DEC Members

The Virginia/ DC District Export Council (DEC)
is a non-profit, private sector organization of international business leaders appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, whose deep knowledge of, and expertise in, international trade provides a source of professional advice and guidance for U.S. businesses involved in selling products and services to overseas markets. Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Export Assistance Centers and the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the Virginia/DC DEC supports the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts.


Executive Committee


Scott Blacklin

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Chairman
Scott Blacklin
Blacklin Associates, LLC
Website: blacklinassociates.com
Email: scott@blacklinassociates.com

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Expertise: Scott Blacklin provides boutique international advisory services. Spanning 35 years of international business development, Mr. Blacklin has a track record of success helping companies, NGOs and governments achieve their international growth objectives.
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Vice-Chairman
Ross Ensor
ISI Consultants
Website: isi-consultants.com
Email: rgensor@isi-consultants.com



Expertise:
♦ Middle East/Africa/Europe/Asia/North & South America
♦ Engineering/healthcare/IT/manufacturing/energy
♦ Product & service exports
♦ Market entry strategies & in-country set-up
♦International sales & marketing
♦ Government lobbying
♦ Public-private partnerships
♦ Market research & analysis
♦ International contracting
♦ Strategic partner searches & due diligence.
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Kathy O'Keefe

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Treasurer
Katherine O’Keefe
Export Consulting Services, LLC
Email: kathy@export-us.com
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Expertise:
♦ Air and ocean freight shipping strategies
♦ Logistics seminars
♦ Export compliance for new exporters
♦ Overcoming foreign customs clearance challenges
♦ Viability analysis of exporters’ targeted products
♦ Cargo aircraft charter planning
♦ Over 30 years of international experience in the freight forwarding and airline cargo business.
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Chairman Emeritus
John Saylor
Commonwealth Trading Partners Inc (CTP
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Website: ctp-inc.com
Email: jsaylor@ctp-inc.com

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Expertise:
♦ International Market Development and Sales
♦ Global Trade Consulting
♦ Government Affairs/Trade Policy
♦ Foreign Government Relations 
♦ Export/Import Compliance (ITAR, BIS, EAR) 
♦ International Security Programs and Training 
♦ International Logistics ♦ Air/Sea Charter Brokering 
♦ FMS/FMF/DCS Contracting and Training

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Executive Secretary
April Redmon
U.S. Commercial Service-Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Website: www.trade.gov
Email: April.redmon@trade.gov
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DEC Members

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Leila Aridi Afas
Toyota
Website: www.toyota.com/usa/
Email:  Leila.Afas@toyota.com

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Expertise:
♦ International trade and investment
♦ Corporate strategy and planning
♦ Government relations and public affairs
♦ Crisis communications and management
♦ Export controls on emerging and foundational technologies
♦ Former Director of Export Promotion at U.S. Trade and Development Agency
♦ Served on the President’s Export Council (PEC) from 2011-2015
♦ Middle East/Africa Program Co-Chair, Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT)
♦ Frequently invited to speak on international trade and economic issues

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Brett Bruen
Global Situation Room
Website: globalsitroom.com
Email: brett@globalsitroom.com

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Expertise:
♦ Marketing
♦ Market Research
♦ Risk Management

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Giovanna Cinelli
Morgan Lewis
Website: morganlewis.com
Email: giovanna.cinelli@morganlewis .com

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Expertise:
♦ Export controls
♦ Trade compliance (import, export, sanctions)
♦ CFIUS and other cross-border investments (due diligence, CFIUS filings in the US and similar filings abroad)
♦ Government contracts
♦ US emergency authorities (Defense Production Act, Stafford Act, International Emergency Economic Powers Act)
♦ Investigations (both government and internal) 
♦ Commercial documentation to address all these areas

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Michael Cooper
TMEIC Corporation
Website: tmeic.com
Email: michael.cooper@tmeic.com

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Expertise:
♦ 35 years in international trade specializing in market entry and sales
♦ Years of experience in working with and negotiating large multi-year greenfield manufacturing projects with Chinese SOEs and private companies
♦ Has worked extensively with US, European and Asian multi-national partners to secure large scale projects and ensure successful execution
♦ Has also worked for small and medium sized companies so understand the additional difficulties they encounter when doing business overseas without a large multi-national company behind them

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Richard Diamonstein
Paramount Sleep
Website: paramountsleep.com
Email: rdiamonstein@paramountsleep.com

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Expertise:
♦ 3rd Generation family mattress manufacturer
♦ SBA Exporter of the Year 2013
♦ VEDP VALET program
♦ Has exported to China, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Korea, Turkey
♦ Supplier to US Government facilities worldwide

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Francis H. Dong, Ph.D.
FRD Properties, LLC
Email: frdong@starpower.net
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Expertise:
♦ Professor – taught international business at the university level
♦ Experienced international consultant to enterprises in Europe and Asia
♦ Lectured internationally on business, finance, and cultural acclimation to foreign settings
♦ Expert in executive education, organizational development, and strategic planning and policy
♦ Consultant on public policy, finance, and international affairs
♦ Have resided, long-term, in Europe and Asia
♦ Expert in Asia – special emphasis on Southeast Asia
♦  Education includes post-graduate program taught completely in Thai in Bangkok, Thailand
♦ E-learning expertise . . . supports business and educational endeavors on a global basis
♦ Extensive experience with the Department of Defense and the Department of State

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Jenna Dunay
OSI Systems, Inc.
Website: www.osi-systems.com
Email: Jdunay@osi-systems.com

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Expertise:
♦  Expertise in international government affairs, identifying business opportunities, and developing international market entry strategies
♦ Well versed in the European Union and working with EU institutions, advocates to EU authorities and member states on policy matters
♦ Extensive experience working with U.S. Department of Commerce, State, U.S. Trade and Development Agency and other trade agencies to support international sales efforts
♦ Proficient in utilizing U.S. government trade promotion services
♦  Specialist in the safety and security sector, including aviation security, port/border security, and critical infrastructure protection

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Patrick Fazzone
Washington Global Law Group, PLLC
Website: www.washglobal-law.com
Email: pfazzone@washglobal-law.com

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Expertise:
♦ Legal advice and assistance for U.S. exporters
♦ Identifying appropriate business arrangements
♦ Sophisticated commercial transactions
♦ Technology transfers
♦ International trade regulation, customs law
♦ Focus on Asia Pacific Region
♦ Infrastructure projects
♦ Joint ventures and teaming arrangements
♦ Taking advantage of trade agreements 
♦ Identifying and addressing areas of risk 

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Michael Filchock
HSBC Bank-USA

Website: us.hsbc.com
Email: michael.p.filchock@us.hsbc.com
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Expertise:
♦ International product sales and business development
♦ Export trade finance and trade services
♦ HSBC Receivables Finance
♦ Cross-border banking and account opening
♦ Trade and Supply Chain Financing
♦ Ex-Im Bank, SBA and OPIC lending for exporters
♦ Export credit insurance (Ex-Im Bank and private sector)
♦ Speaker on trade finance and international payment methods
♦ Foreign Exchange

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Andrew Gelfuso
Trade Center Management Associates
Website: itcdc.com
Email: agelfuso@itcdc.com

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Expertise:
♦ Private Sector Advisor to the USG on Trade Policy
♦ International Business Development Services
♦ Public-Private Partnerships
♦ Trade Promotional Programs
♦ Foreign Direct Investment Assistance
♦ Embassy Outreach & Engagement
♦ Global Marketing
♦ Government Affairs

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Stefanie Holland
CompTIA
Website: CompTIA
Email: sholland@comptia.org

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Expertise:
♦ More than 15 years’ experience in trade policy
♦ Focus on technology companies, digital trade
♦ Government affairs and congressional outreach
♦ Small business trade advocacy and grassroots organizing

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Laszlo Horvath

Laszlo Horvath
ActiveMedia
Website: activemedia.com
Email: laszlo@activmedia.com
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John M. Huddle
The Global Law Group, PLC
Website: thegloballawgroup.com
Email: jhuddle@TheGlobalLawGroup.com

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Expertise:
♦ International and domestic distribution and IP licensing networks
♦ Mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, and joint ventures
♦ Trademark registration and enforcement (U.S. and international)
♦ Export regulations/sanctions programs (compliance programs, enforcement, classifications and licensing)
♦ Export tax incentives (IC-DISC and its predecessor programs, ETI, FSC, and DISC)
♦ Foreign direct investment (including corporate matters and site selection, acquisition and financing)
♦ Foreign subsidiaries, branches and affiliates of US companies
♦ Corporate matters

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Jay Huntington
DHL eCommerce
Website: dhlecommerce-usa.com
Email: jay.huntington@dhl.com

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Expertise:
♦ More than 30 years of international trade experience with freight, small package and postal networks
♦ Focus on cross-border ecommerce sales and business-to-consumer shipments
♦ Experience with enabling US ecommerce merchants to sell and ship internationally
♦ Assistance with Website optimization meeting requirements for multiple international markets by: estimating landed cost at checkout, processing cross-border sales, maximizing international payment methods, international returns solutions
♦ Increasing international sales conversion rates
♦ Assistance with online customer experience improvement financing
♦ Foreign subsidiaries, branches and affiliates of US companies
♦ Corporate matters


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Jody Keenan
George Mason University-Mason Enterprise Center
Website: virginiasbdc.org
Email: jkeenan@gmu.edu

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Expertise:
♦ Economic development assistance
♦ Small business development assistance
♦ Access to capital assistance
♦ Higher education and university-based programs
♦ Statewide economic development partnerships

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Eugene Laney
DHL Express
Website: www.dhl.com
Email: Eugene.Laney@dhl.com

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Expertise:
♦ Global Political Risk Management
♦ International Business Development
♦ Promotion Marketing
♦ E-Commerce Business Development and Trade Compliance
♦ Supply Chain Management
♦ Customs and Trade Compliance
♦ Cargo Security
♦ Block Chain

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Lonnie Lemco
World Art Group
Website: www.theworldartgroup.com 
Email: llemco@theworldartgroup.com

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Expertise: 
♦ International sales & marketing
♦ Market entry and expansion strategies
♦ Market Research and Analysis
♦ Product & Service exports
♦ VEDP VALET program
♦ Exports to over 50 Countries
♦ Small Business Development Assistance

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Federico Manno
Fulton International Group
Website: fultonbank.com
Email: fmanno@fult.com
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Christopher Millar
Gatekeeper Inc.
Website: gatekeepersecurity.com
Email:  cmillar@gatekeepersecurity.com

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Expertise:
♦ Developed markets in Russia, Middle East, India, Pakistan, Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America
♦ Developed a worldwide network of distribution partners and associated incentive programs
♦ Developed various routes to market that have been successful in opening new markets to new products
♦ Developed a risk management program to assist in monitoring exposure levels to geographical and end user profiles
♦ Developed various trade financing structures that insulate exporters from foreign party risk
♦ Developed foreign offices to support domestic sales
♦ Developed technologies to meet foreign market demand
♦ Employed staff in foreign markets that best suit each market and can be trusted to operate and support all business functions

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Aaron Miller

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Aaron Miller
Virginia SBDC & George Mason University
Website: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/ programs/international-trade/
Email: amille2@gmu.edu
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Expertise:
♦ Market Research and Analysis
♦ NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP)trainings
♦ Career and professional development coaching and networking
♦ Internship programs for organizations, companies, and young professionals
♦ Solving business problems through innovative solutions, collaborations, and partnerships
♦ EXIM Bank Virginia Regional Export Promotion Partner (REPP)

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David Mitchell
Global Language Center
Website: gltcenter.com
Email: dmitchell@gltcenter.com

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Expertise:
♦ Languages – Translation, Interpretation, Language Lessons
♦ Cultural Training
♦ Business Startup & Growth
♦ Business Leadership
♦ Executive Management
♦ Entrepreneurship
♦ Engineering Leadership
♦ Technology Development & Application

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Ian Oliver
ISI Consultants
Website: isi-consultants.com
Email: ijoliver@isi-consultants.com

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Expertise:
♦ African markets
♦ Energy/infrastructure/security & stability/healthcare 
♦ International business planning & implementation 
♦ Market entry & growth strategies 
♦ Partner searches & due diligence
♦ International sales & representation
♦ U.S. & foreign government contracting
♦ Public Development 
♦ Brand visibility & awareness 
♦ Corporate responsibility
♦ Public-private-partnerships

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Leonard Ozoemena
Compass Solutions
Website: compasscentral.com
Email: ozoemena@compasscentral.com

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Expertise:
♦ International Business Development (IBD)
♦ Evolving and Emerging Markets (EE&M)
♦ Specialist in the African Business environment and entry strategies for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)
♦ Public and Private Partnership (PPP) development, for small businesses in emerging markets
♦ Global business risk mitigation in African markets
♦ International Market Channel development

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Leslie M Schweitzer
Friends of American University of Afghanistan
Website: friendsofauaf.org
Email: leslie.schweitzer@friendsofauaf.org
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Hank Selby
Reynolds Packaging Group
Website: reynoldsconsumerproducts.com
Email: Talbot.selby@reynoldsbrands.com

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Expertise:
♦ 35+ year career in International Trade
♦ Background in International Marketing, Logistics, and Trade Compliance
♦ Licensed U.S. Customs Broker
♦ Carrier service contract negotiations
♦ Canada/US border crossing issues
♦ Third Country Distribution Arrangements
♦ Product Classification USHTS/Schedule B
♦ Letters of Credit
♦ Service Provider Selection and Maintenance


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Evelyn Suarez
The Suarez Firm PLLC
Website:  www.suarezfirm.com
Email: esuarez@suarezfirm.com

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Expertise:
♦ Founded in 2014, The Suarez Firm PLLC focusing on customs, trade facilitation, trade policy and anti-corruption
♦ Represent clients on all aspects of customs law, including tariff classification, value, origin (including for duty assessment, marking and “Buy American”) and eligibility under free trade agreements and preference programs
♦ Represent clients in the full spectrum of the supply chain, including carriers, customs brokers and freight forwarders and importers
♦ Provide technical expertise in efforts to obtain legislative solutions to trade problems
♦ Advise clients on NAFTA replacement U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement
♦ Represent clients in Section 301 and 232 matters, including requests for product exclusions
♦ Led multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, public relations, forensic accountants and government affairs professionals to represent client in high profile international and congressional investigations into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program
♦ Early career as an attorney at the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs Service 
♦ Widely recognized by industry groups as an outstanding lawyer in international trade, having received the Martindale-Hubbell Judicial AV Preeminent rating and consistently being listed in The Best Lawyers in America for International Trade and as a “Super Lawyer” in International Trade law in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine
♦ Admitted to the U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court

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Carter Waddell
Bank of America
Website: bofaml.com
Email: carter.waddell@baml.com

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Expertise:

Expertise:
♦ Over 25 years of experience in export trade finance
♦ Ex-Im Bank, SBA, and OPIC lending for exporters
♦ Export credit insurance
♦ Extensive business development experience with multinational firms from Asia / Europe / Middle East / Latin America Focus on technology companies, government contractors, distributors, and manufacturers
♦ Cross border banking. Assisting US firms expanding overseas and foreign multinational firms investing in the USA 

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Mario C. Winterstein
IBDGi – International Business Development Group, Inc.
Website: ibdgi.com
Email: mwinterstein@ibdgi.com
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Expertise:
♦ Business and Market Feasibility Studies
♦ Complete Marketing and Sales Strategic Plans
♦ Complete Plan Implementation Support
♦ SWOT Analyses
♦ Market Readiness Assessment
♦ Market Dimensioning and Targeting
♦ Distribution Channel Development
♦ International Business Culture Coaching
♦ Customized Product Development, Marketing and Sales Strategies
♦ International Technical Service Support, Training and Parts Planning

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Dulce Zahniser
Towpath Group International, LLC
Website: www.towpathgroupintl.com
Emails: dazahniser@towpathgroupintl.com, dzahnise@gmu.edu

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Expertise:
♦ Development Finance
♦ Export Credit Agencies
♦ Export Strategy and Preparation
♦ Export Trade Finance
♦ Foreign Direct Investment
♦ Free Trade Agreements
♦ Import Strategy and Preparation
♦ International trade compliance (ITAR and EAR)
♦ Logistics
♦ Multilateral Development Banks
♦ Project Finance/Structured Finance

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Judy Zakreski
International Code Council
Website: iccsafe.org
Email: jzakreski@iccsafe.org

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Expertise:
♦ International market entry strategies
♦ Trade policy
♦ Standards & Technical Barriers to Trade
♦ Construction/Building Safety Industry
♦ China business strategies (exporting, licensing partnering, seeking investment)
♦ Export finance
♦ Negotiation of distribution agreements
♦ Regulatory compliance

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