Conference Panelists


Conference Panelists

Lauren Brand, Associate Administrator, Office of Ports and Waterways, Maritime Administration

Ms. Brand directs StrongPortssm, a national port infrastructure modernization program of more than $1.7 billion – that provides federal assistance for planning, funding and financing port and intermodal infrastructure projects. She is responsible for the continued development of America’s Marine Highway initiative (a/k/a short sea shipping) and manages the Agency’s offshore energy licensing projects. She also oversees the Secretary of Transportation’s Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee and their efforts to address strategic maritime issues across the nation. Previously, Mrs. Brand serves as Director for the Agency’s Office of Marine Highway and Passenger Vessels and as South Atlantic Gateway Director for MARAD, focusing on ports and intermodal connectors in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to joining MARAD in July 2008, Lauren was the Senior Director for Business Development at Port Canaveral, FL. For 13 years, she was part of the management team that worked to change the port from a niche cargo port to one of the top cruise ports in the world. Lauren has a degree in Transportation from Niagara University, earned a U.S. Customhouse Broker license in 1987 and, in 2000, earned a Professional Port Manager Certification from the American Association of Port Authorities.

Gaetano V. Cordone, Port Director, Area Port of Orlando, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Mr. Cordone oversees operations for the Orlando International Airport, the Sanford International Airport, and Port Canaveral. Prior to his selection as Port Director, Mr. Cordone served as the Director of the Analytical Management Systems Control Office (AMSCO), for the National Targeting Center (NTC) with oversight of data analysis operations responsible for detecting anomalies or processing patterns that may be indicative of potential integrity, training, or system issues. He managed the deployment of the Enforcement Link Mobile Operations-red flag (ELMOrf) program to 109 Ports of Entry (POE). Mr. Cordone has over 20 years of experience with United States (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection and the former U.S. Customs Service. Among his assignments, Mr. Cordone served as Country Team Manager for the Container Security Initiative (CSI) remotely managing CSI port operations for 16 CSI locations, as well as Chief Watch Commander for the Secure Freight Initiative and CSI programs at the NTC-C. Mr. Cordone is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Buffalo and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in Sociology. Mr. Cordone is also a graduate of the 2013 U.S. Customs and Border Protection Leadership Institute.

Barry Holliday, Executive Director, Dredging Contractors of America

Mr. Holliday currently serves as Chairman of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition. He retired from the Corps of Engineers in 2006 after a 33-year career. His most recent position with the Corps was Navigation Program Manager, and Chief of the Navigation and Operations Community of Practice in the Operations Division Headquarters. He previously served as Chief of the Navigation Branch in the Construction-Operations Division of the Wilmington District and worked in the Dredged Material Research Program at the Engineering Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Holliday has authored and coauthored numerous journal articles, papers, testimonies, and reports throughout his career. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his performance, including a Gold Medal Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the Department of the Army. Mr. Holliday currently serves on the Board of the American Maritime Partnership, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, and the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. He received his B.S. in Geology from the College of William and Mary in 1969, and obtained his M.S. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University in 1971. He attended Texas A&M University from 1971-1973 in advanced graduate studies in marine engineering and geological oceanography.

Matt Jackson, Vice President LNG Business Development, Crowley LNG

Mr. Jackson leads Crowley’s global LNG initiatives across all business sectors. Some of these initiatives include LNG export, supply distribution, bunkering, and bulk transportation. Jackson joined Crowley in 2002 and previously served as Director, Corporate Planning, where he assisted with the development of the corporation’s strategic business plans and objectives. Before his move to Crowley, Jackson worked with a major consulting firm as a supply chain and information technology consultant and was a U.S. Air Force captain serving as an acquisitions officer where he was responsible for project management, procurement, contract negotiations, and supplier management. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and a master's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Peter Keller, Executive Vice President, TOTE Inc.

Mr. Keller joined TOTE in 2012 and has been leading the conversion of the company’s fleet to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Previously Mr. Keller served as EVP and Chief Operating Officer of NYK Group America, Inc. and President of NYK Line (North America) Inc. He currently serves as Chairman, SEA-LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition created to accelerate the widespread adoption of LNG as a marine fuel. Keller was a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Maritime Association, the Pacific Maritime Shipping Association, and the United States Maritime Exchange. He is also a founding father of the Intermodal Transportation Institute of the University of Denver, served for many years as Chairman of the Ocean Carriers Equipment & Maintenance Association, and was a founder of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation, an industry wide organization committed to environmentally responsible practices across the supply chain. Keller was inducted in to the International Maritime Hall of Fame in 2006 at the United Nations.


Capt. Ryan Manning, USCG, Chief, Office of Port & Facilities Compliance

CAPT Manning received his commission from the Coast Guard Academy in 1994, earned a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, a Master of Science degree in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy from the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA, and obtained his license as a Professional Engineer.  His assignments have included the Office of Design & Engineering Standards; Marine Safety Office, Group Los Angeles-Long Beach; Supervisor, Marine Safety Detachment, St. Thomas, USVI, Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Joint Operational War Plans Division; Prevention Department Head, Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach; and CO, Marine Safety Unit Chicago.


Kurt Nagle, President & CEO, American Association of Port Authorities

Mr. Nagle has over 30 years of experience in Washington, DC, related to seaports and international trade.  Mr. Nagle began working at AAPA, the alliance of the leading public port authorities throughout the Western Hemisphere, in 1985.  Prior to joining AAPA, Mr. Nagle was Director of International Trade for the National Coal Association and Assistant Secretary for the Coal Exporters Association.  Previously, he worked in the Office of International Economic Research at the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Mr. Nagle serves on the Executive Committee of the Propeller Club of the United States and is a former commissioner of PIANC, the International Navigation Congress.  Mr. Nagle holds a Master's Degree in Economics from George Mason University.


Chad J. Verret, Executive Vice President Alaska & LNG Operations, Harvey Gulf International

Mr.Verret joined Harvey Gulf in 2008 where his duties include project management, project planning/review and customer interface for both domestic and international markets. He has worked extensively in the marine industry for the past 30 years, sharing his talents with a number of vessel operating companies both as a vessel master and shore side operational support lead. He is the active lead on all LNG related projects and heads the Alaskan business unit for Harvey Gulf in Anchorage, Alaska. Mr. Verret's combination of shipboard and shore side experience offers unique perspective in the dynamic and evolving offshore vessel market. Chad is currently Chairman Elect of the Society of Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), an international group whose concentration is the development of standards for the safe use of LNG as a marine fuel. Mr. Verret is also an advisor on several committees to the United States Coast Guard, including the Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC), the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC). Chad was elected as a member of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) in 2013.

Doug Wheeler, President & CEO, Florida Ports Council

Mr. Wheeler has more than 20 years of governmental affairs and association leadership at both the state and federal levels where he held previous positions with Associated Builders and Contractors, and more recently, the Florida Chamber of Commerce where he served as Vice President of Grassroots Advocacy and Political Action Development. Before joining ABC he was with the Governmental Affairs firm of Watson, Daley and Gosnell, located in Tallahassee. He has also worked for the Florida House of Representatives during five Legislative Sessions and the Republican Party of Florida during the 1994 elections.  Wheeler graduated from The Florida State University with a degree in Political Science, with an emphasis in Political Communications.