2017 Conference - Speakers
Alert: Deadline for "late" registration is October 30!
Senator Nancy Barto
Senator Nancy Barto describes herself as a wife, a mom and a citizen legislator. She was a citizen advocate prior to running for elected office, fighting for important issues like freedom of speech. Not willing to accept the old adage, “You can’t fight City Hall,” she joined with others and challenged the City’s law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – and won. She engaged with and campaigned for political candidates who better reflected her values. She worked to elect politicians who would promote a government that protects life, liberty, and property without unconstitutional interference. As a state lawmaker, Senator Barto has stood, unwavering, for these core values. She continues to fight unconstitutional government overreach and intrusion in our families & businesses, in our education system, and especially in our health care. She is currently serving as the Chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee.
Paul Blair is the Strategic Initiatives Director at Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based taxpayer advocacy organization founded in 1986 by Grover Norquist at the request of President Reagan. He oversees several state and federal policy initiatives, including ATR's portfolio of work on tobacco harm reduction. He also co-hosts "The Smoke and Mirrors Podcast," which explores emerging policy threats to taxpayers and consumers across the U.S. A graduate of The George Washington University, his writing and commentary has been published in the Washington Post, National Review, Forbes, the New York Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @gopaulblair
Azim Chowdhury, a Partner at Keller and Heckman LLP in Washington, DC, is nationally recognized as an expert on FDA issues as they relate to the tobacco and e-vapor industries. He represents tobacco, e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturers, suppliers and trade associations in matters of FDA regulatory and corporate compliance, and spearheads Keller and Heckman’s FDA tobacco and e-cigarette practice group. Keller and Heckman LLP, founded in 1962, has a broad practice in regulatory law and related litigation and business transactions. Keller and Heckman's comprehensive and extensive experience dealing with the regulation of food, drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements before the FDA uniquely positions the firm to guide tobacco, e-cigarette and e-liquid companies through the myriad of statutory and regulatory requirements that will soon be applicable to these products.
Gregory Conley is the president of the American Vaping Association (AVA), a nonprofit organization that champions regulatory policies toward vapor products designed to maximize the effectiveness of vaping for quitting smoking. He is one of the most prominent defenders of vaping in the United States and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. In addition to his work with the AVA, Mr. Conley is an attorney and a consultant on vaping legislative and regulatory issues. He began working on vaping issues in 2010 after quitting smoking with a vapor product while in law school. He served as the pro bono legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association from 2011 to 2014.
Stefan switched from smoking to vaping several years ago and has since been a committed consumer advocate for vapor products. Stefan is frequently seen testifying in front of state and local legislators and policy makers. Prior to dedicating all his time to vaping advocacy he was a software engineer who started his first business at the age of 18 and for over 25 years has been involved in developing 3D computer graphics and animation software. His technology skills have been instrumental in several important vapor advocacy efforts, including an organization he co-founded, Not Blowing Smoke. Stefan’s work has been featured in many articles and interviews on the subject of vapor products, including professor Stanton Glantz’ Tobacco Control blog at the University of California, San Francisco.
Brian Fojtik has spent his entire career involved in public policy and politics. He served on behalf of a U.S. Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Senator and State Representative. In the private sector, Brian has been educating legislators and public policy leaders across the country about the dangers of smoking and the concept of tobacco harm reduction for more than 20 years. He was a Director of State Government Relations for UST, President of Brownstone Communications, where his largest client was Reynolds American Inc., and Director of External Relations for NJOY. Today, Brian speaks, writes, and consults on tobacco harm reduction and other consumer freedom policy issues on behalf of the Reason Foundation, where he is a Senior Fellow.
Daney Glenn has been an active advocacy member in the vaping industry since 2014. She served as the Director of Communications for NAVB a local Arizona advocacy organization for over a year & shortly after became the Executive Director of NAVB and gained collaboration with NFIB and the Arizona Small Business Association to provide business solutions and benefits to her organization's members. Daney was a key organizer of the merger of NAVB and the local AZ SFATA chapter into ASFA, The Arizona Smoke Free Business Alliance earlier this year.
Pamela Gorman is the Executive Director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA). Previously, she created the first and only state government relations national program dedicated solely to vapor products as the Director of Government Relations for NJOY. Prior to working in the private sector as a government relations professional, she was a state legislator, serving both in the Arizona House and Senate. Always a fierce defender of free markets and individual rights, her work today is focused on protecting the vapor products industry and preserving adult access to this revolutionary technology.
Mike Hogan has over 25 years of experience in the design and execution of successful legislative policy and political strategies. Named a “Top Physician Lobbyist” and “Top Association Lobbyist” by The Hill newspaper, Mr. Hogan has strong expertise in health care, financial services, and tax policy. He applies that knowledge to develop legislative strategy and sound tactical execution on behalf of SFATA in Washington, DC.
Steve Johnson has been involved with several e-liquid production companies since 2008, beginning in small town North Dakota when vaping was in it's infancy. He has been a proponent of production standards, with his first retail company featuring a separate clean liquid production room. He and two partners currently own several productive brands under the umbrella of their current company, Glenn Johnson Ventures, and continue to innovate in the e-liquid production space. Steve has been a vocal advocate of the vaping industry, being a long-time SFATA member as well as a founding board member of NAVB, a local AZ advocacy group. Recently he was a key organizer of the merger of NAVB and the local AZ SFATA chapter into ASFA, The Arizona Smoke Free Business Alliance.
Sarkis Kaladzhyan is the founder and president of Calco Commercial Insurance, a brokerage with a specialty in the vape industry. He developed insurance policy language in conjunction with Lloyd’s of London which granted coverage for Health Claims. Advised major insurance companies pertaining to the risks and opportunities in the vape industry. In addition, he has been active with SFATA for several years and has lobbied the congressional offices on more than a dozen occasions.
Jack Kocsis is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Vaper. Kocsis joined The Daily Caller in 2016, and as Director of Commerce he has overseen the growth and development of its affiliate program. Recognizing the natural overlap between the vaping community and The Daily Caller's core audience of 20 million center-right and libertarian readers, Daily Caller Publisher and CEO Neil Patel tasked Kocsis with launching The Daily Vaper, a news and information website for vapers, an underserved audience in today's media landscape. Despite still being in the early stages of its rollout, DailyVaper.com already serves as a one-stop-shop for everything new in the world of vaping. Kocsis is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and currently lives in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in Government and a Citation in Chinese. Prior to joining The Daily Caller, he worked in public opinion research and conducted focus groups.
April Meyers is the owner of Northeast Vapor Supplies located in Connecticut and has been in the business since 2012. Her company has one retail store and manufactures three ELiquid lines sold throughout the country; New Direction, Rebel Liquids and Thrifty Vapors. Before leaving corporate America to launch her vapor company with her husband, she managed logistics and staffing for large trade shows, worked as an analyst for a consumer ratings company, and was as a financials communications professional for a global conglomerate. Since entering the vapor industry, she served as a co-president for the Connecticut SFATA chapter and engaged in extensive advocacy work. She was seated as our organization’s President of the Board of Directors in early 2017.
Julian Morris is Vice President of Research at Reason Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan U.S. think tank. Trained in economics and law, Julian has written extensively on innovation, regulation of risk, and international agreements. He is the author of “The WHO's Opposition to Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Threat to Public Health?” and the co-author, with Dr Amir Ullah Khan, of “The Vapour Revolution: How Innovation is Saving Lives.”
Martin Pazzani is a corporate executive with multiple companies and investments in the fitness business, the craft tequila business, and the vaping industry. He has four decades of A-list corporate experience in marketing, strategy, and advertising guiding some of the world's biggest brands. And, as an advertising executive on Madison Avenue has had clients of all shapes and sizes on six continents. He came to the vaping industry three years ago when his nephew’s vape shop looked immediately like a way to 1. reinvent the smoking business with a high tech, healthier solution, and 2. enjoy the benefits of pure, unadulterated entrepreneurial capitalism.
Dr. Brad Rodu
Brad Rodu is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, where he holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Since 1994, Dr. Rodu has conducted and published research on tobacco harm reduction, which involves permanent nicotine maintenance with safer tobacco products by smokers who are unable or unwilling to achieve abstinence. Dr. Rodu earned his dental degree from the Ohio State University and completed an oral pathology residency at Emory University. He subsequently was awarded fellowships by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was a member of the UAB faculty from 1981 to 2005, with appointments in the Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Dentistry.
Hilda Tuel is the founder and president of iProcessing LLC, a merchant services provider for hard-to-place and high-risk merchants. In 2008, she founded the company in her home after 14 years as a senior vice president in the bank card industry. Tuel has spent her career in financial institutions and sales, and has worked in internet merchant account sales since the 1990s. In addition to her high-risk account experience, she is an expert in ecigs. Tuel and her team work individually with merchants to find the best bank and payment solutions for them, including merchant accounts at domestic and international banks, multiple gateways, third-party processing options, ACH, European direct debit, and mobile processing. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, iProcessing has locations in Medford, Oregon and Eureka and Sacramento, California.
Also invited, but unconfirmed:
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (WI)
U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (CA)