Speakder Bio's

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JIM LUDES: “Cyber & Information Security: Current & Emerging Threats”

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 1:15 PM - 1:55 PM   

James M. Ludes, Ph.D.

Salve Regina University

Vice President, Public
Research and Initiatives 

Executive Director,
Pell Center for
International Relations

Dr. James M. Ludes is Vice President for Public Research and Initiatives at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, as well as Executive Director of the university’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. In addition, he is executive producer and co-host of “Story in the Public Square,” a four-time Telly Award-winning weekly public affairs program broadcast on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel as well as on public television stations across the country, including Rhode Island PBS. The show is part of a broader Pell Center initiative to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.


From July 2006 to August 2011, Dr. Ludes was Executive Director of the American Security Project (ASP), a think-tank in Washington, DC.  ASP was founded in 2006 to educate the public on a broad range of national security issues and the value of a principled approach to security. 


From November 2008 to February 2009, Dr. Ludes was a member of President-elect Obama’s Transition Team.  During this time, he participated in the Agency Review Team working inside the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify critical issues that would need to be tackled by the new administration.  In January 2009, he took on the additional responsibility of running the confirmation team for DOD nominees selected for the roles of Deputy Secretary of Defense; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Comptroller; and General Counsel.


From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Ludes was Legislative Assistant to Senator John Kerry for defense and foreign policy.  During that time, he also coordinated defense policy issues for Senator Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign—assisting in the development of policies on military end-strength, force structure, and improved benefits for military families and veterans. 


Prior to his work in the Senate, Dr. Ludes was Editor-in-Chief of National Security Studies Quarterly (NSSQ), a defense and national security journal.  During his tenure, Dr. Ludes transformed the NSSQ from a student-run journal into a professional publication receiving considerable attention in the media and the policy community. 


Dr. Ludes earned his Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University.  His dissertation, A Consistency of Purpose: Political Warfare and the National Security Strategy of the Eisenhower Administration, was completed in 2003. 
He is editor of, and contributor to, Iraq Uncensored (2009) and co-editor of two previous books: Attacking Terrorism (2004) and Twenty-First Century Proliferation (2001).  He is a native of Manchester, CT, and received his bachelor’s degree in history and modern languages from Providence College in 1993.

Dr. Ludes was honored by the Newport Historical Society in 2019 as one of the inaugural recipients of its “History Starts Here Award,” and in 2018 by Leadership Rhode Island for his role in creating and hosting “Story in the Public Square.”  Dr. Ludes is a former Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a Manfred Woerner Seminar participant in 2000.


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM   

The Honorable
Charles P. Rettig

Commissioner​, IRS

Charles P. Rettig is the 49th Commissioner of the IRS. As Commissioner, Mr. Rettig presides over the nation’s tax system, which collects approximately $3.4 trillion in tax revenue each year. This revenue funds most government operations and public services. Mr. Rettig manages an agency of about 80,000 employees and a budget of approximately $11 billion.

In leading the IRS, Mr. Rettig is focused on improving service to the nation’s taxpayers, balancing appropriate enforcement of the nation’s tax laws while respecting taxpayer rights.

Previously, Mr. Rettig was with the law firm of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C., for more than 36 years. In his practice, Mr. Rettig represented thousands of individuals, businesses and corporate taxpayers before the IRS, the Department of Justice Tax Division, federal and state courts and state taxing authorities. These cases involved civil examinations and appeals, criminal investigations and tax collection matters.

Mr. Rettig has held leadership roles in a number of professional organizations, most recently serving as Vice Chair-Administration, for the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, and President of the American College of Tax Counsel. He was a member of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC) for three years beginning in 2008, and served as IRSAC’s chair from 2010 to 2011. He also served as Chair of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of California and has served on the advisory boards of both the Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization in his home state of California.

Mr. Rettig has received numerous professional honors during his career from organizations across the country. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at hundreds of tax conferences throughout the U.S., Europe and Central America. And he has authored numerous tax-related articles.

He received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles, as well as a J.D. with honors from Pepperdine University and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University.

Mr. Rettig, who is married to Tam Rettig, is also active in numerous civic and philanthropic activities. He’s the founder of the UCLA Extension VETS COUNT Scholarship Fund and active in the Wounded Warrior Project, Advance Guard.

RUSS SULLIVAN: “Deep Impact” — The 2020 Election and Beyond

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 2:45 PM - 3:30 PM   

Russell W. Sullivan


Brownstein Hyatt

Farber Schreck

Russ Sullivan chairs the firm’s National Tax Policy Group and provides unparalleled insight into the legislative and regulatory risks and opportunities related to tax policy. Russ is a Capitol Hill veteran who spent 14 years with the Senate Finance Committee, including nine as staff director. He leverages his vast network and industry expertise to devise and execute complex strategies for both nonprofit and for-profit clients on a broad range of issues, including health care, pension planning, trade, economic development and tax policy.

As Senate Finance Committee staff director,  Russ worked across the aisle to advise committee chairs from both political parties, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). During his time there, Russ saw some of the most important issues within the business community come before the committee, and he played an integral role in drafting such sweeping legislation as the JOBS Act of 2004, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2004, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and the Affordable Care Act of 2009. His firsthand contributions to these pieces of legislation allow him to provide contextual insight into current tax and health care policy debates. Prior to his time as staff director, Russ served as chief tax counsel on the Senate Finance Committee and as legislative director for Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL). During his career on Capitol Hill, Russ developed an extensive network, managing over 600 staff members and policy professionals – many of whom currently serve in senior government positions.

This experience has driven successful outcomes for Russ’ clients. He recently shepherded a grandfather provision into tax legislation to save a multi-billion dollar transaction and helped lead an effort to prevent tax increases proposed during tax reform from becoming law.

Russ is passionate about fostering at-risk youth, serving as the legal or designated guardian for 22 teenagers over the past two decades. He has continually fought for an increase in the adoption tax credit.


Finance Chair, Board of Directors, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

Finance Chair, Board of Directors, The Fourth Sector Group

Member, Board of Directors, Capital Area Reach

Member, Board of Directors, John Leland Seminary


Chambers USA, 2019-2020

Best Lawyers in America, 2018-2021

JD Supra, Readers Choice Awards in Tax category, 2020


Member, Board of Directors, Child Development Center at the Church at Clarendon


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 2:45 PM - 3:30 PM   

Bill Meierling

Chief Marketing Officer

Executive Vice President, External Relations and Strategic Partnerships

American Legislative Exchange Council

Bill Meierling is a creative and innovative strategist entrusted by high profile leaders and organizations—over 15 years—to direct issue campaigns, lead message development and manage crisis planning and response while driving transformational change and delivering global business results. He has led public affairs, political and marketing campaigns at every level—U.S. local, state and federal, and internationally on four continents.


With the Exchange Council, Bill established and grew the public affairs and membership divisions as new initiatives for the nation’s largest organization of state and local elected officials. He leads complex, multi-state issue advocacy and legislator engagement campaigns that limit regulation and ensure business license to operate. In this role, Bill manages crisis response and provides senior level counsel to investor-, government-, and public relations divisions of Fortune 500 member companies regarding state and federal advocacy; environmental, social and governance (ESG) activism; and other concerns.


Prior to the American Legislative Exchange Council, Bill spent nearly a decade managing multicultural community relations and international expansion strategies for United Way Worldwide and Edelman Public Relations clients.


At United Way, Bill was the first worldwide head of public relations for the 41-country,
1,800-chapter organization ranked by Forbes 26th most valuable global brand (behind Verizon and ahead of Nintendo).


For Edelman Public Relations, Bill led multicultural engagement campaigns and community initiatives for Fortune 50 companies and several leading U.S. trade associations in the consumer, energy, technology, and healthcare sectors.


Prior to Edelman, Bill was a founding partner in OpinionMakers International, a boutique public relations and campaign consultancy focused on Latin-American and Sub-Saharan African issues.


From 2010 – 2016, Bill taught state government affairs, issue and crisis management and multicultural communication at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. An avid writer, Bill’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Hill, among other leading outlets.

STEPHEN M. RYAN: “Deep Impact” 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 2:45 PM - 3:30 PM   

Steve Ryan


McDermott Will
& Emery

Stephen (Steve) M. Ryan provides lobbying, litigation and counseling services for the high-technology community and companies in highly regulated industries, while addressing the combined legal, political and press related challenges stemming from congressional oversight and investigation. He is head of the Firm’s government strategies practice.

Steve served as general counsel to the US Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs (GAC) and participated in all aspects of the committee’s legislative and oversight activities. In addition, he served as deputy counsel of the President’s Commission on Organized Crime, directing investigations against La Cosa Nostra and other criminals during the Reagan administration. He also served as an assistant US attorney in Washington, DC, prosecuting criminal cases. Steve received a special commendation from the attorney general and other Justice Department awards.

Steve tries cases for his lobbying clients. For example, while registered to lobby for an electric utility, Steve successfully argued before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against Enron. He has won cases regarding preemption of state law in Connecticut and New Jersey for a California bank that is a key lobbying client, and an antitrust case in the US District Court for the Northern District of California for a key internet utility.

A leader on internet governance issues, Steve has represented companies and their individual officers in their interactions with a range of law enforcement agencies, including the US Department of Justice, agency inspectors general and state attorneys general. He is often called upon to help conduct internal investigations to assist management and corporate boards. As part of his deep commitment to pro bono activity, Steve has represented Operation HOPE, a financial literacy group, for the last decade.

Previously, Steve was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He is co-author of a book on procurement ethics and has published numerous professional articles on congressional policy-making and on the interface of criminal and government procurement law. He is frequently quoted in leading newspapers and appears on television. He served as the law clerk for the Honorable Robert A. Grant, US District Judge for the Northern District of Indiana.

KEN CORBIN: IRS Presentation 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST at 3:30 PM - 4:15 PM   

Kenneth Corbin

Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division

Kenneth (Ken) Corbin serves as the Commissioner of the Wage and Investment (W&I) Division, responsible for the administration of tax laws governing individual wage earners in the United States. He has responsibility for approximately 36,000 employees, located in over 350 Taxpayer Assistance Centers, 10 Service Centers and 15 Remote Call Sites, nationwide. The W&I Division serves millions of individual and business customers, and is responsible for the processing of more than 150 million individual income tax returns, resulting in more than 111 million individual refunds issued, totaling nearly $324 billion. The W&I Division operates with an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion. Ken was appointed as Commissioner, W&I Division, in January 2017.

The W&I Division has responsibility for delivering customer service (including telephone and face-to-face assistance) and tax return processing for all of America's taxpayers as well as compliance activities for W&I taxpayers. In addition, the W&I Support organizations have oversight of modernization and management of technology, strategic planning and direction, communications, and strategic human capital management, ensuring safety and security and critical infrastructure, formulation and execution of the budget, and advancing equal opportunities for employees.

Ken began his career in government service at the IRS Atlanta Service Center in 1986. Ken holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Ken and his wife have two children.

ERIN COLLINS: The National Taxpayer Advocate

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM   

Erin M. Collins

National Tax Payer Advocate, IRS

Erin Collins is the “voice of the taxpayer” within the IRS and before Congress. Under her leadership, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS, helps taxpayers resolve their IRS account issues, advocates on behalf of taxpayers, and works towards systemic change to mitigate taxpayer problems. She joined the Taxpayer Advocate Service in March 2020 to advocate for taxpayers, protect their rights, and work toward improving the quality of taxpayer service and tax administration.

Erin has more than 35 years of experience in tax law, spanning 15 years in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and 20 years at the accounting firm of KPMG LLP, where she retired in 2019 as the Tax Managing Director in charge of its tax controversy practice for the Western region. As a Special Trial Attorney for the IRS, she was responsible for the development and litigation of high-profile, complex tax cases. Erin was the Industry Counsel for Savings and Loans during the time of the S&L crisis. Over a six-year period, she worked very closely with the Treasury Department, the Commissioner, the Office of Chief Counsel, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Resolution Trust Corporation. In both 1995 and 1997, she received Chief Counsel’s highest award, the National Litigation Award. In 1993, she received the Western Region’s highest Litigation Award for her outstanding achievements.

At KPMG, Erin represented thousands of individuals, partnerships, small companies, and corporate taxpayers on technical and procedural tax matters. She represented clients in federal examinations and IRS appeals on domestic and international tax issues, including transfer pricing disputes, foreign tax credits, research and experimentation credit claims, net operating loss utilization calculations, restructurings, treaty interpretations, executive compensation, and application of accounting methods. She also has represented several clients before the U.S. Tax Court.

Erin was the co-author of the Practising Law Institute’s IRS Practice and Procedure Deskbook and has spoken frequently on IRS practice, procedure, controversy, and litigation matters before many professional organizations. Before joining TAS, she represented a number of clients pro bono to help them resolve issues with the IRS. She was also a volunteer and board member of a non-profit organization, Step Up, whose mission was to help girls in under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women.

Learn more about Erin’s career on TAS’s website – Our Leadership page.

DIETRA GRANT: "Dealing with COVID-The IRS CAS Filing Season" 

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:00 PM - 1:20 PM      

Kenneth Corbin

Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division

Dietra Grant is the Director of the Customer Account Services (CAS) organization. W&I CAS is the largest single entity in IRS and serves as the cornerstone of IRS filing season operations, employing nearly 35,000 individuals in
25 locations nationwide during the peak filing season. CAS accomplishes its mission through four key operations — Submission Processing, Accounts Management, the Joint Operations Center, and Electronic Products and
Services Support.

Prior to this assignment, Dietra was the Director of the Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education organization. In this role, she had oversight of the Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication, Media and Publications, and Field Assistance functions of IRS’s W&I Division. She was responsible for critical pre-filing services, including the development of forms, publications and notices that communicate tax requirements. Dietra oversaw the IRS’s volunteer efforts, providing assistance and support to approximately 90,000 volunteers in nearly 12,000 volunteer sites to educate and assist taxpayers with tax return filing. She was also responsible for providing face-to-face taxpayer assistance in 376 sites nationwide. Dietra met those obligations with the support of a workforce of 12 executives and over 2,600 employees. 

Dietra was also the Director, Field Assistance in the W&I Division, where she was responsible for approximately 400 physical and virtual Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) nationwide. TACs are the taxpayers’ source for personal tax help when they want face-to-face assistance. The Field Assistance organization is comprised of more than 1,600 employees and managers who balance service and compliance responsibilities, primarily helping customers resolve tax account issues.  

Dietra also served as the Director, Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication in W&I, where she was responsible for the delivery of tax education, free return preparation services, and financial education to our nation’s low-income, elderly, disabled, Native American, non-English speaking, and rural taxpayers. Dietra has also served as the Director, Field Assistance, Area 1.

Dietra was a participant in the 2009 Executive Readiness Program. She joined the IRS in 1985 as a taxpayer service representative

PETE ISBERG: "Payroll and Employment Tax Issues in this Unusual..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:20 PM - 2:00 PM      

Pete Isberg

Vice President, Government Relations

Automatic Data Processing, Inc.

Pete Isberg manages legislative and regulatory affairs for ADP, covering a wide variety of employment administration and compliance matters, and related legislative trends and initiatives.  He has over 30 years of experience in working with state legislatures and Congress, as well as the IRS and state tax authorities, state Departments of Labor and Employment Security, child support enforcement, and municipal tax agencies concerning employment-related reporting, tax administration, withholding, Wage & Hour laws and similar issues. 


Pete also serves as President of the National Payroll Reporting Consortium, a non-profit trade association whose member companies provide payroll processing, employment tax filing and related services to more than two million U.S. employers, representing over 36% of the private sector workforce.


He is a former member of the IRS Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC), and is recognized by senior U.S. Treasury officials and Congressional tax-writing committees as an authority on payroll and employment tax administration.


He holds an MBA in Finance from California State Polytechnic University.

MELISSA DUCE: "Payroll and Employment Tax Issues in this Unusual..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:20 PM - 2:00 PM      

Melissa (Missy) Duce


Senior Technician Reviewer

Missy Duce is a Senior Technician Reviewer with Employment Tax Branch 2 in IRS Office of Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations and Employment Taxes (EEE).  She has been with IRS Chief Counsel since 2011. Prior to joining the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, Missy was an associate at a large law firm where she focused on executive compensation and employee benefits issues.

SYD GERNSTEIN: "Payroll and Employment Tax Issues in this Unusual..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:20 PM - 2:00 PM      

Syd Gernstein

IRS Office of
Chief Counsel

Syd Gernstein is the Branch Chief of Employment Tax Branch 1 in the Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes Associate Office of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.  He was an attorney with the branch from 2008 until 2012.  He then worked in a law firm and was an editor at Bloomberg BNA, before returning to the Office of Chief Counsel in 2016.

JENINE HALLINGS: "Payroll and Employment Tax Issues in this Unusual..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:20 PM - 2:00 PM      

Jenine Hallings

Payroll Tax Compliance Manager, Risk Management, Paychex, Inc.

Jenine Hallings – Hallings is a Compliance Risk Manager for Paychex. Her team is responsible for research, analysis and communication of legislative and regulatory changes impacting the company and its clients and partners and manages Paychex' relationships with various federal and state tax agencies on behalf of clients. Hallings represents Paychex in key industry consortiums to ensure the company is abreast of regulatory trends and developments. Hallings has been at Paychex for over 20 years and has extensive experience on a broad range of payroll tax matters. Hallings holds an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.  

TONY TULLO: "Payroll and Employment Tax Issues in this Unusual..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 1:20 PM - 2:00 PM      

Tony Tullo

Employment Tax Consultant


Tony is currently an Employment Tax Consultant with Intuit, providing insight and guidance on all matters related to payroll and employment taxes.   Prior to taking on his role at Intuit, Tony was with the Internal Revenue Service for 21 years and Automatic Data Processing for 20 years. Notable achievements during his IRS career include overseeing the establishment of the Reporting Agent program which automated the exchange of data between payroll providers and the IRS as well as working with Treasury to lay the foundation for implementation of the IRS’ current electronic payment system.


Tony was a ten-year CERCA Board member, including a term as Board Chairman.  He has served on the IRS’ Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee.  He was a frequent presenter at the American Payroll Association’s Annual Congress, receiving a Meritorious Service Award for his work on APA’s Y2K sub-committee.

JUANITA WUELLER: "The New 1040x Platform"

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 2:00 PM - 2:15 PM      



Juanita Wueller is the Director, e-File Services, in the Wage and Investment (W&I) Division. Juanita is responsible for the strategic and day-to-day business activities for the IRS modernized and legacy electronic filing programs, which includes the development and delivery of new information technology solutions and the re-engineering of processes to improve the efficiency of electronic filing services.

Prior to this assignment, Juanita served as assistant to the Field Director, Accounts Management, Philadelphia in the W&I Division, where she was responsible for overseeing more than 2,000 employees in two customer contact centers (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), providing taxpayer assistance with tax and account-related inquiries via telephone, correspondence, and e-mail. Juanita also served as acting Field Director, Submission Processing, Kansas City, in the W&I Division. She was responsible for the processing of 7.2 million individual paper returns, 26.8 million e-File returns; and handling 58 million pieces of mail, including the timely deposit of 5 million items worth over $6 billion dollars while leading more than 2,700 employees during peak season.

Juanita has also served in the following executive positions in the W&I Division: assistant to the Director, Customer Account Services; assistant to the Director, Media and Publications; assistant to the Director, Submission Processing, Austin; and acting Director, Customer Account Data Engine 2.
Juanita has more than 35 years of IRS experience, serving in various roles within the e-File Services organization, helping to deliver Forms 1120, 1065 and the 1040 family of tax returns onto the Modernized e-File platform. She has worked in several key Submission Processing pipeline operations and Campus Collection functions.

Juanita is a graduate of the Winter 2017 Candidate Development Program.

HARRISON SMITH: "The New IRS Enterprise Digitization..."

THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 2:25 PM - 2:50 PM      

Harrison Smith


Enterprise Digitization
& Case Management Office

IRS Procurement Office

Harrison Smith currently serves as the agency's Co-Director of the new Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management office since July 2020.The new stand-alone office focuses on enhancing the taxpayer experience by improving business processes and modernizing systems.

Prior to this assignment Harrison served as the deputy in the IRS procurement office since July 2019 and focused on the application of automation and machine learning technologies in the procurement space. Prior to joining the IRS, he served as the Industry Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he focused on industry engagement, innovation labs, and creative pricing arrangements, and also served as a principal adviser to the DHS Chief Procurement Officer. Smith has 15 years of operational procurement experience with various DHS offices and the Naval Sea Systems Command. A former Presidential Management Fellow, Smith also worked on policy and strategic analysis positions in Congress. He holds a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in US Foreign Policy from The American University, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.


THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND at 2:25 PM - 2:50 PM      

Denise Davis


Return Integrity Verification Program Management, IRS

Denise Davis currently serves as the Director, Return Integrity Verification Program Management (RIVPM) in the Wage & Investment (W&I) Division. She is responsible for the policy and program oversight of revenue protection efforts such as the detection, prevention and treatment of improper refunds (identity theft and non-compliance). In cooperation with multiple organizations within the IRS as well as partnerships through the Security Summit, RIVPM develops, tests and perfects innovative, forward-thinking solutions to pre-refund revenue protection challenges.

Prior to her current assignment, she has served as an acting director in a variety of organizations, including Accounts Management, Field Compliance Services, Field Assistance, and Return Integrity and Compliance Services. Significant initiatives she led included the consolidation of the Identity Theft Victim Assistance work in Accounts Management in 2015 and the implementation of the certain provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act for the 2017 filing season. 

Denise has over 28 years of IRS experience in campus, field, and headquarters operations. She joined the IRS in 1988 working at the Atlanta Service Center and continued her leadership journey in multiple organizations within W&I. Denise is a graduate of the Executive Readiness Program and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from the University of South Florida. Denise and her husband Darrell reside in the Atlanta area.