Brett Bruen, President, Global Situation Room

Brett Bruen, President, Global Situation Room

During twelve years as a U.S. diplomat, Brett became a specialist in using strategic communications to influence the course of crisis and conflict. As Director of Global Engagement at the White House, he created some of the government’s most innovative international programs for reaching new audiences around the world. While at the White House, he was responsible for public diplomacy programs, international media, crisis communications, and global entrepreneurship programs. Brett coordinated the United States’ response to Russian propaganda, developing the first interagency communications taskforce to push back against misinformation. Brett also unified public and private entrepreneurship programs for the first time under one banner, as part of the President’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative.

While in the diplomatic service, Brett worked in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea, Iraq, Venezuela, Argentina, Zambia, and Eritrea. In his current role as President of the Global Situation Room®, he runs a consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, international public policy, and crisis management. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute, where he trains senior U.S. Government leaders on strategy and world affairs. Brett graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in International Relations and Political Science. He holds a Masters in Global History from the London School of Economics. Brett speaks fluent Spanish and French.

Andrew F. Gelfuso, Vice President of Global Business Development, Office of Trade Promotion @ Reagan International Trade Center

Andrew F. Gelfuso, Vice President of Global Business Development, Office of Trade Promotion @ Reagan International Trade Center

Andrew F. Gelfuso is Vice-President at Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), a privately held, wholly owned subsidiary of the Boston based Drew Company. TCMA serves as the fullservice, property management company for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. This facility is also designated as the official World Trade Center of Washington, DC, which is part of the global network of the Centers with affiliates in over 90 countries around the world. As Vice-President, Mr. Gelfuso leads the global mission of the Center while focusing on international business development, program promotion, business matchmaking, outreach, trade counseling, strategic partnerships, government, and diplomatic relations.

Under Mr. Gelfuso’s leadership, the Office for Trade Promotion is responsible for driving the Congressional mandate of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and for positioning the Center to be Washington’s focal point for a wide array of international trade, cultural, and educational programming.

Mr. Gelfuso graduated in 1997 from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, with a degree in Political Science. He earned his MBA with a concentration in International Business in 2001 from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In the spring of 1996, he earned a certificate from Vietnam National University in Vietnamese. Mr. Gelfuso has authored articles on international trade which have been published in several newspapers.

Mr. Gelfuso serves on the board of the Embassy Series, the Corporate Committee for the National Trust for the Mall, the District Export Council of DC/VA (DEC), and serves as an advisor on the Administration’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.

Ángel Cabrera, President, George Mason University

Ángel Cabrera, President, George Mason University

Ángel Cabrera is the president of George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public university. Established in Fairfax in 1972, Mason today operates several campuses across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region and in Incheon, South Korea. Since 2016, Mason is one of the 115 universities in the U.S. selected for the highest research category of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Before becoming Mason’s president in 2012, Cabrera led IE Business School in Madrid, and Thunderbird School of Global Management, now affiliated with Arizona State University. Cabrera is the first native of Spain to have served as president of an American university.

As a business educator, Cabrera played a key role in advancing professional ethics, internationalization, and corporate social responsibility. As a senior advisor to the United Nations Global Compact, he was the lead author of the Principles of Responsible Management Education, now adopted by more than 500 business schools around the world.  In partnership with the World Economic Forum and leading Harvard Business School faculty, he co-founded The Oath Project, an international initiative to establish a code of conduct for business leaders. In 2004, Businessweek named him one of 25 “Stars of Europe” and Financial Times in 2011 recognized him as one of the top 20 business school leaders in the world.

The World Economic Forum named Cabrera a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” in 2002, a “Young Global Leader” in 2005, and chairman of the Global Agenda Council for entrepreneurship in 2008. He was an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow in 2008, and a Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting topic leader in 2010. 

Israel Hernandez, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, currently performing duties of the Under Secretary for International Trade

Israel Hernandez, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, currently performing duties of the Under Secretary for International Trade

Israel Hernandez is serving as the Acting Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration and Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. In this capacity, Mr. Hernandez oversees the management of the Office of the Secretary and proactively works with Under Secretaries to oversee the development, implementation, and communications of all the Secretary’s policy initiatives.

Prior to his current service at Commerce, Israel served as a Sherpa for Secretary of Commerce Designate Wilbur L. Ross and Deputy Secretary Designate Todd Ricketts on the Presidential Transition Team. In this capacity, Mr. Hernandez managed the nomination processes, including public affairs, visits to Capitol Hill, and preparation for their hearings.

Mr. Hernandez was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 3, 2005, as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service. The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service was created by Congress to assist small and medium-sized American businesses to export and to protect the business interests of American companies overseas.

Mr. Hernandez worked to improve the reach and exposure of the Commercial Service throughout the business community at the state and local levels.

Doug Palmer, Journalist at Politico

Doug Palmer, Journalist at Politico

Doug Palmer is one of the most experienced trade reporters in Washington after nearly 15 years on the beat. He was on the scene when efforts to launch world trade talks failed in Seattle in 1999 to the delight of thousands of protesters who clashed with police throughout the week. Since then, Palmer has covered trade negotiations with more than a dozen countries as well as the long-running Doha round of world trade negotiations, which was launched in 2001 and still has not successfully concluded. Palmer's job currently includes keeping tabs on trade frictions with China and negotiations on two huge regional free regional trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

David Thomas, Vice President, Business Roundtable

David Thomas, Vice President, Business Roundtable

David Thomas is a Vice President for the Business Roundtable.  He oversees the International Engagement Committee, advocating for international trade and investment policies that promote U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, and job creation.

Before joining the Business Roundtable in July 2011, Mr. Thomas served for four years as Trade Counsel for the Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways & Means within the U.S. House of Representatives.  Prior to that, Mr. Thomas was in private practice for eight years in the D.C. office of a large international law firm.  His practice focused on international trade and transportation policy and legal matters.

Mr. Thomas received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, and he was Senior Articles Editor of the Maryland Journal of International Law and Trade.  Before law school, he worked as a legislative aide for former U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne.  Mr. Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Dickinson College.

Robert Rogowsky, Former Director of Operations, U. S. International Trade CommissionChief Economist

Robert Rogowsky, Former Director of Operations, U. S. International Trade CommissionChief Economist

Robert Rogowsky is Professor and Chair of the Masters in Trade and Economic Diplomacy at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.  He is Adjunct Professor of Trade and Economic Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; Visiting Professor, University of Business and Economics, Beijing; and President of the Institute for Trade & Commercial Diplomacy.  Professor Rogowsky served as Chief Economist and Director of Operations at the U. S. International Trade Commission. He is Sr. Research Fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, Beijing; and The Independent Institute, USA.

Prof Rogowsky served on the President’s Performance Improvement Council and on the Board of the U.S. International Trade Data System.  He also served as Deputy Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission, as Acting Executive Director to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and as a litigation economist for the Bureau of Economics, FTC. He received his M.A and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia.

Antwaun Griffin, Founder, Penn & Broad

Antwaun Griffin, Founder, Penn & Broad

Prior to founding Penn & Broad Partners, Griffin served as a Presidentially-appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce at the International Trade Administration (ITA), playing a key role in shaping the Obama Administration’s trade promotion and economic policy. Prior to joining the ITA, he served as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2009 through 2011. Before joining the Obama Administration, Antwaun spent over 10 years working as a Washington, DC-based political consultant. Antwaun is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar.

Bruce Andrews, Former Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Bruce Andrews, Former Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Bruce Andrews served as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce from July 24, 2014 to January 20, 2017. Andrews was named Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce by President Obama and Secretary Penny Pritzker on June 9, 2014. Prior to this, Andrews served as Chief of Staff to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, a post which he began in October 2011.

Prior to joining Commerce, Andrews served as General Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, where he served as the chief counsel for the Committee and was responsible for policy, legal and jurisdiction issues. Before joining the Committee staff, Andrews served as Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Ford Motor Company, where he oversaw the company’s federal and state government affairs. Prior to joining Ford, Andrews practiced law as an attorney in the Public Policy and Telecommunications Groups at Arnold & Porter. He was also a founding member of the firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates (QGA), where he worked with clients on a variety of issues related to transportation, technology, judiciary, telecommunications and financial services. Andrews began his career on Capitol Hill where he served as Legislative Director for Representative Tim Holden (D-PA), Legislative Assistant for Representative Gus Yatron (D-PA) and on the staff of Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA).

Andrews, a Syracuse, New York native, is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and Haverford College. He, his wife and children live in Washington, D.C.

Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief, Financial Times

Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief, Financial Times

Demetri Sevastopulo is Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief. He manages the FT bureau in the US capital and leads our coverage of the White House and Trump administration.

Demetri has spent 10 years covering Washington for the FT. He started in 2002 as Washington Business Correspondent and spent six years during the George W Bush Administration covering the Pentagon and CIA and foreign policy. From 2009 to 2015, he was based in Hong Kong, where he served as Asia News Editor, running the FT news operation and acting as global news editor during the Asia day, and later was our South China Correspondent.

He has covered a wide array of stories, including the Iraq and Afghan wars, the war on terror, Guantanamo Bay, cyber security, Hurricane Katrina and the Baltimore riots. In Asia, he covered the South China Sea, Sino-Japanese relations, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign, Chinese manufacturing and the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. He has interviewed everyone from Chinese factory workers and Iowa farmers to Donald Rumsfeld and President Donald Trump.

Patrick Jephson, Journalist, Broadcaster, and Bestselling Author

Patrick Jephson, Journalist, Broadcaster, and Bestselling Author

Patrick is a consultant,  journalist, broadcaster and New York Times and London Sunday Times bestselling author, based in Washington DC. 

His byline has appeared in every major UK newspaper and international titles as varied as People magazine, The SpectatorParis Match, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the National Catholic Reporter.  He is a published authority on corporate and personal branding, addressing conference audiences worldwide as well as events at the US State Department, the American University and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  Currently a Contributor for ABC News, he also writes, presents and advises on factual and drama programs, appearing on every major US network as well as British and international platforms. 

Patrick owes much of his practical communications experience to Princess Diana, who chose him to be her equerry and only private secretary/chief of staff.  He served the Princess for eight years (1988-96), responsible for every aspect of her public life, charitable initiatives, and private organization.  He travelled with her to five continents, working with government officials up to head of state.  Under relentless media scrutiny, his tenure covered the period of Princess Diana’s greatest popularity as well as the constitutional controversy of her separation from Prince Charles.

Patrick was born and raised in Ireland and holds a Masters degree in Political Science from Cambridge University.  As an officer in the British Navy he served all over the world before being selected for royal duty.  A naturalized US citizen based in Washington DC, he is founding partner in the specialist communications consultancy JephsonBeaman LLC (www.jephsonbeaman.com).

Sean Smith, Executive Vice President, Porter Novelli, Inc.

Sean Smith, Executive Vice President, Porter Novelli, Inc.

Sean Smith leads the global Reputation Management practice at Porter Novelli. He has established an innovative approach to corporate communications that integrates the varied functions a company utilizes to build a corporate brand and create trust among its key audiences.  His team of experienced specialists stretches around the world and leverages cutting edge technology to help clients enhance and protect their reputation.

Sean has developed creative and substantive campaigns to build, strengthen, and maintain brand reputation and then implemented those campaigns through executive visibility, thought leadership, CSR, social media, media relations, internal communications and financial communications.

Since joining Porter Novelli in 2011, he has developed and led corporate reputation campaigns and managed issues for Disney, McDonald’s, Bel Brands Cheese, Timberland, Chapstick, Almond Board of California, National Honey Board, Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto Networks, SanDisk, NetApp, Dun & Bradstreet and other Fortune 500 companies.

He advises a number of CEOs and other prominent executives at some of Porter Novelli’s biggest clients. 

From January 2009 to April 2011, Sean was the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that role he was responsible for managing all aspects of the Department’s brand and reputation. He was the principal advisor to the Secretary on these matters and eventually advised several other Cabinet Members. While at DHS, Sean led the Obama administration’s public response to attempted terrorist attacks, the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, the H1N1 outbreak, border violence in Mexico, cyber attacks and dozens of other breaking news incidents.

Prior to his time in the Obama administration, Sean worked on a number of political campaigns, including three presidential campaigns, and served in a variety of public affairs capacities.  He has been a Lecturer at Yale University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of California San Diego. 

Sean holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Oregon. 

Johanna Maska, Former White House Director of Press Advance, CEO of Global Situation Room

Johanna Maska, Former White House Director of Press Advance, CEO of Global Situation Room

Johanna Maska is CEO of GSR.  For eight years Maska worked as Director of Press Advance for President Barack Obama, managing President Obama’s public image on trips for eight years across the United States and to 40 countries including extended tours of Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. She played an important role on both successful Presidential elections, starting in Iowa in 2007 and concluding in early 2015.  Prior to that Maska worked in politics in Iowa and Kansas.  Maska has since worked in media and technology and works now to promote positive global growth for brands. 

Cherylyn Harley LeBon, KLAR Strategies

Cherylyn Harley LeBon, KLAR Strategies

Cherylyn Harley LeBon is a lawyer, strategist, business coach, and commentator. She works at the intersection of business and politics and advises CEO's, corporations, trade associations, and non-profits and has advised political candidates at all levels - here and abroad. Previously to founding her own company, KLAR Strategies, she served as a senior executive and George W. Bush political appointee at the Small Business Administration where she worked with entrepreneurs and small business owners all over the country. Cherylyn has also worked as a Vice-President at a national industry trade association, as a spokesman for a political organization, and as Senior Counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She writes about business, policy, and leadership for a variety of publications including BlogHer, Daily Caller, and The Huffington Post. Cherylyn is a Contributing Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, Texas. She is a regular guest and commentator on nationally broadcast radio and television programs including FOX News, MSNBC, Capital Insider, The Thom Hartmann Show, TV One, and many others. Cherylyn was a Research Guest and Lecturer at the University of Bremen Law School in Germany, speaks four languages, and is a sought-after speaker in the U.S. and Europe on American business, leadership, and policy issues. She is a member of several professional and community organizations and serves on numerous non-profit boards. Follow her on Twitter @HarleyLeBon

Nina Vaca, Chairman & CEO Pinnacle Group Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship

Nina Vaca, Chairman & CEO Pinnacle Group Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship

Nina Vaca is Pinnacle Group’s Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. Her dynamic leadership over the past 20 years has propelled the company from a niche IT services firm to the workforce solutions powerhouse it is today, with a suite of business lines to address the range of IT human capital challenges companies in the Fortune 500 face. Pinnacle’s evolution and astronomical growth is the result of Vaca's fearless approach to overcoming challenges and her intense focus on two core values: delivering impeccable service to clients and putting people at the heart of everything Pinnacle does. Pinnacle has been named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies for over a decade and in 2015 was named the Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Company in the U.S. by the Women Presidents’ Organization. 

Vaca is a committed civic leader and philanthropist. She advocates passionately for women and entrepreneurs and works to advance girls and women in STEM fields. In 2014, the White House appointed Vaca as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. She also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Vaca has been featured in numerous publications and is a sought-after speaker and thought leader. She has appeared on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. CNN Money featured her story, as have numerous publications including Forbes, Kiplinger, and The Wall Street Journal. Vaca’s story opens the entrepreneurship chapter of Understanding Business, a McGraw-Hill textbook used in university classrooms. She is a frequent speaker throughout the U.S. and abroad, and recently served as a panelist at the world-renowned Milken Institute and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit alongside Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. 

Vaca is living proof of what is possible in this country. Only two percent of women-owned businesses achieve or exceed $1 million in revenue. Her company, Pinnacle Group, has seen revenue quadruple since 2010 and in 2015 exceeded $1 billion dollars in gross revenue. She is a trailblazer as one of the very few Latinas elected to serve as director of a publicly-traded company. Not only does she serve on one board, she serves on three, and is determined to empower more women to follow in her footsteps through her At the Table initiative. She holds three honorary doctorates from notable universities and is the youngest graduate in her alma mater's history to be honored as a distinguished alumna. She has been invited to speak at institutions such as the Milken Institute, Harvard University, and Stanford University, where she has also been added to the business curriculum. This year Vaca joined the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute. A global leader, Vaca is a German Marshall Memorial Fellow and part of the British-American Project. As a PAGE ambassador, Vaca has spoken to and inspired entrepreneurs all over the world, traveling to countries on five continents to empower the next generation of business leaders. 

An avid and committed athlete, Vaca has participated in iconic races in the last 16 years including the 2.5 mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Hawaii, the New York Marathon, and the Longhorne Austin Half Ironman. Most recently, she biked the 120 mile Triple Bypass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and completed the famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, and in the process raised
$100K to help entrepreneurs.

Caitríona Perry, Washington Correspondent, RTÉ

Caitríona Perry, Washington Correspondent, RTÉ

Caitríona Perry is an award-winning Irish journalist.  She's worked as a broadcast news correspondent since 2000 and is currently Washington Correspondent for Ireland's national public service broadcaster, RTÉ, where she works across television, radio and digital platforms.  She has significant editorial experience and has previously worked as a news anchor, presenter, documentary maker, producer, and programme editor.  She has won awards for her television and radio reportage, including most recently a National Justice Media Merit Award for TV News in June 2015. She has an Undergraduate Degree in Journalism (2002) and a Masters Degree in International Relations (2010), both awarded by Dublin City University, which recently named her as one of the University's distinguished alumni. In addition to her home country of Ireland, Caitriona has reported on news stories across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Australia.

Claire Pillsbury, Deputy Director, Global Innovation Forum

Claire Pillsbury, Deputy Director, Global Innovation Forum

Claire Pillsbury is Deputy Director of the Global Innovation Forum, a nonprofit that connects startups with corporations and governments to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging in the global marketplace in the digital age. Claire joined GIF after receiving her M.A. in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She previously worked for an information management consulting firm in San Francisco where she helped regulated entities resolve their risk and compliance challenges.

Steven R. Koltai, Author of Peace Through Entrepreneurship and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution

Steven R. Koltai, Author of Peace Through Entrepreneurship and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution

Steven R. Koltai is the Managing Director of Koltai & Co. LLC and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is a successful repeat entrepreneur in the telecommunications and event management industries, and from 2009-2011 served as Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurship in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

While at the State Department, Steven created and ran the Global Entrepreneurship Program, a central element of President Obama’s strategy for changing the relationship between the U.S. and Muslim communities around the world. He left the State Department to continue the work of global entrepreneurship ecosystem building via Koltai & Co. 

Steven has over 30 years of business experience with several successful startups under his belt, including SES, the world’s largest commercial TV satellite system, and Event411, an online event management business which he founded, grew to over 250 employees, and sold in 2002. He has also served as Senior Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development at Warner Bros., as a strategic planning consultant at McKinsey & Co., and as an investment banker at Salomon Bros.

Steven is an active angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs around the world. He is the author of Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development (Brookings Press, 2016) and writes and speaks frequently about entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool.

Richard Ettenson, Ph.D,. Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Richard Ettenson, Ph.D,. Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Richard Ettenson, Ph.D,. is Professor and Keickhefer Fellow of Global Marketing, Business Strategy and Brand Strategy, Global Business Faculty, Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. His expertise helps companies and executives align their business strategy with their marketing and branding efforts to create value for customers, employees and shareholders. He is also a senior partner in Type 2 Consulting, a global top echelon business strategy consultancy based in New York City.

A multiple winner of Thunderbird’s “most valuable and effective professor” award, Professor Ettenson has extensive MBA, executive education and consulting experience and has delivered impactful global programs across five continents to senior executives from top multinational companies. His experience spans multiple B2B and B2C industries, including energy, high tech, automotive, financial services and consumer package goods.

Professor Ettenson has published extensively and has produced nearly 100 articles, book chapters, and international conference presentations. These include multiple articles in the world’s leading management outlets such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Ad Age, as well as publications in top tier academic journals such as Journal of Marketing, International Marketing Review, Journal of Business, and Journal of Business Venturing. An entrepreneur who founded a market research firm and three other start-ups (one of which he served as CEO), he regularly consults with industry, helping companies increase the underlying value of their businesses through tight alignment of their business, marketing and brand strategies.

Prior to joining Thunderbird in 1999, Professor Ettenson served on the faculties of The Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, The University of Maryland, College Park, and Georgetown University. He also served as Head of the Marketing Area in The School of Business at Bond University (Australia). Professor Ettenson and his family are dual citizens of the U.S. and Australia and recently he won a Gold Medal for basketball at a Masters Games event in Australia where his team went undefeated.

John Saylor, Chairman Virginia/DC District Export Council

John Saylor, Chairman Virginia/DC District Export Council

John Saylor has over 40 years of diversified transportation, logistical and trade development experience.  Mr. Saylor’s introduction into the world of international trade and transportation began in 1968 after serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps., whereupon he worked for a Miami based freight forwarder with extensive operations throughout Central and South America.  During this time period he was based in Guatemala City overseeing the company’s Central American operations.  Upon his return to the US in 1973 Mr. Saylor joined P. Lorillard Tobacco Corp., manufacturer of Kent and Newport cigarettes as their International Traffic Manager.  In 1976 British American Tobacco acquired Lorillard’s international business and merged it into their U.S. operating arm, Brown and Williamson Tobacco where Mr. Saylor took over as Director of International Operations for B&W overseeing export manufacturing, order processing and distribution worldwide.  In 1982 he also assumed control as Director of the newly formed B&W Trading Company, an international trading company established by B&W to offset tobacco and cigarette sales through counter-trade and bartering.  Subsequently Mr. Saylor later partnered in trade consulting and freight forwarding and Customs brokerage firms as President of American Overseas Transport.  Most recently Mr. Saylor was Director of Maritime Services for Halcrow, Inc. a global consulting firm specializing in infrastructure planning, engineering and finance. 

 

In 1984 Mr. Saylor was appointed Commissioner of the Virginia Port Authority by Virginia Governor Charles Robb to a term of 5 years.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Saylor served as Chairman of the National Maritime Council’s Shipper Advisory Board in Washington, DC.

 

Mr. Saylor is actively involved in trade issues and currently is the Chairman of the Virginia-Washington, DC District Export Council having been initially appointed in 2005.  In 2009 Mr. Saylor served as the Chairman of the Annual National District Export Council Conference which was held in Washington, DC.  Mr. Saylor is also President of the U.S.-Serbia Business Council (formerly the US-Yugoslav Business Council) and in 2003 he single handedly lobbied for and succeeded in obtaining the restoration of Most Favored Nation Status (Normal Trade Relations) for Yugoslavia.  Considered a Balkan expert Mr. Saylor is on call to the State Department concerning trade and political issues in this region.  Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Mr. Saylor actively participated in various Chamber business coalitions for a number of Free Trade Agreements including Singapore, DR-CAFTA and the most recent FTA’s for Panama, Colombia and Korea.