May 24, 2017 - 3:07 PM EDT
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ProfNet Experts Available on NAFTA, Iran Elections, More

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NEW YORK, May 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network who are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

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  • Presidential Elections in Iran
  • Why the White House Needs an Onsite Coach/Psychologist

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Renegotiating NAFTA (15 experts)


  • Breaking News Editor – The Oklahoman
  • Reporter, NFL – The Wall Street Journal
  • Reporter, Digital Media and Advertising – CMO Today


  • How to Generate Leads From Social Conversations
  • 3 Common UX Myths Debunked
  • Blog Profiles: Art Museum Blogs



Presidential Elections in Iran
Hamed Behravan
Iran Program Director
Democracy Council
"Many progressive Iranians, and specially the western-oriented youth, want the incumbent President Rouhani to continue working towards a more open society he is promising on the campaign trail. Rouhani is playing into this trend by adapting a much harsher rhetoric against the establishment, and specially the powerful IRGC and judiciary -- a rhetoric so harsh that was criticized openly by the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Despite the usual difficulty in predicting the outcome of Iran's elections, one thing is for sure: The majority of the Iranian people still believe their votes matter, even if it can only raise the price the establishment has to pay if it decides to override the will of the people, and even if that will is only limited to choosing between the lesser of two evils."
Based in Washington, D.C., Behravan has been a freelance journalist focusing on Iran for more than a decade. As a journalist, he produced a TV show in Persian focusing on the role of technology in helping users bypass censorship and improve civil society. As Democracy Council's Iran program director, he has designed, executed, and managed complex projects to help the civil society organizations and activists in Iran in areas such as rule of law, human rights, and information freedom. He is fluent in Persian.
Expert Contact: [email protected]

Why the White House Needs an Onsite Coach/Psychologist
Michael Klein, PsyD
Psychologist, Principal
MK Insights LLC
"The key to staying on track at work is managing internal roadblocks and reacting thoughtfully to external ones. While a few industries understand the benefit to the bottom line in having highly trained, in-house coaches and advisors available, most haven't caught on yet. This is not about providing therapy at work but, rather, applying sound psychological insights and tools to help successful (and often narcissistic or sociopathic) leaders perform at peak capacity based on their own need to do well and manage critical blindspots."
Dr. Klein is available to speak about the use of in-house psychiatrists and psychologists as consultants when a deeper understanding of mental health and personality is required. As a psychologist, he can address how personality, emotional intelligence, and motivators impact decision-making, management style, and potential "de-railing" behaviors. He is the author of "Trapped in the Family Business: A practical guide to understanding and managing this hidden dilemma," and is approaching 20 years of experience as a human resources professional, psychologist, and organizational consultant.
Expert Contact: [email protected]

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Renegotiating NAFTA (15 experts)

Earlier this month, the Trump administration formally told Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Following are experts who are available for interviews on this topic:

Alex Lawson
Senior Reporter, International Trade
"The big dynamic to watch is how aggressive the Trump administration will be in overhauling the agreement. Trump spent his entire campaign bashing NAFTA as a disaster for the U.S. economy and flirted with completely terminating the agreement as recently as a few weeks ago. But the comments from US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer suggest that a more modest 'modernization' of NAFTA may be in order. The administration will also be fielding a litany of calls from industry groups and other advocates who want to see the NAFTA reshaped in their best interests. Lighthizer's notification to Congress mentioned that he was interested in improving the NAFTA's labor, environmental, digital trade and intellectual property rules, but each of those broad topics contains a multitude of policy options for the administration."
Lawson, a senior reporter covering all aspects of international trade, has been reporting on NAFTA for years, including many stories on President Trump's NAFTA policies and proposed changes. He can provide other reporters with unbiased commentary – on business, legal and political implications -- rooted in research and first-party interviews. His stories for Law360 focus on trade disputes, enforcement efforts and regulatory developments. He has covered the negotiations of numerous regional trade agreements, including the passage of the largest bundle of trade legislation in two decades. Recent Law360 stories by Lawson include coverage of the first steps by the Trump White House to investigate the causes of U.S. trade deficits (, news of the $1.2 billion penalty imposed on ZTE Corp. for violating export control rules for Iran and North Korea (, and an analysis of Trump's trade brain trust (
Contact: Eric Sokolsky, [email protected]

Raj Bhala
Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law; Rice Distinguished Professor
University of Kansas School of Law
"NAFTA has become a pillar of the American economy and stands as one of the broadest, deepest free-trade agreements in human history. One way to appreciate its significance is to see it in the light of the long, uneasy history of U.S.-Mexican relations and swings in Mexican economy policy through much of the 20th century. Another, 21st century, way to think about NAFTA is to realize that America, Canada and Mexico already spent eight years rewriting and modernizing it -- it's called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Unilateral threats of withdrawal or demands for renegotiations risk triggering yet more protectionist moves across the globe."
An expert on international trade law, Bhala can discuss free trade agreements, NAFTA, its original form, renegotiation, economic impacts of the deal on the three cooperating nations, relations between the three countries, national security related to trade and related topics. Bhala has worked extensively in all three NAFTA nations and more than 25 countries around the world, including a majority of the Trans-Pacific Partnership nations. He has written dozens of books and journal articles on international trade, including "TPP Objectively: Law, Economics, and National Security of History's Largest, Longest Free Trade Agreement," "Modern GATT Law" and "Understanding Islamic Law (Shari'a)."
Contact: Mike Krings, [email protected]

Brandon Stallard
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
TPS Logistics
"The impact of Trump's public criticisms of NAFTA has been negligible. There have been no duty rate increases and no shipping pattern changes. I don't foresee anything happening in the near future that would be detrimental to American trade. However, Trump's newly released 'A Better Way' tax plan -- which proposes a 20 percent border tax -- could have a momentous economic blow to the U.S. Our North American trade relationships feature more large-item manufacturing, so minor adjustments would be a far more feasible form of action."
Stallard is a nationally recognized expert in transportation. His company has a strong focus on North American trade, regularly moving freight and goods between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He brings over 30 years of experience to the table and can apply his expertise across a plethora of different industries, including retail, manufacturing, automotive, oil and gas, health and beauty, and more. His expertise includes transportation, trade regulation, North American cross-border trucking and trade, and international shipping.
Contact: Rachel Bonello, [email protected]

Doreen Edelman
Shareholder and Co-Leader, Global Business Team
Baker Donelson
"Leaders of all three NAFTA member countries have now acknowledged the benefits that might be gained by renegotiating the 1994 regional free trade agreement. And, despite criticism of NAFTA as it currently exists, President Trump recently recognized the virtues of regional trade, declaring in a recent meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that both countries will 'coordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent.' Indeed, there is a lot to be gained from renegotiation. While the U.S. economy has certainly benefitted under NAFTA, there are four main areas in which NAFTA may be improved for the benefit of U.S. business and job growth: labor and environmental standards, rules of origin, e-commerce and professional services."
Edelman has more than 25 years of experience counseling companies on import and export compliance, foreign investment and global expansion and her work has carried her to all corners of the world. She has helped to establish a natural gas facility in Turkey, protected a client's intellectual property in Japan, and watched out for the interests of a major fast-food chain franchisor in Latin America. She is co-author of a comprehensive analysis of NAFTA and many other trade-related articles. She recently penned an article published by The Hill, "4 Smart Ways to Improve NAFTA" (
Contact: Jonathan Breed, [email protected]

Mohan Tatikonda
Professor of Operations Management, and Dr. L. Leslie and Mary Louise Waters Faculty Fellow
Indiana University Kelley School of Business
"Changing NAFTA alone does nothing to address workers' skills and the impact of increasing automation and productivity, but there are other ways to increase high-wage U.S. manufacturing jobs. That includes companies refocusing their product lines to be more innovative, customized and responsive to customer needs. Why don't companies do that now? One is because executives sometimes find it easier to go down the cost minimization path rather than the innovation path. The other reason is that executives who are following the belief of maximizing shareholder returns are not always reinvesting in company R&D and worker skills."
Tatikonda is an expert in corporate strategy, international manufacturing and supply chains. He is an international consultant and researcher with field experience in Mexico and across the globe. He formerly consulted for the World Bank and is an international keynote speaker.
Contact: Teresa Mackin, [email protected]

Trevor Collier
Associate Professor, Economics
University of Dayton
"It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be happy with the result of renegotiating NAFTA. One of his complaints on the campaign trail was that NAFTA caused a reduction in auto manufacturing jobs in the United States. Manufacturing jobs in the automotive industry actually increased in the United States immediately following NAFTA. Automation has caused the largest decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. No renegotiation of NAFTA is going to halt the increase in automation."
Collier teaches principles of economics and microeconomics, public finance, economics of the environment and managerial economics.
Contact: Meagan Pant[email protected]

Dr. Nozar Hashemzadeh
Professor of Economics
Radford University
A summary of Dr. Hashemzadeh's research regarding the impact of NAFTA on jobs in the U.S.: "For the last decade, the U.S. labor market has been characterized by rapid technological change, intensifying competitive pressure from abroad, declining union power, automation, favorable energy prices, downsizing, and rapid expansion in information, financial and investment services. The outlook for job growth depends in large part on the growth of the domestic economy, increased exports, exchange rate fluctuations, tariffs and other potential trade barriers, official protection for intellectual property rights in other countries, and the degree of economic and political stability in U.S. trading partners. Despite genuine differences of opinion among supporters and antagonists of NAFTA, nearly all economic studies of the trade accord have concluded that relaxation of trade barriers will benefit consumers and promote economic growth in North America.
Dr. Hashemzadeh joined Radford University's Economics Department in 1983, where he has been teaching and conducting research on macroeconomic issues, employment disparities by race, international trade and the U.S.'s international competitiveness. He has been the advisor to the International Honor Society in Economics since 1990.
Expert Contact: [email protected]

Steven Otillar
Partner, Akin Gump in Houston
President-Elect, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
Otillar is available to discuss the potential impact of a NAFTA renegotiation on oil and gas, and the U.S. relationship with both Mexico and Canada, in light of Mexico's energy reforms and Canada's recent energy infrastructure deals and focus on shale. Otillar focuses his practice on the development, finance, acquisition and divestiture of domestic and international energy projects, with an emphasis on upstream projects in emerging markets. He advises clients on public tenders and auctions and a variety of development agreements in relation to major energy infrastructure projects around the world. He is representing a number of U.S. companies involved in Mexico's deep and shallow water auctions.
Contact: Vasiya Kemp, [email protected]

Richard Walawender
Principal Attorney
Miller Canfield, Detroit
Walawender is co-leader of the firm's Corporate Group, and director of the firm's International Practice and Autonomous Vehicle Practice. His practice specialties include mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial law, corporate governance and securities, private equity, venture capital, equity and debt financing, international transactions and joint ventures, project finance, and franchising. As director of the firm's International Practice, he has also been the lead attorney on numerous multinational M&A transactions for U.S., Canadian, European, Asian, Mexican, and other non-U.S. clients. Walawender recently penned two articles on the future of NAFTA in the new administration: "Worries about NAFTA Take Back Seat to Potential 'Border Adjustment Tax'" ( and "Could President Trump Really Pull the U.S. out of NAFTA? Basic FAQs" (
Contact: Carol L. Lundberg, [email protected]

Eugene Laney
Head of International Trade Affairs
DHL Express
Laney has spoken about NAFTA at length, and can share his insights, specifically on the benefits of modernizing American's free trade agreements. Based out of Washington, D.C., Laney has more than 20 years of experience ensuring corporate compliance with regulatory requirements and tracks international trade and cargo security issues for the global market leader in the express and logistics industry, making him a great expert source.
Contact: Sloane Fistel, [email protected]

Jay Erstling
Petterson Thuente IP
With the Trump administration announcing it will renegotiate NAFTA, backed by a campaign threat to withdraw, what's at stake for U.S. patent and trademark owners? NAFTA contains significant IP provisions. When Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP, he gave up major improvements in international IP protection that had been negotiated for U.S. IP owners. It's far from clear that new bilateral negotiations, which Trump has proposed, would secure as good a deal for US IP owners. Erstling, who served in Geneva with the World Intellectual Property Organization, can speak to IP provisions of NAFTA and TPP.
Chapter 17 of NAFTA, which deals with IP:
Contact: Joshua Schneck, [email protected]

Giacomo Santangelo
Lecturer of Economics
Fordham University
Examples of Trump and NAFTA stories Santangelo has been interviewed on before include: 1) "Divisive policies will harm Trump's plans to grow economy," Feb. 1, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle (; 2) "Clinton's, Trump's opposition to trade pact dims growth prospects," Sept. 25, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle (; 3) "Trade Talks," April 29, 2015, Arise America (; 4) "Fast Track Fast Trade," April 26, 2015, Arise Review (
Contact: Rachel Roman, [email protected]

Mark David Witte
Associate Professor of Economics and MBA Director
College of Charleston
Witte is available for interviews on the Trump administration's plan to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade impact of currency manipulation, and Mexican sugar and Mexican trucking issues concerning NAFTA.
Contact: Mike Robertson, [email protected]

Maia Linask
Economics Professor
University of Richmond Robins School of Business
Linask's expertise is in international trade, and her research has examined the impact of free trade agreements on foreign direct investment and the factors that influence trade policy. She has studied the effect of trade policy on the Mexican auto market. In addition, she is a member of the International Trade and Finance Association.
Contact: Cynthia Price, [email protected]

Steve H. Hanke
Professor of Applied Economics
Co-Director, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Hanke is a senior fellow and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., a senior advisor at the Renmin University of China's International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing, a special counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York, a contributing editor atCentral Banking in London, and a contributor at Forbes. Hanke is also a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement and of Euromoney Country Risk's Experts Panel. In the past, Hanke taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a member of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisers in Maryland, as a senior economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, and as a senior advisor to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Hanke served as a state counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Montenegro. He was also an advisor to the presidents of Bulgaria, Venezuela and Indonesia. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. He has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia. His most recent books are "Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation to Growth" (2008), "A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari" (2010), "Juntas Monetarias para Paises en Desarollo" (2015), and "Currency Boards for Developing Countries: A Handbook" (2015).
Contact: Jill Rosen, [email protected]



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  • Breaking News Editor – The Oklahoman
  • Reporter, NFL – The Wall Street Journal
  • Reporter, Digital Media and Advertising – CMO Today



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