2017 International Days Speakers
Director, Global Outreach, Florida Chamber of Commerce
Alice Ancona heads the Florida Chamber’s international efforts and is responsible for developing and implementing programs that foster global trade and investment for Florida. She is responsible for promoting the Chamber’s international trade agenda, including reducing barriers to trade, promoting efforts to expand trade opportunities for Florida businesses and products, and expanded development of our trade infrastructure to federal and state, elected and appointed officials, staff and agencies as well as within the business community.
Ms. Ancona serves as the lead advocate to accomplish the goals set forth in the Florida Trade & Logistics Study 2.0 (TL2) through the newly created Florida Trade and Logistics Institute which actively works to expand Florida’s role as a global trade hub. She also serves as staff to the Chamber’s International Business Council and International Policy Committee which develops policy positions and recommendations on international trade and investment and works to promote Florida’s global competitiveness through advocacy.
Prior to joining the Florida Chamber Ms. Ancona was Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. She was the Chamber’s chief advocate and served as the principal a liaison between the Chamber and public sector on a wide range of public policy issues and was responsible for development, management and implementation of the Chamber’s public policy positions and advocacy strategies.
Ms. Ancona has experience in planning, developing, and implementing export programs and strategies for U.S. based companies; identifying and exploring export opportunities in overseas markets and market access problems affecting trade and has contributed to international trade research efforts. She has worked with a number of international trade stakeholders, business organizations, universities, and other strategic partners to advance and promote support for international trade and free trade agreements. These include developing grassroots international trade initiatives and activities designed to raise awareness of the benefits of international trade. Utilizing her diverse experiences in policy development, program management, and public affairs at local, federal, and international levels, she has integrated counseling on the design of effective policies and programs with traditional advocacy for implementation through legislative or administrative action.
Ms. Ancona is Vice Chair of Freight Transportation Advisory Committee (FTAC) of the Miami MPO, Regional Freight Advisory Committee member (RFAC) of the Southeast Florida Transportation Council (SEFTC), serves on the 2014-2015 Board of Directors for World Trade Center Miami, is member of the International Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, member of the Florida International Trade Partnership and Recipient of the 2014 International Women’s Day Award from World Trade Center Miami.
Senior Director, International, JAX USA Partnership
As senior director of the international department, Mike is responsible for international business development, and logistics and distribution projects. Because of his work in the Netherlands, Mike was asked by the Netherlands government in 2012 to become the Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He is responsible for North Florida and South Georgia and represents the King in diplomatic and economic development duties. Mike is active in a variety of professional organizations and a frequent seminar speaker. He is fluent in Dutch and French and speaks basic German, Serbo-Croatian, Latvian and Russian. Mike’s hobbies include antiquing, travel and reading.
CEO, Senior Managing Director, Cobb Partners
Ambassador Chuck Cobb is the CEO of Cobb Partners, an investment firm. He earlier served as the undersecretary of Commerce during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and the U.S. ambassador to Iceland during President George H. W. Bush’s administration. He is the former CEO or COO of Arvida Corporation, Penn Central, Disney Development Co. and Kaiser/Aetna. He has served on the board of nine publicly-traded corporations (Arvida, Penn Central, Walt Disney, LNR Property Corporation, WCI Communities, Ameritas, Pan American Corporation, CLC of America, and Southeast Banking) and many private corporate boards.
Ambassador Cobb is a 42-year trustee and the past chair of the Board of Trustees of University of Miami and a former trustee of the Stanford Business School Trust Fund. For Florida’s governors, Cobb served Governor Bush as chair of Florida FTAA and chair of the Florida Council of 100; for Governor Crist he served as chair of Gateway Florida; for Governor Chiles he served as chair of the Business/Higher Education Partnership and as a member of his Commission on Education; for Governor Graham he served as chair of the Council of 100 Governor’s Economic Transition and made six economic development travel missions with Governor Askew. Cobb has also served as the chair of Florida’s SBA Investment Advisory Council, has been an officer and/or member of the Executive Committee of the Florida Council of 100, Florida Chamber of Commerce, the South Florida Coordinating Council (chair 1980-1986), the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and several other economic development organizations.
Cobb has received the Order of the Falcon Grand Cross Star from the Nation of Iceland, Florida Council of 100 Governor’s Award, NCCJ Silver Medallion Award, South Florida Achievement of the Decade Award, Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, United Way Tocqueville Award, Harvard Business Club of South Florida Business Statesman of the Year, Chief Executive Officer Annual Award for the Hotel and Real Estate Industry, Honorary Doctorate from Barry University and the Liberty Bell Award for Florida Higher Education.
Ambassador Cobb serves as a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson Center, James Madison Institute, Eisenhower Fellowships, Miami Heart Research Institute, Council of American Ambassadors, Plymouth Congregational Church Foundation and many other civic organizations. He was previously an officer in the U.S. Navy and a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team. He has a BA and MBA from Stanford University. He has been married for 58 years to Ambassador Sue Cobb, former ambassador to Jamaica and former secretary of state of Florida.
Shareholder, GrayRobinson P.A.
Glenn Cooper is a shareholder with GrayRobinson, a full service law firm with 300 attorneys in 13 offices in Florida. Glenn’s law practice focuses on assisting U.S. companies, foreign companies, investors and professionals regarding U.S. immigration laws whereby he helps clients secure business, investor and professional visas. He further assists clients regarding U.S. permanent residence (including EB5 investor green cards and EB-5 regional center counsel, multinational executive/manager green cards, extraordinary ability green cards, and advanced professional green cards).
His practice also includes advising international clients on corporate, business and contract law matters in Florida. Glenn is an active member of the International Committee of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Glenn is also an active member of the Government Affairs Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce whereby he advocates for South Florida business constituents regarding important issues including immigration, international trade, transportation and infrastructure through regular visits to Washington and Tallahassee.
Glenn has served as Co-Chair of the International Action Team of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the official economic development agency of Broward County where he focuses on bringing foreign direct investment to Broward County. Glenn is a member of the International Action Team of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development agency. Glenn is President of the Florida Chapter of the Quebec-Florida Chamber of Commerce. Glenn is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and serves on the Congressional Liaison Committee of that organization’s South Florida chapter.
Dr. Nancy Crews
Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc.
Dr. Nancy P. Crews is Chief Executive Officer and owner of Custom Manufacturing & Engineering™ (CME™), an electronic & electrical designer and manufacturer of power management/distribution equipment, sensors, and test & calibration equipment. CME has been in business now for 20 years! Under Dr. Crews’ leadership, CME is a mature, innovative small business continuing to advance its designs, our own products, as well as continuing our Mission “We Love to Design & Build.”
Dr. Crews believes in giving back and this has become a staple of CME’s community involvement such as Great American Teach In, Middle-School Science Day, assisting schools with robotics competitions, and Toys for Tots, and teaching elementary students about solar energy (solar4STEM.com). In addition to Dr. Crews’ small business experience, she is actively involved in the Tampa Bay Community as well as other educational institutions. Currently, Dr. Crews is a member of the Pinellas County Economic Development Advisory Board, the University of Florida-Department of Chemistry Advisory Board, Virginia Tech Honors College Scholarship Committee, University of South Florida-Department of Computer Science & Engineering Advisory Board. Dr. Crews is a former adjunct professor of National Louis University where she taught courses on business, marketing, and strategy.
Prior to starting CME, Dr. Crews was employed as a Senior Manager by Lockheed Martin Specialty Components, Inc. as well as worked for Eastman Kodak Corporation in a variety of managerial positions, including Marketing Director, Program Manager and Product Development Manager, Research Scientist.
CME provides important high-technology employment in Pinellas County, Florida. CME arose from the ashes and budget from the end of the Cold War to keep well-compensated and highly educated personnel employed. CME has grown into a robust company in Pinellas County. Even though CME has decades of experience, we look at work to continuously improve.
Under her leadership, CME’s products and manufacturing services support multiple technical markets and has won a number of awards for her successes at CME.
The Honorable Bill Galvano
Growing up in Florida, Bill Galvano spent most of his childhood in Bradenton. The Galvano family, including Bill’s 5 brothers and sisters, later moved to Sebring.
After graduating from Sebring High School, Bill worked his way through college and law school. He earned an associate’s degree from Manatee Community College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami, School of Law. While he was attending college and law school, he worked his way up from a custodian and courier to an associate attorney at the 94 year-old law firm, Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano of Bradenton. He made partner four years later.
Bill and his wife Julie have been married for 23 years and are the proud parents of three children: Michael, William, and Jacqueline.
Over the last 20 years, Bill and his family have brought the community together to raise millions of dollars for public schools to provide enhanced educational opportunities for students and teachers through the Phil Galvano Golf Classic. The tournament is named after Bill’s father, whose legacy in Manatee County stems from his acclaimed career in golf and his love of learning.
In addition to public education Bill has championed other community issues. For example, Bill is an advocate and supports programs for the homeless including the Bill Galvano One Stop Center, which provides comprehensive services to the homeless.
Bill was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2002 and soon became well known for his dedication to policy and tackling controversial issues. Throughout his career he has prioritized defending those who are not always able to defend themselves. He fought to insure the Agency for Persons with Disabilities continues to provide the services needed by those who depend on it. He sponsored and passed legislation to make sure citizens were made aware when environmental contamination impacts their communities. In 2007, after holding hearings around the state, Bill helped pass legislation to create the Office of Child Protection, now the Office of Adoption and Child Protection. In his final term, Bill served as Chairman of the Rules and Calendar Council, Chairman of the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review and Chairman of the Select Committee on Standards of Professional Conduct. He sponsored legislation to create the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority so it could better handle the traffic issues in the area.
In 2012, Bill decided that there was still more work to be done in Tallahassee. He ran and was elected to the Florida Senate, where he has served for the past four years. During this time, he has fought for our parents and students by supporting several major education issues, such as increasing performance accountability for public schools, expanding the Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and making the Florida prepaid program more affordable.
In 2014, Bill became the Senate’s Republican Majority Leader. As such, he has worked tirelessly as the head of the Republican Caucus to help pass legislation: allocating the highest level of K-12 per student funding in the history of our state, securing long-term, comprehensive policy to protect Florida’s water resources and natural environment, finalizing a pathway to economic independence for people with unique abilities, and reducing student assessments while maintaining a commitment to education accountability. Lastly, he has partnered with Commissioner Adam Putnam to work with the leaders of the citrus industry to try and find the best ways to combat citrus greening.
Deputy Consul General at Israel Consulate General – Miami
Mr. Guy Gilady was appointed to serve as the Deputy Consul General of Israel to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico starting August 2016.
Prior to Mr. Guy Gilady’s arrival at the Consulate, he served as the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Kiev, Ukraine. Prior to that position, he served as the Head of the Political Section at the Embassy of Israel in Kiev, Ukraine, since July 2013.
Mr. Gilady joined the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2011. Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Gilady served as a desk officer in the South & South East Asia Department and in the Euro-Asia Department, as well as Assistant to the DDG for Strategic Affairs.
Before joining the MFA, Mr. Gilady worked as a corporate lawyer at the Eitan, Mehulal & Sadot Law Firm based in Herzliya, Israel, and specialized in the fields of securities, private and public companies, high-tech, and corporate law.
Between 2000-2007, Mr. Gilady served as a Sergeant Major in a Special Intelligence Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Mr. Gilady holds degrees for Law (L.L.B.) and Business Administration (B.A.) from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel, and in Political Science, Diplomacy and Security Studies (M.A.) from the Tel Aviv University, Israel.
He was born in Tel-Aviv and raised in Israel, the USA, and Germany. He is married to Shani, who is a Speech Therapist, and has two sons.
Mr. Gilady speaks English, Hebrew, German and basic Russian.
Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Robert J. Grammig is a partner and leader of the firm-wide Public Companies and Securities Practice at Holland & Knight. Mr. Grammig has practiced for over 25 years in the areas of public company mergers and acquisitions, securities law, general corporate law and international business transactions. He serves on the firm’s Directors Committee.
Mr. Grammig has represented both companies and underwriters in numerous public company offerings. He has also led legal teams on behalf of acquirers, target companies and special committees in a large number of publicly announced merger and acquisition transactions, several of which valued at greater than $1.0 billion. Mr. Grammig also regularly advises boards of directors, audit committees and special committees regarding corporate governance matters. He has devoted a substantial part of his practice to international business transactions, representing both United States and foreign entities, including representations involving significant acquisitions in Colombia, Malaysia and Japan. He regularly participates as a panelist in KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, he served as a law clerk to The Honorable Thomas A. Clark, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.
Mr. Grammig is a member of the Tampa Bay Crisis Center’s Board of Governors, The Florida Bar and the District of Columbia Bar Association.
Inmaculada Gutierrez Carrizo
Trade Commissioner of Spain for the Southeast United States – Miami
(Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas)
Inmaculada Gutierrez is the Trade Commissioner of the Embassy of Spain for the Southeast United States (September 2014).
Inmaculada has extensive professional experience in both the public and private sectors. She has worked for the Ministry of Economy in Spain and has held different positions of responsibility related to economic policy, competition advocacy and removal of trade barriers. She has also been appointed to different posts by the Spanish Government in antitrust institutions and has represented Spain before the Trade and Competition OECD´s Committee.
Her knowledge of economic tools for market analysis led her to develop her professional career working for American economic consulting firms, advising clients from a wide range of industry sectors such as the retail, financial (credit cards), energy, telecommunications or infrastructures.
Inmaculada has actively taken part in the development and management of nonprofit organizations in support of people with disabilities, particularly children on the autistic spectrum.
Mrs. Gutiérrez holds a degree in Economics by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and in 1992 officially gained the position as Economist and Trade Expert for the Government of Spain.
Consul General of Canada – Miami
Susan Harper (Master of Business Administration, Ivey School of Business, Western University; Bachelor of Arts with Honours [Math, English] Queen’s University).
Prior to joining the Department of External Affairs in 1983, Ms. Harper taught at both Cambrian College in Sudbury, and George Brown College in Toronto. She held trade positions in Yaoundé, Paris and Buenos Aires before becoming Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2001. She subsequently was posted to the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C, where she became Minister (Economic) from 2008-2009. In Ottawa, she was Director General, Trade Controls and Technical Barriers from 2009-2013, and then Director General and Senior Arctic Official (2013-16).
Chris Hart IV
Secretary of Commerce and President and CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Chris Hart IV is President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. and serves as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders, and serves as the state’s primary entity for trade and export development, and as its principal economic development organization. In pursuit of its mission to diversify and expand the state’s economy, Enterprise Florida works closely with the Governor, legislators, business leaders, and a statewide network of economic development partners to champion Florida as the premier location for business creation, expansion and relocation.
Prior to being named President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Hart held the same position with CareerSource Florida, Inc., the nonprofit, public-private organization charged withpolicy-setting and oversight of Florida’s workforce development system. While there, Hart led efforts to ensure the state has the talent needed to strengthen the global competitiveness of Florida businesses while also assisting Floridians with enhancing their skills to enter, remain and advance in the workforce and become economically self-sufficient.
Although continuing to serve as the President & CEO for CareerSource Florida, Hart was tapped to serve concurrently as the Interim Director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development under the administrations of both Governor Rick Scott and Governor Charlie Crist. In this role, he was key to efforts to align resources and priorities to meet the current and future needs of Florida’s businesses and its workforce through promoting job placement and creation, talent development, economic growth and diversity, and business competitiveness. Hart also was appointed by Governor Crist in June 2010 to Chair the Governor’s Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force. The task force was responsible for coordinating state efforts in response to the Deepwater Horizon spill to assist affected businesses and industries, monitor BP’s efforts in providing financial relief to those affected and coordinate processes and efforts to gather economic loss data and industry economic indicators.
Prior to becoming CareerSource Florida’s leader, Hart was the Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Investor Relations for Enterprise Florida, served in the Florida House of Representatives for two terms, and co-founded a small business. Hart currently serves on multiple boards and is the Senior Warden at St. Peter’s Anglican Church. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University where he majored in Political Science. He and his wife, Amy, reside in Tallahassee and have two adult children.
Chairman & CEO, Kitson & Partners/Chairman, Florida Chamber of Commerce
Sydney W. Kitson is Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, a Florida-based real estate company specializing in the creation and development of master-planned communities and commercial properties.
Kitson is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Kitson had a notable career in the National Football League, playing offensive guard for both the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Upon his retirement from professional football in 1985, he began his career in real estate and founded Kitson & Partners in 1999.
In 2006, Kitson completed the historic purchase of Babcock Ranch in Southwest Florida, encompassing more than 91,000 acres – an area five times the size of the island of Manhattan. Over 80% of the original land purchase, some 73,000 acres within Charlotte and Lee counties, has been preserved by the State of Florida and Lee County, in the largest single land preservation agreement in the state’s history.
Syd lectures at Princeton University, and has served on multiple civic, education and non-profit boards. In addition to his appointment as a member of the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida, he is currently on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Florida Council of 100, as well as the current Chairman for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
CEO, Boyd Industries, Inc.
Adrian brings to Boyd Industries over 25 years of leadership experience in companies ranging from start-ups to large public corporations spanning the healthcare, renewable energy and aerospace industries. Prior to acquiring Boyd in 2012, Adrian served as Chief Executive Officer of Dublin, Ireland headquartered Mainstream Renewable Power North America responsible for a 1600 megawatt wind and solar development portfolio in the USA and Canada. Before Mainstream, he was the Vice President/General Manager of Pamplona, Spain headquartered Acciona Windpower North American responsible for the successful greenfield launch of Acciona’s wind turbine manufacturing, installation and service business. Under his leadership, the company installed over 500 megawatts of wind power in the United States within the first 3 years of operation growing from inception to over $600M in revenues during this period. Earlier in his career, Adrian held senior operations positions with Knowles Electronics, Gulfstream Aerospace and USRobotics.
Adrian earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from The Citadel. He serves as an Executive Partner for Salt Creek Capital and sits on the advisory boards of The University of Iowa’s College of Engineering and The Citadel’s College of Math and Science. Previously he served on the Boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and several terms on the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a US Air Force veteran having served as a Communications-Electronics Officer with assignments in the United States and Asia.
Consul General of France – Miami
Clément Leclerc assumed office as Consul General of France in Miami on September 5, 2016. Upon joining the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003, Mr. Clément Leclerc was assigned to the Department for the United Nations and international organizations. In 2006, he was appointed First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New-York, where he served in the Security Council team. In 2009, he joined the Office of the President of the French Republic as technical advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa. From 2012 to 2016, he served as First Counselor, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of France in Mexico.
Clement Leclerc, who holds a Master in International Law, is also a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies and of the French National School of Government (ENA).
Born in 1976, Mr. Clément Leclerc is married.
Senior Vice President, International Trade & Business Development, Enterprise Florida
Manuel (Manny) A. Mencia is the senior vice president of the International Trade & Business Development division of Enterprise Florida, Inc., (EFI). The division is headquartered in Miami and maintains offices in six Florida cities as well as several countries around the world.
Manny joined Enterprise Florida in 1996. Prior to that, he served as vice president of World Marketing at The Beacon Council between 1992 and 1996. He has acquired extensive international trade expertise, having served in various executive positions at the Florida Department of Commerce between 1977 and 1991.
In 2009, EFI received the President’s E Star Award for Export Promotion Excellence, our nation’s highest trade development honor. In 2000, Export Magazine and the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) conferred their Gold Award to EFI’s division of Trade Development, as the best statewide export development organization in the country.
Manny currently serves as president of State International Development Organizations (SIDO), the national organization of state trade development agencies. He also serves on the board of the Florida Export Finance Corporation, World Trade Center-Miami, Florida Trade Partners Alliance, and the Florida District Export Council. Manny obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida International University in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University in Political Science.
Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Sunotopic Technologies, Inc.
Mr. Mutch is a Healthcare Industry Executive who has worked with both large and small corporations for over 40 years. Mr. Mutch has worked in domestic and international distribution roles as well as product and marketing innovation. The last 21 years have all been with companies in the surgical fiberoptic and illumination markets. The companies are Sunoptic Technologies- Vice President, Marketing and Sales, 13 years and Luxtec Corporation, Vice President Marketing and Sales, 8 years.
Innovations to the market from these companies during that time include, Xenon Light Sources, LED Light Sources, Small diameter fiberoptic headlight cables, fused fiber optic cables, headlight video systems and LED battery operated headlights.
Prior to focusing on the fiberoptic markets Mr. Mutch was responsible for the Marketing and Sales of Hospital Information Systems for the Hewlett Packard Company and Prior to that was the General Sales Manager for Hewlett Packard Medical Systems in Canada.
Mr. Mutch has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering, a Masters Degree in Bio-Medical Engineering and an EMBA
Consul General of Japan – Miami
Mr. Okaniwa was appointed Consul General of Japan in Miami on 1 October 2015.
Having joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984, Mr. Okaniwa has extensive experience in multilateral negotiations, development policy, public diplomacy and crisis management. He was the Director in charge of climate change when Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Director in charge of multilateral development institutions, including the World Bank, UNDP and OECD/DAC, development policy, the ODA White Paper and aid evaluation.
As regards overseas postings, he has been posted to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (1994-1998) as First Secretary, initially in charge of the Second Committee/ECOSOC; then later in charge of the Security Council. At the Embassy of Japan in Zambia (1998-1999), he was deputy head of mission. At the Embassy in Jakarta (2006-2008), he was Minister in charge of economic affairs. At the Embassy in London (2008-2011), he was Minister and head of the Japan Information and Cultural Centre. And at the Embassy in Pretoria (2011-2013), he was Minister in charge of economic affairs and deputy head of mission.
Upon his return to Tokyo in 2013, he served as Councillor in charge of security and crisis management at the Cabinet Secretariat. In October 2014, he was transferred back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was appointed Deputy Director-General in charge of international cooperation as well as the press, culture and public diplomacy. In June-July 2015, he was relieved from work relating to the press, culture and public diplomacy, while African and Middle Eastern affairs were added to his existing responsibilities on international cooperation.
Mr. Okaniwa received a B.A. in Law at Hitotsubashi University, and a B.A. degree in Modern History from Merton College, Oxford University.
Jerry Parrish, Ph.D.
Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation
Dr. Jerry Parrish is the Chief Economist and the Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. In that role, he is responsible for conducting in-depth analyses on economic trends, Florida’s industry clusters and on solutions to help secure Florida’s future. Dr. Parrish previously was the Chief Economist and Director of the Center for Competitive Florida at Florida TaxWatch. Prior to that position, he served as the Associate Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting & Analysis (CEFA) at Florida State University, and has many years of experience in management roles at international manufacturing companies. Dr. Parrish is currently an Adjunct Instructor in the Masters in Applied Economics Program at Florida State University. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Business and Economics from Auburn University, an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University, an M.S. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Auburn University. He has published many research reports and articles on the Florida economy, Florida’s competitiveness, Florida’s property and casualty insurance system, and other economic topics of interest to Floridians.
Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Cissy Proctor was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott as the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in January 2016. After joining the department in 2012, she served as Chief of Staff, Director of the Division of Strategic Business Development, and Deputy Legislative Affairs Director.
Director Proctor is focused on promoting Florida’s competitive business environment through collaboration and partnerships across economic, workforce, and community development. These partnerships have helped generate economic prosperity for communities and cities across Florida. She has built relationships with Legislators, the business community, local governments, and policy experts across the country to ensure the department is effectively serving businesses, communities, and individuals, while making Florida the best place to live, learn, play, work and do business.
Before joining the department, Director Proctor practiced law with the Tallahassee-based firm Bryant Miller Olive, PA. She received her J.D. magna cum laude from the Florida State University College of Law and her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Florida State University.
Dr. Mark Rosenberg
President, Florida International University
Mark B. Rosenberg is president of Florida International University. A public institution of higher education, FIU is the face of the country’s future in higher education demographics: it is a majority-minority institution that leads the country in the production of minority degrees in the sciences and engineering.
Dr. Rosenberg has served as the fifth president of FIU since August 2009. A political scientist specializing in Latin America, Dr. Rosenberg is the first FIU faculty member to ascend to the university’s presidency.
Under his leadership as president, FIU has increased enrollment to almost 56,000 students, improved graduation rates by nearly 13% and hired over 500 new faculty. As President, Dr. Rosenberg has provided leadership to grow the institution’s budget, improve student graduation and retention rates, expand internships for enrolled students, and coordinate FIU’s emergence as a leading producer of graduates in priority national and state areas focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The university has been named as a Carnegie “Highest Research” as well as an “Engaged” institution, and has developed path-breaking partnerships with the Miami Dade County Public Schools, JP Morgan Chase, Florida Power & Light and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Research expenditures have grown by nearly 30% to nearly $160 million, and over sixty new student advisers and counselors have been hired for a restructured and expanded student graduation initiative.
Dr. Rosenberg is a first-generation college graduate whose two children, Ben and Ginelle, are both graduates of FIU. He and his wife of over 40 years, Rosalie, are members of Temple Menorah in Miami Beach.
Founding Member, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg P.A.
Gilbert Lee Sandler is a founding member of the law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., (ST&R), and a principal of its affiliated consulting company Sandler Travis Trade Advisory Services (STTAS), based in the Miami, Florida Office. The firms are headquartered in Miami and have additional United States offices in Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Baltimore and foreign offices in Canada (Ottawa), Mexico (Mexico City), Brazil (Sao Paulo) and China (Beijing and Hong Kong).
Mr. Sandler has extensive experience in handling complex International Trade, Intellectual Property and Litigation projects for importers, exporters and manufacturers, bonded warehousemen, foreign-trade zones, customs brokers, freight forwarders, carriers, financial institutions, and surety companies. During a 40-year legal career he has focused on international trade regulation, serving six years as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice (Customs Section), and then 34 years in private practice handling issues arising under the technical laws governing tariff classification and valuation; free trade agreements, preferential programs and quota qualification; product marking and labeling laws; copyright and trademark protection; and the dramatically growing range of border enforcement issues including anti-terrorism and security, product and food safety, environmental protection and ethical sourcing.
He has been appointed by the last five Administrations to advise the United States Government on international trade negotiations, including the GATT Uruguay and Doha Rounds, the Customs Valuation Code, Harmonized Classification Code, the Kyoto Convention and all free trade agreements negotiated since 1979 (from NAFTA to Korea). He served four years on the Advisory Committee to Treasury on Customs Commercial Operations (COAC), where he played a leading role in the Committee’s work on the development of the Department of Homeland Security, C-TPAT, Focused Assessment and OR&R procedures.
He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, (Chairing its Advocacy Groups), the Board of the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) (co-chairing its Regulated Industries Committee), the Steering Committee of the Joint Industry Group (JIG). He is General Counsel to the Florida Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association (FCBF), the International Trade Surety Association (ITSA). He previously served as Chair of World Trade Center Miami and Chair of the Florida International Trade and Investment Council.
Mr. Sandler is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College and received his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.
President and CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
Eric Silagy is president and CEO of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., and one of the largest investor-owned electric utilities in the nation. He was appointed president in December 2011 and CEO in May 2014.
Mr. Silagy has worked for NextEra Energy companies for more than a decade. For FPL, he served as senior vice president of regulatory and state governmental affairs and as chief development officer, managing all generation development, including solar, natural gas and nuclear energy projects. At NextEra Energy Resources, Mr. Silagy served as vice president and general manager, overseeing all business activities for the company’s generation assets in southern United States; and vice president of business development, managing merger and acquisition activities, including nuclear power plant acquisitions.
Prior to joining NextEra Energy, Mr. Silagy served as vice president, mergers, acquisitions & divestitures at Entergy Wholesale Operations, based in Houston, and as vice president and managing director, Southeast Asia, for The Wing Group, a subsidiary of Western Resources. He also worked for U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, in several capacities, including chief of staff.
Mr. Silagy was elected the 2013-2014 Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He also serves as a board member of Enterprise Florida, Inc., the Florida Council of 100, and the Benjamin School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Export Finance Manager, Export Import Bank of the United States of America
Aerek is Export Finance manager with Export-Import bank of the Unites States. In this role, Aerek is the Program Manager for Regional Export Promotions Program, a program that works in collaboration with State and non-profit agencies to educate and promote how exporting can increase employment in the United States.
Aerek has 20 years of banking experience with Wells Fargo & Citigroup. He has held leadership positions in, Project Management, Relationship Management, Foreclosure and Collections. Aerek received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Elizabeth City State University. In his spare time he enjoys coaching youth sports.
Director of Economic Development, Florida Power & Light Company
Crystal Stiles is the Director of Economic Development for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). Crystal joined FPL in 2012 and she has served the company in various roles including Manager and Project Manager of Economic Development. She has a decade-long career in economic development and previously served as the co-executive director for the Business Development Board of Martin County.
Since joining FPL, Crystal continues to lead and advance Florida’s statewide economic development strategy and the visibility of the company’s economic development program, both within Florida and nationwide. The program has been recognized for three consecutive years on Site Selection Magazine’s list of Top Ten Utilities in Economic Development (2013 – 2015). Under Crystal’s leadership, FPL was named for the first time as one of “The Best Utilities in Economic Development in the Southeast” by Southern Business & Development Magazine. FPL was one of only five utilities bestowed with this recognition for its region.
Crystal and her team enhance and support economic development efforts throughout Florida with incentive rates for growing businesses, capacity building community programs and resources to local and regional economic development organizations. The team supports business development projects throughout the state and is building a strong effort to attract data center investment, in addition to companies that fall within Florida’s 11 targeted industry sectors.
Crystal currently serves on the executive committee for the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC), the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Task Force, and as a board member for the Florida delegation of the Southeast U.S./Japan Association (SEUS/Japan) and the Utility Economic Development Association (UEDA), and serves as board chair for United Way of Martin County.
Crystal holds a bachelor of arts in communication from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Crystal resides in Palm City, FL with her husband and two daughters.
President, Central Florida Partnership
With more than 32 years of service as president of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jacob V. Stuart has effected monumental change in a number of strategic areas, including: healthcare, regional leadership, technology, transportation, international business, regional research and workforce development.
Believing that knowledge is power, he has worked to provide life long learning opportunities for business and community leaders in leadership development, public education reform, and tax relief for working families. Mr. Stuart was instrumental in establishing regional programs and partnerships such as WorkForce 2020, the Central Florida Technology Partnership, myregion.org, Hispanic Summit and Extra Credit. Currently, he is leading the Chamber’s transformation by Creating America’s Newest Regional Partnership in response to third-party recommendations made by business and community leaders. And, under his leadership, the Chamber presented its first Small Business Summit in 2008.
As a native of Orlando, Mr. Stuart’s commitment to protecting and nurturing the quality of life in Central Florida has led him to pioneer numerous award-winning programs. Among them, Leadership Orlando, America’s largest community leadership program; BusinessForce, Florida’s largest local political committee; and the City of Light, a community volunteer program President George Bush unveiled in Orlando, making us America’s first City of Light.
In the area of public service, Mr. Stuart served as Chief of Staff and Director of the Transition Team in 1987 for then incoming Florida Governor, Bob Martinez while on a leave of absence from the Chamber. Then in 1991, he was elected Chairman of the Board for LYNX, Central Florida’s public transportation system.
As a result of his vision and leadership, the Accrediting Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce awarded the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce a Five Star Accreditation. The U.S. Chamber Accreditation Program defines standards of excellence in Chamber of Commerce planning and performance and shows Chambers how they can reach and maintain these standards.
Also serving as President of myregion.org, he was instrumental in the recent success of its “How Shall We Grow?” initiative bringing seven counties, 86 cities and a host of citizens together in Creating A Shared Regional Growth Vision for the Central Florida region. Implementation of that vision, which focuses on Four Cs – Conservation, Centers, Corridors and Countriside – will guide future land use and development through the year 2050.
Most recently, Stuart received the MSCW “Legacy” Champion of Sustainability Award in recognition of his understanding that the work done today to preserve, conserve and protect Central Florida’s most precious resources will mean a better tomorrow for citizens throughout the region. The Healthy Community Initiative of Orlando (HCI) and MSCW Inc. hosted the Fourth Annual “Champions of Sustainability” Awards Luncheon, established in 2002, to publicly recognize individuals and organizations for their dedication to our community’s health.
Stuart was also awarded the John Bosley Award presented by the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), a non-profit membership organization and public interest group whose mission is to build regional communities through regional collaboration. The award, created in memory of John Bosley who served as deputy director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and legal advisor to NARC, recognizes outstanding service and contributions by an individual to advance the success of the regional community.
Chief Executive Officer, JAXPORT
Brian Taylor joined JAXPORT as Chief Executive Officer in July 2013. Taylor is a long-time transportation and logistics industry professional, serving nearly 30 years with commercial ocean carriers. A seasoned leader, Taylor has worked around the globe leading complex organizations and building high-performance teams.
He began his maritime career with Sea-Land Service and went on to assume a variety of executive positions with both Sea-Land and Horizon Lines. Taylor holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration in Financial Management from Concordia University in Montreal.
Taylor is currently the Vice Chairman of the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council, which oversees the implementation of seaport capital improvement projects for the State of Florida. He also serves on the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a member of Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute Advisory Board.
Executive Director, International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Christopher W. Wenk is executive director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wenk is responsible for promoting the Chamber’s international trade agenda, including bilateral free trade agreements, multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with the administration, on Capitol Hill, and in the business community.
Since joining the Chamber in 2007, Wenk played a leading role in successful campaigns to win bipartisan congressional passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. He also led the Chamber’s efforts to secure Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, among other trade initiatives.
Wenk plays a key role in the Chamber’s efforts related to the work of the Geneva-based WTO, including negotiations to expand manufacturing and services trade and to promote trade facilitation. He has led numerous delegations of Chamber member companies to Geneva to meet with key WTO officials to press U.S. business priorities. Wenk also serves as staff executive for the Chamber’s International Policy Committee and Trade Task Force, which develop policy positions and recommendations on international trade and investment.
Previously, Wenk was director of international trade policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industry trade association. At NAM, he advocated on behalf of its members on international trade issues with the administration and Congress. He also worked with NAM policy organizations to formulate positions on trade issues and managed industry group coalitions to support manufacturing priorities, including the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).
Before joining NAM, Wenk spent more than five years working on Capitol Hill. He worked for the House Small Business Committee, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Dave Camp (R-MI), who is now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He also interned at the Delegation of the European Commission in Washington, D.C.
Wenk has appeared on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, PBS’ Nightly Business Report, and CNBC’s Morning Call. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, graduating with a degree in criminal justice and Spanish. Wenk received a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Silver Spring, Maryland, with their three daughters, Olivia, Madeleine, and Violet, and son, Brady.
President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce
Mark Wilson serves as president and chief executive officer of Florida’s largest and most influential business advocacy organization. Wilson leads the substantial political, lobbying, grassroots, and economic research operations of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The Florida Chamber focuses on creating a business climate that generates prosperity and high-paying jobs, vibrant communities and global competitiveness in the state of Florida by focusing on job creation and the Six Pillars of Florida’s Future Economy: Talent Supply & Education, Innovation & Economic Development, Infrastructure & Growth Leadership, Business Climate & Competitiveness, Civic & Governance Systems and Quality of Life & Quality Places.
Through his focus on unifying the business community, Wilson created the Florida Business Agenda and the Florida Chamber Grassroots Network, which mobilizes the business community on issues ranging from taxes and talent, to insurance and constitutional amendment reform. Wilson was also the first president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, a Florida Chamber partner organization focused on reducing frivolous lawsuits.
In addition to his legislative successes, Wilson is also the architect of groundbreaking statewide political campaigns in 2004 and 2006 that passed significant constitutional amendment reforms, as well as numerous legislative and issue campaigns. In 2010, he served as treasurer and co-chair of the Vote No on 4 campaign, an anti-growth proposal, in one of the most successful political campaigns in Florida’s history.
Wilson serves on the Board of Directors of Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, Enterprise Florida, Workforce Florida, Leadership Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Chamber Foundation, and the Council of State Chambers, as well as serving as an active member of the Florida Council of 100, the U.S. Chamber’s Committee of 100, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.
A native of Illinois, Wilson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and has earned the national designation of Certified Chamber Executive (CCE). Prior to joining the Florida Chamber in 1998, Wilson served as vice president of the Chicagoland Chamber and previously served with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Wilson resides in Tallahassee with his wife, daughter and two sons.