Speaker Bios

2019 Dallas | Los Angeles | Atlanta | Northern VA

2018 Las Vegas | Raleigh | Milwaukee | Baltimore

2017 Seattle | Denver | Washington, DC



Jason Kennedy | Oscar Oaxaca | Tracy Tucker

Jason KennedyJason Kennedy

Harrison Steck, P.C.

Jason has practiced construction law for almost 20 years, and he is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Jason represents clients from all segments of the construction industry. He assists construction clients with delay and labor impact claims, defective work claims, performance and payment bond claims, breach of contract/breach of warranty claims, and mechanic’s lien foreclosures.

In addition to representing clients in the courtroom, Jason has represented the construction industry before the Texas Legislature. He has been involved, along with select colleagues, in drafting important legislation affecting the construction industry, and he has testified before legislative committees regarding issues critical to the construction sector. He is also a frequent speaker to construction industry groups and associations on topics encompassing a range of construction issues and his unique expertise in construction related bankruptcy issues.

Jason has served on the Governing Council of the Construction Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association (2016-18) and is a member of the Construction Law Section of the Tarrant County Bar Association, Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law, American Bankruptcy Institute, and Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Oscar OaxacaOscar Oaxaca

Owner, Basecom, Inc.

Oscar Oaxaca is a second generation contractor and owner of Basecom, Inc. (www.basecominc.com) of Fort Worth, TX. Founded in 1996, Basecom specializes in construction and design-build projects focused on building, architectural, structural and electrical areas. Basecom offers construction, construction management, experienced field personnel, reliable subcontractors, and integrated design-builds, all with valued engineering. Basecom’s in-house electrical department enables it to be a single-source construction services company.

According to Brent Blonigan, Surety Manager and Senior Vice President at Grayhawk Companies, Oscar’s company has grown from bidding projects in the $100,000 to $200,000 range to those in the $6,000,000 to $7,000,000 range. Brent describes on LinkedIn how Oscar’s company is one that has undertaken multiple bonded projects, in and out of the 8a arena, that were in the $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 range. These projects included new and renovation work for Carswell Air Force Base, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and parking ramps in the City of Fort Worth.

Tracy TuckerTracy Tucker

President, Tucker Agency, Ltd.

Tracy Tucker is a second generation bond producer, who has been with the Tucker Agency, Ltd. (www.tuckeragency.com) of Fort Worth since 1982. Since becoming President of the agency in 1996, Tracy has overseen its expansion to additional offices, Brown & Tucker in Dallas and Tucker & Dunn in Lubbock. His 37 years of experience placing insurance and surety bonds has been integral to his agencies’ success in specializing in serving construction, energy, and industrial clients.

Tracy has been active in industry organizations and currently serves as the Second Vice President of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP). He has served as a NASBP Regional Vice-President, Director-At-Large, Chair of the Government Relations Committee, and Chair and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee. In addition, he currently serves on the Associated General Contractors of America Surety Bonding Committee. He is active with the AGC chapter, TEXO The Construction Association, and recently served on its board.

Tracy has been a Fort Worth resident his entire life. He graduated from Haltom High School in 1978, the same year he was the District Champion for the discus throw track and field event. Texas Christian University (TCU) provided him an athletic scholarship in the sport, and he graduated in 1982 after completing his B.B.A. in Finance from the M.J. Neeley School of Business. Shortly after graduation, Tracy began working for the Tucker Agency, Ltd., which was founded by Tracy’s father, the late Delbert W. Tucker.

Tracy and his wife, Marla, have four children. They are Steven Tucker, Laura Standish, Lauren Douglass Weaver, and Jordan Hainsfurther. Tracy and Marla relish spending time with their children and two grandchildren, William Standish and Philip Standish. Tracy also enjoys fishing and hunting as well as TCU sporting events, where you are likely to find Tracy tailgating in support of his alma mater.


Katie Kleinschmidt | Greg Veal

Katie KleinschmidtKatie Kleinschmidt

Vice President – Surety, USI Insurance Services

Katie Kleinschmidt has over eleven years of industry experience including risk analysis, financial analysis, underwriting, contract review, and account servicing. She is proficient in account management and analysis with regard to surety programs. She has three years of surety underwriting experience along with a strong relationship with key surety markets. Her current responsibilities include, program negotiations, financial analysis, relationship building within markets and clients, underwriting analysis, training, contract review, indemnity review, and team management.

Katie is the former president of the Surety Association of Georgia. She earned her bachelors of science in business management from the University of Tennessee, and is a graduate of the NASBP Surety School, Levels I, II & III.

Greg VealGreg Veal

Partner, Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin

Greg Veal is a member of the firm’s Fidelity, Surety, and Construction group with related experience going back to 1982. He has been with the firm since 1993, but he has first-hand experience in both a smaller, boutique construction partnership as well as a 200-lawyer firm. His career began during the time when fidelity and surety claims alike were handled by the same company representatives, and he continues to work in both areas today. He was born in Augusta, Georgia, has practiced in the Atlanta area for over 30 years, and currently lives in Johns Creek with his wife and children.

Greg has written and spoken often for groups interested in fidelity, surety, and construction law topics, including the Fidelity & Surety Law Committee (FSLC) of the Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section of the ABA (TIPS), the State Bar of Georgia’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), the Surety Claims Institute, and most frequently at conferences of the Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Association (SSFCA).


Las Vegas

Larry Holden | Lourdes Landa | Colin McCarthy

Larry HoldenLarry Holden

Surety Manager and Director, Assurance Ltd.

After completing military service in the Far East and Southeast Asia, Larry Holden attended the University of Iowa. In 1979, Holden graduated from college and began working for United Fire & Casualty Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Then, after working four years as an insurance adjustor, he joined the bond department, where he managed bond losses. He cross trained to focus on underwriting and spent four more years as a contract bond underwriter. Then in 1987, Holden moved to Las Vegas to join the agency, Assurance Ltd. In 1992, Holden became a Partner and Director of Assurance Ltd.

Assurance Ltd. was founded in 1952 and has been assisting businesses throughout Nevada and across the U.S. in developing solutions, including bonding, to protect business owners’ assets, reducing their cost of risk and increasing their profitability.

Lourdes LandesLourdes Landa

Manager, Surety Department, BB&T Insurance Services of California

Lourdes Landa is the Manager of the Surety Department of BB&T Insurance Services of California in Anaheim, CA. Landa specializes in negotiating terms and servicing contract, subdivision, license, permit and other miscellaneous bond needs at the agency.

Landa’s professional career of more than 28 years in the surety industry includes experience at both the agency and surety company levels. Working for surety companies, she has held positions involving claims, underwriting, and home office departments. At the agency level, she has negotiated surety programs for publicly traded and international companies.

She is an active member of several professional associations including the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, Surety Underwriters Association of Southern California, and Association of General Contractors.

Her professional licenses include: Fire and Casualty Broker and licensed continuing education instructor for surety in various states. In addition, she has taught at the NASBP William J. Angell Surety School.

Colin McCarthyColin McCarthy

Principal, LEED AP BD+C Lanak & Hanna, P.C.

Colin McCarthy is a principal at the law firm of Lanak & Hanna, P.C. in Orange, CA. McCarthy has been representing owners, general contractors, trade contractors, material suppliers, design professionals, and bonding companies for nearly 20 years. Many of these have been parties to complex construction projects. He is well-versed in all forms of project delivery methods and fluent with construction plans and specifications.

McCarthy is an active member of the Construction Section of the Orange County Bar Association and the National Bond Claims Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Associated Builders and Contractors Trust and serves as General Counsel for the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association. He has authored numerous articles related to the construction industry and currently lectures for the American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education Program. He also serves on the construction mediation panel for the United States District Court.

McCarthy is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction and a member of the United States Green Building Council. A strong proponent of sustainable construction and design, he served two terms as a planning commissioner for the City of Costa Mesa.

McCarthy received his Bachelor’s Degree, with honors, from the University of California Santa Barbara where he received the University Award of Distinction. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from Loyola Law School where he was a member of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review and Dean’s List. He also holds a Certificate in Construction Management from the College of Engineering at San Diego State University.


Robert Coon | Jessica Griffin | Adam Pfanmiller | Caroline Trautman | Tyler Turnbull

Robert CoonRobert Coon

Vice President, Surety, Scott Insurance

Robert M. Coon is the Vice-President, Surety for Scott Insurance based in Greensboro, N.C. Coon focuses exclusively on the surety industry where he has over 34 years of experience as both an underwriter and agent. With clients throughout North Carolina and Virginia, Coon works with contractors ranging in size from startups to large multi-national contractors to maximize their surety program both in the USA and internationally.

A native of New Orleans, Coon earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Louisiana State University. He serves as Chair of the NASBP Automation & Technology Committee and sits on the Carolinas AGC Supplier/Service Company Advisory Council.

Founded in 1864, Scott Insurance is a regional insurance agency serving clients through nine offices in NC, SC, TN and VA. The company is one of the 100 largest independent insurance agencies in the country with access to over 50 insurance carriers. Scott Insurance is a Best Practices Agency that focuses on the Risk Performance of its clients to help minimize their losses and insurance costs. The employee-owners of Scott include experts in property and casualty insurance, surety, employee benefits, loss prevention, claims control, and financial planning.

Jessica GriffinJessica Griffin

Contract Underwriter, Bond Exchange, Inc.

Jessica Griffin is a Contract Underwriter at the Bond Exchange, Inc., a wholesale insurance agency, in Charlotte, NC. In 2009, Griffin joined the Bond Exchange, which meets the surety bond needs of property and casualty agents across the country. In 2012 she was promoted to Senior Contract Account Underwriter and became responsible for underwriting and placing accounts with over 15 different surety company markets.

Griffin specializes in helping small businesses obtain bonding through the Small Business Administration and has extensive knowledge of the SBA application and bonding process.

She graduated from Clemson University in 2008 with a BA in History and is currently working to obtain her AFSB designation.

Adam PfanmillerAdam Pfanmiller

Senior Account Executive, BB&T Insurance Services

Adam Pfanmiller is a Senior Account Executive of BB&T Insurance Services in Durham, NC. He offers his clients more than 11 years of experience in the construction surety marketplace. Pfanmiller understands relationships are integral to construction surety and is committed to constantly improving partnerships between contractors and their surety company. He considers the contractor’s overall business strategy when coordinating terms of bonding arrangements and is always striving towards a seamless partnership.

Pfanmiller has a degree in business administration from Appalachian State University (finance and risk management). He is active in the Carolinas Surety Association (past president), Construction Financial Management Association, local Association of Building Contractors, National Utility Contractors Association of the Carolinas, and Carolinas Association of General Contractors.

Caroline L. TrautmanCaroline L. Trautman

Attorney, Anderson Jones

Caroline Trautman is an attorney with the award-winning, full-service law firm located in Raleigh, N.C. serving North Carolina and South Carolina. She is licensed to practice in North Carolina and South Carolina. She focuses on construction law, business law, and collections and pursues and defends claims for businesses, insurance carriers, and individuals.

Trautman counsels general contractors, subcontractors, owners, and other construction professionals in many aspects of their business including formation, contract negotiation, resolving disputes, collections, and litigation. Her construction practice encompasses contract drafting and review, contractual disputes, compliance, employment law, liens and bonds, defect claims, and litigation. Additionally, she represents businesses and insurance companies in subrogation and arbitration of homeowner and automobile claims.

Tyler TurnbullTyler Turnbull

Partner, Catalyst Surety Partners

Tyler Turnbull is a founding partner of Catalyst Surety Partners, an independent insurance agency in Charlotte, NC that exclusively focuses on providing surety bonds. Prior to launching Catalyst Surety Partners, Turnbull was a bond underwriter for Travelers and Liberty Mutual—the two largest surety companies in the United States. As an underwriter, Turnbull was responsible for assessing the surety’s risk for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune Global 500 companies.

Catalyst Surety Partners was launched in 2014 to fill a gap in the level of service and surety expertise being offered to small-to-medium size companies throughout the Carolinas.

Since the agency’s launch, Catalyst Surety Partners has leveraged its team’s internal surety bond underwriting expertise and relationships with over 25 of the leading surety companies in the industry to help over 200 contractors enhance their bonding capabilities.


Brad Babcock | Dan Gibson | Thomas Hofbauer | Theophilus Iyasele | Nick Newton | Jay Zahn

Brad BabcockBrad Babcock

Owner, Babcock Solutions, LLC

In 2012, Brad Babcock formed Babcock Solutions, LLC, of Cedarburg, WI, a surety-only broker company. Babcock has 18 years of experience as a surety company underwriter and 11 years as a surety broker in Wisconsin. Babcock is a graduate of University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in Business.
Babcock is Past-Chair of the NASBP Industry Relations Committee. He also served on the NASBP 2018 Annual Program Committee and as a State Government Affairs Representative. He previously served as a Regional Director, Director-At-Large, and Ex Officio Member of the NASBP Executive Committee. In addition, he has served on the NASBP Membership and Risk Management Committees. He is current Vice President of the Wisconsin Surety Association.

Dan GibsonDaniel Gibson

Bond Producer, Shorewest Surety Services, Inc.

Dan Gibson has been a bond producer at Shorewest Surety Services, Inc. of Franksville, WI since 2004. Gibson brings over a decade of top level experience as a bond producer specializing in the construction and manufacturing industries. Dedicated to helping his clients grow their bond capabilities, Gibson has overseen hundreds of businesses obtain their first bond to their largest bond. Gibson represents over 15 highly regarded surety companies.

With a keen eye on the surety marketplace, Gibson consults on how corporate decisions may affect bonding, ownership changes, accounting, legislation, subcontractor rights, and referrals.

Gibson has served as President for the Surety Association of Wisconsin and has been a member of NASBP since 2005.

Gibson graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BBA in Finance. Gibson and his wife, Kelly, have three children.

Thomas C. HofbauerThomas C. Hofbauer

Partner, Axley Brynelson, LLP

Thomas C. Hofbauer is a partner at Axley and Co-Chair of the Construction and Transportation Practice Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in complex litigation in both federal and state courts.

Mr. Hofbauer’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, construction claims and disputes, breach of contract, business torts, shareholder disputes; and environmental and toxic tort litigation. In the past two decades, Mr. Hofbauer has been involved with both personal injury and property damage dispute matters in Wisconsin and other surrounding states. In addition, he has specific experience in construction disputes and construction defect litigation where he has represented owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, engineers and architects.

Tom was recognized as a “Leader in the Law” for 2009 by the Wisconsin Law Journal, one of only 25 attorneys in the state to be recognized with this award. A frequent lecturer and author on the handling and defense of complex claims, Tom also serve as member of the Board of Directors of the Master Builders Association of Wisconsin, and is a member of the Construction and Public Contract Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Waukesha County Bar Association.

Tom is admitted to practice in the state courts of Wisconsin and Illinois; the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin; the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar; and has been admitted on a pro hac vice basis in state or federal district courts in over 15 states.

Theophilus LyaseleTheophilus Iyasele

CEO, Toki & Associates, Inc.

Theophilus Iyasele is the CEO of Toki & Associates, Inc., an architectural, engineering, and construction services company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Toki and Associates, established in 1987 is certified as a MBE/DBE/SBE firm by the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Supplier Development Council, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

Iyasele immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria in 1977 and received a B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering and a M.S. degree in Construction Management from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.

Over the past 30 years, Iyasele has worked on numerous and notable Wisconsin projects, including Miller Park, Wisconsin Center, and Marquette Interchange. He and his wife, Alkatrine, have two sons.

Nick NewtonNick Newton

President, Newton Bonding

Nick Newton is President of the Newton Bonding agency of Stillwater, MN, which he formed in 2014. Newton began his career in surety with Western Surety Company, serving as Minnesota Marketing Rep for two and half years before being promoted to Western Region Marketing Supervisor in charge of marketing representative production in the states of WA, OR, CA, NV, UT, ID, MT, CO, WY, NE, KS, AZ, and NM.

He joined United Fire & Casualty in 1992 to perform surety marketing and field underwriting for the State of Minnesota. After seven years on the company side, Newton spent five years at a downtown Minneapolis surety agency before joining Associated Insurance Agents in 2001 to start up Associated Bonding. He left Associated to join a non-standard surety brokerage in 2011 prior to forming Newton Bonding.

Newton is Past President of the Minnesota Surety Association (1995-1996) and the Minnesota Association for Guardianship & Conservatorship (2006-2010). He is a Director-At-Large on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers and is Chair of the Membership Committee. Newton is a faculty member for the Level 1 of the NASBP William J. Angell Surety School, and he serves on the Commercial Surety, Government Relations, Professional Development, and Small & Emerging Contractor Committees. He is one of the original leaders of the Surety Forms Working Group leadership.

Jay ZahnJay Zahn

Bond Manager, R&R Insurance

Jay Zahn is the Bond Manager for R&R Insurance Services, Inc. of Waukesha, WI, one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in the Midwest. Zahn has 31 years of experience in the insurance and surety industries, the last 12 years of which he was a Bond Producer/Manager with R&R.

Zahn graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Zahn is past Chair of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin and currently serves on its Board as immediate past Chair. He is also past President of the Surety Association of Wisconsin and has been an NASBP member since 2006. Zahn is also engaged in several other trade associations, including Associated General Contractors of both Wisconsin and Milwaukee, Tri-County Contractors Association, Wisconsin Roofing Contractors Association, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, and Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association.


Josh Etemadi | Jonathan Williams

Josh EtemadiJosh Etemadi

Assistant Vice President, Construction Bonds, Inc.

Joshua Etemadi is Assistant Vice President of Construction Bonds, Inc.—A Division of Murray Securus. Since joining the agency in September 2007, Etemadi has helped grow its revenue by over 300%, which lead to Construction Bonds’ acquisition by Murray Securus in 2010. Etemadi was also an integral part of Construction Bonds receiving the 2011 Small Business Administration’s first ever Surety Bond Producer of the Year award. In addition to his responsibilities as a producer, Etemadi oversees sales and sales support staff to exceed production goals.

Etemadi has testified before a U.S. Congressional hearing, providing his knowledge and expertise as a bond producer for small and emerging contractors. He has been a guest speaker at universities and conferences. He presents bond workshops for federal, state, and local jurisdictions as well for general contractors on the East Coast.

Etemadi is actively involved with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, having served most recently as Chairman of the Small and Emerging Business Committee. He also serves on the United Way Regional Council of Loudoun County, Virginia. Etemadi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from George Mason University School of Management.

Jon WilliamsJonathan Williams

Partner, PilieroMazza PLLC

Jonathan Williams is a partner with the Washington D.C. law firm of PilieroMazza PLLC, where his practice focuses on government contracts. Williams counsels clients on a broad range of federal procurement matters, including compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the rules governing small and minority business procurement programs (the SDVOSB, 8(a), SDB, HUBZone, and woman-owned small business programs).

He assists clients in the drafting and review of teaming agreements and subcontracts, establishing joint ventures and mentor/protégé relationships, preparing and pursuing claims, bringing and defending size and other small business eligibility challenges, and litigating bid protests. Williams also performs internal investigations and has served on a special litigation committee to review Small Business Administration regulatory issues.

In his bid protest practice, Williams has successfully handled numerous cases before the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Aviation Administration. Williams has also frequently obtained corrective action from procuring agencies in response to protests, including the direct award of a contract in a $1B Army Corps acquisition, and has successfully brought and defended numerous SBA protests and appeals pertaining to eligibility for the SDVOSB and 8(a) programs, NAICS code designations, and small business status.



Tymon Berger | Jacob Haddock | Joel Hertzog | Chris Newman | Stuart O’Farrell

Tymon Berger

Construction Litigation Partner, Ahlers Cressman, PLLC

My construction experience began in the field as a carpenter, then as a manager for three ENR Top 20 contractors. After ten years in the business I became a lawyer, staying close to the industry by helping contractors with their legal needs, including: bid protests; bond and lien claims; surety disputes; claims for defective design, delay, productivity impacts, scope disputes, and extra work; a and contract review and negotiation.

I’m thoroughly familiar with contract disputes, building the right framework for a claim, and charting the course through negotiations and mediation to get the dispute resolved. I’ve also taken cases to trial and arbitration when needed, obtaining favorable verdicts in front of federal and state juries and judges, and arbitrators.

I’ve represented contractors and subcontractors in disputes involving roads, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, pump stations, a ball park, an airfield, and schools—as well as private developments like office buildings, industrial facilities and laboratories, and mixed-use and multi-family projects. And I work with contractors and owners in forming and implementing alternative and collaborative construction agreements like IPD, CM-at-Risk, GC/CM, MC & EC/CM, and Design-Build.

Serving on the legal and legislative affairs committees for the AGC of Washington and the Washington chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association, I frequently assist with lobbying and policymaking efforts, testifying before government bodies and analyzing proposed legislation and rulemaking to create the most favorable legal environment possible for Washington contractors.

Jacob Haddock

Surety Bond & Commercial Insurance Broker, Propel Insurance

Jacob Haddock has nearly 10 years’ experience in the surety industry.  He spent several years as an underwriter at one of the nation’s largest writers of bonds, and now works as a broker on the agency side with Propel Insurance in Seattle, WA.  Jacob is active with many of the construction organizations in the area and has presented at many workshops put on by Federal and State agencies and large General Contractors trying to educate small businesses on the importance of getting setup with a surety program.

Jacob has been involved with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers for many years, as well as the Surety Associations of Washington and Oregon.  He is also a member of the Construction Financial Management Association.  Jacob holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Western Washington University.

Joel Hertzog

Senior Contract Underwriter, Field Office Manager, Merchants Bonding Company

Joel joined Merchants Bonding Company™ in 2010 and currently serves as Field Office Manager in Seattle, which covers the Pacific Northwest territory. Joel earned both his BS in business administration and his MBA from the University of Montana. Prior to Merchants, he worked with the ICW Group and then The Insco Dico Group in Seattle. Joel is a current member and past President (2010) of the Surety Association of Washington and active member of the Construction Financial Management Association. Joel lives in Seattle and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.

Chris Newman

Managing Partner, Newman Town, PLLC

Chris is the managing partner and co-founder of Newman Town, PLLC.  Chris oversees the assurance services and provides the strategic vision and leadership of the firm.  Throughout his career Chris has provided assurance, tax and business advisory services exclusively to privately-held companies and organizations throughout the West Coast.  While Chris maintains a strong focus servicing construction and real estate industries, he is well-versed in numerous industries including: Employee Benefit Plans, Gaming, Manufacturing, Not-for-Profits, Technology and Distribution.   He assists his clients by providing tax preparation and planning services, assurance services, and business advisory services on a wide spectrum of issues including strategic and transition planning, budgeting and cash flow planning, accounting systems, accounting applications, and staff development and training.

Prior to forming Newman Town, Chris held partner and leadership roles in local firms in the greater Puget Sound region.


Chris is a Washington State Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and also a member of several professional organizations including: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants (WSCPA), and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).  Chris has also been active in many trade associations related to the real estate and building industries, including Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Association (NAIOP), Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), Utility Contractors Association of Washington (UCAW), and Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC).


B.A. Accounting, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA – 1993

Leading with Dignity Program, Seattle University – 2007


Chris enjoys golfing, snowmobiling, and attending sporting events, but most of all enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Stuart O’Farrell

Area Vice President, Construction & Surety at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

I began my career with Safeco Insurance Company as a Contract Bond Underwriter for both Alaska and Washington. I then joined Parker, Smith & Feek, a regional broker based in Bellevue in 2003 and became a Principal in the firm in 2006. I am very excited to continue my career with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Seattle. We serve more than 1,500 clients nationwide and manage in excess of $1 billion of construction-related premium annually. We represent a wide spectrum of contractors from large multinational firms to small artisan contractors. Our projects include high-rise office buildings, federal and military facilities, sports arenas, schools and universities, retail, utility and infrastructure projects. We actively participate in seminars, training programs, and construction industry groups on both local and national levels for the construction industry, including IRMI, AGC, and CFMA. Currently I am serving on the Boards of the Construction Financial Management Association in Seattle and the National Association of Bond Producers. I also held multiple Officer positions with the Surety Association of Washington.


Don Appleby | Bill Barbour | Jay LabeMike Lischer | Bud Withrow

Don Appleby

Surety Director, Denver Office, Holmes Murphy

Don is the Surety Director of Holmes Murphy’s Denver office. He joined the independent insurance agency ranks with Linden/Hobbs in 1999, purchased by HRH then Willis via merger, after serving nine years in regional and branch surety underwriting positions with the St. Paul Seaboard Surety, and USF&G in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Denver, Colorado.

Don is past president of the Rocky Mountain Surety Association, holds the Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding (AFSB) designation, currently serves on the American Subcontractor Association of Colorado (ASA-C), past Chair of the Industry Relations Committee for the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP), and past Chair of Associate Council for the Colorado Contractors Association (CCA).

Bill Barbour

Denver Director Contract Surety, RLI Insurance

Graduate of Colorado State University 1979

Began as a trainee in San Francisco with a larger surety company and have been in the Denver Market for 35 years both as an agent and underwriter. Currently the Denver Regional Director for RLI Surety and have been in that position for 18 years.

Jay Labe

Counsel, Allen & Curry, P.C.

Jay Labe is of counsel to the law firm of Allen & Curry, P.C. in Denver, Colorado. For the past forty years his practice has focused on the defense of construction contract sureties confronted with payment and performance bond claims on federal and state public works projects and large private projects.

Labe is a member of numerous national and local surety industry organizations including ABA Forum on the Construction Industry and the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section. Labe is a frequent speaker and presenter on a broad range of surety topics including construction, commercial and miscellaneous bonds, commercial bail insurance and individual surety fraud.

Mike Lischer

Surety Account Executive, IMA, Inc.

Mike joined the IMA Denver Surety Division in 2011, as a Surety Account Executive. Mike started his insurance career in 2003, and most recently worked as an underwriter at a major surety company in Denver.

Mike’s experience as a veteran underwriter, coupled with his extensive accounting background and creative and dynamic approach to problem-solving, allows him to provide strategic guidance on client’s surety program and business. His goals are to maximize a client’s surety capacity, and anticipate both the client’s and surety company’s needs, while effectively managing relationships between the two.

Mike graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from the University of Denver, and he earned a Master of Accountancy at the University of Denver in 2008.

Mike’s professional affiliations include Associated General Contractors/Colorado, Associated Builders and Contractors/Colorado Chapter, Colorado Contractors Association, Construction Financial Management Association, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, and Rocky Mountain Surety Association.

Bud Withrow

Managing Member, CoWest Insurance Associates

A graduate of Colorado State University, I’ve been in the surety business for over 30 years, including nearly 10 years as an underwriter and underwriting manager.  During that time, I’ve worked with various sized contractors from startups to those with nine figures revenue.  I am currently the Managing Member of CoWest Insurance Associates, in Denver.


Washington, DC

Lewis Askew | Brandon Blackburn | Joshua Etemadi | J.M. Bud Herndon | Reggie Jarvis | Jeff Lavore

Lewis Askew

Founding Partner, Graves, Horton, Askew & Jenkins, LLC

Lewis Askew’s practice focuses upon complex commercial litigation and in particular involves matters related to public and private construction and government contract disputes involving suretyship, construction, architecture, engineering, design and procurement. Additionally, Mr. Askew provides contract drafting and negotiation services and counsel to businesses.

Mr. Askew began his legal career as a summer associate with Watt, Tieder, Hoffar and Fitzgerald, LLP in the Summer 1993.

After graduating from Howard University School of Law in 1995 cum laude, he joined the firm as an associate becoming a partner in June 2006. In September 2009, he co-founded and became a member of Graves, Horton, Askew & Johns, LLC. Mr. Askew has represented clients in actions filed with federal courts, state courts, civilian boards and arbitration panels. In addition, he has represented clients in dispute review board proceedings and mediations. These matters have involved a variety of facilities including complex processing facilities, sports facilities, education facilities, major highways, commuter rail lines, assisted living facilities, hotels and tunnels. The trials in many of these matters have lasted several weeks, required the extensive use of expert witnesses and resolved entitlement to millions of dollars. Mr. Askew also has extensive experience in the drafting and negotiation of complex construction and government contracts and settlement agreements. Additionally, he regularly writes and speaks about legal issues in construction, surety and government contracts.

Mr. Askew holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland School of Engineering and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law where he graduated cum laude.

Prior to entering law school Mr. Askew gained invaluable experience as a mechanical design engineer. As an employee of Rockwell Rocketdyne he was part of a design team that was responsible for the Space Shu1le Main Engine Nozzles and with Hughes Aircraft Company the target acquisition systems installed on-board strategic defense satellite systems. Mr. Askew has also taught Construction Law for several years in the University of Maryland Clark School of Engineering.

Brandon Blackburn

Manager, Lanigan, Ryan, Malcolm, & Doyle, P.C.

Manager Brandon Blackburn celebrates his tenth year anniversary at firm Lanigan, Ryan this year, where he provides audit and assurance services, income tax planning and preparation, and accounting and consulting services to privately-owned businesses. His audit experience includes management of construction contractors with up to $300,000,000 in revenue and audits of qualified retirement plans.

Since joining the firm a decade ago, Brandon has routinely provided in-house training for the firm’s staff and presented seminars to surety agents and banking associates on audit, tax, and construction related topics. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a licensed CPA in Virginia and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Associated Builders and Contractors Metro Washington chapter.

When he is not in the office, Brandon enjoys visiting museums and National Parks with his family. He also likes to play golf and support the Baltimore Orioles.

Joshua Etemadi

Assistant Vice President, Construction Bonds, Inc.

Joshua Etemadi joined Construction Bonds, Inc. a division of Murray Securus in 2007.  Since joining the company in September 2007, he helped grow the company’s revenue by over 300%, leading to Construction Bonds’ acquisition by Murray Securus in 2010. Joshua was also an integral part of Construction Bonds, Inc. receiving the 2011 Small Business Administration’s first ever Surety Bond Producer of the Year award.  In addition to his responsibilities as a producer, Josh oversees sales and sales support staff to exceed production goals.  In 2017, Joshua was promoted to Assistant Vice President.

Joshua has testified to the United States Congress based on his knowledge and expertise on surety bonding for small and emerging contractors.  He has been a guest speaker at universities, conferences and presents bond workshops for Federal, State and Local jurisdictions as well as General Contractors throughout the East Coast.

Joshua is actively involved with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, having served most recently as Chairman of the Small and Emerging Contractors Committee.  He also serves on the United Way Regional Council of Loudoun County, Virginia.  Joshua holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from George Mason University School of Management.

J.M. Bud Herndon

Formerly, AVP and Branch Surety Manager, CNA Surety Corporation

Since 1992 Mr. Herndon has served as AVP and Branch Surety Manager with CNA Surety Companies. He began his surety career in 1972 with Maryland Casualty Company. In 1976 he joined the Fidelity and Deposit Company and in 1979 moved into the agency business as Bond Manager with Stump, Harvey & Cook in Timonium, MD. Remaining through acquisition and name change, Mr. Herndon served as Vice President of the Construction Industry Division of Willis Corroon of Baltimore until 1992.

Mr. Herndon is a 1969 graduate of the College of William & Mary and completed post-graduate studies in business at Loyola College, Baltimore in 1974. He serves on the NASBP Professional Development & Education Committee and has been on the faculty of the NASBP William J. Angell Surety School since 2004.

Reggie Jarvis

Vice-President, Centennial Surety Associates

“Mr. Jarvis obtained a B.S. in Accounting from Towson University. He brought to Centennial his 10+ years of experience as a C.F.O./Controller at various local construction or venture capitalist companies. He possesses in-depth knowledge of financial analysis and a unique ability to explain bonding. Mr. Jarvis specializes in business development for minority and emerging contractors with the goal of assisting these firms with the acquisition of bonding and the knowledge to grow a sustainable, profitable organization.”

Jeff Lavore

Manager, Lanigan, Ryan, Malcolm, & Doyle, P.C.

Manager Jeff Lavore has been with Lanigan, Ryan for over 20 years working closely with owners and presidents of closely held construction contractor businesses to provide them with the tools and services that they need to develop and grow. He has performed audits, reviews, compilations, business income tax planning and preparation, and accounting and consulting services for his clients, including construction contractor clients with up to $100,000,000 in revenue.

Additionally, Jeff has provided training, support and consultation for the firm’s staff, clients, prospects and associates.  He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland in 1993 and became a licensed CPA in Maryland shortly thereafter.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, and the Associated Builders and Contractors Metro Washington Chapter where he serves on the Board of Directors.  Jeff also serves on the Center for Entrepreneurial Developments’ Joint Industry Advisory Board.

When he is not in the office, Jeff likes to play golf and travel with his family.