Meet the Speakers

What’s ahead? For the world, for the shortline industry, for agriculture? The answers are elusive, but there are experts who offer insights, and there is always something to gain through an exchange of ideas among industry peers.

The Association has put together a speaker lineup that we hope will give attendees a bit of a firmer grasp on navigating business post-COVID-19.

David Houle will open the convention. He is a futurist, writer and speaker who has advised more than 4,500 CEOs and business owners.

He has written a book defining the 2020s as the most disruptive decade in history. His areas of focus include brands and marketing, health care, and education.

Political/Economic Analysis
Ray Starling joined the White House staff in 2017 as special assistant to the president for agricultural policy. In 2018, he became chief of staff for USDA’s Sonny Perdue. He returned to his home state of North Carolina in 2019 to serve as general counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. In spite of his remarkable career, Starling said the experience in his life that has most shaped him is growing up on a family farm.

Starling will offer analysis of how national and state elections may influence the economy, the regulatory environment, trade, and taxes.

How We Have Changed
The Association will bring a panel on stage to discuss how COVID-19 may influence manufacturing and the workplace, the supply chain, and sales.
Steve Wilson will focus on manufacturing. He is a consultant, coach, and trainer who has worked with hundreds of companies, including Deere.

Wilson also will lead a general session on operational excellence, which will kick off a five-part series of convention sessions and webinars.

Aleisia Dragon, who is a senior account executive for the West at YRC Worldwide, Inc., will discuss changes to the supply chain.

Greg Martinelli will focus on the new normal in sales and marketing. He is a trainer and coach who specializes in agricultural sales and the author of A Season for Sales.