2014 Featured Speakers

Presented in alphabetical order.

Asad AliAsad Ali
Alan Biller & Associates

Asad is a senior consultant at Alan Biller & Associates, focusing on Taft-Hartley pensions. He assists clients with asset allocation and liability studies, pension investment structures, manager searches, development of performance evaluation reports and investment policy statements. Previously, Asad served as a principal and senior consultant with Mercer Investments.

Dave BlitzsteinDave Blitzstein
Blitzstein Consulting, LLC

Dave recently retired as special assistant for multiemployer plans for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), where he was a trustee on Taft-Hartley pension funds and health funds serving half a million participants. In 2011, Dave was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) for a three-year term.

Larry BrownLarry Brown

Larry is secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), one of Canada’s largest unions. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Labor Movement. He has written and spoken extensively about public finances, debt and deficit issues, changes in federal provincal financing and public-sector restructuring.

Doug CoganDoug Cogan

Doug is vice president and asset owner consultant for MSCI ESG Research, serving pension funds, foundations and endowments. He provides investment decision-making support tools for integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in portfolio risk and total plan management. He is author and co-author of several books, articles and reports, including the 2013 MSCI Applied Research white paper, Optimizing ESG Factors in Portfolio Construction.

Randy DeFrehnRandy DeFrehn

Randy is executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP), which was founded to correct lawmakers’ misunderstandings of multiemployer plans. Under his leadership, the NCCMP has communicated with Congress and regulatory agencies about the perspectives of multiemployer plans on every relevant piece of legislation affecting working people.

Chris DeMeoChris DeMeo
Nu Paradigm Investment Partners, LLC

Chris is partner and co-founder of Nu Paradigm Investment Partners, LLC. He has nearly 25 years of experience in investment management, capital markets and consulting. Previously, Chris was head of investment in the Americas for Towers Watson. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder.

John ElliotJohn Elliot

John is a partner at NEPC. He is a highly-respected and popular leader in the defined-benefits pension world. Since joining NEPC in 2003, he has spoken at many national conferences on the subject of Taft-Hartley plans. Prior to joining NEPC, he was the western regional director for the Marco Consulting Group from 1999 to 2003, where he succeeded in developing a West Coast presence for the firm in the Taft-Hartley market.

Gregg HymowitzGregg Hymowitz
EnTrust Capital

Gregg is the founder and managing partner of EnTrust Capital, as well as chair of EnTrust’s Investment Committee and a member of EnTrust Securities LLC. Prior to founding EnTrust Capital, he was a vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co., which he joined in 1992. Gregg graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School with a juris doctorate in 1990.

Michael KahnMichael Kahn Ph.D.
Institute on Public Pension Solutions

Michael is founder and president of the Institute on Public Pension Solutions, a research and education organization aimed at preserving defined-benefit pensions. For more than 25 years, he oversaw the Education, Finance and Economics program at the National Education Association, where he was the associate director of research. Michael is an active member of the American Education Finance Association and the American Economic Association.

Hank KimHank Kim

Hank is executive director and counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), the largest public trade association in the United States. As a strong advocate for defined-benefit pensions, Hank has proposed the concept of Secure Choice Pensions, a supervisory structure on the state level including elected officials, employees and employers. The concept is already at work in three states. Prior to joining NCPERS, Hank served for six years as a governmental affairs representative for an international public-sector union, working on benefits, appropriations, homeland security, and healthcare issues.

JSLJacques Loveall
UFCW Trust

Jacques is president of UFCW 8-Golden State and chairman of UFCW Trust, which funds pension and health care benefits for 125,000 active workers, dependents and retirees in the food and drug industries. He is a founder of CORPaTH, an international alliance focused on promoting, protecting and perpetuating defined-benefit pensions around the globe. In addition, Jacques is a vice president of the UFCW International Union and a vice president of  the California Labor Federation.

Jeff MacLeanJeff MacLean
Wurts & Associates

Jeff is CEO of Wurts & Associates and has more than 25 years of investment experience. He chairs the firm’s management committee and serves on the research advisory committee, which provides strategic guidance to the firm’s research staff on issues affecting clients and vetting research department initiatives. He also volunteers at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and serves on the advisory board for the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

John MarcoJohn Marco
Marco Consulting Group

John is a senior consultant at Marco Consulting Group. He has worked with the Denver Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, as an organizer, researcher and lobbyist. He acted on behalf of union members and signatory contractors in multiple capacities and worked to implement “best value” and “responsible contractor” policies for the city and county of Denver. He sits on the Mikva Challenge Grant Foundation board.

Steve McCourtSteve McCourt
Meketa Investment Group

Steve is managing principal of Meketa Investment Group. He serves as lead consultant for several institutional funds with public, Taft-Hartley, endowment, non-profit and corporate plan sponsors. He also leads the firm’s Global Macroeconomic Working Group. He sits on the steering committee of the University of California, San Diego Economics Roundtable.

Keith MestrichKeith Mestrich
Amalgamated Bank

Keith is president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, where he has 25 years of experience working with non-profit organizations and other constituencies in the Labor Movement. Keith also served as CFO and deputy chief of staff for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He sits on the board of directors and is treasurer of the Union Health Center in New York City and the DC Employment Justice Center.

Dan PedrottyDan Pedrotty
American Federation of Teachers

Dan Pedrotty American Federation of Teachers Dan is co-director of the Center for Workers’ Benefits and Capital Strategies at the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The AFT program organizes workers’ capital (pension funds and savings plans) into a voice for corporate accountability and retirement security. Dan also represents AFT with lawmakers and agencies on the issues of capital markets and corporate governance.

Peter PalandjianPeter Palandjian
Intercontinental Real Estate

Peter is chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Real Estate. He oversees affiliated operating companies, with pri­mary responsibility for investment strategy and institutional relationships. Founded more than 50 years ago, Intercontinental is an SEC-registered investment advisor and fully integrated real estate services firm with offices in Boston, New York, Orlando, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Darren RobbinsDarren Robbins
Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd

Darren is a founding partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd and has extensive experience in federal and state securities class action litigation. He received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award in 2004 for his role as lead counsel in In re Hanover Compressor Sec. Litig., which resulted in an $85-million recovery for shareholders and landmark corporate governance reforms.

Richard SimsRichard Sims Ph.D
Sierra Institute for Applied Economics

Richard is founder and president of Sierra Institute for Applied Economics. He served as chief economist with various state legislatures, including Arkansas and Kentucky. Richard was chief economic advisor to the Parliament of Moldova. He is also National Education Association’s chief economist. Richard earned his Ph.D. in applied economics from the University of Kentucky.

Ed SmithEd Smith
Ullico Inc.

Ed is president and CEO of Ullico Inc., which provides insurance and financial solutions for labor unions, union employers, union benefit funds and union members. Ed also served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment and chaired the National Alliance for Fair Contracting. He is a member of the Illinois Department of Labor Advisory Board.

Jay YoungdahlJay Youngdahl
Harvard University

Jay is a Senior Fellow at the Initiative for Responsible Investment in the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University. He is a also partner in The Youngdahl Law Firm, where he represents a number of labor-affiliated benefit funds. Jay is a labor trustee and chairs the boards of four Taft-Hartley benefit funds in Louisiana.