2024 Speakers

Chad Chronister

A veteran law enforcement officer, Sheriff Chad Chronister has served with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the past 32 years. He has a Bachelor and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy's 260th Session. 

He became the top law enforcement officer in Hillsborough County on September 30, 2017, upon his appointment by Governor Rick Scott, and twice re-elected by the citizens of Hillsborough County. 

Sheriff Chronister has exemplified service above self, reduced crime, has remained focused on community policing, and furthering a culture of diversity and inclusion at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. 

For these efforts and many others, he has received numerous commendations and awards, including the 2024 Brandon Chamber of Commerce Community Impact Award, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay 2024 Spirit of Achievement Award, the inaugural Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Compassion Champion Award, Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award, Sheriff’s Indian Advisory Council 2023 Indian Cultural Prestige Award, University of South Florida President’s Fellow Medallion, 2023 Housing and Education Alliance HEART for the Homeless Award, 2023 NAACP Walter Moses Burton Unsung Hero Award, the inaugural 2023 Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council Spirit of Community Award, recognized as the 2022 Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay Great Futures honoree, the Boy Scouts of America’s 2022 Distinguished Citizen Award, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Memorial Commemoration Committee’s 2020 Robert W. Saunders Award for Distinguished Community Service in the furtherance of Human Rights and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay’s 2020 Hispanic Prestige Award. 

He is Co-Chairman of the Regional Domestic Security Task Force for Region IV Tampa Bay, Council Member of the Florida Attorney General’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking and Chairman of the Criminal Justice Sub-Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Hillsborough County Public Safety Coordinating Council, Vice-Chairman of Hillsborough County Public Schools Citizen Oversight Committee, and appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council. 

Sheriff Chronister values partnerships, community outreach, training, and professionalism. He remains dedicated to advancing the Sheriff’s Office with a commitment to implementing technology advancements to better serve the public and keep deputies safe. 

He praises his family, faith and grandfather, a World War II decorated Marine, for instilling his passion and selfless service for others. Sheriff Chronister is married to Nikki DeBartolo, has two sons, and credits his success to their love, sacrifice and support. 

Tim Puyleart MPH, CSP

Tim Puyleart MPH, CSP SVP Health, Safety and Sustainability for Ports America. 
Tim joined Ports America in November of 2022, as the SVP of Health, Safety and Sustainability. Tim has over 30 years working in HSSE in a wide variety of logistics, manufacturing, service, and Maritime industries. Tim has 10 years of experience in the Ports Industry having worked for APM Terminals, DP World and a key supplier, Konecranes. Tim earned his Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation in 2005, and has a Masters Degree in Occupational Health and Safety Management from Tulane University. 

Kirsten Foot, PhD

Over the course of her career, Kirsten has been employed by and consulted for organizations in the public, private, and civil society sectors, across the United States and internationally. Kirsten is passionate about ending exploitation and excels at identifying and cultivating effective organizational and collaborative practices for countering human trafficking—and sharing them with others.

While a fulltime professor of communication at the University of Washington, Kirsten engaged in action-oriented research to counter human trafficking. For over 15 years she led international teams of experts from academia, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to co-produce practical knowledge and implement it. She created and taught courses on multisector collaboration, organizational communication, and technology in society, as well as on human trafficking. Several of her mentees now lead cross-sector collaborations for social change themselves.

As the CEO and Executive Director of BEST, Kirsten leverages her expertise to guide organizations’ leaders and equip them with tools to implement socially responsible strategies for halting human trafficking and ultimately preventing it.

Kirsten is the author or editor of four books, including the award-winning Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross-Sector Challenges and Practices.?She earned her PhD in Communication from the University of California San Diego.

Sonia Bhatia, Psy.D

Sonia Bhatia, Psy.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist and Certified Trauma Clinical Specialist. She been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for over 20 years. Dr. Bhatia serves on the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team as a supervisor. She has deployed nationally for several mass casualty and weather-related Red Cross responses over the years, including the Parkland school shooting, the Surfside Building collapse, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. She teaches specialized Red Cross classes monthly, and is part of the Preparedness team for the Red Cross Greater Orlando Chapter.

As part of her mental health role in the Red Cross, Dr. Bhatia has attended many airport drills. In September 2023, she attended NTSB's multi-day training about Family Support Tasks when there is a federal transportation disaster with loss of life. For the past two years she has trained the FAST team at Tampa Airport in how to prepare for the immediate reception and care of family members in the event of an aviation disaster connected to Tampa Airport.

John Tiliacos

John Tiliacos is the Executive Vice President of Airport Operations and Guest Experience for Tampa International Airport.  He is responsible for Airfield and Terminal Operations, Public Safety and Security, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, and three General Aviation Airports. 

A 38 year airline and airport industry veteran with extensive experience in airline and airport operations, Tiliacos previously served as Managing Director for American Airlines in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for leading one of American’s largest operations.

Tiliacos began his airline career in 1985 as the General Manager for Trans World Airlines in the Bahamas. After joining American Airlines in 1990, he quickly moved up the ranks, holding management positions in the Bahamas, and across multiple U.S. markets including Texas, New Orleans, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, and the Northeast.

He has served as American’s Managing Director for Flight Service Operations in the Northeast with responsibility for more than 5,000 flight crew based at Boston Logan, New York’s JFK and LaGuardia Airports, and Reagan Washington National Airport. 

As Managing Director of Onboard Products, Tiliacos led American’s worldwide Food and Beverage Operations, Inflight Products and Aircraft Cabin Design.

He also led American’s worldwide cargo operations as Vice President of Cargo Operations and successfully led the global implementation of 100 percent cargo security screening on American’s fleet of aircraft as mandated by the U.S. Government appointed 9/11 Commission.

Tiliacos was instrumental in helping American Airlines achieve many innovative goals including being the first to launch broadband Wi-Fi connectivity on a U.S. airline. He led American’s “787 Dream Team” which produced American’s first-ever lie-flat Business Class Seat program for the delivery of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and 777 aircraft.

As part of the Executive Team at TPA, Tiliacos led the Airport’s first Concessions Redevelopment Program that produced 70 new food and beverage and retail concessions, implemented one of the first Remote Bag Check operations in the U.S. at TPA’s new Rental Car Center and launched the COVID-19 Passenger Testing Pilot, a first in the United States. Tiliacos also led the Congressionally mandated U.S. Customs and Border Protection Biometrics project and has led the effort on numerous airport safety and security enhancements. 

In addition to successfully leading large, diverse, and complex operations, Tiliacos has successfully achieved record operational, safety and security, and world-class customer experience results. 

Tiliacos is a graduate of The Florida Institute of Technology, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management.  He is also a private pilot and holds a commercial pilot certificate for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Brian Giuliani

Brian Giuliani is the Chief Operating Officer for Port Tampa Bay. Brian is responsible for overseeing all cargo & cruise operations throughout the port and provides operational support to our team to help promote and grow the port business. Brian works closely with the port’s terminal operating partners and the various regulatory & protective agencies to ensure all port operations are done efficiently, safely, in accordance with government regulations, and meeting customer requirements.

Mr. Giuliani has over 25 years of experience in maritime port operations, including terminal, vessel, and warehouse operations. Prior to joining Port Tampa Bay in July, 2019, Brian served as Director of North American Ports for Del Monte Fresh Produce. While working with Del Monte, he held various management positions and made numerous contributions towards improving Del Monte’s supply chain operations, including his leadership role in transitioning their Northeast distribution network from a palletized breakbulk transportation model to a fully containerized model and creating the foundation for a transformation throughout North America.

Brian is a graduate of Rutgers University. He is President of Tampa Bay International Terminals and currently serves on all port committees such as Tampa Bay Harbor Safety & Security Committee (TBHSSC), Tampa Cooperative Safety & Security Committee (TCSS), Port Heavy Weather Advisory Group (PHWAG), Vessel Movement Committee (VMC), and the Greater Tampa Bay Marine Advisory Council PORTS.

Matt Thompson

Captain Matthew Thompson is responsible for facilitating cargo and cruise operations throughout the port area and port access, by water, land or rail.  He is also responsible for ensuring public terminal facilities are operated efficiently and professionally and in keeping with regulations.  Additionally, he works closely with security, facilities and business development team to continue to expand the port.

Matt previously served as Port Tampa Bay's Director of Cruise Operations & Emergency Management. Captain Thompson has over 30 years experience in maritime operations and emergency management.  Prior to joining Port Tampa Bay in 2022, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard as Sector Commander of the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Area, Captain of the Port, Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator while directing all Coast Guard operations along the West Coast of Florida and throughout the Tampa Bay region. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College in Management, and a Joint Professional Military Education certification from the U.S. Air Force, Air Command and Staff College.  Captain Matt Thompson was The Propeller Club Port of Tampa's Maritime Person of the Year for 2022, and his military personal awards include: the Legion of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Commendation Medals, and three Achievement Medals.

Mark Dubina

Mark Dubina currently serves as Vice President of Security for Port Tampa Bay. Mr. Dubina is a graduate of Florida State University, with extensive additional specialized training in law enforcement operations and seaport security. Mr. Dubina is a Certified Law Enforcement Officer, Certified Law Enforcement Instructor, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Port Executive™.

Mr. Dubina has a combined 32 years of law enforcement and public sector management experience. Mr. Dubina’s current duties include management of all aspects of security operations for the Port, Florida’s largest and most diversified port. Mr. Dubina serves on the board of the Tampa Bay Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Working Group, the State of Florida Domestic Security Oversight Council Critical Infrastructure Working Group, the Tampa Bay Regional Domestic Security Task Force and the Area Maritime Security Committee. Mr. Dubina is also a board member of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Immediately prior to his current position, Mr. Dubina was the Chief of Investigations for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in Tampa. During his career with FDLE, Mr. Dubina gained extensive experience organizing and directing investigations, supervising special events and coordinating security details for visiting dignitaries.

David Golden

David Golden is the Lead Common Use Analyst in the Technology Division at Tampa International Airport. While being the lead of the growing common use team, he is responsible for all common use ticket counters & gates (exceeding 50% of all gates and ticket counters), CUSS kiosks, eGates, U.S. exit biometrics, self-service bag drop, and LiDAR technologies across the airport campus. Over the last 8 years with TPA, David has built a strong foundation with all airline partners as the liaison between the airport and the common use provider. He is currently working on his ACI-NA certification to gain more knowledge in the inner workings of airport management and is excited to push technology boundaries at America’s Favorite Airport.

Past Speakers

Pam Bondi

Former Attorney General, State of Florida 

Pam Bondi is a fourth-generation Floridian who spent more than 18 years as a prosecutor, trying cases ranging from domestic violence to capital murder. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida and her Juris Doctor from Stetson Law School. She had never run for elected office, but as a career prosecutor, knew she wanted to make a larger, more positive impact to help Floridians statewide. In 2010, she ran for Attorney General, becoming the 37th and first female Attorney General in Florida’s history.

As Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi was unwavering in her commitment to make Florida the safest state to live, work, and raise a family. When she took office, Florida was considered the pill mill capital of the United States.  In fact, of the top 100 oxycodone dispensers in the country, 98 of them were in Florida. In her first legislative session, she successfully fought to shut down all 98 of these unscrupulous doctors and clinics. She has since been appointed to the President’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission where she works along side other national leaders in areas of drug prevention, interdiction and treatment.

As Attorney General, Pam obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and judgements for consumers related to Medicaid Fraud and in relief for Florida residents adversely effected by mortgage schemes and foreclosure practices. Pam Bondi stood up for the consumers during Deep Water Horizon where she worked to secure 3.25 billion in total recovery.

Pam Bondi's battle against Human Trafficking has led Florida to strengthen state laws, raise public awareness, and provide new resources to victims. She serves as the Chair of Florida’s Statewide Human Trafficking Council where she has advocated for better care and protections for victims. With the creation of the Council, Pam has set the precedent for other states to follow in efforts to combat this inhumane crime.

She has been and remains a relentless champion of justice working tirelessly to protect the rights and safety of Floridians.

Rae McInnis

Director of Assessments and Prevention for United States Army Combat Readiness Center

Rae McInnis currently serves as the Director, Analysis, Assessments, and Prevention, US Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC), a position he has held since March of 2018. In this position he has an Army-wide responsibility to support commanders' ability to safely conduct operations, manage risks, and ensure mission accomplishment.

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant from Auburn University's ROTC program in 1981 as an Air Defense officer and Distinguished Military Graduate. He attended flight school in 1983 and served in numerous command and staff positions including Troop Commander and Battalion S1 at Fort Hood, Assistant Professor of Military Science, Battalion S3 and Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment in Korea, Brigade S3 for the 110th Aviation Brigade at Fort Rucker, Congressional Liaison Officer for United States Forces Korea (USFK), and G3 Aviation Officer for Eighth United States Army (EUSA).

Mr. McInnis' final active duty assignment was as Director of Operations at the United States Army Safety Center where he served from Aug 1999-Jan 2004. He returned to the re-named Army Combat Readiness Center in 2006 as an Army civilian as the Director of Accident Investigation and Reporting at the USACRC for 12 years before assuming his current role.

Lloyd Tillman

Director of Emergency Management and Resilience, Tampa International Airport

Lloyd has more than 20 years of airport management experience and is currently serving as the Director of Emergency Management and Resilience for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. In his current role, he oversees emergency preparedness, critical event management, safety, and operational resilience for Tampa International Airport.

Lloyd started his career as an Emergency Medical Technician and Airport Rescue Firefighter. He is a graduate of Florida Institute of Technology where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Management/Flight Technology. He is a Commercial Pilot with Instrument and Multi-Engine Ratings. He has achieved his Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives and received the FAA's Airport Safety Mark of Distinction Award in 2013. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Airports Council one of the largest state based airport organizations representing all 20 commercial service airports and 79 general aviation airports.


Information Security Officer, Technology & Innovation, City of Tampa

Martin Zinaich is the Information Security Officer for the City of Tampa's Technology and Innovation Department. He installed the City's first directory service, LDAP, web, DNS, email, desktop management and vulnerability assessment services, created an Information Security Office instituted a PCI program, developed a comprehensive Security Charter, instituted end-user awareness education and briefed top management on Information Technology Business Risk.

Prior to joining the City of Tampa, Martin spent 15 years in the private sector as a Research and Development engineer, then as the Technical Manager of a three-shift cable broadband repair facility. Martin also served as both Technical Manager and Operations Manager, sustaining billing and production levels.

Martin has received the Cybersecurity Leadership and Innovation Award from the Center for Digital Government. He is a member of the Domestic Security Task Force Cyber Terrorism Focus Group. He has written articles published in Popular Communications, Network World and Novell Research AppNotes. He holds a BS in Information Technology, BS in Business Administration, and an AS in Electronics Technology. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified In Risk And Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), Payment Card Industry Professional (PCIP), Internal Security Assessor (ISA), Certified Novell Engineer (CNE), Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), and a Toastmasters Competent Communicator (CC).

Karl Stonesifer

Strategic Account Manager, Check Point Software Technologies

Karl lives by the mantra, “If someone were writing a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?”  Every day, he strives to make that answer a resounding "YES." Karl is a Tampa Bay native and a 2013 United States Military Academy graduate. After graduation, he commissioned as an officer in the US Army Air Defense Artillery Corps, where he was selected to serve with an elite Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Battery in defense of assets in the Pacific Theater. Karl has been an outspoken advocate for United States missile defense and received the prestigious Missile Defender of the Year Award in 2016. During his time in service, Karl has had the opportunity to serve as a lead THAAD liaison and as an aide-de-camp to senior military officers. After an honorable discharge as an Army Captain, Karl switched gears and transitioned to the civilian sector. This time, Karl seeks to protect others from cyber threats instead of incoming missile attacks! Karl works as a strategic account manager for Check Point Software Technologies, the world’s largest global cybersecurity company.  Karl works tirelessly as a cybersecurity evangelist, helping organizations prevent today and tomorrow’s cyber threats.

Wayne Stubbs

Director, Port Panama City

Wayne began his career in 1979 as a boarding agent with Harrington and Co. in the Port of Savannah. From 1982 to 1986, he managed the export of bulk woodchips to Scandinavia as Executive Vice President of Savannah Sales Corporation.

In 1986, he moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida to develop and manage a new deepwater port. There he served as the President of Nassau Terminals. In 2001, he moved to Panama City, Florida to serve as the Executive Director of the Panama City Port Authority. Under his leadership, the Port of Panama City has invested over $150 million dollars in new facilities, and achieved a threefold increase in cargo activity. The Port has also played a major role in attracting new manufacturing to Northwest Florida.

Wayne has served as Chairman of the Florida Ports Council and Chairman of the FSTED Council. He is an advocate for utilizing Florida’s investment in Ports to attract new manufacturing industry to the State.

Mike Strickland

Belfor is a global leader in integrated disaster recovery and property restoration services, with more than 100 full-service offices in the United States. Mike, a 4th Generation Tampa Native, has over 17 years in the Restoration Industry. He has been with Belfor for over 3 years as the Senior Emergency Coordinator. Mike’s experience also includes three years as a Public Insurance Adjuster. One of Mike’s primary roles are to spearhead Emergency Recovery Plans. During his off duty time, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife of 13 years and his son. Hobbies include coaching traveling baseball, boating & fishing, and he is an avid fan of all Tampa Bay Teams. This is proven by his five year affiliation with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their run and capture of the 2002 Super Bowl Championship. 

Mark R. Martinez

Mark R. Martinez is the Installation Emergency Manager for MacDill Air Force Base, Dept. of the Air Force, Tampa, Florida.  Before joining Team MacDill in 2018, he worked as the Installation Emergency Manager for Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia for 13 years.  Mark is a retired US Air Force E-7 and spent seven years as a Security Policeman and 13 years as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Disaster Preparedness Emergency Manager before retiring in 2008.

Mark started his career with the US Air Force in 1989 and has been stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, March Air Force Base in California, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Lajes Field Azores in Portugal, and Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Currently, Mark manages the 6th Air Refueling Wing Installation Emergency Management Program which, beyond the wing, provides direct support to the headquarters for United States Central Command and United States Special Operations Command. In addition, he provides support to twenty-eight other mission partners with a base population of over 19,000 personnel, 604 base facilitites spanning over 5 million square feet or real property, on a 5,700-acre installation valued at over $6.4B.

Nevada Smith

Airport Operations Manager, Airfield  

Nevada Smith joined Team TPA in 2015 after retiring from the Coast Guard flying helicopters. He is currently an Airport Operations Manager and is in charge of the TPA’s drone program.

Larry Somerville

Belfor is a global leader in integrated disaster recovery and property restoration services, with more than 100 full-service offices in the United States. Larry, a Tampa area resident since 1951 and graduate of University of South Florida, has been with Belfor Property Restoration for over 29 years. In addition to being an Account Manager for Belfor, Larry has also held his Property and Broker License for over 16 years. Larry also takes on extra duties as an instructor at the Florida Department of Insurance. When not at work, Larry enjoys time with his loving wife of 45 years, his two children and three grandchildren. Hobbies include reading Civil War history, playing golf and supporting the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kris Kinnison

Kris Kinnison is a Site Superintendent with The Mosaic Company and part of the distribution leadership team.  Responsible for the safe and secure movement of bulk chemicals within the Port of Tampa.  After spending over two decades directly involved with the storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia, Kris knows what true engagement means when it comes to emergency response.  Continually striving for the next level of preparedness, with challenging drills and exercises that simulate real-life incidents.

Keynote Speaker - Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Bob Gualtieri began his law enforcement and public service career as a detention deputy working in the Pinellas County jail in 1982.  After attending the police academy, he joined the Dunedin Police Department as a patrol officer and later rejoined the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as a law enforcement deupty.  Over the next 15 years Sherrif Gualtieri served in many different components of the agency, including several years conducting domestic and international drug trafficking investigations as part of a DEA task force.

Sheriff Gualtieri earned his bachelor's degree from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg and his law degree from Stetson University College of Law.  After graduation from Stetson and being admitted to the Flroida Bar, Sheriff Gualtieri entered private practice in Tampa, specializing in labor and employment defense.  Sheriff Gualtieri is admitted to practice law in all Florida courts, before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the United States District Courts in the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida.

Sheriff Gualtieri returned to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in 2006 as its general counsel and was appointed chief deputy (second in command) in 2008.  Sheriff Gualtieri served in the dual role of general counsel and chief deputy until the governor appointed him sheriff in 2011.  He was elected and re-elected sheriff in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

Sheriffi Gualtieri is president of the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and served on the board of directors of the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA). He is also an Executive Fellow for the National Police Foundation, a member of the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Police Executive Research Forum.

On a national level, Sheriff Gualtieri has represented NSA and MCSA while working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develp a lawful process that prevents the release of criminal illegal aliens back into the community from our jails.

Following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) in February of 2018, Governor Rick Scott appointed Sheriff Gualtieri to serve as the chair of the MSDHS Public Safety Commission.  The commission issued a 500 page report in January 2019 and Sheriff Gualtieri continues to advocate for more effective school safety measures in Florida and across the country.

For his efforts to enhance school safety and work with ICE to prevent the release of criminal illegal aliens back into our communities, the NSA named Sheriff Gualtieri its 2019 Sheriff of the Year among 3,100 sheriffs nationwide.

During Sheriff Gualtieri's years as sheriff, he has established multiple new initiatives in Pinellas County, many of which are being replicated by other jurisdictions: Pinellas Safe Harbor, an emergency homeless shelter and jail-diversion program that provides to the homeless and keeps them out of the criminal justice system; Adult Pre-Arest Diversion program, which keeps minor crime first time offenders out of jail; a Mental Health Unit that diverts people to the mental health system and away from the criminal justic system; Operation H.O.M.E. (Habitual Offender Monitoring Enforcement), a countywide effort to reduce teen crime; and a School Guardian Unit to ensure safer K12 campuses in Pinellas County.

Sheriff Gualtieri is active in many community organizations and serves on the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board, and the boards of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast and Pinellas Sheriff's Police Athletic League.  Sheriff Gualtieri has also received many awards and recognitions for his effort to improve public safety, including the 2019 Homeland Security Leadership Award, the 2019 Stetson University Distinguised Alumni Award, and being named 2014 Sheriff of the Year by Crisis Internvention Team International for his work on mental health issues.

Katja Miller, MECM

Katja Miller, the Operations Section Chief for Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management, comes with 8 years of emergency management and civil service experience.  She began her career serving as a Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for Whetstone Fire District and Huachuca City Fire Department in southeastern Arizona.  Her experiences inspired her to want to help people devastated by tragedy rebuild their lives. She returned to her hometown of Tampa, FL in 2016, and while completing her undergraduate degree, was an active member of the USF Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) and interned for Pinellas County Office of Emergency Management.

In 2019, Ms. Miller accepted a position with the Recover Tampa Bay Initiative (RTBI) as the Disaster Recovery Liaison, a 501.c.3 Long Term Recovery Organization (LRTO) that covered Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties.  After a year, she was promoted to Deputy Director until transitioning over to Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management in July 2020.  In her role as the Human Services/ Mass Care Emergency Management Program Coordinator, she oversaw Mass Care, Food and Water, Public Health, Pet Resources and Volunteers and Donations Management.  She also functioned as the Human Services Brace Director during emergency operations.  In May 2022, Ms. Miller was promoted into her current role as Operations Section Chief.

Ms. Miller holds a master's degree in Emergency and Crisis Management from the University of Central Florida, a B.S. in Public Health with a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the University of South Florida, and an A.A.S. in Fire Science Technology from Cochise College.

Her significant Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activations include Hurricane Irma 2017, Deployment to Bay County Florida in support of Hurricane Michael 2018, Tropical Storm Eta 2020, Hurricane Elso 2021, Super Bowl LV 2021, and COVID-19 2020-2022.

Katie Hill

Katie Hill is a 12-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), currently serving as the Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) of the Tampa Field Office's Domestic Terrorism Squad. In her current position, SSA Hill supports, coordinates, and provides oversight of the Airport Program, Weapons of Mass Destruction Program, Rail Security, Maritime Security, Special Events, and Special Agent Bomb Technicians, as they relate to the Tampa Field Office area of responsibility (AOR).

Upon graduation from New Agent Training, SSA HIll spent six years assigned to a Complex Financial Crimes Squad in the Detroit Field Office where she investigated large-scale multi-million-dollar white-collar fraud schemes conducted from the metropolitan area.  In 2015, SSA Hill transferred to the San Juan Field Office where she worked Domestic Terrorism matters and then supervised the International Terrorism Squad, to include the management of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  During her tenure in the San Juan Field Office, SSA Hill became the Airport Liaison Agent (ALA) for the Governor Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, a Category X airport, transferred to the Tampa Field Office where she continued her Domestic Terrorism work as well as becoming the ALA for the Tampa International Airport.  In addition, SSA Hill served as the Tampa Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator for the Tampa Field Office, until her promotion to SSA.

SSA Hill holds a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies, as well as a Juris Doctorate.

Joseph W. Lopano, Chief Executive Officer, Tampa International Airport

Joe Lopano was appointed on January 1, 2011 as Tampa International Airport's new Chief Executive Officer.  A true visionary of the industry with more than 40 years of commercial aviation experience, he has led tremendous growth and service expansions at TPA

Prior to accepting the CEO role at America's Favorite Airport, he worked at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for 14 years as its Executive Vice President for Marketing and Terminal Management and held leadership positions at Continental Airlines.

Joe serves on the board of the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization and he is a member of the Executive Committee for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.  Joe is a member of the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society and a past Honorary Commander at MacDill Air Force Base.  He's also a member of Leadership Florida's Cornerstone Class 30.  Nationally, Joe serves on the Airports Council World Governing Board, the U.S. Travel Association's (USTA) Board and Executive Committee and is Chairman of the USTA Gateway Airports Council

Joe was named 2021's Airport Director of the Year by the Florida Department of Transportation, 2018 Large Airport Director of the Year by Airport Experience News (AXN) and the 2017 Person of Vision by Preserve Vision Florida.  He was Visit Tampa Bay's 2015 Ambassador of the Year and received the 2015 Aviation Professional of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Transportation. In 2019 he received the H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award from the Tampa Bay Chamber and most recently, was awarded the 2022 Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Herman W. Award for Regional Leadership.

He received a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Pace University in New York. He and his wife, Janet, live in South Tampa and have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Adam Bouchard

Adam Bouchard is the Vice President of Operations for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which operates Tampa International Airport, Peter O'Knight Airport, Plant City Airport, and Tampa Executive Airport.  Before joining the Aviation Authority in 2015, he worked in progressive leadersip roles for American Airlines in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

In his current role, Adam helps lead Airfield Operationa, Terminal Operations, Guest Experience, Security Operations Compliance, Emergency Management, and Resilience, the Airport Operations Center, Lost and Found, and the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting teams.

During his time at the airport, Tampa Internatioal Airport has been recognized as an industry leader and innovator in areas including Unpiloted Aircraft Systems, COVID-19, and community engagement and community relations matters regarding noice and NextGen initiaitives, in addition to work around regulatory compliance.

Mr. Bouchard attained his BA in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL and his MBA, Marketing 2022 at Penn State University State College, PA.

Aimee Pidgeon

Manager, Emergency Management and Special Projects, Tampa International Airport

Aimee Pidgeon has 20+ years' experience in the public sector.  She currently serves as the Emergency Management and Special Projects Manager for the Tampa International Airport.  Aimee manages the Airport's emergency preparedness and continuity program, leading the agency in many large-scale planning functions, to include sports event planning, conference planning, incident response planning, continuity planning, and other disaster-related operational planning efforts and training.  She also manages the department's college internship program and participates in several educational forums around the State of Florida. Most recently, Aimee led the Tampa International Airport's planning team for Super Bowl LV, collaborating with the NFL, Host Committee, and Law Enforcement agencies around Hillsborough County. Previously, she held a position in Law Enforcement Compliance for the Tampa International Airport.  Prior to joining the Airport, Aimee spent 13 years at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and held positions in Compliance, Administration and Budget Management.

Aimee is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), Florida Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEPA), and Florida Airports Council (FAC).  She is a past-Vice Chair of the Education Committee for the Florida Airports Council.

Aimee Pidgeon holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of South Florida.

Brian LaMarre

Mr. Brian LaMarre works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) as the Meteorologist-in-Charge and field office director of the Tampa Bay Area Weather Forecast Office. The NWS Tampa office provides weather, water, and climate services across west-central and southwest Florida. Brian is also the Lead of the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team focused on bringing people and resources together to promote NOAA’s science and public safety and research missions across the Gulf of Mexico region of five states.

Brian started his career with the NWS in 1992 and has worked at field offices in Hartford, Connecticut; Corpus Christi and Lubbock, Texas; and Tampa, Florida. Brian also served as the national program manager of the NWS for coastal and marine weather services at the NWS headquarters in Washington D.C. Brian has been the meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Tampa office since 2007 and has focused on leading new and innovative services to enable decisions to protect life and property. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and a master’s degree in management with a specialization in leadership and organizational change.

Bridgette Bello

Bridgette Bello, CEO and Publisher of Tampa Bay Business & Wealth, was the former president and publisher of the Tampa Bay Business Journal for 11 years.  She is a longtime media professional with more than 30 years of experience and was the first woman publisher in the newspaper’s 40-year history. She has worked in almost every aspect of the media business from writing for a daily newspaper to buying advertising as a media buyer for ad agencies, and everything in between. Bridgette has run successful sales departments in both print and broadcast positions, as well as award-winning news teams across both platforms.  In its first year of publishing, TBBW the magazine was awarded two Charlie Awards by the Florida Magazine Association.  TBBW is currently a winner of 2 more Charlie Awards, although the ranking has yet to be announced. TBBW won Small Business of the Year, in the startup category, for 2021. Bridgette is a previously Governor Appointed Vice Chair for St. Petersburg College board of trustees for 8 years, Chair of the St. Petersburg Collegiate High School audit selection committee, and member of the Jameis Winston Foundation board. Currently she is Board of Directors emeritus for The Spring of Tampa Bay, past Chair of the American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk to stop diabetes, and a CEO’S Against Cancer, Florida Chapter Member.  She also chaired the gala for the Alzheimer’s Association, is board of directors for CEO Council, a Project Opioid Tampa Bay Coalition member and on various nonprofit board committees including chair of the Man and Woman of the Year and Light the Night recruitment committees. She is a member of the Advisory Board for Bigfoot Reduction, a privately held corporation in Tampa Bay. She was the St. Petersburg Chamber “Business Woman of the Year” for 2011, and Best Moms of the Bay for 2012. She is the mom of 3 beautiful 26-year-old children, all productive members of society.    

Captain John W. Murray - CEO, Port Canaveral

Captain John W. Murray joined the Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) in February 2016.  A highly respected maritime executive, Capt. Murray brings a wealth of maritime experience to his role as Chief Executive Officer and Port Director for one of the world's most dynamic ports.
Prior to joining CPA, Capt. Murray was president and chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd USA, the U.S.-flag shipping subsidiary of Hapag-Lloyd AG, a leading global liner shipping company. A 40-year maritime industry veteran, Capt. Murray has held numerous positions of responsibility, rising through the management ranks following various mergers and acquisitions at Lykes Lines, CP Ships and finally, Hapag-Lloyd.
A U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, Capt. Murray earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nautical  Science from the Maine Maritime Academy.

Capt. Murray is at the helm of Port Canaveral, one of Florida's fastest growing seaports.  With a staff of more than 200 Port employees, he manages a world-class gateway for cruises, cargo, recreation and logistics, as well as a gateway to new frontiers, including space.
Capt. Murray has been a member of the National Cargo Bureau since 1997, was elected to the American Bureau of Shipping in 2016, and is appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Transportation Research Board.  He served on the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Executive Working Group (EWG) and participated in the biannual Department of Defense forum established to regularly interact with commercial ocean carriers supporting U.S. military sealift requirements.  Capt. Murray has testified before the U.S. Congress as a subject matter expert in maritime industry management and vessel operations in a global economy. His additional professional affiliations include a long-standing member of the National Defense Transportation Association, the Navy League of the United States, the Council of American Master Mariners, and the International Propeller Club chapters in Washington, D.C., Tampa and Port Canaveral, Florida.

Captain Richard Phillips (Ret.)

Captain Phillips is the author of A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates , Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, the story of his experience and his remarkable rescue. This dramatic story was also made into a motion picture by Columbia Pictures, STARRING Tom Hanks.

Captain Phillips is a 1979 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a member of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots Union, and a licensed American merchant mariner. He became Captain of the MV Maersk Alabama in 2008. Captain Phillips married Andrea Coggio in 1987. They have two children, Mariah and Danny, and reside in Underhill, Vt.

Charlie Vazquez

Charlie began his Law Enforcement career in 1993 as a Dispatcher for the Houston (Texas) Police Department (HPD).  In 1995, he was sworn in as a Police Officer and served for the next 22 years with HPD earning the ranks Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain before being appointed to Assistant Chief in 2013.

His various assignments included multiple patrol divisions, Jail Division, Special Operations Division, Vice Division, Night Commander, and Property Division.  His final assignment at HPD, as Assistant Chief, was overseeing the Professional Development Command, which included the Training Division, Recruiting Division, Employee Services Division, Inspections Division and Psychological Services Division.

Charlie has earned numerous awards for his police service including 100 Club Officer of the Year, Humble Area Chamber of Commerce Officer of the Year, twelve Chief Commendations, a Lifesaving Award, 32 Supervisor Commendations and numerous citizen letters.

Charlie retired from the Houston Police Department in June of 2017 and has since served as the Director of Public Safety and Security and Chief of Police for the Tampa International Airport Police Department.  He is the Immediate Past President of the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association (after serving two years as President) and serves on the Board of the Florida Police Chiefs Association as a Director.

Charlie is a graduate of Mountain State University where he earned his BA Degree with Honors in Organizational Leadership.  He also holds an MBA Degree with Honors from Texas Woman's University.  He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 252, Senior Management Institute for Police Session 58, and Police Executive Leadership Institute, Session 4, and FDLE Command Executive Seminar, Class 54.

Prior to his law enforcement career, Charlie served in the United States Army for eight years as an Air Traffic Controller where he attained the rank of sergeant.  His military service included a combat tour in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Charlie is married to his wife of 34 years, Liz.  Charlie is an avid cyclist and tuner, having completed more than 50 marathons.

Corporal Michael Jernigan - USMC (Ret.)

Corporal (Retired) Mike Jernigan is a third generation Marine. Having enlisted in the Marines on his 24th birthday in 2002, he was sworn in by his father, Major Michael V. Jernigan, Ret., United States Army.  He completed boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina and went to the School of Infantry Camp Geiger where he received the MOS of 0351, Infantry Assaultman.
Mike's first duty station was Camp Lejeune with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.  He soon became an active duty augment to Weapons Company, 1st Batallion, 25th Marine Regiment, and completed a 6 month deployment to Camp Schwab in the Island of Okinawa.
At the end of this deployment he volunteered to transfer to Easy Company, 2nd Battallion, 2nd Marine Regiment.  With 2/2 he deployed to Iraq where he served as squad leader with Weapons Platoon.  Mike served  in Mahmudiyah, Zaidon, and Fallujah during the summer of 2004.  On August 22, 2004 his humvee was struck by an IED (roadside bomb).  Mike lost both eyes, suffered a crushed cranium and severe trauma to his right hand and left knee.
He recovered at the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, completed the Traumatic Brain Injury program and James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa, Florida, and then completed a 16-week blind rehabilitation program in Augusta, Georgia at the VA.  He was medically retired December 29, 2005.
While serving in the Marine Corps, Mike completed Jungle Warfare School in Okinawa and received a Combat Action Ribbon and Purple Heart while serving in Iraq.
Mike attended Georgetown University in 2008/2009.  He graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, majoring in History.  He started his first job after college as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs immediately after graduation in the spring of 2012. 

Damien Trower

Head of Airport Security

Damien joined the Gatwick team in February 2018 as the Head of Airport Security. Prior to joining Gatwick, Damien served for 20 years in the military as an Army Officer and Pilot.  He has wide experience of National Security operations and finished his career as an Assistant Attache' within the British embassy in Washington D.C. He is now responsible for leading Gatwick's security operations, service as a Silver commander in crisis, and acting as lead for Counter UAS policy and procurement.

Damien has a BSc (hons) in Marine Biology from the University of Wales, a MSc in Defence Technology from Cranfield University, and a MA in Defence and Security Studies from Kings College London.  Damien is also a Chartered Fellow of the CMI.

Dana W. Hudson, Founder and CEO of c6 Strategies LLC

Dana W. Hudson is founder and CEO of c6 Strategies LLC, a federal government relations and public affairs firm. Dana has lobbied elected officials and policy-makers on behalf of diverse public and private interests at all levels of government for more than 20 years.
As a #ChangeAgent and connector of good people, Dana advocates to brings forward cutting edge, private sector innovation in order to meet the needs of the warfighter and our nation’s first line responders. Dana serves as a trusted resource to Congressional leaders and to the Defense, Special Operations, Intelligence and Homeland Security communities.
Dana is a graduate of Virginia Tech University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, concentrating in Legal Studies. She is a member of the OSS Society, serves on the Board of the National Defense Industrial Association  (NDIA) SO/LIC Division (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict) and the USO Young Professionals Committee. Dana is a passionate community servant who volunteers and advocates for several veteran’s associations, as well as local and national animal rescue organizations

David R. Mica - Florida Petroleum Council

Mr. Mica is the Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council.  The Florida Petroleum Council is a division of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association with more than 600 members representing all sectors of the petroleum industry including most of the nation's major oil companies.

Deacon Joseph Krzanowski, PhD

Deacon Joe is a native of Connecticut.  He is the oldest of four children.  He completed his studies at the University of Connecticut obtaining a degree in pharmacy.  It is also where he met his wife of 59 years.  Following marriage in 1963 he obtained a doctorate at the Medical Unites of University of Tennessee in Memphis. He completed 3 years of postdoctoral studies in neurochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, MO before coming to Tampa n 1971.  He was one of 14 faculty who gathered to start the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. He retired as full professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs.  He was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church on May 2, 1987.  For the last 35 years he served at Incarnation Catholic Church (25 years) and Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (10 years).  Deacon Joe serves on the Bishops Committee for liturgy. He is a certified airport chaplain and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Catholic Airport Chaplains and is a member of the International Conference of Civil Airport Chaplains.  He and his wife have had the privilege of meeting Pope Francis in a personal audience.


Dr. Rachelle Idziak - USF Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Rachelle Idziak earned her medical degree from the University of South Carolina and is currently a researcher in the Internal Medicine department at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicne.  Her reasearch interests include diabetes care and management, as well as primary care access for individuals who have experienced trauma.  She is also a chronic illness advocate across socail medias.  In her free time, she rides her horse Calvin and enjoys painting watercolor.

Dr. Yu Yu Zhang

Dr. Yu Yu Zhang is a Professor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of South Florida (USF). She serves as the Director of National Institute for Congestion Reduction (NICR), a USDOT National University Transportation Center, and the Program Director of Advance Air Mobility at CUTR. In aviation research, Dr. Zhang has led about twenty projects sponsored by USDOT, FAA, FDOT, and TRB, focusing on air traffic management, performance evaluation of NextGen initiatives, and integrated airspace with new entrants (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, unmanned aerial systems). She has led a series of pioneering studies on Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), including integrated network design and demand estimation, automated pre-departure flight planning, environmental impact analysis of AAM, simulation platform development for performance analysis of AAM system, etc. Dr. Zhang holds Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of California Berkeley in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bachelor from Southeast University of China in Transportation Engineering.  

Emilio F. Salabarria

Emilio is a native of Tampa, Florida; in July 2022, he joined Cyber Florida as the Deputy Senior Executive Advisor responsible for providing advanced, expert knowledge and subject matter expertise in a specific subject area that contributes to the mission(s) and initiative(s) of The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (aka Cyber Florida) at The University of South Florida (USF). This includes but is not limited to technical and professional cybersecurity training and development, including simulations and cyber range exercises; public policies (including government legislation and regulation) related to cybersecurity and national security; cybersecurity-related technologies, and/or support for elements and aspects of the state’s critical infrastructure and industrial/economic base.

Emilio worked for the Tampa Electric Company (TECO) as the Emergency Management and Business Continuity Director, Emilio worked for The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) as the Global Life Safety Manager, and he also worked at the Tampa Port Authority (TPA) as the Director of Safety and Training.

Emilio worked for Tampa Fire Rescue (TFR) where he advanced up the ranks to Division Fire Chief of Special Operations, supervising the TFR Specialty Teams.  He participated as part of the TFR planning team for many Gasparilla Parades, the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC), and Super Bowl 43. 

Emilio’s education includes Associate of Science Degrees in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science from Hillsborough Community College, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Northwood University, and a Master of Science in Critical Incident Management from Saint Leo University.

Eric Caplan

Sustainability and Resilience Program Director for HCAA

Eric is a Florida native, born and raised in St. Petersburg. Before entering the fields of sustainability and resilience, Eric achieved a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Central Florida, and a double M.S. from the University of Florida; one in Natural Resource and Policy, and the other in Environmental Engineering. Prior to joining Tampa International Airport (TPA) as the Sustainability and Resilience Program Director, Eric served as the Energy, Sustainability and Buildings Division Manager for Manatee County, FL Government, as well as the Energy Analyst for the Mayor’s Office of the City of St. Petersburg. Additionally, Eric has professional experience in the Environmental Protection, Emergency Management and Public Health fields. In addition to supporting community sustainability initiatives and promoting TPA sustainability efforts to the public at large, Eric internally manages the Sustainable Management Plan (SMP), the Resilience Action Plan (RAP), and Airport Carbon Accreditation Program (ACA) efforts on behalf of all the airports that make up the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

General (Ret) Kenneth F. “Frank” McKenzie, Jr.

General (Ret) Kenneth F. “Frank” McKenzie, Jr. became the Executive Director of the University of South Florida’s Global and National Security Institute in May 2022. In July 2022, he also became the Executive Director of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida.

He is the former Commander, United States Central Command. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, upon graduation from The Citadel in 1979, General McKenzie was commissioned into the Marine Corps and trained as an infantry officer.

He has commanded at the platoon, company, battalion, Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and component levels. As a lieutenant colonel, he commanded First Battalion, Sixth Marines. As the Commanding Officer of the 22d MEU (SOC), he led the MEU on combat deployments to Afghanistan in 2004 and Iraq in 2005-06. In 2006-07 he served as the Military Secretary to the 33rd and 34th Commandants of the Marine Corps.

Upon promotion to Brigadier General in July 2007, he served on the Joint Staff as a Deputy Director of Operations within the National Military Command Center. In June 2008, he was selected by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be the Director of the Chairman's New Administration Transition Team (CNATT). In this capacity, he coordinated the efforts of the Joint Staff and the combatant commands in preparing for and executing a wartime transition of administrations.

In June 2009, he reported to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, to serve as the Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) for Stability. Upon his return from Afghanistan, in July 2010, he was assigned as the Director, Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J-5) for the U.S. Central Command. In August 2012, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as the Marine Corps Representative to the Quadrennial Defense Review. In June 2014, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command.

In October 2015, he was assigned to the Joint Staff to serve as the Director, J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff.

In July 2017, he was named the Director, Joint Staff. General McKenzie was promoted to the grade of General and assumed command of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in March 2019. He relinquished command of CENTCOM and retired from the Marine Corps on 1 April 2022, completing over 42 years of service.

General McKenzie is an honors graduate of the Armor Officer Advanced Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School of Advanced Warfighting. He was selected as a CMC Fellow in 1999, and served as a Senior Military Fellow within the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. He has a master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in history. He is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Applied Engineering at the University of South Florida, a Distinguished Senior Fellow on National Security at the Middle East Institute, a Member of the International Advisory Committee of the National Council on U.S. Arab relations, and a Member of the National Security Advisory Council, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Helda Durham

ACS Field Director, Southwest Region, Delta Air Lines

Helda Durham leads 11 stations across Delta's Southwest Domestic Stations Regions.  She supports 1000 Delta and 800 vendor employees for 224 departures daily, with a passenger capacity of 29,000, and manages a budget of $91M.

Ms. Durham began her aviation career with Northwest Airlines as an Arabic Customer Service Interpreter.  From there, she remained in the industry, next at Delta Air Lines.  She has gained experience in various areas of the operation including New Hire Onboarding/Mentoring, Leadership Development, International Operations, Ramp tower, and all areas of Airport Customer Service.

In her 25 years of experience across the various departments, building on relationships with Delta partners and airport authorities make Helda uniquely qualified for her current position as she supports the 11 stations of: AUS, BNA, DFW, ELP, HOU, IAH, JAN, MEM, MSY, SAT and TYS.

Helda Durham is a 2011 Chairman's Club Honoree, the most prestigious award within Delta and only given to 100 of the more than 90,000 employees every year.  Chairman's Club honors Delta employees who represent the spirit of Delta with their service and dedication.  Helda earned this honor for being a dedicated Delta employee who is #DeltaProud to serve as a leader in a company that is people-oriented and committed to putting its employees and customers first.  Her core belief continues to be taking care of the Delta people as key to the company's success.  Building on three focus core values: Trust, Innovation, and Responsibility.  The Delta Difference is the focus on delivering exceptional service and fulfilling the company's mission of "no one better connects the world."

Beyond work, Helda believes it is important to have a passport and travel the globe to experience new cultures.  At only 10 years of age, she and her family left their home in Baghdad amid political strife and moved to Detroit's Iraqi Chaldean community.  She is grateful for the opportunities she found in the United States and Continues to be an advocate of travel.

James J. Gibson, PhD

James Gibson, PHD, CPA, President of SAGICO and a Former US Marine

James serves as the President of SAGICO here in Tampa, Florida. SAGICO’s medical products are sold throughout the VA Hospital network and are all named in honor of the remarkable men who served our country with distinction and valor, to include numerous Medal of Honor Recipients. In doing so, SAGICO contributes a portion of their proceeds to various veteran's initiatives and foundations specifically directed either by the recipient themselves, or by their surviving family members.   

SAGICO or Spinal Analytics & Geometrical Implant Company, is an acronym that defines their mission statement, which is constantly thriving to improve spinal surgery options through bold and meaningful collaborations between our design engineers and surgeons.With first to market technology, SAGICO is a provider of spinal hardware and restoration technology developed from its own pipeline of products. With a design team capable of taking SAGICO’s advanced proven surgical techniques from concept to successful FDA Clearance, our team of creative based engineers work within the most stringent confines based on direct surgeon input dictated conclusively by patient outcomes and restoring sagittal balance. SAGICO has the ability to unlock the potential of the infancy stage of crafting new ideas to global deployment of product to the DOD / Veteran marketplace.SAGICO’s corporate and administrative offices are based in Tampa, Florida and its team has distributed products in over 60 countries. 

As a former recon sniper, James served as a member of several Special Operations Capable units within the US Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy. Having completed multiple deployments to the Middle East and Africa, their capabilities included maritime interdiction, deep reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, surveillance and target acquisition. He then served on a multi-national task force, with a primary focus on counterterrorism and overwatch support of hostage rescue capabilities. His time in service culminated with him bringing his skillset to a new joint NATO unit, formed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, operating exclusively in the arctic warfare environment.  

James obtained various educational degrees to include a PHD in International Business, and successfully passed the Certified Public Accountancy examination. He continues to support multiple veteran missions to include Support the Troops and is a sponsor of the Medal of Honor Society Annual Convention. Today, James and his beautiful wife of 30 years, Lori, reside in the Tampa area, and are the proud parents of 4 delightful and accomplished daughters and one Southeastern Guide Dog named Jax.


James S. "Hammer" Hartsell

Retired Marine Corps Major General James. S. "Hammer" Hartsell was appointed Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs by Gov. Ron DeSantis and unanimously approved by Florida's three Cabinet Officers during the May 4, 2021 Cabinet Meeting.

General Hartsell served in the United States Marine Corps with honor for 37 years of active and reserve duty, beginning as an enlisted Marine in 1981 and completing a distinguished and highly decorated military career as a Major General.

As a Lieutenant Colonel commanding 4th Reconnaissance Battalion in 2001-2003, he was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 1 and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.  In 2004, he was mobilized again and deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 as 1st Marine Division Senior Liaison to the Marine Expeditionary Force and awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Action Ribbon.  As a Colonel he was mobilized once again and deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom as Senior Liaison to NATO Regional Command South and subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit and Combat Action Ribbon.

As a General Officer he served as Commanding General of 4th Marine Division, comprised of 18,000 Sailors and marines in 37 states and during his command deployed units and teams to five Continents in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  General Hartsell then served as U.S. Pacific Command Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, where he was mobilized as J5 Strategy & Policy Director, and as Chief of Staff, of the 360,000 participant United States Pacific Command, and awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal.

While serving as Mobilization Assistant to the Commander U.S. Pacific Command, he concurrently served in a senior Department of Defense role as Director of the Department of Defense Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies working under the authority and direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and personally engaged senior level U.S. and Foreign Military and Civilian government delegations throughout the Indo-Pacific theater of operations.

Concurrent with his Reserve military career, General Hartsell completed a successful 22-year civilian career in the Healthcare Industry where he provided leadership in Marketing, Product Management, U.S. and Global Business Development, and Hospital Administration.

A very accomplished Marksman throughout his entire career, he earned his nickname "Hammer" as a young Captain while shooting in the Marine Corps Pistol Team. General Hartsell was the first Marine Distinguished Shooter to achieve General Officer rank in more than 60 years.

Upon retirement from the Marine Corps in 2018, he moved back to his home state of Florida and joined the Pasco Sheriff's Office where he launched the Future Operations Division. In 2019, he was called to join the leadership team of a 1,500-member constitutionally chartered State Veteran's Affairs department, where he continues to serve with passion and purpose on behalf of Florida's 1.5 million Veterans.

Jeff Patterson - Spcl Operations Chief (Ret.)

Chief Patterson is a 28-year fire service veteran from the Tampa Bay area having a heavy focus in the special operations realm.  Responsibilities included hazardous materials incidents, vehicle extrication, marine rescue and recovery, SWAT incidents, confined space rescue, trench rescue, structural collapse rescue, and wilderness rescue.  He has also been involved heavily in Homeland Security at the state level with a focus in US&R and critical infrastructure protection.
Chief Patterson also has a background in Emergency Managment with experienc on two Type III incident management teams in Georgia and Florida.  He has served in the capacity of Operations Section Chief, Logistics Chief, Liaison Officer and Safety Officer.
Since retiring in March of 2017, Chief Patterson remains active as an insstructor for the National Honor Guard Academy and is the president of Facility Response Global, which helps facilities with emergency response policy and procedure development, along with training and exercise planning.  He also assist his wife Shawne, who is an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team, assisting people and businesses with leadership and personal development.  He currently resides in Thomasville, Georgia with Shawne and his son Kaden while living next to his daughter Halee and one-year-old grandson, Jayce.

Jessi Neitzel B.S., CWP, Health Promotion Manager, Cigna

Jessi Neitzel joined Cigna in January 2015 as the Health Promotion Manager in the North Florida Sales Market. Jessi’s responsibilities include assisting the sales team with completing an assessment of client’s employee health and wellness culture to design a wellness strategy and program that is customized to their workforce, goals and budget.

Jessi is certified by the National Wellness Institute as a Certified Wellness Practitioner and has tremendous passion for health and wellness with over 10 years of experience in worksite health promotion. She serves on the Board of Directors for Healthy Sarasota County’s Workplace Wellness Collaborative and is on the Wellness Council of Tampa Bay’s Steering Committee.

Prior to joining Cigna, Jessi designed, implemented and managed the WELCOA Gold-Award Winning Well-Workplace Program at Tidewell Hospice in Sarasota, FL. Over the 4 years Jessi was with Tidewell, she lead the Tidewellness leadership team, managed health management program initiatives, oversaw vendor relationships, and developed, administered, implemented, evaluated, and measured wellness programs for over 800 employees.

Jessi has a robust understanding of comprehensive wellness programs that are both participatory and outcomes based as she strategically designed numerous wellness program by tying in financial wellness incentives to the medical plan benefits structure, which has resulted in up to 95% participation rates. She has experience measuring results including improved health status and ROI associated with health management strategies.

Jessi holds a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Health Promotion and Wellness from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She also is a Certified Health Coach throuh Wellcoaches (trademarked), holds WELCOA Faculty Status, and is a Certified Freedom from Smoking Facilitator by the American Heart Association.

Jessi resides in Ellenton, FL with her husband and two sons.  She enjoys competitive running and is a snowboard enthusiast.