Keynote Speaker

Eric Byer

President, NACD

Eric Byer joined NACD in January 2014 as president. He came to NACD with nearly twenty years of experience in government and public affairs as well as organizational operations.

Prior to NACD, Eric was senior vice president at Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, PLC,  (OFMK) where he led strategic communications, marketing, programs, and government affairs as well as policy initiatives for the firm’s largest clients.

Before his tenure at OFMK, Eric was the chief operating officer and vice president of government and industry affairs at the National Air Transportation Association, where he led external affairs and internal operations for the $6.1 million organization.

Earlier in his career, Eric served as senior government relations coordinator for Smith, Bucklin, and Associates.  He was also a legislative assistant to the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Rep. William F. Clinger, Jr. (R-Pa.).  He also served as an intern for the late Rep. Dean Gallo (R-N.J.).

Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

Master of Ceremonies

Bill Flanagan

Chief Corporate Relations Officer,
Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Bill Flanagan serves as Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliated regional development organizations: The Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh LLC, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Bill guides the development of regional and organizational messaging strategy and supervises Investor Relations activities, including membership development and programming, as well as fundraising.

An experienced broadcast journalist, Bill has told the story of the transformation of the economy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for more than 30-years. He serves as host and producer of “Our Region’s Business,” a weekly business public affairs program on WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, PA, the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (PCNC), and YouTube.

As President of The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership in 2009, Bill helped to organize the public/private partnership of organizations from across southwestern Pennsylvania that came together to welcome the world for the Pittsburgh Summit. As Executive Director of Pittsburgh 250, the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the naming of Pittsburgh in 2008, Bill supervised a multi-year, 14-county initiative.

Bill came to work in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1982 as a reporter for KDKA-TV. He served as the station’s Money Editor for 13 years and has written about personal finance for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and KDKA-AM.

Bill serves on the boards of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

A graduate of Northwestern University (B.S. Speech), Bill holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a native of Dover, Delaware.


Dean Piacente

VP Sales & Marketing

 Dean Piacente is Vice President Industrial Products. In this capacity, he is responsible for driving growth across CSX’s chemicals, forest products, metals, and minerals businesses. Piacente has more than 30 years of experience at CSX across different customer segments. Prior to his recent appointment as the leader of the Industrial Products business in 2018, Piacente was Vice President, Intermodal, and was responsible for domestic and international intermodal business segments.

Piacente earned a bachelor’s science degree from Florida State University. He received a certificate in business excellence from Columbia Business School, in addition to participating in CSX’s Executive Leadership Forum with Harvard Business School.


Flemming B. Bjoernslev

Operating Partner

 Flemming B. Bjoernslev is an accomplished business leader, who has 30 years of international experience working for the chemical industry in Europe, Latin America and the United States. In 1986 he moved to Germany, where he joined the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. After his vocational training at Bayer AG, he embarked on an international career, where he worked in several positions of increasing importance within various business groups in Europe and Latin America. In 2005 Flemming joined the spin-off of the Bayer AG chemical activities forming the company Lanxess AG. In 2012 appointed President & CEO of Lanxess Corporation overlooking 15 sites with 1,700 employees & 2 Billion $ turnover in North America.

In 2015 Flemming retired from Lanxess Corp and decided to stay in the US to become an independent advisor to the chemical industry in North America.


Duane Dickson

Vice Chairman and US Oil, Gas & Chemicals Sector Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

 Duane Dickson is a Vice Chairman and principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Energy Resources & Industrials Industry group, as well as the US Oil, Gas & Chemicals Sector Leader and the Global Energy & Resources Consulting leader. Additionally, he is the former Global Chemicals & Specialty Materials Sector Leader for Deloitte Global. Duane served as a World Economic Forum’s (Forum) Project Advisor and the Forum’s Chemical Community Lead, Chemistry and Advanced Materials. He focuses on providing services in corporate and growth strategies; acquisitions, divestitures, and carve-outs; and general management, working primarily with chemicals, materials, industrial products, consumer packaged goods, medical devices, and safety equipment industries.

Duane has more than 38 years of business and consulting experience in senior leadership positions in major industrial and healthcare products companies.


Nick Vafiadias

Vice President, Plastics

 Previously, as the business director for polyolefins, and service leader for IHS Markit’s Global Plastics & Polymers Report, his daily responsibilities encompassed analysis, consulting, and reporting on the global polyolefins market, as well as managing the operations associated with producing and developing the report. Concurrently, he contributed to single client projects and studies related to the polyolefins industry. In his earlier assignments, he was responsible for consulting duties associated with the chlor-alkali and vinyl product chain. He contributed to the Monomers Market Report, the Chlor-Alkali Market Report, and the Global Plastics & Polymers Market Report. He has been with IHS Markit and its predecessor CMAI since 2002. Before joining CMAI, he had spent twelve years with Vista Chemical Company (now Condea Vista Chemical Company), where he held assignments in marketing, product management, and sales management in both the vinyl and surfactant business areas. Mr. Vafiadis holds a Management BBA from The University of Texas at Austin, United States.

Panel Moderator

Jim Baehr

Supply Management Lead
Sourcing Strategies Group LLC

Sourcing Strategies Group LLC supports the Supply Management needs of clients, with a focus on assessments, strategies and coaching. He’s held senior positions with Bayer Corporation and Reed Elsevier and had an accomplished career in Sales.

While at Bayer he developed and delivered Strategic Sourcing & training courses.

In 2019 Jim launched Sourcing on Sunday – think pieces for sourcing professionals. He writes for Supply Chain Management Review, Inside Supply Management, My Purchasing Center™, the StrategicSourceror, and the Water & Finance Management Journal. He was a contributing author to the book Next Level Supply Management Excellence: Your Straight to the Bottom Line® Roadmap.

Jim is a Past President of ISM Pittsburgh and a member of the Board for the Joint Chemical Group of Pittsburgh.


Jim Raines

VP Procurement & Logistics

 Chemical Industry Procurement Executive with vast International experience encompassing Supply Chain, Procurement, Manufacturing, Engineering and HR disciplines. Content expert on Petrochemical Procurement of Olefins including Butadiene, Raffinates, Isobutylene and Isoprene.

Education/Degree: BS Chemical Engineering, West Virginia University

Wharton School Executive Negotiation Program Current Job title and responsibilities: VP Global Procurement and Logistics (GPL) North America, responsible for all central and site procurement and for all logistics procurement.


Oliver Zeranski

A.T. Kearney

 Oliver is a Principal at A.T. Kearney and a member of the firm’s global Chemicals practice. He works with clients to improve performance and define and implement strategic objectives within their companies. His focus is serving clients in the Chemicals industry and in adjacent markets such as Consumer Products and Industrials. Recent client work of the practice covers a diverse set of topics ranging from due diligence support and M&A strategy, developing business unit strategy to large-scale transformation efforts. Oliver received an MBA from ebs European Business School and an MS-MIS degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


Tony Uphoff


 Before joining Thomas in January of 2017, Tony served as CEO of, where he led the turnaround, build-out and successful sale of the company in June of 2016. Prior to, Tony was CEO of UBM TechWeb, where he led the transformation of a declining print-centric business into a fast-growing digital media, live event and marketing services powerhouse. He also served as President of VNU Media’s Entertainment Group and Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, building out and expanding the brands via digital media and live events. Uphoff was the founding CEO of Internet Media company Beliefnet and served as Publisher of InformationWeek in the mid-90s, growing the brand into the largest in the history of B2B media. Tony anchors the popular weekly Thomas Index video reports and has been named “Folio Forty C-Level Visionary” by Folio Magazine, “Top Media Innovator” by Mins B2B and is regularly named in the Top 100 business media execs by B2B Magazine. Uphoff serves as a Trustee of Linfield College, sits on the board of HIMSS Media, and serves a mentor at Mucker Labs.


Tom Stanczyk

Zero Waste Strategist

 Tom is an accomplished waste chemist, with over 40 years of experience. Mr. Stanczyk is recognized for his expertise in assisting manufacturers & users with the development and implementation of waste minimization plans. This expertise has effectively been used by numerous businesses, (GM, Procter & Gamble, Ford, Caterpillar).

Tom is currently working with WTS, Inc – Lewistown, NY, to deploy game-changing solutions and sustainable technologies that enhance stakeholder sustainability. Tom is a zero-waste strategist and sustainable material management specialist collaborating with chemical processing and consumer goods manufacturers on the direct reuse and re-purpose of discarded facility resources and chemicals. WTS is working with chemical manufacturers in powering a circular economy, in which by-products and materials are reclaimed and cycled to eliminate waste while reducing environmental impacts and conserving resources.

Tom is a graduate of Niagara University.

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