Pete Kirkham is the president and founder of Red Maple Consulting, a government affairs and political strategy firm. He has over 20 years of experience in government, national politics, and industry. As a senior member of the House leadership staff, Kirkham was regularly included in Roll Call’s “Fabulous Fifty” list of the most powerful and influential staffers on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C. He served as the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) under NRCC Chairman, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK). Prior, he served as chief of staff to Congressman Cole. Additional government service in management roles includes work for GOP Members of Congress, including Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Wes Watkins (R-OK), and the late Herb Bateman (R-VA). Kirkham has a successful track record of building winning coalitions for issue advocacy, legislative and regulatory initiatives, and political campaigns. His business background in the steel industry as a metallurgist focused on value-added sales through design-driven cost savings gives him a unique perspective on bringing products to market on time and under budget. Kirkham is a graduate of West Virginia University, where he earned his BA in political science and MA in international public policy analysis, and Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his BS in metals science and engineering.
Sudip S. Parikh, PhD
Sudip Parikh is the managing director of DIA (Drug Information Association) Americas and senior vice president of DIA Global, an international neutral forum and knowledge manager that empowers its members from stakeholders across the healthcare product development ecosystem to bring safe and effective treatments to patients around the world. He leads DIA’s activities in the Americas, is a member of the Global Executive Committee, and chairs the board of DIA Learning. Prior, Parikh was the general manager of the health and consumer solutions business unit and vice president at Battelle. Previously, Parikh led Battelle’s global agrifood business Unit. Prior to Battelle, he served as a science adviser and professional staff to the United States Senate Appropriations Committee. As Senator Arlen Specter’s aide on biomedical research, Parkih was on the frontlines of doubling the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003, providing NIH with $10 billion in the stimulus package of 2009, and ensuring emergency funding for FDA when it experienced a shortfall in 2006. Early in his career, Parikh was a Presidential Management Intern at NIH. He was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship while earning his PhD in macromolecular structure and chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute. He earned his BS in materials applied science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Parikh is an active board member of health and science policy organizations, including Research!America, Friends of Cancer Research, Ohio State University Food Innovation Center, and NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Science Programmatic Consultation Committee.
Lori McMahon Wakefield, PhD
Lori McMahon Wakefield is currently the Jarman F. Lowder Professor of Neuroscience in the department of cell, developmental, and integrative biology, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Neuroscience Center, and dean of the UAB Graduate School. McMahon Wakefield is a basic neuroscientist whose laboratory research focuses on pathophysiological changes in neural circuit function in various rodent models of neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases. She received her BA in biology and chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, PhD from Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, and completed her postdoctoral training at Duke University Medical Center.