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This one-hour virtual program will feature a conversation between Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York Herman Quarles van Ufford and PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr as they discuss the longstanding economic partnership between Pennsylvania and the Netherlands. The program will focus on trade and investments in Pennsylvania with comments from Nick Bertram, President of The GIANT Company – a company of Ahold Delhaize USA – one of the largest Dutch-owned employers in the Commonwealth. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in Q&A with the speakers.
Herman Quarles van Ufford (1966) has been Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York since October 1, 2020.
Herman earned a Master’s Degree in Law at Groningen University in the Netherlands before he entered the Dutch Foreign Service in 1994. After starting his career at the European Union Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague, he attended the Ecole Nationale d' Administration in Paris where he completed the “Cycle Court” program, before joining the Dutch Embassy in Paris as Cultural Attaché.
Back in The Hague, Herman served as spokesman to the European Affairs Minister and Deputy Director of the Middle East Department.
From 2014 to 2019 Herman was appointed Deputy Director-General at the Prime Minister’s Office in the Hague where he advised the Dutch Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family on communication and press relations.
In 2019, Herman and his family moved to New York, where his wife Sara Offermans took up the position of the UN Economic and Social Council Ambassador at the Netherlands Mission to the United Nations.
During the first part of 2020, Herman worked for the UN Secretariat on the UN75 Global Dialogue campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
Herman and Sara have five children, two of whom attend university in the Netherlands and three of whom live with them in New York.
Nicholas Bertram is president of The GIANT Company, an omni-channel grocer known to customers as GIANT, MARTIN’S, GIANT Heirloom Market, GIANT Direct and MARTIN’S Direct that has been proudly serving families across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia since 1923.
Bertram was appointed to the role in 2017, following years of executive roles at The GIANT Company’s parent company Ahold Delhaize, where he still serves on the US Leadership Team. He began his retail career over 20 years ago at JCPenney, then joining Walmart as a part-time stocker where he spent the next 12 years. He quickly rose in responsibility with leadership roles in store operations, human resources, and innovation. Bertram then went to Jewel-Osco in Chicago as its senior vice president of retail before joining Ahold Delhaize in 2013.
Bertram currently serves as chair for the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Chamber. He is also co-chair of the corporate council and a member of the Foundation Board of Overseers for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Most recently, Bertram was named a 2020 Most Admired CEO by The Philadelphia Business Journal. He attained a BBA in marketing from Eastern Kentucky University and an MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix, along with post-graduate programs at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Harvard and The Wharton School.
Gene Barr is the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the state's largest broad-based business advocacy association. He oversees all operations of the PA Chamber and its for-profit subsidiary, PA Chamber Insurance.
Barr joined the PA Chamber in February 2003. He served for more than eight years as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs prior to being elected President in October 2011. During his tenure, Barr has worked on a large number of significant legislative and regulatory efforts critical to Pennsylvania's business climate.
Barr has more than 40 years of experience in various facets of government, political and public affairs activity, as well as business operations. He worked for BP America (the U.S. subsidiary of British Petroleum) for more than 12 years. His career at BP included assignments in refining at the company's Marcus Hook, PA refinery, retail marketing at the U.S. headquarters in Cleveland, OH, and in state government affairs in BP's Atlanta, GA regional office, where he was responsible for all legislative activities in six states. I
In 1992, Barr joined the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, the state office of the American Petroleum Institute, as Associate Director. This office is responsible for all legislative, regulatory and media activity affecting the major oil companies. In 1997, he was named Executive Director of API.
In 2000, he joined the law firm of McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, the largest Harrisburg-based law firm, to start a government relations practice.
Barr served as a local elected official in the Philadelphia area for almost 10 years. He graduated from St. Joseph's University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.
Previously, Barr served as a board member and chair of the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board, as a board member for United Way of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation. He was also appointed by Gov. Ed Rendell as a member of the Stimulus Oversight Commission and served as a member of Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
Barr is a member and previous chair of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and is a member of the Early Learning Investment Commission. In 2019, he was appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to co-chair the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. He is a current member of the Council of State Chambers and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, Committee of 100 and Nominating and Governance Committee. Barr serves on the boards of the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, the Bridge Educational Foundation and United Way of the Capital Region.
In 2017, Barr was named 'The Most Effective Association Lobbyist' in the Commonwealth in a poll conducted by Pennsylvania Legislative Services. Also that year, he was included in Pennlive/Patriot-News' list of the 17 most influential people in Pennsylvania politics and was also named as one of City & State Pennsylvania’s “Fifty Over Fifty.”
He is a board member and former chair of the National Civil War Museum and is a member of the 2017 National Security Seminar at the United States Army War College. Barr is also the author of a non-fiction book on the American Civil War, 'A Civil War Captain and His Lady' - a true 'Cold Mountain' from the Northern perspective.