2019 Annual Conference Speakers

Derreck Kayongo

Entrepreneur, Global Soap Project Founder and Former CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights

From Ugandan refugee to successful entrepreneur, CEO, and renowned human rights activist, Derreck’s journey inspires audiences to dream big. Through personable and articulate storytelling, he shares his visionary ideas for harnessing the power of observation and creative problem solving, applicable to any organization or community. It’s all about taking responsibility while looking for opportunities to improve.  

Derreck is the founder of the Global Soap Project: a humanitarian aid organization that collects discarded and unused soap from thousands of hotels worldwide, reprocesses it, then distributes it to in-need populations around the world. The project was born from his simple observation about how much soap is available in hotels, and how much is thrown away when hotel rooms are turned. This simple observation became an innovative idea that is now battling global health issues in 90 countries. Hygiene-related diseases, and the resulting deaths, have dissipated in many at-risk communities, thanks in part to Derreck’s creative problem solving.  

His energy and enthusiasm are unmatched as he brings his stories and principles to life. Key factors of his personal and professional success are identified with the memorable acronym S.E.L.F.: Service, Education, Leadership and Faith. He calls upon his dynamic experiences to empower audiences, inspiring an entrepreneur spirit made possible only through creative problem solving. Derreck’s emotionally-packed presentations linger long after his speech, empowering audiences to invent their own self-made motto of success so they can create tangible change in the world. 

Derreck’s passion for helping others and commitment to innovative thinking led him to the role of CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. During his time as CEO, he elevated the global visibility of the Center, showcasing stories of victims of civil rights abuse and the heroic actions that changed the course of history. 

Derreck Kayongo is an internationally recognized visionary and humanitarian. The Global Soap Project demonstrates his creativity and innovation, making him a leader in both global health and environmental sustainability.

Kate McEnroe

Analyst, Advisor, Coach, Facilitator, Speaker & Trainer at Kate McEnroe Consulting

Kate McEnroe Consulting is a sole proprietorship founded in 1993 as a full-service location selection and economic development consulting firm.  Ms. McEnroe’s MBA from The Wharton School and background in staff and line management positions gave her a solid foundation and the skills to become an entrepreneur with a successful consulting practice.

She focuses on the geographic and market positioning strategies and tactics that support the aspirations of companies, communities, and individuals.  By sharing direct insights and offering flexible approaches, Kate ensures that clients gain a better understanding of their strengths and their options, and that they are better equipped to take immediate and long-term action to improve their place in the world.

Over the years, her corporate clients have included leaders in the healthcare, business services, telecommunications, and metals industries along with family owned enterprises and membership associations.

She is an expert in coaching economic development organizations through a process of designing high impact business cases for workforce assets, optimizing marketing resources, and applying data visualization principles to the task of marketing places.  She is currently utilizing her expertise to create content designed for students, parents, and their advisors that will enable them to make effective education and career choices.

Kate believes in the power of continually learning and has completed training with David McCandless, Edward Tufte, Anne K. Emery and Stephanie Evergreen of the Evergreen Academy in data visualization. She is a certified Strategic Doing Facilitator and credentialed to administer Human Insight’s AEM Cube Team Dynamics Assessment and the MARI Mandala Assessment Research Instrument. She has a Design Thinking Foundation Certificate from IDEOU, is trained in Mindfulness Meditation and is a Narrative Coach Core Practitioner.

Ed Riggins, SIOR, CCIM

Senior Vice President at Cresa

Ed Riggins has been one of the most significant and consistent contributors to the success of the Cresa Atlanta office since moving his practice to the firm in 2000. Ed provides real estate advisory services in Atlanta and nationally to organizations ranging in size from start-up professional partnerships to Fortune 500 companies. Because of the diversity of Ed’s clientele, he might be found working on an office space assignment on Monday, a transaction involving industrial or manufacturing space mid-week, and acquiring or disposing of land by weeks-end. Ed’s approach involves careful development of a plan based on a clear understanding of client needs. After that, it’s: “problem, solution, problem, solution” until the assignment is completed, always with an eye toward what’s best for the client. Ed receives consistently high marks in client satisfaction surveys, and the majority of his assignments come from repeat clients or referrals. Ed teaches real estate continuing education, speaks to business groups, and mentors young associates in the industry. Ed assisted in the creation of Cresa’s Community Service Committee and is an active participant in the committee’s activities throughout the year. Ed is among less than 1% nationally to have earned both the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and Certified Commercial Investment Member designations.

Gray Swoope

President & Chief Executive, Vision First Advisors

A recognized leader in economic development, Gray Swoope has served both the public and private sectors for more than three decades most recently as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce.  He has held leadership roles for a variety of organizations, as well as managed successful economic development entities.  His management style is described as focused and steadfast when it comes to solving problems and win ning competitive projects. Swoope is also known for building highly effective teams noted for their ability to devise and implement strategic plans, and to get results.  His expertise is international in scope, with a proven track record of successfully conducting business abroad.

Swoope served in Governor Rick Scott’s administration (2011-2015) as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of its principal economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. Under his leadership, Enterprise Florida completed a record fiscal year in 2013-14, and increased competitive projects by 40%, resulting in 73% more new jobs and 95% more capital investment in the state than in 2011.

During Swoope’s tenure, Florida announced competitive project wins involving dozens of leading companies including Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Deutsche Bank, Embraer, GE, Hertz, Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Grumman, USAA, United Technology Corporation and Verizon.  Since 2011 and in only 3 years, more than 728,000 private-sector jobs were added in Florida, surpassing Governor Scott’s goal of creating 700,000 private-sector jobs over 7 years.

Allan Adams

State Director, Small Business Development Center, University of Georgia

Mr. Adams has served with the Small Business Development Center in several capacities. These include roles with the Minority Business Division, the International Trade Division, and the Rural Economic Development Program, as well as serving as Associate State Director. Additional experience includes positions as an Associate Director at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and as a staff member in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association and the national Association of Small Business Development Centers.

Randy Cardoza

Consultant, The Chason Group

Randy Cardoza has 38 years of economic and community development experience at the local, regional and state level.  He served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development for ten years under three governors.  Prior to being named Commissioner, he was Deputy Commissioner for Economic Development for over three years.

Most recently, Randy was Managing Director of Economic & Community Development for AGL Resources, a major natural gas utility company.  He served in that role for over eight years before retiring in March, 2012.

Since retiring, Randy is focusing on economic and community development projects for communities.  He served as Interim Executive Director for the Industrial Asset Management Council from October, 2013-September, 2014.

He is past president of the Georgia Economic Developers Association as well as the recipient of the distinguished Rip Riley Award for Professional Excellence and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the organization.  Randy is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia.

Randy enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf in his spare time.
Randy is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Organizational Management.

Tim Chason

President, The Chason Group

Tim Chason serves as President of The Chason Group which was formed in 2003.  The company specializes in executive level searches for companies and non-profit organizations, strategic visioning plans, coordinating relationship building strategies, and building operating structures.

Tim has over thirty years of experience in the business and non-profit world.  His professional career began in 1983 when he was selected to serve as the President of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce in Cartersville, Georgia.  In 1993, Tim was tapped to join the Georgia Chamber of Commerce team as Senior Vice President of Economic Development and promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 1996.  From 2007 – 2013 he served as Executive Vice President of Callaway Gardens Resort near Columbus, Georgia.

He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton, Georgia and the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree and a Master of Public Administration degree.
​Tim is a member of the Cartersville City School Board and former member of the Board of Directors for North Metro Technical College (now Chattahoochee Technical College) in Acworth, Georgia on two occasions.  He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Class of 1991, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation.

​Tim’s family is extremely important to him. His wife is the former Lynne Jonas of Brunswick, Georgia. A retired educator, she now owns and operates a business named Left Handed Originals.  Tim and Lynne’s daughter, Kelsey, is a 2013 honor graduate of the University of Georgia and Mercer University School of Medicine.  She is an emergency room doctor at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

​The Chasons are members of Cartersville’s Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church.

Tom CroteauTom Croteau

Senior Managing, Project Management and Client Services at Development Advisors

Tom Croteau joined Development Advisors (DAI) in a leadership capacity for the company’s business development and incentives negotiation services. Tom is establishing DAI’s Atlanta office to help the company better serve its client base in this region of the Southeastern U.S.

Before joining DAI, Tom recently served as Deputy Commissioner, Global Commerce for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In that role, he led Georgia’s team focused on job creation and investment through locating new and expanding businesses, as well as growing small businesses. After assuming the role of Deputy Commissioner in 2013, Tom led the Global Commerce team to locate nearly 1,700 projects that have created over $23 billion investment and nearly 127,000 new jobs for Georgia. Notable recruitment projects during this time include: Mercedes-Benz USA, Honeywell, ASOS, and Sentury Tire.

Honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2019, Tom has overseen the expansion of hundreds of Georgia’s existing industries, including significant investments such as NCR, UPS, Kia, and Pratt and Whitney. Tom has also worked in the economic development divisions of MEAG Power (currently Electric Cities of Georgia) and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Drew DavisDrew Davis

Co-founder at Half Machine

Half Machine passionately focuses on helping businesses and organizations grow public trust and business impact through strategic planning, filmed stories, digital distribution, and data analysis. But first and foremost, they reinsert the human element – the most important element – back into marketing strategies and business plans.

Before Half Machine, co-founders, Jim Nichols and Drew Davis, were fortunate to be an integral part of $135+ million in generated revenue as creative, marketing, and operations leaders in several different industries. Their shared experiences witnessing firsthand the impact of strategic storytelling, filmmaking, and data analysis has now become a passionate business proposition and public speaking platform.

Altogether, they’ve filmed in over 10 U.S. states and 12 countries (Germany, Ireland, India, China, Thailand, etc.). Early on in their careers, Jim’s set design work was featured on popular cable TV shows (HGTV, Ski Channel, and Travel Channel) and Drew’s intelligence analysis initiatives received multiple awards and presidential recognition.

With over 10,000 hours in charitable service, they also strongly believe in giving back to the community.

Brandt Herndon

CEO, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority

Brandt Herndon is Chief Executive Officer for the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority. Herndon is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing and businesses development action plans to attract prospects to Effingham County as well as retention, expansion and creation of additional prospects and projects.

Herndon was previously the Vice President of the Savannah Economic Development Authority and the President and CEO of the Fayette County Development Authority. Before the FCDA, he was Executive Vice President of Apple Realty Inc., where he was responsible for sales, leasing, property management, and development. Herndon’s experience also includes four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and four years with Electric Cities, where he served as Manager of Economic Development.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Herndon holds a Bachelor’s in Finance from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in Business from Georgia State University and is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional.

Scott Hilton

Executive Director, Georgians First Commission, Office of the Governor

Prior to this role, Scott spent a career in commercial banking at a regional financial institution, providing small businesses with the valuable capital needed to fund growth. Scott also served as a State Representative in the Georgia General Assembly. During his tenure as representative, Scott was appointed to a leadership role as deputy whip and was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” by numerous organizations, including the Georgia Charter School Association and Council of Municipal Court Judges.

Scott graduated with honors from Georgetown University, with a double major in finance and international business and a minor in psychology. Scott graduated from Emory University’s one-year accelerated MBA program with a concentration in capital markets.

Scott is active in his community, having served in a variety of roles including President of the Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA), President of the Amberfield Homeowner’s Association, and Fundraising Chair for the Fowler Family YMCA. Scott is a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Conservative Policy Leadership Institute (CPLI), and LEAD Atlanta. He has served as Chairman of the Gwinnett County SPLOST Citizens Project Selection Committee and Treasurer of the Atlanta Down Syndrome Association.

Scott also enjoys running, having completed four marathons. Scott met his wife, Meredith, at Georgetown. Meredith is a local attorney specializing in estate planning and special needs law. Scott and Meredith are active members of Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. Scott and Meredith have three children. The family enjoys hiking, golf, tennis, traveling and pickleball.

Amy Hudnall

Director-COI Aerospace, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Amy Kohler Hudnall is the Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace and is responsible for a wide-ranging program to provide the technical industry expertise, collaborative research and partnerships to help Georgia’s aerospace industry connect, compete and grow. Her early career included coordinating workforce programs at the National Aerospace Development Center, and serving as an Air Force Officer managing Foreign Military Sales training programs in the F-16.  Amy is on the Executive Committee for the Aerospace States Association and the national Public Policy Committee for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Locally, she is active on the boards of directors for the Atlanta Aero Club, and the SAE International Georgia-Alabama Chapter. 

Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Economist, Chief Strategist for JLL’s US Ports Airport and Global Infrastructure

Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Ph.D., has been Managing Director, Economist and Chief Strategist, Ports, Airports & Global Infrastructure of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated since April 7, 2016. In this role, Dr. Kemmsies executes initiatives for public and private sector clients who have interests in or properties proximate to seaports and airports throughout North America. He has professional experience working in Europe, Latin America and Asia uniquely that qualifies him as a global trade economist.He dedicates a significant amount of effort working with the agricultural industry, by directing research at Rutgers University for the US Department of Agriculture, advising food production companies on international business strategy and participating in conferences for the Soybean Transportation Coalition, Agricultural Transportation Coalition (AgTC) and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). He advises several major U.S. Port Authorities and is routinely asked to work on complex issues with various investment banks, private equity firms and public regulatory agencies. He provides substantial support to the freight movement industry via a monthly column in American Shipper, presentations at major international industry conferences, and advising the US Department of Commerce on supply chain competitiveness. He testified to the US Senate Transportation and Commerce Subcommittee on issues affecting the freight industry. He has also published research in scholarly journals. He served as the Chief Economist of Moffatt & Nichol, Inc. from 2006 until April 2016. Dr. Kemmsies served as Head of European Strategy and European Equity Strategist at JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division. Dr. Kemmsies served as Equity Analyst of UBS Investment Bank, Research Division. He is an advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness and the Department of Transportation’s National Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Valuation. He is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, National Association of Business Economists, and International Association of Energy Economists. He holds a Doctorate degree in Economics from Texas A&M University, a Master of Arts in Economics from Florida Atlantic University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Florida Atlantic University.

Griffith LynchGriffith V. Lynch

Executive Director, Georgia Ports Authority

Griffith V. Lynch is the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, an 1,100- person strong state port authority that owns and operates strategic gateways serving the U.S. Southeast.

As Executive Director, Lynch oversees all port activity involving the deepwater ports of Savannah and Brunswick, as well as inland terminal operations. Directing one of Georgia’s largest economic engines, he administers a $380 million annual budget.

Before becoming executive director, Lynch served as GPA chief operating officer for five years. As COO of the single largest container terminal in North America and second busiest U.S. auto port, he was responsible for sustaining the profitable growth and development of all operations, and maintaining world-class operating standards.

A proven leader in the maritime industry, Lynch brings 29 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.

Misti Martin, CEcD

President, Cherokee Office of Economic Development

Misti Martin is a native of Georgia and has been in the Chamber and Economic Development field for over 25 years. She has served as the President of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development since 2004.

In the 1990s, Martin worked for the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce & Development Authority and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. She served as President & CEO of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce in east Atlanta from 1998-2004 before returning to Cherokee. Ms. Martin graduated from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and earned her MBA from Troy University. She is also a graduate of University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (EDI) as well as the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Georgia.

Misti has held numerous positions on state boards for Chamber and Economic Development organizations, serving as Chair of the Georgia Economic Developers Association in 2012. She earned her Certified Economic Developer status from the International Economic Development Council in 2000 and has also been featured as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and as a “Notable Georgian.” Martin was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Economic Developers in North America” in 2016.

Misti is married with three sons.

Charlie MoseleyCharlie Moseley

Business Recruitment Director at Georgia Power

Charlie Moseley joined the Georgia Power Economic Development team in 2018 as business recruitment director, bringing his talent and expertise to companies looking for locations throughout Georgia. He oversees the research and site selection process for businesses investing or expanding in Georgia. With market evaluation, engineering services, facilitating company visits, and serving as a liaison between companies and government agencies, Charlie walks prospects through every step of the journey.

Before Georgia Power, Charlie was the director of project management and regional partnerships for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, working to attract jobs and investment to the Atlanta region. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Henry County Development Authority where he led all economic efforts, and before that he worked in various roles for the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Global Commerce team. He's also worked with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and as a speechwriter for a former governor.

Charlie earned graduate degrees in public policy and city and regional planning from Georgia Tech. He got his undergraduate degree in political science from the Honors Program at the University of Georgia.

A fan of the Atlanta music scene (especially at Variety Playhouse), Charlie loves to go to shows when he can find the time. He's also a big reader (currently reading The Goldfinch). He and his family- wife Jess, daughter Nora, and son Reid, love spending time outdoors along the Chattahoochee or in the North Georgia mountains. The Moseleys call Atlanta's Druid Hills neighborhood home.

Jim NicholsJim Nichols

Co-Founder at Half Machine

Half Machine passionately focuses on helping businesses and organizations grow public trust and business impact through strategic planning, filmed stories, digital distribution, and data analysis. But first and foremost, they reinsert the human element – the most important element – back into marketing strategies and business plans.

Before Half Machine, co-founders, Jim Nichols and Drew Davis, were fortunate to be an integral part of $135+ million in generated revenue as creative, marketing, and operations leaders in several different industries. Their shared experiences witnessing firsthand the impact of strategic storytelling, filmmaking, and data analysis has now become a passionate business proposition and public speaking platform.

Altogether, they’ve filmed in over 10 U.S. states and 12 countries (Germany, Ireland, India, China, Thailand, etc.). Early on in their careers, Jim’s set design work was featured on popular cable TV shows (HGTV, Ski Channel, and Travel Channel) and Drew’s intelligence analysis initiatives received multiple awards and presidential recognition.

With over 10,000 hours in charitable service, they also strongly believe in giving back to the community.

Amanda Shailendra

Amanda Shailendra

Affiliate at Pendleton Group

Amanda Shailendra is an economic development and site selection specialist whose experience includes corporate recruitment, expansion projects and leading strategic negotiations for Google, Inc. and more than 100 economic development projects for the City of Atlanta and State of Georgia. Her work for the State of Georgia’s Department of Economic Development includes leading the recruitment of Mercedes-Benz USA’s Corporate Headquarters, working with Health IT firm Athenahealth to expand its physician practice management and electronic medical records practice in Metro Atlanta, and supporting the State’s efforts to recruit other major business moves to Georgia, including Baxter Pharmaceuticals, Kia Motors, Verizon Wireless, AirWatch, Premium Waters, and Unisys.

An affiliate of Pendleton Atlanta, Shailendra founded PATH Consulting, LLC to provide economic development planning and community development services that provide a direct PATH to success for her clients. She advises corporations and public entities, relying heavily on her experience at Google, Inc. and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. She connects clients to an extensive network of current and former colleagues with the goal of putting their leaders on the right PATH to efficiently and effectively achieving their goals.

She most recently led Google Fiber, Inc.’s expansions in metro Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. In this role, she provided governmental, community, and public relations advice and worked with multiple client teams to support efficient and timely deployment of the Google Fiber network.

Prior to establishing PATH Solutions, she served as Director for Life Sciences and Corporate Solutions for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), where she led the location of new headquarters for Mercedes-Benz USA, Athenahealth, Porsche Cars North America, and AT&T Mobility.

Shailendra currently serves on the Advisory Board for Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy. In 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal appointed her to the Georgia Non-public Post-secondary Education Commission (GNPEC) and the Tuition Guarantee Trust Fund (TGTF).  She is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Georgia, and a 2008 graduate of L.E.A.D. Atlanta, where she also served as Co-Chair of the Class of 2010-2011. She serves on the Honorary Board of Trustees for Atlanta Ballet and the Board of Advisors for the Preschool at Second-Ponce Baptist Church. She previously served on the Board of Director’s for Dad’s Garage Theatre Company and the Georgia Economic Development Association.

A native of Augusta, GA, Shailendra earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Wake Forest University and a Master’s of Science from Georgia Tech, where she was a MacArthur Fellow. She and her husband, Paul, live in Atlanta with their daughters, Taylor and Harbans, and two dogs, Scout and Finch.

Brian Sillitto

Executive Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Brian Sillitto is the Executive Vice President of Economic Development at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.  Brian is part of an experienced team that is dedicated to assisting new and existing companies that are considering locating or expanding within the Columbus, Georgia Region.

Brian has been working in the field of Economic Development for 15 years and his direct work has led to the announcement of more than 70 project locations or expansions resulting in the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs and $600 million in capital investment. 

In 2016 Brian earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Randall Toussaint

Director, Corporate Solutions and Cyber Security, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Randall Toussaint is the Director of Corporate Solutions & Cybersecurity at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In his role, Randall leads a team that attracts corporate headquarters, data centers, call centers, innovation centers, and cybersecurity companies to the State of Georgia.

Randall previously worked as the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation’s Business Development officer for the technology sector where he served as the organization’s liaison to Fort Meade. Randall also led urban planning and economic development programs in College Park, Maryland and served as the Vice President of Economic Development in Forsyth County, Georgia. Randall’s career in Georgia also includes tenure as the Assistant Director of the Clayton County Office of Economic Development in Jonesboro, Georgia; and as a Program Manager at the Savannah Development & Renewal Authority.

Randall has over a decade of experience in the fields of urban planning and economic development. He is a former Fellow with the US Department of Housing & Urban Development and a former legislative liaison with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Savannah State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science from Morehouse College. Randall lives in Gainesville, Georgia with his wife and two children.