If you are interested in speaking at the Expo, please contact Daniel Kazakos at: kazakos.daniel@yahoo.com


George Tastard

U.S. Dept of Commerce/International Trade Administration-Director

George Tastard.JPG

Honorable Brooks D. Ohlson

Director, Sacramento Regional Center for International Trade Development


George Tastard is a California native from Southern California. He received his degree from California State University, Fullerton in International Business and George is fluent in German and Spanish.

In 2002 George became the director of the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration located in Sacramento, California.

George draws from 25 years of international sales and marketing experience in both the private sector and government. During this time George, has worked with U.S. firms in entering new international markets worldwide. George has led U.S. trade delegations to Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Currently, George focuses his efforts on three areas: First, assisting American firms in selecting and penetrating overseas markets. Second, he supports local economic development offices develop foreign direct investment attraction strategies. And finally, George also supports government to government commercial diplomacy initiatives.


Honorable Brooks D. Ohlson

Honorary Consul General of Bulgaria

Brooks Ohlson is currently the Director of the Northern California/Sacramento. Regional Center for International Trade Development (CITD) a program created and funded by the California Community College Chancellors Office. Mr. Ohlson previously served for 8 years as the Executive Director of the Northern California World Trade Center (NCWTC), and its U.S. State Department's International Visitors Program (NCIV). Over the past 20 years, Mr. Ohlson developed and hosted over 500 international conferences, workshops, training programs and trade missions with total participation of over 12,000. One of the most significant was the 1800 participant USA/PRC Business Conference in San Francisco which he developed and hosted for the Guangdong and Hong Kong governments. He has created over $15 million in public and private sector contracts and grants to sustain the CITD, NCWTC, NCIV and the Bulgarian Consulate during this period. He elevated the NCWTC to amongst the top 5 in the U.S.A. as well as earning the NCWTC the prestigious President of the United States "E Award" for outstanding export service program (2004). In May 2010 he received the same "E Award" for export service excellence as the Director of the CITD and in May 2016 he received the President’s top export service "E Star" Award. In May 2015 he was appointed by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council. He serves on several Board of Directors in Northern California. Mr. Ohlson briefly served as the District Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign and Commercial Service in Sacramento and for 8 years previously, he served as the Special Agent in Charge for the Southwestern Region of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, Los Angeles. During his tenure with the US Dept of Commerce, Mr. Ohlson was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving as both a Commercial and Export Control Attaché responsible for Sweden and Northern Europe. Following that 4 year assignment he made frequent trips to Europe, the Middle East and Asia for the Department's non-proliferation offices in partnership with USDOC, USDOS, DOD, CIA and US Customs. Prior to his tenure at the Commerce Department, Mr. Ohlson served with distinction as a Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department’s BATF, US Secret Service and the Dept of Justice Organized Crime Bureau.. He is a native Californian and speaks Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. He is a graduate of California State University. In August 2004 he was appointed by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and the U.S, State Department as the Honorary Consul General of Bulgaria to Northern California and maintains that appointment today.

Terrance rodgers

Economic Development Officer, RCRC

Terrance Rodgers joined Rural County Representatives of California in 2015 and serves as the Economic Development Officer.  Terrance is responsible for identifying and establishing opportunities for economic growth, facilitating community and economic development planning initiatives, identifying and securing funding sources for county and regional infrastructure projects, and liaising with local organizations, businesses and individuals in RCRC communities and regions to further economic and community development. Terrance also assists RCRC member counties with enhancing economic resources that help address the unique economic challenges facing California’s rural communities.  Prior to joining RCRC, Terrance managed six professional research staff to develop policy recommendations for CalPERS executive staff and the Board of Administration. Terrance also worked for the Fair Political Practices Commission as a Political Reform Consultant, and as a Business Banker for Wells Fargo, LLC. Terrance holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from the California State University, Sacramento.


Susan Quale

VP Human Resources at Sierra-Cascade Nursery Inc.



Jeanne M. Malitz

Principal of Malitzlaw Inc.


Nina Gibbs

Managing Director, Savi Global



Susan Quale is the Vice President of Human Resources for Sierra-Cascade Nursery, Inc., a leading supplier of strawberry plants to commercial fruit growers. Responsibilities include the oversight and coordination of all HR functions, including benefits and compensation, health and safety, workers compensation, labor law compliance, labor management including administration of the H-2A Guest Worker program which entails managing food service, housing and transportation for all eligible employees of the company. Sierra-Cascade Nursery grows many crops in addition to the strawberries and has multiple sites in California, Southern Oregon, Idaho and Nevada. The company employs in excess of 2400 people at its peak and utilizes multiple H-2A contracts each year, housing and feeding over 1300 foreign employees annually.

Susan has been with SCN for 22 years and is a Certified HR Professional. 


Jeanne M. Malitz is the principal of Malitzlaw, Inc. which focuses on employment-based immigration matters with an emphasis on permanent and temporary labor certification for agricultural employers. Her practice also includes counseling on employment verification including E-Verify and I-9-related issues. Ms. Malitz actively participates in advocacy for immigration reform through national committee work on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) and the National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE). She is a member of AILA’s national Department of Labor Committee and chairs the H-2A Committee for the NCAE. She frequently presents and writes on immigration-related topics. Ms. Malitz received her B.A. degree from the University of San Diego and her J.D. degree from the Boston University School of Law.

Ms. Malitz has been listed in San Diego Magazine as a Top Lawyer from 2013 through 2017.


Nina had been searching for a way to apply her passion for international affairs and foreign languages to the world of business after moving back to northern California, so when a local company asked her to provide interpretation services for contract negotiations with a potential global distributor, she began formulating the idea for Savi Global. Combining her background in business development, a Master’s degree in International Affairs from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy, and a talent for attracting service-minded, results-oriented team members, Nina launched Savi Global in 2012.

Nina has accumulated over 15 years of experience in business development, marketing strategy, and supply chain planning while working for key clients in technology, food and agriculture, and defense, including Sony, Hewlett Packard, Boeing, Jack in the Box, and Driscolls. She has professional experience with Spanish and Italian and has studied Bahasa Indonesia, Portuguese, German, and French. She has worked in Italy, Spain, and Mexico and has a worldwide network of international business resources.

Leveraging her experience with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center and Women's Business Center programs, she applies her extensive knowledge of doing business in the U.S. to guide entrepreneurs and business owners from around the world through the process of planning, starting, and expanding their business visions.

Lydia Hock

Principle, Labormex


Labormex manages a wide range of visa support services and logistics in Mexico- so that you can focus on running your business.

H-2 regulations are demanding and it can be a challenge for employers to find temporary workers. Our company has 13 years of experience working with the H-2 visa programs.  We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service while prioritizing compliance with H-2 regulations.