TTW Conference Speakers

Jen Armstrong
Waterways Council, Inc, Director of Government Relations

As Director of Government Relations at Waterways Council, Inc., Jen Armstrong advocates for a modern national system of inland waterways infrastructure and ports. Prior to joining WCI she was the Director of Navigation Policy and Legislation at the American Association of Port Authorities. Jen is a subject matter expert in Congressional appropriations and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. Jen has served as clerk and staff director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee which provided over $53 billion to the Department of Energy, the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and other independent agencies. Prior to the Senate, Jen was with the Corps of Engineers as a water resources planner, project manager, and government affairs liaison specializing in coastal storm damage reduction, ecosystem restoration, and navigation. Jen is a graduate of Old Dominion University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Joe Bastardi
WeatherBell, Co-Chief Meteorologist

Joe Bastardi is an institution in the science of weather prediction and is co-chief Meteorologist at WeatherBell, which he joined at the company’s founding in 2011. Many companies across a multitude of industries, including energy, winter maintenance and retail/supply chain, are profiting from his forecasts. His exceptional skills are rooted in a comprehensive understanding of global oscillations and in-depth analysis of historical weather patterns. Mr. Bastardi’s analog approach, which finds similarities between current and historical weather patterns, allows him to make an accurate forecast, sometimes in defiance of computer model consensus. Mr. Bastardi is well known for his WeatherBell Premium blog, featuring the popular videos “The Atmospheric Avenger,” “The Raging WeatherBull” and “The Saturday Summary”.

During his 32 year tenure at Accuweather, Mr. Bastardi built a large private client services business and honed his skills at applying his knowledge of the weather to various applications. His reputation for making bold and accurate forecasts has landed him on major television programs including Fox News Live, ABC World News, The O’Reilly Factor, The Colbert Report, CBS’ The Early Show, Imus in the Morning, and several others.

Mr. Bastardi graduated from Pennsylvania State University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology.

Scott Baum
SEMPRE, Chief Operating Officer

Scott Baum is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SEMPRE, a company dedicated to securing critical infrastructure communications, providing resilient, easy-to-deploy networks crucial for government and commercial clients. With more than 20 years of experience, Scott’s career spans national security, defense and strategic growth, focusing significantly on strategic partnerships and technology advancements.

Scott’s expertise extends to China, where he has engaged in numerous high-level defense and industrial policy initiatives. As the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Principal Director at the Office of Industrial Policy, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment, he led initiatives to identify “Communist Chinese military companies” operating in the U.S., restrict and expel Chinese telecommunications and semiconductor companies from accessing critical U.S. technologies and infrastructure. Driving consensus across the U.S. federal agencies, Scott helped drive strategic competition, vital in the context of U.S.-China relations. His role in working with our closest U.S. Allies drove coordinated actions in addressing economic and security challenges posed by China’s growing influence in global markets.

Scott has worked extensively on initiatives related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), enhancing the screening and enforcement of foreign investments, particularly from China, to protect national security interests. His leadership in the Defense Production Act (DPA) drove strategic investment in critical U.S. Industries. His efforts have been crucial in navigating the complexities of U.S.-China economic and defense interactions.

Scott holds a Master of Science in Strategy and National Resourcing from the National Defense University, an MBA from Texas Christian University, and a BA in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. His comprehensive understanding of China’s strategic landscape continues to inform his leadership and advisory roles, driving innovation and resilience in national security sectors.

Colonel Jeremy Chapman
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Commander

Colonel Jeremy Jiggs Chapman assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District as its 54th Commander on June 28, 2021. Chapman graduated and received his commission from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, in May 1998.

Col. Chapman assumed command of the Mobile District following his prior assignment as Deputy Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, Vicksburg, Miss. Previous assignments include senior maneuver support trainer at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California; commander of the 2nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas; command inspector general for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss; and battalion executive and operations officer for the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Drum, New York.

His civilian education includes a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the United States Military Academy and a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University, Stanford, California. Chapman’s military education includes the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Missouri.

Chapman’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2 oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (6 oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (3 oak leaf clusters), Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3 campaign stars), Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab.

Jeannette Goldsmith
Strategic Development Group, Vice President

Jeannette Goldsmith is Vice President of Strategic Development Group, where she specializes in site selection and incentive negotiations for clients worldwide.

Jeannette’s background spans more than 25 years in site location consulting, incentive negotiations, and economic development consulting with Fluor, McCallum Sweeney and then with her own company, Goldsmith Strategy. Her experience includes a heavy focus on manufacturing (specifically, aerospace, automotive, advanced materials and chemicals) with some high-profile headquarter and back office projects, as well.

Her most recent project announcements include SABIC, Solvay, Commercial Metals Company, and Suntory. She has also conducted projects for Eastman, BP Chemicals, Suncoke Energy, American Titanium Works, PSS Medical, and Vought Aircraft. In addition, Jeannette has conducted multiple projects for The Boeing Company, Nissan North America, Alenia Aeronautica and Solvay.

Among Jeannette’s most notable projects are Nissan North America’s headquarter relocation from Los Angeles to Nashville, the Boeing 7E7 Final Assembly siting project that landed in Everett, Washington, and the Vought Aircraft / Alenia Aeronautica 7E7 supplier site project that selected North Charleston, SC, and led to the selection of North Charleston as a second final assembly line for Boeing’s 787 program.

Most of Jeannette’s economic development assignments are focused on site identification and site evaluation. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of the site selection process in assisting communities identify and prepare appropriate and relevant sites for capital investment. Her clients include TVA, Duke Energy, Mississippi Power, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and North Carolina Railroad (NCRR).

Jeannette achieved a Masters of Public Policy from Duke University where she was honored with the Graduate Student of the Year Award from the Terry Sandford School in 1995. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Smith College. Jeannette lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband, Andy, and their two teenage sons. She enjoys fly fishing, skeet shooting, and needlepointing.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Green
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Commander

Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Green assumed command of the Nashville District on June 16, 2023.  As Commander and District Engineer, Lt. Col. Green manages the water resources development and navigable waterways operations for the Cumberland and Tennessee River basins covering 59,000 square miles, with 42 field offices touching seven states and a work force of over 700 employees.  Before assuming command of the Nashville District, Lt. Col. Green served as the Deputy Commander of the Memphis District from June 2021 to June 2023.

Lt. Col. Green was commissioned in 2005 as a Second Lieutenant in the Engineer Branch through the ROTC program at Michigan State University. His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Engineering Sciences from Michigan State University, a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from The University of Washington, and a Master of Science degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University. He holds his Professional Engineering License in the state of Michigan and is certified as an Associate Constructor from the American Institute of Constructors. His military education includes the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Aviation Captains Career Course, and the Command and General Staff College.

Lt. Col. Green’s previous assignments include Platoon Leader for the Maintenance Platoon and Special Equipment Platoon; Construction Plans Officer, and Battalion Logistics Officer in the 864th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Task Force Engineer and Company Commander in 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas; Commander of the 34th Forward Engineering Support Team – Advance out of the Seattle USACE District; Division Engineer and Engineer Operations Officer for the 4th Infantry Division HQ at Fort Carson, Colorado. He served as the Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer for the 4th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Carson, Colorado. LTC Green has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation New Dawn (Iraq), Operation Spartan Shield (Kuwait), Operation Freedom Sentinel (Afghanistan), and Operation Resolute Support (Afghanistan).   

Lt. Col. Green’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with two oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Service Medal, the Pathfinder Badge, and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal.

Errin Howard
We Work The Waterways, Program Director

Errin Howard is program director for We Work The Waterways, a national education outreach program for the maritime, shipping and logistics industries based at Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals. She began her career in the river industry as an educator in a booth at the Tall Stacks festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the first public presentation of RiverWorks Discovery in 2006. She served as RWD’s executive director until December 2023. This adventure began with a single sponsor and the vision of Mark Knoy, who at the time was president of American Electric Power’s river operations. During her tenure, Howard promoted, marketed and oversaw all aspects of RiverWorks Discovery. Based in Cincinnati, she has served on the board of directors for the Central Ohio River Business Association since 2018 and was elected chair in November 2023. Howard has a passion for the river industry and the people who make it what it is.  Errin lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and has 3 adult children: Taylor, Hannah, and Zach.

Marty Marbry
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, West Tennessee Division Manager

Marty Marbry currently serves as West Tennessee Division Manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, a position she has held since 2005. In this role she works with 26 counties developing both domestic and international tourism opportunities. She helps counties create and implement strategic marketing plans, works with media to inform of the importance of tourism to the local and state economies. She also serves as the TN Lead for the AL MS TN Rural Tourism Conference. Prior to joining the state she spent 10 years in retail-tourism management as marketing/tourism director for Urban Retail Properties, Wolfchase Galleria.  In this position she was selected to work with eleven other premier shopping destinations across the United States in the Ultimate Shopping Excursions program. This rewards program promoted shopping as the international and leisure tourist activity, offering discounts and shopping rewards.

Marbry’s educational background include earning a B.S. in Communication from the University of Memphis, completing the University of Tennessee Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional course, STS Marketing College and Tennessee Government Management Institute. She currently serves on the AL MS TN Rural Tourism Conference Board, in 2012 was appointed to the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Authority Board by Governor Bill Haslam and has served on the Southeast Tourism Society board of directors, Metro Memphis Attractions Association, as well as the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Tourism Foundation board of directors. Marty and her husband Greg live in Bartlett TN.

Justin Murphree
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Operations Project Manager

Justin is a native of Clarksdale, MS and he earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University. Justin began his career in January of 1997 as a co-op student with Mobile District’s Construction Division at Columbus Air Force Base. After graduation, he worked for 5 years as a Mechanical Engineer and Project Engineer at Redstone Arsenal, AL, where he was involved in large construction projects for agencies such as the FBI, Missile Defense Agency, Space and Missile Defense Command, and the Army. In 2006, Justin moved back to Columbus, where he served as a Project Engineer at Columbus Air Force Base. After obtaining his PE license in 2008, he became the Resident Engineer for the Corps of Engineers at Columbus AFB. While the Resident Engineer, he administered contracts for the construction of the Mission Support Group building, Child Development Center, Fire Station, and various other projects on Columbus AFB. In 2012, Justin transitioned over to Operations Division, where he became the Site Manager at the Bay Springs Site Office on the north end of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. As the Site Manager, he managed the navigation, natural resources, and recreation business lines from Amory, MS to the north end of the project at Pickwick Lake. In 2018, Justin became the Operations Project Manager for the waterway. As the Operations Project Manager, Justin is responsible for the management of the entire waterway, which includes navigation, recreation, and wildlife mitigation business lines.

Anthony Perkins
Black Warrior-Tombigbee & Alabama River Waterway Project, Operations Project Manager

Mr. Perkins serves as Operations Project Manager for the Black Warrior-Tombigbee & Alabama River Waterway Project.  His responsibilities include oversight of navigation channel maintenance, lock and dam operation and repair, recreation areas, and natural resource management programs.  Mr. Perkins  is responsible for management, operation, and maintenance of the Project; setting overall goals and objectives for one of the largest operations projects in the Corps of Engineers.  The Project encompasses 758 miles of navigable waterway, nine locks and dams, four natural resource management offices, and 62 Corps operated recreation areas.

Mr. Perkins holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from Auburn University with over 32 years of project engineering experience in the public and private sector.  A native of Alabama, he joined the Mobile District Corps of Engineers in February 2004, and has been in his current assignment since October 2018.  Prior assignments with the Corps of Engineers include serving as Navigation Manager and Chief, Lock and Dam Operations and Repair, for a combined 18 years with the Corps of Engineers.  Prior to the Corps of Engineers, he worked in the private sector with U.S. Pipe & Foundry Company, Birmingham, Alabama.  He started his engineering career in 1990 as a mechanical/nuclear engineer with the Department of the Navy at the Charleston Naval Shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina.

Beth Pippin
Hardin County TN Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director

Beth has over 40 years’ experience in marketing and promotion, for the past 9 years serving Hardin County Tennessee as Tourism and Marketing Director plus as a dual role as Executive Director of Team Hardin County, the joint economic and community development board.

Her background includes serving on the convention and visitors bureau board prior to becoming the director, serving as the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce director for 13 years, Hardin County Leadership director, advertising manager for the local newspaper, The Courier, for 20 years overseeing sales, project development, and layout composition.

Beth serves on many local and state boards, including Savannah Main Street, Savannah Riverfest, Savannah Arts Commission, TN River Line, Southwest TN Tourism Association, AL MS TN Rural Tourism, the advisory council for TN College of Applied Technology, Retire Hardin County, administrator for the Hardin County Three Star program, a graduate of TN and US Chamber Institutes, as well as participating in various civic and leadership organizations. She is a life member of Junior Auxiliary, life member of WestStar Leadership, graduate of Leadership Hardin County, a Pickwick Parrothead, a Friend of Pickwick Landing State Park, and a Paul Harris Fellow of Savannah Rotary Club.

She is a mother of two, grandmother to 2, plus a bonus family in Gulf Shores, AL.

Tourism keeps her busy with marketing, event planning, fishing tournaments, day -to-day operations at the Tennessee River Museum, networking with Shiloh National Park, Pickwick Landing State Park, and circulating that Pickwick Lake hospitality.

She enjoys traveling, vintage anything, loves auctions, flea markets, dining out, and being on the water whether in a boat, a float, or relaxing nearby.

Bill Renick
Tennessee Valley Authority, Board of Directors

Bill Renick lives in Ashland, Mississippi, less than three blocks from where he was born 71 years ago. Both parents were public school teachers. Bill was drawn to public service early in life. The first time he was old enough to vote in an election he voted for himself. At the ripe old age of 18, he was elected to the Board of Aldermen in Ashland and later was elected Mayor, then to the Benton County Board of Supervisors, then to the State Senate. He served as Chief-of-Staff to Republican Lt. Governor Eddie Briggs, and later as Chief-of-Staff to Democrat Governor Ronnie Musgrove. He was Governor Musgrove’s Alternate to the Tenn-Tom Waterway Authority in 2001-2003. In between those years of service Bill was Administrator of Holly Springs Memorial Hospital, President of the Retail Association of Mississippi, and Executive Director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority. Until his retirement on June 30, 2021, he served as the Workforce Division Director at Three Rivers Planning and Development District in Pontotoc, leading the Mississippi Partnership Local Workforce Area which covers 27 counties in North Mississippi. He is the Past Chairman of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi and was named the recipient of the prestigious Jack Reed Sr. 2022 Community Leadership Award given to an individual for extraordinary leadership for helping improve the quality of life in their community and region. In June of 2022, Bill was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 21, 2022, and sworn in on January 4, 2023, to begin a five-year term on the largest public utility in America. He is the only member of that board from Mississippi.

Bill and his wife Debbie have been married for 50 years this coming December. They have two children and two grandsons.

Bill and Debbie are members of Ashland Baptist Church where Bill teaches the Adult Men’s Sunday School class.

Rik Roberts

Clean comedian Rik Roberts brings the big laughs without the bad words. He has been featured on DryBar Clean Comedy, Clean Comedy All-Stars (Pure Flix), Chonda Pierce’s “Stand-Up For Families” (DOVE), Huckabee (TBN), 20 Greatest Redneck Moments (CMT), and is a regular on SiriusXM Radio’s Laugh USA and Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Round Up.

He also co-starred in the movie “Mayberry Man” (Amazon Prime) where he portrays a Barney Fife tribute artist. The movie has now been spun off into a series.

Aside from his comedy shows, Rik is on a mission to raise over one million dollars for charities and non-profits through his cycling challenge. After surviving cancer, he decided to ride 25,000 miles on his bike (the distance around the globe) while raising funds for others as well as spreading awareness about cancer screenings and early detection.

Rik is a member of the National Speakers Association, and former President of the Christian Comedy Association. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, son and daughter – all of which provide a lot of comedy for his show.

Learn more at or follow on Facebook: ComedianRikRoberts

Nelson Sanchez
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Operations Division Chief

Nelson is currently the Chief of Operations Division, Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which he manages over $170M worth of Operations and Maintenance services for Navigation, Hydropower, Natural Resources, Emergency Management, Flood Control and Environmental Stewardship for the States of Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and the pan handle of Florida. He graduated in 1985 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.

Nelson began his career with the Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, in 1985, He served as a Civil Engineer in Construction Division before transferring to Mobile District in 1991 into the Operations Division. Nelson has played a vital role in the District’s navigation program, serving as Chief of the Navigation and Chief of Coastal Management Branch were after Hurricane Katrina he partnered with the US Coast Guard and Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association to develop a successful Hurricane Protocol that has been used as a model for other navigation recovery efforts after an hurricane disaster. In 2011 he was the Recovery Field Office Commander leading over 450 team members to perform recovery efforts in the aftermath of the devastating Tornados in Alabama on April 27, 2011 where they removed over 5M cubic yard of debris within 100 days.  

Among Nelson’s awards and recognition are Planning Team of the Year Award, South Atlantic Division Winner, 1998; South Atlantic Division Outstanding Planning Achievement Award for 2004; Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service, 1999, 2000 and 2002; and Superior Civilian Service Award 2005, the 2006 HENNAC Civil Engineer Distinction Awarded and Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service 2011. In 2017 received the Outstanding Public Agency Member of the Year from Society of American Military Engineers.

Dennis Tumlin
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Chief Customer Officer

Dennis presently serves as the Chief Customer Officer for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in Nashville.

In this role, he focuses on community and partner relationships statewide and leads tourism related economic development special projects. He is currently stewarding the creation of the state’s new Bill Dance Signature Lake’s initiative in coordination with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks, Bill Dance Outdoors and other external stakeholders.

Dennis also currently serves on several strategic boards including Governor Lee’s Outdoor Recreation Rural Task Force, the National Governor’s Association Outdoor Recreation Network, the Tennessee Outdoors Partnership as well as the Governor’s Invasive Carp Advisory Commission. 

Dennis is a native of Rhea County where he has also served in several local government elected & appointed roles.

He is a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and enjoyed a 16 year career managing national accounts at Coca-Cola before being called into public service.