Connecticut District Export Council

2020 Ambassador Award Recipients
The Ambassador Award is given in recognition and appreciation of outstanding contributions and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic in the service to the region’s exporters and manufacturers. The recipients have shown outstanding commitment and unselfish sharing of knowledge and expertise during this time of crisis.

Our 2020 Ambassadors

Jose Abrantes, Senior Manager for Global Trade Compliance, OFS Fitel, LLC

José Abrantes is a highly valued long time member of our Connecticut District Export Council and our absolute “go to” person for everything trade compliance. He has been a tireless volunteer for all of our programs pre and during COVID. Jose never says “no”. Jose is the Senior Manager for Global Trade Compliance at OFS Fitel, LLC. As such, he is responsible for OFS’s Global Trade Compliance program. In this capacity he oversees the company 6 US locations, and 6 worldwide manufacturing sites in China, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, and Russia. OFS is part of the Furukawa Electric Company, and part of his responsibilities is to coordinate, discuss global compliance strategies

Wendell Davis, Regional Administrator, SBA

Wendell Davis is the US Small Business Administration Regional Administrator for New England. Wendell’s enthusiasm to support small businesses and in particular manufactures is unparallel. During COVID he created with the CT US Export office a seamless SBA-Dept of Commerce relationship that provided the region’s exporters and manufacturers with up to date CARES ACT information and support. In his role as Regional Administrator, Mr. Davis oversees SBA’s financial, export, disaster relief, government contracting and business development programs for the six New England states. In Fiscal Year 2019, the SBA provided 4250 loans supporting more than $1.5 billion dollars through the agency’s various loan programs with the assistance of over 200 hundred lenders across the region. Additionally, New England small businesses were awarded over $4.1 billion in federal contracting dollars and New England entrepreneurs and innovators received over $468 million dollars in grants.

Jeff Rossi, Managing Partner, CohnReznick

Jeff is a member of the Connecticut District Export Council. He and his firm have been strong supporters of the Export Council’s activities for many years. Jeff and his partners were instrumental in the success of the COVID outreach programs providing information, guidance and presenters for training. Jeffrey Rossi, CPA, CFE, is the Office Managing Partner for CohnReznick’s Hartford and Stamford, CT offices and serves as co-leader of the Firm’s Manufacturing and Distribution Industry Practice. Jeff also leads the efforts of our Consumer Products Industry Practice in New England. With over 25 years of audit and tax experience, Jeff offers specialized industry expertise to our clients.

Jim Trubits. Vice President, Mohawk Global

In a time of new terms and regulations with USMCA and general shipping terms, Jim Trubits has unselfishly shared his over 40 years of expertise in Free Trade Agreements, Customs compliance, logistics and supply chain management with companies in our region being a presenter and resource in our COVID events. His experience encompasses courier, sea, air, and northern border operations. He is a regular contributor at training sessions for international trade groups, including Ontario Exports and the Buffalo World Trade Association (BWTA). Jim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Buffalo and went on to complete the executive program in supply chain management at the Laurier Institute, as well as the International Air Transport Association’s air cargo training program, passing “with distinction.” He is a licensed Customs broker and a Certified Customs specialist.

Tony Uphoff, President, Thomas

Tony and the Thomasnet platform have been long time strong supporters of The Connecticut District Export Council and our region’s manufacturers. In particular during COVID contributing their digital strategies expertise and data resources in a time when digital training is essential and understanding manufacturing trends is vital to businesses. He is President and CEO of Thomas, the parent company of the leading platform for product sourcing and supplier selection for the Industrial and Manufacturing markets. His career in business information has given him a ringside seat for every major technology transformation of the last 25 years. Tony regularly speaks on the digital transformation of business and the overarching impact technology is having on business management and leadership. In addition to his role at Thomas, Tony also serves as an advisor and board member of several tech and media companies as well as a mentor at Mucker Labs and a Trustee of Linfield College.

Jeff White, Partner, Robinson & Cole LLP

Jeff White is a member of the Connecticut District Export Council and has led with the DEC and US Export Office a number of the Special Topics COVID calls hosted by the Export Center. He was one of the first to sign on to the COVID outreach program and his support along with the firm’s partners has been significant. Jeff leads Robinson & Cole LLP’s Manufacturing Industry Team and regularly represents manufacturing clients throughout the United States and globally. He has represented a cross-section of manufacturing companies ranging from large global companies to family-owned businesses. His experience working closely with manufacturers provides him with unique insight into the issues faced by decision-makers and stakeholders within manufacturing companies as they continue to grow their businesses. As “outside general counsel” for small to mid-sized manufacturers, Jeff has advised on a wide-range of topics, including supply chain issues, product development and global sales, legal and trade compliance, dispute resolution, and workforce challenges, among other issues.