TTW Conference Speakers

The Honorable Robert B. Aderholt
U. S. House of Representatives,  Alabama

On January 3, 2019,  Congressman Robert B. Aderholt took the oath of office to serve his twelfth term representing Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District.

Aderholt is a member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, which has jurisdiction over funding the operation of the federal government. He serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science and supports greater transparency, accountability and oversight to the appropriations process. Aderholt also serves as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee and the Defense Subcommittee. An advocate of fiscal responsibility, truth in budgeting and a federal government that operates within its means, Aderholt tries to bring common-sense solutions to the Appropriations Committee.

Aderholt also serves as a commission member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (commonly known as the Helsinki Commission).  Founded in 1976, the Helsinki Commission is comprised of 56 countries around the world that together monitors human rights in Europe and Central Asia.

A staunch supporter of his community, district and the state of Alabama, Aderholt believes the federal government serves a critical role in assisting state and local projects regarding economic development. He continues to support pro-growth initiatives that create jobs, strong immigration standards, and robust national security.

Prior to his election to Congress, Aderholt served as Assistant Legal Advisor to Governor Fob James as well as Municipal Judge for the city of Haleyville, Alabama. Educated through Alabama’s public school system, Aderholt went on to receive his B.A. from Birmingham Southern College and his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

Born on July 22, 1965, and raised in Alabama, Aderholt and his wife, Caroline, have their residence in Haleyville along with their daughter, Mary Elliott, and their son, Robert Hayes. When Congress is in session, his family joins him in Washington, D.C. area.

Captain LaDonn A. Allen
Commander, USCG Sector Mobile

Captain Allen has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for over 25 years. She assumed duties as Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector Mobile on May 3, 2019. The Sector consists of 18 sub-units, including cutters, stations, Aids to Navigation Teams, and a Marine Safety Detachment, spread over four states – Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia – with over 420 miles of coast and 1,900 miles of inland waterway. The Sector has 594 Active Duty, 206 Reserve, and 33 Civilian personnel. The Sector maintains over 4,200 aids to navigation, and annually conducts over 800 search and rescue cases, saving over 100 lives, assisting over 3,700 persons, and protecting millions of dollars in property each year. Additionally, the Sector carries out operations in support of Homeland Security and Law Enforcement.

She has conducted operations ashore at MSO Miami, MSO Mobile, and Sector Upper Mississippi River where she was Deputy Incident Commander and Planning Section Chief for 3 major Western River floods with a six billion dollar impact. She also served as Deputy Sector Jacksonville, where she participated in the implementation of Commercial Space flight and many firsts in Liquefied Natural Gas operations. Captain Allen’s staff assignments include two tours at the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami, FL where she responded to three category 4 and 5 hurricanes, Training Center Yorktown, Yorktown, VA, where she was the Contingency Preparedness and Response Management School Chief, a joint billet at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, CO, where she received Field Grade Officer of the Quarter for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command and Field Grade Officer of the Year for the Training and Exercise Directorate. CAPT Allen has been a National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) lead instructor for the Coast Guard throughout her career.

Captain Allen is a 1991 Graduate of the University of West Florida at Pensacola, FL, has earned a Master’s degree with honors in Homeland Security from American Military University, has attended Navy War College Joint Professional Military Education, completed the Canadian Security Studies Program in 2012 and holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from University of North Florida. Captain Allen is an Officer Candidate School graduate, having completed her underway training on the CGC BARBARA MABERTY. Captain Allen’s military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal, four Coast Guard Commendation Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, three Commandant Letters of Commendation and numerous unit and service awards.

Captain Allen’s husband is Steve Allen, USAF (ret.), and they are the proud parents of Marina Skye.

Edward E. Belk, Jr.
Chief, Program Integration Division, Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mr. Edward E. Belk, Jr. currently serves as the Civil Works Chief of Programs Integration for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In his current position, Mr. Belk is responsible for the development, defense and execution of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program across all accounts (Investigations, Construction, Operations and Maintenance, etc) and business lines (Navigation, Flood Risk Management, Ecosystem Restoration, Hydropower, etc), working closely with senior Administration officials, Congressional leaders and project partners. He was selected by the Secretary of the Army into the Senior Executive Service in May 2012.

Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Belk served as Chief of Operations and Regulatory Division for the Corps where he provided national oversight of the development, resourcing, and delivery of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs for the Civil Works infrastructure portfolio and for Corps operational programs such as hydroelectric power, public recreation, environmental restoration, wildlife management, project cyber security, and the regulatory oversight of waterways and wetlands. He also previously served as Director of Programs for the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) and Mississippi River Commission (MRC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he provided leadership and supervision for the Programs Directorate with regional staff oversight for programs, planning, operations, real estate, and project management activities in the Division’s six subordinate District commands located in St. Paul, Rock Island, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans.

Mr. Belk has extensive executive, managerial, and leadership experience in the development and delivery of large, complex water resource solutions (including navigation, flood risk management, coastal restoration, and ecosystem restoration sectors) across the full spectrum of program life cycle (planning, design, real estate acquisition, environmental compliance, construction, and operation/maintenance). He is also seasoned and experienced at developing and strengthening strategic relationships at local, regional, and national levels that enable mission execution and program delivery.

Mr. Belk completed two tours in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served as the senior U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian in the seven Provinces of northern Iraq and senior advisor to the Commander, Gulf Region North District, with headquarters initially in Mosul and later in Tikrit.

The Honorable Matt Bevin
Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Matt Bevin was elected in 2015 as the 62nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  He is a husband, father of nine children, U.S. Army veteran and successful small business owner.  Growing up, Bevin and his family of eight lived in an old farmhouse, sharing three bedrooms and one bathroom. The humble home stood on a farm where the family raised crop and livestock, instilling in their children a strong work ethic and solid Christian values.

Bevin later attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia on an ROTC scholarship. Upon graduation, he served on active duty as a U.S. Army officer and left the service having achieved the rank of captain.  The governance style he developed as a young military officer was to be as hands-off as possible but hands-on as much as necessary.

After his military service, Bevin worked for many years in the financial industry.  A job opportunity brought him and his wife Glenna, a registered nurse, to Kentucky in 1998, where they decided to settle down and raise their family.  Bevin founded several companies in Kentucky and invested in a number of others.  He managed and expanded multiple businesses, ranging from manufacturing and software to investment management and medical devices.  His businesses created hundreds of well-paying jobs for hard-working Americans.

Governor Bevin has served on many non-profit boards, including Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross, Louisville Area Chapter. He has permanently endowed several scholarship funds, grants and centers that provide educational opportunities for young people with limited financial resources.

The Honorable Bradley Byrne
U. S. House of Representatives,  Alabama

Bradley Byrne, now serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was born and raised in Mobile, just a few miles from the site where his great-great-great grandfather, Gerald Byrne, settled in the 1780’s.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Bradley received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He practiced law in Mobile for more than 30 years, always active in the local community through various service and economic development organizations.

In Congress, Bradley has established himself as a fighter for conservative values and for Alabama priorities. Bradley has worked to support local industry through improved infrastructure, including the construction of a new I-10 bridge over the Mobile River. In an effort to shrink the federal bureaucracy, Bradley pushed for the repeal of ObamaCare, fought to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, and worked to rein in out-of-control federal spending. Bradley was a strong champion for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered taxes on Alabama families and helped spur economic growth.

As a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, Bradley has been an outspoken supporter of a strong national defense and worked to support Alabama’s significant defense footprint. Bradley has used his position on the Committee to build support for a stronger U.S. Navy and for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which is built in part at Mobile’s Austal USA shipyard. He has also stood up for Alabama’s veterans and fought for improved quality of care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Bradley played a critical role in the construction of a new VA outpatient clinic for veterans in Southwest Alabama.

As a former member of the Alabama State Board of Education and former Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, Bradley saw the House Committee on Education and Labor as a natural fit. Through the Committee, Bradley has focused on returning more control over education policy to the state and local level. In addition to pushing right-to-work policies, Bradley has made workforce training and technical education one of his top priorities.

A lifelong native of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Bradley is an avid sportsman and has been a strong supporter of the coastal economy. He has consistently pushed to give greater control over the Red Snapper fishery to the Gulf States and is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Bradley has been given the Legislative Conservationist of the Year Award on multiple occasions by the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

Bradley is married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery. Rebecca is the President and CEO of The Community Foundation of South Alabama, and they are the parents of four children: Patrick, Kathleen, Laura, and Colin. Bradley and Rebecca are also proud grandparents to MacGuire Arthur Byrne and Ann-Roberts Byrne. Bradley lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.

John Christy, Ph.D.
Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama Huntsville

Dr. John Christy is a Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).  He has also been Alabama’s State Climatologist since November 2000. He is mostly known for his work with the satellite-based temperature monitoring for which he and Dr. Roy Spencer received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.  Christy helped draft and signed the 2003 American Geophysical Union statement on climate change.

Dr. Christy believes that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and doubts that human activity is to blame for most of the observed recent warming.

Other professional affiliations:  Dr. Christy is listed as a “Roundtable Speaker” for the George C. Marshall Institute, a right-wing conservative think tank on scientific issues and public policy.  He is also listed as an expert for the Heartland Institute, a libertarian American public policy think tank.

William Wynn Fuller
Operations Division Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mr. William W. Fuller became Chief, Operations Division, Mobile District, May 1996. His responsibilities center on oversight of a broad range of missions including navigation, hydropower, flood control, natural resources management, regulatory, hydrographic survey and mapping and emergency operations. He joined Mobile District in 1979 as a Structural Engineer

He was commissioned into the Army Corps of Engineers in 1970, serving on active duty until 1975. He is an Army Aviator.

Mr. Fuller holds a Master of Science Degree from the National Defense University in National Resource Strategy, and Bachelor of Science Degrees from the University of South Alabama in civil engineering and the University of Tennessee in natural science/secondary education. He is a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Army’s Command and General Staff College.

His awards include the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Superior Civilian Service Award, the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He is recognized as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Manager of the Year for 1989 and as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civilian of the Year for 1991.

Mandy Gunasekara
Founder & President, The Energy 45 Fund

Mandy Gunasekara is a veteran Republican climate and energy strategist and communicator. Most recently, under President Trump, Mandy served in the Environmental Protection Agency as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. While at EPA, she spearheaded many of the Trump Administrations greatest energy policy achievements. Mandy was the chief archietect of the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and she orchestrated the repeal/replace of the Clean Power Plan. A 6th generation Mississippian, Mandy has returned home with her husband Surya and their two small children, Rhyder and Scout to promote the Trump energy agenda in Mississippi and beyond.

The Energy 45 Fund (Energy 45) is a Jackson, Mississippi based 501(c)(4) non-profit educational organization dedicated to informing the public about the environmental and economic gains made under the Trump Administration.

Diana M. Holland
United States Army Corps of Engineers

Brigadier General Diana M. Holland assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division on July 18, 2017. The South Atlantic Division is one of nine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regions providing engineering and construction services to the Nation. It is the regional business center in the southeast, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, with district offices in Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama. 

As division commander, Brig. Gen. Holland oversees an annual program of more than $4 to 7 billion to plan, design and construct projects to support the military, protect America’s water resources, mitigate risk from disasters, and restore and enhance the environment. During her command, Brig. Gen. Holland led the South Atlantic Division’s response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. 

Prior to commanding the South Atlantic Division, Brig. Gen. Holland served as the Commandant of Cadets at the United States Military Academy, West Point. 

Other previous assignments include Deputy Commanding General for Support, 10th Mountain Division (LI) at Fort Drum, New York, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan; executive officer to the Director of the Army Staff at the Pentagon; commander of the 130th Engineer Brigade at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and Joint Task Force Sapper in Afghanistan; United States Army War College Fellow at Georgetown University; commander of the 92nd Engineer Battalion (Black Diamonds) and Task Force Diamond in Afghanistan; plans officer in the Operations Directorate, United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida; operations officer in the 92nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy); division plans officer for the 3rd Infantry Division, and Operation Iraqi Freedom 3; battalion logistics officer and then commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic), 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; company executive officer and battalion assistant operations officer in the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) in Germany; and vertical construction platoon leader in the 79th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), in Germany. 

Brig. Gen. Holland is a native of Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from the United States Military Academy and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers in 1990. She earned a Master of Arts degree at Duke University and a Master of Military Arts and Sciences degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies. 

Brig. Gen. Holland’s military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters), the Combat Action Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, the German Parachutist Badge and the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal. She was also recently honored as a 2018 Women Making a Mark Honoree by Atlanta Magazine.

Justin Murphree
Operations Manager for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, US Army Corps of Engineers

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.

Timothy Pickering

Acting Director, Office of Ports & Waterways Planning
Maritime Administration
US Department of Transportations

Tim joined the Maritime Administration’s Office of Ports & Waterways Planning’s America’s Marine Highway Program Office as the Operations Development Manager in 2015.  His office works with public and private entities to increase freight movement on the America’s Marine Highway System.  His office recommends to the Secretary of Transportation, Marine Highway Routes and Projects for her consideration.  Once a Project is designated by the Secretary, the Project is eligible to apply for the Marine Highway Grant Program. 

Before coming to MARAD, Tim worked for 20 years at the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.  He headed the Cargo Office, where he chartered commercial ships and activated government ships to support the movement of forces to and from Iraq, as well as operations and exercises around the world. 

Tim is a graduate of West Virginia University and the Naval War College.  Tim is a retired Navy Supply Corps Officer and is married to Dr. Yana Rachinskaya. Their son, Daniel, is a student at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  They reside in Owings Mills, MD.

Loren C. Scott, Ph.D.
President, Loren C. Scott & Associates

Dr. Loren C. Scott is President and founder of the Loren C. Scott & Associates firm, a 35-year old firm that provides economic consulting and public speaking services for a wide range of clients. Consulting activities include impact studies, forecasting services, analysis of policy proposals, and general economic analyses. Consulting clients include BP, ExxonMobil, Entergy Corporation, J. P. Morgan Chase, Capital One Financial, Nucor, Sasol, and a diversity of others. Our objective is to put together the very best team of associates to attack our client’s problems. Dr. Scott makes 50-70 presentations a year on the state of—and the outlook for—the economy and the energy sector in particular.

He is one of the 32-member National Business Economic Issues Council, which meets quarterly to discuss issues of state, national, and international interest. This group has experts who cover international trade, Washington economic policy, retail trade, trucking, steel, chemicals, etc. Dr. Scott is an energy specialist on the NBEIC. He has been appointed to the Economic Advisory Board of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness—a group made up of the CEOs of the Fortune 100, top university presidents, and presidents of three major unions. 

He has been interviewed on MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and several local TV stations and his work has been cited in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Moscow Times, to name a few.

Dr. Scott was on the Economics Department faculty at Louisiana State University from 1969 to 1998, where he rose through the ranks from Assistant Professor to the holder of the Freeport-McMoran endowed Chair of Economics. He is presently Professor Emeritus of Economics at LSU.  

Over the thirteen-year period from 1983-96, Dr. Scott was the chairman of  the Economics Department at LSU.  During that time, the Department’s ranking among the 3,000 economics departments in the U.S. rose from 101st  to 38th.  He received 7 awards at LSU for outstanding classroom teaching. 

Dr. Scott is co-developer of the Louisiana econometric model, a model used for providing annual forecasts of the Louisiana economy, which are released each fall.  He was a co-investigator on over $1 million in grant research at LSU and is the author of over 75 articles and technical reports in addition to reports written for consulting clients

Captain Joseph H. Snowden
U. S. Coast Guard, Retired

Joe Snowden served as Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Alabama on 21May 2015 to June 2017.  The Sector is an Eighth Coast Guard District command consisting of 18 sub-units, including six cutters, six stations, five Aids to Navigation Teams, and a Marine Safety Detachment.  The Sectors area of responsibility encompasses all or part of four states – Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.  It stretches from the Pearl River, Mississippi, to Econfina River, Florida, with over 420 miles of coast and 1,900 miles of inland waterway.  To carry out its mission, the Sector has 594 Active Duty, 206 Reserve, and 33 Civilian personnel distributed between six Departments: Prevention, Response, Logistics, Planning, Intelligence, and Command Center.  

Prior to this assignment he was a Program Analyst at Department of Homeland Security Headquarters within the Office of Program, Analysis, and Evaluation under the Chief Financial Officer.  He was responsible for program review and five-year budget development for Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center constituting $92.6 billion and 83,600 personnel.

His prior assignment experience is extensively focused toward Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, Maritime Mobility, and Environmental Stewardship serving throughout New England, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes and Western Rivers to include the Marine Safety Offices in Providence, Rhode Island, Morgan City, Louisiana, and St. Louis, Missouri; the Marine Safety Detachments in Houma, Louisiana and Quad Cities, Illinois; and the Second District and Atlantic Area Staff, and Sector Upper Mississippi River and Sector Detroit.  One of his proudest moments was while serving as Team Leader for Disaster Response Unit 4 in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.  In 1997 during major flooding of the Red River valley, they responded to frantic calls of victims trapped on their roofs, surrounded by the flowing and rising frigid river waters.  He and his team deployed with only three flood punts as the waters of the Red River poured into the city.  Ultimately, they performed 143 boat sorties resulting in 174 rescues. 

Joe Snowden began his military career when he enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1986 and graduated from basic infantryman’s training at Ft. Benning, Georgia.  In 1989, he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as a Second Lieutenant and was branched Field Artillery.  He served a total of five years in the Illinois Army National Guard prior to accepting a direct commission into the U.S. Coast Guard.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College Class of 2011.  There he was awarded a Masters degree in Strategic Studies.

Currently, he serves as the Water Front Coordinator and Intermodal Transportation Manager for the City of Mobile.

Joe Snowden graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and holds a Masters of Science in Human Resources Management degree from Troy State University.  His decorations include the Legion of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals with “O” device, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals with “O” device, four Coast Guard Achievement Medals with “O” device, two Army Achievement Medals, five Commandant’s Letters of Commendation with “O” device and Command Ashore Pin.  He is married to the former Teresa Raschke M.Ed. of Springfield, Illinois, and they have two children: Sarah and Olivia.

Emily Walz
Research Analyst, SOS International Special Programs Division

Emily Walz is a China analyst with the SOS International Special Programs Division, where she manages teams conducting Mandarin-language primary source research and analysis to support government and corporate clients. Her research focuses on the Chinese political system, science and technology development, and foreign policy initiatives. Her past work includes a chapter in the “China’s Internet of Things” report prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in October 2018.

Emily is a 2018 American Mandarin Society Next Generation Scholar and also an editorial consultant for think tanks, nonprofit organizations, and multinational development banks in Washington, D.C.

She holds a Master of Arts in China Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Affairs, a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Carleton College and the University of Minnesota. Her writing appears in the L.A. Review of Books China Channel, the Jamestown China Brief, the SAIS Review of International Affairs, and the Washington City Paper.