Maria Ellis, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest International Trade Association; Portland Business Alliance
Maria Ellis joined the Portland Business Alliance as the director of Federal Affairs and the new executive director of the Pacific Northwest International Trade Association (PNITA). Prior to the Alliance, Maria was living in Medellin, Colombia, where she consulted for American startups based in Medellin and led the 2018 Portland Best Practices trip, hosting more than 50 leaders from the Portland metro as they explored economic development and innovation in Colombia. Prior to her time in Colombia, Maria was the director of strategy, equity and communications at Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. While there, she led a variety of projects including development of the agency’s five year strategy and planning Governor Brown’s successful trade mission to Asia, while also serving as senior advisor to the agency Director. Maria has held policy roles at Metro, including building coalitions around infrastructure funding.
Robert Hamilton, Governor’s Advisor for Trade Policy, Washington Department of Commerce
As the Governor’s Advisor for Trade Policy, Robert Hamilton has advised Washington governors on international trade issues, trade agreements and federal trade legislation for over two decades. He serves as the state’s lead in collaborating with federal officials in defending state programs subject to legal challenge under international trade agreements, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) cases involving federal and Washington state subsidies for Boeing. As Chair of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IGPAC), he provides state and local government views on international trade agreements to the United States Trade Representative, the federal trade negotiating agency. In his role on IGPAC, Robert Hamilton reviews U.S. negotiating proposals to evaluate the potential exposure of state laws and regulations to legal challenge and to influence the final text of trade agreements. Robert Hamilton received a BA in history from Hamilton College and a Master’s Degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Lori Otto Punke, President, Washington Council on International Trade
Lori Otto Punke leads LOP Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. She also serves as President of the Washington Council on International Trade. Lori previously held a variety of public affairs positions at Starbucks and Microsoft and served as a senior technology policy advisor to U.S. Senate leadership. She is chair of the Seattle chapter of GenNext and was previously a member of the NASDAQ Public Policy Advisory Committee. Lori earned her B.A. from George Washington University and studied international relations and political science in London and Madrid. She is an avid runner and has completed ten marathons and two Ironman triathlons.
Moderated by: Edward Alden, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Edward Alden is Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness, trade, and immigration policy. He is the author of the book
Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy
, which focuses on the federal government’s failure to respond effectively to competitive challenges on issues such as trade, currency, worker retraining, education, and infrastructure. Alden recently served as the project director of a CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force, co-chaired by former Michigan Governor John Engler and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, which produced the report
The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century
. Alden has won several national and international awards for his reporting. Alden has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Berkeley.