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April 1-3, 2025
Hilton University of Houston
Houston, TX

Archive for the ‘Speaker’ Category

Megan O’Leary

Posted on: April 18th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Megan O’Leary is Director of Operations at Blue Sky Maritime Coalition, a non-profit organization that aims to achieve net zero emissions in the waterborne transportation industry in the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to Blue Sky Maritime Coalition, Megan was Vice President, Product and Strategy Specialist at Angelo, Gordon & Co., an alternative asset firm. Her areas of expertise were distressed debt, liquid credit, multi-strategy, and special situations funds. She began her career at Bruderman Brothers Inc., a boutique merchant bank.

She pivoted from this career in 2020 and earned a Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy with a specialization in Sustainability Management from Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Italian from Tulane University.

Hady Salloum, PhD

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Suhaib Kaissi

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Suhaib Kaissi began his career in the oil & gas industry in 2011, at the Iraqi drilling sites of MOL Group – an integrated Hungarian oil & gas company with operations in 30 countries boasting a workforce of 25,000.

Suhaib progressed in the company in various domains and leadership roles both in Upstream and Downstream until he became member of the Petrochemicals Business Management Board in 2021. His work focused on value chain optimization, digital tools, and project management. Suhaib has received numerous awards and accolades, to include the Golden Barrel Award, an honorary citizen award from the Mayor of San Diego. He was acknowledged as the most active alumni in the world by the Department of State in 2010. He is committed in mentoring programs and empowering youth in their careers.

Suhaib received his bachelor’s degree in business & economics, and an Executive MBA from Central European University. He is close to finishing a post Graduate program in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Texas at Austin. Suhaib recently began his master’s program in Supply Chain and Logistics Technology at University of Houston. He moved to Houston, giving a helping hand in the energy transition.

Raymond Monzon

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

In 1996, Raymond (Ray) Monzon began his government career with the U.S. Customs Service processing travelers at Miami International Airport.

In 1998, Mr. Monzon joined the Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) at the Port of Miami and eventually became a lead instructor at the U.S. Customs National CET School.

In 2003, Mr. Monzon became one of the first 20 Supply Chain Security Specialists assigned to CBP’s Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program and has conducted hundreds of CTPAT supply chain security assessments in approximately 45 countries.

Mr. Monzon is currently a Supervisor at the Miami, Florida CTPAT Field Office and is considered a subject matter expert on conducting security inspections of ocean containers (seven point) and detecting if ocean container seals have been tampered/cloned (VVTT).

In 2016 and 2018, Mr. Monzon was recognized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) on International Customs Day with Certificates of Merit for his ongoing international engagements related to CTPAT and his continued efforts to strengthen international supply chains.

In 2019, Mr. Monzon was assigned to be the Supervisor that oversees the CTPAT Maritime Security Unit (MSU). The 12 specialized Supply Chain Security Specialists that make up the MSU are assigned the 140+ CTPAT maritime partner accounts which include Sea Carriers, U.S. Marine Port Terminal Operators and Foreign Marine Port Terminal Operators.

Mr. Monzon has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Wilkes University and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security with Honors from American Military University.

Natascha A. Gutermuth

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Natascha A. Gutermuth is a lead Program Manager for the Biometrics Program Office, under U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations in Washington, DC. In this role, Ms. Gutermuth manages the Biometric Entry-Exit Program and deployment of facial comparison technology to U.S. ports of entry. Through collaboration with stakeholders, the Biometrics Program Office has operationalized biometric exit solutions at 49 airports, deployed biometric facial comparison solutions to 40 seaports, and integrated facial comparison technology throughout the traveler continuum.

In her 19 years of service, Ms. Gutermuth has worked in a wide variety of positions and locations. She served as a Branch Chief with the Preclearance Field Office in Washington D.C., overseeing Preclearance ports and operations in the UAE, Ireland, the Caribbean, and Canada. Prior to this assignment, she served as the Port Director for the Ports of Piegan, Chief Mountain, and Goat Haunt in Babb, MT, where she was responsible for overseeing the port operations of three remote ports of entry at the Northern land border. Due to the ports’ location on an Indian reservation, she closely collaborated with native American law enforcement and tribal members. Prior to this assignment, she served as a Chief over the Admissibility Review Unit at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), leading the activities of 80 employees, including several off-site locations. As the Chief over the Admissibility Review Unit, she ensured legal sufficiency over all admissibility decisions. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Gutermuth spent several years as a diplomat at CBP’s Toronto Preclearance, facilitating lawful travel and trade to the United States.

A native of Nuernberg, Germany, Ms. Gutermuth holds an Industrial Management degree from Berufsschule IV in Nuernberg, Germany, and graduated from the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, TX, with a bachelor’s degree in business and French. She began her federal law enforcement career in 2005 when she joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection as a CBP Officer at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, CA.

Kenneth Aud

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Kenneth (K.C.) Aud currently works for the City of Austin Texas as part of their Flood Early Warning System team. In the field he maintains and updates weather and watershed monitoring systems. During flood events he works in the Emergency Operations Center integrating raw data and active intelligence from field crews to coordinate with first responders.

Hailing from southeast Georgia in the US, K.C. graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2008. After working on Texas-Mexico border projects for the Texas government, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard for eight years. On active duty he conducted force protection missions guarding nuclear assets in the Atlantic as well as counter narcotic patrols in the eastern Pacific Ocean. As a reservist, K.C. has conducted deep draft vessel boardings in both the Puget Sound in Washington state and the Port of Houston Texas. He is a graduate of both USCG Tracen Petaluma as an Operations Specialist, and FLETC Charleston as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist.

Outside of the Coast Guard he has fished professionally in Alaska, worked crew boats in the Puget Sound, and operated a U.S. Navy Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility.

He has extensive sailing experience ranging from single person racing boats to schooner tall ships. He is a certified open water diver with experience in fresh, salt, and overhead environments.

Off the water he is a Proboard certified firefighter, NREMT-B certified Emergency Medical Technician, as well as a veteran advocate and author.

Brayton Sparks

Posted on: March 28th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Brayton Sparks is a seasoned technology sales professional currently working as a Private Wireless Sales Manager for Nokia. With a successful track record in the enterprise wireless industry, Brayton brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his role, specializing in selling private wireless solutions to the port and logistics industry.

Craig Rhodes

Posted on: March 25th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Craig has worked at the Greater Houston Partnership for over 10 years. In his current role, Craig leads the Partnership’s domestic regional economic development team. This team works to attract new jobs and capital investment to the 12-county Houston region across multiple industry sectors. Craig is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) with over 15 years of economic and community development experience. In addition to his experience at the Partnership, Craig also worked at CenterPoint Energy, helping lead the utility’s regional economic development activities.

Craig currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Economic Development Council. He is an active member of the International Economic Development Council and has held multiple Board and leadership roles in economic development across the Houston area. Craig is a graduate of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Kristi have three children.

Chad Carson

Posted on: March 25th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Chad Carson returned to the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region as Vice President of Economic Development in mid-2021. His experience includes over 14-years of impactful economic development employment with the Greater Houston Partnership, Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and CenterPoint Energy. Chad brings a project success record that highlights the capture of 80,000 direct/indirect jobs and $3 billion of capital investment in the Houston region.

Chad’s specific responsibilities are to identify and support companies that want to locate or expand, build a project pipeline and strengthen the Economic Alliance’s prospect, member and ally relationships. The economic engine that is the Houston Port region is not only unique to this region but also the state and national economies. The ship channel is his priority based on the economic impact and the unique needs that come along with sustaining investment activity.

He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture & Planning and has resided in Houston for over 14 years. To this day he remains a tortured and lifelong Buffalo Bills fan!

Greg Villano

Posted on: March 25th, 2024 by Albert No Comments

Greg Villano has over thirty-seven years of experience working with industrial automation & control systems (IACS). He’s held electrical maintenance and management related positions in both North and South America across a variety of industries including maritime, stone quarrying / manufacturing, and hygiene / forest product manufacturing.

Fourteen years of his career were spent as a licensed commercial mariner / chief electrician for a global offshore drilling and exploration company where he was responsible for creating and implementing an industry leading IACS cyber security program for their fleet. Since 2015, his work has been specifically focused on industrial automation and control system cybersecurity for both onshore and offshore critical infrastructure.

Greg is currently an Advisory Specialist Leader with Deloitte’s Government and Public Services (GPS) practice and continues concentrating his cybersecurity efforts on securing, monitoring, and protecting industrial control systems within multiple critical infrastructure verticals. He actively participates in several cybersecurity related workgroups and panels including InfraGard (Houston Chapter), the International Society of Automation, the International Standards Organization, and the International Association of Drilling Contractors.