2013 GMA Consumer Complaints Management Webinar

Speaker Biographies

Steven Leslie, Esq. Grocery Manufacturers Association
Steven Leslie has over 10 years of experience with product liability claims in the food, beverage, and CPG industry.  Steven graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1999, and joined the GMA Claims Program in November of 2002.  During this time, Steven has handled a wide variety of claims against GMA members, including allegations of foodborne illness, chemicals in products, foreign materials, and defective containers.  While at GMA, Steven also obtained his J.D. from George Washington University, graduating with honors in May of 2011.  Steven was admitted to the Maryland Bar in December of 2011, and has served as the head of the Claims Program since that time.

As Director and Counsel, Steven oversees all Claims Program operations.   These operations include litigation management, non-litigated claims handling, laboratory testing, and claims system reporting.  Steven also has primary oversight of all Claims Program conferences and webinars, including the annual Food Claims and Litigation Conference, Consumer Complaint Management Conference, Food, Beverage and CPG Litigation Webinar, and Consumer Complaint Management Webinar.

 

Lon Walls, Walls Communication, Inc.
Lon Walls, president and CEO of Walls Communications, Inc., established the firm in 1993 after leaving his position as vice president and manager of the Washington, DC office of Hill & Flowers Public Relations, a Chicago-based public relations agency.

Walls Communications is an award-winning, full service public relations firm offering clients a wide range of communications support, including strategic counsel, conventional media relations, utilization of social media, production and distribution of audio news releases (ANRs) and video news releases (VNRs), and crisis communications.  The firm’s client list has included AT&T, ACE Cash Express, Bank of America, Burger King, Denny’s Restaurants, PEPCO, Miller and Long Construction, DuPont, Freddie Mac, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the Black Methodist Coalition, Pfizer, Shell Oil, and the U.S. Army.

From January 2011 to June 2013, Lon served as the Communications Director for the District of Columbia’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services (F&EMS).  In that position, he managed all media relations activities, community outreach efforts, internal communications and external marketing for that emergency response agency.  In addition, for seven months, he was detailed to the Office of Communications for District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray to provide the Mayor’s Office with strategic counsel and crisis communication support.

From 1990 to 1993, Lon served as the Director of Media Relations and Special Projects for the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington. During his tenure at DOT, he managed and coordinated all media relations activities for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Transportation. In addition, Lon created and implemented a nationally distributed radio news actuality service and managed an extensive internal communications system for the Department’s 110,000 employees nationwide.

Before his Presidential appointment to DOT, he served as campaign communications director for District of Columbia mayoral candidate Maurice Turner. Preceding his foray into politics, Lon spent more than 10 years in the field of health care public affairs and public relations. From 1988 until 1990, he was the news bureau director for the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, serving as chief spokesperson and manager of the media relations department for that 279-bed pediatric medical center.

Lon also served as the media relations manager for several other Washington area health care facilities, including Fairfax Hospital and Greater Southeast Community Hospital. He began his health care career with the American Red Cross in 1979 as the public relations director of the organization's Northwest Ohio Chapter.  From 1979 until 1982, he was a media relations specialist for the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Lon is a past president of the Capital Press Club, the nation’s oldest African-American press organization, and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history and English and a Bachelor of Science in journalism, both from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Kimberly Wingfield, Grocery Manufacturers Association
Kimberly Wingfield, Senior Manager, Science Policy, Labeling and Standards, interacts extensively with GMA members to provide assistance with food labeling inquiries on FDA and USDA regulated products. Ms. Wingfield joined GMA in November of 2012. Prior to GMA, Ms. Wingfield held various positions in regulatory affairs and compliance in the food industry amounting to over ten years of experience.


Ms. Wingfield received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and MBA from Emory University.