Mr. Ziemba is a business development expert with more than twenty years of experience growing technology companies including AOL, IBM, and Senestech. Tom has helped companies generate more than $10B in revenue and funding from the federal, state and local governments, institutional investors and non-profit organizations.
He also previously worked in government, serving as a legislative and political aide to the Attorney General at the Department of Justice and as an advisor to a United States Attorney. He worked for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate and served as a senior advisor to the Governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security.
Tom graduated cum laude from Boston University with a dual degree in Political Science and Philosophy.
Mr. Toma is a certified project management professional (PMP) with over 18 years of management and technology consultancy expertise having worked for blue-chip companies such as Capgemini, Hewlett Packard Consulting and Cassini Consulting.
His experience spans a wide range of industries and international clients such as logistics (DHL), telecommunications (Vodafone, O2), industry (ThyssenKrupp) and automotive (Mercedes-Benz, Continental), Utilities (E.ON), retail (Payback) and many others.
After completion of his army service as special forces mountain ranger, he went on to a business apprenticeship, before graduating from Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences with a Masters Degree in Media Informatics. Additional qualifications include courses in Leadership and Communication Management from St. Gallen Business School and Ecole d’ingénieurs Lausanne respectively, as well as Scrum certification and ITIL v3 Foundation. He is a private pilot and ski instructor.
Erica De Vos
Chief of Staff
Erica De Vos
Ms. De Vos has over 20 years of diverse management experience with a focus on operations and information management. Most recently, Erica served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Energy, where she served as a senior member of the management team of a Federal agency with a $30 billion annual budget and approximately 113,000 employees. Prior to this role, Erica was the Chief of Operations Services in the Office of Administration for the White House, where she managed daily operations and strategic planning for four divisions, a staff of 70, and a yearly budget of $37 million. Erica developed goals, priorities, budgets, and staffing plans to provide high quality, efficient, and cost-effective service to customers across the White House Complex.
Erica graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with a dual degree in Political Science and French, and received a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a focus on Foreign Policy and Diplomacy.
Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Schilling is a computer science expert with more than 10 years of experience in software design and development as well as team leading expertise. Marc worked for research facilities as well as in the private sector.
The projects he assumed responsibility for spanned a wide range of areas from cognitive science and AI research, through embedded systems for intelligent homes to visual navigation and hazard detection & avoidance system for Airbus Defense and Space.
Marc graduated from Bremen University with a diploma in computer science.
Country Manager – South America
Mr. Couri has deep experience in track and trace industry. He began his career in the insurance business in 1975 and founded his own brokerage agency a decade later. Samir is an industry innovator, responsible for the first project involving telematics insurance in Brazil, where car theft had caused premiums to skyrocket. This pioneering project combined car and cargo coverage with insurance policies, increasing cargo recovery and reducing car thefts.
Starting in 1993, Samir developed several partnerships among GPS tracking manufacturers, monitoring service providers, risk managers and insurance companies for the consolidation of telemetry solutions for logistic operations.
Mr. Freund is an experienced project manager with a focus on the integration of new technologies in areas including the supply chain,
trade, logistics, cargo, and manufacturing. Mr Freund’s primary focus with SecureSystem is on the customer experience and the optimization of
processes to best support product use.
Prior to joining SecureSystem, Marco was a project manager with Rhenus Logistics and worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and
Logistics as both consultant and research engineer. He was also head of the research lab openID-center, where new technologies are further
developed and integrated.
Marco graduated from the Technical University of Dortmund with a Diploma in Logistics from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
Dr. Jens Riedl
Dr. Jens Riedl
Dr. Riedl is a Partner at Permira, where he leads the industrials sector globally. After graduating with an MBA from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and the London School of Economics, he wrote his PhD thesis at the European Business School on value-based management.
Prior to joining Permira, Dr. Riedl was senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he led the BCG Private Equity Practice in the DACH region, having completed various due diligences and value creation programs. He joined BCG in 1999 and spent two years with their office in Sydney. He led the BCG Transportation & Logistics Practice in Europe and has deep experience in logistics as well as shipping. For the past 5 years, he has increasingly focused on digital topics and launched the BCG xChange platform for global container exchanges in 2015 amongst others.
Christian W. von Ahlefeld
Christian W. von Ahlefeld
Mr. von Ahlefeld graduated with an MBA from the University of Hamburg and during his long-standing career worked for renowned organisations such as JP Morgan, UBS and Siemens.
He was CFO for Tele München and a board member for GfK SE responsible for corporate finance, M&A, controlling, overseeing human resources for 10,000 staff. He joined Loyalty Partner GmbH – known for their ‘Payback’ customer loyalty programme as managing director in 2010 and oversaw the sale of the company to American Express.
Mr. von Ahlefeld is an active investor and works as a senior advisor to companies such as ‘The Mobility House AG’ and ‘Brauns Heitmann GmbH & Co. KG’.
Global Advisory Board
Dave Abel is a Co-Founder of Prime Vector, Inc. Throughout a career at IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as an entrepreneur and investor, Dave Abel has established, developed, and managed complex businesses on a global scale. At Prime Vector, Mr. Abel leads an operations business making cyclical improvements easy through continuous improvement, intelligent automation, and emerging collaborative technologies.
Mr. Abel is formerly the General Manager of IBM Global Business Services (GBS) Public Sector in North America. There, he and his team applied commercial best practices and cutting-edge technology like cognitive computing to Public Sector and commercial healthcare challenges.
Previously, Mr. Abel was the Managing Partner for IBM’s services in South Africa. During three years in Johannesburg, he built a business specializing in health and wellness, telecommunications, banking, municipal services, and strategic consultancy. He has served on IBM’s executive leadership teams for North America, Middle East & Africa and the Worldwide Growth and Transformation Team. He was named to the Wash100 Top Executives in the Government Sector.
Before acquisition by IBM, Mr. Abel was a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers focused on the public sector, commercial transportation, technology, and the banking and finance sectors. Mr. Abel has launched, provided consulting services for, and managed numerous successful new business units in IBM and PwC, most notably creating the Homeland Security business that grew to become the largest services provider to the Department of Homeland Security.
Mr. Abel is a proud alumnus of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and serves on the advisory board for the Kogod School of Management at American University. An avid triathlete, Mr. Abel completed his first full Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky last October.
Max Holtzman is a principal at Pontos Aqua Advisory, part of the Pontos Aqua platform, a unique financing and de-risking ecosystem for the global aquaculture industry. He is also a founding officer of Stronger America through Seafood, which focuses on the increased U.S. production of healthy, sustainable and affordable seafood. In addition to his work with Pontos, Mr. Holtzman is the Vice Chairman of Capitol Peak Asset Management, where he joined in November, 2014. Capitol Peak provides capital, advice and solutions to companies and projects that spur economic growth and job creation with a focus on Rural America.
Prior to joining Capitol Peak, for six years, Mr. Holtzman was the Senior Advisor to the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. Holtzman advised the Secretary on the development of new public-private partnerships, aquaculture, trade, biotechnology and international food security. He also served as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services and as Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Holtzman, an attorney for over 20 years, provided strategic consulting to multi-national companies related to transportation infrastructure, project finance, public-private partnerships, health care and government procurement. He also served as a City Attorney and Special Counsel to several municipalities.
Mr. Holtzman is a Board member of K Street Capital, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture and is the Founding Chairman of Adopt-A-Classroom. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and his law degree from the University of Miami.
AMB Douglas Lute
Ambassador Douglas Lute
Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s standing political body. Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017. During this period he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance’s responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
A career Army officer, in 2010 Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service. In 2007 President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009 he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia. Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House.
Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide. From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated.
Through his military-diplomatic career, he received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany.
General Lute holds degrees from the United States Military Academy at West Point and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard University; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a charter member of the Flag Officer Advisory Group of the United States Institute of Peace.
Marco has been working on cross-border commerce and security issues since 2001 when he was elected as mayor of Nogales, Arizona at the age of 22, shortly after graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Marco is uniquely suited to help guide SecureSystem’s growth strategy in Mexico and Latin America.
He currently serves as president and CEO of Intermestic Partners, an international business advisory firm, where he guides U.S. outreach efforts for Latin America’s most important philanthropic organization, the Carlos Slim Foundation. Marco has served as a U.S. advisor to successful presidential campaigns in Mexico on topics of border security and cross-border trade and safety.
Prior to founding Intermestic Partners, Marco served as chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the largest agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Marco has also served as director of the Arizona Department of Commerce and vice-chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
Dr. Thorsten Blecker
Dr. Thorsten Blecker
Thorsten Blecker studied business administration and subsequently worked in satellite communications. He rejoined University research in 1996 in Klagenfurt and since 2004 he has held the professorship for information technology in logistics at the Hamburg University of Technology. Among other topics, he deals with the security of transports and anti-terrorism compliance.
Dr. Blecker is actively involved in Logistics Initiative Hamburg (500+ member companies) and has founded a logistics consultancy. He has taught in Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, Klagenfurt and Madrid. Dr. Blecker also serves as an independent expert and evaluator, e.g. for ministries and research programs in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Hong Kong as well as European programs.
Tom’s unparalleled experience, relationships and knowledge of the global shipping industry make him an invaluable member of the SecureSystem advisory board. Tom will focus on helping the company shape and execute its strategy to work with the U.S. government and industry to improve security and transparency of the global supply chain.
Tom’s career in the customs world took him from starting as a Customs Inspector in Los Angeles in 1978, to port director in Los Angeles and Miami, Director of Field Operations south Florida, assistant commissioner for Field Operations, Deputy Commissioner, and ultimately culminated with Tom serving as acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, overseeing the 60,000-person, $11.5 billion agency.
Throughout his service in customs Tom has been a champion for innovation and technology, including inspection imaging systems, radiation portal monitors, biometrics and establishment of the renowned National Targeting Centers for passengers and cargo. Among his responsibilities overseeing Field Operations, Tom was responsible for the operation at 331 Ports of Entry, including 58 Container Security Initiative ports.
Tom Winkowski is the only person to have served in the top leadership role in both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies.
Tom was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award by President Bush and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award by President Obama.
Carl-Peter Forster started his career at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant in 1982 after having been awarded Diplomas in Economics and in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1986 he joined BMW in Munich in its Engineering Department. He was appointed to BMW’s Executive Board in 1999 as head of global manufacturing. In 2001, he joined the European division of General Motors and became Managing Director of Opel and Vice President of GM Europe. In 2006 he was promoted to CEO and President of GM Europe and joined the parent company's Global Automotive Strategy Board. After leaving General Motors, he became Group CEO at Tata Motors, where he was responsible for the Indian operations as well as for Jaguar Land Rover. Since 2012 he built a portfolio career by joining the boards of Geely Automotive Holdings and Volvo Cars, IMI Plc as well as Chemring Plc - the latter as Chairman. He also has invested and is actively engaged in various start-up companies.