Renaissance Arts Hotel New Orleans

8.8.19 - 8.9.19

Conference Countdown






Ben Brahinsky

Ben has over 30 years of experience in consulting and transactions in the construction and private equity industries.   Through his firm Leap Financial, Ben provides advisory and board services to firms and their owners.


Ben was Managing Director of a Denver-based private equity firm, where he was responsible for acquiring and turning around distressed companies. For nearly twenty years prior, Ben was a Principal at FMI Corporation in the firm’s investment banking practice.


Ben has spoken to construction industry organizations and published in industry journals. He is active in CFMA, and is a past National Secretary.  Ben has a BA in Geography and Economics, Magna Cum Laude and an MBA in Finance and Real Estate, both from the University of Denver.

Anthony Huey

Anthony Huey, CSP®, offers session attendees pragmatic communications tools, tips and techniques they can use immediately. Anthony’s 20-year career includes tenures as a news reporter, magazine senior editor, crisis management specialist, media relations consultant and executive speech coach. He owns Reputation Management Associates, one of the nation’s leading communications training and crisis consulting companies.


The CSP® designation Anthony has earned is the speaking profession’s highest earned international measure of professional platform competence. Less than 12 percent of the 5,000+ speakers worldwide, who belong to the 14-member associations of the Global Speakers Federation (GSF), currently hold this professional designation. His past client work includes a wide variety of advertising, public relations and communications initiatives for hundreds of trade associations, municipalities and companies, including Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Eli Lilly, Nationwide Insurance, The Kroger Company, and Procter & Gamble.


Anthony holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University.

Jonathan N. Kernion

Born and raised in New Orleans, Jonathan Kernion attended Brother Martin High School, the University of New Orleans and Tulane University where he earned an MBA in Finance. He currently resides in Covington, LA.

Jonathan possesses intimate knowledge of heavy construction resulting from over 40 years in the industry. Jonathan has worked his way up through the field.  Jonathan started as a diesel mechanic prior to becoming an equipment operator then worked his way up to his current position today.  He has particular expertise in technical operations, organizational skills, personnel and project management, and all aspects of financial management and planning. Jonathan’s personal strengths include a dedicated work ethic, strong interpersonal skills, and an unwavering commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest standards of performance.

Jonathan Kernion is currently a shareholder and one of the founders of Cycle Construction, LLC in Kenner, LA. As president and chief executive officer, Jonathan leads the strategic direction of the business, while focusing on overall management, governmental relations, financing activities, and business development. Cycle Construction performs Heavy Civil construction, Highway Street and Bridge construction, Municipal and Public Works construction. Cycle also owns a 40 year old subsidiary company, Cycle Marine Group, Inc. (Formerly Professional Construction Services, Inc.) which specializes in heavy marine construction and coastal protection. Cycle Construction & Cycle Marine Group employ approximately 200 employees. Jonathan is one of the founders and also the majority shareholder in Fabricari, LLC a steel fabrication firm.

Jonathan has received numerous construction awards throughout his career, and has served on several prestigious industry boards. He is currently Executive Vice President and Board Member of the Louisiana Associated General Contractors (will be President January 2020), was Past-President of the Mississippi Valley Associated General Contractors, Past Board Member of the Associated Builders and Contractors, and the Coast Builders Coalition, is also a member of the Executive committee of Southern Construction Insurance and Past Chairman of the Risk Control Committee of the same organization.

In 2016, Jonathan received the St. Elizabeth Guild Volunteer Activist of the Year award for his charitable work in the local community. He is currently President of the Legatus Northshore Chapter and has also actively served the community as Past Chairman of the Boys and Girls Club of South East Louisiana and the Covington Boys and Girls Club, and remains a board member today.

Charlie Kimmel

In 1993, Charlie graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina-Asheville receiving a BA degree in History.


During the following 13 years, he worked his way through the ranks: as research assistant, recruiter, consultant, & corporate trainer, prior to being named COO in 2003. Six years later, Charlie assumed his role as president and in 2012 was named CEO.


Charlie leads Kimmel & Associates with a focus on setting and enabling the highest levels of professional standards and client service — all with the aim of delivering outstanding results for our clients.

Lenny Lemoine – The Lemoine Company


James C. Lundy, Jr, CPA- Marcum LLP

Jim Lundy is a partner in the Tax & Business Services division and a member of Marcum’s national Construction Industry Practice group. With more than 30 years of experience in both public and private practice, Mr. Lundy is one of the most respected tax consultants in the construction industry. He works regularly with more than 350 construction entities to provide a wide range of tax services. Services include performing tax physicals to provide a full overview of a construction company’s tax compliance and planning opportunities, establishing continuity and succession plans for contractors, dealing with federal and state authorities regarding tax issues important to contractors and leading in the timely completion of tax reporting required for the construction industry.


Mr. Lundy is an accomplished speaker and the author of many articles published on construction tax-related issues. The Tennessee Society of CPAs has honored him as Speaker of the Year more than 10 times; the Alabama Society of CPAs has presented him with their Thomas A. Ratcliff Outstanding Discussion Leader Award; and he has been the highest-rated speaker at both the American Institute of CPAs’ National Construction Industry Conference and the AICPA National Tax Conference.

Joseph Nawa, RPLU, CPCU, CRIS

Vice President, National Environmental and Construction

Professional Liability Practice


Joey is a Vice President in the National Environmental and Construction Professional Liability Practice (formerly New Day Underwriting Managers LLC). Joey helps our clients to work more efficiently  with environmental and construction related professional liability risks. He works with clients on the various professional liability risks that all construction-related firms possess including contractors, design/build firms, subcontractors, architects/engineers and owner/developers. Joey has extensive knowledge and experience placing Contractors Protective Professional Indemnity (CPPI) coverage to construction firms,  Protective Professional Indemnity (OPPI) to owners/developers and other forms of professional liability coverage on a project-specific and overall blanket basis to all construction-related industries. Beyond his professional liability experience, Joey has worked to provide risk management and transfer mechanisms for environmental exposures to all industries including but not limited to construction, manufacturing, healthcare and commercial real estate.


Prior to joining the Practice he served as Underwriting Manager of Architects & Engineers Professional Liability at RLI Insurance Company. His experience underwriting for architects and engineers professional liability has made him a great fit for he Practice and has allowed him to assist our brokers with the environmental risk management and professional liability issues of their clients. Joey has earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU) as well as the Construction Risks and Insurance Specialists (CRIS) designations. He is ingrained with numerous professional associations and has provided presentations in conjunction with the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and National Association for Industrial and Office Parks’ Commercial Real Estate Group (NAIOP).


Joey is a graduate of Temple University where he studied risk management and insurance and earned a

Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.



  • Consults, advises on, and manages a book of approximately $20,000,000 in environmental/construction-related professional liability premium.
  • Oversees in-house quoting platforms with two major CPPI markets
  • Managed RLI Professional Services Group’s most profitable segment in administering a $10,000,000 book of business to a loss ratio of under 20%
  • Served as point person for RLI Agency Quoting Portal System encouraging brokers to drive qualifying business through  automated quote system
  • Served as president of RLI Toastmasters, providing weekly public speaking sessions, including training, with RLI staff

Special Agent Alena Cristina Jaime-Ramirez

Special Agent Alena Cristina Jaime-Ramirez was originally from El Paso, Texas and has been with the FBI New Orleans Cyber Squad since July 2018.  Before her time with the FBI, she was a research scientist working on cancer at The Ohio State University.

John Schempf

John has a 25 year tenure with The Newtron Group & its Subsidiaries. He has worked as Estimator, Field Engineer, Project Manager. He was the General Manager of Triad Baton Rouge and also the General Manager of our National Operations before becoming the VP of operations for The Newtron Group in 2015. He was promoted to President of the Newtron Group July 1, 2016.   John is a Past Chairman of the ABC Pelican Chapter, on the Executive Leadership team for the Capital Area Heart Walk and serves as volunteer with the Big Buddy Program.  In 2018, he was honored as the "Male Mentor of the Year" at the Big Buddy "Mentoring in Real Life" Ceremony.  John graduated from Louisiana State University in1995 with an Electrical Engineering degree

Gregg Schoppman

As a principal with FMI, Gregg specializes in the areas of productivity and project management. He also leads FMI’s project management consulting practice. He also leads the consulting management group of FMI’s Florida office.


Prior to joining FMI, Gregg served as a senior project manager for a general contracting firm in central Florida. He has completed complex and sophisticated construction projects in the several different niches and geographic markets. He has also worked as a construction manager and managed direct labor. Furthermore, Gregg has expertise in numerous contract delivery methods.


Gregg was named one of the Top 25 Consultants of 2014 by Consulting Magazine, receiving the highest number of nominations for that year’s recipient group. Additionally, he was a two-time finalist for the Association of Management Consulting Firms award for “Change Management” in 2012 and 2013. Gregg has been a guest speaker for the ABC, AGC, IFMA, DBIA, NECA and CFMA. He has been the Gulf Coast Director of the Design Build Institute of America function and regularly speaks to students in the civil engineering graduate school program at the University of Florida. Gregg has also spoken to similar groups around the state of Florida.


He has successfully completed project management and productivity implementation engagements for general and trade contractors across the country. In addition to his implementation engagements, Gregg facilitates strategic planning and evaluation services focused on organizational transformation. He has also been an instructor with FMI’s Project Manager Academy and regularly trains individuals from foreman to CEO.


Gregg holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida, and a master of business administration with a concentration in international business from the University of Tampa. He was recognized as a Beta Gamma Sigma honor graduate at the University of Tampa and Tau Beta Pi honor graduate at the University of Florida. He possesses a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and an Executive Certificate in International Management from Thunderbird University. Gregg possesses an Engineer Intern certificate from the State of Florida as well as a Florida General Contractors license. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, International Facility Management Association, Leadership Tampa and Leadership Pasco.

James Spellos

James Spellos is the President of Meeting U., a company specializing in helping people become more productive and comfortable with technology.


Jim is certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).  He delivers over 150 seminars annually on how to use technology more efficiently, and how it is altering the nature of business.  Jim is an adjunct faculty member at New York University, teaching in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies since 1990. He has been honored with both their Award for Teaching Excellence and their Outstanding Service Award.  In the past few years, Jim has also been named a meeting industry trendsetter by Meetings Today magazine.


In 2014 Jim joined the Board of Directors for Rock and Wrap It Up, an anti-poverty, anti-hunger think tank, which supports food recovery for over 43,000 agencies in North America by donating excess food from events.  Jim co-created for them their Whole Earth Calculator app, which helps organizations identify the quantity of food donated and carbon footprint reduced by an organization helping to recover excess food from events.  Jim’s focus on food recovery has culminated in a place on the inaugural BizBash 500 people in the events industry for his sustainability efforts.


Jim is an accomplished musician and songwriter, playing guitar and keyboards, and has recorded an album of his original material with his previous group, Contraband.  He’s currently in the studio working on new material.

Stephen M. Toups

Stephen Toups is President of Turner Industries Group, LLC.


Turner Industries is one of the largest privately held industrial contractors in the nation employing 23,000 people annually.  He is in his 22nd year with the company and has served in many capacities.


Mr. Toups currently serves on the national boards of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), the Board of Supervisors for the Louisiana Community & Technical College System, the board of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) and on the Federal Reserve Board’s Energy Council.


He just completed his service on the board of the Rice University Global Engineering and Construction Forum.


He was recognized by the Associated Builders and Contractors as Construction Leader of the year in 2014, and in 2013, named one of the Top 10 “Breakout IT Leaders” in the nation.

CFMA Louisiana Construction Conference Committee

Christina Chifici, LaPorte, CPAs & Business Advisors

Mary Lynn Jones, Alliance Safety Council

Charlotte Ricaud, Excel Contractors, Inc.

Bert Guiberteau, Cory, Tucker, & Larrowe, Inc.

Greg Brenan, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP

Lawrence Mastalski, SureTec

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Hoop5 Networks provides IT and Web support services for CFMA Regional Conferences across the U.S.