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Speakers & Panelists 

Keynote Speaker

Douglas R. Oberhelman

Douglas R. Oberhelman is chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Ill.

Oberhelman joined Caterpillar in 1975 and has held a variety of positions including senior finance representative based in South America for Caterpillar Americas Co; region finance manager and district manager for the company's North American Commercial Division; and managing director and vice general manager for strategic planning at Caterpillar Japan Ltd. (CJL) - Tokyo, Japan.

Oberhelman was elected a vice president in 1995, serving as Caterpillar's chief financial officer with administrative responsibility for the corporation's accounting, information services, tax, treasury, investor relations and marketing support services areas from 1995 to November 1998. In 1998, he became vice president with responsibility for the Engine Products Division, including the market development, strategic planning, supplier management, electric power generation and worldwide marketing and administration for Caterpillar's engine business.

Oberhelman was elected a group president and member of Caterpillar's executive office in 2002.

As a group president, he had responsibility for financial products, legal services, auditing & compliance, global purchasing, human services, remanufacturing, corporate treasury, tax, and investor relations. His responsibilities also included marketing, rail, energy and power systems businesses, as well as marketing, manufacturing and sales operations in Asia Pacific and Japan. In October 2009, the Caterpillar Board of Directors named Oberhelman vice chairman and CEO-Elect. During this time, he led a team that developed the future strategic plan for the company. Oberhelman was elected chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors effective July 1, 2010, and became chairman effective November 1, 2010.

Oberhelman has a bachelor's degree in finance from Millikin University. He is currently a director for the boards of Eli Lilly and Company, serving on the Audit and Finance Committees, and The Nature Conservancy - Illinois Chapter. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Association of Manufacturers, serving as vice chairman and Finance Committee chair, the Manufacturing Institute and the Wetlands America Trust. Oberhelman is also a member of the Business Roundtable and The Business Council. He has served as chairman of the board of trustees for Millikin University and chairman of the board of directors for Easter Seals. He is a former director for the board of Ameren Corporation, where he served as chairman of the Ameren Corporation Audit Committee and a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Public Policy Committee. Oberhelman is also a former director for the boards of South Side Bank, Millikin University and Easter Seals.

Panel 1: Technical Issues in Export (Q&A)

Moderator: Warren Ribley

Warren Ribley is the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Governor Pat Quinn appointed Warren Ribley as Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in March 2009.

In his first two years, Ribley prioritized the state's economic development efforts which resulted in Illinois creating more jobs than any other Midwestern state coming out of the global recession by investing in more than 100 businesses to create and retain jobs. Highlights of Ribley's first two years as Director include building the state's green economy, targeting job training to high-growth sectors, building up the state's disadvantaged communities, and increasing Illinois' investments in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology.

Ribley began working in state government in 1979, serving for twelve years in the Office of the Illinois Senate President. He joined the Office of the State Treasurer in 1991 and became the Director of Banking in 1993 under now-Governor Quinn, managing relationships between the State of Illinois and over 500 financial institutions. Before being named Director of DCEO, Ribley served as DCEO’s Director of Operations, where he led the day-to-day operations of the agency for six years.

Ribley has 23 years of professional experience in state government and eight years in the private sector, focusing on financial services. Throughout his career, Ribley has worked to develop successful programs to strengthen the Illinois economy.

A native of Olney, Illinois, Ribley has lived in Springfield with his family for over 30 years.

Jeff Graber

Jeff Graber is a Sr. International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Graber joined the U.S. Commercial Service - Chicago in 2007 where he oversees industry sectors of food processing, packaging and agribusiness equipment. Prior to this, Jeff was the International Sales Manager for Cummins-Allison Corp. where he managed Cummins’ international distributor network spanning over seventy countries. While at Cummins, Jeff was appointed to the Illinois District Export Council by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was awarded an Export Achievement Certificate for expansion into global markets. Jeff’s former international experience includes both private and public sector experience as Marketing Manager for De La Rue and Videojet, and Export Promotion Manager for the International Trade Division for the states of Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois. Jeff is a graduate of Webster University in St. Louis with a Master’s degree in International Business and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Graber was certified as a NASBITE Certificate Global Business Professional in 2008 and serves as U.S. Government Liaison Director to the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago.

Tim Hamilton

Tim Hamilton is Executive Director of the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (Food Export-Midwest) and Food Export USA-Northeast (Food Export-Northeast). Tim works directly with the U.S. food industry, government officials, importers and distributors throughout the world to design and implement export development and promotion activities for U.S. food and agricultural products. Tim also leads programs that provide financial support to U.S. exporters of food and agricultural products through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program.

In addition, Tim recently served as Chairman of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council. He holds an appointment to the U.S. Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Processed Foods by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative.

Tim has experience in both food manufacturing and international agriculture. Prior to joining Food Export-Midwest in 1991 and Food Export-Northeast in 2000, Tim was the general manager of a Chicago-based natural foods producer. A Wisconsin native, Tim holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of International Business from DePaul University in Chicago.

Terry LaRocca

Terry LaRocca is a Senior International Trade Specialist for the State of Illinois with responsibility for Asia-Pacific. In that role, he has assisted numerous Illinois firms in expanding their exports to this region. He has led Trade Missions to China, Japan, Australia, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Vietnam. He has worked for the State of Illinois for the past twenty years. Prior to working for the State of Illinois, LaRocca held the position of Senior Commercial Officer for the Commonwealth of Australia with responsibility for the Midwestern States of the United States. He worked for the Australian Government for sixteen years.

LaRocca holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University of Chicago.

Peter Moirano

Peter Moirano’s is the Vice President of FX and Trade Finance for Citibank. His career spans 14 years in both the financial markets and the financial services industries. In 2003, Mr. Moirano’s focus moved from the financial markets to financial services when he was hired by Tempus Consulting, an East Coast Consulting firm, to provide global market analysis for its middle market segment.

While at Tempus, Peter managed a team that provided foreign payment risk advisory to its middle market clients on the eastern seaboard. Mr. Moirano returned to Chicago in 2006 to manage a team of advisors covering middle market businesses in the Midwest and Western United States for Ruesch International, a global consulting firm. Since 2008, Peter has been providing advisory in foreign exchange and trade finance to the commercial business clients of Citibank in Chicago. His primary goal is to design customer tailored risk management product solutions for clients up to $1B in revenue.

Peter has his B.A. from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

John Nevell

John Nevell is the Regional Manager of International Trade Programs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Export Assistance Center, Chicago, Illinois.

His prior experience includes twenty years in international banking, handling trade finance in Europe, Asia and South America, foreign exchange and asset/liability risk management, and general management of the Chicago branch of a South American bank. He also spent ten years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation liquidating foreign and domestic loans and other acquired assets. Mr. Nevell holds a B.S. in Finance from DePaul University, Chicago.

Charles Tansey

Charles Tansey is the Senior Vice President of the Small Business Group at the Export Import Bank of the United States. He is responsible for helping build the export capacity of the nation’s small businesses for the purposes of capital formation and job creation. Prior to this position, Mr. Tansey served as Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer at NeighborWorks America, a Congressionally chartered and funded non-profit created to promote adherence by banks to the Community Reinvestment Act nationally. In this role, he was responsible for developing financial programs, projects and transactions that facilitated the formation of wealth among America’s poorer communities and constituencies. During the Clinton administration, he was appointed as Associate Deputy Administrator for Capital Access at the SBA, managing the $50 billion in assets of the 7(a), 504, microloan, trade finance, New Markets and venture capital programs. Prior to the SBA, Mr. Tansey spent twenty years in corporate banking and corporate finance at the Chase Manhattan Bank, the Bank of New York, and Commonwealth Capital Partners. In 1991, as a volunteer, he helped set up and manage the day to day operations of the $1.3 billion bailout agency for the privately insured banks and credit unions in the state of Rhode Island. Later, he helped set up and served as the Interim Executive Director of both the Minority Investment Development Corporation (RI) and the Rhode Island Coalition for Minority Investment. Mr.Tansey designed the software and helped design the course for the Sustainable Mission: Pricing, Funding and Managing Community Development Assets, and co-authored the book, Capital Markets, CDFIs and Organizational Credit Risk. Mr. Tansey has served as Vice Chairman at The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council, as Treasurer and Director on the Board of Partners for the Common Good, and on the Advisory Boards for Wall Street Without Walls, and the CDFI Assessment and Rating System (CARS). He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, and from Brown University. He is married with two children.

Panel 2: Global Market Opportunities and Challenges (Q&A)

Moderator: William A. Strauss

William A. Strauss is a Senior Economist and Economic Advisor in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which he joined in 1982. His chief responsibilities include analyzing the current performance of both the Midwest economy and the manufacturing sector for use in monetary policy. He produces the monthly Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index and organizes the Bank's Economic Outlook Symposium and Automotive Outlook Symposium. In addition, he conducts several economic workshops and industrial roundtables throughout the year.

Mr. Strauss earned a B.A. in economics and geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University.

Iwona W. Bochenska

Iwona W. Bochenska is the Senior International Trade Specialist for Europe and Russia.  In her current position, Ms. Bochenska develops strategies and recommendations for promoting Illinois companies internationally and encouraging foreign direct investment. She works with a variety of multinational organizations to enable successful change within and across businesses. She provides leadership through coordinating the international efforts of the Chicago headquarters and the State of Illinois Western European Trade and Investment Office in Brussels, Belgium, and the State of Illinois Central European Trade and Investment Office in Warsaw, Poland.

She serves on the number of advisory committees in the field of international business education and on the Board of Directors for the Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation. she has been awarded the Golden Order of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland. She has also received numerous recognitions from various international chambers of commerce, Executive Branch of the Illinois Government, and the Treasurer’s Office.

She completed her MA degree in Languages and Literature with honors from the University of Warsaw, and holds an MA Degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, Social Science Department. She received her State of Illinois Certificate in International Business from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Enrico J. Doggett

Enrico Doggett is the Senior International Trade Specialist for Mexico and Latin America, with responsibilities also including South America and the Caribbean region. Doggett is fluent in Italian, Japanese, and German, with a working knowledge of Spanish. Prior to completing sixteen years with the State of Illinois, Doggett spent twenty years in local government as City Administrator for the City of Chicago Heights, Illinois, where he was instrumental in developing the City's first Sister-City program with San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. That program has grown into affiliation with three additional cities in Mexico, Poland, and Ghana. A student of international cultures, Doggett devotes a great deal of private time to the creation of foreign student exchanges, the raising of necessary scholarship funds, and the promotion of community support.

Doggett is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Bobby Dowson

Bobby Dowson is an International Marketing Representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Bureau in Springfield, Illinois. He has been in this position since October 1995. He specializes in livestock, livestock products, feed ingredients and equipment and works with small-to-medium size Illinois agribusiness companies and farms in the export arena. He received an Associate of Science Degree from Lincoln Land Community College in 1985 and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Missouri Western State University in 1987. Following graduation, he was a District Sales Manager for Landmark Genetics, now known as Alta Genetics, marketing cattle genetics nationally.

Currently, Bobby is the point-person for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s membership to the US Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., a livestock-specific, not-for-profit, trade association representing marketing interests of the US dairy, beef, sheep, swine and horse breeding industries. Bobby has conducted numerous livestock trade missions in Illinois and abroad, most recently hosting swine and cattle producers from China, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic.

Thomas W. Hagle

Thomas Hagle is an International Trade Specialist with the Office of Trade and Investment. He is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing international trade development programs for the State of Illinois in the Canadian market, working in conjunction with the State of Illinois Canadian Office. His responsibilities include organizing goals and objectives, fiscal management, budget analysis and preparation, program development and public relations.

Additionally, he provides individual export assistance to Illinois companies and acts as a liaison to speaking engagements for Illinois export associations, foreign consulates and other appropriate organizations within and outside of Illinois.

Sam Ntum

Sam Ntum is an International Trade Specialist with the Office of Trade and Investment. He designs and implements OTI promotion programs for Africa and the Middle East. Prior to joining OTI, Sam was an Auditor in the Inspector General's Office, Illinois Department of Health and Family Services where he performed desk audits on medical providers like physicians, home health centers and transportation companies. Sam was a Stock Broker with Chatfield Dean and Corporate Securities where he researched and analyzed investment opportunities and made investment decisions for clients.

Sam has a BA and an MBA.

Zhigang Ren

Zhigang Ren is a Senior International Trade Specialist with the State of Illinois Office of Trade & Investment (OTI). Zhigang designs and implements OTI’s China trade and investment promotion programs. Zhigang was the Director of the State of Illinois International Trade Center at NORBIC in Chicago. The ITC provided international business consulting to Illinois companies including export procedures, requirements, international trade and foreign market information, as well as international business strategies.

Zhigang was Chief Foreign Investment Officer at the Guangzhou Administration for Commerce & Industry, Guangzhou, China. He was responsible for providing consulting service to FDI clients on Chinese trade and investment policies, regulations, and procedures regarding foreign investment.

Zhigang holds advance degrees in International Business, International Affairs and English Literature.

Panel 3: Illinois Companies’ Export Experiences

Moderator: Loretta L. Schmitzer

Loretta L. Schmitzer is Vice President of Government Affairs for The Boeing Company. In that position, she is responsible for the company’s Congressional foreign policy/international affairs outreach and advocacy. In addition, she staffs the CEO in his role as Chair of the President’s Export Council.

Loretta joined Boeing when it purchased the former Hughes Space and Communications in October of 2000. From 1995–2000, she was Vice President of Government Affairs for Hughes Electronics and head of the Hughes Washington office. Loretta was responsible for all Hughes activities and relationships in Washington, working with the Executive Branch, the Congress and regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission.

From 1993–1995, Loretta was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. She also served as Acting Chief of Staff for the Department in 1995. In this position, she was responsible for all the Department’s relationships on the Hill and with governors and mayors. In 1992, Loretta served as Deputy Coordinator of the Economics Cluster of the Clinton-Gore Transition.

From 1979–1993, Loretta was Senior Trade Counsel of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Working for the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Loretta handled all trade issues for the Chairman and the Committee.

Loretta has served on the Board of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield since 2004. She also has served as President of Women in International Trade and on the Board of the Washington International Trade Association. She is a member of the Trade Policy Forum and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Loretta is a member of the Kentucky and DC Bars.

Bo DeLong

Wm. C. (Bo) DeLong is Vice President of Grain Operations for The DeLong Co., Inc. His experience in the grain industry spans the past 35 years and for the past 8 years he has headed DeLong’s containerized Ag Export Program. He has extensive experience in all phases of exporting grain and feedstuffs by container including origination, trans-loading, logistics and sales. Currently Bo oversees export sales of over $1 billion a year shipping over 130,000 TEU’s in 2010.

Bo began his career in his family’s agricultural supply company after attending UW Madison. In the 1970’s Bo was responsible for origination and handling of grain for the domestic market. During the 80’s DeLong went to the next level and began exporting food grade soybeans to Japan for the “tofu” market. In 2004 Bo began managing the company’s commercial grain and feed exports by container. During that time frame DeLong went from exporting 10 containers a day to over 700 containers a day, primarily out of the Chicago area. Bo has also led in the acquisition or building of 8 grain elevators and 2 trans-loading facilities in Illinois over the past 5 years.

Jeff Dziura

Jeff Dziura is currently the V.P. of International Sales at NewMedical Technology, Inc.

As an International Business Development executive, Jeff Dziura has taken two Illinois medical product manufacturing companies global by developing international distribution channels and regional-specific marketing strategies for their product lines.

Jeff’s area of expertise is with New-to-Export companies and his work has been cited in numerous publications including Crain’s Chicago Business, The New York Times and The Economist. Aside from his achievements in International Sales & Marketing, he has held positions in manufacturing, product management, quality assurance and regulatory affairs, all in the medical device sector.

He is serving his third term appointment by U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Illinois District Export Council (IDEC) and is twice winner of the Governor’s Excellence in Export Award.

J. Hurley Myers

J. Hurley Myers, Ph.D. is co-founder, president and CEO of DxR Development Group, Inc. Dr. Myers is also professor emeritus of physiology and internal medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where, for over 35 years, he was involved in all aspects of curriculum development. In 1992, Dr. Myers’ applied his skills as an educator to help form DxR Development Group, Inc., which develops and supports patient simulation, eLearning, and online testing software for the healthcare professional market. DxR Development Group has published over 50 medical education software programs, many of which are used worldwide. Most recently, Dr. Myers has been working with academic and business partners in Asia to translate DxR Development Group’s patient simulation software into Chinese and Japanese for use in healthcare education throughout China and Japan.

Russ Witthoff

Russ Witthoff is the Director of International Sales for the Dukane Corporation, I.A.S. Division. Mr. Witthoff has been supporting the international sales efforts of Dukane’s I.A.S. Division ever since he started with the company as an inside sales coordinator in 1996. He is fluent in both written and spoken Spanish, and as an inside sales coordinator, he supported all of the division’s sales representative companies in Mexico, Central and South America. Mr. Witthoff quickly progressed from inside sales coordinator to that of a regional sales manager covering these same countries. His role in international sales continued to expand from that point to his current assignment as director of international sales. In addition to maintaining his technical competency in plastic welding as the company expanded the processes and products they offered, Mr. Witthoff has been working on learning Mandarin Chinese. With his efforts to expand the division’s international sales, the company has moved from an occasional exporter with a few percent of its total sales revenues coming from exports, to a company that now aggressively pursues export sales and achieves more than 30% of its sales revenues from exports.