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Members of the 17th Term of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC)

Listed below are the names and biographies of the 14 COAC members.



Brian Barber
Brian Barber
Vice President, U.S. Brokerage Operations & Government Affairs
Willson International Inc.

Mr. Brian Barber, a licensed customs broker and certified customs specialist, serves as Vice President, U.S. Brokerage Operations and Government Affairs at Willson International Inc. With over 24 years’ industry experience, he is the qualifying officer supporting the corporate license and national permit of the organization. As part of a medium sized Canada – United States brokerage and logistics company, Mr. Barber has unique insight into trade issues, particularly trade with Canada at northern border ports of entry.

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.



Angela Cook
Angela Cook
Assistant Director for Global Trade
General Motors Tax Staff - Global Customs

Mrs. Angela Cook currently works as the Assistant Director of Global Trade 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.



David Corn
David Corn
Executive Vice President
Comstock & Theakston, Inc.

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.



John Drake
John Drake
Vice President, Supply Chain Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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.



Tom Gould
William Thomas Gould
Vice President of Global Customs

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.



Mary Hodges
Mary Hodges
Head of Global Strategy & Trade Compliance

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.



Heather Litman
Heather Litman
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

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.



Kerry Novak
Kerry Novak
Director, Regulatory Compliance
Emerson Electric Company

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.



Julie Pojar
Julie Pojar
Director Trade Compliance
Kohler Co.

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.



Cynthia Roller
Cynthia Roller
Americas Customs Compliance Manager
Caterpillar Inc.

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.



Craig Seelig
Craig Seelig
Product Manager
WiseTech Global, Inc.

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.



Stephen Simmons
Stephen Simmons
Director of Interline Operations
The Kansas City Southern Railway Company

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.



Travis Skinner
Travis Skinner
Sr. Manager, Public Policy

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.



Matt Zehner
Matthew Zehner
Vice President, Surety Information and Analysis
Roanoke Insurance Group Inc.

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.

Last Modified: Feb 21, 2024