2017 SBC: Meet the Keynote Speakers


The 2017 SAME Federal Small Business Conference for the A/E/C Industry will bring together more than 2,500 attendees from across government and industry to share information, conduct market research, discover new opportunities and build relationships.

Highlighting this year’s event, being held Nov. 15-17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., are four keynote speakers that are sure to inspire and inform: Isaac Lidsky, best-selling author and CEO of ODC Construction) and inform (Dr. James Galvin, SES, Acting Director, Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs / The Honorable Lucian Niemeyer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations & Environment / Jackie Robinson-Burnette, SES, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting & Business Development, Small Business Administration).


Isaac Lidsky, CEO of ODC Construction and Best-Selling Author

Isaac Lidsky, despite losing his sight over a multi-year period from age 13 to 25 due to a degenerative condition retinitis pigmentosa, has seen the world more clearly, and from more perspectives, than most. A child actor in his teens, a Harvard graduate at 19 with a degree in mathematics and computer science, then a graduate of Harvard law School, a lawyer who clerked for two Supreme Court justices and litigated appeals for the Department of Justice, a founder in 1999 of an internet company that remains active today, and a founder in 2005 of a non-profit organization, Hope for Vision, that has raised millions for blinding diseases, Lidsky brings to his position as CEO of Florida-based ODC Construction an entrepreneurial drive and resilient spirit that has helped the company grow to more than 400 employees and $150 million in revenue as a leader in shell construction. Since taking over in 2011, he has expanded the business from a concrete subcontractor into a full-service provider of masonry, foundations and framing services and continues to move into new markets in the Sunshine State. Lidsky is the New York Times-bestselling author of Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities In A World That Can’t See Clearly, published in 2017.  [Listen to Lidsky on SAME’s Real TiME Podcast on his career, his business approach, and leadership style.]


The Honorable Lucian Niemeyer – Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations & Environment

The Honorable Lucian Niemeyer became Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations & Environment (EI&E) in August 2017. The office provides budgetary, policy, and management oversight of the Department of Defense’s acquisition and use of operational and installation energy to support warfighting and base operations, which encompasses energy security, increased energy efficiency, and promotion of renewable energy sources. EI&E also includes an $880 billion real property portfolio that encompasses more than 500 installations, 562,000 buildings and structures, and 25 million acres. Previously, Niemeyer served as Founder of The Niemeyer Group, where he advised public and private entities on national defense issues. From 2003-2014, he was a staff member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, where he managed installations, oversaw energy and environmental programs, and recommended the construction, repair, and modernization of military facilities. Niemeyer is an Air Force veteran, retiring in 2008 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with 15 years of active and five years of Air National Guard service working within the installation engineering and military plans community. Niemeyer holds a Bachelor of Architecture, from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Business Administration from The George Washington University, and a Master of National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.


Dr. James Galvin, SES – Acting Director, Office of Small Business Programs, Department of Defense

Dr. James Galvin, SES, serves as the Acting Director of the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). He leads the development and implementation of policies and procedures for small businesses to contribute to the $285 billion defense industrial base. He works with acquisition leadership and stakeholders across the government and industry to facilitate the acquisition of timely, innovative and cost-effective national security solutions through contracts with small businesses. Prior to joining OSBP, Dr. Galvin was on detail to DOD from the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a Program Manager for more than 110 energy and water projects on military installations. He developed and implemented the program to demonstrate innovative technologies to improve energy security. He also served as an adjunct professor at George Washington University, teaching graduate students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to working at NREL, Dr. Galvin retired from the Army as a Colonel after serving in a variety of aviation and operations research assignments. He served in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 18th Airborne Corps. He also served on the Army Staff, at U.S. Southern Command Headquarters, and at the Army’s Combined Arms Center. Dr. Galvin earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, a master’s in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


Jackie Robinson-Burnette, SES, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting & Business Development, Small Business Administration

Jackie Robinson-Burnette, SES, became Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Government Contracting & Business Development, Small Business Administration (SBA) in May 2016. In this role, she leads a team of five Senior Executives and over 190 small business professionals across the nation. She oversees all federal small business contracting and business development matters, to include the government’s $90 billion-plus in prime contract awards to small businesses each fiscal year. Robinson-Burnette joined SBA in December 2015 as Associate Administrator of 8(a) Business Development, after serving as Deputy to the Secretary of the Army Office of Small Business Programs. That assignment came after she served from 2010-2013 as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where she led the agency’s $6 billion small business program. Before that, she was the Deputy Associate Director for Small Business Programs for the Army Contracting Command Office of Small Business Programs. She began her career as an Army Contracting Command Europe (Stuttgart), GS-1102 Contract Specialist Intern in 1990. Over the years, she served in various positions to include contracting officer with an unlimited warrant, senior procurement analyst, and contracting intern coordinator. Her experience was gained at the Army Installation, PARC, HCA, and HQDA levels in the Washington D.C. metro area, Korea, Germany, and short temporary duty in war torn areas Bosnia, Kosovo, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Hungary, and Taszar. Robinson-Burnette graduated from the University of Maryland (UMUC) with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management with a focus on Acquisition & Contracting. She is DAWIA Level III Certified in Contracting.


In addition to the keynote speakers, the 2017 Small Business Conference will feature more than 20 hours of education sessions where attendees can learn about contracting with the federal government and position themselves for success; a Senior Government Leaders Panel with the Engineering Service Chiefs; networking roundtables where small businesses can meet face-to-face with agencies and large businesses; business opportunity briefings from nearly a dozen federal agencies and set by business-line that will allow companies to hear about upcoming work in their area of expertise; and an Exhibit Hall with an Innovation Theater and over 300 exhibitors, giving companies and agencies a one-stop shop to make connections, find teaming partners, and discover new products and services to meet mission needs. 

For more information on the 2017 Small Business Conference and to register to attend, visit www.samesbc.org. Follow the event using #SAMESBC.