NACEO | Past Speakers
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Past Speakers

2015 – Roberts, Lee Harris

leeroberts2Feb. 19, 2015

Lee Harris Roberts, Budget Director State of North Carolina

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, Governor Pat McCrory appointed Lee Roberts State Budget Director. The state’s budget director oversees the development of the spending and revenue plan the governor presents to the N.C. General Assembly. The plan recently agreed upon by both legislative chambers totals more than $21 billion.

 

Roberts, 45, is the former managing director of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings in Raleigh and also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of VantageSouth Bancshares. Roberts also founded a real estate investment and advisory firm called Coley Capital and has worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Cherokee Investment Partners and as an associate with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

 

Roberts grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, earned a degree in political science from Duke University, then a law degree from Georgetown University. He has lived in Raleigh for eight years. He is on the board of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Ravenscroft School and is vice president of the Duke Alumni Association.

2015 – Wilson, Brad

January 12, 2015
President and CEO Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Brad Wilson brings to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina a passion for health care, a deep commitment to community, and involvement and expertise in business and public policy. As president and CEO of sthe state’s largest health insurer, with 3.8 million customers, Wilson is dedicated to improving North Carolina’s health care system, making health care more affordable and helping BCBSNC to adapt in a changing health care environment.

 

Wilson serves as chair of the National Institute for Health Care Management to address health care challenges at the national level.  He also serves as a director of the Bllue Cross and Blue Shield Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), BCS Financial Corporation and Prime Therapeutics, among others.

 

This work continues in North Carolina, where he chairs the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carollina Foundation – an independent charitable organization that has invested nearly $90 million in community-based health and wellness efforts.  He is also treasurer of the North Carolina Chamber, board member of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, and a past chair of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

 

Wilson, who joined BCBSNC in 1995, held a range of senior-level positions before being tapped to lead the organization in 2010.  A life long North Carolinian, he previously practiced law and served as general counsel to Gov. Jim Hunt, directing the governor’s legislative strategy and heading his legal department.

2014 – Demby, Claude Z.

October 23, 2014

Claude Z. Demby

The pursuit of an ever-higher mark and drive for excellence are traits that Mr. Demby has brought with him to every employer and to every professional challenge in his career. Known for being a transformational leader linking the power of talent, culture and innovation with the spirit of entrepreneurialism, his history of success in turning around and growing companies on a global is extensive.

 

At L&L Products, a manufacturer with operations and technical and sales offices in 14 countries spanning four continents, in his role as president and COO, Mr. Demby was a visionary and a driving force for the fastest revenue and growth period in the company’s 50-year history, helping grow revenue more than 100% while concurrently raising profit margins to 300% that of the industry benchmark.

 

More recently, as the president and CEO of Noël Group, an international group of manufacturing businesses employing people in locations across the U.S., China, and Europe, his change leadership and contributions continued. Mr. Demby took the company through a 180-degree turnaround. Faced with a failing business that was in complete disarray, saddled with untenable debt and increasing financial losses, he pulled the company back from the edge of bankruptcy and transformed it into a growing, vibrant, healthy company well poised for continued profitable growth in the future.

 

Mr. Demby began his career as a process engineer with Proctor & Gamble and as a production manager with GE Plastics where he quickly distinguished himself as a leader when he gained buy-in from GE Company’s CEO for some major capital investment projects—projects that once implemented saved the company $1.5 million per year. Mr. Demby holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and an M.B. A. degree in Rensselaer Polytechnic University.

 

Deeply respected in both the business and local community, Mr. Demby currently serves as the Chair-Elect for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and is Chairman of the Board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond—Charlotte Branch. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for Duke-Raleigh Hospital.

 

Striving consciously to make a positive difference in the lives of the people he touches, and with a passion for learning and education, Mr. Demby and his wife are co-founders of Valour Academy, a private school that seeks to enfranchise a population of young men who otherwise have a less than 50% graduation rate from local public schools. Mr. Demby also embraces opportunities to apply his talents for speaking, teaching, leading, and motivating and has presented to audiences of young people as well as business people on the topics of “The 5 Secrets to Living an Extraordinary Life” and “The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary People.”

 

Parents of five children, the youngest now in college, Claude Demby and his wife of more than 25 years currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Demby encourages connections through LinkedIn (www.linkedin/in/claudedemby) and can be reached at 248-495-3330 or by email claude@claudedemby.com.

2014 – Messier, Ric

November 10, 2014

Champlain College, Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigations

Ric Messier, GSEC, CEH, CISSP serves as Program Director, Cyber Security & Digital Investigations with the Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigations located and operated as a Center of Excellence at Champlain College, as well as teaching undergraduate studies in the area of Digital Forensics and Cyber Security at Champlain College. In the role of Program Director, he oversees all Cyber Security & Digital Investigations programs, including the development of new courses, evaluating existing course content to insure that it is timely and leading edge, and expansion of new certificates and degrees as warranted. Messier recruits, evaluates and manages adjunct staff, as well as monitoring and directing the overall quality of courses, degrees and certificates within the program.

 

He is a published author of such works as the SANS GIAC Security Essentials Certification Guide through McGraw-Hill, as well as Collaboration With Cloud Computing through Syngress/Elsevier Publishing. His other works include articles in Hakin9 magazine, among others.

 

Since the early 1980’s, Messier has been involved in the networking and security arena obtaining experience with worldwide networking on the BITNET, a network of primarily IBM mainframes, that was a precursor to what is now the Internet.

 

Since that time, he has been involved in a wide range of information security positions, including leading a team of engineers on implementing security in a next generation data center for a large hosting company, as well as leading a team of engineers developing managed security products at a Tier 1 service provider.

 

Most recently Messier has been consulting with large and medium sized companies on security issues, which includes performing network and application penetration tests, as well as developing security architecture for a large regional bank and incident response for a large Florida metropolitan government. In the last year, he has been designing and creating solutions for a financial services company to improve the security of customer facing network infrastructure.

2014 – Almay, Ted

September 8, 2014

Global Chief Security Officer – Deloitte

Ted Almay is the Chief Security Officer for Deloitte, a accounting and tax firm with over 125,000 employees world wide. Ted is responsible for physical security, business continuity and disaster/pandemic planning, executive protection, travel security, corporate investigations and other key security programs for over 125 offices in the U.S. and overseas.

 

Prior to joining Deloitte, he was the Assistant Vice President of Security for USAA in San Antonio, Texas and also served as the Director of Security for American Electric Power(AEP) in Columbus, Ohio. Ted served over 20 years in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, retiring as the Superintendent with responsibility for the state DNA and crime labs, criminal history records and investigative operations. He was a field artillery officer in the United States Army and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton. He is married with 2 daughters and resides near Raleigh, North Carolina.

2014 – Cowell, Janet

janelcowell2May 12, 2014

North Carolina State Treasure

Janet Cowell is North Carolina’s popularly elected Treasurer and is the first woman to hold the office. With over 20 years of private and public-sector financial leadership, Cowell oversees more than 80 billion dollars in pension investments for the more than 875,000 teachers, firefighters, and public employees in North Carolina. As Treasurer, she manages the 32nd largest public pension in the world.

 

While many public plans are struggling to meet financial obligations, North Carolina’s pension system is ranked 2nd in the nation. In 2013, Treasurer Cowell was named one of the top 25 public pension executives in the world by Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, and is one of only two United States fund managers to rank in the top 25 globally.

Under Cowell’s executive leadership, North Carolina is one of only nine states in the country to earn a AAA bond rating by all three rating agencies – the ultimate good housekeeping seal of approval for fiscal strength. North Carolina also has the most AAA-rated local governments of any state, which keeps borrowing costs for taxpayers low for schools, roads, and other needed infrastructure.

 

Cowell is a member of the State Board of Education and a champion for improvements in education, including financial education. Because of her efforts, North Carolina’s Kindergarten through 12th grade students began receiving financial education as part of their curriculum in 2012.

 

Recently, Cowell stepped up to oversee the State Health Plan, ensuring access to affordable health care for more than 650,000 North Carolina families. The perfect spokesperson for the healthy, active lifestyles that the Health Plan promotes – when she’s not in the office, Janet can be found running, biking on our state’s beautiful trails, or occasionally completing military-style endurance trainings for charity.

 

Cowell is a Wharton School of Business alumna, the Chair of the State Banking Commission, and recently chosen as an Aspen Institute Fellow. Over the past year, she has been featured on CNBC, FOX Business, Bloomberg TV and others for her solid fiscal leadership, and for North Carolina’s unique financial successes among the national picture.

 

Now in her 10th year of elected office, and with the nation facing unprecedented economic challenges, Cowell continues the conservative debt management practices and solid economic development policies that keep North Carolina in secure financial standing.

 

She is proud to serve the citizens of North Carolina as State Treasurer and remains committed to working each day to build and maintain a fiscally strong and prosperous North Carolina, and a brighter future for all who call North Carolina home.

2014 – Atkinson, June

April 10, 2014

NC State Secretary of Public Instruction

June St. Clair Atkinson is the first woman elected State Superintendent of the Public Schools of North Carolina and has served in this position since August 2005.

 

As State Superintendent, Dr. Atkinson understands the importance of improving teaching and learning, creating school environments that encourage student success, keeping education modern and relevant, and graduating every student career and college ready.

 

In leading the Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Atkinson is directing the groundbreaking Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE) initiative to revitalize the state’s curriculum and accountability programs. North Carolina’s landmark Race to the Top Grant is helping support this work in addition to several other key reform initiatives such as transforming low-performing schools. Dr. Atkinson also is focused on ensuring students have the opportunity to learn the technical skills that are important in today’s global economy. Thanks to partnerships with numerous corporations, North Carolina is able to advance the skills of both teachers and students, as well as transform learning, and ultimately student achievement.

 

As State Superintendent, Dr. Atkinson oversees almost 1.5 million students in over 2,500 public schools. She has more than 35 years of experience in education. During her career, she has served as a chief consultant and director in the areas of business education, career and technical education, and instructional services within the NCDPI. A former business education teacher, Dr. Atkinson has been involved in instruction and curriculum development throughout her career.

 

She has received numerous awards over the years including recent accolades such as the Champion of Children Award from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, the State Policy Maker of the Year Award from the National Association for State Educational Technology Directors, and the North Carolina Association of Educators Inclusive Leadership Award. In addition, Dr. Atkinson has held many professional offices and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Chief State School Officers.

 

Dr. Atkinson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Radford University, a master’s degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University.

2014 – Skavarla III, John E.

March 10, 2014
NC State Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources

Gov. Pat McCrory named Mr. John E. Skvarla, III Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Dec. 2012, as part of his new Cabinet and administration.

 

Mr. Skvarla comes to DENR after a successful career in business. He most recently served as CEO for Restoration Systems, an environmental mitigation firm based in Raleigh that helps improve and restore wetlands and waterways. His past environmental experience also includes his work as chairman with Wilkinson Hi-Rise, a world leader in manufacturing new products such as waste management and automated recycling systems. Skvarla previously served as chief operating officer for The Aviation Group, Inc., a company that emerged as the world’s largest all-cargo airline during his tenure. He also has been managing director of an investment banking office in Raleigh and owner of a Sandhills golf course community. An attorney, Skvarla in 1978 founded and served as senior partner to the Raleigh-based Skvarla, Wyrick and Robbins law firm, where he specialized in corporate and tax matters, as well as public and private capital formations.

2014 – Decker, Sharon Allred

January 13, 2014

NC State Secretary of Commerce

Sharon Allred Decker was appointed Secretary of Commerce by Gov. Pat McCrory in January 2013.  She brings more than 30 years of experience in business and commerce to the position.

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Decker spent more than 17 years with Duke Power Company, now Duke Energy. She began with the company in consumer services and moved rapidly through the ranks to become the youngest and first female vice president in Duke Power’s history. Her work at Duke Power led to the creation of its 24-hour customer service center, an organization that still serves as a model for the industry.

 

Decker left Duke Power as Chief Communications Officer to become the founding president of The Lynnwood Foundation, which was created to restore the Duke Mansion in Charlotte as a conference center, and to begin the William States Lee Leadership Institute. While at Lynnwood in 1998, she also served as the chair of the Charlotte Chamber and was named Charlotte Woman of the Year. She moved to Rutherfordton in 1999 to serve as president of the Doncaster division of Tanner Companies.

 

In 2004, she created and served as the CEO of the Tapestry Group, a non-profit that helps individuals lead healthy lives in body, mind and spirit. In addition to her work with Tapestry, Decker is wife to her husband, Bob, a mother of four, a lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a student at the Christopher White School of Divinity, completing her Master of Divinity Degree with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. She completed an internship last year as Director of Graduate Ministries for the Center for Christian Study in Charlottesville, Virginia where she served as chaplain to students at the Darden School of Business and the UVA School of Law. She remains a member of the Board of the Center for Christian Study. Decker has served on the boards of three Fortune 500 companies

2013 – Hack, Dr. Bradley

Bradley HackNov. 11, 2013

Dr. Bradley Hack received his B.A. from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He started his career as a staff psychologist at the Counseling Center at UNC, Chapel Hill and as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the UNC School of Medicine before going into private practice. He has been treating adolescents, adults and athletes in his practice for more than 14 years.

 

Dr. Hack is also one of the nation’s leading Sport Psychologists. Since 2001 he has been the Director of Sport Psychology for the Athletic Department at the University of North Carolina. In addition to his work with Division I athletes, he has also worked with professional athletes from the NFL, MLB, PGA, NASCAR, WNBA as well as members of the 2000, 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic teams and hopefuls for the 2012 Games in London. He also serves as a treating clinician for the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program.

 

Dr. Hack has taken a leadership role in promoting the field of psychology at both state and national levels. He has been elected twice to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Psychological Association and was appointed as its Federal Advocacy Coordinator. On a national level, Dr. Hack was appointed to the Executive Committee for the American Psychological Association’s Division of Sport Psychology. He was instrumental in establishing sport psychology as a proficiency within APA and was one of four sport psychologists selected to co-author the national guidelines for the practice of sport psychology. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology and his work has been published in The Sport Psych Handbook (2005).

 

Outside the office, he loves being a dad, competing in any sport, and playing guitar.