduate of the Harvard University Senior Managers in Government program. In 2017, EAC Highsmith was awarded a Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award.
Tasha Reid Hippolyte, Ph.D.
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Tasha Reid Hippolyte, Ph.D. is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy/Economic Competitiveness in the Trade and Economic Security Office at the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She leads the development and coordination of strategy, policy, and procedure to facilitate lawful trade and enforce U.S. trade laws.
Previously, she worked as the Chief of Staff in the Office of Field Operations (OFO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Dr. Hippolyte also served as the Director of the Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia (AMECA) Division in the CBP Office of International Affairs (INA). In this capacity, she advanced agreements and engagements for CBP with AMECA countries to include technical assistance and information sharing for international trade and travel. Dr. Hippolyte began her career with CBP in 2006 as an Outstanding Scholar. She held a number of other positions to include: Acting Executive Director for Trade Policy and Programs in the Office of Trade, International Affairs Liaison to the Office of Congressional Affairs, and the INA World Customs Organization SAFE Framework Capacity Building Team Lead.
Dr. Hippolyte earned a Ph.D. in Political Science with International Relations and Public Administration concentrations from Howard University. Her dissertation research examined the impact and role of women in the post conflict peace process. In addition, she has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University. She graduated from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Prior to joining CBP, Dr. Hippolyte was a Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. Dr. Hippolyte also worked on Capitol Hill as a Washington Fellow.
Senior Natural Resources Officer, Asia Bureau, U.S. Agency for International Development
Todd R. Johnson is the Senior Natural Resources Officer for Forestry, Biodiversity, and Climate Change in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Asia’s Environmental Security and Resilience division. He supports USAID offices throughout Asia and the Pacific on design and implementation of natural climate solutions, biodiversity conservation, and climate change adaptation and mitigation programs, and coordinates U.S. strategy and policy implementation with other bureaus and agencies.
Mr. Johnson serves as the climate integration lead for the Asia Bureau at USAID. He has more than 35 years of experience in international development, including serving as director on six projects in Asia, Africa, and Washington, D.C. before joining USAID in 2013. His fieldwork includes long-term projects in the Philippines (3x), Southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe), Malawi, and Afghanistan as well as short-term assignments in more than two dozen other countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Mr. Johnson’s educational background and field practice sit at the nexus of ecology, economy, and society. His current work focuses on natural resources governance and mobilizing private sector investment in climate-positive land use practices.
Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
John P. Leonard is the Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) of the Office of Trade at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). DEAC Leonard oversees a diverse portfolio of trade enforcement, security, and facilitation to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety. His work ranges from enforcing over 500 U.S. trade laws, to overseeing 14 trade agreements, to directing CBP’s seven Priority Trade Issues in collaboration with 49 partner government agencies.
DEAC Leonard has over 30 years of experience at CBP and the former U.S. Customs Service, first beginning his career as an Import Specialist in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1989. Since then, he has worked in various leadership positions at CBP, from 2013 to 2017 as CBP Attaché to Singapore, and prior to this as the Area Port Director of San Francisco. As Area Port Director, DEAC Leonard oversaw the CBP clearance of nearly 5 million passengers per year at San Francisco International Airport and over 400,000 cargo containers per year at the Oakland Seaport. DEAC Leonard holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree in international commerce and policy from George Mason University. He is a graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Under Armour
Michael Levine serves as Vice-President, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Managing Counsel at Under Armour. He has been a part of the company for over 12 years and leads the company’s global sustainability program, where his responsibilities include formulating, operationalizing, and leading the oversight of global, enterprise-wide sustainability, and environmental sustainability. Additionally, climate action circularity, core ESG elements, corporate social responsibility, social, labor, and human-rights due diligence, stakeholder engagement, and reporting are part of Mr. Levine’s daily activities. Mr. Levine serves on the boards of the Fair Labor Association and the International Labor Organization’s Call to Action in the Global Garment Industry.
Mr. Levine obtained his bachelor’s degree at Columbia University, specializing in political science, and his juris doctor’s degree at the Emory University School of Law. He is also a Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner and has received a Diligent Climate Leadership Certification.
Senior Vice President, Global Customs, Expeditors International
Dana Lorenze is the Senior Vice President of Global Customs at Expeditors International. She is responsible for the policy, structure, and strategy of Expeditors Global Customs product. She has extensive experience in international trade, compliance, and operations, and currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Customs at Expeditors Headquarters in Seattle, WA.
Ms. Lorenze joined Expeditors in 1995 in the Los Angeles office. She has held numerous positions including District Sales Manager, Customs & Import Manager, and District Manager of Expeditors Salt Lake City and Portland. In 2011, she relocated to Seattle as Director of Global Customs, further developing Expeditors Global Customs offerings worldwide. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Colorado and obtained a certificate in Executive Leadership from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Ms. Lorenze is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker and IATA/FIATA certified, with distinction, and currently serves as a member of the Private Sector Consultative Group to the World Customs Organization. She has previously served as a Director on the Board of the Foreign Trade Association of Southern California and is currently a Trustee on the Board of Directors for the Arts Fund.
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Cyber, Infrastructure, Risk and Resilience, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Thomas McDermott is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Cyber, Infrastructure, Risk, and Resilience Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He advises senior department officials and oversees the development of policy positions related to a full range of cyber, technology, infrastructure, risk, and resilience issues. Mr. McDermott also served as acting Assistant Secretary from January 2017 through February 2019 and again from January 2021 through May 2022.
As the Department’s senior career cyber policy official, Mr. McDermott has advised DHS and White House officials in connection with numerous departmental and Administration priorities, including Executive Order 14028; the Cyberspace Solarium Commission; the 2018 National Cyber Strategy; and the development and implementation of various executive orders seeking to strengthen supply chain security, improve federal acquisition, increase information sharing, and enhance the security and resilience of critical infrastructure against physical and cyber threats. He spearheaded the development and implementation of the first DHS-wide cybersecurity and artificial intelligence strategies and represents the Department in engagements on diverse issues including cyber incident reporting, election security, data security and encryption policy, emerging technology, climate change, and other evolving risks to the Homeland. In 2012, he received the DHS General Counsel’s Excellence Award for his leadership in developing the Obama Administration’s comprehensive cybersecurity legislative proposal. He has also advised on the development of major DHS cybersecurity programs and provided operational legal support to the predecessor organization of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Mr. McDermott has previously served in a variety of roles at DHS, including an assignment as Deputy Director for Strategy at the National Cybersecurity and Communication Integrations Center (NCCIC), Acting Deputy Associate General Counsel, and Assistant General Counsel for Infrastructure Programs. Mr. McDermott was also previously an attorney in the DHS Office of the General Counsel’s Legal Counsel division and acted as the Assistant General Counsel for Strategic Oversight and Review. Prior to joining DHS, Mr. McDermott was an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Washington office. Mr. McDermott graduated from the Duke University School of Law and the University of Notre Dame; he clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Troy A. Miller is the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In this role, he leads more than 60,000 employees and ensures the advancement of the agency’s mission, strategic objectives, and related Administration priorities. He directs CBP’s three core missions of counterterrorism, border security, and trade enforcement, while facilitating $4 trillion in trade and facilitating travel of over 410 million people through ports of entry.
Acting Commissioner Miller also served in his current role from January to December 2021. During his prior Acting role, Acting Commissioner Miller led the agency through a myriad of challenges, to include the COVID-19 pandemic, surges of migration along the Southwest border, hurricane relief efforts, and Operation Allies Welcome – the substantive effort to process refugees fleeing Afghanistan. Acting Commissioner Miller also made workforce resiliency a top priority during his initial tenure as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner of the nation’s largest law enforcement agency.
Between December 2021 and November 2022, Acting Commissioner Miller served as CBP’s Deputy Commissioner. In this role, he was the agency’s senior career official, overseeing the daily operations of CBP’s expansive mission, including matters relating to trade, travel, and national security. Acting Commissioner Miller also previously served as the Director, Field Operations (DFO) for CBP’s New York Field Office. As the DFO, he directed the activities of almost 3,000 CBP employees and an area with: two of the country's busiest international airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR); the east coast's largest container seaport (New York/Newark); and the Pharmaceutical, Health and Chemicals Center of Excellence and Expertise (PHC Center). Mr. Miller oversaw CBP's national security and anti-terrorism operations, immigration and agriculture inspections, and the agency's trade enforcement efforts throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Prior to his role as DFO, Acting Commissioner Miller also served as the Executive Director, National Targeting Center (NTC), where he directed over 800 employees and was responsible for providing advance targeting, research, analysis, and coordination among numerous law enforcement and intelligence agencies in support of CBP anti-terrorism mission on a 24/7 basis. Miller implemented several intelligence and targeting units that support CBP's primary mission to secure America's borders and he oversaw staff that use a multi-layered risk-based approach, which included collecting and analyzing advance traveler and cargo information.
From 2013 to 2015, Acting Commissioner Miller served as the Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Intelligence, and Investigative Liaison, where he initiated an organizational restructuring in direct support of field components and border enforcement entities that partner with them and promoted initiatives to transcend physical borders. In addition, he has held numerous leadership positions including Assistant Port Director, Seattle; Director of Targeting and Analysis, Office of Intelligence and Operations Coordination; and Director of the National Targeting Center-Passenger.
Acting Commissioner Miller began his federal career with the U.S. Customs Service in 1993 as a Customs Inspector. Most recently, he was awarded the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2021, and he is a prior recipient of the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2016. Mr. Miller holds dual bachelor’s degrees from Bemidji State University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellows program.
Branch Chief, CTPAT & Trusted Trader Partnership Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Carlos Ochoa is the Branch Chief, Communication, Standards, and Policy, for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Program at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations. Mr. Ochoa supports the CTPAT Program Director in the management of the program at the National level. As a member of the CTPAT Headquarters management team, some of Mr. Ochoa’s main responsibilities include the development of outreach material for the trade community, participating as a speaker in key trade events and seminars, and serving as the main program representative in charge of updating the security requirements of the program so that they are in line with U.S. policies and objectives.
Mr. Ochoa has served in various capacities in CTPAT since joining the program in 2007. As the former Chief of the International Branch, he led the discussions that culminated in the Mutual Recognition Arrangements with the Customs Administrations of Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the 28 Member States of the European Union. He also served as the Branch Chief of the CTPAT Plans and Operations Branch, managing the enforcement processes that led to the removal of several Members from the program.
Mr. Ochoa is CBP’s main point of contact with the World BASC Organization and the Supplier Compliance Audit Network (SCAN) Association. And he has been the program lead for CTPAT efforts at the World Customs Organization (WCO). As a result of his contributions to the WCO’s capacity building and policy development initiatives, he was recognized as an AEO Expert by the WCO in 2020.
Mr. Ochoa served on a long-term assignment to Honduras as the Acting CBP Attaché in Tegucigalpa in 2021. Before joining CTPAT, Mr. Ochoa worked for the Office of International Affairs where he helped manage the international portfolio of the agency. He started his career with the Federal Government over 28 years ago, when he joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1995. Mr. Ochoa holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University.
Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express Americas
Mike A. Parra is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DHL Express Americas and is responsible for the management of DHL Express business activities in over 55 countries and territories across the Americas, which includes the company's presence in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Mr. Parra joined DHL in 1997 as a Service Center Manager in South Florida and quickly progressed within the DHL organization in leadership roles within the U.S. and Americas Region. Before his most recent appointment in 2016 as CEO of DHL Express Americas, Mr. Parra served for nearly three years as CEO of DHL Express in the U.S. He has also served as Senior VP of Network Operations for the Americas Region and Senior VP & Area General Manager, Western U.S. Before his career at DHL, Mr. Parra worked for ten years with TNT Express Worldwide.
Mr. Parra represents DHL externally on the boards of Global-e, a provider of comprehensive cross-border ecommerce solutions, and Latin American Association of Express Delivery Companies (CLADEC). Mr. Parra resides in South Florida and lives with his wife, his two children and two grandchildren. He is active in his community and serves as a board member at his church Christ Fellowship.
Executive Director, Office of Trade Relations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Felicia Pullam is the Executive Director of the Office of Trade Relations, which serves as U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) primary point of contact for private sector and stakeholder engagement. Ms. Pullam has worked on trade issues from both the state and federal perspective: she has served at the Delaware Department of State, the Maryland Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
During the Obama Administration, Ms. Pullam helped steer SelectUSA, a presidential initiative housed within Commerce, through a high-pressure start-up phase to promote the United States as the leading global destination for foreign direct investment. Ms. Pullam was then appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, where she managed three offices to analyze and implement trade policy covering a large swath of the global economy.
Outside of government service, Ms. Pullam was recently the Director of Strategy at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Earlier in her career, she spent nearly a decade in China, leading the Asia regional corporate responsibility and sustainability practice for APCO Worldwide. She got her start as a Princeton in Asia Fellow, followed by a yearlong adventure as the tutor and translator for actress Zhang Ziyi. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University.
Rohemir Ramirez Ballagas
Foreign Service Officer & Climate Negotiator, Office of Global Change, Department of State
Rohemir Ramirez Ballagas is a Climate Policy Officer for the Office of Global Change at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Ramirez Ballagas was a Staff Attorney for CLF Massachusetts working in the Clean Energy & Climate Change and Clean Air and Water Programs. Mr. Ramirez Ballagas was also a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Juan R. Torruella of the United States Court of Appeals and an Honors Attorney Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1.
Mr. Ramirez Ballagas holds a Master of Law from Harvard Law School, where he served as a student clinician at the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and as line editor of the Environmental Law Review. Mr. Ramirez Ballagas received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Puerto Rico Law Review and a student clinician at the University of Puerto Rico Environmental Law Clinic. He obtains a bachelor’s degree in economics and political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.
Assistant Secretary, Customs and Trade Policy, Australian Border Force
Kimberlee Stamatis leads the Customs and Trade Policy Branch within the Australian Border Force (ABF). Spanning a 20 plus year career in the Australian Public Service, Ms. Stamatis has led several significant work programs across the national security and border enforcement remit. Ms. Stamatis negotiated Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with Australia’s early FTA partners, led Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) negotiations, and led Australia’s delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) from 2018 to 2023 where she drove the development across 21 economies of the Australian-funded virtual APEC Business Travel Card. A key focus of recent times is driving the Green Customs Framework for Australia.
In addition to her international experience, Ms. Stamatis redeveloped the Department of Home Affairs’ performance management framework and supporting IT system. Ms. Stamatis also redesigned and coordinated the Senior Executive Services’ Leadership and Values program, managing contracts and associated financials through a strategic review and consolidation of domestic and international property (including fleet and assets) and supported the Department’s industrial relations and Enterprise Agreement negotiations. Ms. Stamatis supported the introduction of the National Employment Standards with a focus on the implications to Departmental policies and developed a mandated bargaining position by engaging stakeholders, including with staff representatives and the Community and Public Sector Union.
As of July 1, 2022, Ms. Stamatis leads the Secretariat functions to support ABF Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs, Michael Outram APM, in his two-year term as World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair. In this role, she and her Secretariat Office support the representation and best interests of 34 Member administrations in the Region to the WCO. Ms. Stamatis and her Secretariat Office will also host Regional Executives for four non-discretionary events and lead the development of a new iteration of a Regional Strategic Plan. Through this, Ms. Stamatis and the Secretariat Office will support Regional thematic priorities, such as supply chain integrity, Green Customs, gender equality in Customs, modernization, and combatting trade-based money laundering, among others.
Vice President of Sustainability, REI Co-op
Matthew Thurston is a sustainability business leader with expertise in product manufacturing and retail. He serves as the Divisional Vice President of Sustainability at REI Co-op where his team guides global sustainability, human rights, and sustainable chemistry. REI is a specialty outdoor retailer and the nation’s largest consumer co-op, with 23 million members and over 180 stores. REI’s mission is to connect every person to the power of the outdoors and engage them in the ﬁght to protect it. The co-op has industry-leading commitments on climate and zero waste, supported by a global team of sustainability experts.
Mr. Thurston holds bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and government from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University.
Commissioner for Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Vaishali Udupa is the Commissioner for Patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As Commissioner for Patents, Commissioner Udupa manages and leads the Patents organization as its chief operating officer. She oversees the agency’s 10,000 Patents employees, including more than 9,000 patent examiners responsible for fostering the country’s innovation system by providing patent protections to inventors.
Prior to joining the USPTO, Commissioner Udupa was already a nationally recognized leader in intellectual property (IP), with over twenty years of experience in strategic IP advisement and complex litigation. She has a wealth of experience in patent prosecution and litigation, global IP policy, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. In the private sector, Commissioner Udupa secured multiple IP trial wins and managed numerous IP cases to favorable resolutions in the United States and abroad. She assisted in the development of patent and trademark portfolios and counseled internal clients regarding licensing deals, asset acquisitions, and agreements involving IP rights. Her technological experience includes, among others, electronic devices, networking and telecommunication systems, computer software, electronic commerce, consumer products, sporting goods, and medical devices.
Throughout her career, Commissioner Udupa has achieved a proven track record of addressing diversity issues in the science, technology, and legal professions. She has sought to promote diversity and inclusion through pro-bono work and bar association involvement, including by serving as Honor Roll Committee Co-Chair of ChIPs, a non-profit organization that advances and connects women in technology, law, and policy; volunteering with the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital to provide young girls with their inventor patch; and teaching basic IP topics to Washington, D.C., high schoolers through the Street Law Program. Her efforts have received accolades, including the National Bar Association’s 2020 Diversity in Tech and IP Law award. She also maintains a keen interest in increasing entrepreneurship and the number of patents applied for and obtained by all inventors, including women, minorities, veterans, and those from rural and economically disadvantaged areas.
Prior to joining the USPTO, Commissioner Udupa was the Vice President, Associate General Counsel for Litigation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Prior to HPE, she was an IP litigation manager at HP and an associate at Jones Day and Pennie & Edmonds. Ms. Udupa earned her Juris Doctor from American University's Washington College of Law and her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia.
Director, SmartWay and Supply Chain Programs, Transportation and Climate Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sam Waltzer is the Director of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay and Supply Chain Programs Center, implementing the SmartWay Transport Partnership – an industry-government partnership that advances efficient and sustainable transportation in the supply chain. Mr. Waltzer brings decades of experience in technology performance evaluation, market-based program design and implementation, and public-private collaboration across the energy and transportation sectors.
Mr. Waltzer previously supported the assessment of SmartWay verified technologies and equipment, specializing in heavy-duty vehicle aerodynamics and their impacts on fuel efficiency. When not collaborating on decarbonizing the supply chain, Mr. Waltzer enjoys camping with his family and is an active member of the Maryland Army National Guard.
Deputy United States Trade Representative
Ambassador Jayme White has spent two decades working to ensure American trade policy empowers American workers and promotes a sustainable environment. Ambassador White grew up in Seattle, WA, where his family were union workers for Boeing. He went to Washington, D.C. to work for his hometown member of Congress in the House of Representatives, Representative Jim McDermott, who served on the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over international trade. Since then, he has played a role in nearly every major trade issue and trade legislation, over the last 20 years.
Ambassador White had served in the U.S. Senate from 2009 and was the chief trade advisor for the Senate Committee on Finance since 2014, under the leadership of Chairman Ron Wyden. During this tenure, Ambassador White led efforts to level the playing field for American workers, through trade negotiations and agreements, and by reforming US trade laws to better respond to unfair foreign trade practices. In his role on the Finance Committee, he has long represented and advanced bipartisan US views to foreign trade leaders, and the outcomes of those efforts are evident in many trade agreements. Key provisions -- especially enforceable measures on labor and the environment -- found in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are a result of his efforts. He is a graduate of Seattle Central Community College and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Georgetown University.
David Widawsky, Ph.D.
Director, Data Gathering and Analysis Division, Office of Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. David Widawsky is Director of the Data Gathering and Analysis Division, in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He provides leadership for the EPA's mission focus on chemical safety and sustainability in the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Pollution Prevention Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. The multi-disciplinary staff under his leadership provide expertise, analysis, method development, and innovation for several sustainability programs at EPA, including grants to states and tribes for working with businesses to promote source reduction and an environmentally preferable purchasing program for federal procurement focused on identifying, measuring, assessing, and labeling sustainability attributes of products and services.
He also leads programs in sustainability through safer and sustainable chemistry and chemical products, including EPA’s Green Chemistry Challenge Awards and EPA’s Safer Choice labeling program for safer chemical products. Passage of both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (in 2021) and the Inflation Reduction Act (in 2022) have greatly expanded opportunities to support new sustainability. Dr. Widawsky received undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley; his master’s degree from Colorado State University; and earned his Ph.D. in Applied Economics at Stanford University. He has worked at the U.S. EPA since 1998, where he has served in several leadership roles. Prior to joining the EPA, he lived and worked in the Philippines, China, India, the Netherlands, and Scotland.
Daniel E. Yuska
Director, Office of Environment and Innovation, U.S. Maritime Administration
Daniel Yuska has been with the U.S. Maritime Administration for over 20 years. He currently serves as the Director of the Office of Environment and Innovation and as the Acting Associate Administrator for Environment and Compliance. Mr. Yuska oversees the Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) program and domestic and international maritime environmental policy.
Prior to serving as the Director, Mr. Yuska served as Environmental Protection Specialist within the same office. Mr. Yuska helped to develop the Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) program and led environmental research and policy focused on vessel and port emissions reductions, energy efficiency, and alternative fuels and technologies. Prior to the development of the META program Mr. Yuska spent several years leading Agency environmental planning efforts for major port and intermodal infrastructure projects. Mr. Yuska also has served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the International Maritime Organization for the Air Pollution and Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas working groups. Mr. Yuska holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental and ecological science disciplines and among other relevant work experience, served as a Marine Science Technician in the U.S. Coast Guard.