I had an opportunity to attend Alliance South on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 in College Park, Georgia. For those who were unable to attend, you missed an exceptional opportunity. The Matchmaking Sessions were powerful with each organization representative eager to help, support and guide. Exhibit booths served as additional resources outside of the Matchmaking Sessions. The morning breakout sessions were ‘second to none’, with each diverse speaker, sharing his or her story on how they were able to successfully break through countless racial, economic and cultural barriers. Attendees walked away engaged, enlightened and empowered. The staff was friendly, helpful and professional. I look forward to attending the next event!
- Tracy Marshall, Business Development Manager, Softpath System, LLC
This page displays information about a PAST event.
For a current event listing check the right side menu.
Speaker Biographies - Alliance South 2012
April 17, 2012 College Park, GA
LeScot Enterprises Arthur L. Brown serves as President of LeScot Enterprises, Inc. LeScot is a consulting firm that offers business development, economic development, training and marketing representation services. Art received his undergraduate training in Business Administration from North Carolina A&T State University and an MBA from Atlanta University.
Previous work experience includes the Georgia Institute of Technology where his skills were refined in economic development, internet marketing and procurement and business development assistance. He is now a contractor for Georgia Tech's Electronic Commerce Resource Center. He was also formerly employed by General Motors, Buick Motor Division and AMTAR Incorporated.
He is the past President of the Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI), an organization established to promote retention and expansion of existing business as a viable economic strategy, past president of the National Association of Management and Technical Assistance Centers (NAMTAC). He is a past board member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and has held several committee chairs and is a current member. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and is a Certified Master Consultant/Instructor (CMC) by the Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI) and is an Associate Contracting Assistance Specialist (ACAS) designee by the Association of Government Marketing Assistance Specialists (AGMAS).
CyQuest Business Solutions, Inc. As President and CEO of CyQuest Business Solutions, Inc.,--a human resources outsourcing firm—DeVan Brown leads the company’s corporate strategy and is responsible for the company’s overall operation and direction. DeVan’s aggressive and visionary style has allowed the company to prosper and move from a start-up in 2004 to currently employing over 50 employees in 3 locations. DeVan excels in creating both the structure and team necessary to guide the company through the turbulence and uncertainty of this dramatic growth and unstable economy. DeVan’s functional strengths are in strategic and tactical planning, managing and reducing risks, managing and motivating employees and providing exceptional customer value while never sacrificing quality and satisfaction. A human resources industry expert with more than 25 years of successful HR related experience, DeVan has a proven ability to foster collaborative relationships that result in mutually beneficial alliances. Prior to forming CyQuest, DeVan gained valuable industry experience by working for INVESCO, the IRS, and New England Life. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Alabama in accounting and marketing.
His passions away from work include astronomy, reading and traveling. He is especially fond of Spain where he’s ventured across the country solo with not much more than a backpack and a map. DeVan proudly extends his leadership to his community and has a true passion for charitable endeavors benefitting youths and children.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta MARY MCGUIRE KEPLER
Mary McGuire Kepler is a vice president and director of the Retail Payments Risk Forum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In this role, she collaborates with financial institutions and other industry participants, regulators, and law enforcement to identify, understand, and mitigate risks in retail payments.
Kepler joined the Atlanta Fed’s supervision and regulation department in 1992 after spending nearly eight years at the Kansas City Fed. In 1998, she was promoted to assistant vice president in the automation operations department and in 2002 was named vice president. Kepler later joined the Retail Payments Office (RPO), where she managed the Federal Reserve System’s retail payment services to the U.S. Treasury Department. She also oversaw the RPO’s initiatives in intellectual property rights. Kepler became the senior officer over human resources in 2005. In this capacity, she chaired the Bank’s human resources committee and was an adviser to the management committee. A year later, Kepler took on new responsibilities in the financial management and planning department, where she oversaw the accounting, budgeting, procurement, strategic planning, and enterprise risk management functions.
A native of Missouri, Kepler received a bachelor of business administration degree with a concentration in finance from the University of Central Missouri. She has also completed the executive development program at Northwestern University.
US Army Engineer Research & Development Center Bill Cantrell is Deputy for Small Business at the U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC) with headquarters at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi. In this position, Bill serves on the Executive Staff and is the advocate for small businesses and minority institutions, and advisor to the ERDC Director, ERDC Commander, and the seven Laboratory Directors. Bill’s primary office is in Vicksburg with a secondary office at the Army Geospatial Center in Alexandria, VA.
Bill also provides small business program support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Test & Evaluation Program, and the Army Geospatial Center.
Bill chairs the DOD Southeast Region Small Business Council, an organization of persons who advocate small businesses in government contracting with a focus on United States Defense Department contracting.
Prior to starting his career with the Federal Government in December 2002, Bill spent more than 20 years in private industry working in small business management. Bill holds an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management Executive MBA Program, Vanderbilt University, and has taught college courses in Small Business Management, Marketing, and Personal Selling Skills.
Bill is also a volunteer counselor to small businesses through SCORE.
Federal Procurement Advisors DG Federal Procurement Advisors, LLC was organized in 2012 by Dinora Gonzalez who retired from the General Services Administration (GSA) as its Regional Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the Federal Government’s Small Business procurement programs. As the Agency’s Southeast Small Business Technical Advisor, she implemented training programs on contracting with the small business community; was the lead instructor for the GSA Schedules Program; facilitated teaming arrangements for large contracts; reviewed acquisition plans, subcontracting plans, and solicitations to ensure small business participation. She currently teaches at Atlanta Technical College in the area of Federal Procurement; and is a Joint Venture partner of the Women’s Employment Opportunity Program (WEOP) providing federal contracting consulting services; one-on-one GSA Schedule training, and proposal writing.
While at GSA Dinora was a trainer at the GSA Expo on the GSA Schedule, and the Federal Socio-Economic Programs. She is a sought after speaker, lecturer and workshop leader at many congressional small business forums, Chambers, and Industry functions. She is an Army Veteran; a 1987 cum laude graduate of Georgia State University; and, in 2005 received a Masters of Public Administration (magna cum laude) from Andrew Jackson University in Birmingham, Alabama.
Ret. Col. Jonathan Griffin
J3S Enterprises LLC Jonathan Griffin, Sr., President and CEO of J3S Enterprises, LLC, has with precision-like vision, managed to develop one of the fastest growing US based companies in Afghanistan. Having established an organizational structure with business leaders from diverse industry backgrounds, he has created an atmosphere of unparalleled scope as it relates to construction, logistics, business consulting, training and development, human resource management and government relations. For the past 5 years, Jonathan has become submerged into Afghan business culture, and brought a rare combination of management and strategic solution thinking, to the partnerships and contract relationships he has cultivated.
Bringing over 3 decades of superior military and private industry leadership experience to the clients of J3S, Jonathan has blended his background in domestic and international operations from critical and high ranking assignments in government, foreign ministries, and the military to his Program Manager assignment with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) a multi-national corporation. This intermeshing of skills and experiences at J3S has allowed for a unique business perspective on a variety of issues and applications, and, supports a strong foundation for a company culture of revolutionary thought when delivering services to his diverse customer base.
Jonathan holds a Masters of Strategic Studies, from Air War College, a Master of Arts, International Relations, Troy State University, a Masters of Military Arts and Science (Strategic Planning), Fort Leavenworth, KS and a Bachelors of Arts (BA) in Political Science and International Relations, Benedict College. He is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree from Liberty University (15 hours completed) and a Masters in Contract and Program Management, from Villanova University (6 hours completed). In addition to his degreed education, Jonathan received a military education which includes Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery Al, NATO Staff Officers Course, NATO School, Oberamergau, Germany, Joint Services Staff College, Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, VA, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, Combined Arms Services Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, KS, Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Fort Benning, GA and Army Airborne and Ranger School, Fort Benning, GA.
CFO Leasing Inc Kevin Grimes is the Chief Executive Officer with CFO Leasing, Inc. and a Strategic Advisor with RunLevel Media. He has over 10 years of accounting experience and specializes in DCAA consulting, Federal Registrations (8a/HUBZone/GSA Schedules), and grant/proposal writing. Mr. Grimes has worked with international and foreign companies in the United States, Dubai, and Iraq. In 2010, CFO Leasing has successfully supported clients in over $400M ($.4Billion) in contracts with the DOE, NASA, Department of Army, Department of Navy, NSA, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, USDA, and other federal agencies across the country.
Mr. Grimes is a veteran of the elite United States Navy Nuclear Submarine Force and is widely held as the youngest person in Naval History to graduate #1 in Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS). Mr. Grimes has studied over 300 hours of DCAA Auditor training provided by the Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI). Mr. Grimes earned a Master’s Degree in Accounting and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Metropolitan University. He has also pursued doctoral studies in the field of business leadership. CFO Leasing, Inc. is an SDVO & HUBZone company.
Information Technology Solutions Shawn Herring is CEO and Co-Founder of Information Technology Solutions Inc. ITS serves the small business community by providing educational resources and analytical tools to make government contracting simple. Shawn along with the ITS family have created a unique place where small businesses can receive support, advice, and tools to support them as they pursue government contracting opportunities.
US Army Corps of Engineers-Savannah District Leila Hollis, was appointed as Chief of Small Business Office, in July, 2004. Prior to Ms. Hollis appointment as Chief of the Small Business Division, Ms. Hollis was employed by the Savannah District Contracting Division since 1994 and served as Contract Specialist, Contracting Officer, and Acting Chief of the A-E Branch. While serving as Contract Specialist, Ms. Hollis received professional certification in contracting & acquisition at the highest level (Level III). During her 27 years of Federal service, Ms. Hollis has worked for various federal agencies and installations to include the Naval Plant Representative Office at Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Long Island, NY, Department of the Navy, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Brooklyn, NY; and the Department of the Army (FORSCOM), Fort Riley, Kansas, serving in the Contracting arena for these varied agencies.
Ms. Hollis graduated from Albany State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. She later received her Master of Public Administration Degree from Georgia Southern University in December, 2002. She is a currently a member of the Southeastern Area Small Business Council, Savannah Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Southern Alumni Association, and serves as Savannah Chapter Secretary of the Albany State University Alumni Association. Ms. Hollis has served as Speaker in 2005 and 2007 at the Savannah Black Business Professionals and Entrepreneurs Conference. She also served as Speaker for two consecutive years at the Troy University Small Business Forum in Troy, Alabama, the Alliance South Small Business Networking Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Annual Mission and Installation Support Conference
JE Group LLC Mr. Dannie James serves as President of Government Business Consultant, Inc. (GBC). He is a graduate of Livingstone College in 1982 with a Bachelor Degree in Education. He received his Masters Degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. He also graduated from the Officer Candidate School as a 2nd Lieutenant in January, 1990 from Fort Benning, Georgia. Dannie holds a DAWIA Level III certification from the Defense Acquisition University in the acquisition career field. The training that Dannie received prepared him to hold prominent management positions such as Lead Contingency Contracting Officer, Directorate of Contracting, Quality Assurance Program Manager for a Category I program (Stryker Program) and Procurement instructor/counselor for Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC).
During Dannie’s 22 years in the military, he served time as a Senior NCO and Senior Staff Officer. In June of 2000, Dannie was selected to serve as the Directorate of Contracting for 3rd Army Central Command (Forward) located in Saudi Arabia. With his leadership, he supported approximately 1100 personnel in support of a $48.7 million budget.
In June of 2002, Dannie transferred to Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) in Huntsville, Alabama where he managed the Quality Assurance Program of an Acquisition Category 1 program. He supervised the complete oversight of the production of the Interim Armor Vehicle (Stryker), a contract that’s valued over $6 billion dollars. Dannie ensured proper auditing, sampling, inspecting, and process proofing of the production process and testing/accepting the Interim Armor Vehicle (Stryker).
After retiring from the military, Dannie established “JE” Consultant Group, LLC, a company that specializes in government contract consultant services. With the success that “JE” Consultant Group enjoyed, Dannie brought in partners to fulfill his vision of forming a Government Contract Training and Consulting Institute. On 08-08-08, Government Business Consultants, Inc. (GBC) was formed as a sister company. GBC will carry the torch where “JE” Consultant Group left off, while “JE” Consultant Group will focus on establishing valuable government relationships and matching government agencies to vendors trained and consulted by GBC.
GA Tech PTAC
Linda L. Spadaro
US Army Corps of Engineers - Mobile District Ms. Linda L. Spadaro has served as the Chief of the Small and Disadvantaged Business Office of the Mobile District since May 2001. She manages and directs the Small Business Program for the Mobile District. Prior to this, she was a Contract Specialist/ Administrator in the Services and Supplies Branch of Contracting Division for 11 years. Ms. Spadaro has worked for the Mobile District Corps of Engineers since 1979. She holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Troy University.
Georgia Power, a Southern Company Glenda Stinson is a senior supplier development consultant for Georgia Power. In this role she is a key contributor to the Customer Service Operations (CSO) organization’s supplier diversity initiatives, assisting in development of the annual spend analysis, recruiting and mentoring diverse suppliers and managing supplier performance to ensure contract compliance.
Stinson joined the company in 2001 as a customer service representative at Georgia Power’s Greenbriar office where she utilized company procedures and marketing concepts to resolve customers’ issues and concern. In 2003, Stinson transitioned to customer service standards analyst, which was a developmental role responsible for writing and maintaining the policies and procedures for the CSO. In 2005 she joined the Records and Information Management organization as an analyst in regulatory litigation support, where she helped develop the litigation support team. In addition, Stinson represented the company and general counsel at quarterly e-Discovery forums. In 2008, Stinson joined the supplier diversity and development team.
Stinson received her BS in Computer Science from Post College. She is a certified litigation support professional from LitWorks 2006 and was the Energy Exchange Publicity Chair from 2005 through 2008. She is also a member of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and is a lead consultant for the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), Georgia Black Constructors Association (GBCA), Women’s Employment Opportunity Project (WEOP), and Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center and Morehouse-Wide Initiative for Sustainable Energy (M-WISE). Stinson is the 2012 Membership Chair for Georgia Power’s African American Women’s Networking Group (AAWNG).
Stinson lives in Covington, Ga., and is actively involved in her church with a program that mentors adolescent girls with a focus on self-esteem and empowerment.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility that serves 2.3 million customers and has operations in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.
The Coca-Cola Company Ingrid began her career with the Company in 1996. She performed various roles in the Office of the CFO before joining Supplier Diversity in 2002. In her current role, she is liaison between the diverse business community and the Company's I.T., G&A and Marketing procurement organizations. She also provides sourcing and supplier diversity consulting for Global Marketing and the WP2020 Construction Project. In 2009, Ingrid implemented the New Supplier Entry Strategy Program which provides coaching and supplier development to MWBEs, and she proudly adds the success of this program to her many accomplishments.
Prior to joining the Company, Ingrid worked as a news reporter for several local and national media organizations and as program administrator for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a national communications funding organization in Washington, D.C.
Ingrid was honored by the Company as one of four "2006 Women of Achievement". She is a strong advocate for diverse suppliers and serves on a number of advocacy Councils and Committees including the Atlanta Business League (ABL), Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC), Florida Minority Supplier Development Council (FMSDC), U.S. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Puerto Rico Minority Supplier Development Council (PRMSDC) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). She also represents the company with the National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB).
Ingrid received her M.B.A. from Regis University Graduate School of Business, Denver, Colorado, and a B.A. degree in Journalism/Communications from the University of South Carolina. Her professional memberships and affiliations include the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals (ISDIP), the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA).
She is the proud mother of two college students and spends her personal time advocating for children as a volunteer child advocate in Gwinnett County and empowering women as a Dress for Success Counselor.
BOBCAT Academy Oliver Yarbrough serves as Managing Partner and Chief Rainmaker with Rainmaker Growth Partners, LLC. Rainmaker Growth Partners is the premier strategy development and consulting destination for companies that want to increase revenue and brand recognition in the government sector.
His experience includes nearly 15-years of hands-on experience building and managing professional relationships for some of the largest companies in the world, including Fortune 500 companies such as Lucent Technologies, Staples, and Sprint, along with his own successful business ventures.
After graduating from Hampton University’s School of Business with a B.S. in Accounting, Oliver’s professional career was launched when he was selected from more than 1,000 applicants to participate in Lucent Technologies’ highly coveted, intensive 36-month Financial Leadership Development Program (FLDP). Upon successful completion of this management training program, as well as obtaining his M.S. in Accounting from Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Oliver spent the next decade honing his skills by working in project management, marketing, government and corporate business development, and account management positions.
His accolades also include holding an internationally recognized Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. He is a Board Member and Membership Chair of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) - Government Technology Society and an active member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®).
Today, Oliver is fulfilling his passion for helping businesses of all sizes and professionals increase revenue and brand recognition by building relationships both online and offline. His diverse experience and entrepreneurial drive give him the unique ability to take complex business concepts and simplify them into understandable terms. He regularly speaks to organizations about developing business relationships, increasing brand recognition, leadership development, and obtaining government contracts.