Speaker List

Cliff Pyron

Chief Commercial Officer | Georgia Ports Authority

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Cliff Pyron is responsible for providing strategic leadership of the Georgia Ports Authority's business development and trade development activities. His principal accountability is to develop all commercial activities in order to sustain long-term growth and market share leadership. This includes all sales, marketing, economic development, promotional, trade show, and agency relations activities. Additionally, he collaborates with the executive management team to develop and execute the Authority's strategic plan, providing direction and oversight for success in the marketplace.

With a BS degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University, Pyron has more than 30 years of experience in the liner and logistics sector of the maritime industry. Prior to his appointment to the GPA in 2008, he served as Vice President - Sales, for NYK Line - North America in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Pyron had previously worked at Maersk-Sealand as Vice President - Sales, Southeast Region and was with the organization for a combined total of 19 years, more than five years in Hong Kong with Sea-Land Service, Inc. as General Manager, Hong Kong & So. China. He has had various liner, logistics, operational, marketing and back office support management capacities.

Dr. Walter Kemmsies

Managing Director, Economist and Chief Strategist, Ports, Airports and Global Infrastructure | Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

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Dr. Walter Kemmsies is a Managing Director, Economist and Chief Strategist for JLL’s U.S. Ports, Airports and Global Infrastructure Group. In this role, he executes initiatives for public and private sector clients who have interests in or properties proximate to seaports and airports throughout North America. He is also working to expand the U.S. Ports, Airports and Global Infrastructure Group’s expertise to the infrastructure sector and assist both public agencies and investors in underwriting, financing and evaluating new investment vehicles and opportunities.

Kemmsies is widely viewed as one of the foremost experts on ports, rail and infrastructure in the U.S. His areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, demand forecasting, maritime and overall global trade regulatory issues, public/private port and infrastructure financing as well as long term strategic planning/capital investment. Kemmsies’ professional experience working in Europe, Latin America and Asia uniquely qualifies him as a global trade economist.

Kemmsies currently advises several major U.S. Port Authorities and is routinely asked to work on complex issues with various investment banks, private equity firms and public regulatory agencies. He provides substantial support to the freight movement industry via a monthly column in American Shipper, presentations at major international industry conferences, and advising the U.S. Department of Commerce on supply chain competitiveness. Kemmsies recently testified to the U.S. Senate Transportation and Commerce Subcommittee on issues affecting the freight industry. He has also published research in scholarly journals.

Prior to joining JLL, Kemmsies was the Chief Economist for Moffat & Nichol, a leading global infrastructure advisement firm. Preceding his experience working with Moffatt & Nichol, he was the Head of European Strategy at JP Morgan in London and, earlier, Head of Global Industry Strategy at UBS in Zurich and London.   

Kemmsies is an advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness and the Department of Transportation’s National Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Valuation.  He is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, National Association of Business Economists, and International Association of Energy Economists.

Kemmsies holds a Doctorate degree in Economics from Texas A&M University, a Master of Arts in Economics from Florida Atlantic University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Florida Atlantic University.

George Goldman

President | ZIM USA

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George Goldman is the President, ZIM USA from September, 2015.  ZIM USA is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.

Formerly, George was with APL as their Head of Commercial of the Americas (Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Support for APL’s Liner division). This includes all commercial activities for North, Central and South America.  He recently relocated to the United States after serving 12 years in Asia where he was responsible for leading APL’s and APLL’s overseas regional business operations.

George had been with APL/NOL for the past 24 years and has worked in numerous management capacities. His overseas tenure began in 1996 as the Transpacific Market General Manager in Singapore, followed by ten years in China (Hong Kong & Shanghai) as Vice President & Managing Director of the region. He also served as Chairman of the Trade and Transportation committee in Shanghai for the American Chamber of Commerce.

George has a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University, California with an emphasis in Marketing and Cybernetic Systems. He attended graduate school at NYU and executive management courses at the University of Michigan. George was raised in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area and has lived in New York/New Jersey area, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong and is originally from the Netherlands.

George is married and has two sons. He currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee.

Gregory Tuthill

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer | CMA CGM (America) LLC

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As Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for CMA CGM (America) LLC, Mr. Tuthill currently manages all aspects of liner operating activities for the Americas. Prior to his current role, Mr. Tuthill held positions as Head of Operations at APL, and various executive positions during his 16 years at NYK Line in the areas of Operations, Trade Management, Pricing, Sales, and Marketing.

Mr. Tuthill served in the United States Naval Reserve as a commissioned officer for over eight years and holds a US Coast Guard Third Mates License.

He holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from New York State Maritime Academy and a Masters Degree in Financial Economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also holds a certificate in Financial Analysis from New York University.

Griffith V. Lynch

Executive Director | Georgia Ports Authority

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Griff Lynch is the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, an 1,100-person strong state port authority that owns and operates strategic gateways serving the U.S. Southeast. 

As Executive Director, Lynch oversees all port activity involving the deepwater ports of Savannah and Brunswick, as well as inland terminal operations in Bainbridge and Columbus.  Directing one of Georgia’s largest economic engines, he administers a $280 million annual budget.

Before becoming executive director, Lynch served as GPA chief operating officer for five years. As COO of the single largest container terminal in North America and second busiest U.S. auto port, he was responsible for sustaining the profitable growth and development of all operations, and maintaining world-class operating standards. His duties included overseeing ambitious capital improvement and development programs for five deep water ports and two inland terminals while maintaining strong relationships with numerous customers, labor officials and supply chain partners.

A proven leader in the maritime industry, Lynch brings more than 27 years of experience in the design and implementation of major port expansions, the effective execution of sustainable profit and productivity models and identifying winning sales and marketing strategies.

Lynch graduated from the State University of New York at Maritime College in 1988 and immediately began his training as a vessel planner. Over the course of his career, Lynch held executive positions in both sales and operations at terminals in New York and Virginia before joining the GPA in 2011.

James L. Allgood, Jr.

Chairman | Georgia Ports Authority Board, 2018 GFTC General Chairman

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Allgood is in his second term as chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority board. He is also the chairman of the Board of Allgood Pest Solutions, a company he started in 1974. He was chairman of the Structural Pest Control Commission for 20 years and is past president of the Georgia Pest Control Association. He has served as chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority, the Dublin Rotary Club, and the First United Methodist Church board. Allgood earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, was a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 1993, and was president of Leadership Georgia in 1996. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and three grandchildren. They reside in Dublin.


Vice President, Global Transportation and eCommerce Fulfillment | Big Lots, Inc.

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Michael Burns has held positions of increasing responsibility within the Logistics and Supply Chain field since graduating from The Ohio State University in 1991 with an MBA in Operations and Logistics Management. 

His experience spans industry, consulting and transportation/logistics providers giving him a unique perspective on developing and implementing supply chain solutions.  His work experience includes management and executive positions with IBM, Accenture, Exel (DHL) and Pacer. 

Currently Michael is the Vice President of Global Transportation and eCommerce Logistics for Big Lots, a $5.3B retailer with 1,435 stores in the continental United States.  His scope of responsibility includes strategy and execution of all international and domestic transportation in support of inbound from vendor and outbound to stores as well as both fulfillment and transportation operations for Big Lots’ eCommerce business.  In addition, he is responsible for customs compliance, CTPAT, and vendor compliance.

Michael J. White

Head of Global Trade Digitization | A.P. Moller - Maersk

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Mike White manages the Global Trade Digitization organization for Maersk. He is responsible for a global team which aims to establish a global platform to facilitate trade and create more transparency, efficiency and security within supply chains. GTD is a major step in our commitment to solve the problems our customers face in getting real-time visibility in their supply chain and the lack of standards of moving goods internationally.

Mike White built his career at Maersk and prior at P&O Nedlloyd, joining the organization in 1990 before the company was acquired by Maersk in 2005. For nearly two decades, he has held a number of leadership roles across many geographies. Prior to his current role, he served for 8 years as President of Maersk Line’s liner business in North America. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive for Maersk Line Central Europe managing activities for 12 countries. Before that, he was responsible for Maersk Logistics, Damco, Maersk Customs Services Inc, The Gilbert Company and Bridge Terminal Transport. From 1990-2005, Mike held a number of senior management positions including President & CEO of P&O Nedlloyd North America, President of Farrell Lines, and Director and Chairman of Port Newark Container Terminal.

He graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College in 1981, and has attended several executive programs at Harvard Business School and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

Mike is a licensed Customhouse Broker. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Virginia Wesleyan University.

Mike lives in New Jersey, United States, with his wife and two children.

Mike Hynekamp

President & COO | WWL AS Ocean

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Michael (Mike) Hynekamp joined WWL ASA after approximately 10 years in WWL AS, with his most recent role being Chief Operating Officer - Ocean. His previous experience includes thirteen years with Mercedes Benz (Daimler AG) across various roles in Operations and Finance both in the US and in Europe. He started his career with Ernst & Young LLP. Mike holds an MBA degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University as well as executive education from Columbia Business School, and is a licensed CPA, CGMA and holds a CTP accreditation.

Nathan Deal

Governor State of Georgia

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Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal has led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for five years in a row - a first in Georgia history - and helped create more than 650,000 private sector jobs. In the last six years, Georgia’s job growth has outpaced the national average while its population has jumped from 10th to 8th nationally.

Through tax reform, workforce development initiatives and investment in education and infrastructure, the state continues to grow local small businesses and attract top companies from around the world. During Gov. Deal’s tenure, Georgia has become a global destination for companies in a wide range of industries. Under Deal’s leadership, Georgia has produced six balanced budgets, saved millions of taxpayer dollars by maintaining Georgia’s AAA bond rating and grown the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to more than $2 billion.

In order to keep up with a growing infrastructure demand, Deal implemented a number of investments in Georgia’s transportation system. Deal worked with the General Assembly on the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, which included a number of significant infrastructure projects and will generate $10 billion in new transportation funding over 10 years. Transportation projects under Deal have alleviated traffic and improved safety for a growing state, including the completion of the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway extension near the Port of Savannah. To track the progress of infrastructure projects, the GA Roads website was launched to provide unprecedented clarity and transparency in these investments. Georgia’s infrastructure projects and transparency measures are currently being used as a model for other states across the nation.

Georgia also leads the nation in criminal justice reform. When Deal took office, Georgia was in the midst of a criminal justice crisis, with high incarceration costs and recidivism rates. To address these issues, Deal implemented a series of bipartisan reforms that have already paid dividends by saving taxpayers $264 million and reducing the need for 5,000 prison beds.

These reforms include:

  • Expanding access to Accountability courts to give new beginnings to nonviolent offenders with addiction or mental illness issues
  • Providing judges with greater discretion in sentencing juvenile offenders and expanding community-based options across the state
  • Removing barriers to employment, housing and education for rehabilitated offenders to give returning citizens a chance to rejoin the workforce and support their families
  • Increasing access to educational opportunities in Georgia's prison systems

Deal believes that education reform is the best criminal justice reform and a strong education system leads to a strong economy. Deal has made investments in education a top priority to strengthen the workforce pipeline that runs from the classroom to the job market.

  • Deal has dedicated more than 50 percent of state funds to education every year he’s been in office, devoting a higher percentage of the budget to k-12 funding than any governor in the past 50 years.
  • Deal worked closely with the General Assembly to save the HOPE Scholarship from bankruptcy to ensure its availability for future generations of college students.
  • Deal expanded the HOPE Grant, a scholarship that pays 100 percent of tuition for students to attend technical colleges to learn skills that are in high demand for Georgia’s workforce.
  • Deal established the REACH Georgia Scholarship, a public-private partnership that provides scholarships to promising middle school students from low-income families.
  • Deal created the Education Reform Commission to provide recommendations intended to improve our educational system, increase access to early learning programs, recruit and retain high-quality instructors and expand school options for Georgia’s families.
  • Deal also created the Teacher Advisory Committee, comprised of 90 educators throughout the state, to review recommendations from the 2015 Education Reform Commission in order to provide feedback for implementation.

A Sandersville native, Deal served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta after graduating with college and law degrees with honors from Mercer University. He then began a private law practice in Gainesville, the hometown of his wife, Sandra Deal. While his wife taught in Hall County public schools, Deal began a career in public service, working as a prosecutor, judge, state senator and U.S. Congressman for Georgia’s 9th District. Deal was re-elected as governor in 2014.

Pedro Cherry

Executive Vice President, Customer Service and Operations | Georgia Power

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Pedro Cherry serves as executive vice president of Customer Service and Operations (CSO) for Georgia Power. He leads 5,000-plus employees in the CSO organization with responsibility for the company’s customer service efforts, power delivery, sales, pricing and planning, regional external affairs and corporate services. Cherry is responsible for operating and maintaining an electric system that serves 2.5 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Cherry earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA in operations management and finance from Auburn University. He serves on the boards of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Clark Atlanta University, Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Tourism Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the advisory board of the Bank of North Georgia and the Georgia Chamber board of governors. Cherry is a member of the CFA Institute, 100 Black Men of Atlanta, the Auburn Athletics Strategic Advisory Committee and Auburn’s Alumni Engineering Advisory Council. He is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Georgia and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute.

Peter M. Tirschwell

Senior Director for Editorial Content | IHS Maritime & Trade

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Peter Tirschwell Senior Director for Editorial Content at IHS Maritime & Trade, a leading data, analytics and business intelligence organization serving the maritime industry globally through products and services including JOC, PIERS, AIS Live, World Trade Service and the Sea-web (formerly Lloyd’s Register) vessel characteristics database. In his role Peter leads the editorial teams of JOC and the IHS maritime media which includes brands such as Fairplay, Safety at Sea and Dredging & Port Construction.  

A career transportation journalist, Mr. Tirschwell was a reporter, West Coast Bureau Chief, Editor in Chief and Publisher of The Journal of Commerce daily newspaper in his 20+ year career with the company beginning in 1992. He is the founder and chairman of the annual TPM conference in Long Beach, Calif., one of the world’s largest shipping events, and oversees other leading JOC events such as TPM Asia, Inland Distribution and the JOC Europe conference in Hamburg launched in 2105. He led the development of the JOC Port Productivity data, the first global database of port performance able to compare ports and terminals on an apples-to-apples basis, on the basis of berth productivity. He writes a regular column in The Journal of Commerce, covering a range of international logistics topics, speaks regularly at industry events and has been quoted in mainstream business media including the BBC, CNBC, The Wall Street JournalFinancial Times and The New York Times.

Mr. Tirschwell lives in Brooklyn with his family and is an avid sports fan, fly fisherman and sailor.

William (Bill) F. Rooney

Vice President, Strategic Development | Kuehne + Nagel, Inc.

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William F. Rooney has 44 years of experience in transportation management covering a broad range business functions. He is currently Vice President, Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel Inc.

Until October of 2010, Mr. Rooney was President of Hanjin Shipping America accountable for all of Hanjin Shipping’s business activities in North and South America. Prior to joining Hanjin Shipping, he was Senior Vice President, Service Delivery for CMA-CGM. Prior to CMA-CGM he was Vice President, Ocean Services for GT Nexus, a logistics software provider. He also held many senior management positions with Sea-Land Service over a span of 25 years.

Mr. Rooney’s board memberships have included: the Pacific Maritime Association, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, The US Maritime Alliance, Consolidated Chassis Management, OCEMA, and the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Rooney received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Marist College in New York and a master’s degree in economics from Northeastern University in Boston.

William L. Ralph

Maritime Economist | R. K. Johns & Associates

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Bill Ralph is an experienced economist who has researched and published global trade forecasts and analyses of container transportation for domestic and international ports, ocean carriers, investment banks and government agencies.  He joined R.K. Johns & Associates thirteen years ago after a 15-year career with the Journal of Commerce and its sister company PIERS (Port Import Export Reporting Service).  Bill rose through the ranks at the JOC/PIERS under the ownership of the Economist magazine to become President and Publisher of the company.

At R. K. Johns & Associates, Bill and his colleagues provide commercially focused consulting with an entrepreneurial outlook to all segments of the transportation and logistics industries.  Ken Johns, the former President of Sea-Land Service, established the firm in 1987.

Prior to the JOC/PIERS, Bill spent ten years in the maritime and transportation industries as an Economist for the U.S. Panama Canal Commission, for Sea-Land Corporation and for Chase Econometrics (a division of the Chase Manhattan Bank).  Mr. Ralph holds a BA in Economics from the University of Delaware and an MA in Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island. 

Bill serves on numerous community boards and industry advisory panels and as Trustee for Holiday Express a volunteer nonprofit organization delivering music, toys, clothing, food and fun to the needy in the tri-state NY/NJ/CT area.