Members of the 16th Term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC)
Listed below are the names and biographies of the 20 COAC members and the five COAC Alternates.
In addition to overseeing corporate compliance and formal reviews, Mr. Barber is responsible for ensuring the highest possible standards of staff training, development, and operational efficiency. Leading the company in the development and implementation of integrated solutions, he has played a key role in partnering with software providers to meet evolving regulatory requirements and provide solutions that benefit both Willson International and its customers.
Mr. Barber spent a year with the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America Washington, DC, overseeing industry-specific education. He remains active in leadership roles for several trade associations and continues to be engaged in various U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Partner Government Agency working groups.
Mr. Barry Baxter is the Sr. Director of U.S. Trade Compliance for Walmart Inc. Mr. Baxter has worked with Walmart for over 23 years, 18 of which have been in International Trade, Supply Chain and Customs Compliance areas. He has held responsibilities that included Import Manager, where he managed the administration and shipping of direct import orders, working closely with suppliers, sourcing, global logistics and domestic supply chain. Mr. Baxter has also worked in technology and strategy, where he implemented a global trade management system for Walmart’s Trade Compliance area.
He has served in his current role for the past two years, where he leads a team that manages all aspects of export compliance, supply chain security, import compliance, including classification, admissibility, customs operations, post entry and regulatory audit. The scope of business includes all of Walmart’s direct import & export business, including Walmart Inc, SAM’s Club, Walmart Puerto Rico and Walmart.com. Mr. Baxter currently participates on several COAC working groups including TERC AD/CVD, 1USG Fish and Wildlife, Emerging Technology and ECOM / Section 321. Additionally, he holds a Master of Science from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana Tech University.
Mrs. Angela Cook currently works as a Global Customs Manager for the General Motors (GM) Tax and Customs Staff. She has worked at General Motors for 15 years in both customs and intercontinental logistics roles. She is currently responsible for U.S. Post Entry Operations including entry amendments, prior disclosure, decertification, free trade agreement/value reconciliation and drawback. In addition to Post Entry Operations, she manages GM’s Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism accounts. Prior to the post entry role, she was responsible for U.S. Entry Operations overseeing GM’s customs brokers.
Mrs. Cook is an experienced licensed customs broker with 22 years in the automotive industry. She is an active member of Automotive Industry Action Group and currently serves as co-chair of the Supply Chain Steering Committee. In addition to her customs entry and post entry experience, she is skilled in supply chain management, value stream mapping, warehouse operations, and continuous improvement. She is a graduate of Wayne State University, where she earned her Master of Business Administration focused in global supply chain.
Mr. David Corn is the Executive Vice President of Comstock & Theakston, Inc., starting his brokerage career in 2011. With years of experience in the market research field, he has a successful history with large commodity clients and has created, managed, and presented projects in consumer research, sales and statistical analysis, and marketplace dynamics. Mr. Corn currently serves as the co-chair of the American Association of Exporters and Importers’ Drawback and Duty Deferral Committee, is the vice chair for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s Drawback Committee and is an active participant in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trade Support Network.
Mr. Corn was selected to take an active role for the trade in the Drawback Working Group, leading efforts to write new regulations for drawback through the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 and to support the development and transition of drawback to the Automated Commercial Environment. He serves as Treasurer for the New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders & Brokers Association and is active in discussions with members of the House Ways and Means Committee along with the Senate Finance Committee. David has a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in Consumer Affairs and is both a licensed customs broker and NCBFAA certified customs specialist.
Mr. John Drake serves as vice president for supply chain policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Mr. Drake serves as the primary spokesperson and is responsible for representing the business community before Congress, the administration, and the public on supply chain, customs, logistics, and security issues impacting the business community.
Mr. Drake spent nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, including as a professional staff member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He also served for five years at the U.S. Department of Transportation, including holding leadership positions at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Office of the Secretary, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Before working at the Chamber, Mr. Drake was a senior manager for public policy at Amazon. Mr. Drake holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Mr. Christopher L. Everley serves as the Senior Manager, Trade Compliance at ArcBest; a multibillion-dollar integrated logistics company that leverages its technology and full suite of shipping and logistics solutions to meet customers’ critical supply chain needs. He is an experienced trade compliance manager having demonstrated excellence working within the logistics industry over the last eight years. Mr. Everley currently leads a team of more than a dozen skilled compliance professionals who are dedicated to strengthening the international supply chain and providing an excellent experience for ArcBest customers.
In his role, Mr. Everley is the subject-matter expert for trade compliance. He collaborates with cross functional teams throughout his organization to develop unique solutions for ArcBest customers, maintain customs certifications, and promote regulatory trade compliance awareness.
Mr. Everley actively participates in the trade community, including membership in the Association of International Customs and Border Agencies, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, and the Trade Support Network, and on the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee’s (COAC) in-bond working group. He also chairs the American Trucking Associations Supply Chain Security Policy Committee, and co-chairs the Customs Electronic Systems Action Committee. Mr. Everley is skilled in supply chain security, cross-border operations, team building, leadership, and information technology. He holds a double bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Harding University.
Mr. Jose D. Gonzalez is a licensed U.S. customs broker who has operated a customs house brokerage business under the same name since 1994. He currently serves as vice president for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, an association with over 1,100 member firms and previously as Area 8 representative. He was appointed to the 15th term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), and is a senior advisor to the board of the Laredo Licensed Brokers (LLUSCBA). Prior to his involvement with these Committees, JD was executive chairman of the LLUSCBA, president of the Laredo Customs Brokers Association in 2010-2011, which represents one of the largest concentration of customs brokers in the nation who works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. JD is a reappointed member for the 16th Term COAC.
Mr. Gonzalez has been actively involved in the international trade industry on a consistent basis for 28 years and has held various positions in the import and export operations, consulting, and compliance, and continues to be involved in many trade- and civic-related entities. A few of the organizations he is involved with include currently serving as committee chair of The Laredo Airport Advisory Board, as a member of the City of Laredo Port of Entry Committee, member of the City of Laredo Redistricting Commission, and advisory board member of The Laredo Development Foundation. He is past vice chair of the City of Laredo Blue Ribbon Committee, in addition to being recognized for several accomplishments for trade-related development.
Mr. Gonzalez proudly served in the United States Navy from 1982 until he was honorably discharged in 1992 after being named Sailor of the Year. During his enlistment, he was involved in Mediterranean Peacekeeping operations off the coast of Beirut, operations in the North Atlantic, as well as several Western Pacific operations during the Iran Iraq crises. In addition, during his enlistment he continued his education and graduated in 1992 from National University in San Diego, California, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting.
Mr. Tom Gould currently serves as the Vice President of Global Customs and Trade at Flexport, where he has worked since 2019. As Vice President of Global Customs, Mr. Gould leads a team of global trade experts and licensed customs brokers to build sophisticated, data-driven service offerings for Flexport’s client base. With the belief that trade chaos breeds opportunities for savings, Mr. Gould has spent the past 25 years in trade advisory, helping clients save millions through duty saving and deferment strategies, country of origin shifting, classification services, and more.
Mr. Gould uses his skills as a licensed customs broker and consultant to advise clients, provide training and speak to audiences of importers and customs brokers on issues of U.S. Customs compliance including reasonable care, classification, valuation, supply chain security, free trade agreements and other international trade issues. Additionally, he is the author of “Apparel Classification,” a comprehensive guide that serves as a valuable resource for importers, designers, production managers, customs brokers and compliance managers.
Prior to working at Flexport, Mr. Gould served as Senior Director, Customs and International Trade, for Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. He is also a member of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trade Support Network and leads its executive committee and serves as past president and member of the board of the Foreign Trade Association.
Mr. Vicente Herrera Gonzalez is a Senior Analyst Operations Performance and Policy for Customs Compliance at American Airlines. He is a seasoned business professional offering 20 plus years of combined experience in airport operations, logistics and customs service with strong knowledge in regulatory compliance in three U.S major airlines. Mr. Herrera Gonzalez is an accomplished business leader who promotes excellent customer service and provides expert support to both internal and external customers through effective communication in both English and Spanish; on new processes, policies and procedures – while supporting the company’s corporate culture.
Mr. Herrera Gonzalez has a strong understanding of project management techniques and good knowledge of Lean Six Sigma concepts with proven track record of satisfaction from customers and recognition from senior leaders, colleagues, and service partners. He has strong analytical and audit skills and a proven track record of satisfaction from customers and recognition from senior leaders and service partners.
Mr. Herrera Gonzalez is the current vice-chair of the Cargo Customs Working Group of Airlines for America and a former Board member of the International Air Transport Association Cargo Customs & Cargo Border Management working group.
Ms. Mary Hodges is the Associate Director, Head of Global Strategy and Trade Compliance with Lonza. Lonza is a global leader in the production and support of active pharmaceutical ingredients, chemically and biotechnologically, as well as microbial control. In her current role, she is responsible for determining and carrying out a global strategy to ensure compliance with existing and new trade legislation and regulations.
Ms. Hodges has over 30 years’ experience in the industry and has served on both the service provider and importer sides of the business, holding positions with both global responsibilities and those more United States centric. She has been responsible for customs broker license qualification, Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism validation, export administration, post entry processing, trade consulting, reconciliation, southern border and northern border entry processing, information technology process and enhancements, and various other project management activities. She is a licensed customs house broker, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) certified export specialist and NCBFAA certified customs specialist.
Ms. Heather Litman is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP (GDLSK), a customs and international trade law firm. Heather has over 20 years of experience in helping domestic and foreign-based companies to establish, maintain, and optimize compliant international trade programs. Over the years, Heather has represented clients in a full range of traditional customs matters and has litigated disputes before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Heather received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School, and is a licensed customs broker. Prior to her work as a customs attorney, Heather served three years as a law clerk at the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The daughter of a customs broker, Heather is committed to giving back to the international trade community. She has served on the boards of several trade associations, including the American Association of Exporters and Importers, and for years taught the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association customs broker preparatory class. Heather previously served as a trade member on the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee Intellectual Property Rights Modernization working group.
Ms. Kerry Novak is a Director of Regulatory Compliance at Emerson Electric Co., a fortune 500 multinational corporation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. With over 20 years of international trade compliance experience, Kerry has held various roles in her career with increasing levels of responsibility in cost accounting, sales, inventory control, purchasing and compliance - all of which contribute to her strategic and global mindset and diverse expertise and talents.
At Emerson, Kerry supports the adherence to both export and import regulatory requirements in North America while managing key, foundational elements of Emerson’s global international trade compliance program, to include oversight and governance of the import compliance program; the international trade compliance standards program; and the compliance audit and business self-assessment program. In addition, she has extensive expertise in, and management of, reconciliation, free trade agreements, broker management, and supply chain security.
Ms. Novak holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ashland University in Ohio and is a licensed U.S. customs broker.
Ms. Julie Pojar is responsible for Kohler Co.’s Trade Compliance organization. In this role, Ms. Pojar leads the development, implementation, and governance of strategic initiatives and policy to oversee and manage all aspects of regulatory trade compliance for Kohler Co., including the establishment of a Global Trade Compliance Center of Excellence.
Ms. Pojar has over 20 years of progressive experience in trade compliance, supply chain security, and international logistics experience including both import and export trade compliance strategy creation and implementation, free trade agreements, foreign trade zone establishment and administration, export controls, and Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program management.
Ms. Pojar has a Master of Business Administration focused on international business from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She also is a licensed U.S. customs broker. She is active in many industry organizations and is the National Association of Manufacturer’s Customs Task Force Chair, an appointed member of the Department. of Commerce’s Wisconsin District Export Council, and a member of the International Compliance Professionals Association.
In her current role as the Americas Trade Compliance Manager, Ms. Cynthia Roller manages risk and governance of importing/exporting legal entities in North and South America for Caterpillar, an American Fortune 100 global manufacturer of construction and mining equipment and other diverse product lines.
Ms. Roller supports the business on a variety of matters such as duty savings and compliance optimization issues, prior disclosures, compliance trainings, development and implementation of policies and procedures, trade alerts, regulatory research, customs advice, and project management. She develops government agency and business contacts and participates in trade associations on behalf of Caterpillar Inc. She also assists in the management of her company’s participation in various customs programs such as ISA, Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, and foreign trade zones. Ms. Roller holds a Bachelor of Science from The College of William and Mary, a graduate certificate from George Mason University and has over 18 years of experience in customs compliance consulting, management, and advisory.
Mr. Craig Seelig joined Cargowise in February 2010 to manage WiseTech Global’s North American Customs products. Craig has over 30 years of experience in the software industry with executive level responsibilities in information technology (IT), customer service, and program management. Craig is a trade ambassador with the Trade Support Network (TSN) and also a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the TSN. Prior to WiseTech Global, Craig was Vice President of IT, Americas at OHL International and Vice President of Software Development at Theta Systems, Inc.
Mr. Stephen Simmons is the Director of Interline Operations for Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS), a leading provider of rail transportation services in the United States and Mexico. Mr. Simmons has been with KCS for 12 years and in his current role for over nine years. Mr. Simmons leads a team that manages all aspects of import/export compliance through the Laredo/Nuevo Laredo Gateway, the largest rail crossing between the United States and Mexico. Mr. Simmons co-created the Secure Corridor Initiative with CBP and Mexican customs which included implementing the first Unified Processing Center for rail.
Prior to KCS, Mr. Simmons held various transportation supply chain and operations management positions with Consolidated Freightways, Con-Way and Yellow Roadway Corp. Mr. Simmons served in the United States Army and is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Mr. Simmons holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
Mr. Travis Skinner is a Senior Manager with Amazon where he is responsible for policy related to cross-border trade and customs. Additionally, he serves as the primary interlocutor on related topics with the U.S. Government and is currently appointed as an Alternate Member to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Prior to joining Amazon, Travis spent 15-years working within the Department of Homeland Security and CBP in a variety of roles including, but not limited to, Senior Counselor for Trade to the Secretary, CBP Director of Trade Modernization, and Attorney in the CBP office of Chief Counsel. In these roles he had oversight of, or responsibility for, far ranging issues such as e-commerce, tariff implementation, the 21st Century Customs Framework, and the Jones Act.
Travis received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Public Policy from American University, and his Juris Doctor from George Washington Law. He resides in Washington, DC, with his wife and daughter.
Mr. Michael Slonim is Director, Export Compliance at Honeywell International Inc. in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Honeywell, he held similar positions at Raytheon and SAIC. In his current position, Mr. Slonim manages a wide variety of export licensing, compliance and policy issues including quality control of export-related documentation to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Foreign Assets Control, etc. He is involved in training, audits, M&A activity, export logistics/Automated Export System/Automated Commercial Environment matters, drafting company procedures, and other export-related issues that affect the company. Mr. Slonim was a member of the President’s Export Council, Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA) from 2011-2017 where he provided industry perspective and guidance pertaining to the Obama administration export reform initiatives.
Mr. Slonim graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science in economics and completed his Master of Business Administration at George Washington University as a Hyundai Scholar.
Ms. Amy Smith is currently the head of U.S. Regulatory Affairs and Trade Compliance for DHL Express. As such, she leads the U.S. International Trade Affairs and Compliance (USITAC) division for the company, and exercises oversight of express import/export programs, government affairs, export controls and import compliance. Additionally, she is the National Corporate License Holder for the organization. Ms. Smith has spent over 35 years in the international express delivery industry and has had a dynamic advancement trajectory with DHL.
Ms. Smith has been serving as an alternate Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) member and one of the two leads for the Intellectual Property Rights working group under the Intelligent Enforcement Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Express Association of America where she has served two terms as the Customs Committee chair.
Ms. Jody Swentik is the Director of Trade Compliance for Spectrum Brands, a global home essentials company focused on products that make living better at home. She is responsible for building a Trade Compliance Center of Excellence amongst the multiple company divisions, leading policy and procedures, people, and technology.
Ms. Swentik has over 20 years of experience in trade compliance, supply chain security and logistics having held positions in freight forwarding, United States manufacturing, imports, and exports. As a U.S. licensed customs broker, she continually focuses on weaving compliance throughout the company, standardizing processes and working closely with business partners to develop and improve a uniform, transparent and efficient supply chain. Ms. Swentik taught Global Logistics at Waukesha County Technical College, is a member of International Compliance Professionals Association and a former director for the Milwaukee World Trade Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is an enthusiastic, results-driven leader.
During the 15th Term of COAC, Ms. Swentik served as the trade lead for the Intellectual Property Rights Modernization and the Remote & Autonomous Cargo Processing Working Groups.
Mr. John Van Wallaghen is responsible for U.S. border policy for the United Parcel Service. He has 40 years of international industry experience. His career began in 1981 as an entry writer with a large United States-based customs broker in Detroit, Michigan. In 1990, he accepted a position with UPS Customs Brokerage in Louisville, Kentucky.
Throughout his career with UPS, he has held many different positions, including directing UPS entry into the commercial customs brokerage business through internal growth and acquisition; Vice President of Global Customs and Trade Compliance where he was responsible for developing and administering the UPS global cross-border compliance program, working closely with global customs authorities on policy and regulatory change, and qualified the United States national customs permit; and currently is Vice President for United States border policy, based in Louisville, Kentucky.
Mr. Van Wallaghen is a licensed U.S. customs broker and is active in many trade industry organizations, including the Express Association of America, and the Global Express Association. He currently serves on the Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), the CBP E-commerce Task Force, the CBP 21st Century Customs Framework Task Force, and multiple COAC related working groups. Mr. Van Wallaghen previously served as the chairman of the customs sub-committee for the Express Association of America and co-chaired the Process Improvement sub-committee of the Customs User Fee Advisory Committee.
Ms. Erika Vidal-Faulkenberry leads Global Trade Compliance for Biogen, a leader in biotechnology. She is responsible for designing, setting, and implementing strategic direction, policy, and end to end capabilities, such as scalability, human capital, processes, and systems. Additionally, her organization focuses on maximizing international trade opportunities, as well as partnering across business units and markets, utilizing best in class practices, innovation, and continuous improvement to create value, mitigate risks and enable acceleration of global business initiatives for Biogen.
Erika has over 17 years of experience in global trade and international supply chain, working in a variety of sectors from energy, consumer packaging goods, biotechnology and business consulting. Additionally, she is an active member at international trade associations and cross-industry groups such as the American Association of Exporters and Importers, I.E. Canada, National Association of Manufacturing, and more recently PhRMA.
Prior to joining Biogen, Erika held diverse leadership roles at The Hershey Company, including global trade, international logistics and distribution, and supply chain for strategic markets. Erika holds a Bachelor of Science in international trade from Tec. De Monterrey, a Master of Arts in applied economics from Clemson University, and a Master of Arts in supply chain management from Penn State. She is also a licensed U.S. customs broker.
Erika is a reappointed COAC member from the 15th term, where she served as the co-chair of the Trusted Trader and Forced Labor Working Groups.
Brian White is the Senior International Trade Advisor at Intel where he leverages extensive trade and regulatory expertise to drive a barrier-free trade environment for Intel. He partners internally and externally to assess regulatory impact and develops solutions to enable Intel corporate strategies.
Brian is a licensed U.S. customs broker with over 25 years of diverse experience in global compliance and supply chain management. His career began in the customs brokerage business, and he has held leadership positions in multiple sectors including retail, consumer electronics, food and agriculture, and semiconductors. Companies include the Fritz Companies, Gap, Williams-Sonoma, Monster Cable, Del Monte, The J.M. Smucker Company, and now Intel Corporation.
He serves as the trade co-chair for the 16th term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee for the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Brian is also a cleared advisor to the Office of the United States Trade Representative and serves as an appointed member on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation.
With a more than 30-year background in logistics and global supply-chain design engineering, Ms. Wilkins, a licensed customs broker and Vice President of Alliance Operating Services, has worked in both the import and export arenas. Ms. Wilkins has an extensive background in supply-chain engineering including infrastructure development, procurement, systems integration, manufacturing and process implementation. The past 22 years have been dedicated to the economic development of the United States’ competitive advantages through manufacturing and distribution through the use of the foreign trade zones program.
Ms. Wilkins has a Bachelor of Arts from UNT, a master’s degree in global management and supply chain solutions, and a master’s degree in finance. Ms. Wilkins was also a member of Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee’s 15th term.
As senior counselor of the North Texas Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association, chairman of the Logistics Committee and current board member for the North Texas Commission, Ms. Wilkins is focused and dedicated to the aspect of cooperation between the trade and legal entities that govern such.
Mr. Matthew Zehner is Vice President of Surety Information and Analysis at Roanoke Insurance Group Inc. He represents Roanoke in matters before U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – especially for those issues that involve regulatory and technology matters. His responsibilities also require external and internal communications regarding important statutory, regulatory, and operational changes of CBP, the FMC, the FMCSA, and key judicial actions. Mr. Zehner is a member the Trade Support Network, is active with several import/logistics-focused trade associations and is the President of the International Trade Surety Association (ITSA).
Mr. Zehner has presented or co-presented CBP and customs bond-related topics to a diverse group of audiences. His presentations range from discussing the nuances of antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) to hundreds of Canadian lumber exporters, to explaining the “24-Hour Rule” before hundreds of non-U.S. freight forwarder representatives at a International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association World Congress, to reinforcing the risks and troubles of AD/CVD bonding with many local customs broker associations throughout the United States. Mr. Zehner continually gives in-house training webinars and updates to his co-workers. In conjunction with ITSA, he has been part of presentations before the Assistant Commissioner of CBP and congressional staffers explaining customs bonds and the surety industry’s role.