Speaker Bios

Guest Speakers Include:


Chief Procurement Officer
State of Alaska
Jason Soza was appointed Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Alaska in July 2013. Jason is responsible for the oversight of well over $1 billion in goods and services purchases, inventory, and property disposal by all executive branch agencies across the state. Jason has over 18 years of experience in public procurement, most of that at the statewide level. As a student of Lean Six Sigma and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt with a passion for pushing the boundaries and finding better ways to do things in government, Jason has led several procurement-related process improvement projects resulting in efficiencies saving years of time and millions of dollars annually. On a national level, Jason has served on the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) Board of Directors since 2016, first with a role as the Research and Innovation Champion, and in 2018 was elected as the 2019 President-elect and will assume the role of President in 2020.


Arizona State University
Simplar Institute

Dr. Kenneth Sullivan is an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. He specializes in performance measurement, risk management, best value contracting, organizational transformation, and accountability systems. In addition to all types of design and construction delivery, he has led project efforts in networking systems, software, dining, sports media rights, fund management, radio systems, health insurance, document management, and others valued at over $11 Billion. Prof. Sullivan possesses a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, an MBA in Real Estate and Urban Economics, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Former Vice Chancellor
UC Riverside

Recently retired after serving 21 years in senior executive positions at two University of California campuses: Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services at UC Riverside (2014-18) where he oversaw a budget of $146 million and approximately 642 career and 800 student employees, responsible for providing a variety of campus business and support services; and Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services at UC Berkeley (1998-2014). Coley began his professional career(s) as a Marine Corps pilot, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after 20 years of service. He earned his MBA in finance and managerial accounting from the Wharton School, University of Pa, and his BS in management and industrial relations from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. where he was honored to be installed into the university’s athletic Hall of Fame for basketball. Coley is married to Dr. Soraya M. Coley, President of CalPoly Pomona, in Pomona, CA.


Assistant General Manager, Retired
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)

Gwendolyn W. Williams, Former Assistant General Manager- Supply Chain Services for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Prior to LADWP she was an AECOM Project Director in Los Angeles and Tripoli, Libya, and Executive Officer, Procurement at LA Metro. She holds a M.S. from USC and is a Project Management Professional.


Assistant Director, Municipal Services & Operations
City of Lawrence, Kansas

Melinda Harger, P.E. is Assistant Director of the Municipal Services & Operations Department for the City of Lawrence, Kansas, and leads the Construction Management, Engineering, and Development section. She has 15 years of experience in facility planning and design, project management, and construction administration in both the private and public sectors. She has managed a variety of projects, including the recently completed $74 million Wakarusa Wastewater Treatment Plant, and is currently project manager for the City’s new police facility which is scheduled to begin construction in 2019. She received her B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Civil Engineering, and Master of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Kansas and is a LEED Accredited Professional.


Contracts and Procurement Manager
Seattle City Light

Kim Rayray is currently the Contracts and Procurement Manager for Seattle City Light.  She has performed various procurement functions at the electric utility over the last 20 years including supply chain inventory purchasing.  In her current role, Kim oversees the execution of all of the contracts including Architectural, Engineering, Inspections, Training and Energy Analysis.  She holds the CPPO and CPPB certifications from NIGP, the Institute of Public Procurement.


Northeast Regional Sales Manager
Tremco Group

Mike Chadwick is the Northeast Regional Sales Manager at the Tremco Group. He provides customers with exceptional waterproofing solutions, including roofing materials and services, construction sealants, glazing and gaskets, waterproofing systems, air barrier and fire stopping systems and a host of custom-designed products. Mike is an active supporter of the JDRF Ride to Cure. He enjoys competing in triathlons, mountain biking, and spending time with his wife and two children.


University of Kansas
Simplar Institute

Dr. Brian Lines is an assistant professor in the Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Kansas. Dr. Lines’ areas of expertise include alternative procurement methods, project control, program management, and organizational development, and has worked with organizations to implement best practices in the procurement and execution of more than $1B in total project value.


University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Simplar Institute

Dr. Jake Smithwick is a faculty member at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. His research focuses on organizational performance benchmarking within business services, facility management, and the broader built environment. His industry experience also includes field inspection of nearly 2,000 waterproofing systems (74 million square feet) across the United States, and six years in the US Air Force Reserve (civil engineering squadron).


Vice-President and General Counsel
Tremco Incorporated

Brian J. Stack has worked for manufacturers in the water and gas utility industry as a Product Manager, Regional Sales Manager and Marketing Director. He made a mid-life career change by attending law school at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he earned his J.D. degree. After law school, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable William O. Bertelsman in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, then went on to serve the U.S. Department of Justice for twelve years as a prosecutor for the Antitrust Division. Since 2012, he has been the Chief Compliance Officer and Executive Counsel for a large multi-national manufacturing company.