2021 SPESA Executive Conference Speakers
Ashish Bharara is currently the program lead for Walmart’s US Manufacturing Growth initiatives. He is focused on building public-private partnerships to develop a common strategy and implementation roadmap that results in rejuvenation of communities and the environment in the US. Prior to that Ashish has held Executive leadership roles at cloud and AI solution provider Corecompete (part of Accenture), Advance Auto Parts, and at Walmart in Global Sourcing and Replenishment. He has successfully led large scale transformation efforts in all those roles.
Nicole Bivens Collinson
Nicole Bivens Collinson leads the International Trade and Government relations practice of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., and serves as managing principal of the Washington, D.C., office. She is also a member of the Firm's Operating Committee and a commentator on trade matters on MSNBC and NPR. She is the lead professional on ST&R’s engagement as Legislative Counsel to the National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA). Ms. Collinson has over 30 years of experience in government, public affairs and lobbying. She has drafted and guided the successful implementation of several pieces of key international trade legislation positively affecting the bottom line of many U.S. companies.
Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Collinson served as assistant chief negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, responsible for the negotiation of bilateral agreements with Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Sub-Continent and Africa. She also served as a country specialist in the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce, where she was responsible for the preparation of negotiations on specific topics between the U.S. and Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and Hong Kong, as well as the administration of complex textile agreements.
An accomplished engineer with over three decades of experience in manufacturing and technology, Bert joined Frontier Distributors/Phillocraft, Inc. in 2014 as Vice President and leader of day-to-day operations.
After graduating from DeVry University in 1984, Bert embarked on what would be a long career with American Standard Companies, Inc. In a few short years, he would join the managerial ranks in American Standard’s lab division, working primarily with Trane HVAC systems, a large central heating and air company acquired by ASC the same year Bert came on board. Bert would remain with Trane through its acquisition by multinational conglomerate Ingersoll Rand and beyond, exiting the company as Engineering Director and North America Unitary design engineering leader with over 30 years of service in 2014.
Mr. Kelly Floyd is an industrial specialist assigned to the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Command’s Clothing and Textiles (C&T) directorate. He works with the C&T Industrial Capabilities Program and Warstopper Program, located at NSA Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Floyd was appointed to his current position in December 2017 and is responsible for ensuring the material availability of go-to-war items and for improving the health of our Industrial Base to safeguard support for the items that are critical to our Warfighters ability to survive and win. During his tenure, Mr. Floyd has participated in many clothing & textiles industrial base assessments and studies in topics as varied as aramid fibers to COVID PPE.
Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Floyd served in various roles within Troop Support, including Program Manager for C&T Value Engineering Program where he oversaw and managed a team responsible for $25 million dollars in annual savings from value engineering change proposals. Other notable assignments include Industrial Hardware directorate Industrial Base Program Team Lead and Chairman of the Culture Improvement Team.
Mr. Floyd began his federal career in 2002 enlisting in the United States Air Force. After completing his service commitment at the rank of Staff Sergeant he transitioned to civilian service with assignments at the Air Force, Veterans Affairs, and with DLA since 2011.
Dr. Mike Fralix is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the apparel and fashion industry. He is skilled in Trend Analysis, Technology Development, Manufacturing, Operations Management and Supply Chain Strategies. He has worked in a variety of capacities at [TC]² and has led initiatives to develop next-generation supply chain technologies and worked with companies to implement currently available technologies and business processes. In addition, Dr. Fralix is an internationally recognized speaker and offers expertise on a variety of topics. These include 3D product development, sizing for fit, production scheduling, industrial engineering, ergonomics, full package production, simulation, virtual dressing, online shopping, additive manufacturing, re-shoring, lean systems, sustainable technologies/waterless coloring, and the digital supply chain.
Ms. Cheryl Gomes is a Technical Program Manager (TPM) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) within the department of Industry Partnerships and Economic Development. As a TPM, Ms. Gomes teams faculty with industry partners to write proposals for research projects, especially in advanced functional fabrics. Cheryl was also a primary contributor to the genesis Fabric Discovery Center at UMass Lowell that is part of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) combined with NextFlex, flexible hybrid electronics, and ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing). Ms. Gomes has a M.S. in Textile Science, with a minor in Chemical Engineering, from Cornell University and a B.S. in Clothing, Textiles, and Design from Rutgers University.
Sarah Krasley is an internationally recognized expert in digital transformation in manufacturing and the Founder and CEO of Shimmy Technologies, an Industry 4.0 technology company focused on digital transformation to arrive at a future of work that’s fair, efficient, and fun. Shimmy’s award-winning Upskill trains factory workers in digital fundamentals to support supply chain transformation to 3D and automated assembly lines using video games. In 2020, Microsoft named Sarah a Person of Action, recognizing her and her team’s innovative use of artificial intelligence capabilities and human computer interaction models to reach and teach workers who have never used computers or smartphones. Prior to founding Shimmy, Sarah led Sustainable Manufacturing at Autodesk where she and her team created software that helped hundreds of thousands of designers, engineers, and factory owners digitally transform all over the world.
Arnie Kravitz is the CTO of Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM). In this role, Arnie drives ARM’s technical vision to help the organization fulfill its mission of increasing U.S. global competitiveness by accelerating innovative technologies that make robots more accessible to U.S. manufacturers. He achieves this goal, in part, by convening experts and stakeholders from among ARM’s industrial, academic, non-profit and government partners. Arnie has spent over 37 years designing, developing, and manufacturing a large portfolio of products that include aquatic robots, autonomous vehicles, robotic, augmented, and virtual reality vision systems, self-learning inference engine-based systems, commercial consumer electronics, and cryptographic devices. He has taught as an Adjunct Professor at The Johns Hopkins University and has significant experience exploiting emerging tools and techniques to rapidly transform new ideas into manufactured products. Arnie holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Stephen E. Lamar is President and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the national trade association representing more than 1,000 brands in the apparel and footwear industry. Steve leads a dedicated team of professionals who represent AAFA members before the government, through the media, and in industry settings on key brand protection, supply chain and manufacturing, and trade issues. Steve also advises AAFA member companies on legislation and regulatory policies. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Steve served as Executive Vice President for the association. Prior to AAFA, Steve spent more than a decade engaged in international public policy work, including stints at the U.S. Commerce Department and in the Peace Corps. A runner, juggler, and genealogist in his spare time, Steve is President of the Washington International Trade Association. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Colgate University and a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs (with a concentration on African politics and international trade) from George Washington University.
Kevin McCoy is Vice President, Made Manufacturing, Innovation and R&D at New Balance Athletics in Boston, Massachusetts. In his role, Kevin is responsible for the company’s five domestic factories, Domestic Innovation activities tied to product and process capability creation, R&D/Engineering to support new product creation- spanning Heritage, Performance and Berry complaint platforms and overall domestic manufacturing operations (including Safety, Quality and Material Warehousing). Kevin has been in the footwear industry for over 28 years and earned a B.A. from University of Massachusetts. He resides in Boston with his wife of 6 years.
Bill is a Founding Partner of Agents of Innovation, an innovation consultancy based in San Francisco/Silicon Valley; he is also a faculty at Singularity University, and an Advisor to the leading AI/Digital People company Soul Machines. Over the past 10 years he has conducted 600+ innovation engagements with 250+ corporations from 50+ countries, working with 8,000+ professionals, 4,000+ executives and C-Staff, and 25+ CEOs. Bill has worked with companies such as Google, Apple, Renault, Tesla, Nike, Airbnb, IDEO, RBS, Starbucks, Twitter, Bechtel, Autodesk, Facebook, GE, IKEA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the World Bank, helping people to improve and expand their innovation mindsets, toolsets, and skillsets. His work has appeared in The Economist, Forbes, Fast Company, and the MIT Press Innovations journal; and he has worked with universities and business schools such as Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford, Wharton, INSEAD, and Princeton, via research projects, keynote speeches, and innovation workshops. His team is currently researching how Nobel Prize winners innovate — 11 Laureates interviewed so far — in conjunction with the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. Bill also sits on the advisory boards of three disruptive (hopefully!) startups.
Ketty Pillet is the Vice President of Marketing, Americas for Lectra. She is responsible for marketing of Lectra’s industry leading software and automation solutions in North and South America. She works closely with product management and a global team of marketing leaders within each of Lectra’s core geographies to ensure the company is meeting the needs of its customers in its core industry segments. Ketty Pillet has over 19 years of experience in international marketing, Customer Relationship Management and sales dedicated to industrial high-tech businesses. Pillet was previously the Vice President of Marketing for Gerber Technology where she focused on continuing to support Gerber’s spirit of innovation by leveraging and building upon the brand equity Gerber has established as the "gold standard" others strive to emulate. Prior to joining Gerber, she served as Marketing Director for Lectra. In that role, Ketty Pillet was responsible for leading the company’s go-to-market strategy for the software and hardware solutions dedicated to the Fashion & Apparel and Furniture markets. She began her career at Oracle (Siebel) as a Solution consultant for CRM solutions. Pillet earned her MBA from the École Supérieure De Commerce Poitiers in France and her Bachelor of Science in Business and technology from Coventry University (England).
Katya Roelse is an Instructor in the Fashion and Apparel Program at the University of Delaware. She has worked in the fashion and apparel industry as a creative and technical designer for womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, uniforms, and wearable medical devices. She teaches computer-aided design, illustration, trend forecasting, and product development. Her scholarship integrates design, pedagogy, and technology in fashion and apparel. She co-authored The Book of Pockets: A Practical Guide for Fashion Designers. She is the director of the Flex Factory, a micro-factory where students learn about manufacturing and engage in real-world product development projects as well as the director of the Design and Creative Making Certificate at Horn Entrepreneurship, whose goal it is to empower aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.
Brenna Schneider is an entrepreneur, international speaker, thought leader, and advocate for domestic manufacturing, inclusive innovation, and values-based job creation. She is the Founder and CEO of 99Degrees, a US performance activewear and wearable technology manufacturer headquartered in Lawrence MA. 99Degrees prides itself on its mission to elevate the apparel industry, community, and economy by combining its model of speed, agility, and technology with values-first human-centered manufacturing. 99Degrees has been awarded top prizes at MIT's Inclusive Innovation Competition in the category of Humans + Machines and at both MassChallenge and Eforall business accelerators. It was recognized as a Game Changer by the Boston Globe and has been featured in NPR, MSNBC, and the New York Times. Brenna's manufacturing expertise was seeded as a child growing up in her family's manufacturing business. Her career has spanned manufacturing, textiles, and international economic development. Brenna has an MBA from Brandeis University’s Heller School and a BA in International Studies and Economics from Washington College.
Lonny was president of Superior Sewing Machine & Supply LLC in NYC for about 22 years after serving as its vice president for about a decade. Prior to joining Superior, Lonny practiced law in Los Angeles for over 6 years specializing in contracts and real estate. Before that he attended Georgetown University for both undergraduate and law school. Lonny has been an active member of SPESA from the mid-1990s, served on its board for almost 25 years and was its chairperson for about 3 years filling part of the term of Steven Lovass and then a full term of his own. In April 2021, Lonny sold Superior to the Merrow Group of Companies.
After Sam Simpson, he has been a champ at balancing his devotion to his company and SPESA with his time at the bar!
David Trumbull, Principal of Agathon Associates, brings 25 years experience in textiles and international trade. Prior to starting Agathon Associates in 2013, he was employed by the National Textile Association as Vice President International Trade. He was appointed, in 2007, to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Textile and Clothing ("ITAC 13") by Ambassador Susan C. Schwab and Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. Re-appointed, in 2010, to ITAC 13 by Ambassador Ronald Kirk and Secretary Gary Locke. He is licensed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Customs Broker. Since the imposition of Section 301 import tariffs on articles of Chinese origin his work has been largely directed toward assisting importers with tariff mitigation strategies. He has helped many importers to avoid, or minimize, these disruptive taxes.
Jeremy Wall is currently the co-founder & CEO of GoalMakers, a professional development business that provides programs to companies and associations to improve employee’s knowledge in organizational management and business finance. Prior to starting GoalMakers, Wall spent his career in the world of technology laced textiles before founding Lumenus, an IoT wearables company in the mobility industry. After exiting that business, Wall did private consulting before joining co-founders Nicholas and John Cioffi to expand GoalMakers programs to a global audience in the online training & education market. Wall is a graduate of the NCSU College of Textiles. Fun Fact: Outside Magazine referred to Jeremy Wall as “The Steve Jobs of the Outdoor Industry.”
Matthew Wallace is the CEO and co-founder of DXM Inc., a Technology-Driven, Sustainable, On-Demand Manufacturing platform. Matthew has 30+ years of Leadership and Supply Chain experience in the apparel and footwear industry having worked for PVH Corp., Walmart, and Cerberus Capital.