This week: July 30, 2021 - Jeffrey W. Smith - Youth Apprenticeship in Maryland
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July 30: Jeffrey W. Smith - Youth Apprenticeship in Maryland



Jon Burkhardt – History of Kites

May 14th
Jon Burkhardt

With a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT, Mr. Burkhardt had many years of professional experience in transportation, survey research, program evaluation, planning, and technical assistance. He was formerly the president of Ecosometrics, Incorporated, and later a Senior Study Director at Westat. He’s noted for having been a pioneer in transportation services for persons with special needs, including consumers of medical transportation services, older persons, persons with disabilities, and persons living in rural and small urban areas.

Jon now spends much time in kite design, kite festivals, and kite organizations. Since 1980, he has won top awards in the U.S. and abroad at many festivals, including AKA’s Grand National Kitemaking Championship in 1984 and 2015 (the 2015 award was for a kite made cooperatively by Jon and his wife, Karen), the first prize for Best Kite Display at the International Kite Tour of India in 1993, and awards for championship Rokkaku kitefighting teams at major “kite capitals” and kite festivals in the U.S. Displays of his kites have been presented in many locations.

He is actively engaged in spreading the joy of kite flying to others. He has helped lead the Maryland Kite Society for many years. For the American Kitefliers Association, he has served in most official positions, including Vice President, Treasurer, and member of AKA’s Board of Directors for many years.

Jon has been the Event Coordinator and Head Judge at many kite festivals and competitions. He has been an active participant in the planning and operations of numerous major kite festivals. He is the chief author of many editions of AKA’s Rules and Guidelines for Kitemakers’ Competitions.

He has written articles on kite flying and kite festivals for numerous publications, iincluding KiteLines and Kiting, and major articles featuring him and his kites have appeared in American Kite, KiteLines, Kiting, Martha Stewart Living, the Washington Post, numerous other publications, and on National Public Radio. In 2008, Jon assisted the Smithsonian Institution and Ball State University in developing a web-based instructional curriculum on kites for elementary school children. In 2018, he helped create and curate a major kite display at the Strathmore Mansion and Music Center in Bethesda.

Lasse Syversen – Shipping in a Pandemic Age

May 7th
Lasse Syversen

Club Member Lasse is Founder, Chairman and President of Bloksberg, Inc. has spent more than 40 years in the IT Industry in Norway, U.S., and globally.  These include 10 years with General Electric as Country Manager of Norway and Marketing Manager in London for International Trade, responsible for Europe and Far East. He left GE to become Managing Director of Honeywell
Bull, Norway and later General Manager Northern Europe for Public Sector.  After taking over Flagship Technologies, Inc., a software company based in Rockville, Maryland, in the summer of 1998, he left his native Norway to resume the position of chairman of the board and CEO of Flagship.

He co-founded NorHouse in October 1997. Lasse was educated at Oslo Business School, Norway in Business Administration, INSEAD, France in Change Management, and Sea Trade Academy, UK in Container Transportation. He also serves on a number of boards, holding director positions in Ritmarine Ltd., Bloksberg Inc, the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, Norwegian Society, Emmanuel Trinity Lutheran Church and Piney Narrows Condominium Association. He is a past president of our club and has been active on many committees and projects.


The global business community is struggling to get back to normal after what looks to be a two year worldwide pandemic. Lasse will take us onto how the international shipping community views this challenging time and what’s expected in the years to follow the most significant crises since WW II. At the same time, we have a new administration in the U.S. and how it all plays together will be the topics of the talk. In less than a year we have seen, and will continue to see, creative solutions to the most complex problems.

Denise Mainville – A New Approach to “Doing Development”: Leveraging the Private Sector to Achieve Food Security and Alleviate Poverty, with Examples from Africa

April 30th
Denise Mainville

Denise is an Agricultural economist dedicated to poverty alleviation, food security, and economic and agricultural development. Her expertise is in agri-food market systems
development, value-chain analysis, gender, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, organizational development, relief-to-development, incentive-based development approaches, and behavior change. She has sector-specific experience in staple and high-value markets including grains and legumes, fresh produce, spices, cacao, and seed with professional experience in Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, Central and South Asia. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, with rudimentary French, Swahili, Bangla and Juba Arabic.