Irene Bloomfield is the vehicle distribution business and transportation manager at BMW of North America LLC. Bloomfield has 17 years of finance and logistics experience in the automotive industry, including 12 years of import-export experience in the retail sector. She has held various positions in finance and accounting at BMW, overseeing financial reporting, parts and warranty accounting. For the past five years, she has managed five vehicle distribution centers and is responsible for the ocean and VDC to dealer transportation in the U.S. Prior to BMW, Bloomfield performed public accounting at Deloitte and spent 12 years at Toys “R” Us developing franchise markets in Asia and the Middle East. Bloomfield has a Bachelor of Science in finance and accounting. She is married with two children.
Scott Cornell is the chief operating officer (COO) of Glovis America Inc., responsible for all aspects of Glovis America Operations including finished vehicle logistics, non-core business units, strategy and business development.
Cornell has more than 30 years of logistics experience which includes responsibility for global divisions while domiciled in both Europe and the U.S.
Cornell started his career as a Merchant Marine officer after receiving his degree in transportation from SUNY Maritime College.
He rose to the rank of Master for Unlimited tonnage vessels. During that time, he also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve. His first shoreside employment was with Hoegh Autoliners.
Cornell then led the commercial activities of Liberty Maritime Corporation and later at Hyundai Glovis. He was named COO of Glovis America Inc. in June 2019.
Stuart Countess is the chief operating officer (COO) for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG). In this position, Countess is responsible for leading the plant’s production division, overseeing the operations of the four manufacturing shops, as well as the production control and maintenance departments. Countess previously served as KMMG’s chief administrative officer where he was responsible for leading the human resources/administration division. After joining KMMG in 2008, he has also served as vice president, overseeing KMMG’s quality division and as the senior manager for general assembly. Prior to KMMG, Countess spent 13 years serving in numerous leadership roles at Mercedes Benz U.S. International in Vance, Ala. Prior to Mercedes, Countess was the senior supplier quality engineer for AUTECS, a tier 1 supplier for Nissan and Subaru. He also previously served as quality engineering administrator for Hughes Georgia in LaGrange, a division of Hughes Aircraft. Countess graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and received his Master of Business Administration from LaGrange College. He is proud to have raised 4 beautiful children, now all grown. He and his wife, Dana, reside in LaGrange, Ga.
Jeff Heller serves as the vice president of intermodal and automotive for Norfolk Southern. In this role, he has responsibility for NS’s intermodal and automotive marketing, sales and intermodal customer service. NS’s intermodal and automotive department includes five business divisions and subsidiary companies: domestic intermodal, international intermodal, automotive, thoroughbred direct and triple crown services and intermodal customer service. Heller joined NS’s international intermodal group in 1994 at the corporate headquarters in Norfolk, Va., and was appointed group vice president international intermodal in April 2004. Prior to joining NS, Heller held various sales and marketing management positions in the container shipping business, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Griff Lynch is the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, a 1,200-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 $455 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 30 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.
Dennis Manns is the senior automotive adviser to InStarAGF: Toronto, CN. InStarAGF is a leading private equity group that is very active in the acquisition of a variety of segment leading corporations. Manns provides automotive insight and direction on the acquisition of automotive related businesses. Manns is the executive vice president for North Motors Group, a leading OEM and automotive services executive advisory group. Manns is also a board member for AMPORTS: Jacksonville, Fla. AMPORTS is a leading automotive port services provider that was recently acquired by InStarAGF. Prior to this position, Manns served as the chief commercial officer (CCO) for Road & Rail Services, a Louisville, Ky. based logistic services provider. Manns has an extensive background in the automotive and logistics industries. His background includes 31 years at American Honda in Torrance, Calif. in both sales and operations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Manns previously served on the boards of the California Council for Economic Education (CCEE), American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Customer Advisory Board.
Will McKnight was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia. He graduated from The Academy of Richmond County in 1974 and from The Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979. Following his graduation from Tech, he continued to work for his family-owned construction company in Augusta and has been the President since 1996. Mr. McKnight has overseen the completion of over $1 billion in construction projects.
In addition to Mr. McKnight’s extensive career in the construction industry, he has remained active in his community by serving and chairing many boards and committees. He was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First Bank of Georgia in May 2010 and then served on the board of State Bank which sold to Cadence Bank in 2018. He is the past President and continued member of both the Augusta Country Club and Augusta Golf Association, and he has served on the boards of Associated General Contractors of America, Augusta Ballet, Richmond Academy Booster Club, Tuttle-Newton Home, Episcopal Day School and First Tee. Mr. McKnight is a member of the Exchange Club of Augusta and Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church. He has served on the Georgia Ports Authority since 2014 where he has chaired the Development Committee and Finance Committee and served as the Secretary Treasurer and currently Vice Chairman. He is a member of Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island Golf Club, and the Augusta National Golf Club where he has served on the Gallery Committee of the Masters since 2000 and is presently Chairman of the Grounds Committee for the Masters. He has also been a member of the Planning and Development Committee for AU Foundation as well as the Consolidation Committee for MCG and Augusta State University.
Uffe Ostergaard has worked in the container shipping industry for the past 27 years. He spent the first 20 years with Maersk, predominantly in the Copenhagen head office but also in various management positions in Europe, Africa and Asia. During this period, Ostergaard worked in trade management, served as managing director in various countries and held positions as senior director for strategy and head of global marketing. In 2013, Ostergaard joined UASC as chief commercial officer and a member of executive management in Dubai, with responsibility for all global commercial activities. As part of that role, he also held board positions and was chairman of organizations in China, India and the U.S. As part of the merger with Hapag Lloyd in 2017, Ostergaard became member of the executive committee. On April 1, 2018, he took over the position of president of Hapag-Lloyd (America) LLC and is responsible for all activities in the U.S. and Canada. Ostergaard is married with two children.
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.
Tan Hua Joo
Tan Hua Joo serves as an executive consultant with Alphaliner. Tan is also the founder and editor of the Alphaliner Weekly and Monthly reports. Tan has been involved in the container shipping industry for more than 20 years and has held senior positions in leading container shipping, container leasing and shipowning companies. Tan graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University. He also received an MBA from Stanford University in 2004.