GovConNet Council

The GovConNet Council is formed by invitation only and is comprised of Government Contracting industry experts who develop GovConNet programs, support VIP instruction, and provide industry specific advocacy. The Council advises the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce on its government contracting initiatives. The following individuals are the members of the GovConNet Council:

Jackie Asencio, President & CEO, C2 Essentials, Inc.
Phone: (703) 444-0096
Fax: (703) 433-9014

Jackie Asencio is President/CEO of C2 Essentials, Inc., one of the region’s leading human capital management service providers. With more than 30 years experience, Ms. Asencio has been a major influence in helping small government contractors grow and compete in the federal market place. As a seasoned trainer and coach, Ms. Asencio works closely with business owners ensuring their human capital management strategies are aligned to their business goals. She has extensive experience of full life cycle recruiting, talent management, succession planning, career development, reward and recognition strategies, performance management, regulatory compliance, compensation, benefits, risk management, and outplacement services. Prior to founding C2 Essentials Ms. Asencio provided human capital management support to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of State, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Treasury Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the World Bank Group.

Joseph Buyalos, Partner, The Insurance Exchange, Inc. (TIE)
Phone: 240-876-3566
Fax: 301-330-1270

Joseph Buyalos is a Partner with The Insurance Exchange. He leads the firms Employee Benefits practice and in his 16 years with the firm has tremendous experience in designing and negotiating ultra competitive fringe benefit programs for his many government contractor clients ranging from employers with around 50 employees up to 5,000 employees worldwide including several war risk countries. In addition to government contractors, Buyalos also has several large technology, association, and non-profit clients. He is also the driving force behind the GovConNet Benefits Survey which will give government contractors throughout the region and the country access to real-time high quality benefits benchmarking data at no cost to Survey participants.

Christopher Craig, President & Chief Operating Officer, Unanet Technologies
Phone: (703) 964-2149

In his role as President and Chief Operating Officer, Christopher Craig is responsible for all aspects of Unanet operations and performance. Under his leadership, Unanet has developed into the leading provider of cloud computing business management software for project based organizations. Since joining Unanet in 2000, Mr. Craig has contributed to Unanet’s growth through a variety of roles related to product management, professional services, customer account management, marketing, and business development. He has helped build the customer base to over 900 organizations, and revenue has increased 20% year over year for the last nine years. Mr. Craig has over 15 years of experience in the technology arena. Prior to Unanet, he worked in project-based services organizations, which helped Unanet become laser-focused on what these organizations need from a software solution. Mr. Craig has a M.S. in Information Systems and B.S in Systems Engineering from The University of Virginia.

Larry Davis, Managing Partner, Aronson Capital Partners
Phone: (301) 231-6200
Fax: (301) 222-8230

Larry Davis is a Partner and Founder of Aronson Capital Partners. Larry has over 25 years of transactional experience in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financings. He has worked on more than 40 transactions involving middlemarket defense and government services companies. Notable transactions include the sale of Texeltek to TASC, Atlantic Coast Telesys to SAIC, AEPCO to VT Group, PLC, and Capital City Technologies to Ernst & Young. Larry is widely recognized as an industry expert and is a frequent speaker at industry events and a sought after advisor to owners of emerging growth companies.

Larry is a founding member of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce's Government Contracting Network and serves on the Board of Directors of Hearts and Homes for Youth, a charitable organization that provides support to atrisk youth. Larry received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Mark Gossart, Officer, Aronson LLC
Phone: (301) 231-6200
Fax: (301) 222-8240

Mark Gossart, CPA, is a partner in the Aronson LLC’s Tax Services Group and has spent more than 20 years in the accounting profession providing comprehensive tax services and advice to a wide variety of business entities and taxpayer individuals. His clients include corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and individuals in the government contracting industry.

Lexy B. Kessler, CPA, CGMA, Partner, Aronson LLC
Phone: (301) 231-6200
Fax: (301) 222-8240

In her role as the partner-in-charge of Aronson LLC’s Government Contract Services Group, Alexandra “Lexy” Kessler connects her clients with the solutions, resources and contacts that they need to succeed in an ever-changing government landscape. With a reputation for candor and the ability to get to the heart of any issue, her clients rely upon her straightforward answers to complex business issues.

Lexy’s extensive expertise in assurance, tax and consulting allows her to help clients balance the challenges and opportunities inherent to the business of being a government contractor. With more than 25 years of experience, she has been instrumental in growing her practice area into one of the most well-known and respected government contracting service providers in the country, and she is always looking for new ways to reinvent and improve upon the way they serve their diverse client base. As a leader in her practice area and a member of Aronson’s Board of Directors, she also helps drive Aronson’s overall strategic direction and growth objectives.

Lexy’s reputation as a top expert in her field is part of the personal brand that makes her so popular on the speaker circuit. She is frequently sought as a lecturer at industry forums, and has made presentations to large commercial organizations and various banking institutions on emerging issues related to government contracting. 

Pamela Mazza, Managing Partner, PilieroMazza PLLC
Phone: (202) 857-1000
Fax: (202) 857-0200

Pamela J. Mazza, managing partner at PilieroMazza PLLC, practices in the areas of corporate counseling, government contracts, government relations, Native American law and association law. Within her government contracts practice, Mazza advises on all aspects of government contracting, with a specialty in issues pertaining to small and disadvantaged businesses. She counsels clients on a variety of corporate issues including corporate formation and restructuring, shareholder agreements, and trade secrets protection. Mazza also represents trade associations, coalitions and corporations before Congress and the Administration. She sits on the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and acts as General Counsel to the Chamber.

Frank Merendino, SVP & Team Leader, Sandy Spring Bank Government Contractor Lending Group
Phone: (703) 255-4632
Fax: (703) 319-7912

Frank Merendino has more than 30 years of commercial banking experience, including the last 12 years specializing in the Government Contracting (GC) Industry. As Team Leader for Sandy Spring Bank’s Government Contractor Lending Group, Frank is directly responsible for achieving the Bank’s objective to significantly grow this specialized business line. He is also responsible for the management of the Bank’s 6-person Government Contractor Lending Group.

Kwesi Rogers,President, Federal National Commercial Credit
Phone: (301)961-6450
Fax: (301)961-6460

Kwesi Rogers joined Federal National Commercial Credit as Sales Director when it opened its doors in 1992. In January of 2006, Mr. Rogers was promoted to the position of President. Mr. Rogers holds a BA from the University of the District of Columbia and an MBA from George Mason University. He is an owner and a Director of Federal National Commercial Credit.

Gene Schleppenbach, Principal, Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
Phone: (703) 610-8623

Gene Schleppenbach is a partner in the Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice.  He is managing partner of the Firm’s Tysons Corner Office and is Co-Chair of the Government Contracts Practice at the Firm. He represents clients ranging from early-stage to Fortune 500 companies in diverse industries concerning a variety of corporate, high-tech and intellectual property matters. His corporate experience includes representing clients on formation and structure issues, corporate governance, shareholder agreements, mergers and acquisitions (domestic and international), restructurings, securities regulation issues, partnership and LLC matters, joint ventures, commercial contracts, debt and equity financings, including private equity, venture capital and angel financings, employee stock option plans and executive compensation agreements.  

Gene advises companies of all sizes in the defense, intelligence, IT and professional services sectors on a variety of government contract/procurement issues and on numerous mergers and acquisitions, including conducting due diligence, negotiating and drafting transaction documents, arranging for novation of contracts and obtaining regulatory approvals. His experience includes advising multi-national domestic and foreign companies through the various statutes and regulations that impact foreign investment in the United States, including Exon-Florio and industrial security regulations. He also counsels clients on prime and subcontracts, teaming agreements and joint ventures.

Ann M. Sullivan, Consultant, WIPP Government Relations, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Phone: (202) 626-8528
Fax: (202) 872-8543

Ann Sullivan is the President of Madison Services Group, Inc. (MSGI), a woman-owned company that provides government relations and business development services to corporate and non-profit clients. She brings many years of government relations experience in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, serving in key advisory roles. Ms. Sullivan works with the United States Congress, Executive Office, and government agencies to garner national attention for clients' issues. Her expertise includes business development programs, government procurement, healthcare, export development, and tax issues affecting small businesses.

She currently represents the largest national association of women business owners and women in business, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), as well as the national voice for microbusiness, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). MSGI specializes in outreach to the small business community with an emphasis on women-owned and minority businesses.

Ms. Sullivan also serves on the James Madison University College of Integrated Science and Technology Executive Advisory Council. In 2010, she received the Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprising Women Magazine.


Dr. DeVance Walker Jr., Chief, Division of Small and Minority Business Empowerment Montgomery County Department of Economic Development
Phone: (240) 777-2010
Fax: (240) 777-2001

DeVance Walker is the Chief of the Division of Small and Minority Business Empowerment. The Division ensures that an effective and consistent approach to service delivery is implemented to assist small and minority businesses located in Montgomery County. Among the Division’s services and programs are the following: 

  • Small Business Navigator services
  • Small Business Mentorship Program
  • Buy Local Project
  • Exhibit at business conferences to attract businesses to Montgomery County
  • Assist with marketing and outreach efforts for the Local Small Business Reserve Program and the Minority, Female, and Disabled Business Program.
  • Coordinating the small business seminars and resource sessions
  • Contract monitors for contracts to local nonprofit organizations

Christine Williamson, Member, Government Contractors & Technology Group,
Watkins Meegan, a Division of CohnReznick
Phone: (703) 761-4848
Fax: (703) 761-4815

Christine Williamson serves as a Member of the Government Contracting and Technology Industry Group. From her experience in working on engagements involving the closing and management of acquired financial institutions, she has been able to adapt to various organizational sizes and levels of accounting personnel. She has performed financial statement audits, reviews, and compilations for construction, professional services firms, retail, and not-for-profit clients.

Alfred M. Wurglitz, Principal, Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
Phone: (301) 517-4822

Alfred M. Wurglitz practices in two principal areas: (1) government business relationships such as contracts, grants, and financial assistance, and (2) technology and services transactions such as technology and business process outsourcing, technology development agreements, technology licensing and business transactions, and related export controls.   Government Contracts: Al counsels, litigates, and lectures in many areas including government contract formation and negotiation; issues in commercialization and privatization; rights in technical data; GSA schedule contracts; procurements; claims preparation; debarment and suspension proceedings; procurement fraud investigations and qui tam cases; contractor self-governance and compliance programs; defective pricing; cost recovery under contracts and grants; and equitable adjustments. For more than twenty-five years, Mr. Wurglitz has engaged in government-related matters, including bid protest, contract dispute, false claim, qui tam and other matters, before the boards of contract appeals (BCA), federal district courts, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Government Accountability Office (and before losing bid protest jurisdiction, the General Services Administration and federal district courts), as well as agency-level protests and disputes before federal, state and local agencies.

John A. Zuccaro, Manager, Business Controls, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS)
Phone: (301) 240-6202
Fax: (301) 240-7341

John A. Zuccaro was recently selected as Manager, Business Controls for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) in Gaithersburg, MD. He is responsible for business operations/administration of all IS&GS facilities in the Maryland/Washington DC metro area.

Mr. Zucaro has over thirty years progressively responsible procurement management experience in the federal prime contractor sector/market. He has managed Purchasing and Procurement Operations, Subcontracts, Contract Compliance and Small Business Subcontracting programs. He has earned lifetime accreditation as a “Certified Purchasing Manager” from the Institute of Supply Chain Management. Prior to Lockheed Martin, he was employed by GTE Government Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation, Microwave Associates and Fairchild Industries.

Mr. Zuccaro provided the inspiration for the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP), the country’s first-ever program to train veteran small business owners to succeed in the federal contracting market. Among his community activities, he sits on the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation board of directors.  

  • Board Chair Lisa Cines, CPA, Office Managing Partner, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  • Patty A. Brown, Director, Program Management, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
    Phone: (301) 738-0015
    Fax: (301) 738-8792