Meet Our Speakers
In 2019, Rolls-Royce Power Systems started their Artificial Intelligence journey with South Carolina firm Delta Bravo, predicting engine failures in the test cell and for engines in the field, saving Rolls-Royce millions in quality and warranty costs. Rolls-Royce Senior Controls Engineer/Chief Skeptic Kyle Hodges and Delta Bravo’s Rick Oppedisano take you inside the project, which was deployed in 45 days, provided over 10X ROI in the first 90 days and is now being scaled to other plants and engine types. Rick and Kyle will share their approach, challenges, best practices and lessons learned.
Gary is the Firm’s National Automotive Industry Leader, as well as the Global Lead Partner for Delphi Corporation and Ford MotorCompany. Gary has 25+ years of business experience, including over 15 years in the automotive industry.
Professional and Industry Experience
• Gary has advised numerous domestic and multinational companies in areas of strategy, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and jointventures. His specific focus includes helping clients identify and evaluate new investment and growth strategies from technologystart-upcompanies to large scale multibillion dollar investments.
• For the past five years he has focused on the intersection of technology and the automotive industry with groundbreaking research on Self-Driving Cars, connectivity and mobility demand services.
• He has also worked on some of the most complex and strategic transactions in the industry. In particular, Gary has worked as an advisor toFord Motor Company on its three most recent divestitures: Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover, and its Volvo divestiture. Mr.Silberg hasalso advised Chrysler Corporation as part of its transaction with Fiat. He also has extensive knowledge and experience working with tier 1automotive suppliers including their aftermarket businesses.
• He has assisted several start-up automotive companies in developing their long-term strategies and business plans.
• Gary is fluent in French and speaks basic level Chinese (Mandarin).
Thought leadership in the Automotive industry
• Gary is the chair of the annual Executive Automotive Share Forum Series, conducted in parallel with the North American International AutoShow in Detroit and Los Angeles.
• He has written extensively about the industry. A selection of Gary’s recent publications include:
• I see. I think. I drive. (I learn).
• The ClockspeedDilemma –what it means for automotive innovation
• Me, My Car, My Life … in the ultraconnectedage
• Self-Driving Cars: Are We Ready?
• Self Driving Cars: The Next Revolution
• Gary also often provides media commentary on global trends in the automotive industry, including many guest appearances on CNBCSquawk Box, Bloomberg TV –Other news media interviews include The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Reuters, Fortune, Forbes,Bloomberg, Wired, The Silicon Valley Business Journal, CNN Money, Industry Week, Outlook Business of India, China Auto and YomiuriShimbun of Japan.
BorgWarner, Fiat/Chrysler, Delphi, Denso, Emerson, Ford Motor Company, IAC, Illinois Tool Works Inc., Lear, Meritor, NVDIA, Motorola, ThyssenKrupp, Toyota, TRW, and Visteon.
Since 2011, S.C. Commerce has recruited approximately $30 billion in capital investment and more than 105,000 new jobs. Now a premier brand state, multiple world-class companies have made significant investments in South Carolina during Secretary Hitt’s tenure, including BMW, Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Michelin, Samsung, Toray, Volvo Cars and more. As one of the nation’s leaders in foreign direct investment, S.C. Commerce markets South Carolina’s positive business environment to the global economy.
Consequently, the Palmetto State has achieved an export sales record in each year of Secretary Hitt’s tenure, topping $31 billion in total export sales for the first time in 2016. Additionally, South Carolina has consistently ranked first in the nation in the export sales of both completed passenger motor vehicles and tires. To build on this success and to complement the efforts of each of the state’s four international offices, a new International Strategy and Trade division was established at S.C. Commerce in 2015.
Seeking continued growth of South Carolina’s target industry clusters, S.C. Commerce established partnerships with several organizations under Secretary Hitt’s leadership. The agency now collaborates with the S.C. Council on Competitiveness to advance the state’s aerospace and logistics industries, as well as the S.C. Automotive Council and the S.C. Biotechnology Industry Organization to advance the automotive and life science industries, respectively.
S.C. Commerce also prioritizes efforts to support the state’s small and existing companies. Understanding the importance of bringing business to business, the agency has spearheaded the coordination of many B2B events, including subcontractor outreach sessions for major construction projects and supplier matchmaker sessions for some of the state’s biggest industries. S.C. Commerce also operates a product and service locator database known as SourceSC, allowing South Carolina companies to connect with in-state suppliers and vendors.
As Team South Carolina seeks to build on momentum generated since 2011, continued collaboration remains a critical piece of Secretary Hitt’s strategy. The recent creation of a Council for Innovation Initiatives and a Coordinating Council for Workforce Development will help advance efforts in both areas, while eliciting the expertise of leaders from a variety of public and private organizations.
Before his time as Secretary of Commerce, Hitt served as manager of Corporate Affairs at the BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg County after 17 years as managing editor of The State and Columbia Record newspapers.
O’Riley joined Duke Energy in April 2016, after serving 12+ years in various roles at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation including Senior Vice President of External Relations, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Michigan Business Ombudsman, and Michigan Film Commissioner. In these roles, Margaret held responsibility for passage of major business incentive legislation, and served as the key business and local community liaison, member of the Michigan Strategic Fund for five years, President of the Michigan Economic Development Foundation, Secretary to the MEDC Board, and management of the a $50M film production fund, including landing productions such as Transformers 4, Batman vs. Superman, and 42+ productions.
For 10 years ,Margaret founded and ran O’Riley Consulting, which provided tax incentive consulting, marketing, and government relations counsel to companies. Her clients included Johnson Controls, Bosch, El Paso Energy, amongst others, including over 120+ tool and die companies statewide. She graduated from Michigan State University, and resides in Fenton, Michigan.
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
projects. Since 1998, she has personally conducted location advisory services in more than 30 countries for both domestic capital investment and foreign direct
investment projects totaling nearly than $50 billion.
Didi began her career in 1998 with the global engineering and construction firm Fluor Corporation where she provided location advisory services for projects all over the world. In 2008, she opened her own consultancy, Global Location Strategies (GLS). Since then, GLS has supported projects that have resulted in investment of $7.6 billion and the creation of 7,200 jobs.
Didi also executes economic development consulting initiatives, speaks at industry events, and writes articles for industry publications.
A native of Savannah, Georgia and current resident of Greenville, SC, Didi has also lived in Argentina, Australia, Mexico and Spain, and holds dual citizenship with the United States and Australia.
Morgan previously worked for a mid-sized law firm as an attorney in the economic development and international arenas, where her practice focused on tax and incentives. Prior to that, Morgan worked for the South Carolina Department of Commerce, both as a Project Manager in Global Business Development and as Senior Manager of International Strategy and Trade. In these roles, she was responsible for recruiting companies from around the world and streamlining their investment projects to create jobs and bring investment to the state.
Morgan obtained her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. She is active in the community and serves on various boards, including engenuitySC, the Columbia World Affairs Council and the Lexington Clemson Club. She is a native of Morgantown, West Virginia and now resides in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and two dogs.
Mr. Schuster has been tracking and analyzing developments in the global automotive industry for more than twenty years and has been with LMC Automotive since its inception in 2011. He is widely quoted by the automotive media in print, internet, radio and television. He frequently makes industry conference and seminar presentations covering various topics including, the current assessment and outlook of the automotive industry.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schuster led the automotive forecast division of J.D. Power and Associates and has experience in financial analysis and cash management in the automotive supply base.
Mr. Schuster holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Science degree in corporate finance from Walsh College. He is a board member of Society of Automotive Analysts and a member of the Automotive Press Association.
Pete recently served as the Vice President of Global Trade and Managed Services for Crane World Wide. He lead the development, marketing and innovation of Customs, Regulatory and Global Trade Products, Secured Transportation Offerings, Management Consulting, Integrated Managed Services and Software Solutions.
Prior to joining Crane, Pete was Practice Leader and Principal of Ryan Tax LLC's Customs and Global Trade Practice. While there, he managed the recovery and avoidance of global duties and VAT for importers all over the world.
Pete is a Customs House Broker, Foreign Relations Expert and Trade Academic. He is one of the world’s leading experts on International Trade Policy and Supply Chain Security.
Mr. Mento also served as the Principal Consultant of Expeditors Tradewin where he spent 7 years managing and leading the organization.
Pete received his ALM in Government (Trade Theory Focus) from Harvard University and did his undergraduate work at Maine Maritime Academy where he served five consecutive terms as a member of the advisory board.
Mr. Mento is a Trade Academic who has written many articles and work papers on Trade Theory and Trade Practices. His PhD studies at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom in Trade Law.
Pete is a highly sought after speaker all over the world. A former professional standup comedian, he has conducted sold out lectures to tens of thousands of people in every imaginable venue – from University lecture halls to night clubs. His style of mixing economics, history and humor is always a welcome change for his clients and students. He is the most unlikely trade nerd you will ever meet.
Mr. Newsome received a BS in Transportation and Logistics in 1976 and an MBA in Transportation and Logistics in 1977 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. He was the top graduate in the College of Business Administration for Winter Quarter, 1976. He was named the Outstanding Alumnus in Transportation and Logistics in 1992.
Under Bryson’s leadership over the last 13 years, the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center has grown to include more than 100 companies, generating an annual economic impact in excess of $2 billion.
Bryson has been named one of Greenville’s “50 Most Influential People” by Greenville Magazine on four separate occasions.
A native of Greenville, Bryson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Clemson University in 1987 and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of South Carolina in 1992.
Bryson is actively involved with numerous economic development organizations including the Greenville Area Development Corporation, Upstate SC Alliance, the SC Department of Commerce, NEXT, CU-ICAR and the SC Aviation Association.
Bryson recently completed 2 terms on the Greenville Tech Charter High School (GTCHS) Board of Directors, having previously served on the GTCHS Endowment Board and in various other volunteer positions with the school. In 2019, Bryson received the “Charter Champion” award from the GTCHS Board of Directors, the school’s highest honor.
In 2012, Bryson was elected by the SC General Assembly to represent the 4th Congressional District on the Francis Marion University Board of Trustees, where he has held several leadership positions. He was re-elected in 2016 to a second 4-year term.
Bryson serves on the Board of Advisors of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce and is a member of Leadership Greenville Class 34. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Connector Association and is a 2010 graduate of Leadership South Carolina. Bryson is an ardent supporter of SC Charities and the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Bryson is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church and currently serves on the Long-Range Planning Committee.
Jody and his wife Jenni have been married 28 years and have three children.
was promoted to his current role in 2015 and championed the relocation of JTEKT’s North America Regional Headquarters to Greenville, SC.
Actively involved in the community, Mike has served on multiple non-profit boards and committees. He is past Board Chairman of the Morristown, TN Area Chamber of Commerce and Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter, past Board Member of the Hamblen County, TN United Way and HC*EXCELL Education Foundation in addition to other committee and advisory positions.
Mike holds a master’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University. He resides in Greenville, SC with his wife and two sons.
Lisa began her career at the U.S. Department of Commerce and then joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer, serving at posts including Mexico City, Washington, and Jakarta. In 2000, she moved to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where she managed U.S. trade relations with foreign governments, including Russia, Central Europe, and Turkey. In 2007, Lisa joined Apple as a Senior Manager for Global Government Affairs, where she helped build the company’s government affairs office and represented its policy interests to U.S. government agencies. In 2014, she was named Vice President of International Government Affairs for Nielsen, where she developed a public policy agenda that supported the business interests of Nielsen and its customers. Lisa assumed her current role with BMW in September 2017.
Lisa earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Since becoming governor, in just under two years, Governor McMaster has announced more than 30,000 new jobs and over $8.2 billion in capital investment. The state’s unemployment rate is the lowest in recorded history and more people are working in South Carolina than ever before.
McMaster was the first U.S. attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate. His “Operation Jackpot” investigation into international drug smuggling produced over 100 convictions.
As attorney general, McMaster made prosecution of criminal domestic violence a priority and harnessed the resources of law enforcement and prosecutors to crack down on child Internet predators. He extended the state grand jury’s jurisdiction to environmental and gang crimes and broadened its authority to include securities crimes following the collapse of Carolina Investors and Home Gold, convicting those responsible.
In 2003, McMaster issued a landmark opinion to protect our marsh islands from encroachment and later won the Life Sciences Act case in the South Carolina Supreme Court, which enhanced the state’s economic potential through its universities for research, development and investment in the knowledge-based economy. The governor was central to the fight against “Obamacare,” organizing and leading the states in their challenge against the law’s unconstitutional federal encroachment.
As lieutenant governor, McMaster served as president of the South Carolina State Senate and headed the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging, which aids older adults with social, economic and health needs. In that capacity, he added senior services to the 2-1-1 system, connecting callers with support groups and services in their areas. He also established a “Senior Day” at the State House and strengthened the network of “senior ride” projects. AARP named McMaster a “Capitol Caregiver” for his policies to help seniors live independently at home.
In 2012, McMaster and former attorney general Travis Medlock led a bipartisan commission to reform ethics laws and restore the public’s trust in state government.
McMaster was chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party from 1993-2002, winning reelection three times. As state GOP chairman, he led the party to Republican majorities in South Carolina’s House and Senate.
Governor McMaster has served on the South Carolina Ports Authority Board of Directors, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the Palmetto Health Foundation Board and the South Carolina Policy Council (as chairman). He is admitted to practice in all courts, state and federal, in South Carolina, as well as the U.S. Court of Claims (1974), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1975) and the Supreme Court of the United States (1978). Governor McMaster is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in the state, and was named “Public Servant of the Year” by the Sierra Club and “National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” by The Humane Society of the United States.
McMaster received his AB degree in history in 1969 from the University of South Carolina and his JD degree in 1973 from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he served on the South Carolina Law Review. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves in the JAG Corps from 1969 to 1975.
Governor McMaster is married to Peggy McMaster, and they have two children, Henry D. McMaster, Jr. and Mary Rogers McMaster. They are members of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia.
Prior to her election as the first female Republican lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Evette founded Quality Business Solutions, Inc. (QBS), a payroll, human resources, and benefits services firm headquartered in Travelers Rest. Under her leadership as President and CEO, QBS grew exponentially, going from start-up to one of the nation’s fastest growing small businesses. QBS has been repeatedly honored among the fastest growing and best places to work in South Carolina.
Evette has received numerous business and professional accolades, including the ATHENA Leadership Award®; the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award; the Women Presidents’ Organization 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies Award; and as a member of the Impact 50, an annual ranking of the most powerful women leaders of Inc. 5000 companies.
A trained accountant and former CFO, with many years serving in a financial capacity at a wide range of organizations, Evette has demonstrated a keen focus on driving customer growth and a deep understanding of the regulatory issues and challenges facing small and medium sized businesses.
Based on her years of experience in handling small business compliance, Evette served as a member of South Carolina’s Small Business Regulatory Review Committee prior to taking office. This committee is charged with reviewing and supporting or challenging proposed regulations that might impact small businesses’ ability to start-up, operate effectively or grow within the state.
Evette is passionate about, and has been focused on, improving educational performance in her community, assisting the elderly and the young, and helping small- and women-owned businesses. She serves on the boards of directors of the St Francis Foundation (affiliated with Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital) and the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) where she is also an emeritus member of the state legislative committee.
A native of Ohio, Evette is the granddaughter of Polish immigrants. Her parents, Jennie and Emil Gajoch, were first generation Americans who taught her the value of hard work and the importance of getting involved and giving back. Evette holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in accounting from Cleveland State University.
Evette and her husband David, President of QBS, attend Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors. The Evettes have three children, Amanda, 22, Joseph, 20, and Jackson, 11.
Ms. Land’s professional experience includes over three years at McCallum Sweeney Consulting as a Senior Consultant, working with clients such as Dollar General and Aerojet Rocketdyne. She also managed the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program, South Carolina Department of Commerce Site Certification Program, and Tennessee Valley Authority Mega Site Certification Program.
Prior to working at McCallum Sweeney, Ms. Land spent over three years as a project manager for York County Economic Development working to recruit new business investment to York County. Ms. Land also adds a unique perspective to the site selection process with experience in the aerospace manufacturing industry. Before joining York County, Beth was the Project Manager at Avenger Aircraft and Services.
• Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and Member, International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
• Member, South Carolina Economic Developers Association
• Bachelor of Arts, Communications Studies with a Minor in German, Clemson University, Phi Beta Kappa, 2009
• Master of Business Administration, Wake Forest University, 2011
Earlier this year, Dr. Firestone was chosen for and participated in the prestigious Fulbright grant to advise the Chamber of Commerce in Colombia on developing its apprenticeships.
Before joining the Apprenticeship Carolina team, Dr. Firestone served as the Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Miami Dade College, the largest community college in the nation. As Dean, she led eight campuses in adult education, workforce education, corporate training, and recreation and leisure initiatives.
Prior to Miami Dade College, Dr. Firestone made headlines as the Senior Advisor on Education in the Office of Apprenticeship for the United States Department of Labor. She led USDOL’s Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), consisting of more than 400 colleges nationwide, and led the nation’s youth apprenticeship policy development. Dr. Firestone's pilot program of STEM youth apprenticeships has become so successful it is currently implemented in
Dr. Firestone earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies from the College of William & Mary. She earned a Master’s degree in Latin American studies and a Doctoral degree in Spanish Sociolinguistics from University of Illinois. She also published a book on urban youth in Peru, entitled Combinamos el Quechua ‘We Combine Quechua’: Language and Identity among Urban Youth in Peru. Her book is available in the collections of ivy-league universities; such as Princeton and Stanford, and is available for purchase in Latin America and Europe.