2013 Board of Directors
Chair of the Board
Braumiller Law Group PLLC
Mr. Leeds is an attorney at law and of counsel to Braumiller Schulz LLP, a Dallas-based law firm. He works from Los Angeles and concentrates on export and import compliance matters.
Prior to Dec. 1, 2009, Mr. Leeds was a Senior Export/Import Advisor in the corporate Global Trade Controls organization of The Boeing Company. His primary assignments included training, bonds and powers of attorney, Customs disclosures and enforcement issues, and handling export, import and Customs related regulatory and legislative matters. Mr. Leeds assisted with implementation of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), ACE Portal and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) programs within Boeing. He also provided technical assistance on US and non-US export and import compliance and supply chain security issues.
During his career in industry Mr. Leeds held export and import compliance positions at Hughes Aircraft Company, Hughes Space and Communications Company, and Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc. He started his career with U.S. Customs in Los Angeles, holding Import Specialist and Team Leader positions at LA/Long Beach Harbor and LAX. Mr. Leeds is a US Army veteran.
Mr. Leeds holds a B.A. from California State University Los Angeles and a J.D (Cum Laude) from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. He is a member of the California State Bar Association, holds a Customs Broker license and a Certified Customs Specialist designation. He has taught customs broker courses and other classes for the Foreign Trade Association for 28 years.
His experience and appointed positions include Past President of the Export Managers Association of California and Foreign Trade Association of Southern California; Former Chair of the Departmental Advisory Committee on the Commercial Operations of US Customs & Border Protection (COAC); Member of the Private Sector Consultative Group to the World Customs Organization; Member of the Board of Governors of the American Association of Exporters & Importers; and General Counsel to Women in International Trade – Los Angeles
Gina Thomas Patterson, CISR, CPIW, DAE
T: (562) 256-1914
Gina Thomas Patterson, Underwriter and Marine Account Manager for Roanoke Trade in Long Beach, CA, is current President of the South Bay Chapter of National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW dba International Association of Insurance Professionals) for the 2011-2013 term. She is also South Bay’s Education Director with the State of California Department of Insurance, and fulfills the duties of education and awards co-chairs.
Patterson has served in various capacities including president-elect, vice president, education co-chair and communications chair for the association. In 2009, she was instrumental in developing South Bay Chapter’s Mentors & Protégés program which has been adapted for use for the CA Council of NAIW/IAIP, Region VIII of NAIW/IAIP as well as at the national level, and was instrumental in developing South Bay’s first-ever website and implementing the association’s electronic storage and communications. She has served on the public relations team with the California Council of NAIW since 2008 in various capacities, was on the national education committee for NAIW/IAIP’s 2011 annual convention held in Las Vegas, and is currently on the National Task Force for development of their new CLP (Certified Leadership Designation) program.
Patterson joined Roanoke Trade in 2002 and is a licensed insurance broker with the State of California. She has earned the professional designations of Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) and Certified Professional Insurance Woman (CPIW). Patterson is an approved Lloyd’s cover holder with underwriting authority for the Watkins Syndicate. Roanoke Trade is a subsidiary of Munich Re and an affiliate of Watkins Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London.
Prior to joining Roanoke Trade, Patterson founded and developed a successful word processing firm, Unlimited Concepts. An award-winning ceramist and former member of the Lakewood Artist Guild, she served on LAG’s board of directors for 15 years as newsletter editor, student art show chairman, vice president-crafts, and president from 2003-2007. As student art show chairman for LAG, she worked closely with Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Don Knabe’s Art and Education grant program.
Gina has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2012
Roberta M. Yang
Rock-It Cargo USA LLC
T: (310) 216-6229
Roberta M. Yang is General Counsel of Rock-It Cargo USA LLC, a premier specialty and corporate expedited freight forwarder and logistics services provider, handling customers’ needs across the country and internationally. Rock-It Cargo handles large scale, high value shipments ranging from industrial power plant components and generators to fine artwork as well as large volume technology shipments to shipments of equipment used by musical bands and performance groups on tour.
Prior to joining Rock-It Cargo, Ms. Yang served as Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Homeland Security during and post-9/11, where she focused on regulatory issues in homeland security, particularly addressing security issues in the transportation industry.
Ms. Yang previously worked as the Deputy Chief Trial Counsel for the State Bar of California, managing the day to day operations of attorney disciplinary prosecutors in enforcement actions. She also worked at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe on complex litigation matters involving accountant liability issues and commercial litigation as well as criminal defense issues related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Ms. Yang has substantial trial experience as a Special Attorney, Los Angeles Strike Force, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Houston, Texas, prior to moving to Los Angeles.
She is a past president of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and Asian Pacific Bar of California. Ms. Yang volunteers as a Temporary Judge with the Los Angeles Superior Court and is a Board member of the Harvard-Westlake School Chinese Cultural Club. She is a former Board member of California Women Lawyers and Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Roberta has been nominated to serve on the WIT-LA Board in 2013.
T: (213) 356-6681
As a Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Los Angeles office, Lucy Wan is specialized in U.S. Customs and international trade consulting. She assists clients with complex international trade, risk management and regulatory compliance issues in connection with merchandise imported into the U.S. With over 11 years of experience in customs and trade, Lucy’s areas of expertise include customs valuation, classification, country of origin, various free trade agreements and special trade programs.
Specifically, in the valuation area, she has assisted numerous clients complete ACS Reconciliation/Cost submission filings, implement the First Sale for Export appraisement method, and analyze the transaction price between related parties. In the risk management area, she helps clients during complex customs audits, implement improvement plans, and in case necessary, quantify the “loss of revenue” liabilities. In the special trade area, Lucy works with clients to conduct in-depth analysis on goods’ qualification for duty-savings programs such as NAFTA, GSP, and other trade programs.
Lucy’s clients include large multinational corporations from a diverse mix of industries, including retail, houseware, information technology, electronics, automotive, textile, aircraft and defense.
Lucy Wan holds a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Beijing Second Foreign Studies University, and a M.A. in International Relations with a International Management focus from University of California, San Diego. She passed the U.S. Customs Brokers License Exam in 2002 and is also fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. She joined Women in International Trade - San Diego Chapter in 2002, and is a current member of Women in International Trade - Los Angeles.
Lucy has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2012
T: (213) 356-6517
T: (800) 421-9324 x7338
Montserrat Hernandez has over 13 years of insurance industry experiences and is currently the Western Division Bond Manager for Roanoke trade Services in the Long Beach, CA office. She has a dual role directly handling the large customhouse broker accounts and oversees the bond product line and customer service for the Western territory clientele which reaches from the Northern border of Canada to the southern area of San Diego and Calexico. Prior to being promoted to Bond Manager, she served as a Marine Clerk, Carnet Service Representative and a Bond Service Representative for 11 years.
Montserrat Hernandez is an insurance broker in the state of California and holds a license in property and casualty insurance.
Montserrat has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2012.
Port of Los Angeles
T: (310) 831-4896
Jean is the Project Manager of Business and Trade Development at the Port of Los Angeles and is responsible for directing and managing project development from beginning to end. This includes defining project scope and deliverables that support business goals in collaboration with other team members and stakeholders. She is responsible for building, developing and growing business relationships vital to the success of trade promotion programs to encourage and increase trade through the Port of Los Angeles and the Southern California Gateway. This promotion includes outreach programs to encourage and assist local small- to medium-sized businesses to leverage federal and local resources and help expand to new markets globally. This critical effort is vital to long-term, sustainable economic growth and job creation for the local economy.
Prior to this job assignment, Jean worked as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and worked closely with direct reports to manage and accomplish initiatives and independent projects. She represented the executive’s point of view and provided clear line of sight regarding strategies, business or functions.
Coronel joined the City of Los Angeles in 1987, with the Department of Water and Power as her first assignment. This was followed by an impassioning 16-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, where she was involved in major task force and high profile cases. In her role as Officer-in-Charge of various operational units at LAPD, she managed both sworn and civilian employees, oversaw the daily operation and internal management of the country's best big city police department. Among her coveted assignments included Internal Affairs, Risk Management, Information Technology, detective operations and crime analysis.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, a graduate undertaking in Industrial Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree Economics. She is also a Certified Crime and Intelligence Analyst.
Jean has been nominated to serve on the WIT-LA Board in 2013.
Livingston International Professional Services
(a subsidiary of Livingston International, Inc.)
T: (310) 426-2114
As a Senior Customs & Trade Advisor, Ms. Takushi is responsible for the oversight of both US import and export projects. Ms. Takushi reviews her clients’ business models and practices to assist in determining areas of risk, while also offering solutions for compliance, penalty mitigation and risk management.
Ms. Takushi’s expertise includes the development and implementation of import/export compliance program and supply chain reviews in security and inventory controls. She also regularly works with issues involving HTSUS classification, NAFTA and other FTAs, origin, and proper appraisement (valuation) of merchandise for Customs purposes. Ms. Takushi’s commodity specialty is apparel with association to accessories and raw materials but she also has experience with many other commodities over the past 10 years in the logistics industry.
Prior to joining Livingston in June 2012, Ms. Takushi managed the import and export trade compliance and transportation for a subsidiary of a multi-billion dollar apparel and footwear company. As the International Trade Manager, Ms. Takushi handled the daily operations for North America and acted as supply chain advisor to the sub-divisions in Australia, Spain and Japan. During her tenure, she successfully completed a Focused Assessment and four Prior Disclosures.
Ms. Takushi currently is the advisory council chair for a non-profit mental health services organization in the Los Angeles area. There are three offices servicing Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley. The group is primarily funded by the Department of Mental Health. Since joining this group, Ms. Takushi has chaired and managed several fundraising events.
Ms. Takushi has also sat on the board of another non-profit charity for 7 years. During her tenure as treasurer and annual event co-chair, she assisted in raising over $350k for the charity. The annual golf tournament also brought in over $150k in prizes per year.
Ginger Blaydes-Shalkowski LCB, CCS
JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc.
T: (310) 609-9330 ext 9304
Ginger previously served on the Wit Board in several capacities during the early 90’s. She was a member through WIT-LA’s evolution from dominantly a woman’s organization through the transitional period of being considered as a “networking club” to the mid 90s when the association grew enough to emulate the strength of WIT-Orange County and began having our board meetings at each other’s conference rooms instead of restaurants. At the time, WIT-LA (and most associations) kept manual notebooks, had to budget for postage to mail membership materials, dues reminders, meeting notices, newsletters and ballots. WIT-LA competed with the LACFFBA and FTA for industry speakers. She advised “I am proud that we actually had Marjorie Shostack at our program meetings”.
Shalkowski started her career in Freight Forwarding and Customs Brokerage in the late ‘80s, and remembers having to hand-type the small green 3461’s. She holds a BA is Business Administration and Psychology, and is a licensed Customs Broker and a Certified Customs Specialist, and at one time owned her own small brokerage shop.
Currently employed by JAS Forwarding (USA) as their permit license in Los Angeles, Ginger is also a member of the LACFFBA airport and other government agency committees, and is looking forward to adding WIT-LA to her meeting schedule.
Ginger has been nominated to serve on the WIT-LA Board in 2013.
Michele T. Pluta
Floor & Decor
T: (678) 505-3874
Career started in 1980 at Schenkers USA where Michele learned to write entries. She has worked in the brokerage industry since 1980 and holds a CHB License since 1986. Michele also holds a CCS and CES (what are these?)
Michele holds an MS in Education in addition to an MA in Global Management. She has been heavily involved in Compliance, both export and import, from 1996 to the present. She is currently the Corporate Compliance Manager for JAS Forwarding USA Inc., is a member of the NCBFAA and current membership chair for the IFFCHBA in Atlanta.
After spending 30+ years in Corporate America in the International Logistics Arena, Michele has enjoyed the opportunity of gaining prosperous experience in Operations and Sales as well as Technology. During those years, she also developed skills, which served well in various positions involving Government Affairs in various parts of the world. At this stage in her life, Michelle would like to give back in the form of sharing the extensive experience and expertise that she has attained. She is in a position to lend educational as well as working experience in the online classroom with learners. Pluta is the current Corporate Compliance Manager with JAS Forwarding USA Inc./Atlanta GA office. She has previous experience as Client Manager Maersk Inc./Atlanta, GA, Director of Customs & Compliance ABX Logistics USA Inc. Atlanta, GA., and was Director Compliance/ Branch Manager Geologists USA Inc., New York, NY
Some of her numerous accomplishments include implementing import/export audit program for ABX which ensured reasonable care requirements were achieved for 18 branch offices throughout the U.S.; binding ruling program, pre-audit program, post entry amendment program for import/export clients; Export Management System within ABX; conducted in-house import/export compliance training for ABX employees and outside training programs for clients throughout US. She enjoys an excellent relationship with U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Bureau of Industry and Security as well as other government agencies involved in import/export compliance, and created and implemented a license control system for ABX export Dept of Commerce and Dept.of Defense license activity, helped develop online compliance training both in import and as well as CTPAT/TSA/HAZMAT/
Michele is a member of the International Compliance Professional Association; National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association; Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology ; American Psychological Association; American Management Association; SIA-Society for International Affairs; and Sloan Consortium
She is an Adult Bible Study Instructor @ St. Michael the Archangel R.C. Church, Woodstock, GA and is the Adolescent Religious Education Instructor – St. Michael the Archangel R.C. Church, Woodstock, GA. Pluta is a U.S. Customs & Border Protection licensed broker as well as an NCBFAA Certified Customs Specialist. She is CTPAT certified, and attained global validation for ABX.
Michele has been on the WIT-LA Board since late 2012.
Wright Choice Promotions
T: (602) 795-7300