Speaker List

Captain Mark Kelly

American astronaut, retired United States Navy Captain, #1 New York Times best-selling author

Read More

An American hero who exemplifies effective leadership and courage under pressure, highly decorated American astronaut, Captain Mark Kelly continues to secure his place in history, partnering with his identical twin brother, Scott from the ground in a historic yearlong space expedition and NASA’s unprecedented study on how space affects the human body.

Already an experienced aviator and retired US Navy Captain, Kelly began his illustrious career with NASA in 1996, spending more than 50 days in space and commanding both the Space Shuttle Endeavour and Space Shuttle Discovery.

Kelly is also a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a founder of World View Enterprises, a company pioneering a new frontier at the edge of space.

From leading teams in some of the most dynamic environments imaginable, to the thrill of spaceflight, to the personal tragedy that exposed how love and devotion to family is paramount to defining and achieving success, Kelly offers insights drawn from his various and extensive experiences that are truly out of this world.


Cliff Pyron

Chief Commercial Officer | Georgia Ports Authority

Read More

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.

Read More

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.


Griffith V. Lynch

Executive Director | Georgia Ports Authority

Read More

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, 2017 GFTC General Chairman

Read More

James L. Allgood is 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.


Sara Evans

Multi-platinum entertainer, author, and Red Cross Ambassador

Read More

Multi-platinum entertainer SARA EVANS is at the top of her game. With five No. 1 Country singles including “No Place That Far,” “Suds In The Bucket, “A Real Fine Place To Start,” “Born to Fly,” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which spent 2 weeks in the top spot and was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A., Sara thrills audiences across the U.S. playing more than 50 shows each year. Her “stunning, country voice” (Rolling Stone) has earned her the prestigious Academy of Country Music Top Female vocalist accolade as well as numerous American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association, CMT and Grammy Awards nominations. In addition, the CMA awarded Video of the Year honors for her hit chart-topping single, "Born to Fly" from her double-platinum album of the same name. In 2014 Evans released her critically acclaimed seventh studio album Slow Me Down, which debuted at #2 on the Country Album Chart and landed in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, winning over fans and media alike and dubbed her best album to date. Named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," Evans’ career also includes the platinum-selling studio albums Real Fine Place and Restless and the gold-certified No Place That Far. Sara continues to forge a bold, creative path with the launch of Born To Fly Records, distributed by Sony RED, and has recently released her highly anticipated eighth studio album, “Words”.

In addition to a prolific country music career, Sara is an accomplished author, lifestyle blogger and Red Cross ambassador who in 2008 was presented with the national Crystal Cross award for her work with the disaster-relief organization.