Will Alexander joined the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) as Assistant Commissioner, Strategy in 2011. His first task was to work with a small team in performing a top-to-bottom review of the department. The results of this project formed the basis of the Governor’s ‘Jobs4TN’ strategic plan for economic growth announced in April 2011.
Prior to joining ECD, Mr. Alexander was an associate attorney at Vinson & Elkins LLP in Austin, Texas and the United Arab Emirates for more than four years. While at Vinson & Elkins, he represented clients in various corporate matters, ranging from advising start-up companies in formation activities and venture capital financing to assisting public companies in multibillion-dollar M&A transactions. In addition to Mr. Alexander’s time in the Middle East, his international experience also includes semesters spent studying law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and La Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico. Mr. Alexander received a B.A. in Plan II Honors from the University of Texas, earning Phi Beta Kappa distinction, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. He is proficient in Spanish.
Director, International Trade Finance
Dennis Chrisbaum is the Director of International Trade Finance for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In that capacity, he oversees SBA’s export financing program, including its delivery through SBA personnel who are co-located with Commercial Service staff in 20 U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the country. Mr. Chrisbaum has worked closely with the inter-agency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s Small Business Working Group in drafting recommendations to expand small business exports under the President’s National Export Initiative.
Prior to assuming this newly created position in 2011, Mr. Chrisbaum served as SBA’s representative at the U.S. Export Assistance Center located in Denver, Colorado. In that role, he oversaw the SBA’s International Trade Finance Program in the five-state, Inter-Mountain West region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Before relocating to Denver, Mr. Chrisbaum worked in Washington, D.C. for both the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he developed and oversaw SBA’s national export promotion program, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked in various positions with the Office of High Technology Export Promotion, the Office of the Under Secretary for International Trade, and the President’s Export Council.
Mr. Chrisbaum has an MBA degree in Finance, Investments and Banking and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a Masters of Art degree from Columbia University and Atlantic University.
Director, State Trade and Export Promotion Program
Mr. Collins has served in a number of positions in the Federal government from November of 1977 to the present. Currently, he is the Director, State Trade and Export Promotion Program, Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration. The Program is a three-year pilot trade and export initiative authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Through award of matching-fund Federal grants, the Program is intended to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports small businesses are currently exporting.
Before joining the Office of International Trade in April 2011, Mr. Collins held diverse management and executive responsibilities at SBA and the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service. His career has been multi-focused, with key assignments in Federal contracting, strategic planning, budget formulation and execution, systems development, and logistics. His recent service at the U.S. Small Business Administration included tours as Director for Government Contracting, Deputy Director for HUBZone Program, Assistant Administrator for Operations and Program Support, Assistant Administrator for Technology, and Assistant Administrator for 8(a) Business Development. From 1988 to 1993, Mr. Collins held management responsibilities at the Department of Justice, Community Relations Service. Notably, he served as Director of Planning, Budget, and Evaluation, and Chief, Procurement and Administrative Services. The Service’s mission was resolution of community conflicts arising out of race, color and national origin, and resettlement of Cuban and Haitian migrants. Mr. Collins has also served as expert witness in qui tam proceedings under the False Claims Act. Additionally, he is an occasional lecturer in accounting at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mr. Collins holds a Master of Accountancy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Carroll School of Management, Boston College. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Belmont Abbey College, and recently completed a curriculum in information technology at the University of Richmond.
Director, Office of Grants Management
Antonio Doss was appointed Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Grants Management in July 2011. In this role, he collaborates with SBA program offices in the management of the Agency’s $300 million portfolio of business assistance and economic development grant programs, overseeing grants policy, award issuance, administration, oversight and compliance.
For seven years prior to this appointment, Mr. Doss supported small businesses as SBA’s Associate Administrator for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Through its national network of 900 service centers SBDCs assisted a wide range of businesses from life style to high growth and technology-oriented firms in developing strategic business plans, financial solutions and developing marketing plans. As a direct result of the in-depth business coaching received from SBDC business advisors, entrepreneurs strengthened their ability to grow and sustain businesses, create and retain jobs, and obtain financing.
Before his appointment as Associate Administrator, Mr. Doss graduated from the Agency’s senior executive leadership program during which time he held several key leadership roles within the Agency. Prior to joining the Federal government, Mr. Doss was a Senior Vice President at Bank of America where lead SBA lending teams, branch banking centers, a consumer lending product group as well as mortgage and real estate lending services advised low and moderate-income communities.
Mr. Doss earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Robert Morris College. He is also a graduate of Leadership Maryland and the Consumer Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia.
Business Development Manager
Danielle Ellingston is a Business Development Manager at the Washington State Department of Commerce. She joined Commerce in November 2011 to manage the Export Voucher Program, which is a key component of Commerce’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant activities.
Ms. Ellingston’s professional experience focus is in the area of international trade and development policy. After moving to Seattle three years ago, she worked as the Global Development Policy Coordinator for Global Washington, a broad-based, multi-sector association of Washington-state organizations involved in international development. Prior to relocating to Seattle, Ms. Ellingston was an international trade and finance analyst for Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C., where she advised Congress on issues including United States-Africa trade, export finance, and trade capacity building. Ms. Ellingston also advised pineapple farmer cooperatives as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana.
Ms. Ellingston has a BA in economics from the State University of New York College at Geneseo, and an MA in international relations with concentrations in international economic theory and African studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Director, Department of Commerce
William Fanjoy is the Director of the Department of Commerce’s Virginia and Washington, D.C., U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC). He has been with the Commercial Service for 12 years, where he started by managing American Business Centers in Russia and the NIS. Prior to Mr. Fanjoy’s service with the Department of Commerce, he worked with several international firms and overseas agencies, including USAID and the World Bank. Early in his career, Mr. Fanjoy spent three years managing a Wildlife Park in Central Africa and three years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa.
Director, Chafee Center for International Business
In 1988, Ray Fogarty led the creation of what is now the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University. He has been its director since inception, building public/private partnerships and strong relationships with the business community that enable the Center to provide a unique experiential learning environment for Bryant students. Mr. Fogarty is a Bryant graduate who began his career as Assistant Controller of the University. During his 33 years at Bryant, he has served on more than 20 boards and committees relating to economic development, community and international business development issues. Mr. Fogarty is also the State Trade Director for Rhode Island and Chair of the Rhode Island District Export Council for the Department of Commerce.
Appointed to the position of Associate Administrator for International Trade at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in August 2011, Dario J. Gomez oversees programs that support small business engagement and growth in international markets. His office works in cooperation with other Federal agencies and public- and private-sector trade groups to promote trade opportunities, facilitate access to export financing, and represent the interests of small businesses in U.S. trade negotiations. Dario also directs the delivery of the SBA’s export assistance programs via 19 U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the country.
Prior to his appointment at the SBA, Mr. Gomez served as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Associate Director for Federal Affairs in his Washington D.C. office. He was responsible for representing the Mayor’s positions on Federal issues including ports and goods movement, aviation, export promotion, and energy. Prior to this position, Mr. Gomez was Mayor Villaraigosa’s Director of International Trade for Los Angeles. In this capacity, he was integral in bringing the Americas Business Forum to Los Angeles, which is an annual export matchmaking event with the Department of Commerce to help businesses export to Latin America. Also, he was responsible for attracting foreign investment and raising the global profile of Los Angeles. In addition to his successes, he was successful in recruiting Chinese electric automaker, BYD to launch their North American headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
From 1999-2001 Mr. Gomez was a Presidential Appointee as a Congressional Specialist for Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, the U.S. Trade Representative. During that time, he worked on such historic trade measures as Congressional approval for China's entry into the World Trade Organization, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.
Prior to working for Ambassador Barshefsky, Mr. Gomez served on the White House staff in the Administration of President William Jefferson Clinton. Following his work in the Clinton Administration, Dario worked as a legislative liaison for the City of Los Angeles, where he helped secure federal funding for Los Angeles after school programs and public works projects. He also worked as a regional manager for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation prior to joining the Mayor’s Office.
A Southern California native, Mr. Gomez is a graduate of
the IBEAR International MBA program at the University of Southern California,
where he worked on global consulting projects for Fortune 100 companies
involving the energy and telecommunications sectors. He holds a bachelor's
degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Meagan Guerzon graduated from the George Washington University Law School where she completed legal internships at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office. Following graduation, Ms. Guerzon completed a one-year judicial clerkship at the Arlington County Circuit Court where she worked with four judges on a variety of civil and criminal matters. Ms. Guerzon joined the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of General Counsel, Office of Procurement Law, in August 2009. She provides legal advice to SBA’s various government contracting and grant programs.
Robert Hill joined the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as Associate Administrator for Field Operations in July 2011. Prior to assuming his position with the SBA, Mr. Hill worked closely with local, State and Federal officials as well as business leaders in 14 Western states during his tenure at the White House. He also served on the President’s Transition Team for the U.S. Treasury Department where he helped assess the Treasury Department and related economic agencies.
Mr. Hill has field experience leading state-based teams in every region of the U.S. and in diverse markets that include rural, urban, and suburban settings in Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin. His work history includes a decade of experience building coalitions, managing organizational time, budgeting resources, and overseeing outreach and education efforts for government, non-profits, and other groups. He has developed and implemented measurable performance metrics to direct the actions of large-scale organizations facing unique and challenging obstacles in order to achieve a common goal.
Mr. Hill has a BA in History from the University of Virginia.
Deputy Associate Administrator
Luz Hopewell is the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Ms. Hopewell works to enhance the ability of small businesses to compete in the global marketplace. Her office oversees programs that facilitate access to capital, supporting international trade for eligible businesses through the SBA Export Express program, the Export Working Capital program and the International Trade Loan program. Additionally, her office ensures that the interests of small business are considered and reflected in the trade negotiations.
Before coming to the Office of International Trade, Ms. Hopewell worked in the Office of Business Development in the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development as the Associate Administrator and as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Financial Assistance in the Office of Capital Access.
Ms. Hopewell also served as the Associate Administrator for Government Contracting in the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development where she worked to create an environment for maximum participation by small, disadvantaged and woman-owned small businesses in Federal government contract awards.
Prior to joining SBA, Ms. Hopewell was the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). She was responsible for the development and implementation of activities directed at ensuring small, minority and women-owned small business participation in DOT’s direct procurement and Federal financial assistance procurement activities. Ms. Hopewell was responsible for DOT recording the highest percentage of prime contracts to small business than any other Cabinet-level agency in 1999. In addition, she earned the Vice President’s prestigious "Hammer Award" for her role in assisting DOT in developing a unique procurement strategy for Information Technology Omnibus Procurement (ITOP).
Preceding her government service, Ms. Hopewell devoted 20 years to the Latin American Management Association (LAMA), a national small business trade association, which advocates on behalf of and operates programs to further minority business development. She began her career at LAMA as a Marketing Specialist and left as the President of the Association.
Acting Associate Administrator
Jeanne A. Hulit was named the SBA’s Acting Associate Administrator/Office of Capital Access at U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. in December 2011. She manages and oversees the Agency’s programs and operations that are designed to expand access to capital to the nation’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Her responsibilities include the Agency’s loan, microloan program and investment programs, credit risk management, secondary market activity and managing financial operations centers. Ms. Hulit is also responsible for advising the SBA Administrator and overseeing, within the Office of Capital Access, the Agency’s reforms to make it more responsive to both borrowers and lenders.
Prior to her Washington assignment, Ms. Hulit was appointed to serve as SBA’s New England Regional Administrator on August 10, 2009. As regional administrator, Ms. Hulit was responsible for the delivery of the agency’s financial assistance, technical assistance and government contracting activities throughout the six New England states.
Prior to joining SBA, Ms. Hulit had been a senior vice president for commercial lending at Citizens Bank since 2002. Before joining Citizens, Ms. Hulit worked for KeyBank, N.A., where she served as a middle market lender. She also managed Key’s International Banking Division for five years. Previously, she served as deputy director of the International Division at the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
Director of City/State and Trade Association
Michael K. Jackson is the Director of City/State and Trade Association Partnerships within the Small Business Division of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The City/State Partners Program brings State, county, and local non-profit economic development entities together with Ex-Im Bank in a partnership designed to expand export opportunities. The Trade Association Partnership Program supplies a network of associations that work with Ex-Im Bank to inform and educate the associations' member companies about Ex-Im Bank's programs. Both programs have a special emphasis on small businesses.
Mr. Jackson is an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College where he teaches a course on global entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Ex-Im Bank, Mr. Jackson served as the District International Trade Officer at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Baltimore District Office. In this capacity, he was responsible for providing export promotion outreach to Maryland-based Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME). He accomplished this by conducting export-related training workshops, seminars and conferences in partnership with local, State and other Federal government trade promotion agencies as well private sector organizations.
Prior to beginning his career with the federal government, Mr. Jackson spent over a decade in the private sector. His professional experience includes sales and marketing positions with several Fortune 500 corporations in the financial services and IT/telecommunications industries. Certified as a Personal Fitness Trainer, his past professional history includes starting and managing his own fitness center franchise. Mr. Jackson is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and held duty assignments in Ramstein, Germany and in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Mr. Jackson earned an MBA in International Business from American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a BS in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland’s University College campus in Heidelberg, Germany. He also holds the NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) international trade certification.
Andy Karellas recently joined the House Committee on
Small Business in March 2011. He is responsible for staffing and advising the
Chairman on international trade and technology issues. Mr. Karellas has over 10
years of experience in trade development, including positions in the private
sector, state government, U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Director, Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
Patrick Kirwan currently serves in two positions, one as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operation within the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service where he oversees the operations of the 105 export assistance offices of the Department of Commerce located around the country. His main position is the Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) Secretariat. In this capacity, he coordinates a network of 19 government agencies chaired by the Secretary of Commerce to develop and implement the National Export Strategy (a national government-wide strategy to improve Federal trade promotion and finance programs to increase U.S. exports). He has focused specifically on improving the competitiveness of agency trade promotion programs, developing commercial strategies for key markets such as China and India, and improving Federal/State cooperation on export promotion. Under the Obama Administration, the TPCC is charged with implementing major portions of the National Export Initiative. Mr. Kirwan is focusing on NEI recommendations related to advocacy, small business, trade missions, and priority market country strategies.
Prior to assuming his current duties, Mr. Kirwan spent two years in the White House at the Domestic Policy Council working on a variety of trade-related issues. As part of the Executive Office of the President, Mr. Kirwan participated in the development of a number of long-term strategic trade initiatives in areas such as electronic commerce, export controls, international standards setting, trade finance, and China and Asia policy. Specific accomplishments include the design of a system to make it easier for small business exporters to obtain less costly trade financing, the development of the President’s Framework for Global Electronic Commerce (a set of principles that guide the Government’s efforts to regulate and promote electronic commerce), and moving the Administration’s trade policy on China towards one of engagement.
Before working at the White House, Mr. Kirwan was an International Economist in the Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade and Industry Analysis. His responsibilities and accomplishments included: serving on a team of negotiators for the United States on the formation of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum; serving as U.S. representative to the OECD Working Groups on Subsidies and Globalization, to monitor member countries’ industrial aid programs and guiding the OECD work on analyzing the impact of the globalization of various industries; co-designing, developing, and writing the annual Report to Congress on U.S. Global Competitiveness, and managing the industry section of the U.S. Global Trade Outlook 1995-2000; analyzing the impact of NAFTA on the North American automotive industry; and participating in the United States-Japan Structural Impediments Initiative negotiations, including designing and analyzing the price survey used in the negotiations. Mr. Kirwan holds a BS from Texas A&M University and an MPM from the University of Maryland.
International Trade Specialist
Jake Klossner has worked in various aspects of international business since 1999, including owning a small import company dealing with China’s automotive accessory industry. Mr. Klossner also created and managed national marketing teams of eight to fifteen people for projects contracted with Sherwin-Williams, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Under Armor, and other large organizations. Mr. Klossner’s responsibilities at the Idaho Department of Commerce are targeted in planning and executing trade missions, international trade shows, reverse buying missions, and foreign investment attraction activities for the State of Idaho. He has an industry focus on building materials and specializes in the China, Japan, and Vietnam markets.
Office of the General Counsel
Sam Le is an attorney advisor in the Office of Procurement Law, which is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Office of General Counsel. He works on government contracting matters and small business size issues. Prior to joining SBA, Mr. Le was an associate in the District of Columbia office of Wiley Rein LLP.
As Executive Director of the Center for Trade Development (CTD) in the Department of Community and Economic Development, Mr. O’Neill oversees the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s export promotion programs, services and network of 10 in-state regional partners and 21 foreign offices – the largest and most comprehensive State sponsored trade promotion program in the country. CTD’s mission is to expand the reach and capability of Pennsylvania’s exporting community, with a particular focus on small to mid-sized businesses. In 2011, export sales facilitated by CTD were in excess of $526 million, with 272 clients reporting. CTD’s program has been recognized as an innovative national model by the Brookings Institute, the Rockefeller Center, and has received awards from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, NASBITE, and Corenet Global organizations.
From 1994 to 2004, Mr. O’Neill served as Director of the State of Maryland’s Office of International Business, where he was responsible for planning and executing the State’s export assistance programs. He has counseled the business community on international market opportunities with a specific focus on northern Asia and the Arab Gulf states. He has led state trade missions throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and has worked closely with Maryland environmental technology firms seeking market assistance in markets throughout Asia.
Prior to joining State government, Mr. O’Neill provided
project management and training support to a U.S. defense contractor and a
computer systems integrator in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under modernization
programs of the Saudi Arabian Ministries of Defense & Aviation, Finance and
National Economy, and the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Professional Staff Member
Claire O’Rourke joined the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in October 2011. As a Professional Staff Member, she is responsible for international trade and budget/appropriations issues for the Committee. Prior to joining the Committee, Ms. O’Rourke worked on international trade in several capacities for Senator Mary Landrieu, former Representative Kathy Dahlkemper, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Ms. O’Rourke is originally from Virginia and received her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
Manager, International Trade & Investment Office
Ann Pardalos joined the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Office of International Marketing in April of 1994. She has served the state as European Trade Specialist, Senior Trade Specialist, Coordinator, and is currently the Manager of the International Trade & Investment Office.
Ann oversees the daily operations of the International Trade & Investment Office network of global offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. She is responsible for directing Missouri’s international marketing plan, which lends focus to Missouri’s international business efforts and presence globally. Working collaboratively with other staff, Ms. Pardalos assists Missouri firms to export their goods and services overseas as well as serving as an advocate on behalf of Missouri businesses to foreign governments.
Ms. Pardalos is fluent in Greek and began her professional career with Merrill Lynch in their Management Services Division. Earlier in her career, she worked for IBM Hellas, Inc. located in Athens, Greece. She worked as a Sales Representative and Sales Manager while at IBM. Before joining IBM, Ms. Pardalos worked with Logiki Computers, Ltd., the cornerstone of the Logiki Group of Companies she co- founded. She became partner and later President and Chief Executive Officer.
Ms. Pardalos has an MBA (Cum Laude) from Cardean University and completed her undergraduate work at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned her degree in Business Administration-Administrative Management, Associate Degrees in Computer Information Systems and Marketing Management, respectively. Ms. Pardalos serves on a variety of boards and councils related to international trade and also currently serves as one of the Midwest Board of Governor’s for the State’s International Development Organization (SIDO).
Director, International Trade and Development
John Pastor is the Director of International Trade and Development for the State of Delaware. His mission is to develop and implement programs to strengthen Delaware’s international trade volume; counsel Delaware companies regarding international business; coordinate international programs with other agencies and departments in the State and Federal government to assure maximization of benefits to businesses and individuals; organize international trade exhibitions and trade missions; arrange and coordinate Governor led international missions; identify companies and source international business investments for the State; develop focused programs for nations in transition to market economy and conduct training seminars in-country in cooperation with governments and educational institutions.
Prior to coming to the Delaware International Trade and Development Office, John was the President of Brandywine International, Inc., a company providing consultant services to international companies in mergers and acquisitions. Their clients included small and large corporations, Fortune 100 firms and major global conglomerates. The company’s services focused in the areas of international trade, transportation, distribution, logistics management, procurement and marketing. Concurrently, Mr. Pastor established the World Trade Center Delaware, developing and implementing programs providing international trade services, information and assistance to member companies.
Mr. Pastor’s employment history reflects senior leadership positions responsible for reversing company profitable after multi-million dollars losses; assuming full profit and loss responsibility for operations. He has been responsible for the development and implementation of international transportation, distribution and inventory control systems for customers including numerous major U.S. corporations.
Mr. Pastor has written a number of published articles and academic text on export/import procedures. He attended Pace College in New York and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Bryson Patterson joined the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2008 as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). He completed assignments with SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers, U.S. Park Service, and the Republic of Colombia Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. Since 2010 Mr. Patterson has served as the Management Analyst for SBA’s Office of International Trade where he is responsible for evaluating programs and recommending improvements.
Prior to coming to SBA, Bryson taught English as a second language at San Diego State University and in Costa Rica. He holds a Masters of Pacific International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego and a Bachelors of Art from the University of Virginia.
Louis Peasley serves as the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) Program Manager for states located in the northwest and midwest regions of the United States. He has served as a grants manager for the state of Michigan and for the University of Colorado.
Prior to his career in grants management, Mr. Peasley served as a faculty member at the University of Illinois and Penn State University, creating and teaching courses in Employment Law, Business Law, and Labor Relations. He is a member of the Bar in the states of New York and Illinois and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.
Senior Foreign Trade Advisor
Richard Preuss is the Senior Foreign Trade Advisor for the Foreign Trade Division (FTD) of the U.S. Census Bureau. In this position he oversees and coordinates the broad and various facets of the Division's Outreach and Education Programs. The objectives are to increase the visibility, knowledge about, and use of the international trade data. Reaching these objectives will lead to substantial improvement in the quality, coverage, and timeliness of the Nation's foreign trade statistics. Efforts include the Foreign Trade Division participating in trade shows, conferences, seminars, webinars, workshops, "Global Reach Blog" and currently 25 "Export 101" training videos that can be found on the FTD home page and on You-Tube. Mr. Preuss is responsible for identifying and developing partnerships with other Federal agencies and private organizations to increase awareness of the FTD's products and services and the power of the foreign trade statistics.
Grant Program Specialist
Shadetra Robinson is a Grant Program Specialist with the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP); managing 18 grants. She has been with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the Office of International Trade for nine months, but within the Federal Government since April 2006.
Prior to coming to the SBA, her professional career focus was in the field of disability and mental health with over ten years of experience specializing in youth services. She worked for the District of Columbia for three years in the Department of Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration where she was an Intake Case Manager. In 2006, Shadetra began her Federal career working The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has also taught Special Education in the Maryland school system where she found wide-ranging needs for better service for students with developmental disabilities. Ms. Robinson provides counsel to foster care services in Maryland and Washington, D.C. She earned her Master’s in Education, M.ED, and BS in Psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Program Manager, State Trade Export Promotion (STEP)
Sim Stokes is a Program Manager in the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Grants Program for the Office of International Trade at the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Prior to assuming his current position with the SBA, he worked for the U.S. Department of State as a consultant in the International Programs Division, Office of Acquisition Management, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Logistics Management, Bureau of Administration at the U.S. Department of State. His professional career includes positions with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; serving as a Federal program manager and Federal evaluator at Odom, Inc.; employment with the Institute for Youth Development and the Financial Services Roundtable as Director of Grants. In these diverse roles, Mr. Stokes has managed programs in multiple states; managed a multimillion dollar grant program that awarded capacity grants to over one hundred non-profit credit counseling agencies that provided federally mandated pre and post bankruptcy services.
Mr. Stokes assembled a collaborative team to develop and implement a grant program to be administered by the Financial Services Roundtable; contributed to the American Recovery Grant program for the U.S. Department of Transportation as a subject matter expert team lead consultant.
Mr. Stokes earned an MBA Degree in International Business from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. and his BS Degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. He has held a Top Secret Security Clearance and is a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Chief of Staff
Jonathan L. Swain is the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). He works closely with the SBA Administrator, Deputy Administrator, executive team, and employees to ensure that the Agency is meeting its mission of helping small businesses grow and create jobs.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Swain served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and as the Assistant Administrator for Communications and Public Liaison for SBA. In the latter role, he led public outreach for the SBA’s successful Recovery Act (2009) and Small Business Jobs Act (2010) provisions.
Mr. Swain’s previous government service includes serving as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, Press Secretary to Indiana Governor Joe Kernan, and Chief of Staff to Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon. Additionally, Swain worked for two years as the Communications Director for the fast-growing small business and consumer advocacy service Angie's List, as well as Communications Director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Mr. Swain grew up in Kennett, Missouri, and graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He earned his master’s in Public Relations from Ball State University.
Professional Staff Member
Meredith West is a Professional Staff member for Ranking Member Olympia Snowe on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In her capacity on the Committee, Ms. West is responsible for legislation and oversight related to the Small Business Administration (SBA), women’s business issues, entrepreneurial development programs, export opportunities for small firms, Federal disaster recovery efforts, Veterans’ entrepreneurship, and economic development.
A nearly 10-year veteran of small business policy, Ms. West served as Assistant Administrator for Policy and Strategic Planning at the SBA from 2007 – 2009. Prior to her service with the SBA, Ms. West was a Legislative Assistant for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD (R-TN), and previously for former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN).
Meredith West was born and raised in Louisiana and
graduated with a BA in Political Science from Rhodes College in Memphis,
Tennessee. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs who continue to run a small
business in rural Louisiana.
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