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Sharifa Batts, DBA, MBA (VP ESG & Safety at Ports America)

Sharifa Batts, DBA, MBA

VP ESG & Safety at Ports America

Dr. Sharifa Batts currently serves as the Environment, Health, & Safety Director at Ports America and is an expert in risk mitigation and resiliency planning and oversees the company’s Environment, Health, & Safety programs for the West Coast and Gulf locations. With over 22 years at Ports America, she is an inspirational leader who is respected as a credible voice as she prepares boardroom material and provides strategic guidance and professional expertise to various levels in the organization. During the COVID crisis, Sharifa created and implemented safety protocols that enabled Ports America to continue operations safely. Additionally, she has led safety improvements resulting in a 38% decrease in the organizations lost time injury frequency rate over the past three years.

Sharifa completed her MBA at Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business & Management in August 2017, and she successfully completed her dissertation for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, in July 2021. Her research focuses on the significance of diversity on organizational boards and the unique human and social capital minorities and women contribute which impacts the company’s overall success.

John Beckett, CRSP, CHRP, ICD.D (Vice President, Operations at British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA))

John Beckett, CRSP, CHRP, ICD.D

Vice President, Operations at British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA)

John is currently the VP Operations for the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association. He is responsible for providing leadership on training, safety, recruitment and data analytics systems for BCMEA members and their employees. BCMEA trains more than 3200 employees per year.

John sits on the Governing Body of the ILO, representing Canadian employers’ on aspects of the world of work. He is an advocate through Federal Employers in Transportation and Communications on Part II of the Canada Labour Code and sits on the Federal Labour Minister’s OSH Advisory Committee. He is the Chair of Board for ICHCA which is a recognized NGO to the International Maritime Organization. He previous served as a public interest representative and was the Chair of the Board of WorkSafeBC and Director on the Board of the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health & Safety. He also spent 9 years as adjunct professor at UBC teaching Modern Safety Management in the Masters of Occupational Hygiene and Environment Program.

He holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), is Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) and is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors Program and holds the ICD.D designation.

Kristina Bowden (President at West Coast Resource Services, Inc.)

Kristina Bowden

President at West Coast Resource Services, Inc.

Kristina Bowden is the President and owner of West Coast Resource Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in occupational safety of stevedores and terminal operators. As a founding principal of the organization, she believes that safety is the outcome of operational work and strives to understand where risk resides in the workplace. Through program development or refinement of existing policies and curriculum, Kristina works with clients to support their safety responsibilities. In the Marine Terminal Operations Professional Program, Kristina is an instructor at Cal State University Long Beach. Launching in 2022, she will produce and facilitate a podcast, "Safety Talk on the Dock," a space dedicated to understanding the process of waterfront work.

In the ten years preceding the launching of West Coast Resource Services, Inc., Kristina was the Assistant Director of Health, Safety, and Environment at Ports America, the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the United States. At that time, her primary role was developing, implementing, and managing safety programs unique to the stevedoring environment. Her foundational base of industry knowledge began with vessel operations.

Kristina is a graduate of the California Maritime Academy and served as Corps Commander in 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation, a Minor in Maritime Law, and a USCG Unlimited Third Mate License.

Robert Dieda (PNW Safety Director of SSA Terminals)

Robert Dieda

PNW Safety Director of SSA Terminals
Jim Dubea, CPE (Vice President, Ports & Maritime at TranSystems)

Jim Dubea, CPE

Vice President, Ports & Maritime at TranSystems

Jim Dubea is Vice President of Ports and Maritime at TranSystems. Since joining TranSystems, Jim has been successful in leading complex intermodal developments, port master planning projects and multiple transportation-related infrastructure ventures. He is also a trusted advisor throughout the maritime and intermodal industry who actively works with clients to identify and apply for federal grant opportunities.

Jim is successful in assisting clients with local and state/municipality partnerships in the preparation and submittal of competitive federal grant applications. Jim also leads and manages a variety of maritime and intermodal related infrastructure projects throughout the country and works with multiple State Departments of Transportation to assist with the Federal Grant application process.

Jim previously served over 22 years in the US Coast Guard, culminating his service as Base Commander in Port Canaveral. He then spent 5 years as Deputy Executive Director of the Canaveral Port Authority.

Chuck Feinburg (Principal and Executive Vice President at Greener By Design)

Chuck Feinburg

Principal and Executive Vice President at Greener By Design

Chuck Feinberg is a Principal and Executive Vice President of Greener by Design and has a background in engineering, environmental, construction, and energy projects. He has successfully managed all aspects of operations, business development, financial planning, technical consulting, contract administration, and staff development.

In addition to GbD, he serves as Chairman of NJ Clean Cities Coalition, a non-profit organization which promotes alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, fuel economy, and idle reduction initiatives.

He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering (with a minor in Engineering Management) from Tufts University, a Law Degree from New York Law School, and is admitted to the Bar in New Jersey and New York.

Samantha Fennell (Assistant Director of Training and Accident Prevention at Pacific Maritime Association)

Samantha Fennell

Assistant Director of Training and Accident Prevention at Pacific Maritime Association

Samantha Fennell is the Assistant Director of Training and Accident Prevention for the Pacific Maritime Association in Northern California. The Pacific Maritime Association represents over 70 ocean carriers and terminal operators with integrated labor relations, human resources, administrative services, and training. Samantha is responsible for the implementation and administration of all ILWU Training programs and accident prevention initiatives set forth by the PMA Member Companies.

Samantha is a graduate of the California Maritime Academy with a bachelor's degree in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

Sarah Froman (Team Lead for EPA's Ports Initiative at EPA)

Sarah Froman

Team Lead for EPA's Ports Initiative at EPA

Sarah has led several voluntary and regulatory initiatives to advance the measurement and mitigation of mobile source emissions since joining U.S. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality in 2005. She is currently the team lead for EPA’s Ports Initiative, a collaborative effort with port stakeholders to advance next-generation, clean technologies and practices that can improve air quality and increase economic prosperity.

She has a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Kelly Garber (Environmental Director of SSA Marine)

Kelly Garber

Environmental Director of SSA Marine

Kelly Garber is the Environmental Director for SSA Marine. He has oversight for stormwater compliance at several Terminals along the US West Coast affording him a wide range of practical experience with implementation of treatment technologies and Best Management Practices.

Mr. Garber has spent the last thirty years in the cargo handling industry with specific emphasis on terminal operations. In addition to holding various leadership roles in container and breakbulk operations, he also has extensive experience in safety on the waterfront having chaired the Longshore Workgroup for the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) and serving on the Board of Directors for the National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA).

During his career he has participated in maritime security issues, acting as the Facility Security Officer for Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle and serving on the Infrastructure Security sub-committee for the Area Maritime Security Committee, Puget Sound region. Beginning in 2001 Kelly assumed responsibility for Stormwater Permit compliance at Terminal 5 in Seattle, WA. and became highly engaged with the Department of Ecology, Port of Seattle, and other industry partners in addressing stormwater improvements at marine terminals.

Susan Gardner (Senior Director, Operations and Projects)

Susan Gardner

Senior Director, Operations and Projects

Susan Gardner is the Senior Director of Operations and Projects for the Georgia Port Authority. She joined the GPA in February of 2020 and has over 25 years of maritime experience. In her role at the GPA, she is responsible for all of the general cargo / breakbulk operations for the GPA in Savannah and Brunswick. She joined the GPA in the midst of the container expansion project at Ocean Terminal which converted that facility to a mixed used terminal handling both breakbulk and container operations. Prior to joining the GPA, she was the VP of Field Operations for the Americas for Navis where her team was responsible for the sale and successful implementation of all Navis projects in the Americas region. She gained terminal operations experience and knowledge in the nearly 18 years she worked for APM Terminals with various leadership roles at several terminals in North America including New Jersey, Norfolk, Charleston and Tacoma Washington.

Erick Hawley-Saia (Director Safety & Loss Control of Greenwich Terminals LLC / PMTA)

Erick Hawley-Saia

Director Safety & Loss Control of Greenwich Terminals LLC / PMTA

Erick Hawley-Saia is Director of Safety & Loss Control at Greenwich Terminals LLC, and also represents the Ports of the Delaware River Marine Trade Association (PMTA) covering a region from Wilmington, DE to Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.

As the PMTA representative he is currently the Recording Secretary and Hazardous Materials Sub-Committee Chair to the National Maritime Safety Association’s (NMSA) Technical Committee.

He has had the privilege of serving on the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program under their Transportation Research Board program, and also served as a book reviewer for one of the first publications from the American Society of Safety Professionals entitled “Safety Leadership and Professional Development.”

He is also an OSHA Authorized Trainer for both Maritime and General Industry regulations. In addition, he is presently a Technical Committee Member of the ANSI/ASSE Z390.1 for the Accepted Practices for Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Training Programs, NFPA 385 Standard for Tank Vehicles for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, and a Member of ICHCA’s Dangerous Goods Work Group and International Technical Panel.

Travis Herod, MSP, CEM (Senior VP of Environmental Health and Safety at Watco)

Travis Herod, MSP, CEM

Senior VP of Environmental Health and Safety at Watco

Travis Herod has more than 30 years experience in transportation and logistics in various roles, including 22 years in the railroad industry. He has served as Senior Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety for the past eight years at Watco, and manages all activities at the Safe Performance Center, a centralized training facility for Watco Team Members of various crafts. Prior to that, his roles include Vice President of Safety, Safety Director and Regional Safety Manager for Watco’s Transportation Division. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force following a 20 year career, split between active duty and the Air National Guard.

Herod holds industry safety certificates that include Master Safety Professional (MSP) and Certified Environmental Manager (CEM) through the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP), and a Certificate in Safety Management (CSM) through the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). In 2020, he was named the American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association Safety Professional of the Year, and serves on that group’s Safety and Training Committee. He is active in the industry, through work with the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) as the acting voting member for the short line group. He is also active in the American Association of Railroads Safety Committee, Operation Lifesaver, and other various organizations that promote safety.

Eric Kampert, PE, CSP, OHST (Office Director for OSHA’s Office of Maritime Enforcement at Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA))

Eric Kampert, PE, CSP, OHST

Office Director for OSHA’s Office of Maritime Enforcement at Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Eric Kampert, PE, CSP, OHST graduated with a civil engineering degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served on active duty as an engineering officer onboard a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter and as a project manager at the USCG shipyard in Curtis Bay, Maryland.

Eric received a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Maryland and worked in the private sector as a maritime waterfront design engineer, a project engineer at a marine construction firm, and as a certified commercial diver.

Eric’s public service includes working at OSHA for the last 14 years within the Office of Maritime Enforcement, the Office of Emergency Management, and served as the Director of the Office of Construction Services. He is currently the Director of the Office of Maritime Enforcement.

Eric is married to Christa Kampert. Together they have two children, Bryce and Haley, who are currently attending the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, respectively.

Alan McCorkle (President & Chief Executive Officer at Yusen Terminals LLC)

Alan McCorkle

President & Chief Executive Officer at Yusen Terminals LLC

Alan McCorkle was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Yusen Terminals LLC in August 2019. He joined NYK Ports/Yusen Terminals in November 2014 as Vice President of West Coast Operations and was then promoted to Senior Vice President on April 2016, responsible for all container terminal operations at Yusen Terminals in Southern California, RoRo and bulk operations for Ceres Marine Terminals in Port Hueneme and Stockton, California and cruise and RoRo operations for Ceres Marine in Vancouver, Canada.

Prior to joining NYK ports, Alan was with the A.P. Moller–Maersk Group for 25 years holding a number of positions of increasing responsibility including leading the development of the Pier 400 terminal in Los Angeles becoming its Managing Director when the facility opened in 2002 and General Manager, APM Terminals (Jamaica) Ltd. in 2004, where he managed all port operations in Jamaica before returning to Southern California becoming Vice President of West Coast Operations in 2005.

Alan holds a B.S. in Business Management from Clemson University and is a graduate of the Executive Development Programs at Cornell University and IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Alix Miller (President & CEO of Florida Trucking Association)

Alix Miller

President & CEO of Florida Trucking Association

Dr. Alix Miller is the President and CEO of Florida Trucking Association, the sole state liaison between the trucking industry and the legislative, regulatory and judicial branches of state and federal government.

In her role, she directs advocacy efforts on behalf of the 400+ association member companies and works directly with public and private sector executives to promote and protect the trucking industry.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and both an MFA and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Dave Morgan

Dave Morgan

Dave Morgan, President and CEO of Cooper/ Ports America LLC graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy with a BS in Marine Transportation and a Coast Guard license as a 3rd mate, unlimited tonnage.

Following graduation, Mr. Morgan joined P&O Ports and quickly moved up the management ladder, holding positions as Port Vice President, New Orleans, Senior Vice President, US Gulf Regions, New Orleans, Senior Vice President, South Atlantic Region, and Director, Ports America Stevedoring.

In his current position as President/CEO of Cooper/Ports America LLC, Mr. Morgan oversees all company operations in an area that includes all major ports and terminals in Texas and military contracts for the Mid Atlantic. He has been recognized for successfully merging locally Cooper/T. Smith and Ports America.

Mr. Morgan has served in leadership positions on a number of community and industry boards, including National Maritime Safety Association, West Gulf Maritime Association, St. Anne School Board, Fore! Kids Foundation, Rotary of Savanah and the Greater Houston Port Bureau.

Susan Murphy (Global Solutions Leader at DuPont Sustainable Solutions)

Susan Murphy

Global Solutions Leader at DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Susan has more than 20 years of experience working in Learning and Development with a focus on the intersection of safety, learning, and technology. An eLearning pioneer, she has led the L&D function in multiple organizations, serving clients in industries throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Oxford University.

John Nardi (President at New York Shipping Association)

John Nardi

President at New York Shipping Association

John J. Nardi was appointed President of the New York Shipping Association in June 2013, after serving as Executive Vice President since 2012. John played a key role on the 2012 NYSA bargaining committee as it engaged in a twelve-month negotiation period with the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA). These deliberations ultimately resulted in a strong six-year contract agreement followed by another six-year agreement in 2018. Throughout these agreements the Port of NY & NJ has seen record growth and has hired over 1,500 new longshore workers over 600 of which are military veterans. John’s work with the port employers as well as the ILA throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic has enabled the uninterrupted flow of cargo through the Port of NY&NJ. In 2020 John was selected as a member of the New Jersey Restart & Recovery Advisory Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as the State rebounded from Covid-19. In 2022 John was The New York and New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders Association “Person of the Year” for his work during the pandemic.

In 2014, a period when the Port was experiencing operational difficulties, John was co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Port of NY&NJ Port Performance Task Force which was created to identify and resolve performance issues in the port which impact fluidity and growth. He currently co-chairs the port stakeholder Council on Port Performance.

A 38-year veteran in the industry, John began his career with Atlantic Container Line. At ACL he was eventually General Manager of Liner and Terminal Operations, responsible for Vessel Sharing Agreements and Terminal Operations in the U.S. and Europe for ACL’s liner business. In 1994 John joined Hapag-Lloyd (America) Inc. where during his 18-year career there held a series of management positions and finally Executive Vice President of Corporate Operations.

Richard Steele (Chief Executive Officer at International Cargo Handling and Coordination Association (ICHA))

Richard Steele

Chief Executive Officer at International Cargo Handling and Coordination Association (ICHA)

Richard Steele is Chief Executive Officer at the International Cargo handling and Coordination Association – ICHCA. Reporting directly to the Board, Richard leads the organisation which provides a focal point to improve cargo handling throughout international supply chains. ICHCA also represents members, and the cargo handling industry, as a recognised non-government organisation at international bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation and UNECE and other agencies and regulatory bodies.

Richard is a safety and skills professional with a Masters in Training and Development who has been involved in the ports industry for over 21 years. Prior to ICHCA he was Chief Executive at Port Skills and Safety an organisation that he led for 11 years. Port Skills and Safety is the UK ports organisation with a remit to share best practice, develop safety guidance and standards and produce qualification frameworks.

Before PSS, Richard was the senior Learning and Development Manager for Associated British Ports for 10 years. Prior to ports, he worked in the nuclear industry on safety and skills provision.

Cindy Tait,  EMT-P, RN, MPH (President and Clinical Specialist at Center For Healthcare Education)

Cindy Tait, EMT-P, RN, MPH

President and Clinical Specialist at Center For Healthcare Education

Cindy Tait, EMT-P, RN, MPH, has worked in EMS for more than 3 decades, starting as an EMT in the Rocky Mountains. She returned to school in Southern California where she worked full time as a paramedic. In 1991, she obtained her RN license and then specialized in the areas of ER and ICU. In addition to being a private pilot, she has over a decade’s experience as both a fixed wing and helicopter transport nurse.

Today, Cindy is the president of Center for Healthcare Education, Inc. a national resuscitation-training center with more than 1100 instructors providing training and certification to more than 30,000 students/year in all 50 states and 22 countries.

Cindy earned her master’s degree in Public Health at Loma Linda University. The Library of Congress contains over 100 of her publications on the topics of EMS and Cardiac Resuscitation including programs on Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, CPR, 12-Lead ECG/STEMI, Capnography and AED.

Captain Nichole Vaughan

Captain Nichole Vaughan

Captain Nicolette Vaughan serves as the Chief, Office of Prevention for the 7th Coast Guard District. This position overseas all Prevention/ Marine Safety operations in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. She is a Marine Safety Prevention Professional having served in challenging positions over a 24-year career.

CAPT Vaughan was previously with the Office of Port and Facility Compliance, and recently served as a Coast Guard Fellow in the Senate Commerce Committee. She also served as the Prevention Department Head at Coast Guard Sector New York. Prior to New York, she was assigned as the Chief of Inspections at Sector San Francisco, and before that held a Marine Inspections and Investigation management position at the Seventh District Prevention office in Miami. In 2005, then LT Vaughan served in Houma Louisiana, where she focused on Domestic Vessel Inspections during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She obtained her commission in 2000, after which she was stationed at Sector Miami and conducted foreign vessel examinations and marine casualty investigations.

Captain Vaughan is native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and holds a Bachelors’ Degree in criminal justice and Master’s Degree in Emergency Response.

Commissioner Max Vekich (FMC Commissioner)

Commissioner Max Vekich

FMC Commissioner

Commissioner Max Vekich was nominated by President Biden on June 24, 2021, and again on January 4, 2022, to a term expiring on June 30, 2026. The United States Senate confirmed his nomination on February 10, 2022, and he was sworn into office on February 15, 2022.

Commissioner Vekich was previously a longshoreman and union official with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. He served as a Member of the Labor Relations Committee for ILWU Local 52, as President of the ILWU Local 52, and on the International Executive Board.

Between 1983 and 1991, Commissioner Vekich served in the Washington State House of Representatives representing the 35th Legislative District. He also served as a Commissioner on the Washington State Maritime Bicentennial and the Governor’s Industry Safety Board.

Commissioner Vekich has earned numerous recognitions for his work, legislative, and community service.

Commissioner Vekich earned his A.A. from Grays Harbor Community College and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puget Sound. He has been married to Marcee Stone-Vekich since 2012 and survives his first wife, Ivy Frost Vekich, who died of breast cancer in 1995. Commissioner Vekich is the father of two children and one stepchild.

Hydi Webb (Interim Director of PortMiami)

Hydi Webb

Interim Director of PortMiami

PortMiami is among the world’s leading hubs for global commerce and tourism. Its gateway location at the center of the Western Hemisphere makes the Port a significant conduit for international trade and commerce.

On March 10th , 2022, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava appointed Hydi Webb Director and CEO of PortMiami. Mrs. Webb oversees the growth and development of the world’s leading cruise port and one of America’s fastest-growing container ports.

PortMiami is the U.S. container port closest to the Panama Canal, providing shippers fast access to Florida’s thriving consumer base and the entire U.S. market. It generates more than 334,500 jobs and has an economic impact of $43 billion.

Mrs. Webb is a maritime industry expert who started her career at PortMiami in 1992 and has gained experience in cruise and cargo business development, including negotiations of long- term agreements, strategic planning, client relations, marketing and communications, external affairs, and operations.

Throughout her 30-year career at PortMiami, Mrs. Webb has held several executive positions, including Manager of Advertising and Public Relations, Manager of Cruise Development, Manager of Business Development, Assistant Director of Business Development and Marketing, and Deputy Director.

Mrs. Webb also represents PortMiami on international and local economic development and business organizations, including the Cruise Line Industry Association, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the American Association of Port Authorities, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, World Trade Center Miami, Beacon Council, Woman in International Trade, and various Chambers of Commerce among so others.

Mrs. Webb holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Florida.

Adam Zellner (President at Greener by Design)

Adam Zellner

President at Greener by Design

As President of Greener by Design, a global energy, resiliency and sustainability consulting firm, Adam works directly with a variety of corporate and government entities, including several Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he works on policy issues both in the United States and overseas, hosts, and attends a variety of policy think tanks.

Previously to his business, Mr. Zellner served in a host of high profile Government roles including as Policy Director for the State of New Jersey, Deputy Commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Executive Director of the State’s land use planning office. In addition, he has significant experience in providing regulatory support and permitting assistance in the many different areas of the green building sector.

Mr. Zellner has published a variety of articles and papers and continues to speak globally on the developing world of green infrastructure and resiliency financing. Mr. Zellner has a degree in Economics from Rowan University and serves as an adjunct Professor at Rutgers University.