Anthony Bedell is a Senior Corporate and Government Relations Director in Becker’s Federal Lobbying Practice. He most recently served as the U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs, the number two governmental affairs position in the Office of Secretary Elaine L. Chao. He was originally appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in May 2017.
Mr. Bedell was also a Department of Transportation representative for the Northeast Corridor Commission tasked with developing a formula to allocate capital and operating costs based on usage and facilitating collaborative planning. Prior, he was president of government relations firm Red Five Strategies and the director of federal and state government affairs for Intuit.
He has also worked for republican candidates at the local, state, and national levels and has worked on more than a dozen republican campaigns. In 2008, he was the chairman of the Budget Committee for the Republican Party of Virginia. He was elected chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee in 2009, and served two terms.
In addition to U.S. Department of Transportation, Mr. Bedell has additional executive branch experience. He was appointed as a senior legislative officer by then-Labor Secretary Chao to handle legislative matters for the Department of Labor. He also served as associate administrator for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration as chief advisor on legislative matters related to Congress and the executive branch.
PROFESSIONAL / COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Appointed to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, 2022
Visitors of Radford University
Rector of the Board of Visitors, 2015 – 2016
Governance, Athletics, and Administration Committee, Chairman
Lauren Brand joined the National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE) as President November 2019, bringing her vast transportation and shipping expertise to the marine terminal operator and stevedoring industry in Washington, DC. As part of this role, she will also serve as the Executive Director for the National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA). These non-profit associations strategically address safety, policy and regulatory issues. NAWE also provides technical assistance in Washington, DC on marine terminal, stevedoring and port related issues.
October 2019, Mrs. Brand retired from the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) where she was a member of the Senior Executive Service, serving as the Associate Administrator Office of Ports and Waterways. While there Lauren directed a national port infrastructure modernization program of more than $2 billion; one that provides federal assistance for planning, funding and financing port and intermodal infrastructure projects. She was responsible for the continued development of America’s Marine Highway initiative as well as the Agency’s offshore energy licensing of deepwater ports, and the Port Conveyance program. Lauren led the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC) and served on the Advisory Boards for the Department of Transportation’s National Advisory Committee on Travel and Transportation Infrastructure, the US Merchant Marine Academy and the Department’s Innovation Council. And she coordinated regularly with the Department’s Build America Bureau, to provide assistance to complex multimodal/maritime infrastructure projects in the United States.
For 13 years, Lauren was the Senior Director for Business Development at Port Canaveral, FL, working with port based marine terminal operators to increase cargo business. She was part of the management team that worked to change the port from a niche cargo port to one of the top cruise ports in the world. In the mid-1980’s, Lauren developed the International Trade-Customs Practice for Arthur Andersen & Co., serving as their U.S. Practice Director and Worldwide Coordinator. She has also worked as a licensed U.S. Customhouse Broker and freight forwarder and served as the Import Manager for Hitachi Metals America in New York City. If asked, she will tell you the most interesting stories are from her years owning a sport fishing marina and tiki bar in Cape Canaveral, FL.
Lauren has a degree in Transportation from Niagara University, earned a U.S. Customhouse Broker license in 1987 and, in 2000, earned a Professional Port Manager Certification from the American Association of Port Authorities. Believing that continuing to learn will keep one younger, she completed the Federal Executive Institute’s Course Leadership for a Democratic Society in 2012 and in March 2019 earned an Executive Leadership Coaching Certification from Georgetown University. Following on the heels of that training, Lauren became a Certified Professional, engaging the Leadership Circle Profile Assessment to assist leaders enhance their effectiveness. April 2020, Lauren earned the Associate Certified Coach certification from the International Coach Federation. Helping to grow the next generation of leaders is Lauren’s passion.
Bringing balance to her life is Malcolm, her husband and retired Royal Air Force Mission Commander, who is busy renovating their Florida home.
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, a stretch of the central coast encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He serves as Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, and serves on the House Armed Services and Agriculture Committees.
First elected in 2016, Congressman Carbajal’s life experiences have helped him advocate for the needs of his constituents by fighting for veterans’ services, environmental protections, economic opportunities for working families, improvements to our immigration system, and common sense fixes to alleviate supply chain issues being felt across the nation. Prior to his election to Congress, Salud served on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Rep. Carbajal rose from humble beginnings after emigrating from Mexico to the United States when he was 5 years old. Salud earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and a master’s degree in Organizational Management from the Fielding University. He served eight years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, including active duty service during the Gulf War in 1992 where he was mobilized to Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Michael Carter is the Associate Administrator for Environment and Compliance at the Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (MARAD). In that capacity he provides executive leadership, oversight and management for the Office of Environment and Innovation, Office of Environmental Compliance, Office of Safety and the Office of Maritime Security.
Mr. Carter launched MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program (META) to improve collaboration among Federal, state and local government, academia, and maritime industry stakeholders to address emerging environmental challenges facing maritime transportation. Research and demonstration efforts have been directed towards issues such as aquatic invasive species in ships’ ballast water and in underwater hull fouling and on port and vessels air emissions, alternative fuels, and alternative energy.
Mr. Carter and his staff maintain a strong international presence on these same issues serving in various capacities on the US Delegation to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).
Before joining the Maritime Administration in August 1995, Mr. Carter was in a private environmental law practice. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Catholic University of America (Columbus School of Law) and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Wildlife Resources (Magna Cum Laude) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
In 2019, Peter DeFazio was elected to the powerful position of Chair of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over the nation's
highways, public transit, rail systems, airports, pipelines, and seaports, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies. Coast Guard, highways and transit, ports and water resources, railroads, aviation, and economic development. As
Chair, and previously as Ranking Member, DeFazio has taken the lead role on several
multi-billion-dollar laws that have created jobs, improved transportation options, kept our
ports open, ensured clean drinking water, and kept the airline industry accountable.
He authored and passed in the House the Moving Forward Act, transformative legislation that addresses the climate crisis head-on by creating new programs to cut carbon pollution and mitigate the threat of extreme weather; investing in clean fuel infrastructure; providing more zero-emission and clean transportation choices; and harnessing American ingenuity in our fight against climate change. In addition, the bill invests more than $760 billion over five years to bring our nation's transportation
infrastructure up to a state of good repair.
DeFazio previously served as the Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, where he focused on energy, federal lands, ocean and fisheries, and Native
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart is currently fulfilling his 10th term in the U.S.
House of Representatives, serving Florida’s 25th congressional district. Diaz-Balart is a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations, and he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and
Urban Development, in addition to serving on the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and Defense Subcommittees.
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives in 2002, making him the Dean of the Florida Delegation and
Deputy Whip in Congress. Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served in the
Florida State Legislature in both the House and Senate chambers. He chaired
several committees, including the Combined Appropriations/Ways and Means/
Finance and Tax Committee.
John Drake is vice president for supply chain policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Drake oversees the development and implementation of the Chamber’s supply chain policy priorities and represents the Chamber before Congress, the administration, the
business community, and other stakeholders. Drake collaborates with Chamber member companies and the business community to
educate policymakers in Congress, the federal government, and the international community on the challenges and opportunities facing businesses at ports of entry and
along their global supply chains. In addition, he manages the efforts of the Chamber’s Supply Chain Leadership Council, which governs the supply chain advocacy activities of
the Chamber and the Supply Chain Working Group, a large group of companies and associations promoting the modernization of global supply chains and cross-border trade.
Drake comes to the Chamber from Amazon, where he was a senior manager for public policy. He coordinated segments of Amazon’s business with regulators at the Department
of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Congress. Prior to Amazon, Drake was a senior appointee at the Department of Transportation.
There he led the government affairs office of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, served as a deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, and was
deputy administrator to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. He also spent nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, including as a professional staff member on the
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Transportation and Infrastructure committees. Earlier, he was the American Trucking Associations’ top representative to the Senate.
Drake holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two children
Matt Dwyer is a maritime policy expert with 15 years of experience. Matt
currently serves as Staff Director of the Coast Guard and Maritime
Transportation Subcommittee on the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee. In that capacity, he handles policy governing the
U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. Maritime
Administration, as well as other maritime issues.
Prior to his role on the Committee, Matt led the government affairs program
at the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association which represents mariners
working aboard a variety of U.S.-flagged and Jones Act vessels.
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives. Throughout her time in Congress, Foxx has established herself as a champion of conservative values and has helped lead the national movements to reduce federal government spending and increase government oversight and accountability. She currently serves as the Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor. From 2013 to 2016, she served as Secretary of the House Republican Conference.
As the Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Foxx led efforts to modernize and reform the nation’s workforce development system.
Prior to serving on Capitol Hill, Foxx spent 10 years in the North Carolina Senate where she successfully sponsored several statewide and local bills and consistently voted against tax increases and for legislation that would make governments more efficient and less wasteful.
Dr. Foxx is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her A.B. degree in English and M.A.C.T. in Sociology. She earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching/Higher Education from UNC-Greensboro.
Omar Franco heads Becker’s Federal Lobbying Practice in Washington, D.C. He currently represents a wide variety of clients including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, higher education institutions, trade associations, non-profit organizations, and municipal governments. In 2020, Franco was named a “Top Lobbyist” by the National Institute of Lobbying & Ethics (NILE). He has also been recognized as a “Hired Gun” in The Hill’s annual list of Top Lobbyists since 2018.
Omar began federal lobbying in 1999 when he became Director of Governmental Relations for the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. In 2001, University of Miami President Donna Shalala promoted him to Assistant Vice President of Governmental Relations, where he represented the university at both the federal and state levels of government and primarily worked on appropriations and health care issues.
In 2003, Omar was named Chief of Staff for Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Omar held this position for over four years, managing the Congressman’s Washington D.C., and district operations and closely counseling the Congressman in his areas of expertise which include federal appropriations, health care, transportation, higher education and issues dealing with Hispanics and the state of Florida. During his tenure, Omar was granted Top Secret security clearance by the U.S. Department of Defense and assisted in founding the Congressional Hispanic Conference and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute.
In 2007, Omar joined Petrizzo Strategic Group where he was the lead government relations consultant for a tribal government, a pharmaceutical company, a state university, health care plans, and the several municipalities. He also worked on federal issues for CNL Financial Group, Vulcan Inc., Charter Communications and Frontier Communications, among others.
Omar founded Franco Government Relations in 2010 where he represented a tribal government, a state university and several municipalities, including the City of Hialeah which he continues to represent to this day.
Omar began his government service in 1993 as the District Legislative Assistant for Florida State Representatives Art Simon (Democrat) and Annie Betancourt (Democrat) and then Florida State Senator Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican). He also worked as a Field Office Director for the Florida Medical Association before joining the University of Miami.
Top Lobbyist, National Institute of Lobbying & Ethics (NILE), 2020
Hired Gun, The Hill’s Annual List of Top Lobbyists, 2018 – present
PROFESSIONAL / COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Omar works with many Hispanic organizations that promote diversity and look to offer a voice to Hispanics in Washington, DC and the country. Omar served on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Lobbyist Association (HLA) where he is a past President and former Treasurer. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI).
Christopher J. Godfrey serves as the director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
at the U.S. Department of Labor. He was sworn in on January 20, 2021.
With an undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Godfrey received
his Juris Doctorate with honors in 1998 from the same school and passed the Iowa Bar that
Before joining the department, Director Godfrey worked for the Employees' Compensation
Appeals Board (ECAB), having been placed on the Board under the administration of President
Barack Obama. ECAB is the adjudicatory board within the department with the highest level of
appellant review for claims arising under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA).
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez appointed him to the position of Chief Judge and Chairman
of ECAB with the goals of decreasing case processing times and the overall volume of pending
appeals. He continued to serve as a part of ECAB's leadership until his appointment as OWCP
In his legal career, he first worked as a law clerk for Roxanne Conlin and Associates, learning
the importance of fighting tenaciously for justice and equality, especially for those injured or
harassed in their employment. After several years in the private sector practicing in both state
and federal court, where he represented Iowa employers and workers, then-Governor Thomas
Vilsack nominated Godfrey to the position of Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner in
Following his initial confirmation in 2006, he was renominated by Governor Chet Culver and
unanimously reconfirmed by the Iowa Senate in 2009 to a six-year term. As commissioner, he
served as the administrative agency head and sole administrative appeals judge for the state's
contested workers' compensation claims. While commissioner he successfully transformed the
agency to reduce case processing times and reduced a backlog of pending appeals. Although it
took well over a year for an appeal to be decided when appointed, by the time Godfrey left the
position, appeals were decided during the month of full submission. He served as Iowa's
Commissioner until July 2014.
During his career, Director Godfrey has served in leadership roles in several workers'
compensation organizations and was awarded a Judicial Achievement Award in 2013, the
Esther S. Weissman Eternal Optimism Award from the Workers' Injury Law and Advocacy
Group in 2014, and the Roxanne Barton Conlin Award in 2017 from the Iowa Association for
Justice. In 2020, he received the Courageous Six award from OneIowa. For this award, he was
recognized for his leadership in the Iowa LGBTQ community and his involvement in a
landmark legal battle in the state, which involved claims of discrimination, retaliation, and
violation of state constitutional rights.
Director Godfrey was elected as a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance for his
leadership in social insurance programs. He has served in an executive position with the
International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC).
Jonathan Gold is vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail
Federation. In this role, Gold is a primary spokesperson and is responsible for
representing the retail industry before Congress and the administration on supply chain,
international trade, product safety and customs related issues impacting the retail
industry. While with NRF, he has been a leading advocate of the value of trade and
global value chains to the U.S. economy.
Prior to joining NRF, Gold served as a policy analyst in the Office of Policy and Planning
for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He joined CBP in May 2006 and was
responsible for providing policy guidance on issues surrounding maritime cargo security
and trade-related matters. Gold also worked on implementation issues surrounding the
SAFE Port Act and other issues within the agency including CBP intelligence reform,
pandemic flu and trade facilitation.
Before joining CBP, Gold spent nearly a decade with the Retail Industry Leaders
Association holding several government relations positions including director and then
vice president of international trade policy before being named vice president of global
supply chain policy in January 2005.
Gold currently serves on the Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Supply
Chain Competitiveness. He has previously served on the Department of Homeland
Security’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and on the
Department of Commerce’s International Trade Advisory Committee on Distribution
Gold graduated from American University in Washington, DC in 1994. He graduated
with a bachelor's degree in international business with a concentration in finance.
David Jansen brings nearly 30 years of executive and legislative branch experience overseeing the budgets for and implementation of national policies regarding maritime transportation; national security; and ocean, coastal, and wildlife science, conservation, and management to Blank Rome Government Relations LLC.
David has extensive knowledge of the federal budget and congressional appropriations processes, and a proven ability to engage successfully with policymakers, corporate leaders, industry stakeholders, and academia to build awareness and support for complex security, science, and natural resource initiatives. He also has a demonstrated record of legislative achievement, including passage of several annual Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Authorization Acts and numerous other bills advancing resource conservation, management, science, and technology innovation.
Prior to joining Blank Rome, David served as the Democratic Staff Director for the Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, in the U.S. House of Representatives (2011–2021). In this role, he oversaw all aspects of subcommittee policy and legislative business, including issue research and stakeholder engagement; drafting legislation; preparation of materials and organization for all hearings and markups; and drafting of speeches, statements, and correspondence. Further, he conducted oversight of annual budgets totaling over $13 billion annually for three federal maritime agencies, advanced authorization of the first recapitalization of the Coast Guard’s polar icebreaker fleet in 40 years, and coordinated the establishment of the Coast Guard’s Blue Technology Center of Expertise.
David notably worked across the aisle to raise awareness and increase appropriations for several important maritime programs, including the Maritime Security Program, the Small Shipyard Grant Program, the Port Infrastructure Development Program, and the authorization to construct a new fleet of National Security Multi-Mission Training vessels for state maritime academies. He successfully built bipartisan support for passage of the first legislation to amend the Shipping Reform Act in 20 years to strengthen the Federal Maritime Commission’s anti-trust enforcement authority to ensure fair shipping practices in the $980 billion international ocean transportation industry.
Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, David was a Congressional Affairs Specialist (1994–1999) for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (“NOAA”), serving as a NOAA liaison with the U.S. Congress where he was responsible for NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management, National Marine Sanctuaries, and National Estuarine Research Reserve programs. He also worked on NOAA’s budget initiatives to address impacts caused by aquatic nuisance species and to help strengthen coral reef conservation and management.
David earned his Master of Marine Affairs degree, with a focus on Ocean and Coastal Policy and Management, from the University of Washington. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree, with a focus on Wetland Science & Wildlife Management, from the University of Rhode Island.
Daniel B. Maffei, of New York, was designated by President Biden as Chairman of the Federal
Maritime on March 29, 2021. He was first nominated to serve on the FMC by President Barack
Obama and then renominated by President Trump.
While serving on the FMC, Mr. Maffei has shown a particular interest in addressing the
vulnerability of the global transportation system to industry-wide financial and security risks.
He has spoken at national and international conferences on the changing nature of the
economics of international shipping due to technological advances and the pressures that
newer and larger carriers have placed on U.S. transportation infrastructure.
A native of Syracuse, New York, Chairman Maffei’s career in government spans more than
twenty years. He was elected to two terms in the United States House of Representatives from
2009 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2015. Immediately prior to his initial appointment to the FMC,
Mr. Maffei was a Senior Advisor at the United States Department of Commerce.
Commissioner Maffei’s time in Congress included service on the House Armed Services
Committee, House Financial Services Committee, and House Judiciary Committee. While
serving in Congress, Commissioner Maffei’s Central New York district included the Port of
Oswego, the first U.S. port of call and deepwater port on the Great Lakes.
Commissioner Maffei has substantial experience teaching and researching at universities and
think tanks. His private sector experience also includes time as an independent consultant, a
Senior Policy Advisor at Manatt, Phelps, Phillips LLP, and an executive at Pinnacle Capital
Management, LLC (Syracuse, NY).
From 1998 to 2005, Commissioner Maffei worked on the Democratic staff of the House Ways
and Means Committee. Previously, he had been Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Daniel
Patrick Moynihan from 1997 to 1998 and Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Bill Bradley in 1996.
Chairman Maffei received his bachelor’s degree in History and American Civilization from
Brown University and holds master’s degrees from the Columbia University’s Graduate School
of Journalism and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
As Vice President of U.S. Government Relations, Mr. Morgante works closely with business owners and colleagues from A.P. Moller – Maersk and all affiliated companies and departments, as well as with members of Congress, state legislators, staff members, and agency representatives at the federal and state level to positively influence Maersk's legislative and regulatory interests. In 2019, Mr. Morgante’s presence on Capitol Hill helped lead to reauthorization of the Maritime Security Program. Over the years, his efforts in various state capitals delivered positive results that have had a direct impact to Maersk's bottom line, from defeating container fees in California, New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois to introducing and successfully lobbying the Alabama Renewal Act, which provides cargo volume and capital investment port incentives in Alabama.
Mr. Morgante joined Maersk Line in January 1994, and has served in several management positions with increased responsibility, including route management, representative in Ocean Carrier Rate Conferences/Discussion Agreements, and regulatory affairs.
Positions of trust:
• American-Danish Business Council, Board of Directors, Co-Chair.
• National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE), Chair - Board of Directors.
• Ocean Carriers Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), Chair - Legislative Committee.
• Affiliated Industry Professional and Guest Lecturer, Rutgers University Business School.
• Rutgers College, New Brunswick, NJ, B.A. in Political Science, 1988.
• Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government IME program, Cambridge, MA, 2008.
Mr. Morgante and his wife, Kathleen, have three sons.
Robert W. Murray has been selected to lead the National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE) as its next president effective May 19, 2022. Rob has long served as a bipartisan relationship builder and will be a key advocate for NAWE's membership of US-based marine terminal operators and stevedores. Mr. Murray will work with current NAWE President, Lauren Brand, through the end of June to ensure a smooth transition.
Rob has ten years' experience as a strategic policy and political advisor to Senator Roger Wicker (MS). On Capitol Hill, Rob was the lead strategist for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law that provided $1.2 trillion in spending to improve our nation's infrastructure. He also worked on the FY20 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which includes Army Corps funding for port dredging efforts – a key program for NAWE's members. Murray was also the lead staffer on the RESTAURANTS Act that established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which provided small, independent restaurants billions of dollars in COVID-relief to prevent businesses from folding.
Stephen C. Peranich brings more than 20 years of experience working in the House of Representatives to Blank Rome Government Relations.
Mr. Peranich served as chief of staff and primary advisor to the Office of Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS), where he worked on developing and implementing policy objectives, strategies, and operating plans for Congressman Taylor. He was responsible for leading the staff in the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery processes and coordinating all activities for the Congressman with the House of Representatives' Leadership, Committee offices, and the Congressional Member Organizations.
Prior to serving as chief of staff, Mr. Peranich worked as the legislative director for Congressman Taylor. Mr. Peranich established the legislative agenda and program, prepared legislation, provided briefing on legislative matters, and managed and directed the legislative staff for the Congressman.
During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Mr. Peranich also served as the lead staff member assisting Congressman Taylor in his capacity as a member of the House Committee on Armed Services and Merchant Marine and Fisheries, the Coast Guard Caucus, the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, and the Shipbuilding Caucus.
Mr. Peranich received his masters in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
John Rayfield has served on the Hill in both personal offices for two
Members from Virginia, and on three Committees of the House of
Representatives, the now defunct Committee on Merchant Marine and
Fisheries, the Committee on Natural Resources, and since 2003, has served on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Mr. Rios is the Director of DOL’s Division of Federal Employees’,
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation where he administers
three federal workers’ compensation statutes: the Federal Employees’
Compensation Act (FECA); Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation
Act (LHWCA) and its extensions; and the War Hazards Compensation
Act (WHCA). As the administrator of the FECA program, which
provides coverage to approximately 2.6 million federal workers, he
oversees the adjudication of 100,000 new injury claims annually and
the payment of roughly $3 billion to over 200,000 beneficiaries
annually. As the administrator of the Longshore program, he oversees
$3.2 billion in security deposits and two trust funds with approximately
$100 million in annual collections. Under the WHCA program, he
directs the reimbursement of federal contractor claims costs under the Defense Base Act to the primary
payers of the claims for those injuries when they are caused by war hazards. Mr. Rios holds an MPA,
BBA, and has over 27 years of experience in the field of workers’ compensation.
Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue's research interests mainly cover the fields of transportation and
economics as they relate to logistics and global freight distribution. Specific topics over which
he has published extensively cover maritime transport systems and logistics, global supply
chains, gateways, and transport corridors. His research about port regionalization and the
development of port/hinterland supply chains is among the world's most cited in the domain.
Dr. Rodrigue developed a widely used online reference source and textbook about
transportation, the Geography of Transport Systems, now in its fifth edition. He is a senior
member of the PortEconomics.eu initiative regrouping the world's leading maritime transport
academics and performs advisory and consulting assignments for international organizations
and corporations. His co-authored textbook, Port Economics, Management and Policy, was
published in January 2022. In 2019, he was the recipient of the Edward L. Ullman Award for
outstanding contribution to the field of transport geography by the Association of American
Tom Saunders is Director of Government Affairs for Ports America. Ports America is the largest independent marine terminal operator and stevedoring company in North America, providing terminal management services in more than 33 ports and 70 locations. Tom develops and executes a government affairs strategy for major Ports America sites including the Port of Gulfport.
Before joining Ports America in 2017, Thomas most recently worked for Congressman Donald Payne Jr, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and has over seven years of Capitol Hill experience. In his various roles on Capitol Hill, Tom achieved favorable policy outcomes through strategic partnerships, relationship building, and stakeholder outreach. He possesses immense institutional knowledge and an intimate understanding of the federal legislative process. His past issue portfolio includes transportation and port infrastructure, homeland security, labor, and workforce development, appropriations, military, and defense.
Tom is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a New Jersey native. Currently, Tom is co-chair of the National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE) Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of directors for the Coalition of America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC), The Propeller Club of the Port of Washington, DC, and the New Jersey State Society.
Paul Wasik is a Professional Staff Member for the Senate Commerce Committee’s minority office, led by Ranking Member Roger Wicker. Paul joined the Senate Commerce Committee staff in August 2021.
Before joining the committee, Paul was a Legislative Assistant for Transportation Policy for four years in the office of Senator Deb Fischer, and served in other roles in Senator Fischer’s office for eight years.
Roger F. Wicker has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. During his time in the Senate, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs, limit federal overreach, protect life, and maintain a strong national defense. Wicker is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for the 117th Congress. He served as Chairman of the full committee during the 116th Congress after previously serving as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet.
Wicker is the second-highest-ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. His other committee assignments include the Environment and
Public Works Committee; and the Rules and Administration Committee.
Prior to his service in the Senate, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives.
Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate.
Senator Wicker served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then joined the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He received his B.A. and law degrees from the University of Mississippi.
Clarence Williams represents and advocates for a wide range of clients before Congress and federal executive branch agencies. Clients rely on Clarence’s policy and political acumen, gained over 15-plus years of dedicated public service, to help them navigate potential pitfalls in government regulations, procurement, and legislation.
A former Chief of Staff for Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL), he served as the Congressman’s chief policy advisor and strategist on all matters before the U.S. House of Representatives. He directly managed the Congressman’s portfolio of issues relating to the Committees on Ways and Means, Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Budget.
Specifically, Clarence specialized in issues involving opportunity zones, health care, armed services, taxation, alternative energy, local government issues, education, and domestic and international trade. He is uniquely qualified on issues relating to health care reform, having worked collaboratively on language he authored for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As lead staff for Congressman Meek on the House Armed Services Committee, he has engaged with Department of Defense leadership at all levels on issues from policy to procurement to research and development.
Among those Clarence has and does proudly represent are: ACR Electronics, Univision Communications, Telephone Systems International, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, ReTXT, AMG Healthcare Services, Florida Memorial University, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida International University, and the Florida municipalities of Miami Gardens, North Miami, Palatka, West Park and Opa-Locka, among others. He has worked with these and other clients.
Clarence jointly oversaw activities associated with Congressman Meek’s chairmanship of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, specifically handling issues relative to legislative policy. In that capacity, he often coordinated events with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 100 Black Men, the Urban League, the National Medical Association, and numerous other African American-serving organizations and associations.
Clarence works off of his personal mantra that government will do things FOR you or TO you, based on how well you understand how it works. He believes his primary job is to give his clients the secrets to how government works FOR you. A dynamic speaker who is able to decipher and interpret highly complex policy matters for all audiences, he is well versed on giving congressional and policy updates on subjects such as health care, tax, government procurement, education, and general government process. Clarence is also a frequent speaker on the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program. Click here to view a recent presentation he gave about the program.
PROFESSIONAL / COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Member of the American League of Lobbyists since 2011
Member of the Congressional Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association
Former member, appointed in 2012 by the Vice Chairman of Fairfax County School Board, of the Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee
Former Vice President for Fundraising on the Armstrong Elementary School PTA
Frequent speaker on Congressional and Executive Branch issues for the National Bar Association