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    Expert Roundup: GOP Tax Plan

    Thursday, November 9, 2017, 10:51 AM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Below are experts from the ProfNet network who are available to discuss various aspects of the GOP tax plan. You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free. Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Benefits and Drawbacks of GOP Plan
    Wayne Winegarden
    Senior Fellow
    Pacific Research Institute, San Francisco
    Winegarden is available to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the GOP's tax reform bill. This year, Winegarden completed a four-part study (see link below) detailing how America can return to the days of 3 percent annual economic growth with smart tax policy. He's also a regular contributor to Forbes and Investor's Business Daily, and leads the EconoSTATS project at George Mason University. He would be a great source to speak on whether the GOP's tax reform plan meets the growth-friendly standards of his research. He also can comment on the corporate side of the bill versus the individual side of the bill. He has an extensive background and knowledge of tax reform in the United States and would be a great source for reporters covering it.
    Contact: Madeline Auerbach,

    Considerations for Finance Departments
    Nancy Manzano
    Chief Tax Officer
    Vertex Inc.
    Manzano can discuss situations and factors finance departments should be considering, as well as other recommendations for corporations now that the bill is public. She is a director in the Chief Tax Office at Vertex, providing insight regarding in-house corporate tax department operations and working on the development of the company’s income tax solutions under Vertex Enterprise. Prior to joining Vertex, Manzano was a tax director at 21st Century/Farmers Insurance and MBNA America Bank, and worked in the Philadelphia office of KPMG. She is a licensed C.P.A., has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Drexel University and a Master of Science in Taxation from Widener University.
    Contact: Jordan Rankin,

    Corporate Tax Reform
    Graham Summers, MBA
    President and Chief Market Strategist
    Phoenix Capital Research
    Summer is available to discuss corporate tax reform: “The current tax plan, as it stands, is focusing on corporate tax reform, with the notion that an employer will somehow ‘pass on’ their savings to employees via raises. First off, while the phrase ‘corporate taxes’ is a great political prop, the reality is that nearly 50% of large corporations pay *zero* corporate income tax. That is not a typo. In 2012, the Government Accountability Office performed a study in which it discovered that 43% of companies with $10+ million in assets pay *zero* corporate income tax. It’s not as if the other 57% are picking up the slack, either. It is well known that large corporations go above and beyond to avoid paying the full, required tax rate. As Forbes noted earlier this year, Apple pays a 25% tax rate (the official U.S. corporate rate is supposed to be 35%). Microsoft pays a 16% tax rate. Alphabet (Google) pays 19%. General Electric and Exxon Mobil appear to have paid no corporate income tax in 2016. My point is this: Pursuing corporate tax reform is a pointless exercise. Few, if any, corporations pay anywhere near the official corporate tax rate of 35%.”
    Summers is president and chief marketing strategist at Phoenix Capital Research, an independent investment research firm located in Washington, D.C.
    Contact: Wendy J. Gordon,

    Corporate Tax Reform
    Bruce P. Ely
    Partner and Chair, State and Local Tax (SALT) Practice Team, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
    Co-chair, America Bar Association Tax Section’s Task Force on the Impact of the Federal Partnership Audit Rules on the States
    “Since House Bill (HB) 1 retains the 39.6 percent top rate, the delta between that rate and the special maximum 25 percent rate for ‘qualified business income’ will certainly give tax planners an incentive to find as much of the company’s income as possible to be attributable to ‘capital’ rather than services. But it appears the drafters have built in some intricate safe harbors and formulas that most taxpayers will probably follow in order to avoid a battle with the IRS down the road. Parsing those provisions of the Bill is challenging, to say the least. [Reference is Section 1004 of the House Bill, creating new Section 4 of the IRC.] As expected, Section 1004 of the bill prevents personal services firms such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and architects, athletes, financial services advisors and so forth from qualifying *any* of their income for the special 25 percent PTE business income rate.”
    Contact: Randy Labuzinski,

    Corporate Taxes
    Dr. Christopher Metzler
    "While big companies would get a significantly lower 20 percent corporate rate, down from 35 percent, they would face new limits on their ability to deduct interest on their loans, a new global minimum tax on their overseas earnings, and new taxes on U.S. companies heading abroad. This aspect will be very contentious for conservatives since believe that it will hit consumers in the pocket by causing a rise in the cost of essential goods."
    Dr. Metzler appears regularly on Fox News Strategy Room, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, where he provides expert commentary on U.S. and global affairs, politics, human rights, human capital, diversity and related issues. He travels extensively speaking to colleges, organizations and businesses in the United States and globally. He has also appeared on BBC News, Sky News, C-Span, The Fox Nightly Scoreboard and The O’Reilly Factor. His radio appearances have included Brain and the Judge, The Monica Crowley Show, The Joe Madison Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Bev Smith Show and more. In addition to a Master’s degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, he also holds a Ph.D. from University of Aberdeen in Law, as well as diplomas and postgraduate certificates in law. He is a member of The University of Oxford and a member of Kellogg College at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, he read international human rights law leading to a law degree (MsT) in international human rights law from Oxford. A seasoned academic and legal scholar, he is a public figure with numerous TV and other media appearances.
    Contact: Stacey D. Barker,

    Debate Around Offsets Versus Lower Tax Rate
    Jon Traub
    Managing Principal, Washington National Tax Group, Deloitte Tax
    Former Staff Director, House Ways and Means Committee
    "The introduction of the House Republicans' tax bill shows a strong desire by Congress and the president to enact a long-overdue overhaul of the tax code by the end of the year. Whether that is achievable or not is another question. Uncertainty still remains a dominant concern in the tax community. One thing we hear from tax executives and CFOs is that the lack of certainty around the tax code is inhibiting business investment. The bill also affirms the concerns we hear from tax professionals about the depth and breadth of offsets needed to finance lower tax rates. The next few weeks may be among some of the busiest for tax policy that we have seen in Washington for some time. Companies will be well-served to engage in scenario modeling and planning to better understand what reform -- if it were to pass -- might mean for them."
    Traub is the managing principal of the Deloitte’s Washington national tax group and former staff director for the House Ways and Means Committee. In his current role at Deloitte Tax, Traub leads a team that identifies, evaluates and monitors legislative proposals, and interprets the practical issues surrounding the application of tax proposals on behalf of Deloitte’s clients. He assists Deloitte’s clients in their efforts to stay aware of the numerous and often complicated debates in tax policy. With considerable career experience in the legislative arena, especially in tax policy, Traub is able to provide clients with critical insight on the most complicated issues impacting their businesses and offer recommendations and guidance.
    Contact: Noelle Bensaid,

    Economics of Tax Plan
    Oren Jacobson
    Lead Market Analyst
    New Home Star
    In response to the GOP tax plan, Jacobson can address whether homebuilders/Realtor associations are right/wrong to oppose the bill in its current form; the macroeconomic impact of the potential tax bill, including short-term effects and potential mid- to long-term effects; and the potential impact on demand given the distributional impacts of the bill.
    Says Jacobson: "At first glance, the GOP plan, like all modern versions of tax reform (cuts) pursued by the GOP, is based on the belief that our economic challenges are on the supply side. As such, the benefits of this plan are supply-side focused. In other words, this plan is intended to make it easier and less expensive for those with capital to invest, with the belief that this investment will lead to economic growth. The plan, as released today, will not pass and is the opening salvo of what will be negotiations in both chambers. As such, we should temper any judgements beyond outlining the basic economic logic of this plan."
    Jacobsen holds a Master’s in Economics and Policy Analysis.
    Contact: Robin Plous,

    Impact of ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act’ on Small Manufacturers
    Don Danner
    Chair of Accounting and Finance
    Aurora University
    “While the impact on individuals in general is muted by the restructuring of the tax burden, the big news tucked away in the GOP tax bill is in business tax. Corporate tax rates are being reduced to 20% from 35% for corporations and limited to 25% on personal service organizations (doctors, lawyers and family businesses). In addition, full deduction of capital equipment is included which in many cases will result in significant tax savings in exchange for making technological investments. This could be a boom to small manufacturers and any company looking at upgrading technology. These steps could have a significant impact on productivity and lead to the job growth and higher wages that the bill advertises as its purpose.”
    Danner is the chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance at Aurora University. Prior to this position, Danner served 24 years as the chief financial officer of several privately held companies, including Aspen Marketing Services, United Asset Coverage Inc., and Telcorp Inc., and as an employee of IBM Corporation.
    Contact: Hadley Dreibelbis,

    Impact on Businesses/Individuals
    Bill Smith
    Managing Director and Leader of the National Tax Office
    Smith is available to analyze the GOP tax plan and its impact on businesses/individuals. He has more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, including five years in the office of General Counsel at Deloitte & Touche LLP; five years as a tax lawyer for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.; and 12 years in private practice in San Francisco, representing businesses of all sizes and high-wealth individuals in developing and implementing tax strategies or negotiating with the IRS in Tax Court or administratively. Smith assumed his current position more than 15 years ago. In this role, he consults nationally on a broad range of tax services, including foreign and domestic transactional tax planning for corporations, partnerships, LLCs and individuals, such as mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international restructuring of businesses and investments, and negotiating partnership and other transactions.
    Contact: Rachelle Gaynor,

    Impact on Companies
    Bernadette Pinamont
    Chief Tax Officer, Income Tax
    Vertex Inc.
    Pinamont can discuss situations and factors finance departments should be considering, as well as other recommendations for corporations now that the bill is public. Pinamont is the chief tax officer – income tax in the Chief Tax Office at Vertex, providing insight regarding in-house corporate tax department operations and working on the development of the company's income tax solutions under Vertex Enterprise. Prior to joining Vertex, Pinamont was vice president tax for Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and head of U.S. Tax for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Her 30-year tax career also includes the corporate tax departments of DuPont, Syngenta, and Tyco Toys and, initially, EY. She is a graduate of Seton Hall University, from which she earned both a B.S in Accounting and Juris Doctor. She is a licensed attorney and CPA.
    Contact: Jordan Rankin,

    Impact on Consumers
    Greg McBride, CFA
    Chief Financial Analyst
    "This is all just a proposal. Don't change your tax planning based on this. We've still got a long way to go. People don't buy houses, necessarily, because of the mortgage interest deduction but it does impact the size of the house that you buy. I'm glad to see that the 401(k) deduction has been preserved. The last thing that we need to see, particularly when so many people are under-saved for retirement, is something that takes away a valuable incentive that gets people to save in the first place."
    With two decades of experience in personal finance, McBride has the unique ability to provide both in-depth commentary and practical advice to consumers. He has appeared on hundreds of national cable and network broadcasts and is routinely quoted by major print outlets.
    Contact: Ted Rossman,

    Impact on Consumers
    Eric Bronnenkant, CPA, CFP
    Head of Tax
    Bronnenkant is available to provide commentary on a number of aspects of the plan, including how it will impact consumers, specifically investments, 401(k) charitable giving and how they can best prepare. He has more than 15 years of experience, previously working at Ernst and Young and Fidelity Investments. While at EY, he was part of the Tax Guide Editorial Board for several years. Eric holds M.S degrees in Accounting and Taxation from Seton Hall University as well as an MBA in Quantitative Finance from NYU. He also services as an adjunct taxation professor at Seton Hall University.
    Contact: Quincy Zhai,

    Impact on Corporations and Individuals of All Tax Brackets
    Joseph Perry
    Tax & Business Services Leader
    Marcum LLP
    Perry can speak on the GOP tax bill just released. He services high-net-worth individuals, so he can discuss some of the implications for those making over $200,000. For those individuals, the tax code has *not* been simplified, says Perry. He can also speak on: itemized deductions and the individual tax rate; pass-through entities; carried Interest; and the corporate tax rate. He is well-versed and experienced in serving as the media’s go-to “tax expert.” Yesterday he spoke on Bloomberg TV and Fox News to provide insights on the new tax plan.
    Contact: Christine Hardman,

    Impact on Divorce Settlements
    Christopher Melcher
    Walzer Melcher LLP
    One little-known aspect of the Republican plan is the elimination of alimony or spousal support as a tax credit, which will have a major impact on divorce settlements. According to Melcher, this change will drag out potential settlements, as the person paying the support won't want to pay as much since it would no longer be a tax credit. It would create major problems. Also, for people waiting for the right time to divorce, you can expect a number of divorce filings this month and December. The irony is that usually November and December are "slow" divorce months as people wait until after the holidays to file (making January a big divorce month).
    Melcher specializes in complex family law litigation and the preparation of premarital agreements. He also handles appeals of family law judgments and writ proceedings from family law orders. His typical client is a business owner, celebrity, or trust beneficiary.
    Contact: Olivier Gibbons, Esq.,

    Impact on Individual and Corporate Taxes
    Luo Zuo
    Associate Professor
    Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
    Cornell University
    Zuo’s research is at the intersection of accounting and finance, and can be divided into two strands. The first explores the individual effects of managers, investors and auditors; the unifying theme is that an individual’s judgement and decision-making are affected by their incentives, information and behavioral traits. The second strand of research is focused on corporate taxes. Zuo’s paper, “Sharing Risk with the Government: How Taxes Affect Corporate Risk-Taking” (published in Journal of Accounting Research), won the Best Paper Award at the 2016 MIT Asia Conference in Accounting. His work has also appeared in leading journals, including American Economic Review, The Journal of Accounting and Economics, The Journal of Financial Economics, Management Science, The Review of Financial Studies and The Accounting Review (where he also serves on the editorial board). His research has been featured in The Economist, NBER Digest, The Wall Street Journal and other media sources.
    Contact: Brianne O’Donnell,

    Impact on Wealthy Families
    Bijan Golkar
    CEO, Senior Advisor
    FPC Investment Advisory, Inc.
    Golkar is a Northern California investment advisor that has been a licensed tax preparer since 2007 and earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification in 2013. He is frequently quoted in national media as an expert on investing and financial planning topics. In addition to his duties as the firm’s CEO, Golkar provides comprehensive advice to high-net-worth individuals and families. He often creates and leads teams of legal, accounting and insurance experts to help these clients meet their goals. He also consults with small businesses on buyouts, employee benefits and other matters.
    ProfNet Profile:
    Expert Contact:

    Impact on Workplace and Labor Market
    Brian Kropp
    HR Practice Leader
    Kropp can speak about how this tax plan will or will not affect the U.S. workplace and labor market, specifically in terms of immigration. Kropp recently spoke on this topic, saying, “There’s a lot of second-, third- or fourth-generation Americans who aren’t willing to take low-skill requirement jobs for the wages that are being offered. Employers in favor of immigration often have difficulty finding American-born workers with the necessary qualifications to fill vacancies. Because of the program’s limited size (GOP tax plan), it’s unlikely that ending it alone would have much of an impact -- positive or negative -- on American-born workers.”
    Kropp is HR practice leader at CEB, a subsidiary of consulting firm Gartner.
    Contact: Lauren Stredler,

    Individual and Corporate Tax Policy
    Shaun Hunley
    Technical Editor, PPC Products
    Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting
    Hunley, a technical editor of PPC products for Thomson Reuters Checkpoint within the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters, is available to discuss tax reform (individual and corporate), emerging federal tax issues, corporate tax, tax policy and procedure, and mergers and acquisitions.
    Hunley has over 10 years of tax experience with national accounting firms. Early in his career, Hunley led research and development tax incentive studies for Fortune 500 companies. Following this, he specialized in tax due diligence, corporate restructurings, and international tax compliance and planning. Hunley also has extensive experience in advising small businesses and closely held companies on a variety of tax matters. He received a J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. Recent articles include “Can The Tax Code Really Be Simple?” in Forbes (see, and “Balancing Competing Interests in the IRS Future State” in CPA Practice Advisor (see
    Contact: Stephen Sobey,

    Likelihood of the GOP Tax Plan Becoming Law
    John Gimigliano
    Principal-in-Charge of Federal Tax Legislative Services
    “As the bill moves though the legislative process, the shape of reform will become clearer in the coming weeks and months -- but only slowly, and perhaps frustratingly so.”
    Prior to joining KPMG in 2008, Gimigliano was senior tax counsel for the Committee on Ways and Means and staff director for the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is based in Washington, D.C.
    Contact: Robert Nihen,; or Taylor Ovalle,

    Tax Issues
    Steven Cruz
    Resuelve, Inc.
    Cruz is president of Resuelve, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based, political campaign, issue advocacy, and corporate branding consulting firm that fights for economic freedom and equality. Prior to founding Resuelve, Cruz previously served as a Koch network spokesman for an array of issues, including healthcare, taxes, corporate welfare reform, criminal justice reform, and immigration. Cruz has publicly provided commentary to numerous media outlets regarding GOP legislation, including how Obamacare and tax issues could impact the elderly, the Hispanic community, and middle-aged men. He most recently appeared on Telemundo (see clip below) to discuss and break down the Republican's replacement bill. He has also provided commentary for countless tax-related issues in media outlets worldwide, including CNN, Voice of America, Huffington Post, Forbes, and Washington Examiner, among others.
    Contact: Alexandra Booze,

    Tax Law
    Bradley Heim
    Associate Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
    Indiana University
    Heim, a tax law expert, is available to discuss any aspect of the Republican tax bill. A former financial economist at the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Heim is an expert public finance, labor economics, and econometrics. He is well-versed in the impacts of tax policies on labor supply, income and earnings, health insurance purchases, and the analysis of labor, business and household income dynamics.
    Contact: Stephanie M. Guzmán,

    Tax Planning
    Greg Hammer
    Tax and Wealth Advisor
    Hammer Financial Group, Inc.
    Hammer specializes in coordinated, holistic financial planning for Lake County, Ind., and Chicago-area residents who are approaching retirement or currently retired. Bringing tax preparation and planning, Medicare supplements, estate planning, insurance and investments all under one roof, Hammer aims to provide complete and convenient financial solutions for the best interest of the clients he serves. He trains and coaches independent financial advisors nationwide on how to build their business to better serve the holistic financial needs of American families. In particular, he has helped develop and refine processes to integrate tax preparation and Medicare supplement services into a financial advisory practice -- a unique addition within the financial industry designed for the ultimate convenience and benefit of clients at and near retirement. He earned a B.A. in Applied Mathematics with a focus in economics from Yale University and has more than 23 years of experience in the financial services industry. In addition to his series 6, 63, 65 and 26 and life and health licenses, Hammer maintains Master Elite Membership with Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group for continued study and mastery of IRAs and applicable tax laws.
    Contact: Mindy Eras,

    Tax Plan
    Altair M. Gobo
    U.S. Financial Services, Fairfield, N.J.
    Gobo, author of “Getting to the Green,” is a certified financial planner; an adjunct faculty member, faculty coordinator and academic advisor at Farleigh Dickinson University’s financial planning program; and is on the advisory board at Montclair State University. He has served as president and chairman of the board of directors at the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the International Association for Financial Planning, and been a guest on CNBC, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News, Bloomberg and CNN.
    Contact: Tracy G. Minsky,

    Tax Relief
    John McKinley
    Professor of Practice
    The Dyson School of Applied Economics, SC Johnson College of Business
    Cornell University
    McKinley is a lecturer in accounting and taxation at the Dyson School of Applied Economics at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business. He teaches courses in financial accounting, auditing and assurance and federal income taxation. He has written about and studied a range of tax-related topics, including tax relief for small employer retirement plans; tax relief for student loan forgiveness; schoolteachers’ deductions; and tax relief for homeowners.
    Contact: Brianne O’Donnell,

    Tax/Retirement Planning
    Ed Slott, CPA
    Founder, Ed Slott & Company
    Slott is a New York-based nationally recognized IRA expert, television personality, and best-selling author who has dedicated his life to educating Americans on saving for retirement, and the intricacies of IRAs. He was named “The Best Source for IRA Advice” by The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today wrote, “It would be tough to find anyone who knows more about IRAs than CPA Slott." He is the author of “The Retirement Savings Time Bomb … And How to Defuse It” and “Parlay Your IRA into a Family Fortune.” His most recent books include “Fund Your Future: A Tax-Smart Savings Plan in Your 20s and 30s” and “The Retirement Decisions Guide: 125 Ways to Save and Stretch Your Wealth.” He is the host of the 2015 public television show “Ed Slott’s Retirement Road Map,” which airs in markets nationwide. He is a frequent columnist and resource for national media, and has hosted many best-selling public television specials. Through his firm, Slott provides the highest level of IRA training to financial professionals, CPAs and attorneys; and through his website, he offers free resources to consumers.
    Contact: Mindy Eras,

    Expert Roundup: North Korea

    Thursday, September 21, 2017, 2:45 PM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available to discuss North Korea and its increasing threats against the U.S. and our allies.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Srinivasan Sitaraman
    Associate Professor, Political Science
    Clark University, Massachusetts
    “The President's speech was astonishing on multiple levels, and surely played to his base in the United States. The most extraordinary aspect of the speech was when the president issued an open threat to ‘totally destroy North Korea,’ referring to Kim Jong Un as the ‘Rocket Man on a suicide mission.’ Such a direct threat is only going to be interpreted by North Korea as evidence that the United States is out to get them and it will only accelerate its weapons production and ballistic missile testing. There is no reason to believe that North Korea is going to be cowed by this threat. It likely will only help to further breed North Korean anxieties and brinksmanship. The president's speech also threatened to tear up the Iranian nuclear deal -- a poor time to back out of the UN-brokered multilateral agreement. This sends a wrong signal to the world community that the United States is not a trustworthy dealmaker. Iran will not have any incentive to follow through on the deal. Overall, the speech emphasized that the Trump Administration is more about outcomes than ideology. The speech was too in-your-face and often contradictory. Certainly, Trump did not appear conciliatory or aiming to build coalitions for collective solutions to tackle global challenges.”
    Contact: Jane Salerno,

    Michael Desch
    Director, Notre Dame International Security Center, and Professor of Political Science
    University of Notre Dame
    On North Korea’s threat to America, Desch says: “America has nearly 5,000 warheads compared to North Korea’s 30 to 60. All of ours are reliable and deliverable; the same cannot be said for the Hermit Kingdom’s Pygmy arsenal. Given this disparity, the United States can credibly threaten not only Kim Jong Un’s hold on power but his very existence. That is a very robust deterrent.”
    Desch, an expert in national security and foreign policy, is a former member of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service and a former staffer in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the State Department.
    Contact: Brittany Kaufman,

    Lowell Gustafson
    Professor, Political Science
    Villanova University
    “If North Korea actually sent a nuclear missile in the direction of the U.S., Guam, Japan, South Korea, or another U.S. ally, or if we had solid evidence that they were about to very soon, we would be forced to destroy at least their leadership and offensive capability. To this degree, I reluctantly agree with Trump. Before that, we need to send accurate information about North Korea, the U.S., and international/political events, as well as culture, in a variety of ways to North Korea. The long-term goal is to undermine the North Korean government. We have tried diplomacy, bribes, and sanctions. None have worked. We need to accept North Korea into the nuclear club, as long as they do not use these weapons or attack our allies or us in any way. Even then, the costs will be horrible. Short of a North Korean attack or an imminent attack, there is no justifiable way we can start a war with them.”
    Contact: Zach Chizar,

    Dr. Paul F. Diehl
    Ashbel Smith Professor of Political Science
    The University of Texas at Dallas
    “No option with respect to North Korea is a desirable one, except compared to the others.”
    Diehl is a leading expert on international conflict who can discuss the consequences of various approaches to responding to threats from North Korea. Diehl writes extensively about international conflict in academic journals and is author of several books including “The Puzzle of Peace: The Evolution of Peace in the International System” ( and “Peace Operations (War and Conflict in the Modern World ( Diehl is former director of the Correlates of War Project, the largest data collection effort on international conflict in the world and past president of the International Studies Association, the largest professional organization of its kind in the world, with membership from 109 countries.
    Contact: Kim Horner,

    Gary Cohen
    Clinical Professor of Logistics, Business and Public Policy, Robert H. Smith School of Business
    University of Maryland
    Cohen is available to discuss China’s quandary in mitigating North Korea’s aggression: “China has concerns about a flood of migrants crossing its border with North Korea, similar to what's been seen with Syrian immigrants fleeing their country, if the economic sanctions become too great and North Koreans become desperate for a better life. China may have humanitarian concerns about what happens in North Korea, but also, this is really just something that China doesn't want to have to deal with at their border. It's difficult to use leverage with [Kim Jong-un] who just doesn't put his citizens first.”
    Cohen recently helped develop, and led, the Smith School’s Beijing-based China Executive MBA Program.
    Contact: Greg Muraski,

    Dr. Monti Datta
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    University of Richmond
    “North Korea is a strategic rational actor seeking to play the 'nuclear card' in order to extract economic concessions from the international community and survive."
    Dr. Datta can discuss what North Korea really wants; whether Kim Jong Un is rational; and how to contain the North Korea nuclear threat.
    Contact: Pryor Green,

    George A. Lopez
    Hesburgh Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs
    Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies
    University of Notre Dame
    Lopez is a former member of the UN Security Council panel of experts for sanctions on North Korea and former vice president of the United States Institute of Peace. He can speak on: economic sanctions, North Korean in particular; United Nations; nuclear nonproliferation; peacebuilding. This past week, he had an op-ed published in The Hill (, and was featured in Bloomberg News ( and, WBEZ, NPR’s Chicago station (, and CNN (
    Contact: Amanda Skofstad,

    Sean Kane
    Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Washington, D.C.
    Kane is available to discuss economic sanctions with regard to North Korea, whether they are really effective, and what more can be sanctioned at this point. He is the former deputy assistant director for policy in the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, who oversaw a team of sanctions policy advisors to develop and implement sanctions measures across more than 30 portfolios, including North Korea. He also played a leading role in shaping the development of new sanctions authorities, OFAC regulations, and policy guidance, coordinating closely with interagency partners at the National Security Council (NSC), U.S. Department of State, and the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Kane also regularly engaged with Congress on pending or proposed sanctions legislation, and worked closely with colleagues at the Treasury Department on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) issues, as well as Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) matters.
    Contact: Ted Mills,

    Tony Talbott
    Interim Executive Director
    University of Dayton Human Rights Center
    Talbott has taught courses in global politics, global security, nationalism and identity politics, southeast and east Asia, and Asian politics.
    The university has broadband studio capabilities.
    Media Coverage:
    Contact: Shawn Robinson,

    Raymond Kuo
    Assistant Professor of Political Science
    Fordham University
    Dr. Kuo is available to discuss: 1) All turns on whether Kim is rational -- and he's given every indication that he is. He may be extreme, but he's methodically testing nukes and even defenses against American counter-measures (salvo test in February). 2) Kim’s ability to craft an ICBM-sized warhead is very concerning, and any nuclear encounter would impose unacceptable, devastating costs on both U.S. and North Korea, if not others in the region. 3) There are no good military options that wouldn't result in deaths of thousands in the first day, and even then it might not eliminate DPRK’s capability. 4) We may ultimately have to rely on mutually assured destruction -- that nukes self-deter and no one goes to nuclear war. But that will also create great instability on a conventional and unconventional warfare level. 5) Ironically, it may be Trump that escalates and causes war.
    Dr. Kuo specializes in international security and American foreign policy, and his current research focuses on international order and security and the political effects of technology and democratization. Dr. Kuo has published in top journals, including International Security, International Relations, and Ethnopolitics. He will teach courses contributing to political science, as well as the Fordham's MA Program in international political economy and development. He was recently quoted in an AP story on North Korea and Trump (see and is available for phone and email interviews.
    Contact: Rachel Roman,

    Zhiqun Zhu
    Professor of Political Science and International Relations
    Bucknell University
    Zhu has followed the ongoing relationship with the United States and North Korea for the past several years. He’s written extensively on the subject, including multiple op-eds for U.S. News & World Report since the start of the Trump presidency. Above all, Zhu believes the two sides simply don’t understand each other’s goals or points of view and that diplomacy has been nonexistent.
    Contact: Jeff Canning,

    Thomas Karako
    Director, Center for the Study of American Democracy; Director, Missile Defense Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies
    Kenyon College
    Karako is an expert in national security issues, U.S. nuclear forces, missile defense and proliferation. He was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow for 2010–11, during which time he worked with the professional staff of the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. strategic forces, nonproliferation and NATO. Karako has been quoted in CBS News, the New York Times, CNBC, Fox News and WIRED, among others.
    Contact: Mary Keister,

    Ambassador Robert Holleyman
    Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C.
    Holleyman, the former Deputy United States Trade Representative from 2014-2017, is available to discuss the UN sanctions and the impact on both U.S. and non-U.S. businesses; if secondary sanctions, which appear imminent, will target additional Chinese banks and trading companies in jurisdictions like China, Singapore, and Malaysia; additional forfeiture actions in the United States.
    Contact: Stephanie Holtzman,

    Cari Stinebower
    Partner, International Trade and White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Groups
    Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C.
    Stinebower is available to discuss: the UN sanctions and the impact on both U.S. and non-U.S. businesses; if secondary sanctions, which appear imminent, will target additional Chinese banks and trading companies in jurisdictions like China, Singapore, and Malaysia; additional forfeiture actions in the United States.
    Contact: Stephanie Holtzman,

    Jeff McCausland, Ph.D.
    Visiting Professor of International Security Studies
    Dickinson College
    McCausland is the former dean of academics at the U.S. Army War College. A veteran of the Gulf War, he is a retired Army colonel whose work has taken him all over the world serving in a variety of command and staff positions including the National Security Council Staff and at the Pentagon. McCausland sparred in the national media with then-candidate Donald Trump over military strategy in Iraq (see He is the founder and CEO of Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC, and a national security consultant for CBS radio and television. He has provided analysis of American national security policy and the situation in Korea for more than 14 years.
    Contact: Craig Layne,

    Douglas Stuart, Ph.D.
    Professor of Political Science and International Studies
    Dickinson College
    Stuart holds the J. William Stuart and Helen D. Stuart Chair in International Studies, Business and Management at Dickinson. He is also an adjunct research professor at the U.S. Army War College. His research focuses on the history, and proposals for the reform of, the U.S. national security bureaucracy and U.S. foreign and security policies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. His writings on Asian security have appeared in several journals, including Asian Affairs, the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs and the Korean Journal of Defense Analysis.
    Contact: Craig Layne,

    Jina E. Kim, Ph.D.
    Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies
    Dickinson College
    Kim’s research and teaching areas include Korea under Japanese colonial rule, transnational Asian studies, the Korean diaspora and Korean War, all of which pay close attention to the history of North Korea and North Korean relations with its East Asian neighbors. Her writings have appeared in the Journal of Korean Studies, Review of Korean Studies and Harvard Asia Quarterly.
    Contact: Craig Layne,

    Donald Mazzella
    Small Business Digest
    Mazzella is a veteran newsman, national radio host and commentator, COO of Small Business Digest publications, and author of many books, including "An American Family Sampler." Besides a long career as a foreign reporter, he has been on MSNBC and Fox News, and has been written about by the Wall Street Journal. Mazzella is a nationally known commentator covering not only great events but the intimate lives of ordinary citizens.
    Expert Contact:

    Expert Roundup: Hurricane Preparedness

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 11:59 AM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    With NOAA expecting a rough hurricane season this year, following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available for interviews on various topics related to hurricane preparedness.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    ADA Obligations
    Robert Fine
    Shareholder; Chair, ADA, Accessibility, Building & Life Safety Codes Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Fine can discuss ADA obligations when rebuilding, as well as how ADA codes affect rebuilding of historic properties. He authored a Greenberg Traurig alert, “Hurricane Matthew’s Shift West May Impose Requirements on South Florida Property Owners and Construction Sites” (
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Building Preparation
    Michael Thomas
    Shareholder; Real Estate, Litigation Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Thomas focuses his practice on construction law and litigation matters. He can discuss what builders can do post-hurricane and to prepare for the next storm.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Business Risks
    Benjamin Collier, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Risk Management, Fox School of Business
    Temple University
    "Hurricanes and other natural disasters have often caught businesses unprepared. For example, in a recent study, my colleagues and I found that many New York-area businesses weren’t insured for the losses created by Sandy. Small businesses and young businesses were especially unlikely to insure and had difficulty accessing credit to finance recovery afterward."
    Collier’s areas of expertise include hurricane preparedness, climate change risks, flood insurance, disaster risk management of businesses, disaster risk and household finances, Hurricane Sandy, and insurance economics.
    Contact: Christopher A. Vito,

    Civil Infrastructure Changes and Natural Hazard Assessment/Mitigation
    Tracy Kijewski-Correa
    Leo E and Patti Ruth Linbeck Collegiate Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
    University of Notre Dame
    Kijewski-Correa’s research addresses 21st century civil infrastructure challenges. Her interdisciplinary scholarship emphasizes collaborative innovation, sensing, information technologies, and simulation frameworks to create scalable paradigms to enhance the resilience and sustainability of civil infrastructure. A hallmark of these projects and her wider body of scholarship has been the substantial engagement of municipalities, communities of practice and the public-at-large, working extensively in post-disaster planning and recovery following major hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis in the US, Haiti and Southeast Asia.
    Contact: Jessica Sieff,

    Construction Defects
    Robert Epstein
    Shareholder; Co-Chair, National Construction Law Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    “All property owners should review their insurance programs to assure that they have the proper coverage in adequate amounts.”
    Epstein practices in the area of construction law and contracting. He wrote an article in the New Jersey Law Journal about rebuilding New Jersey’s infrastructure after Hurricane Sandy, and can speak to similar topics.
    Contact: Sarah Misailidis,

    Construction Litigation
    Tim Kolaya
    Shareholder; Litigation, Construction Law Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Kolaya can speak to engineering-focused construction litigation issues.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Construction Litigation
    Michael G. Murphy
    Shareholder; Construction Law Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Murphy can discuss construction litigation, with a focus on builders.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Construction Litigation
    Chris Barnett
    Shareholder; Real Estate, Real Estate Litigation Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Barnett focuses his practice on real estate development and construction matters. He can discuss developer-focused construction litigation issues.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Cyber Issues
    Alan Sutin
    Shareholder; Chair, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice; Senior Chair, Global IP-IT Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    “Companies sometimes fail to consider the impact of losing their key computer servers and other technology systems following a hurricane or other natural disaster. Reviewing the company’s disaster recovery and business continuity plans and making sure they meet the company’s current operational and cybersecurity standards will go a long way to avoiding significant business interruption or ongoing liability.”
    Sutin counsels companies on a wide-range of issues relating to privacy and cybersecurity. He co-authored the Law360 article "Top Tips for Data Breach Readiness and Response,” and can discuss data protection issues during and after a hurricane.
    Contact: Sarah Misailidis,

    Disaster Preparedness
    Rob DeLeo
    Assistant Professor of Global Public Policy
    Bentley University
    DeLeo is available to discuss elements of disaster preparedness including: the importance of preparedness -- not as a means to an end, but as a critical preventative, money-saving, ongoing process; why families, communities, and policy makers who think of preparedness as an ongoing process will be better positioned to deal with any disaster; the political and psychological barriers to preparedness; and why policy makers and political leaders need to approach disaster preparation with a long-term view, and the benefits this can have.
    Contact: Lauren Mucci,

    Disaster-Proofing Your Telecommunications
    Bob Ashley
    Product Manager
    FairPoint Communications
    “The consequences of being unprepared for a disaster, especially a major hurricane, can cripple a business. To survive an unforeseen event, companies must include telecommunications when they develop disaster recovery plans. After all, phone communications are the lifeblood of most businesses. Replacing a traditional phone system with a cloud-based solution provides a way to ensure voice communication that will aid in disaster recovery readiness. If a disaster strikes this hurricane season, cloud-based phone systems offer a way to keep business phones ringing even when the unexpected happens.”
    Ashley, a senior product manager for FairPoint Communications, has held many technical and managerial positions over his 37-year communications career. He has worked for a wide variety of companies, ranging from small family-owned, independent telcos, to industry giants like Contel and GTE. He also possesses a strong background in network engineering, project management, budgeting and product development. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Husson University and an Associate’s degree in Electrical Technologies from Southern Maine Community College.
    Contact: Matt Ormsbee,

    Document Management
    Chris Strammiello
    Vice President of Global Alliances & Strategic Marketing
    Nuance Communications
    “Damage from hurricanes can impact businesses. They harm or destroy office and business records, and disrupt operations through the lost time while dealing with outages. According to the U.S. government, 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster strikes them, and another 25 percent fail within one year. Turning paper records into digital documents rids an organization of the paper that can be damaged or destroyed during a disaster, or that can become lost in day-to-day work operations.”
    Contact: Matt Ormsbee,

    Document Security
    Chris Wong
    Flooding can threaten homes and businesses, but vital documents are also at risk, even if stored in "safe" deposit boxes. When flood prevention infrastructure is inadequate, the damage can be devastating. Most of the 7,000+ families who were forced to evacuate their homes in Louisiana last year due to flooding lost paper records that would have been saved by digital record keeping. Says Wong: “Nothing is more crucial in times of crisis than to have information ready, organized and accessible when you need to act.”
    A veteran entrepreneur, Wong is CEO of LifeSite, a Silicon Valley company providing secure digital storage solutions. Wong is available to discuss secure digital recordkeeping of medical information and important documents.
    Contact: Sheri Wachenheim,

    Effect of Coastal Oceans
    Andrew Kennedy
    Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
    University of Notre Dame
    Kennedy's research focuses on waves, surge, and currents in the coastal ocean and their effects on human activities. Parts of this work are observational, ranging from the rapid deployment of wave and surge gauges in advance of hurricane landfalls, to the analysis of very large-scale bathymetric lidar datasets to determine morphological changes during large storms. A recent focus correlates observed storm damage to observed and predicted hydrodynamics in coastal regions. Parts of Kennedy's research are theoretical and computational, and deal with water wave theory in shallow and deep water, and in the generation of near-shore circulation by breaking waves. This work has direct application to the prediction of storm waves and water levels, damage, and erosion. Undergraduate, master's, Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers in the Coastal Hydraulics Lab are currently working on a range of topics. Projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Joint Airborne Lidar Technical Center of Expertise, US Geological Survey, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Florida Sea Grant, among others.
    Contact: Jessica Sieff,

    Emergency Communications
    Joseph Brady
    Director of Business Development
    Federal Signal Corporation
    “It’s about finding that perfect blend of communications taking environment/climate, infrastructure and location all into account. Whether it’s communicating through landlines, cellphones, text messaging, public address or intercom systems, to IP-based technologies ranging from email and instant messaging to social networks, emergency managers should define a layered approach with notifications. In fact, these new communications layers have clearly added to the complexity of developing effective, reliable emergency public warning and mass notification strategies. This is because each of these new layers of communication technology must be evaluated in context with a host of human factors relating to the behaviors, perceptions, needs, limitations and cultural differences and eccentricities of individuals, as well as the general population.”
    Based in North Carolina, Brady is NIMS and ICS-trained and has 10 years of field experience with Federal Signal, providing solutions for indoor and outdoor mass notification systems that have been deployed in cities, universities, commercial and coastline/sea port applications. Prior to Federal Signal, Brady was a 20-year law enforcement veteran, including working with Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications while a member of the Chicago Police Department crime strategy and accountability unit.
    Contact: Gabriella Churchill,

    Emergency Preparedness Plans
    Peter Duncanson
    Director, Disaster Restoration Business Operations
    ServiceMaster Restore
    “Whether it's a hurricane or a severe thunderstorm approaching this season, the most important thing that all home and business owners can do to prepare is develop an emergency preparedness plan. This time-saving preparation ahead of inclement weather can help ease a potentially stressful hurricane season.”
    Duncanson share these simple steps to take ahead of a hurricane or severe storm: 1) Outdoor Precautions: Secure loose outdoor items, such as patio furniture, and put away garden tools and children's toys; board up windows; ensure rain gutters are clear to allow water to flow. 2) Indoor Preparation: Stock up on fresh batteries and emergency supplies, such as water, medication and non-perishable food, flashlights and radios; unplug electronics and elevate furniture and drapes inside the home; store valuables and important documents, like birth certificates and passports, in waterproof containers; create a call tree to provide notice of your safety with family living outside the area; create a photo and/or video inventory of essential possessions including serial numbers, make and model of item. 3) Plan for Post-Storm Repairs: Have information on-hand for professional restoration companies, so if damage occurs it can be minimized in a timely manner (within 24-48 hours of water damage); review your insurance policy to know what's covered and have your policy information easily accessible; restock your emergency supply kit if necessary.
    Contact: Bristol Whitcher,

    Employment Issues
    David L. Barron
    Cozen O’Connor
    Barron is available to discuss HR-related issues employers need to know when hurricanes and other natural disasters take place, including laws that protect employees who are absent from work during or after a hurricane; paying employees when work sites are closed due to weather; and other wage and hour pitfalls that employers should be aware of following a hurricane or other natural disaster.
    Barron focuses his litigation practice on labor and employment law. He assists his clients with all their labor and employment needs, including representing clients at trials involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, collective action overtime claims and whistle-blower suits before a variety of state and federal courts. He counsels clients on labor negotiations, elections, strikes, and corporate campaigns by unions; litigates disputes before the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Department of Labor; and advises management on various employment issues, including wage and hour, federal contractor compliance, employee terminations, discrimination and harassment claims, drafting and enforcement of noncompete agreements, Sarbanes Oxley, and OSHA matters. He has been quoted on employment law topics by the Houston Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Texas Lawyer,, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. He also has appeared as an employment law professional on talk radio and the local CBS and Fox affiliates in Houston.
    Contact: Josh Ginsburg,

    Environmental and Water Issues
    Kerri Barsh
    Shareholder; Co-Chair, National Environmental Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Barsh represents public and private clients on environmental regulatory, permitting and litigation matters. She can discuss environmental and water issues following a hurricane.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Environmental Hazards, Insurance Tips
    Robert Weitz, CMI
    Certified Microbial Investigator and Principal
    RTK Environmental Group
    Weitz is an environmental inspector and principal of RTK Environmental Group, one of the largest and most trusted independent testing firms in the Northeast. They provide testing for mold, lead, water, soil, asbestos, radon, PCBs, VOCs, indoor air quality, and more. Since they only test and do not do remediation (which is a clear conflict of interest), their results are unbiased and accurate.
    Weitz can offer tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, as well as what steps you need to take afterwards to prevent or contain environmental hazards, and protect yourself from dirty contractors and insurance companies after the hurricane. Some topics include: 1) Flooding: What do you do if there is water in the basement? What steps can we take now to minimize damage? If you do flood, what steps should you take right away to avoid a mold outbreak? 2) Leaks: Ceilings, windows, and more may leak during the storm. Place buckets and towels in areas you know tend to leak before it starts. Cleaning your gutters today can help ensure water flows properly during the storm and is directed away from your house. 3) Power Failure and Sump Pumps: If the power goes out, your sump pump will not function unless you have a generator. What can you do?
    Twitter: @AskRTK
    Facebook: RTKEnvironmental
    Contact: Jennifer Newman Galluzzo,

    Facilities Operations
    Chad Kennedy
    Industry Standards Manager
    Power Equipment for Schneider Electric
    Kennedy is available to speak to hurricane preparedness from a facilities and operations perspective. He can offer insights around ways for operations managers to ensure their buildings are fully equipped to withstand flooding from hurricanes. Kennedy understands installations in healthcare, critical power, data center, and redundant control system design, and can offer discussions on protecting the electrical equipment in these facilities from the damage hurricanes may cause. He directly participates in the integration of these electrical system controls into the existing building and life safety control systems.
    Contact: Patrick Abberton,

    Family, Home and Business Safety
    Carol Hanover
    Risk Control Field Director
    “As hurricane season approaches, there are things homeowners can do ahead of time to help keep their families safe, such as preparing a survival kit and planning an evacuation route. When it comes to a survival kit, you’ll want to include all the necessary basics: flashlight, first-aid kit, batteries, nonperishable food, medications, baby supplies and pet food, cash (in case ATMs are down) and electronic chargers, such as car chargers, for your phone or flashlight. If a storm is imminent, you’ll want to secure all outdoor objects or move them inside, in case of high winds that could turn patio furniture into dangerous, flying debris. Close storm shutters and board up windows and glass doors as needed. If possible, bring in your gas or charcoal grill, but never store propane tanks inside the house or garage; instead, chain them in an upright position to a secure object away from your home.”
    Hanover is available to discuss: essential criteria for personal and professional hurricane preparedness plans; the best items to have on-hand during a hurricane-themed emergency; how to protect home and business properties during extreme weather disaster; evacuation guidelines and tips; personal and business insurance consideration; and best practices for evaluating property damage in the aftermath of a hurricane. She has been in the insurance industry for 30 years and in her current role since 2014. As regional field director, Hanover is responsible for the management of the commercial insurance risk control staff and service deliverables in the metro NYC, Long Island and Connecticut areas. She has the privilege to work with risk control industry experts to ensure that the highest quality of risk control services is delivered to Travelers customers.
    Contact: Bonnie Paresa,

    Flood Insurance
    John Dickson
    NFS Edge Insurance Agency
    “Everyone is at risk of flood -- you’re more likely to flood than have a fire over a 30-year mortgage.”
    Flooding can happen every single day of the year and everywhere in the country -- whether due to weather events, such as hurricanes, heavy rains or snow melt, or due to burst pipes, backed-up sewers and more. In recent years, we had several major, even historic, flooding events, including Hurricane Matthew, that killed thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in Louisiana, Texas, Iowa and elsewhere. Dickson can explain what options homeowners have for flood insurance during hurricane season 2017, especially what private policies are available as an alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). He can lay out details of what the rates are for private policies and what they cover as opposed to the NFIP. Dickson can also explain what changes lie ahead for flood insurance policies in 2017 (rate changes, flood map changes, etc.).
    Contact: Astrid Greve Spencer,

    Flood Insurance
    Cynthia DiVincenti
    Vice President, Government Programs and Business Quality Assurance
    Aon National Flood Services
    “Historical flooding events drive reforms. The big focus for the flood insurance industry right now is to make sure Congress reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program.”
    Flooding can happen any day and anywhere. During hurricane season, flood insurance will be vital for millions of property owners. In 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is at a crossroads: it is set to expire in September and is thus currently up for reauthorization. There is a lot of debate surrounding the reauthorization, and several bills have already been introduced in Congress. DiVincenti can explain all aspects about the NFIP and what they mean to property owners. In addition, FEMA is remapping flood zones, which means some property owners are now no longer required to have flood insurance, while others have higher or even lower rates. DiVincenti can explain all the options property owners have.
    Contact: Astrid Greve Spencer,

    General Preparedness

    Homer Bryson
    Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security (GEMA/HS)
    Bryson is available to discuss the preparations citizens should take both before, during and after a hurricane. He was appointed director of GEMA/HS by Governor Nathan Deal in December 2016. Prior to that, Bryson served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections. He began his career in state government in 1983 as a conservation ranger with the Department of Natural Resources. He continued his DNR career by serving as colonel of the Law Enforcement section and then deputy commissioner before moving to the Department of Corrections. Bryson served as the hurricane coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources while assigned as the DNR Law Enforcement coastal region supervisor. He participated in security planning for the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2004 Group of 8 Economic Summit on Sea Island. He was a supervisor on a 100-officer Georgia state law enforcement detail assigned to assist with recovery efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. He has also previously taught Critical Incident Management as an adjunct professional for the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College at Columbus State University.
    Contact: Kelsey Weiss,

    Government Preparedness
    Joel Vetter
    Chief Emergency Support Services
    Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services
    Vetter can detail tips for hurricane preparedness. He can share best practices he’s developed from dealing with past extreme weather like Super Storm Sandy and Snowstorm Nemo.
    Contact: Emma Walter,

    High-Wind and Flood Safety
    Mike Rimoldi
    Senior Vice President of Education and Technical Programs
    Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
    Rimoldi is a high-wind and flood construction expert for the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), as well as a state certified building contractor, state licensed building plans examiner, International Code Council Certified Building Official, electrical plans examiner, fire inspector, and disaster response inspector with more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry. He has appeared numerous times as an expert on CNN, local television stations and in FLASH’s consumer DIY videos.
    Contact: Zoe LaPointe,

    Hurricane Research
    Dr. Albert Owino
    Director of Meteorological Studies, Weather Center
    Western Connecticut State University
    Dr. Owino did postdoctoral research on climate variability and change over the Caribbean region and is currently working on hurricane research with the University of the West Indies.
    Contact: Paul Steinmetz,

    Insurance Coverage
    John A. Gibbons
    Partner and Insurance Coverage Group Vice Practice Group Leader
    Blank Rome LLP
    “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts an active Atlantic hurricane season. A key piece to any pre-storm preparation is reviewing the insurance that may respond to losses caused by a weather event. Property insurance frequently protects against more than just physical damage to and loss of property. Such insurance also often protects financial losses arising from an inability to conduct business at the same levels as before; the extra expenses incurred in dealing with the effects of a disaster, including money spent to minimize any damage and losses; and the costs incurred in establishing the extent of the losses. Other types of insurance that also may respond include policies for trade disruption, event cancellation, marine cargo and storage, and directors and officers.”
    Gibbons is a partner in Blank Rome’s policyholder-only insurance coverage practice.
    Contact: Kate Tavella,

    Insurance Coverage
    Jared Zola
    Partner, Insurance Coverage Group
    Blank Rome LLP
    Zola is a partner in Blank Rome’s policyholder-only insurance coverage practice. He is available to discuss insurance coverage that may respond to losses caused by a weather event, including policies for trade disruption, event cancellation, marine cargo and storage, and directors and officers.
    Contact: Kate Tavella,

    Insurance Issues
    Fred Karlinsky
    Shareholder; Co-Chair, Insurance Regulatory & Transactions Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Karlinsky focuses his practice regulatory, governmental, and public policy issues relating to insurance, insurers, claims and insurance coverage. He authored the article "Florida Catastrophe Fund Sees Historic $400 Million Surplus," in FORC Quarterly Journal of Insurance Law and Regulation, and can speak to insurance issues in preparation for, during, and after a hurricane.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Landlord/Tenant Issues
    Ilene Kobert
    Shareholder; Real Estate Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Kobert represents land owners and developers, tenants, buyers and sellers. She can speak to landlord/tenant issues with regard to property damages to a leased space, asking tenants to close for safety, etc.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    William Clayton
    Shareholder; Co-Chair, Real Estate Litigation Practice
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    Clayton focuses on insurance defense. He won an award of $42.5 million for a developer after Hurricane Wilma, and he can speak to his experience.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Preparing Data Centers
    Steve Carlini
    Senior Director, Data Center Global Solutions
    Schneider Electric
    Carlini is responsible for developing integrated solutions for Schneider Electric’s data center segment, including enterprise and cloud data centers. He is an expert on the foundation layer of data centers, and would be able to speak to preparing data centers from hurricane damage, as well as ways to ensure the Power & Power Distribution, Cooling & Technical Cooling, Rack systems, Physical Security, and DCIM Management solutions continue to operate in the event of a storm.
    Contact: Patrick Abberton,

    Protecting Electrical Equipment
    Christopher Liguori
    Global Product Marketing Manager
    APC by Schneider Electric
    Liguori is responsible for the home and small-office product launch strategy and implementation. He can speak to ways to protect electrical equipment from dangerous hurricane conditions from a home perspective, including safety plans that must be put into place as well as procedures to follow in anticipation of a major storm. He would be happy to speak about protecting backup power supplies, generators for small offices and smaller personal devices during hurricane season.
    Contact: Patrick Abberton,

    Ripple Effects of Storms
    Gregory Hall
    Associate Professor of Psychology
    Bentley University
    Bentley can discuss the ripple effects that storms like hurricanes can have on communities, such as: the mental health repercussions of natural disasters, including everything from intense anxiety and stress to irrational fear and PTSD; the need for a significant policy overhaul for better coordination of services so communities that need resources and training receive them.
    Contact: Lauren Mucci,

    Workforce Management
    Joe Fleming
    Shareholder; Litigation Practice, Labor & Employment
    Greenberg Traurig LLP
    “While the hurricane season is approaching and it is of great importance to be prepared, the same concepts of preparation also apply to labor, employment, disability, safety, pandemic, workplace environmental, cybersecurity, climate change, asymmetry in ‘technological advances’ and other disaster concerns. We are increasingly vulnerable to increasing complexities as our society involves developments that create advantages, which may bring with them new issues. So, it is always ‘in season’ to be pro-active in programs that prepare us for such problems; and, adopting systems for possible risks may have the upside advantages of being of great value in diminishing exposure to risks.”
    Fleming is an experienced litigator and labor and employment lawyer who is also familiar with historic properties. He can speak to workforce management and payroll issues during and after a hurricane.
    Contact: Elaine Walker,

    Expert Roundup: Renegotiating NAFTA

    Thursday, May 25, 2017, 8:30 AM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Earlier this month, the Trump administration formally told Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Following are experts who are available for interviews on this topic.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Alex Lawson
    Senior Reporter, International Trade
    “The big dynamic to watch is how aggressive the Trump administration will be in overhauling the agreement. Trump spent his entire campaign bashing NAFTA as a disaster for the U.S. economy and flirted with completely terminating the agreement as recently as a few weeks ago. But the comments from US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer suggest that a more modest ‘modernization’ of NAFTA may be in order. The administration will also be fielding a litany of calls from industry groups and other advocates who want to see the NAFTA reshaped in their best interests. Lighthizer's notification to Congress mentioned that he was interested in improving the NAFTA's labor, environmental, digital trade and intellectual property rules, but each of those broad topics contains a multitude of policy options for the administration.”
    Lawson, a senior reporter covering all aspects of international trade, has been reporting on NAFTA for years, including many stories on President Trump’s NAFTA policies and proposed changes. He can provide other reporters with unbiased commentary – on business, legal and political implications -- rooted in research and first-party interviews. His stories for Law360 focus on trade disputes, enforcement efforts and regulatory developments. He has covered the negotiations of numerous regional trade agreements, including the passage of the largest bundle of trade legislation in two decades. Recent Law360 stories by Lawson include coverage of the first steps by the Trump White House to investigate the causes of U.S. trade deficits (, news of the $1.2 billion penalty imposed on ZTE Corp. for violating export control rules for Iran and North Korea (, and an analysis of Trump’s trade brain trust (
    Contact: Eric Sokolsky,

    Raj Bhala
    Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law; Rice Distinguished Professor
    University of Kansas School of Law
    “NAFTA has become a pillar of the American economy and stands as one of the broadest, deepest free-trade agreements in human history. One way to appreciate its significance is to see it in the light of the long, uneasy history of U.S.-Mexican relations and swings in Mexican economy policy through much of the 20th century. Another, 21st century, way to think about NAFTA is to realize that America, Canada and Mexico already spent eight years rewriting and modernizing it -- it’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Unilateral threats of withdrawal or demands for renegotiations risk triggering yet more protectionist moves across the globe.”
    An expert on international trade law, Bhala can discuss free trade agreements, NAFTA, its original form, renegotiation, economic impacts of the deal on the three cooperating nations, relations between the three countries, national security related to trade and related topics. Bhala has worked extensively in all three NAFTA nations and more than 25 countries around the world, including a majority of the Trans-Pacific Partnership nations. He has written dozens of books and journal articles on international trade, including “TPP Objectively: Law, Economics, and National Security of History’s Largest, Longest Free Trade Agreement,” “Modern GATT Law” and “Understanding Islamic Law (Shari’a).”
    Contact: Mike Krings,

    Brandon Stallard
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer
    TPS Logistics
    “The impact of Trump’s public criticisms of NAFTA has been negligible. There have been no duty rate increases and no shipping pattern changes. I don’t foresee anything happening in the near future that would be detrimental to American trade. However, Trump’s newly released ‘A Better Way’ tax plan -- which proposes a 20 percent border tax -- could have a momentous economic blow to the U.S. Our North American trade relationships feature more large-item manufacturing, so minor adjustments would be a far more feasible form of action.”
    Stallard is a nationally recognized expert in transportation. His company has a strong focus on North American trade, regularly moving freight and goods between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He brings over 30 years of experience to the table and can apply his expertise across a plethora of different industries, including retail, manufacturing, automotive, oil and gas, health and beauty, and more. His expertise includes transportation, trade regulation, North American cross-border trucking and trade, and international shipping.
    Contact: Rachel Bonello,

    Doreen Edelman
    Shareholder and Co-Leader, Global Business Team
    Baker Donelson
    “Leaders of all three NAFTA member countries have now acknowledged the benefits that might be gained by renegotiating the 1994 regional free trade agreement. And, despite criticism of NAFTA as it currently exists, President Trump recently recognized the virtues of regional trade, declaring in a recent meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that both countries will ‘coordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent.’ Indeed, there is a lot to be gained from renegotiation. While the U.S. economy has certainly benefitted under NAFTA, there are four main areas in which NAFTA may be improved for the benefit of U.S. business and job growth: labor and environmental standards, rules of origin, e-commerce and professional services.”
    Edelman has more than 25 years of experience counseling companies on import and export compliance, foreign investment and global expansion and her work has carried her to all corners of the world. She has helped to establish a natural gas facility in Turkey, protected a client's intellectual property in Japan, and watched out for the interests of a major fast-food chain franchisor in Latin America. She is co-author of a comprehensive analysis of NAFTA and many other trade-related articles. She recently penned an article published by The Hill, “4 Smart Ways to Improve NAFTA” (
    Contact: Jonathan Breed,

    Mohan Tatikonda
    Professor of Operations Management, and Dr. L. Leslie and Mary Louise Waters Faculty Fellow
    Indiana University Kelley School of Business
    “Changing NAFTA alone does nothing to address workers’ skills and the impact of increasing automation and productivity, but there are other ways to increase high-wage U.S. manufacturing jobs. That includes companies refocusing their product lines to be more innovative, customized and responsive to customer needs. Why don’t companies do that now? One is because executives sometimes find it easier to go down the cost minimization path rather than the innovation path. The other reason is that executives who are following the belief of maximizing shareholder returns are not always reinvesting in company R&D and worker skills.”
    Tatikonda is an expert in corporate strategy, international manufacturing and supply chains. He is an international consultant and researcher with field experience in Mexico and across the globe. He formerly consulted for the World Bank and is an international keynote speaker.
    Contact: Teresa Mackin,

    Trevor Collier
    Associate Professor, Economics
    University of Dayton
    "It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be happy with the result of renegotiating NAFTA. One of his complaints on the campaign trail was that NAFTA caused a reduction in auto manufacturing jobs in the United States. Manufacturing jobs in the automotive industry actually increased in the United States immediately following NAFTA. Automation has caused the largest decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. No renegotiation of NAFTA is going to halt the increase in automation."
    Collier teaches principles of economics and microeconomics, public finance, economics of the environment and managerial economics.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Dr. Nozar Hashemzadeh
    Professor of Economics
    Radford University
    A summary of Dr. Hashemzadeh’s research regarding the impact of NAFTA on jobs in the U.S.: “For the last decade, the U.S. labor market has been characterized by rapid technological change, intensifying competitive pressure from abroad, declining union power, automation, favorable energy prices, downsizing, and rapid expansion in information, financial and investment services. The outlook for job growth depends in large part on the growth of the domestic economy, increased exports, exchange rate fluctuations, tariffs and other potential trade barriers, official protection for intellectual property rights in other countries, and the degree of economic and political stability in U.S. trading partners. Despite genuine differences of opinion among supporters and antagonists of NAFTA, nearly all economic studies of the trade accord have concluded that relaxation of trade barriers will benefit consumers and promote economic growth in North America.
    Dr. Hashemzadeh joined Radford University’s Economics Department in 1983, where he has been teaching and conducting research on macroeconomic issues, employment disparities by race, international trade and the U.S.’s international competitiveness. He has been the advisor to the International Honor Society in Economics since 1990.
    Expert Contact:

    Steven Otillar
    Partner, Akin Gump in Houston
    President-Elect, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
    Otillar is available to discuss the potential impact of a NAFTA renegotiation on oil and gas, and the U.S. relationship with both Mexico and Canada, in light of Mexico’s energy reforms and Canada’s recent energy infrastructure deals and focus on shale. Otillar focuses his practice on the development, finance, acquisition and divestiture of domestic and international energy projects, with an emphasis on upstream projects in emerging markets. He advises clients on public tenders and auctions and a variety of development agreements in relation to major energy infrastructure projects around the world. He is representing a number of U.S. companies involved in Mexico’s deep and shallow water auctions.
    Contact: Vasiya Kemp,

    Richard Walawender
    Principal Attorney
    Miller Canfield, Detroit
    Walawender is co-leader of the firm’s Corporate Group, and director of the firm’s International Practice and Autonomous Vehicle Practice. His practice specialties include mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial law, corporate governance and securities, private equity, venture capital, equity and debt financing, international transactions and joint ventures, project finance, and franchising. As director of the firm’s International Practice, he has also been the lead attorney on numerous multinational M&A transactions for U.S., Canadian, European, Asian, Mexican, and other non-U.S. clients. Walawender recently penned two articles on the future of NAFTA in the new administration: “Worries about NAFTA Take Back Seat to Potential ‘Border Adjustment Tax’” ( and “Could President Trump Really Pull the U.S. out of NAFTA? Basic FAQs” (
    Contact: Carol L. Lundberg,

    Eugene Laney
    Head of International Trade Affairs
    DHL Express
    Laney has spoken about NAFTA at length, and can share his insights, specifically on the benefits of modernizing American’s free trade agreements. Based out of Washington, D.C., Laney has more than 20 years of experience ensuring corporate compliance with regulatory requirements and tracks international trade and cargo security issues for the global market leader in the express and logistics industry, making him a great expert source.
    Contact: Sloane Fistel,

    Jay Erstling
    Petterson Thuente IP
    With the Trump administration announcing it will renegotiate NAFTA, backed by a campaign threat to withdraw, what's at stake for U.S. patent and trademark owners? NAFTA contains significant IP provisions. When Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP, he gave up major improvements in international IP protection that had been negotiated for U.S. IP owners. It's far from clear that new bilateral negotiations, which Trump has proposed, would secure as good a deal for US IP owners. Erstling, who served in Geneva with the World Intellectual Property Organization, can speak to IP provisions of NAFTA and TPP.
    Chapter 17 of NAFTA, which deals with IP:
    Contact: Joshua Schneck,

    Giacomo Santangelo
    Lecturer of Economics
    Fordham University
    Examples of Trump and NAFTA stories Santangelo has been interviewed on before include: 1) “Divisive policies will harm Trump’s plans to grow economy,” Feb. 1, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle (; 2) “Clinton’s, Trump’s opposition to trade pact dims growth prospects,” Sept. 25, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle (; 3) “Trade Talks,” April 29, 2015, Arise America (; 4) “Fast Track Fast Trade,” April 26, 2015, Arise Review (
    Contact: Rachel Roman,

    Mark David Witte
    Associate Professor of Economics and MBA Director
    College of Charleston
    Witte is available for interviews on the Trump administration’s plan to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade impact of currency manipulation, and Mexican sugar and Mexican trucking issues concerning NAFTA.
    Contact: Mike Robertson,

    Maia Linask
    Economics Professor
    University of Richmond Robins School of Business
    Linask’s expertise is in international trade, and her research has examined the impact of free trade agreements on foreign direct investment and the factors that influence trade policy. She has studied the effect of trade policy on the Mexican auto market. In addition, she is a member of the International Trade and Finance Association.
    Contact: Cynthia Price,

    Steve H. Hanke
    Professor of Applied Economics
    Co-Director, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
    Hanke is a senior fellow and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., a senior advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing, a special counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York, a contributing editor at Central Banking in London, and a contributor at Forbes. Hanke is also a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement and of Euromoney Country Risk’s Experts Panel. In the past, Hanke taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers in Maryland, as a senior economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, and as a senior advisor to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Hanke served as a state counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Montenegro. He was also an advisor to the presidents of Bulgaria, Venezuela and Indonesia. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. He has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia. His most recent books are “Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation to Growth” (2008), “A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari” (2010), “Juntas Monetarias para Paises en Desarollo” (2015), and “Currency Boards for Developing Countries: A Handbook” (2015).
    Troubled Currencies Project:
    Contact: Jill Rosen,

    Expert Roundup: Summer Safety

    Friday, May 19, 2017, 1:55 PM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available for interviews for your summer safety articles. You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Fireworks Safety
    Jenny Ziembicki, M.D.
    Medical Director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center
    Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    Faculty Member, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
    “Each year, around 4th of July celebrations, we treat many people, especially children and teens, who have been injured by fireworks. Many of those injuries involve an amputation of a limb or loss of vision. We want to remind everyone that fireworks should only be handled by professionals and enjoyed at a safe distance.”
    Dr. Ziembicki has a special interest in the development of the comprehensive outpatient burn therapy program at UPMC Mercy, which allows patients a more expedient return to a productive lifestyle. She also is a dedicated advocate in burn injury prevention, especially in the geriatric and pediatric population.
    Contact: Stephanie Stanley,

    Skin Damage and Car/Home Windows
    Darrell Smith
    Executive Director
    International Window Film Association
    "Whether you're spending the summer on the road or enjoying the warm sunshine streaming through your home's windows, you may be doing serious damage to your skin without even realizing. The average window only blocks about 25% of UV rays from passing through and car windows aren't much better -- blocking about 40% of UV rays. In America, nearly 53% of skin cancer cases occur on the left, or driver’s side, of the body. Why? Because, we enjoy sunshine but aren't fully protected against damaging UV rays -- and spend a lot of time in the car! Professionally installed window film can help block up to 99% of UV rays from passing through a window, ultimately protecting your skin and eyes from cumulative damage."
    Contact: Amber Joy Dempsey,

    Fabric and Clothing Tips for Summer
    James Pruden
    Senior Director
    Cotton Incorporated
    Pruden can provide expert summer safety tips when it comes to anything and everything summer clothing, including what to wear for the best UV protection; what fabrics keep you cooler during the warm summer months; and the health benefits of natural fibers vs. synthetic fibers. Says Pruden: “All apparel provides some degree of UV protection. UV protection in apparel is dependent on a variety of factors, including thickness of fabric (thicker fabrics absorb more UV rays), tightness of construction and the fabric’s color (darker colors provide more UV protection).”
    Pruden is senior director of public relations at Cotton Incorporated, where he oversees brand image management for the not-for-profit company.
    Contact: Caleb Fernandez,

    Pool Safety Tips for Parents, Children and Pets
    Tom Casey
    Vice President of Sales
    Anthony & Sylvan Pools
    Casey is available to share pool safety tips for parents, children, and pets: “Pools are fun for the whole family, and pool safety is crucial when it comes to enjoying your pool to its fullest. By following just a few safety tips, you’ll be sure to keep this season fun and safe.”
    Casey is vice president of sales for Anthony & Sylvan Pools, the leading swimming pool and spa builder in the U.S.
    Contact: John Reynolds,

    Tips for an Injury-Free Summer
    Dr. Benjamin Domb
    “As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, adults and kids alike love to engage in outdoor sports and fitness activities. This increase in physical activity can lead to an increased risk of injury.”
    Through his experience working with athletes, both professional and amateur, as well as fitness enthusiasts like CrossFitters and runners, Dr. Domb is available to provide effective tips for an injury-free summer. Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee.
    Contact: Rachel Prude,

    Summer BBQ Safety Tips
    Peter Duncanson
    Director, Disaster Restoration Business Operations
    ServiceMaster Restore
    Duncanson is available for interviews on summer BBQ safety tips, including proper charcoal grill safety, how to use a gas grill wisely, and how to practice good grilling habits: “Set your grill up at a safe distance from structures and overhangs, including your main building, shed, garage, trees and other potentially flammable objects. Never use your grill inside, in a tent or under an outdoor awning or carport. Doing so can pose a serious fire hazard and potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning if you're using a gas grill. Light your gas or charcoal grill using special long-length lighters or long matches to avoid getting burned. Keep all ignition sources out of the reach of children. Never leave an actively burning grill unattended, and let your grill fully cool before you cover or store it. Clean your grill thoroughly and often to reduce flammable buildup inside.”
    Contact: Bristol Whitcher,

    Summer Safety
    Jared Staver
    Staver Law Group. P.C.
    Staver is available to discuss various summer safety topics, including sun glare accidents, motorcycle safety, pool/water safety, heat exhaustion and more. On motorcycle safety: “During the summer months, drivers and motorcyclists should take extra precautions to avoid accidents. Statistics show that more than 50% of motorcycle accidents involve riders with less than five months of riding experience. To minimize the risk of accidents, motorcyclists should always wear protective gear including proper eyewear and helmets. Make sure your bike is properly maintained before taking it out for the first summer ride and keep a toolkit on your bike at all times. Mechanical defects can contribute to road crashes.”
    Staver is a Chicago personal injury attorney and owner of Staver Law Group, P.C. His practice focuses on representing people seeking compensation after being hurt in the Chicago area, whether by a car accident, slip and fall, workplace accident, dog bite, or from an act of medical malpractice. An experienced and dedicated litigator, Jared has recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for his clients.
    Contact: John Branham,

    How to Stay Safe on the Job/Keep Employees Safe
    David Quezada
    Vice President of Loss Control
    “Working in hot and sunny environments or near heat sources all day can wear employees down. To help employees rest and recharge, encourage them to take regular breaks in the shade or other cool environments. Build break times into employees’ schedules to help enforce the practice. Make sure employees know how to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and the immediate steps they need to take to help themselves or their co-workers. In the event of a medical emergency, contact 911 immediately, but also train employees so they can be proactive before professional help arrives. Fostering a safe and comfortable work environment is an important commitment every day of the year, but especially when new risks, such as extreme heat, are introduced.”
    EMPLOYERS is a specialty workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
    Contact: Alexandra Gardell Kreuter,

    Managing Medications During the Summer
    Jon Michaeli
    EVP of Marketing and Business Development
    Michaeli is available to discuss the importance of managing your medications during the summer months, whether it’s during vacations or ensuring that your children are keeping up with their medications while they’re at summer camp. Managing medications essentially helps you to manage your conditions, resulting in improved outcomes.
    Contact: Kendra Lee,

    What to Do During a Power Outage
    Keith Pinkerton
    Mr. Electric, Huntsville, Ala.
    Pinkerton is available to discuss weather precautions and backup generators during storm season. He can advise homeowners what to do when there is a power outage and how to ensure electrical safety around the house in general. He is the owner of the Huntsville, Ala., branch of Mr. Electric, a national brand of electrical installation and repair centers.
    Contact: Elise Rose,

    Safety When Completing House Projects
    J.B. Sassano
    Mr. Handyman
    Sassano is available to discuss safety when completing house projects, such as using power washers, power drills, climbing on ladders for gutter cleaning, etc. He is president of Mr. Handyman, the nation’s leading home repair and maintenance franchise.
    Contact: Elise Rose,

    Injury Trends
    Darshan Patel, M.D.
    Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
    Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital
    Dr. Patel can provide commentary on a wide variety of summer conditions and their recommended treatment, as well as injury trends. As Section Chief, Dr. Patel serves as head of the Pediatric Emergency Department. He and his team are the first line of care for children in needing immediate care after injuries or at the onset of illnesses. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, is the Level 1 pediatric trauma center for a region with more than 3 million people.
    In the past, Dr. Patel has been a media resource for summer safety topics, including ATV and water safety, as well as injuries caused by trampolines and fireworks.  He has also contributed to reports regarding dehydration and heat stroke. He has television, radio and print media experience, and is adept at breaking down complex medical topics for families. He is available for media interviews when requests do not interfere with patient care.
    Contact: Andy LaGuardia,

    Water Safety Tips
    Ann Marie Buerkle
    Acting Chairman
    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Buerkle is available to discuss the many steps that parents can take to improve safety in and around water. As acting chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Buerkle offers a unique perspective into the importance of safety in and around water. One of the national public education campaigns the Chairman oversees is the Pool Safely campaign, which is aimed at reducing child drownings and non-fatal submersions, as well as entrapments in public swimming pools and spas. The campaign was launched in 2010 and has a network of over 1,000 partners that are dedicated to promoting and benefitting from the campaign.
    Contact: Christina Saull:

    Journalist Spotlight: Christopher Elliott, Columnist and Author

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 12:13 PM [Journalist Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Christopher Elliott, an award-winning author, journalist, and consumer advocate.

    Christopher has appeared on virtually every major TV network and has written commentaries for every major national daily, including The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. He has also written for or been cited as an expert in a variety of magazines, including Fortune, National Geographic, Outside, and U.S. News & World Report.

    Currently, Christopher writes columns for various newspapers across the country:

    • USA Today’s On Travel, which helps travelers understand the inner workings of the travel industry and how to make the most of their next trip
    • The Travel Troubleshooter, syndicated by King Features, appears in newspapers ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Boston Globe
    • The Washington Post's The Navigator, which focuses on being a smarter, more informed travel, with an emphasis on transportation policy
    • Problem Solved, also syndicated by King Features, which helps readers resolve everyday conflicts with companies and organizations

    Christopher publishes a daily newsletter with more than 20,000 subscribers, and a consumer advocacy site, He also edits the family travel blog Away is Home.

    We sat down with Christopher to find out more about what he does and how you can better connect with him to get your experts featured:

    Christopher, for those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    I write about customer service, with an emphasis on transportation and technology. I'm also a travel writer. I cover mostly North American family travel destinations.

    I archive all my stories on my consumer advocacy site. You can also find out more about me and follow my blog on my my personal site.

    You’ve used ProfNet for many years. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    I really like the fact that your members respond so quickly. Sometimes, I get an email within minutes of sending a ProfNet query. Unfortunately, some PR pros don't carefully read the instructions. For example, I list all the questions for my story in the query and note that I prefer to start the conversation by email, yet I still get responses from members that offer to "connect" me with their source through a phone interview.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    Yes, if you have an amazing story to tell or a unique insight to share, it will always rise to the top. I read every response carefully and I answer each one. I actually have created a special response for ProfNet queries that explains my process and helps PR pros understand what they can expect. I have information about timing, placement and the editing process that they tell me they find helpful.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches? If so, what are your guidelines for those?

    Yes, absolutely. I love email because it allows me to review pitches and carefully consider them. Phone doesn't really work as well unless it's a breaking story. I list my number in my email signature, on my site and in my queries.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes, mostly Facebook and Twitter. I'm also a LinkedIn influencer and post all my stories there.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    I was an intern at the Los Angeles Times in 1991. It was an incredible experience. I worked out of the Times' San Francisco bureau and basically had all of Northern California as my beat for about six months. I remember writing this story about a fox infestation on the runways at San Jose International airport. I love quirky stories like that. I don't get to write that many anymore, but maybe one day I will again…

    Expert Roundup: Trump's Tax Reform Plan

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 9:22 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available for interviews regarding Trump’s tax reform plan.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Trump’s Tax Plan
    Rebecca Kysar
    Professor of Law
    Brooklyn Law School
    Kysar is available for comment on Trump’s tax plan. Here is an excerpt from a January op-ed she wrote for Slate: " It is not realistic to expect the tax code to be set in stone. But the pillars of tax reform should be stable enough to form the basis of long-term investment and growth. Radical, partisan tax reform will prove short-lived and ineffective. Reform that gives the lion’s share of its benefits to the wealthy and adds trillions to the debt runs the risk of exacerbating inequality within and between generations, perhaps alienating Trump voters who elevated him to the White House based on his populist rhetoric."
    Kysar teaches and researches in the areas of federal income tax, international tax, and the federal budget and tax legislative processes. Her recent scholarship examines tax treaties, as well as the tax legislative process. Her articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among others.
    Contact: John Mackin,

    Trump’s Tax Reform Proposal
    Robert Duquette
    Professor of Practice in Accounting
    Lehigh University
    Duquette is available to discuss President Trump's tax reform proposal, as well as the House proposal and the need for tax reform. He can comment on who benefits from these proposals, their projected impact on economic growth and national debt, whether they will pass, and why true tax reform is needed: "President Trump's plan consists of three individual tax brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent; and a doubling of the standard deduction. That would mean, for example, the first $24,000 of a couple's taxable income would be exempt from taxes. The House's version also provides for new, higher combined exemption deductions of $12,000 for singles ($18,000 with children), and $24,000 for couples filing jointly, and consists of three tax rates: 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent. Who benefits the most from these plans? The Tax Foundation projects that taxpayers would see an average increase in their after-tax income of between 1 percent and 10 percent in total over 10 years. However, the top 1 percent would benefit the most, with the wealthiest taxpayers seeing an increase in their after-tax income of 5 percent to 20 percent. What is the impact on economic growth and the national debt? A significant part of the cost would be offset by broadening the tax base through elimination of many deductions and credit, loss of business interest deductibility, loss of the domestic manufacturing deduction, and possibly a tax on some type of imports. All independent analyses of the proposals indicate there would probably be trillions of dollars added to the federal debt over the next 10 years. I'm not optimistic of passage of this tax reform in Congress. Even if it does pass, no reputable study has yet suggested it can help mitigate the growth in the national debt from the present $20 million to $30 trillion over the next 10 years."
    In addition to teaching taxation and accounting, Duquette is a CPA and has worked in tax and audit advising for three decades.
    Contact: Amy White,

    Corporate, Trust and Estate Planning-Related Questions
    Michael Kosnitzky
    Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    “The Trump tax proposal to reduce rates on business income from flow through entities like S corporations and domestic limited liability companies has the potential to cause tax inequities. However, the Treasury and the IRS have ample tools under existing law to police this unfairness. Taxpayers should look to IRS policy on ‘reasonable compensation’ and the existing tax regimes under the so-called passive activity rules and net investment income tax rules for guidance on how the government will deal with aggressive taxpayers in similar situations.”
    Contact: Matt Hyams,

    Tax Rates for Businesses
    Larry Elkin, CFP, CPA
    Palisades Hudson Financial Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
    “President Trump thinks income generated by privately held Palisades Hudson Financial Group should be taxed at the same rate as income generated by Alphabet Inc., Google’s publicly traded parent company. And he thinks the rate for both businesses should be an attractively low 15 percent. You might expect me to be delighted by this news. I am a Republican, and we Republicans generally believe tax rates should be as low as possible. I also happen to be the owner of Palisades Hudson Financial Group. And I would be delighted with Trump’s proposal, except for one thing: It’s a phenomenally bad idea. Trump’s proposal that all business income be taxed at the same (low) rate makes rhetorical sense, but not logical sense. To see why, consider the two companies I just mentioned. Alphabet is what tax nerds call a C corporation. It pays its own income taxes and then, when it distributes remaining income to shareholders in the form of dividends, that income is taxed again at the shareholders’ rate. This means that by the time a single dollar of Alphabet’s pretax income reaches a shareholder, federal taxes have reduced it to as little as 52 cents. But Palisades Hudson is not taxed that way. Like nearly all owner-operated businesses, it does not pay its own taxes as a separate entity. Instead, its net income is included on the owner’s tax return and is only taxed once. This is what is meant by a ‘pass-through’ entity. Cutting my taxes on Palisades Hudson’s net income to 15 percent would mean my income would be taxed at half the rate of the wages I pay many of my employees, or even less. And this would be the case for many firms nationwide under the proposed rules, including some much larger than mine.”
    Contact: Henry Stimpson,

    ‘Pass-Through Rate’ and ‘One-Time Repatriation Tax’
    Michael Faulkender
    Professor of Finance and Associate Dean of Master’s Programs
    University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
    On the pass-through rate: “President Trump’s 'pass-through' proposal asks for abuse. Small-business owners could easily reclassify expenses to be net income and vice versa. If one mechanism has a lower tax rate than the other, the reclassifications will take place. Ideally, all income is subject to the same rate at the personal level, thus eliminating the incentive to reclassify the income.”
    On the one-time repatriation tax: “A one-time tax on accumulated foreign earnings rewards corporations that have moved operations to foreign jurisdictions for gaming the tax system. Firms in position to move profits abroad (by transfer pricing of intellectual capital), and that anticipated being subject to the tax on the differential, would see that tax liability fall from as high as 35 percent to perhaps 5-8 percent.”
    Faulkender’s “Taxes and Leverage at Multinational Corporations" is published in the Journal of Financial Economics (summarized here:
    Contact: Greg Muraski,

    Eliminating State-Local Deductions
    Albert “Pete” Kyle
    Professor of Finance
    University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
    “Eliminating the tax deductibility of state income taxes, while preserving the tax deductibility of property taxes, would encourage states like California and New York to lower income taxes and increase property taxes. In particular, I would expect property tax caps in California to be phased out over time if these changes are made.”
    Kyle has served as an economic advisor to NASDAQ, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
    Contact: Greg Muraski,

    Trump’s Tax Reform Proposals and the GOP Blueprint
    Stephen M. Breitstone
    Partner and Vice Chairman
    Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, Mineola, N.Y.
    A tax attorney, Breitstone can readily discuss how Trump’s tax reform proposals and the GOP blueprint could affect business in general, and especially the real estate industry, from commercial, office and rental owners and investors to individuals. Among other issues, Breitstone can discuss the implications of: standard and itemized deductions; repeal of the deductions for state and local taxes and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT); tax on business; Immediate expensing of capital expenditures and elimination of interest deduction; estate and gift taxes.
    Says Breitstone: “It is likely that any tax reform would also include ‘immediate expensing.’ The GOP blueprint proposes ‘immediate expensing’ of capital expenditures, including machinery and buildings, but not land. This is coupled with the elimination of the deduction for interest (all interest, except interest on personal mortgages, which hardly anyone would claim due to the increased standard deduction). For businesses that make investments in buildings and machinery (and probably for the owners of pass-through entities as well), the tax rate of 15% is mostly for show. The actual tax rate, at least for the next few years, will be zero. Immediate expensing will wipe out all income tax liabilities, at least in the short run. This may result in an increased flow of liquidity to these businesses to invest and to grow. But this will be short-lived. After the deduction for immediate expensing is used up, there will be no depreciation deduction and no interest deduction on the debt incurred to fund these investments. That means the effective tax rate on these businesses will soar.”
    Breitstone further questions immediate expensing as proposed, as it doesn’t target growth in areas where we really need it, such as education, technology and infrastructure. If you throw money at dying industries, it may only accelerate the further layoff of employees by encouraging increased automation.
    Contact: Peggy Kalia,

    Impact of Trump’s Plan
    Adnan Mahmud
    LiveStories is a civic data intelligence platform used by local, state, and federal governments to make massive data stores easier to understand for the general public. The company released a report called, "Five Facts: State Taxes and Spending" that includes findings on state and local expenditures based on the most recent U.S. Census. Mahmud is available to explain what this data can tell us about how Trump's tax reform plan will impact Americans. He can use these findings to illuminate opportunities and challenges that need to be considered in light of these policy changes.
    Contact: Rosie Gillam,

    How Reform Will Impact Citizens at Different Tax Levels
    Jinette Chiappetta, CPA
    Wealth Manager
    Equity Concepts
    Chiappetta can discuss how reform will impact citizens at different tax levels, as well as the overall economy. She is a wealth manager at Equity Concepts, a Richmond, Va.-based wealth management firm that serves more than 2,000 households and oversees approximately $875+ million in assets. Prior to joining Equity Concepts, Chiappetta spent 20 years in the tax field, with 15 years of public accounting experience and five years of corporate tax experiences. As a CPA, she places an emphasis on analyzing the impact of investment strategies on tax situations.
    Contact: Kelly Holcombe,

    Impacts on Individuals and Business Owners
    Bill Smith
    Managing Director, National Tax Office
    Smith is available to address the impacts of the plan on both individuals and business owners, the feasibility of the plan, and how it may evolve over time. He has more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, including five years in the office of General Counsel at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he was responsible for all aspects of the firm’s tax practice; five years as a tax lawyer for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.; and 12 years in private practice in San Francisco, representing businesses of all sizes and high-wealth individuals in developing and implementing tax strategies or negotiating with the IRS in Tax Court or administratively. Smith assumed his current position more than 15 years ago and is based in Bethesda, Md. In this role, he consults nationally on a broad range of tax services, including foreign and domestic transactional tax planning for corporations, partnerships, LLCs and individuals, such as mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international restructuring of businesses and investments, and negotiating partnership and other transactions. He is a frequent speaker at national conferences, and serves as a testifying expert in the area of accountants' professional duties and ethical obligations.
    Smith is well-versed on Trump’s tax plan, having authored the following blog posts/columns: “Key takeaways of Trump’s tax plan for business owners” (, “The votes are in: Introducing the new president’s tax plan” (, “Comparing presidential candidates’ tax reform plans” (, and “Trump’s tax plan could help businesses, but questions remain (
    Contact: Lauren Davis,

    Retirement Planning
    Ed Slott, CPA
    Founder, Ed Slott & Company
    Slott is a New York-based nationally recognized IRA expert, television personality, and best-selling author who has dedicated his life to educating Americans on saving for retirement and the intricacies of IRAs. He was named “The Best Source for IRA Advice” by The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today wrote, “It would be tough to find anyone who knows more about IRAs than CPA Slott." He is the author of “The Retirement Savings Time Bomb … And How to Defuse It” and “Parlay Your IRA into a Family Fortune.” His most recent books include “Fund Your Future: A Tax-Smart Savings Plan in Your 20s and 30s” and “The Retirement Decisions Guide: 125 Ways to Save and Stretch Your Wealth.” He is the host of the 2015 public television show “Ed Slott’s Retirement Road Map,” which airs in markets nationwide. He is a frequent columnist and resource for national media and has hosted many best-selling public television specials. Through his firm, Slott provides the highest level of IRA training to financial professionals, CPAs and attorneys; and through his website, he offers free resources to consumers.
    Contact: Mindy Eras,

    Tax Planning
    Greg Hammer
    Tax and Wealth Advisor
    Hammer Financial Group, Inc.
    Hammer specializes in coordinated, holistic financial planning for Lake County, Ind., and Chicago-area residents who are approaching retirement or currently retired. Bringing tax preparation and planning, Medicare supplements, estate planning, insurance and investments all under one roof, he aims to provide complete and convenient financial solutions for the best interest of the clients he serves. Hammer trains and coaches independent financial advisors nationwide on how to build their business to better serve the holistic financial needs of American families. In particular, he has helped develop and refine processes to integrate tax preparation and Medicare supplement services into a financial advisory practice -- a unique addition within the financial industry designed for the ultimate convenience and benefit of clients at and near retirement. He earned a B.A. in Applied Mathematics with a focus in economics from Yale University and has more than 23 years of experience in the financial services industry. In addition to his series 6, 63, 65 and 26 and life and health licenses, Hammer maintains Master Elite Membership with Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group for continued study and mastery of IRAs and applicable tax laws.
    Contact: Mindy Eras,

    Retirement Planning
    Jeff Warnkin, CPA and CFP
    The JL Smith Group
    Warnkin specializes in holistic financial planning for the pre-retired and retired residents of Ohio. As a holistic planner, he incorporates investments, insurance, taxes and estate planning when building financial plans in order create an optimal solution for the retirement years. Warnkin has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Series 7 and 24 securities licensed, has a Master of Taxation (MT) degree, and is life and health insurance licensed. He has also been personally trained by nationally acclaimed IRA expert Ed Slott, CPA, as a member of the exclusive Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group.
    Contact: Mindy Eras,

    Impact on Families and Investors
    Bijan Golkar
    CEO, Senior Advisor
    FPC Investment Advisory
    Golkar is a Northern California investment advisor that has been a licensed tax preparer since 2007 and earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification in 2013. He is frequently quoted in national media as an expert on investing and financial planning topics. In addition to his duties as the firm’s CEO, Golkar provides comprehensive advice to high-net-worth individuals and families. He often creates and leads teams of legal, accounting and insurance experts to help these clients meet their goals. He also consults with small businesses on buyouts, employee benefits and other matters.
    ProfNet Profile:
    Expert Contact:

    Journalist Spotlight: Anthony Zangrillo, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 11:50 AM [Journalist Spotlight]
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    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Anthony Zangrillo, online editor of Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal (Fordham IPLJ).

    Anthony, a third-year student at Fordham University School of Law, maintains the digital presence of the journal, including the journal’s website and podcast.

    Anthony, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    Fordham IPLJ’s blog and podcast cover all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, trademark, telecommunications, internet, counterfeiting, bootlegging and piracy, entertainment and sports, First Amendment rights, and mass media law.

    What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong – when replying to your ProfNet queries?

    PR experts have really elevated our podcast. The podcast is still in its first year, and the editorial team has experimented with different formats in order to find the perfect fit for our wide audience. In the beginning, we focused on longer episodes between myself and various staff members. As the podcast grew in popularity, PR experts and ProfNet have connected us to various entertainment lawyers and IP professionals. Adding this level of expertise to the podcast has increased the quality of our weekly product.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    PR reps should strive to maintain and establish relationships. It is important to understand the publication’s audience and interests. Some of the best reps will respond to one of our inquiries and then keep us in mind for future topics. It makes my job much easier when there is two-way communication between PR and journalists.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches?

    Definitely. We mainly look for novel and interesting intellectual property issues for the blog or podcast. Our coverage also includes other legal issues within the entertainment and sports areas. Send all pitches to or

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes. Our main social media channel is Twitter (@fordhamiplj). We also use Facebook.

    Also, you can follow me on Instagram (@anthony_mpc) and connect on LinkedIn.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    My favorite blog post covered Universal and Disney’s arrangement on Marvel IP in Theme Parks. This topic has been a passion project for me ever since Disney acquired Marvel for $4 billion in 2009. The article breaks down the current contracts in place between the companies and tries to make sense of the sordid custody battle over Spiderman and the other Marvel superheroes within Orlando’s theme parks.

    My favorite podcast episode covers the unauthorized use of trademarks in artistic mediums. This topic expands upon my legal note that was published within the Fordham IP Journal. It was very rewarding to further explore the exploitation of trademarks in movies, television shows, and video games. The podcast touches upon the First Amendment protections that enable artists to use these marks without fear of a lawsuit. In addition, we touched upon the feedback loop created by cautious gatekeeper studios that fear having to litigate an issue in mark clearance.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    I want to thank the PR professionals I’ve dealt with this year and ProfNet for enabling this student publication to reach the wider professional, legal audience.

    Expert Roundup: The Future of Obamacare

    Thursday, May 4, 2017, 10:30 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In light of this today's healthcare vote, following is an expert roundup we ran in January that featured experts from the ProfNet network who are available for interviews on the future of the Affordable Care Act, the likelihood of a repeal, what a new plan could look like, and more.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network - it's easy and free. Just fill out the query form to get started:

    David Bowen, MD
    Executive Vice President and Global Practice Director for Healthcare
    Hill+Knowlton Strategies
    Dr. Bowen's involvement with the Affordable Care Act began with a blank sheet of paper and a cappuccino. As health policy director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy, Dr. Bowen had a key role in what became known as Obamacare, from writing the first draft of the ACA to negotiating its key provisions, and shepherding the bill through Congress. Earlier in that role he was also responsible for legislation and policy on issues that included drug safety and health information technology. After leaving government, he went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the deputy director of global health policy and advocacy, and then became CEO of the nonprofit Malaria No More. His doctorate is in neurobiology. He was a visiting faculty member at Harvard Medical School. Currently, Dr. Bowen is based in Washington and leads the global healthcare practice at global communications consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
    Contacts: Bianca Hutton,, or Rebecca Ballard,

    Al Jackson
    Executive Vice President, Public Affairs
    Spectrum Science
    "As Republicans take the first steps toward fulfilling their repeated promise to 'repeal and replace' Obamacare, we are all reminded yet again that this is complicated stuff. We remember the debate over Obamacare, but also the discussions in 1993 and 1994 when President Bill Clinton and then First Lady Hillary Clinton tried health care reform the first time. Republicans, who will now have to drive the bus, need to figure out how to protect the pieces everyone likes without those they have campaigned against. Requiring insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions and outlawing lifetime limits on coverage are provisions embraced by Trump and Hillary supporters alike. Keeping those provisions without the mandate so roundly opposed by Trump supporters will, one would think, have to mean dramatically higher -- not lower -- insurance premiums. Further, well over half of the estimated 22 million Americans who are covered through Obamacare get their insurance as a result of Medicaid expansion. But we know most Republican governors (with the notable exception of Vice President Elect Mike Pence) have rejected Medicaid expansion. How will that needle be threaded? I don't know anyone who believes the Affordable Care Act is working perfectly. But replacing it with something better, a plan that adheres to Republican principles while maintaining coverage for those who already have it, will be even harder than getting Obamacare passed in the first place."
    A veteran Washington, D.C., healthcare public affairs executive, Jackson has nearly 30 years' experience in public affairs, issues management, health advocacy and legislative and grassroots communications. Jackson currently leads the Spectrum Science's Public Affairs practice. Spectrum Science is a leading independent health and science public relations agency, committed to achieving the goals of clients who are involved with issues, products, provider services or research in life and human health sciences.
    Contact: Michelle Anderson,

    Jeff Drummond
    Health Care Attorney
    Jackson Walker in Dallas
    "Nobody knows for sure what will happen, because this is a very unique situation with a president who has no political track record. However, I predict: 1) Repeal is almost entirely certain, and will be near immediate with the new Congress. 2) It will be done using the same reconciliation technique that allowed it to pass in the first place, thus avoiding the filibuster and the need for 60 votes in the Senate. 3) The effective date of the repeal provisions will be phased in over time, with very few if any immediately repealed, to allow the new Congress time to fashion replacement parts. 4) Much (maybe most, depending on how you measure it) of the ACA will be replaced by similar new legislation. 5) Keeping children insured on their parents' insurance until age 26 and elimination of lifetime limits will reappear in the replacement legislation. 6) Something looking like a pre-existing condition ban will be part of the replacement legislation, but it will look a lot more like HIPAA's 'portability' provisions (requiring previous group coverage). 7) The individual mandate will go away and won't be replaced. 8) Any really new provisions will be designed to increase insurance competition, such as interstate insurance sales."
    Drummond represents doctors, hospitals and other health care facilities in transactional and regulatory matters. He teaches graduate courses in health law, policy and regulation at UNT-Dallas. Since 2002, he has written a blog on HIPAA matters, and regularly tweets about HIPAA.
    Twitter: @JeffDrummond
    Contact: Kit Frieden,

    Hector De La Torre
    Executive Director
    Transamerica Center for Health Studies
    "There is talk of repeal-and-replace for the Affordable Care Act, and many are looking for insights into what the 'replace' policies will be. While none of us has a crystal ball, we can look to previous legislative action, rather than rhetoric, from those who will lead these efforts for an idea of what to expect. Many of the proposals from the House and Senate eliminate both the individual mandate to have insurance or pay a tax penalty and subsidies for purchasing a plan through a health insurance Exchange. There is also support among Republican leadership for a move away from guaranteed issue of health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions to a continuous coverage requirement for those with preexisting conditions." (Quote from FDA/CMA Summit panel in December 2016.)
    De La Torre is available to address health care policy, ACA/Obamacare, Medicare/Medicaid, state exchanges, impact of Trump administration, and impact of repealing the ACA on consumers and businesses. As executive director at Transamerica Center for Health Studies (a non-profit, non-partisan organization), De La Torre is focused on helping consumers and businesses navigate the healthcare landscape. He's a health policy and health insurance expert and can speak to public- and private-sector impacts of the evolving landscape. Among his accomplishments as an elected official in the state of California were expanding access to doctors in underserved communities, consumer protections against retroactive cancellation of health insurance, and supporting facilities improvements at Children's Hospitals. He appears frequently in the media, at industry events and regularly releases research and whitepapers. He is fluent in Spanish and English.
    ProfNet Profile:
    Contact: Meghan Graham,

    Cori Uccello
    Senior Health Fellow
    American Academy of Actuaries
    Uccello is available to discuss the potential consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement, including the effects on the individual market for health insurance: "With plans for repeal of all or part of the ACA being prioritized for action early in the 115th Congress, the Academy urges members of Congress to consider what would be needed should a repeal proposal not include significant measures to prevent substantial disruption and instability in the individual market. Avoiding these consequences means having in place measures to incentivize enrollment and prevent adverse selection. Delaying the effective date of repeal while a replacement is worked out likely won't be enough to assure the stability and sustainability of the individual market."
    Uccello can also discuss the features and risks of different options that have been proposed as part of a replacement for the ACA, such as proposals to expand the selling of insurance across state lines.
    ProfNet Profile:
    Contact: David Mendes,

    Harry Nelson
    Founding and Managing Partner
    Nelson Hardiman, Los Angeles
    "Obamacare was only a partial fix for U.S. healthcare, improving access but failing to improve affordability. As the story of Trumpcare unfolds, we expect the opposite: progress on affordability and lost ground on access. The real solution will take the courage to talk across the silos of U.S. politics, something Americans needs to do themselves because our politicians are incapable of doing so."
    One of the nation's leading healthcare attorneys, Nelson is the author of the upcoming book, "From Obamacare to Trumpcare: Why You Should Care," which looks at how healthcare became so broken, how it led to Obamacare and, most interesting, how he foresees it changing under Trump. Nelson offers a point-by-point breakdown of what the impact on healthcare will be if Trump and the Republicans do this. Nelson has a track record of real leadership at the nexus of healthcare and business challenges, focusing on federal and state regulatory compliance, business strategy, and developing practical solutions to vexing industry problems. He regularly advises a broad range of healthcare, life science, and technology companies (as well as their investors). He has deep experience working with entrepreneurial healthcare ventures, including telehealth issues and new business models. He also has extensive experience defending government investigations and enforcement actions, and has forged strong relationships with regulators across many healthcare sectors. His practice has extended to counseling healthcare companies in matters related to professional and facility licensing (including physicians, behavioral health, long-term care, and pharmacies), Medicare and private insurance reimbursement, FDA and DEA compliance, HIPAA and data privacy and security issues. He has developed extensive resources to facilitate compliance, including the development of compliance programs for hundreds of healthcare businesses. He has also launched a number of healthcare consulting and investment fund firms, including Compliagent, The Rx4 Group, and Adaptive Healthcare.
    Full Bio:
    Contact: Olivier Gibbons, Esq.,

    Vernita Todd
    Senior Vice President, External Affairs
    Health Center Partners of Southern California
    "Across healthcare professionals, elected officials and appointed policy makers, most can agree that our country's current healthcare funding model is unsustainable. Under the new administration, we can expect the Affordable Care Act to be repealed. However, because healthy people are the foundation of a flourishing economy, it is imperative that Medicare and Medicaid continue to be funded in order to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare services for all. It is crucial for all stakeholders, including those of us immersed in the realities of federally qualified health centers, to work collaboratively with policy makers to identify fiscally prudent solutions to safeguard affordable health care for everyone across the economic spectrum."
    Health Center Partners is a consortium of federally qualified community health centers in Southern California that serve nearly 800,000 patients. Health Center Partners serves as a catalyst for transforming and enhancing primary care by helping members deliver quality health care to the safety-net population, through innovative programs, resources and advocacy. In addition to her role at Health Center Partners, Todd is a member of the National Association of Community Health Centers and previously served 10 years as CEO of the Heart City Health Center in Indiana. She can offer an objective and accurate view of the realities of the healthcare system in the U.S. and share what potential repeal and replace models may look like, as well as the impact those models would have on American economy and communities.
    Contact: Emily Lynn Ashley,

    Dr. David Kashmer
    Chief of Surgery
    Signature Healthcare, Brockton, Mass.
    When he's not answering the call of duty as a trauma and acute-care surgeon, Dr. Kashmer spends his time coaching the industry on how to improve healthcare quality. Like many of us, Dr. Kashmer is keeping a close eye on what Dr. Tom Price and the Trump administration will implement and the effects it will have our healthcare system, including costs. However, Dr. Kashmer believes the solution to keeping costs down now is to improve the quality of our healthcare system: "The bottom line is, come Inauguration Day, healthcare colleagues need to tackle how to recognize and measure the amount of waste and poor quality that exists in our system. Healthcare continues to be a decade or more behind other high-risk industries in terms of quality improvement. As Americans, let's work with Dr. Price and President-elect Donald Trump's leadership to make sure each of these important issues improve afterward."
    Each year, thousands of patients in hospitals and treatment facilities die or are seriously injured through errors caused by faulty care systems, outmoded surgical approaches, and medical-process failures. Dr. Kashmer is an excellent source to discuss why these issues need to be addressed now, no matter what happens with the ACA. He is the author of "Volume to Value: Proven Methods for Achieving High Quality in Healthcare," and "The Hidden Curriculum." He writes on quality improvement in healthcare for the Healthcare Quality Blog and is a contributor for The Hill.
    Contact: Robin Rectenwald,

    Leslie A. Muller, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Economics
    Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Mich.
    "The ACA has many moving parts, and the repeal of just one tenet of the law may have a domino effect within the economy, particularly in the private insurance markets. Firms may also feel the effects, both in their labor market decisions and health insurance offerings. Even if a particular individual or firm is not directly affected by a repeal, the uncertainty that is created can have substantial effects on economic markets."
    Dr. Muller has conducted several surveys of firm and patient experiences with the Affordable Care Act. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level health economics courses analyzing the economic effects of the ACA on firms, health insurance markets, labor markets and patients. She has given several interviews with state and local media on her survey results, as well as the possible economic outcomes of events such as the Supreme Court decision on federal subsidies and 2016's substantial premium increases in the ACA marketplace.
    Contact: Dottie Barnes,

    Cynthia Borrelli
    Principal, Insurance Practice Group
    Bressler, Amery & Ross
    Borrelli can discuss what will happen with Obamacare and insurance plans under the Trump administration. Borrelli notes that Trump is a Republican so he believes in free competition. He will probably get rid of most of the subsidies embodied in the ACA. By doing that, we take the IRS and the DOL out of having jurisdiction over parts of the ACA. Trump is also likely to support legislation which is dependent upon a private exchange or a series of private exchanges, with free competition setting the price. Companies and even individuals will want to participate. More competition brings the price down and provides a larger community for rating purposes. Borelli says Trump will get rid of the government-funded marketplace, but he has to leave in some ACA parts -- prohibitions on pre-existing conditions, portability, and perhaps employer mandates to continue to promote access to healthcare, etc. He may use the private exchange to cover basics but offer other insurance for serious or even just catastrophic illnesses which creates a federal reinsurance mechanism. To the extent that free competition is ultimately restored and the risk adjustment factors are phased out with respect to the small and individual markets, carriers may see a decrease in the cost of providing the coverage. "My concern is how long this will take while carriers have already made substantial investments in ACA compliance, and what happens to the insured marketplace while realignment is ongoing," she says.
    Borrelli's practice focuses on regulation and compliance for insurers, brokers and trade associations in the property/casualty and life and health areas. She has experience in advising clients in matters involving holding company regulation, corporate restructuring, market distribution and regulation of sales practices, product design, anti-trust and restrictive covenants in the insurance arena, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as implementing regulations. She is vice president of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, most recent past chairman of the Board of Directors, and chairs the Admissions Committee. She also chairs the Legal Committee of the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds.
    Contact: Andrew Blum,

    Michael Rosko, PhD
    Professor of Health Care Management
    Widener University, Chester, Pa.
    Rosko shares key features of Obamacare he believes President-elect Trump should consider keeping: "1) Provisions for mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions should not be repealed; however, the only way this works is if most everyone is required to participate. Exceptions could be made for small businesses, because mandated participation for them might drive them out of business. 2) Children under age 26 should also continue to have the option to receive coverage under their parents. This group tends to be very healthy, so it does not cost that much and it may give them access to preventative services, which ultimately help to save money and lives. 3) Value based purchasing and bundling of services should continue as they provide incentives to increase quality and reduce costs."
    Other things President-elect Trump should consider regarding healthcare, says Rosko: "1) Allow Medicare to use its purchasing power to drive down Rx prices. 2) Consider single-payer for hospital care or all-payer rate regulation. 3) Consider outcomes research when determining services to be covered. I know Sarah Palin called this 'death panels' and it was a strong and effective soundbite, but this would be a more effective way of rationing our scarce resources. I used the r-word (rationing). While this may frighten some, they do this in the UK, and it works fairly well."
    Contact: Allyson Roberts,

    Darrell Spurlock Jr., PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF
    Associate Professor of Nursing
    Widener University, Chester, Pa.
    "Many lesser known and publicized provisions of the ACA have, in many ways, fundamentally reshaped the U.S. healthcare system. These provisions are designed to provide better care at a lower cost, and to more people. The ACA has exerted significant influence on healthcare systems and clinical care providers through payment reforms, quality improvement initiatives, and innovations in health workforce policy and research priorities. Through the use of financial incentives and penalties for hospitals not meeting quality benchmarks set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), researchers have reported that through 2015, 150,000 hospital re-admissions had been prevented through the use of care coordination and evidence-based clinical treatment strategies. Similar efforts to reduce hospital-acquired harms (like receiving the wrong medication or having an operation at the wrong surgical site) have also shown success, having prevented over 50,000 such events, with an estimated cost avoidance of $12 billion. The ACA has also created structural change to how healthcare is delivered in the United States. We've seen the development of a new type of healthcare organization, the Accountable Care Organization (ACO), designed to bring together hospitals, primary and ambulatory care providers, and rehabilitation agencies to provide care in a collaborative way, across the health continuum – from wellness through illness, and back to wellness. We've also seen promotion of innovations in how primary care is delivered, with initiatives to facilitate creation of "medical homes" where an individual's primary, dental, mental health, and pharmacy care can be provided in a "one stop" setting, and investment in additional Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) to care for the most vulnerable in our communities. The ACA has also bolstered the healthcare workforce and promoted innovation in research critical to long-term improvements in healthcare quality and cost savings. In an example of the innovation that the ACA promotes, the independent non-profit, nongovernmental Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was created in 2010 to help people make informed healthcare decisions and improve healthcare delivery and outcomes by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare community. Though PCORI's work is just beginning, it has funded $670.8 million in projects dedicated to improving healthcare delivery and outcomes."
    Contact: Allyson Roberts,

    Michael La Vean
    Founder and President
    Conceivex – The Conception Kit
    "Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines will drive costs up -- not down. A national insurance market will take the treatment costs in the highest-priced markets (like New York and Boston) and use them as the floor to establish the costs for every other market across the country. In fact, the cost of care in the majority of states will rise to match the higher numbers in just a few states, not the other way around."
    La Vean has more than two decades of healthcare and insurance experience, based on his background with several companies he founded that have, and continue to, provide FDA-approved fertility treatment care with insurance co-pays.
    Contact: Michael W. Robinson

    John Desser
    Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy
    Desser is vice president of government affairs and public policy at, the largest non-government website licensed to sell "Obamacare" health insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act's government-centric approach to health care reform failed because one key customer demographic (Millennials) rejected the products and did not sign up. President-elect Trump's victory now puts tremendous pressure on the private sector to help health reform succeed. If "Trumpcare" fails in the way that "Obamacare" failed, the 2020 election could be referendum on a single-payer health care system.  Desser can talk about what it will take to make Trumpcare succeed where Obamacare failed, as well as the bad insurance products, the bad technology and the bad partnerships between government and the private sector that led to Obamacare's failure.
    Contact: Jennifer Werdel,

    Kosali Simon
    Professor of Health Policy and Economics
    Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs
    Simon is a nationally known health economist who specializes in the intersection of health insurance/policy with labor markets and has conducted some of the seminal research on the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Her primary research area is applying economic analysis in the context of health insurance and health care policy. She is the 2007 recipient of the John D. Thompson Prize from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration for contributions to health services research. She is a board member of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon), and she serves as the health co-editor for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and an Associate Editor of Health Economics.
    Contact: Kemba Neptune,

    Deborah Dorman-Rodriguez
    Leader of Healthcare Practice Group
    Freeborn & Peters LLP
    Dorman-Rodriguez can discuss the following aspects of Obamacare: 1) The future of the ACA:Will the controversial healthcare law be rolled back entirely, or will portions of it remain? If parts are to be replaced, what will the new government potentially propose and how will this affect payors and providers? 2) The future of ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations have seen mixed success. Will these industry innovations remain as a way to help reduce healthcare costs by creating efficiencies? 3) The future ofMedicaid/Medicare:What do the results of the election potentially mean for Medicaid and Medicare programs? Could we see a push for privatization? 4) Insurer lawsuits against the government:The DOJ and insurers are currently engaged in litigation over what are known as risk corridor payments. Risk corridor payments are intended to compensate insurers who had excessive losses due to qualified health plans sold on the government-run healthcare exchange. The payments are supposed to be from insurers with qualified health programs that experienced excessive profits. However, due to shortfalls, these payments have not been made in full. Whether the government will continue to defend such litigation or settle remains to be seen.
    Dorman-Rodriguez is the former chief legal officer of Health Care Services Corp., the largest customer-owned health insurer in the U.S.
    Contact: Keith Ecker,

    David M. Kaufman
    Member of Healthcare Practice Group
    Freeborn & Peters LLP
    Kaufman can discuss the following aspects of Obamacare: 1) The future of the ACA:Will the controversial healthcare law be rolled back entirely, or will portions of it remain? If parts are to be replaced, what will the new government potentially propose and how will this affect payors and providers? 2) The future of ACOs:Accountable Care Organizations have seen mixed success. Will these industry innovations remain as a way to help reduce healthcare costs by creating efficiencies? 3) The future of Medicaid/Medicare:What do the results of the election potentially mean for Medicaid and Medicare programs? Could we see a push for privatization? 4) Insurer lawsuits against the government: The DOJ and insurers are currently engaged in litigation over what are known as risk corridor payments. Risk corridor payments are intended to compensate insurers who had excessive losses due to qualified health plans sold on the government-run healthcare exchange. The payments are supposed to be from insurers with qualified health programs that experienced excessive profits. However, due to shortfalls, these payments have not been made in full. Whether the government will continue to defend such litigation or settle remains to be seen.
    Kaufman is a partner in Freeborn's Healthcare Practice Group and formerly served as the general counsel of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, as well as general counsel to the New Mexico State Corporation Commission, counsel to the New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance, and an assistant attorney general for the State of New Mexico.
    Contact: Keith Ecker,

    Mark Rust
    Managing Partner, Chicago Office
    Barnes & Thornburg, LLP
    Rust, the immediate past chair of the firm's national Healthcare Department, concentrates his practice in transactional, regulatory and medical-legal issues affecting healthcare entities and provider organizations. For nearly 35 years he has written about or practiced in healthcare law, writing in a wide variety of publications from the Journal of the American Bar Association to USA Today. He is listed as a notable healthcare lawyer in Chambers USA, Top Healthcare Lawyers of Illinois, Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America. He has represented hospitals and hospital-physician joint ventures, multi-specialty clinics, large radiology, anesthesiology and cardiology groups, medical staffs, healthcare management companies and managed care organizations including provider-sponsored insurance companies and HMOs. He routinely is engaged to advise on mergers and acquisitions, contract formation and negotiation, and regulatory issues. In addition to federal fraud and abuse and Stark analysis and state healthcare regulation, Rust has focused on the application of ERISA pre-emption to the healthcare field. He and his firm appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rush Prudential v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355 (2002), successfully arguing, for the first time, how the relationship between providers, patients, managed care and state regulation should work under the federal law known as ERISA; and Rust was counsel of record on behalf of the American Medical Association and fifty state medical societies on the same topic before the Supreme Court the following year in Kentucky v. Miller, 538 U.S. 329 (2003). He also focuses his attention on analyzing and explaining antitrust issues. For Thompson West Publishing, Rust regularly updates the antitrust section of The Law of Medical Practice in Illinois, Third Edition. He has appeared before the United States Congress and several state legislatures providing testimony on healthcare delivery and managed care.
    Contact: Tyler Rabel,

    Larry Kocot
    Leader of the Center for Healthcare Regulatory Insight
    Kocot is a subject expert on CMS, Medicare, Medicaid, helped launch Medicare Part D, medication therapy management, healthcare policy, healthcare reimbursement, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, drug stores. The Center follows health care regulatory and policy trends driving health care transformation and industry convergence and the broader implications of operating in a more collaborative and integrated U.S. healthcare payment and delivery environment. Kocot is a former senior advisor to the administrator of the Centers for and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, he was involved in a wide range of health care policy issues and operations related to Medicare and Medicaid, including the launch of Medicare Part D. Prior to joining KPMG, Kocot practiced law in Washington and was a visiting fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and deputy director of the Engelberg Center for Healthcare Reform at Brookings.
    Contact: Bill Borden,

    Jeff Smedsrud
    HealthValues and
    Smedsrud says the ACA will inevitably observe significant changes or total replacement. While these changes won't go into effect for a considerable amount of time, individuals should prepare for what the Republicans want to change. Smedsrud can address the Republican tax credit and the modified community rating. Republicans plan to modify the community rate from 3:1 (under current ACA) to 5:1, which means older individuals will pay five times more than what a young individual will. For example, if an 18-year-old pays $116, a 64-year-old would pay $584. Thus, costs for younger people will go down and the cost for older people will go up. Subsidies would then be provided based on attainted age. Younger people -- no matter their income -- will get fewer subsidies but pay less and older people will get more subsidies because they pay more. With the Republican tax credit, the older you are, the less costly insurance will be.
    Smedsrud has spent a lifetime creating new ways for consumers to gain more control over their health care costs, and served as a health care reform advocate for much of his career, providing expert testimony on healthcare issues before national and state committees. He is a co-founder and senior advisor for, and was previously the chief marketing strategy officer and senior vice president of The IHC Group. He serves on many non-profit health care boards, including the Coalition of Affordable Health Coverage. He is able to discuss the effects of mandates/penalties; growth in faith-based insurance platforms; private companies administering subsidies (less reliance on; incentives from private insurance (receive bonuses to reward health behavior; liken to other industries, such as auto, life, etc.).
    Contact: Jennifer Brough,

    Joan Budden 
    President and CEO
    Priority Health
    "Michigan is unique in the nation. In conjunction with the ACA, it employs the Healthy Michigan Plan, a health coverage program that allows the state to make health care benefits available to low-income Michigan residents. Since its inception, more than 568,342 beneficiaries have gained coverage through the plan, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. Of those beneficiaries, nearly half were between the ages of 19 and 34, an age group that has had high uninsured rates in the past. The uninsured rate in Michigan in 2015 was 6.1 percent, down from 12.4 percent in 2010."
    Budden is president and CEO of Priority Health, a Michigan-based health insurance company.
    Contact: Sara Bloomberg,

    Journalist Spotlight: Aly Walansky, Freelance Writer

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 1:41 PM [Journalist Spotlight]
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    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Aly Walansky, an NYC-based freelance writer who covers lifestyle topics for outlets ranging from to Bravo, Food & Wine, Men’s Journal, Women’s Health and many others.

    Aly, for those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    It may be easier to say what I don't cover! Or at least it feels that way sometimes. Generally, my umbrella is lifestyle. I write about travel, food, spa, relationships, sex, beauty/wellness (and everything in between!).

    You’ve used ProfNet for a long time. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    On-topic answers are the best. If I'm writing about coffee, don't ask me if I'd consider writing about tea instead. The assignment is the assignment, and it's not going to change because of your pitch (sorry!).

    Generally, I do a ton of travel for my job, so if you can answer questions over email, you are going to get preference over those who need to be in person or hop on the phone. And meeting my deadline is EVERYTHING.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    A strong pitch. If it takes me six paragraphs to see what you are talking about, that's not good. Also, do your research -- please don't pitch me for a site I've not written for in years.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches?

    Yes, absolutely -- but via email, not phone.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes! I share every one of my articles on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and I also encourage sources to share stories they are quoted in.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    There have been SO many. I recently did a slideshow of really creative cocktails from around the world. That one was fun to write!

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