2019 Annual Conference Keynotes
Executive Director, Georgia Ports Authority
Breakfast Keynote – April 10, 2019
The Georgia Ports Authority is a 1,250-person strong state port authority that owns and operates strategic gateways serving the U.S. Southeast. As Executive Director, Griff Lynch oversees all port activity involving the deep-water ports of Savannah and Brunswick, as well as inland terminal operations in Bainbridge and Murray County, Georgia. Directing one of Georgia’s largest economic engines, he manages a budget with annual operating revenues of $425 million.
A proven leader in the maritime industry, Lynch brings 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 now lives in Savannah with his wife Denise and their children.
President, Rotorcorp LLC
Luncheon Keynote – April 10, 2019
Sean Casey is co-founder and President of Rotorcorp LLC, the world’s largest provider of parts, engines and major components for Robinson Helicopters. Since its founding in 2011, Rotorcorp has grown to serve over 1,000 customers in 45 countries, with exports comprising over half of the company’s revenues in recent years. In that time, the company has delivered helicopters to customers everywhere from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to Papua New Guinea.
Originally from Rochester New York, Sean has called Atlanta Georgia home since receiving an honorable discharge from the US Army in 1998. Sean earned his Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) Designation in 2018 and was named 2018 “Atlanta Small Business Person of the Year” by Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2016, Sean became a graduate of the SBA Emerging Leaders Program where he received the organization’s National “Company to Watch” award. Rotorcorp was recognized in 2017 and 2018 on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies. The State of Georgia recognized Rotorcorp in 2018 with a Georgia Globe award for entering new international markets.
Leroy Lowe, NASBITE President
Jackie Rasmussen, NASBITE Vice President
Opening Session Keynote – April 11, 2019
NASBITE International – Building Partnerships for the Future
NASBITE International has been guided in recent years by the 2020 Plan, a vision for increased membership engagement, higher levels of organizational service, improved benefits, and continued growth for the CGBP professional designation. This presentation by NASBITE executive officers, Leroy Lowe (President) and Jackie Rasmussen (Vice President) will provide a status update on initiatives launched within the past year. They will also invite you to be part of a vision for NASBITE’s future that involves important new partnerships with colleges, universities, industry associations, SBDCs, and other trade assistance providers to learn how NASBITE is growing and gain insights into our efforts to help members advance global business practice, education, and training.
Thomas A. Strauss
Southern Regional Director, U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Breakfast Keynote – April 11, 2019
Tom Strauss is the Southern Regional Director for the U.S. Commercial Service, leading 30 International Trade Specialists to assist U.S. companies to succeed abroad.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, Tom was a National Director in Washington, D.C. overseeing 48 Export Assistance Centers in the Eastern part of the country. Preceding that position, he directed the office in Kansas City and was a Trade Specialist in Tulsa. He worked on temporary duty assignments as Acting Senior Commercial Officer in the U.S. Embassies in Hungary and Portugal as well as managing special projects in Mexico City.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Drury University and an MBA, emphasizing International Management and Marketing from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is certified as a professional coach and successfully completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.
Tom has traveled for business and pleasure to 69 countries on six continents. He started his career working in the international divisions of Sherwood Medical Company and Alco Controls Company in St. Louis.
He speaks Spanish fluently and is conversational in French and Portuguese.