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Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) Members

It is our pleasure to announce the selection of the members and alternates for the 15th Term Commercial Customs Advisory Committee (COAC).  Listed below are the names and biographies of the 20 COAC members and the four COAC alternate members. 

COAC Members

Lenny Feldman 
Committee Member – COAC Trade Co-Chair

Lenny Feldman is a Senior Member and serves on the Operating Committee of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. Lenny innovatively and efficiently advises importers, exporters, customs brokers, freight forwarders, carriers, couriers and others to develop and adopt best practices and compliance strategies in the import and export context regarding the numerous regulatory agencies affecting the supply chain.

Prior to joining the firm, Lenny served nine years as a senior attorney with U.S. Customs & Border Protection (formerly the U.S. Customs Service) responsible for issuing national rulings, decisions and directives relating to import and export compliance and enforcement and for training customs officials globally. He then served as the Chief Compliance Officer of a software development company created to automate global import and export regulatory requirements.

Over the years, the Vice President of the United States, the World Customs Organization, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association as well as other associations and trade publications have recognized Lenny for his accomplishments. By serving as Chairman of the World Trade Center Miami and on local and national boards and task forces Lenny passionately advocates for laws, policies and strategies that increase two-way trade and stimulate international business. Mr. Feldman was reappointed to the 15th term of the COAC.

Brian White 
Committee Member – COAC Trade Co-Chair

Brian White is Vice President of Compliance at The J.M. Smucker Co. where he leads the Company’s Corporate Compliance, Enterprise Risk Management, Responsible Sourcing and Global Trade Compliance Programs.

Brian is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker with over 24 years of diverse experience in global compliance and logistics 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. Companies include the Fritz Companies, Gap, Williams-Sonoma, Monster Cable, Del Monte Foods, Big Heart Pet and now The J.M. Smucker Company.

He serves as the Trade Co-Chair for the 15th term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee for the Department of Homeland Security and the US 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 Custom Matters and Trade Facilitation.

Cynthia (Cindy) Allen 
Committee Member

In her role as the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, Cindy is responsible for ensuring that FedEx Trade Networks, Inc. remains compliant with all current laws and regulations that govern the business on a global basis. She and her team with the various operational entities within the company to ensure that policies, practices and training reflect the highest standards. Cindy is also responsible for representing and advocating FedEx Trade Networks interests to governmental agencies and authorities around the world.

Cindy has been actively involved in the international trade industry on a consistent basis for 30 years and has held various positions in the import and export operations, consulting, compliance and automation arenas. Previously she served at the Executive Director of the ACE Business Office at Customs and Border Protection. She has also served as the Vice President at several private sector firms before venturing out to start Trade Force Multiplier, a consulting firm focusing on international trade before taking her current position.   

In 2008, Cindy testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee in opposition of 100% TSA screening requirements. Cindy is an active member of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), the International Compliance Professional’s Association (ICPA), and the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI), and the Express Association of America (EAA). A licensed customs broker since 1990, Cindy is also a Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) and Certified Export Specialist (CES) through the NCBFAA

Brenda Barnes  
Committee Member

Brenda Barnes is the Export Manager for Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc. She provides trade and forwarding strategies internationally and domestically to a diverse customer base as well as overseeing export processes. Since 1988, Ms. Barnes has worked in the freight industry, choosing to focus on exports for the past 30 years. She currently serves on the Board of the Columbia River Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association (CRCBFA) in Portland, Oregon as well as serving as the Vice President and Export Chairperson. She is also the Transportation Chairperson for the U.S.A. Dry Pea and Lentil Trade Association, and Export Chairperson for the Pacific Coast Council.

In addition, she also serves on the Board for the Merchants Exchange Scholarship.  Ms. Barnes served as a member of the 14th Term with the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and on various Subcommittees and Working Groups within COAC (Export, E-Commerce, Trusted-Trader Partnership, and Blockchain).   She was reappointed to the 15th Term of the COAC.

Barry Baxter 
Committee Member

Barry Baxter is the Sr. Director of Customs Compliance for Walmart Inc.  Barry has worked with Walmart for over 20 years, 14 of which have been in International Trade, Supply Chain and Customs Compliance areas.  Barry 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.  Barry has also worked in Technology and Strategy, where he implemented a Global Trade Management system for Walmart’s Trade Compliance area. 

Barry has been in his current role of Sr. Director of Customs Compliance for the past 8 years, where he leads a team that manages all aspects of Import Compliance, including Classification, Admissibility, Customs Operations, Post Entry and Regulatory Audit.  The scope of business includes all of Walmart’s Direct Import business, including Walmart Inc, SAM’s Club, Walmart Puerto Rico and Barry currently participates on several COAC working groups including TERC ADD/CVD, 1USG Fish and Wildlife, Emerging Technology and ECOM / Section 321.  Barry holds a Master’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana Tech University.

Heidi Bray 
Committee Member

Heidi Bray is the Manager, US and Global Customs Compliance- FCA US LLC. Ms. Bray has an extensive background with over twenty eight years of experience in the areas of import, valuation, classification, free trade agreements with special emphasis on NAFTA, Drawback and audit.   She has been successful in translating North American Customs requirements into FCA’s international markets becoming the technical worldwide Customs advisor for FCA.  She is instrumental in advising the FCA External Affairs office in all Customs related matters including pending legislation and Rules of Origin related to Free Trade.

Ms. Bray is a Trade Ambassador and has driven FCA’s successful participation in ACE as well as the Simplified Entry pilot program.  She is a member of the Trade Support Network and Chairs the Accounts Committee.  She is also the Vice Chair for the Business Alliance for Customs Modernization and actively participates in the numerous trade associations in which FCA participates. Heidi is a transferred member from the 14th Term COAC. 

Celeste Catano 
Committee Member

Celeste Catano is Global Product Manager for Customs Management at BluJay Solutions and has been with the company and its predecessor companies for over 40 years. As a licensed customs broker, she has worked with scores of customs brokers, importers and freight forwarders to develop and implement appropriate technology solutions to meet their technology goals and objectives.

Ms. Catano has been a Trade Support Network (TSN) ACE Trade Ambassador since 2004, is a former Trade Co-Chair of the Trade Leadership Council for the TSN, is the Trade Co-Chair for the TSN Transition Committee, and is a member of the TSN Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and TSN Entry and Supply Chain Security committees. She also serves as a member of the National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association of America Automation subcommittee. Celeste is also a Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) through the NCBFAA. Ms. Catano served as the trade co-chair of the COAC Emerging Technologies Working Group. Celeste was reappointed to serve as a member in the 15th Term COA.

Jose D. Gonzalez 
Committee Member

Jose D. Gonzalez has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from National University in San Diego and is a licensed U.S. customs broker who has operated a customs house under the same name since 1994.  He currently serves as the LLUSCBA senior advisor to the board of the 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 whom represents one of the largest concentrations of customs brokers who work closely with CBP.

During his time as chair of these two committees, he has been very instrumental in managing the Associations issues to submit to US Customs at our monthly meetings, and creating and marketing the education program by developing an educational outreach program that ensures that the Association meets its educational and professional goals. The programs offered by the Association are for Customs Brokers and Forwarders, as well as Trade Stakeholders that are involved in the international supply chain.

Mr. Gonzalez has been and continues to be involved in many trade related as well as civic related organization. A few of the organizations he is involved with are the following: Present board member of The Airport Advisory Board, past advisory board member of The Laredo Development Foundation past board member of the City of Laredo Blue Ribbon Committee, in addition to being recognized for several accomplishments for Trade related development. 

Lisa Gelsomino 
Committee Member

Lisa Gelsomino is the President/CEO and founding partner of Avalon Risk Management, a leading provider of customs bonds and other insurance solutions for the international trade and logistics industry. Lisa has over 25 years of experience in the industry, and is an active member of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association (NCBFAA), the Pacific Coast Council (PCC), and the Trade Support Network (TSN). She serves on the NCBFAA ISF subcommittee and is part of the Trade Leadership Council for the TSN co-chairing the Supply Chain Security subcommittee that assisted with CTPAT Portal outreach. She also serves on the TSN Revenue, eBond, and Surety Account subcommittees. Ms. Gelsomino is on the Board of the International Trade Surety Association and works with CBP through the Customs Surety Executive Committee (CSEC). Ms. Gelsomino has conducted extensive outreach to help the trade better understand CBP’s trade and enforcement initiatives. Ms. Gelsomino is the licensed corporate insurance holder for Avalon nationwide and is pursuing her ARM, CPCU, and CCS professional designations. She holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and B.S. (Magna Cum Laude) from Northern Illinois University.

During the 14th Term of COAC, Ms. Gelsomino served as the Trade Co-Chair for the Trade Enforcement & Revenue Collection (TERC) subcommittee and continues to be the trade lead for the AD/CVD, Bond, Forced Labor, Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), and Pipeline Working Groups. She also serves on the COAC 1USG, Global Supply Chain, and Trade Modernization subcommittees, which provide guidance to CBP on ACE, eCommerce, CTPAT, CBP Centers, in-bond regulations, international engagement, and other important trade matters as they arise. Ms. Gelsomino was reappointed to COAC for the 15th term.

Alexandra Latham 
Committee Member

Alexandra Latham is the Director of Customs Compliance for Costco Wholesale Corporation. In this position, she is responsible for Costco’s international trade compliance and supply chain security and manages participation in several trade partnership programs, including CTPAT, Importer Self-Assessment, and Mexico’s OEA certification. She has over 25 years of experience in trade compliance, supply chain security and logistics having held positions in retail, customs brokerage, freight forwarding and international transportation.  Ms. Latham has been a U.S. Licensed Customs Broker since 1999, and holds the designation of Certified Customs Specialist in both Canada and the U.S.

Ms. Latham participates in several international trade committees including U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trade Support Network, Retail Industry Leader’s Association, and I.E. Canada. Ms. Latham served as the Trusted Trader subcommittee co-chair, as co-lead of the CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria working group, as co-lead of the CPSC Electronic Certification working group, and as team lead for the NAFTA team on the International Engagement and Trade Facilitation working group during the 14th Term COAC. Ms. Latham is a reappointed member from the 14th Term COAC.

Amy Magnus 
Committee Member

Amy Magnus, a licensed Customs Broker, is the Director of Customs Affairs and Compliance at A.N. Deringer, Inc. Amy has been with A.N. Deringer for almost 20 years. Amy is the Chairman of the Board of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, an Association with over 1,000 member firms. She served on the 15th term of the Commercial Customs Advisory Committee (COAC) and is the former President of the Northern Border Customs Brokers Association. Amy also serves as a CBP ACE Trade Ambassador for the Trade Support Network and is co-chair of the Entry Committee of the TSN. Before becoming a licensed Customs broker, Amy worked for CBP for eighteen years. When she left Customs, she was the Trade Manager in the Champlain, New York, supervising all trade-related personnel and functions in the Area Service Port of Champlain, NY. Prior to her position as Trade Manager, Ms. Magnus was the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeiture Officer for over five years, and in her early years with CBP, she served as an Inspector and an Import Specialist. Ms. Magnus is a graduate of the University of Vermont and holds an advanced teaching certificate from the same university.

Jody Swentik 
Committee Member 

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.

Jody has over 20 years of experience in trade compliance, supply chain security and logistics having held positions in freight forwarding, US manufacturing, imports, and exports. As a US 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. Jody taught Global Logistics at Waukesha County Technical College, is a member of ICPA and a former Director for the Milwaukee World Trade Association. Jody 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 IPR Modernization and the Remote & Autonomous Cargo Processing (RACP) Working Groups.

John Van Wallaghen 
Committee Member

John Van Wallaghen, Vice President UPS Public Affairs, is responsible for U.S. border policy.  John has 40 years of international industry experience. His career began in 1981 as an entry writer with a large U.S. based customs broker in Detroit, Michigan. In 1990, he accepted a position with UPS Customs Brokerage in Louisville, KY.

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 U.S. national customs permit; and currently is Vice President for U.S. border policy, based in Louisville, KY.

John 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. John 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.

Madeleine Veigel 
Committee Member

Madeleine Veigel is the Director Customs, The Americas at Expeditors International of Washington, Inc., in Seattle, Washington.  In this position, she is responsible to develop, direct and support Expeditors International of Washington’s Customs product in the Americas. She joined the company as an Import I.T. Liaison for the Customs Product Group back in October 1997. She held different positions within the Customs Product group before she was promoted to Director Global Customs Development in October 2004 and then to Director Customs, The Americas in September 2005. Prior to working for Expeditors, Madeleine held different positions at both a local NVOCC and OOCL – Orient Overseas Container Line in Seattle, Washington.

Expeditors has been a licensed customs broker since 1981 and is a member with full benefits of CTPAT.  Expeditors’ interactions with CBP have given Madeleine insight into CBP modernization and automation, customs broker regulations, ACE, and trade enforcement. 

Madeleine holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages from Lewis and Clark College, and a Diplome Superieure d’Etudes Francaises from the University of Nantes, Nantes, France. She is a U.S. licensed Customs broker. She is also a graduate of Seattle University Executive Leadership Program where she graduated from in March 2014. Madeleine was a member of the 14th term COAC and is currently a member of the 15th term COAC. 

Erika Vidal-Faulkenberry 
Committee Member

Erika T. Vidal-Faulkenberry leads Biogen’s Global Customs and Trade Compliance Organization. In this role, Erika is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic direction, policy, and end to end capabilities, including scalability, human capital, processes, and systems for Global Trade Compliance. Maximizing international trade opportunities, and closely partnering with multiple functions across business units and geographies, utilizing best in class trade compliance programs as a competitive advantage to mitigate risks while enabling and accelerating global business initiatives for the entire company.

Prior to joining Biogen, Erika worked at The Hershey Company where she held different Global Trade and International Supply Chain positions, such as leading Global Trade Compliance, International Logistics and Distribution, as well as end to end Supply Chain for Latin America markets. Her career also includes working in the Energy sector and Business Consulting for a variety of industries. Erika holds a B.S. in International Trade from Tec. de Monterrey, a M.A. in Applied Economics from Clemson University, and a M.A. in Supply Chain Management from Penn State. Additionally, Erika is a Licensed US Customs Broker.

Kate Weiner 
Committee Member

Kate Weiner is the Director of Global Customs Regulatory Affairs at Cargill.   Kate leads the regulatory affairs practice across the globe for purposes of facilitating trade, customs planning and strategy, governing customs compliance and managing customs controversy for one of the largest agribusiness companies in the world. Kate has been active in the trade industry for over 20 years beginning in the US Senate, then moving on to the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce, the State of Texas, E. & J. Gallo Winery and now Cargill based out of their global headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.

Kate is a Licensed Customs Broker since 2009. Prior to her appointment to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) in 2018, Kate served on the COAC One U.S. Government Working Group on FDA, and COAC Export Committee Working Group on Post Departure Filing.

Michael White  
Committee Member

Michael White is the President of Cargo Network Services Corp., a company of the International Air Transport Association.  He oversees the company’s operations, industry advocacy, industry events and the CNS cargo account settlement system for over 100 airlines and 2,800 freight-forwarding companies.  He is a leader in the air cargo industry’s efforts to improve air cargo security, e-commerce growth, advocacy and facilitation.

He has held several senior operational and advocacy positions with Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, Cargo Service Center, the Air Transport Association, Trade Network Consultants, SkyLink USA and CNS.  In 2008 he joined CNS as Assistant Director of Facilitation and Regional Director of Cargo 2000 in the Americas.  In 2018 he was promoted to the role of President and reports to the CNS executive board of directors. 

Michael has served on several key government and industry committees and working groups including the Customs Gore Commission working group on air cargo, the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to CBP, member of the TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee air cargo working group and the Canadian Cross Border Harmonization task force. He also served on the 14th term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC). Michael has been recognized over the years for his work including being the winner of the 2018 Airforwarders Association’s Jim Foster Award for Excellence, IATA Six Star Award nominee, the Air Transport Association Bravo Zulu Award for dedication, the United Airlines Cargo Safety Award and recognition for his work with the FBI.

Kathy Wilkins 
Committee Member

With a 30 year background in logistics and global supply-chain design engineering, Kathy Wilkins, a licensed Customs broker and Vice President

of Alliance Operating Services, has worked in both the import and export arenas. Kathy has an extensive background in supply-chain engineering including infrastructure development, procurement, systems integration, manufacturing and process implementation. The past 18 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.

Kathy has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from University of North Texas, a Masters in Global Management and Supply Chain Solutions, and a Masters in Finance.  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, Kathy is focused and dedicated to the aspect of cooperation between the Trade and legal entities which govern such. 

Michael Young 
Committee Member

Michael Young has been with the OOCL organization for almost 45 years, in various positions both in the U.S. and internationally.  Currently is Vice President of Business Process and System, and has responsibility for internal process controls and compliance audits, regulatory affairs and Customs initiatives, to ensure all system and process capabilities meet and exceed CBP and other U.S. and foreign Technical and regulatory requirements.

Helped implement key CBP trade and security initiatives over the past 20 years. Some of these activities include the US “24 Hour rule” advance manifest; the “10+2” ISF rule requirements; a early adopter of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program; the Ocean pilot for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE M1) import migration leveraging the support of other carriers, and is a current active pilot for the automated export manifest system in ACE.

Active member of the Trade Leadership Council (TLC), the Trade Support Network (TSN), the Customs Electronic System Action Council (CESAC), and is actively engaged with the World Shipping Council (WSC) as a member of its U.S. Customs and Security Advisory and Customs Technical Advisory Committees.  He is also the Chair of the Terminal Operators and Port Authority Subcommittee for EDI and regulatory compliance (TOPAS) representing U.S. Terminal operators interface with CBP.  He is currently a reappointed member of the 15th Term COAC and a Trade co-chair of the Trusted Trader Sub-committee, as well as a member of various other committees and working groups within the COAC, including the Exports and In-Bond Subcommittees. 

COAC Alternate Members

Amy E. Smith 
Alternate Committee Member

Amy Smith is currently the Head of U.S. Customs 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 Duty Billing Quality, Brokerage Services, Trade Affairs and Trade Compliance. She is also the National Corporate License Holder for the organization.

Amy has spent over 30 years in the international express delivery industry, and has had a dynamic advancement trajectory with DHL. Beginning her career as a Customer Agent, she quickly progressed through a number of supervisory and senior management roles on both the export and import sides of the business, then became Clearance Director for the organization in 2010. Since her promotion to Head of U.S. Customs and Trade Compliance in 2012, Amy has been deeply involved in developing corporate strategy, shaping policy, and actively working to advocate for her employer and for the global express shipping industry in matters pertaining to international trade.

Through involvement with internal DHL initiatives and industry associations, Amy and her team have recently played key roles in working with U.S. governmental agencies to design strategies or reforms pertaining to various international trade agreements.

Last modified: 
June 10, 2021