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2020 Fall Conference Speaker Bios


Congressman Garret Graves represents Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.  More than 750,000 people live in the 13 parishes that make up the sixth district, which includes most of Garret’s hometown of Baton Rouge, the bulk of the Capital City’s suburbs, parts of parishes along both sides of the Mississippi River to the western shores of Lake Pontchartrain and continues south through Thibodaux to Houma.
For the 116th Congress, Garret is the Ranking Member for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation and is the Ranking Member for the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.  He also serves on the House Natural Resources.
Last Congress, Graves chaired the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and was instrumental in the development, passage and enactment of a range of policy wins on rivers, levees, flood protection, coastal issues and Corps of Engineers reforms. He also brought about critical upgrades to federal disaster response and recovery programs, streamlining FEMA operations, creating faster recoveries and helping make communities across the nation more resilient to disaster.
Though he has only been in office a short time, Garret and his team have established a record of advancing Louisiana’s priorities through Congress – making a positive difference here at home.


March 2, 2020, Renee Lapeyrolerie was appointed Commissioner of Multimodal Commerce by Governor John Bel Edwards. The Office was formed in 2016 within the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), to enhance the state's focus on multimodal transportation. 
A long-time communications consultant, she comes to the DOTD after eight years in business development for an engineering design and consulting firm specializing in water, energy, environment, and transportation. Her public service included economic development, international relations, housing, and justice agencies. She represents the Treme neighborhood on the New Orleans Historic Districts Landmark Commission. Her prior board service includes the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Board of Commissioners. Lapeyrolerie is a native of St. John the Baptist Parish, a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, a Fellow of the Loyola Institute of Politics, and studied at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

Mr. Fetters currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Louisiana 23 Development Company (LA23).  Mr. Fetters established LA23 after over 20 years in the engineering and consulting industries where he managed project portfolios in infrastructure, energy, environmental, regulatory and litigation support.
Chris began his career with the US Army Corps of ERDC station in Vicksburg, MS. During that time, he focused on innovative technology development for various remediation technologies.  After leaving ERDC, Mr. Fetters primarily worked in the environmental, regulatory, and engineering consulting fields. During that time, he transitioned from project manager at Michael Pisani & Associates, to a principal and vice president of a GHD. While at the global firm, Mr. Fetters was placed as the Principal of the North American initiative for Ports and Harbors. This work included the introduction to Public-Private- Partnerships and the utilization of private funding for large-scale infrastructure projects.  In 2017, Mr. Fetters formed Louisiana 23 Development Company to focus on the development of the Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District Master Plan.

Mike Edwards was appointed the Director of Aviation for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) by the Metro Council in November 2018.

Mr. Edwards served as Interim Director of Aviation previously, and before that he was the BTR Airport Operations Manager. He has over 10 years of airport management experience and worked at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport before coming to BTR. Edwards holds a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice Studies and Aviation Management from the University of North Dakota, and a Masters of Homeland Security from Tulane University.

Mike grew up in the New Orleans Area and graduated from Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, LA. He and his wife Courtney have been married for five years and have two young children, Ava and Abraham.


Erich Ponti is the President of the Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads – LCFOR. He has been traveling the state discussing the issue of our road and bridge conditions for several months.  He is also the Executive Director of the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association (LAPA), a position he has held since 2015.  
Erich started Accent Construction Services, Inc., a commercial and residential construction firm which successfully operated for 21 years.  He has also been President of the Capital Region and the Louisiana State Home Builders Associations.
Erich took his business experience to the state legislature. He was elected as a representative from District 69 in East Baton Rouge Parish for two (2) terms - serving from 2008 – 2015.  He was Chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Chairman of the Committee on Commerce.  He is a graduate of Catholic High School and Northeast University currently the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a proud native of Louisiana.  


Dr. Shawn Wilson was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) by Governor John Bel Edwards on January 11, 2016 after more than 10 years of executive service at DOTD.
Since his appointment, Dr. Wilson has been a tireless advocate for new revenue, maximizing Federal dollars available to Louisiana, advancing a balanced and comprehensive transportation policy for Louisiana, and ensuring the Department is more collaborative in its work at every level.
Under his leadership, DOTD was successful at securing and obligating nearly $150 million additional Federal dollars for I-10 widening from I-49 to New Orleans, for the Baton Rouge I-10 bottleneck, and for the shortest Design Build procurement in the state’s history is underway to widen I-10 from Highland Road to LA 73. In addition, under his leadership, DOTD has been able to assist communities with alternative fueled transit assets, focus efforts on advancing passenger rail, and helping launch bike share in Baton Rouge, LA.
The DOTD has turned its focus to procuring $650 million in GARVEE Bonds for two Design Build Projects, a major Urban Interstate Reconstruction and the state’s first Public Private Partnership.
Dr. Wilson earned a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Louisiana and holds a Master of Public Administration degree, as well as a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University.

Lawrence Bren Haase was appointed CPRA’s Executive Director in January 2019. He holds degrees in marine biology from Auburn University and a Master’s in oceanography/coastal sciences from Louisiana State University.
Bren’s experience spans 20 years of working in coastal wetlands ecology, restoration and regulation in the private sector as well as in federal and state government. At CPRA he has served as Deputy Executive Director, Division Chief of Planning and Research, and as lead author of the 2017 Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
He also served as CPRA’s representative on the Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration Program, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Program, and the Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Program.
His work has garnered attention and awards, including the 2017 Governor’s Award for Conservationist of the Year, presented by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation; the 2011 Sue Hawes Memorial Coastal Stewardship Award presented by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) for working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Louisiana Coastal Area Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration Study; and CRCL’s Coastal Stewardship Award for embracing a spirit of cooperation and dedication toward a shared vision for coastal restoration.

Mark Moses currently serves as Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Administration.  In his capacity as Assistant Commissioner, he is Director of Facility Planning and Control and is a member of the state Selection Boards for both Architects and Engineers.  He is also a board member of the Office Facilities Corporation and serves as Chairman of the recently created Multimodal Commerce Advisory Commission. 
Moses is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University in and is a registered professional engineer.  Mark is a career state employee with over 35 years of service with the Department of Transportation and Development, the LSU Office of Facility Services, and with the Office of Facility Planning and Control. 


Dr. Christopher L. Dunn currently serves as the New Orleans District Assistant Chief of Engineering Division. In this role he is responsible for assisting the Chief of Engineering Division in leading a team of approximately 235 engineers, scientists, technicians, and other support staff, in executing the New Orleans District Civil Works program.  He supervises 12 direct reports, including the Engineering Division A-E Coordinator, and provides senior oversight to the Engineering Division Office of the Chief support team.
Dr. Dunn obtained his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1998 and his M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Orleans in 2001.  Dr. Dunn’s academic pursuits culminated in receipt of his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 2013 after completion of his dissertation entitled, “Assessing Levels of Reliability for Design Criteria for Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction Structures.”  As a direct follow-on to his academic research, Dr. Dunn was the lead author of, “Statistical representation of design parameters for hurricane risk reduction structures,” published in Structural Safety in 2013.  He has been a licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the state of Louisiana since 2002.  In addition to his technical training, Dr. Dunn also graduated from all three phases of the New Orleans District’s Leadership Development Program in 2008 and the Civilian Education System Advanced course in 2019.  He has obtained certification as a Level 3 Facilities Engineer in the Army Acquisition Workforce and has been certified by FHWA as a Bridge Inspector.  He is currently pursuing a Certificate in Risk Management from Notre Dame University of Maryland.
Dr. Dunn’s career began with a two year tenure with URS Corporation as a structural engineer before joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New Orleans District (MVN) in 2000.  Now in his 21st year with USACE, Dr. Dunn has served in multiple leadership roles, including Chief of Structural Design Branch, Acting Chief of Hydraulics and Hydrologic Design Branch, and as Acting Chief, Engineering Division.  He has been in his current role as Assistant Chief of Engineering Division since 2016. 
Dr. Dunn has held lead roles on several high-profile efforts throughout his career including the MVN COVID-19 Alternative Care Facility mission, Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps, the GIWW Western Closure Complex (Design-Build and Early Contractor Involvement delivery methods, respectively), Westbank and Vicinity structures, Morganza to the Gulf, and the Comite River Diversion.  He has served on multiple USACE Guidance Update teams.  He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of American Military Engineers.
Dr. Dunn currently lives in Metairie, Louisiana, with his wife Kelly, their three daughters, and their two dogs.  In his spare time when he is not cheering on LSU or the New Orleans Saints, he enjoys spending time at his camp on Hide-A-Way Lake in Carriere, Mississippi, where he enjoys boating and barbequing.


Donna is the Executive Director for the Louisiana Engineering and Land Surveying Board since 2005.  In addition to overseeing a staff of 10 employees, much of her time is spent making outreach presentations on the Importance of Licensure at the 8 Louisiana schools with engineering and surveying programs.  She also makes presentations on the laws, rules and professional ethics at various technical and professional societies. 
She is a graduate of University of Central Oklahoma, with a degree in Political Science/Public Administration.  She has also worked for the Louisiana Press Association and the College of Engineering at LSU.   
She is married to Will Sentell, a newspaper reporter with the Baton Rouge Advocate.  They have two sons and a granddaughter.


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