Keynote Speakers

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

"Isaac Lidsky may possess the most eclectic resume in business. Over the years, he has been a child TV star, a Supreme Court Clerk (for Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and the co-founder of an internet startup.  Lidsky has used his gift for logistics to build ODC Construction into one of the fastest-growing construction businesses,' transforming an unsophisticated $11 million concrete subcontractor that was hemorrhaging money into an industry-leading $150 million construction services company - in 5 years."
-Inc. Magazine, October 2015

In March 2017, Lidsky's book Eyes Wide Open was published, quickly named a Top 10 Leadership Book of 2017 by The Washington Post.  In the book, he explains the powerful insight that inspired him to achieve his most ambitious dreams despite losing his sight to a blinding disease: it isn't external circumstances, but how we perceive and respond to them, that governs our reality.

Using his three successful startups as examples - one being a construction services business in Florida ($15 to $150 million in 5 years), Lidsky will show you how success is a matter of definition, that effort without purpose is entropy, and when we labor without a goal, we are destined to fail.  You'll learn how to reinvent yourself and create the organization that expresses achievement as you see it. 

For more information on Issac Lidsky, visit his website at

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

[Read Dr. Galvin's speech at SBC in Pittsburgh] 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. 

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 military 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.

Jackie Robinson-Burnette, SES, (Previous) 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.  

READ an article about how SBC helps you make connections that make a difference.

HEAR an interview with Small Business Owner Mercedes Enrique, live from the 2016 SBC.

Make the 2017 Small Business Conference a part of your plan! See you November 15-17 in Pittsburgh!