CONECT Board of Directors
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Karen Kenney*, Chairman of the Board

Karen Kenney is President and CEO of the Liberty International division of the Janel Group and is a founding member of the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT), currently serving as its Chairman. She has 30 years’ experience in international logistics and commercial operations including customs brokerage, freight forwarding, cargo security, C-TPAT and the creation and implementation of IT systems. In her present position, Ms. Kenney serves on Janel’s executive team which plans the long term strategy of the company’s growth around the globe. Ms. Kenney is instrumental in the development of Janel’s overseas agency development in Asia and is active in key account sales. She has traveled extensively in the Far East, with particular emphasis on mainland China.

Karen was a member of CBP’s 12th and 13th national 20 member Commercial Operations Advisory Committee, the COAC. During her 2nd term, she served as the Trade chair of the Trade Enforcement and Revenue Collection Subcommittee of COAC.

Ms. Kenney also serves on the advisory board of the International Maritime Business program at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.


Andy Rosener*, President

Andrew Rosener is the International Logistics Manager for Christmas Tree Shops Co., LLC (a Bed Bath & Beyond Company) based in Middleboro, MA. In this role, Andrew is responsible for the commercial activities and business relationships with International Logistics providers throughout the Company’s worldwide sourcing locations. He also plays a role on the corporate logistics team.
Andrew’s professional experience includes a broad range of International and Domestic logistics and supply chain activities at both the retail and manufacturing sectors. He has held management positions at Morse Shoe, Inc., Hasbro, Inc., KB Toys and currently Christmas Tree Shops, a division of Bed Bath and Beyond.
Andrew is a founding member of CONECT. He received a BS Degree from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Bryant University. Andrew has been a guest speaker for several Industry events and has been a guest lecturer for several University Logistics programs. He was recently appointed to the Advisory Board for the University of Rhode Island Supply Chain Program. Andrew resides in Barrington, Rhode Island with his wife Katheryn.






Luiz da Costa, Vice President

Luiz da Costa is the Senior Manager, Global Customs and Trade Facilitation for OvaScience, Inc., a global fertility company dedicated to improving treatment options for women around the world. He is responsible for developing import and export compliance policies & procedures and promoting a global trade compliance auditing program, as well as establishing logistics and distribution channels around the globe to support operations and managing international logistics business partners.

Luiz started his career in the international trade industry in Brazil, his native country, and his background includes more than 25 years of experience in international banking, logistics and transportation and trade compliance. He received training in Transportation and Physical Distribution Management from Northeastern University and holds an MBA from Suffolk University. Luiz holds a license customs broker.

Rob Shepard, Treasurer

Rob Shepard has 20 years of experience in Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing operations. He is currently Vice President of Transportation & Logistics for the Kraft Group whose Paper & Packaging businesses include the Rand Whitney Corporation, New England's largest vertically integrated independent corrugated packaging company; and International Forest Products, one of the largest US exporters that supplies customers in five continents.

Prior to that Rob was Director of Global Import Operations for Reebok where he was involved in several trade initiatives that included authoring Reebok's successful C-TPAT application and setting up its US Foreign Trade Zone and EU Centralized Bonded Warehouse. An ex-Marine infantry officer, Rob has an MBA from Harvard and a BA with a double major in Math & Economics from Amherst College. He holds a customs broker license and is a certified quality engineer from American Society of Quality Control. Rob lives in Milton MA with his wife Eileen and son Michael & daughter Hannah.

Paula M. Connelly, Esq., Clerk

Paula M. Connelly, Esq. is a principal in the Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly, a law firm specializing in Customs and international trade matters. She has been practicing law since 1991 and prior to working as an attorney, worked as a licensed Customs broker for several customs brokerage companies in the Boston area. She has over 20 years experience in Customs and international trade matters and works with numerous importers and exporters in addressing and resolving import and export compliance issues. In addition, Paula lectures on many import and export related topics and teaches a Customs Brokerage exam preparation course in the Boston area. She also serves as legal counsel for the Boston Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding Association and is a member of the advisory committee for the International Business Department at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Paula graduated from Suffolk University and Suffolk University Law School.



Bob Leadbetter*, Director Representative

Bob Leadbetter began his career with a Boston-based customhouse broker in 1980 and has been involved with trade and logistics in a number of capacities since. They include air/ocean brokerage duties, dispatch and CFS dock supervisor with a Boston port trucking/CFS company, ocean carrier sales/operations management with NOL / APL, 3PL sales and multiple stops with importers & exporters in global compliance & logistics management positions. The BCO's include Goodman Knitting Co Inc (apparel wholesaler), J. Baker/Casual Male Inc (footwear and apparel retailer), The Robert Allen Group (Textile Home Décor, importer/exporter), Christopher Guy (global furniture design & manufacturing business headquartered in Singapore) and at H.C. Starck North American Trading LLC (specialty metal powders) a division of the H.C. Starck Group of Germany. Currently he works with Old Dominion Freight Lines in their Global Services division. Bob is a licensed customs broker.
As a founding member of CONECT he believes that CONECT holds an important place within the international trade and logistics community. He feels that it is extremely important that the organization continue its work of educating importers, exporters and legislators on various issues and the need for responsible trade. It is vital to make sure that the members of CONECT, whose members span the entire scope of the international trade community, have their voice heard on issues that affect trade, transportation and logistics. After all, the members are professionals in their fields and can help guide our nation forward, but they need a voice. That voice is CONECT - an organization that exists due to its members.

 CONECT State Chairs

Andy Abraham, Connecticut State Chair

Andy Abraham, received her J.D., cum laude, at night at Quinnipiac University, while working full time at Swiss Army Brands, Inc. At Swiss Army, Andy was Director of Traffic and Importing and handled the import and compliance issues for products such as pocket knives, cutlery, watches, sunglasses and apparel. She dealt with classification, valuation, reconciliation, drawback and NAFTA issues. For several years, Swiss Army had an on-site bonded warehouse. She oversaw all procedures and handled all entries and compliance matters for the bonded area. Andy has also dealt with various Canadian customs issues for Swiss Army’s subsidiary in Toronto.
Andy started her career at C. Itoh & Co., a Japanese trading company. She worked in the chemical department handling import and exports.
Andy is the author of Chemical Customs Classification Manual, A Resource for Navigating Chapters 28 and 29 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule and Polymers and Rubber Customs Classification Manual, A Resource for Understanding Polymers and Rubber in Primary Forms in Chapters 39 and 40 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
Andy received her Custom’s broker license in 1997. She received her B.S. in biology and chemistry from the University of Connecticut. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.


 Vermont State Chair

Jack Bender is the Director of Sales and Marketing for A.N. Deringer and has nearly 30 years of logistics, freight forwarding, and global business leadership experience. His career has included sales and operations management positions for several companies, most recently, Jack served as the Vice President of a large international logistics company in their Life Sciences division. He is passionate about developing and leading high performing sales and marketing teams that grow revenue, increase efficiency, and deliver exceptional customer service. A licensed customs broker, Jack holds a B.S. degree in Marketing Management from the University of Rhode Island.

  Maine State Chair


Alison Leavitt has been involved in the international logistics industry for over 25 years. She served as the Director of Business Development at Albatrans Inc., a global freight forwarder headquartered in Florence Italy for 14 years, working on national accounts and strategic initiatives. Alison is currently the Managing Director of the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, representing over 500 members involved in the imports and export of alcoholic beverages and related products. Alison is a licensed customs broker and is on the board of the Maine Port Authority and is the Maine State Chair for CONECT, as well as serving on the Editorial Board of American Shipper. Ms. Leavitt has worked in all aspects of ship agency work, customs brokerage, freight forwarding, and contract negotiations. She resides in Portland, Maine with her two children.


Massachusetts State Chair

Jim Mitchell, Massachusetts State Chair

Jim Mitchell serves on the CONECT Board as the State Chair for Massachusetts and brings over 30 years of work experience as an international transportation and supply chain management professional. Jim is a long time employee of OOCL (USA), Inc. and is their Account Manager for New England. November 2014 marks his 21st year of service with the company. During his tenure with OOCL, Jim has assisted his many customers with ocean freight services, supply chain management solutions, vendor management systems and domestic distribution alternatives. As CONECT’s State Chair for Massachusetts, he welcomes the challenges and opportunities to contribute to the international trade community and make a difference. Jim graduated from Southern New Hampshire University, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing.

 CONECT Board of Directors:

 Ryan Dooley Ryan Dooley is the New England Sales Manager for Yang Ming (America) Corp. Previously Ryan was the the Head of Sales for INTTRA, New England representative for Hamburg Sued, and an Operations Manager for Sea Star Line, LLC.

Ryan attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy where he sailed on Maersk vessels to Europe and Asia, and graduated with an International Business degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. With a background in operations and sales, Ryan is certified in CFR regulations, Coaching for performance, and Professional Selling Skills

Christa Hurley

Christa Hurley is the Customs & Trade Compliance Manager for H.C. Starck, North American Trading in Newton, Massachusetts. She has more than 20 years’ of global operational experience within supply chain and operations. Christa is responsible for her divisions Global Services (import/export/logistics/warehouse operations), including all compliance and security programs. She works on teams conducting import, export trade diligence, developing strategy and negotiating terms and agreements. She is well versed in U.S. State, Commerce, Customs and Treasury regulations and is involved in numerous partnership programs with customs authorities including: CEE, CTPAT, PIP and AEO. Christa is currently serving on COAC Trade Modernization Subcommittee – Center Uniformity Working Group with CBP. Christa has served in various capacities in local and national trade associations. She has been on the Board of The Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT), a non-profit group for the past 6 years, and served as the Vice President from 2012-2016. Christa earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University, graduating with honors.





Debra Koppenaal has joined Koch Membrane Systems as the Global Logistics and Traffic Compliance Manager and is responsible for International Trade and Transportation Compliance, Free Trade Agreements, Custom broker and 3PL selection and management.

Debra is a Licensed Customs Broker and CCS with over 20 years in the Transportation Industry.




Kevin Laffey has spent his entire career of nearly 25 years in international transportation based in Boston, MA working in various jobs for container shipping lines, a freight forwarder/OTI and port authority. Kevin’s career began in 2004 as a sales rep with United States Lines. Following U.S. Lines, he was the District Sales Manager for Maersk Line, before joining Expeditors International as Import Transportation Manager and then Ocean Manager. He is currently employed by the Massachusetts Port Authority as Director of Freight Marketing for the Port of Boston. Kevin sits on the Board of Directors for both CONECT and the FCC of Boston. Kevin resides in Billerica, MA with his wife and two children, and is actively involved in his church and town youth sports programs.



Bette Little is the Director of Customs, NAM for the Canton, Massachusetts based adidas-group which includes the Reebok/Rockport/adidas Brands. Bette oversees the Export team, Customs Compliance and audit teams and the Foreign Trade Zone team in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is also responsible for the C-TPAT program and has traveled to Asia and participated with Customs and Border Protection in the C-TPAT revalidation process for Adidas and Reebok. Her team is currently preparing to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program and the Trusted Trader Program. adidas-group is a Tier 3 C-TPAT importer and currently a member of the Center of Excellance and Expertise based in San Francisco.
Bette previously held management roles at Chadwick-Miller, Inc and New England Pottery/GKI Bethleham Lighting where she managed the Customs team, negotiated all ocean contracts and had oversight for all Supply Chain Operations.

Bette is the CONECT President and has been a Board member since 1995. She is a Licensed Customs Broker and Certified Customs Specialist, as well as a member of the Foreign Commerce Club of Boston and the International Compliance Professionals Association. A graduate of Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, Bette holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

Joseph O'Connor has been a member of CONECT since 2002. Joseph is employed by Franklin Sports, Inc, Stoughton, MA as Director of International Transportation. Joseph has been in the shipping community for 22 years and has experience in Brokerage, Freight Forwarding Trucking, Ocean LCL/FCL consolidation and Airfreight transportation. Joseph currently reside in Franklin MA. with his wife and two children.

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