Keynote and General Session Speakers



Keynote October 28 at 9:00 AM

Major (Retired) Scotty Smiley became the first blind active-duty officer in military history following a face-to-face confrontation with a suicide car bomber in Iraq in 2005.  After his injury, Scotty’s faith led him to forgive his attacker and inspired him to rebuild his life while continuing to serve his country in the U.S. Army.

A West Point graduate, he returned there to teach after he earned an MBA from Duke University.  He was named the Army Times “Soldier of the Year" and won an ESPY award for “Best Outdoor Athlete.”  He is the recipient of a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award.  Following a position in the Gonzaga University ROTC Department, Scotty retired from the military in 2015.

Scotty wrote his book Hope Unseen about his journey through overcoming adversity and now travels the country sharing his message of perseverance, courage, and hope.  Ever the adventurer, after the loss of his eyesight he has learned to surf, gone skydiving, climbed Mt. Denali, and became an Ironman.  Scotty works as an investment banker at Drexel Hamilton and is a regular guest on news networks such as NBC, CBS, and Fox. 

Major (Ret.) Smiley uses his story of strength and perseverance to inspire others to find their hope unseen. Ironically, it was blindness that launched Scotty’s journey of supreme testing. Recovering in a bed at Walter Reed National Medical center from wounds sustained in an explosion in Mosul, Iraq, he resented the theft of his dreams—becoming a CEO, a Delta Force operator, or a four-star general. With his wife Tiffany’s love and the support of his family and friends, Scotty’s response became his transforming moment. This intensified, indomitable spirit moved him from the hospital bed, past nurses, and into the shower. Ever since, Scotty has reached new heights literally and professionally - climbing Mount Rainier, winning an ESPY as Best Outdoor Athlete, surfing, skydiving, and completing an Iron Man; becoming a father; earning an MBA from Duke; teaching leadership to cadets at West Point; commanding a company within the Warrior Transition Unit; and winning the MacArthur Leadership Award that recognizes and rewards the demonstrated and outstanding leadership of junior Army officers.  Scotty’s story of resilience encourages others to find strength and hope, no matter where they are or what circumstances they are facing.




General Session October 28 at 4:15 PM

Loren Sweatt, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA

Loren Sweatt joined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration July 24, 2017. Ms. Sweatt joins the agency from the U.S. House of Representatives where she served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Committee on Education and the Workforce for the last 15 years. In this role, Ms. Sweatt handled workplace safety issues before the Committee to include OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Ms. Sweatt holds a BA in Political Science from Texas Christian University and an MBA from Marymount University.

The Acting Assistant Secretary Sweatt will address OSHA’s priorities, actions, and goals. The presentation will include an overview of OSHA’s regulatory agenda, key initiatives, and the agency’s balanced approach to address workplace safety and health, which includes enforcement, compliance assistance, and training.



Keynote October 29 at 8:00 AM

Bill Sims Jr., President/CEO, Greenbean Leadership

Bill Sims is a leadership speaker, author and leadership workshop developer. Bill is also President of The Bill Sims Company, Inc.  For more than 40 years, the Bill Sims Company has created behavior-based recognition programs that have helped large and small firms to inspire better performance from employees and increase bottom line profits.

Bill’s book entitled Green Beans & Ice Cream-The Definitive Recipe for Employee Engagement, Motivation and Recognition is based on this seminar and his experience having built more than 1,000 recognition programs since. More than 1,000 firms have benefited from consulting with Bill, including Dupont, Disney, Siemens VDO, Coca-Cola, and Ford, to name a few.