Thursday, November 30, 2023 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST


Phil Williams, DANC Science & Technology Committee Chair 
Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) 


The Frontier at RTP 
800 Park Offices Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Driving Directions 

Science & Technology (S&T) Forum in partnership with 

Please join us for our S&T forum with briefs from key representatives supporting NC's Defense Innovation Ecosystem!

  Theme: National Security Challenges, DoD Priorities, and the NDAA for Small Businesses


 Erik Berdy - National Security Challenges and DoD Priorities

In Erik’s three-decade career in the U.S. Army, the Pentagon, and on Capitol Hill, he served as a trusted advisor, strategist, connector, and leader. Most recently, Erik served as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during both the Trump and Biden Administrations. He was the principal advisor to the Chairman and Joint Staff for all Congressional matters, significantly improving Congress-Joint Staff relations while connecting disparate staffs and departments to enable stronger collaboration for better outcomes.Previously, Erik served the Joint Chiefs of Staff as Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, where he was the principal strategist advising on military strategies to combat violent extremists in the Middle East. In his prior role as Legislative Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA), Erik was the key advisor tothe CSA for all Congressional affairs related to the U.S. Army. He developed and executed the CSA’s Congressional engagement strategy, working directly with members of Congress and their staffs. Erik served in the U.S. Army both domestically and abroad in both peace time and during peace-keepingand combat operations, as a small unit leader, an operations officer, an airborne infantry Battalion Commander, and a Brigade Commander. In the latter capacity, Erik commanded the United States Army Garrison in Italy, overseeing a workforce of 500 U.S. and Italian employees and managing an annual operating budget of $125 million to meet U.S. national security objectives in Europe. In this role Erik leveraged his skills engaging and bringing together stakeholders to optimize local and national relations.


Lucia Alonzo - Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA, Appropriations and other Key Legislation

Lucia is an experienced government relations professional with more than 10 years of experience effectively advocating for her clients on Capitol Hill. She helps clients develop and execute short- and long-term policy strategies to achieve their business objectives.  Lucia’s areas of expertise include appropriations and the federal budget, homeland security, defense, transportation, tax, immigration, workforce, education, healthcare, and economic development. She has helped draft proposed legislation, conducted policy research and analysis, and acted as a liaison tointerest groups and federal agencies.  Before joining Michael Best Strategies, Lucia originated the Chief of Staff role at a start-up bipartisan government relations boutique, where she led the firm’s research, writing, and operations as well as a full slate of lobbying work. During her tenure, the firm earned recognition from Bloomberg Government as a top performer from 2018 through 2020. The firm’s clients included Fortune 50 companies, major nonprofits, and businesses in a wide range of industry sectors.Lucia previously served as director of a well-known bipartisan lobbying and public affairs firm. There, she leveraged connections with members of Congress, committee offices, and executive agencies to help advance clients’ interests.


 Jenette Morell - Small Business Considerations and Preparing for Success

Jenette leverages both experience and relationships to help clients achieve their policy and business objectives. She brings expertise spanning numerous industries, with a focus in emerging technology in the aerospace, industrial, and other sectors.Before joining the Strategies team, Jenette was Director of Government Relations at Vita Inclinata Technologies in Washington, D.C. In her role, Jenette oversaw development and growth of the company’s federal and state government relations departments while leading an internal team and managing consulting firms in D.C., New York, and Michigan. She developed and executed a bipartisan lobbying and legislative strategy in emerging markets, focusing on innovative technologies in the defense, aerospace, and construction industries at the federal and state levels. Jenette successfullyapplied and advocated for nearly $19 million in defense appropriations for emerging technology between the fiscal year 2021-23 defense appropriation bills. She also obtained line-item funding in the fiscal year 2021-23 National Defense Authorization Acts. Previously, Jenette worked as a Legal Analyst for New York-based FinTech Studios, a leading artificial intelligence-driven marketplace for business & regulatory intelligence. While pursuing her J.D., Jenette served as a Law Clerk for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sherrod Brown on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Jenette also served as a Legislative Intern to New York City Council Member Keith Powers. Additionally, Jenette gained experience working as a research assistant and asummer associate, respectively, for two law firms in Ohio. While pursuing her B.A. in Political Science,Jenette served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).


  Lyle Gravatt - Moderator

Lyle focuses his practice in the area of intellectual property, transactional law, government procurement and artificial intelligence. He provides end-to-end counsel to help clients identify, protect, and commercialize IP assets, working closely with clients in a cross-collaborative matter with the firm’s practice groups and consulting and lobbying arms to meet business goals.Working in collaboration with Michael Best Strategies, Lyle assists clients through the government procurement process, ensuring legal compliance and intellectual property rights remain a high priority. Lyle is also a member of the firm’s Unmanned Technology industry team, and often works alongside Michael Best Consulting’s Best Autonomous Insights group. By integrating business consulting with legal advice, the Best Autonomous Insights team addresses technical, regulatory, and operational challenges.With a specific focus on the defense sector, this cross-functional approach is uniquely tailored to offer comprehensive solutions. Lyle assists numerous clients with a broad range of intellectual property services, from protecting trademarks and patents to licensing, acquisitions, and due diligence, across a number of industries.Serving as a day-to-day manager for clients who have regular legal, lobbying and consulting needs, he reviews risk tolerance, historical pain points, and business preferences to develop cost-effective solutions with the goal of showing a return on client’s investments.






Phil Williams, Science & Technology Committee Chair, Defense Alliance of North Carolina, Phil Williams LLC


Dr. Brandon Conover, Science & Technology Committee Co-Chair, Defense Alliance of North Carolina, Practical Scientific Solutions, Inc. 





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Parking is FREE. Registration will close once max capacity is reached. 

No cost to attend. 

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Arrive early for NETWORKING!  Program begins promptly at 1:30pm.  Forum will be held on the ground floor in Classroom AB

The Frontier Building, 800 Park Offices Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 



The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) combines the powerful leadership of distinguished military officers and industry executives, a large and active membership base, and an impressive set of standing forums and events to support North Carolina’s government, military, business, and academic communities. https://defensealliancenc.org