David J. Byrd was appointed as the National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on June 15, 2020. Mr. Byrd is the 18th National Director of the agency. In his role he oversees the development and implementation of Agency initiatives, policy agenda, and federal grant programs.
Mr. Byrd joined MBDA as the National Deputy Director in October 2019 after serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Development, at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Prior to accepting the fourth presidential appointment of his career at MBDA, Mr. Byrd worked on President Trump’s Transition Team as a “talent scout” for executive appointments and on the HUD Agency Action Team, organizing the blueprint for HUD policy and personnel infrastructure.
Claudia Rankins is a Program Officer in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation, where she manages the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program and the HBCU Excellence in Research program. Prior to this post, Dr. Rankins served at Hampton University for 22 years in a number of capacities, including, endowed university professor, chair of the department of physics, assistant dean for research, and dean of the School of Science. Her formal education includes military training, certification as translator and interpreter for German, French and English, a B.S. in Mathematics from Christopher Newport University, an M.S. in Statistics from Old Dominion University, an M.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Physics both from Hampton University.
Charles (Chuck) Zelek, Ph.D., is a Special Advisor to the DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. Chuck joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009 and served as the director of energy markets team at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh PA, followed by a position as a senior economist in DOE HQ in Washington D.C., transitioning to his current role in late 2019.
Venus Welch-White serves as the National Rural Energy Program Coordinator in USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. In her current role she conducts stakeholder engagement, outreach, business strategy and development, policy support, and facilitates collaborations with internal and external partners in agriculture, energy, biofuels, business development, and financial institutions.
José L. Pérez is co-founder, President and CEO of Hispanics In Energy, a national non-profit organization since 2012 designed to drive Hispanic inclusion in America’s all the above energy industry. He has convened energy policy forums in Washington D.C., Illinois, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Washington D.C., Arizona and California. It is headquartered in Sacramento, CA
Angela Washington, Senior Business Development Specialist is an experienced executive, with first-hand operational experience and has over twenty years of Federal Government experience, serving six presidential administrations. She held various program and specialized positions in key government agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce. Angela joined the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) in January 1999 in the Office of the National Director, during the Clinton Administration. Currently, she is a Senior Business Development Specialist in the MBDA Office of Business Development (OBD) providing management and technical assistance to businesses domestically and internationally, among other responsibilities.
Over the past thirty years Jose F. Niño has built a National and International business development company. His company El Niño Group, LLC has a long and productive history growing and serving as the primary connection in establishing partnerships, opportunities for business development, certifications and strategic planning for clients.
Mr. Slager joined the Company in the summer of 2016 after moving his family from the Netherlands and selling his last venture to DSM a large public international energy and technology company located in Europe. Mr. Slager is an expert in developing and commercializing new technologies. Main proven competence and experience: great technical knowledge and comprehension in combination with sharp entrepreneurial and business sense.
As a “Native Washingtonian” born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Prince George’s County Maryland, Graduate of Bowie State College/ now Bowie State University. As a Fairfax County Public Schools educator for the past thirty six years, Joyce Matthews has worked tirelessly to ensure that ALL Children become “hands on life-long learners” and access to as many resources and educational experiences that allow students to develop a strong foundation for their successful STEAM Focus Career.
Mr. Haynie is CEO of Haynie Farms, LLC in Reedville, VA. Philip J. Haynie, III, more commonly known as P.J., graduated from Northumberland High School, Heathsville, Va., in June 1995. While in high school, Haynie served as vice president of his Future Farmers of America chapter and actively worked on his family farm in Reedville, Va. Haynie graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics in May 1999. While attending Virginia Tech, he served as president of the Virginia Tech MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences) chapter.
David Hasenauer is the Chief Executive Officer of Green Point Research. David is a cannabis policy expert and experienced public private partnership professional. In addition to his role at Green Point Research, David serves on: the Florida Hemp Advisory Committee as appointed by Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board of Broward County; and was the founding President of the Hemp Industries Association of Florida.
Robin Parton Pate serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Green Point Research where she is responsible for the overarching strategic marketing vision for the thriving vertically integrated biotechnology company. She aids in the development of new distribution channels and drives revenue-generating opportunities, including brand development and partnerships, to support the company’s new wellness product lines.
The Innovation in Energy and Agriculture Opportunity Zone Summit was developed to foster collaborations to implement solutions to address systemic barriers and challenges that impact rural communities, co-located with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in Opportunity Zones with Envision Centers.
The CEO of both KDM and Associates, and Founder of Open GovTV, leads a team of experts to provide government, institutions, communities, and companies technical solutions to some of the nation's most pressing societal challenges. Keith Moore brings to the team, knowledge of Government, Community, Small Business, and the historical challenges associated with Government meeting socio economic goals, and job expansion, and revenue growth for small businesses.
Neela White is a Project Director at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She currently directs the HBCU Making & Innovation Showcase and Innovation Forward: Invention and Startup Road Shows. She also manages the day to day operations for the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador Program, and supports the work on the Marion Milligan-Mason Awards and the AAAS-appointed Committee on Opportunities in Science. She has served as an external evaluator for multiple projects including the NSF INCLUDES Early STEM Engagement for Minority Males (eSEM) project and the Verizon Innovative Learning Summer Program for Minority Males at Morgan State University. She has also served as a Program Associate for the AAAS District of Columbia program.
Iris R. Wagstaff, Ph.D., is a STEM Program Director in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion unit of AAAS. She manages a portfolio of initiatives that focus on broadening participation, workforce development, and inclusive innovation. She is a former AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow and serves on the Executive Board of NOBCChE. She has spent over 20 years developing strategic partnerships between industry, academia and government. She has received several honors that include the 2019 DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance for Education.
Dr. Kamel S. Saidi is a Mechanical Engineer in the Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His current research includes the development of metrics, test methods and ground-truth systems for evaluating the performance of robot perception, safety, dexterity, mapping and autonomy for manufacturing as well as emergency response robots. He is also involved in research aimed at developing performance evaluation methods, metrics, and facilities for 3D Imaging Systems (through ASTM E57). Dr. Saidi conducted research in construction automation for 10 years prior to shifting his focus to manufacturing and emergency response robotics. Dr. Saidi holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he focused his research on information technology at the construction site and construction automation systems
Herbert Thompson, Ph.D., President of KEN Consulting, Inc. has over 40 years of agriculture, 33 years of Statistics, Statistical/Data analysis, application development, program management, SAS and SPSS programming skills. Dr. Thompson has provided innovative statistical analysis, SAS programming, business intelligence services and survey data analysis, to various public and private industries including, CMS (Medicare and Medicaid), Pharmaceutical clinical studies, the U.S Bureau of the Census, Banks and other large and small private companies.
Mary Burke Baker is a government affairs counselor in the Washington, D.C. office, where she leads the Tax Policy practice. Mary focuses on federal tax matters affecting businesses, including domestic and multinational corporations and all types of pass-through entities, and individuals. Her practice covers tax policy, tax reform, regulatory and other guidance, tax administration, and technical tax issues, with particular emphasis on corporate and pass-through issues, accounting methods, information reporting, Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) compliance, and emerging cryptocurrency issues. Since enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December 2017, Mary has particularly focused on the Opportunity Zone program and is a frequent speaker on the topic throughout the United States.
Noel Carroll took the helm of Biofriendly in March of 2018. As its Chief Executive Officer, Carroll focuses on modernizing the company and pushing it toward a leadership role in the environmental community. Passionate about the environment, he is doing this by widening the focus of the company from its flagship product (Green Plus) to a broader organization that educates, invests in and promotes a greener planet.
Mr. Morgan is founder and managing partner of D. Morgan & Partners. Prior to launching the firm, Mr. Morgan served for almost ten years as Vice President Government Affairs for the American Express Company. In that role, he managed the government and public affairs portfolios for the American Express OPEN business and the Tax and Human Resources functions and also served as Treasurer for the American Express Company’s political action committee.
Katherine Morua has been in the power industry for more than 20 years, designing and implementing next-generation power systems for Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), supporting NASA research projects and spearheading microgrid development for military applications. Katherine is the founder and CEO of Morua Power and oversees microgrid development, strategic engagements with private and public energy stakeholders, pushing the boundaries of current technologies to secure a reliable and resilient future through collaborative action. She recently directed the Aguadilla Resiliency Action Challenge in Puerto Rico and has helped create and integrate viable energy solutions for niche power needs and expansive social impact world-wide.
Huda has extensive academic and applied background in the water field. She has professional experience internationally, including Mexico, the Middle East and Africa, and in various facets of the water industry, including municipal plant operations for wastewater treatment, desalination, and water process engineering. She joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2012 to work on off-grid WASH solutions and is a published author in the fields of environmental public health, water treatment design, maintenance optimization and field applications. Huda consults in the field of commercial aquaculture and was named a AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador in 2017.
Major General Nick Justice joined PowerAmerica in January 2015. He was extremely active in establishing the newly formed institute sponsored by the Department of Energy. PowerAmerica is the first institute lead by a university.
Nick retired from the United States Army after more than 42- years of service as an American Soldier. He began his Army career as an enlisted Soldier drafted from his native state of North Carolina. As an enlisted soldier, he held numerous military occupation specialties including electronics warfare operator; telemetry analyst; telecommunications operator; an infantry platoon sergeant. He was later commissioned upon graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1977.
Ms. Carroll A. Thomas, Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) leads a nationwide network of centers and their affiliated partners focused on U.S. manufacturers helping them to strengthen their supply chain integration and access new technology thereby helping them to compete globally. MEP receives $146 million in public funds matched with an additional $160 million in private funds to provide technical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers. MEP leverages federal support by teaming with industry as well as state and local organizations to allow smaller manufacturers access to tap into cutting edge technology. With over 440 manufacturing extension offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP provides companies with services and connections to resources that enhance growth, improve productivity and expand production capacity.
Mr. Harrington is a Computer Scientist with new technologies such as Clouds and GPUs for storing and processing massive data sets has significantly increased adoption of AI in the past decade even though many of the AI technologies originated in 1950s. Similarly, in recent years Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) consumer-friendly software and hardware tools have become available at affordable prices. Internet tools and technologies have also enabled ordinary citizens to participate in the scientific process via various Citizen Science applications and games. At the same time, NASA scientists are faced with large volumes of data from various missions on a daily basis. This makes it essential to take advantage of the latest technological and computational advances, for the analysis and advancement of scientific discovery.
The National Faith-Based Empowerment Coalition (NFBEC) is comprised of leading ministers committed to leveraging the OZ Program to transform their communities. Their effort is designed to spur investments for restoration, transform jobs into careers and create measurable and sustainable community and human capital development that is in alignment with the restoration of families and the renewal of values in our youth. The NFBEC has established a comprehensive framework for facilitating high impact investments. And, also serves as a bridge between the private investors and developers and the faith institutions and other local leaders on the front line of community development.
Jean-Robert Baguidy is the Access to Capital Team Lead in the Office Business Development at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), United States Department of Commerce. Mr. Baguidy is Haitian-American and has over 30 years twenty years of experience in Commercial Banking, International Trade Finance and Venture Capital. He is a Certified Blockchain Specialist, holds a BBA in Finance from Howard University and an MBA in International Finance and Banking from George Washington University. Prior to joining MBDA, Mr. Baguidy worked at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Investments, as an Investment Analyst managing and funding the daily operations of a $1.2B portfolio, comprised of 26 Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) engaged in Venture Capital and Private Equity. Jean-Robert worked for several years at the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), as a Loan Officer and Business development Officer in the following divisions: U.S. Small Business Credit, Structured Export Finance, and Export Credit Insurance. Jean-Robert also spent time in the private commercial banking sector working as a Commercial Loan Officer at Navy Federal Credit Union, Industrial Bank, NA, and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.
Gary served six years in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as Presidential Support for G.W. Bush as well as foreign heads of state. He accumulated nearly ten years managing assets and programs for facilities in excess of $20mm. After honorably serving in the Air Force, Gary facilitated government contract acquisitions in real estate before his passions lead him to attend Georgetown’s Masters in Real Estate program.
The opportunity to start BG LionStar presented itself after grad school. Based on his experience seeing the disparity working in inner city schools and depressed neighborhoods in D.C., Gary founded the company with the conviction that ALL communities deserve access to innovative facilities that are smart, green and sustainable. Living in a modern age requires new business models with creative solutions; Gary sought to find a better way to add value to those communities.
As president of Kipling Jones & Co., Ms. Jones brings more than 25 years experience in the investment banking arena. She is responsible for directing the firm’s brokerage, financial advisory, and underwriting services to its clients.
Ms. Jones has played an integral role in structuring large transactions, such as a $3 billion Water and Sewer transaction for the City of Houston, which financed infrastructure improvements. Ms. Jones has also served as a banker on numerous small to mid-size transactions, which helped spur housing and other economic development initiatives.
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