To Be Announced - Please See Below For Past Speaker Information

Jesse Buggs

Jesse Buggs serves in the Office of Grant Development & Administration as the Director in the City Manager’s Office for the City of Bowie, Maryland. Mr. Buggs is responsible for managing the City’s Entitlement Community program with HUD, including the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). He also manages the City’s housing and homeless services programs. He is responsible for developing and managing municipal Grant Administration functions including research, writing, and filing all grant documents, as well as all requisite reports and supportive documents for all City grants with various grantors, regulatory agencies, and auditors. Mr. Buggs conducts training sessions for public, private, and nonprofit entities in the areas of grant administration, strategic planning, and organizational development. Mr. Buggs is Chair of the Housing Directors Advisory Committee for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, is a Member of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, and serves on the Thompson Information Services Grants Editorial Advisory Board. He formerly served as President of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association.

Prior to joining the City of Bowie, Mr. Buggs designed and managed the Residential Recycling Programs for Prince George’s County, Maryland and served as the Enterprise Zone Administrator for the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation. He has worked with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for several years on major project development in the Neighborhood Revitalization Division. Mr. Buggs has served as a Systems Engineer with IBM and as a Senior Rate Analyst with the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). After leaving PEPCO, he served as an expert witness and litigation strategist in numerous utility regulatory proceedings involving gas, telephone, and electric companies. Mr. Buggs has conducted research in the fields of Biomedical Engineering and Plasma Physics. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Engineering.

Bob Cates

Bob Cates is CEO of Bob Cates & Associates LLC, a firm that assists colleges, states and local governments, Indian Tribes, nonprofit organizations and Federal agencies in administering, operating and managing federally funded programs. Bob has served in the South Carolina Governor’s Office and the private sector for over 35 years. He has actual experience administrating federal grant programs from three perspectives: Management serving as Director/CEO; serving as CFO/Deputy Financial Operations; and lastly serving as Administrative Services Manager, responsible for Business Management Systems.

Bob’s career has been unique in that as a practitioner, he has actual work experience in three roles: as a Grantor, grant-making agency; as a pass-through entity (PTE); and as a Sub-recipient of grant funds. As a result, his knowledge and experience has been built from these three different perspectives. His professional experience includes the design and implementation of organizational structures, developing policies, procedures, and systems to ensure federal compliance.

He also conducts grant, financial and program management conferences, workshops and seminars nationally for federal agencies, colleges, nonprofits as well as Indian Tribes, states and local entities throughout the U.S. and USVI.

The Governor of South Carolina has awarded Bob the highest recognition of service award, the “Order of the Palmetto”. He is a product of East Tennessee State University and the University of South Carolina.

Dan Durst

Dan Durst is a Manager at Capital Edge Consulting, with extensive experience in various accounting and compliance issues related to Federal government contracts and grants. Dan’s areas of expertise include Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal awards to non-Federal entities (Uniform Guidance), Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). Dan is also well-versed in various levels of audit support including DCAA, Single Audit, and Inspector General audits. Dan’s industry experience includes defense, nonprofit, and public sector. Dan has assisted clients with Indirect Cost Rate Proposal Development, Indirect Rate Structure Assessment, Subrecipient Monitoring Support, Audit Support and Risk Assessment, Audit Findings Remediation, Procurement System Certification, Internal Controls Assessment, Forensic Investigations, Grants Closeout Support, and other regulatory compliance matters. Prior to joining Capital Edge, Dan was an audit supervisor and lead consultant for Clarke Leiper PLLC, a member of the AICPA’s Government Audit Quality Center. Dan has previously held security clearances with the U.S. Department of Defense, including Secret Clearance. While contracted by the U.S. Department of State Dan conducted audits and analysis at the U.S. Embassies in 19 foreign countries. Dan has supervised and performed several Single Audits under both OMB A-133 and the new Uniform Guidance. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with a minor in Information Technology and a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from George Mason University.

Elizabeth Gombash

Elizabeth Gombash is Executive Director of Strategic Grants Planning and Development at Seminole State College of Florida. She has 25 years of grant writing and grant management experience, including spending four years working as a federal grants management specialist and providing diverse grant writing, grant system analysis, and strategic planning services to college and university clients over the past five years as the head of G Team Communication, LLC, her education consulting company. Grants written by Ms. Gombash have been funded for over $75 million by federal, state, and private sources, including grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. She has maintained an average annual funding rate of approximately 80%.

In addition to grant proposal development, Ms. Gombash specializes in developing institutional grants management capacity to keep pace with evolving funder regulations and interpretations relating to internal control systems. She is a nationally recognized authority in grant writing and grants management, rooted in her years of practical experience combined with her extensive knowledge of funder regulations, rules, and policies.

She has delivered numerous training workshops and conference presentations around the country and written articles for professional publications. Ms. Gombash has served as a director on the national boards for the National Grants Management Association and the Council for Resource Development, and currently serves on Thompson Grants’ Editorial Advisory Board.

Dr. Linda C. Janey

Linda C. Janey, J.D. is an experienced career government administrator recently retired from the Maryland Department of Planning as an Assistant Secretary. She is the founder and CEO of Colossus Enterprise, LLC. A company whose focus is “community.” Known as “the Community Strategist,” Dr. Janey, works to assist communities to become places where people want to live, work and play. Dr. Janey continues to be a community advocate, planner, public speaker, writer, coordinator and conductor of workshops and conferences.

Dr. Linda C. Janey is an expert in intergovernmental review and coordination of direct development projects. She served as Director of the Maryland State Clearinghouse for Intergovernmental Assistance for more than 20 years while at the Department of Planning for 30 years. Linda Janey knows the comprehensive land use planning process and the importance of community capacity building. She is proficient in grant writing; program and policy development and reading, interpreting and applying federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations; State and federal real property disposition as well as economic community asset building.

Dr. Janey served for three years as the Governor’s representative to the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, which is a regional economic development agency. In addition, Linda C. Janey serves and has served on various professional and community Boards as a member and officer. Dr. Janey has a law degree from the University Of Baltimore School Of Law and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Morgan State University.

Dismas (Diz) Locaria

Dismas (Diz) Locaria is a Partner with Venable LLP and a member of the firm’s Government Contracts Group. Mr. Locaria's practice focuses on assisting government contractors in all aspects of working with the Federal government. Mr. Locaria has extensive experience assisting clients with regulatory and contract/grant term counseling, compliance (including ethics and integrity compliance), responsibility matters, such as suspension, debarment and other contracting/grant exclusions, small business matters and GSA Federal Supply Schedule contracting.

Mr. Locaria has a wealth of knowledge regarding applicable contract (e.g., the Federal Acquisition Regulation) and grant (e.g., the Uniform Guidance and its predecessors) regulations, including the application of these regulations to both prime contractors/grant recipients and subcontractors/subgrantees. This knowledge has enabled Mr. Locaria to assist both for-profit and nonprofit organizations with meeting the requirements for becoming a federal contractor or grantee, interpreting the implication of regulatory, contract and grant term to clients’ work and operations, evaluating and advising contractors and grantees on intellectual property issues and contract modifications, among many other issues.

Mr. Locaria also assists clients with their efforts to remain compliant with the myriad of applicable regulations and requirements. This includes providing training on relevant regulations and contract and grant terms, as well as federal ethics laws and practices, conducting internal audits and investigations, making improvement and/or remedial recommendations, implementing such recommendations, making appropriate disclosures to cognizant federal and state agencies, and defending clients during federal and state audits and investigations.

Jason Matechak


Jason Matechak is a Principal at Impresa. He focuses his practice on Government Contracts and Grants, Governance and Compliance and International Matters. He serves as the Director for the Center for International Procurement Law and Policy at the International Law Institute. He has served as the General Counsel of International Relief & Development, the Legal Advisor to the International Development Law Organization, and as a Partner in the Reed Smith Firm. As a civil servant, he served as a contract negotiator and legal reform officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a member of the Bars of Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Chris Mower

Chris Mower is a partner in the Crowe Horwath LLP Springfield, IL office, which exclusively services governmental entities. She has over 20 years of experience in public accounting, concentrating on not-for-profit and governmental organizations, and over 35 years’ experience in the accounting industry.

Ms. Mower’s audit experience includes state and local governments, as well as not-for-profit clients. Recently, she has also spent considerable time working with a variety of entities as they develop their indirect cost rate proposals and attempt to navigate the Uniform Guidance. Ms. Mower also focuses her time on providing consulting services to state agencies and has significant experience in assisting agencies in properly accounting for their balances and activities in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). This work includes assisting in and advising on proper state and federal reporting to ensure compliance with the Uniform Guidance, as well as other regulatory requirements. Ms. Mower is also experienced in evaluating financial and compliance controls, assessing risks, and developing plans to mitigate identified risks. Her consulting engagements have included assisting clients in the areas of Uniform Guidance, accounting consulting, risk assessment, internal control evaluation, grants management, internal auditing, and policies and procedures development.

Prior to her public accounting career, Ms. Mower worked as a controller in private industry. She is a certified public accountant, licensed to practice in the State of Illinois, and is a member of the Illinois CPA Society, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association, and the National Grants Management Association. She chairs the University of Illinois Accountancy Alumni Advisory Committee and has been appointed to the Illinois State Comptroller’s Local Government Advisory Board. Ms. Mower holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business Administration from Knox College and Accountancy Coursework from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Karen Norris

Karen Norris

Karen Norris has experience in grants and contracts for more than 20 years as a journalist, and previously as a grants administrator for educational institutions in the State of Maryland. Ms. Norris has served on the Board of Directors of professional associations. She has been a moderator and presenter at national conferences and for webinars, including the Grant Professionals Association, National Grants Management Association and Council for Resource Development. Her white paper about health grants was published by the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. She has delivered on-site grants training to federal, state and local governments. She has responded to information requests about the grants process from the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management. Ms. Norris has served as a federal reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bert Nuehring

Bert Nuehring is a Partner at Crowe Horwath LLP with over thirty years of experience in public accounting. Mr. Nuehring’s responsibilities have included planning, administering and supervising audit, accounting and consulting service engagements for governmental, higher education and not-for-profit entities. His experience includes projects related to grants compliance, subrecipient monitoring, compliance, performance measurement, performance auditing, internal auditing, indirect cost rates, accounting consulting, budgeting, federal program administration, and Uniform Grants Guidance implementation. Mr. Nuehring holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Business Administration from Wartburg College and is a certified public accountant.

Brad Smith

Mr. Smith is a Director in the Government Contracts Advisory Services Practice at Berkeley Research Group, with over 30 years of experience in the government contracting and commercial industries. His experience includes consulting and advisory services to a range of government contractors and not for profit entities. Additionally he has provided advisory services to the US Government. He has also served as the Chief Compliance Officer for a multi-billion dollar government contractor. Mr. Smith has in-depth experience with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and other federal government procurement regulations. Mr. Smith is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section, Committee on Cost and Pricing, Member of the Professional Services Council, The Coalition for Government Procurement, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants among other professional affiliations.

Questions or Need Info on Group Pricing?
Contact Thompson Grants

1-800-677-3789 | service@thompson.com | grants.thompson.com

You may be able to charge the cost of your Thompson Training to your federal grant(s). For state agencies and other nonfederal entities, under the cost principles of the uniform guidance, there are allowable items of cost for subscriptions (§200.454.(b)) and professional development (§200.472). Please check with your program director, finance officer or granting agency to ensure there is no restriction in the approved grant budget or the award documents.

Conference: July 25 & 26
Post-Conference Workshop: July 27
Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Downtown Northstar
618 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Discounted room rates available through July 3rd
CPE Credits:
Up to 15 NASBA CPEs & 15 GPCI CEUs
Who Should Attend:
Executive Directors CFOs Finance VPs Accountants Controllers Auditors Procurement Managers Grants Directors
Contracts Representatives Grants Specialists Grants Managers Grants Coordinators Grant Writers Strategic Planners Program Managers Title I Coordinators
What's Included:
  • Two days of expert-led grants training
  • Networking opportunities during provided breakfasts, lunches, and optional dutch-treat dinner
  • Optional half-day post-conference "deep dive" workshop the day after the Forum
  • BONUS! A print copy of the Uniform Guidance - a $49 value!
  • BONUS! Thompson's Grants Quick Start Toolkit to help you through the entire grants lifecycle - a $249 value!
  • BONUS! Six months of digital access to Thompson's Grants Compliance Expert Suite - an $849 value! (New subscribers only.)
Early Bird Rate through June 25th:
$795 Forum
$1095 Forum + Post-Conference Workshop

Standard Rate after June 25th:
$895 Forum
$1195 Forum + Post-Conference Workshop

Post-Conference Workshop Only:
Hosted by
Presenting Partner
Thank You To Our Sponsors
Columbia Books & Information Services is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417. Web site: www.nasba.org

If you are not able to attend for any reason, please notify us as soon as possible. Conference cancellations received 10 business days prior to the event are fully refundable. All other cancellations are non-refundable.