United States Heartland China Association


USHCA Leadership


Board of Directors


Bob Holden - Chairman And CEO

Bob Holden served as Missouri’s 53rd Governor, 2001-2005. Prior to being elected Governor, Holden served two terms as Missouri State Treasurer and three terms as a Missouri State Representative.

Bob Holden has been in public service his entire adult life. In addition to holding elective office, Holden worked for State Treasurers James I. Spainhower and Mel Carnahan, United States Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, and Congressman Richard A. Gephardt.

During Governor Holden's term in office, he chaired the Midwest Governors Association; opened Missouri’s first trade office in China; created Missouri’s first Hispanic Outreach Committee; moved Missouri from 41st to 5th in terms of women in leadership positions; appointed over 200 African Americans to prominent leadership roles; established the state's first Youth Cabinet; and built the first LEED certified state office building in Missouri.

Bob Holden is currently the Missouri Co-Chair for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and is an Executive Board member of the Missouri State NAACP Chapter. After leaving office in 2005, Holden founded the Holden Public Policy Forum and was a professor at Webster University for ten years. While at Webster University, he helped bring the first Confucius Institute to Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.

For over 40 years, Bob Holden has been an active participant in the American Legion Missouri Boys and Girls State Program. He led efforts to bring the first delegations of Chinese students to be participants in this historic program. Since that first delegation to Missouri Boys and Girls State, he has lead the efforts to continue these student delegations of Chinese students to Missouri and Missouri students to China with plans to initiate delegations from other states.

Bob Holden believes that long term economic success for the United States and China must be built on mutual respect, clear understandings and honest dialogue. This can be achieved by expanding our cultural ties, creating more educational partnerships, and creating bridges of opportunities for successful business in both countries.


Galal Walker - President

Galal Walker (PhD, Cornell) is a professor of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and the Director of the National East Asian Languages Resource Center, and the Midwest US–China Flagship Program at The Ohio State University.

Galal Walker has been instrumental in the development of Chinese language studies in the United States since the early 1980s. His work as a teacher, department chair, program director, author, and editor has contributed to establishing the “Performed Culture” approach and a field-wide pedagogical infrastructure based in research and publication for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Walker has emphasized training Americans to the advanced levels of Chinese language and culture. Graduates of the Ohio State Chinese Program, including the Flagship Program, work in international business, finance, research, pedagogy, and government service. Walker has mentored hundreds of graduate students, authored volumes on training teachers of less commonly taught languages, championed the application of performance theory to language learning and teaching, and created innovative multimedia programs for learning Chinese from elementary to advanced levels.

Walker has participated in the leadership of national organizations and task forces, including the National Association of Self Instructional Language Programs, the National Council for the Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages, the Chinese Language Teachers Association, and the College Board’s Chinese Advanced Placement Language program. He was a member of the Board of Visitors at the Defense Foreign Language Institute, and honorary professor at Beijing Normal University, Guizhou Normal University, Wuhan University, and Sichuan University.

In 2003 he was the first US recipient of the “China Language and Culture Friendship Award,” presented by the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Education. In 2012, Walker was awarded the Walton Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) and was also the 2012 recipient of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.


James Xue - Executive Vice President

James Xue has over 25 years of experiences on international business promotion, which include investment, technology transfer, business set-up, joint venture, sales and marketing, public relation, and executive training.  His major focus is on the Chinese market and business promotion between the US and China.

James Xue is a former professor of Renmin University, “Lead Consultant & Coordinator” for China projects at International Business Development (IBD) of Northwestern University and Director for China Affairs at Melamed & Associates. James has successfully conducted numerals joint projects. Through these projects, he has dealt with companies from multinational corps to small and medium size firms in various industries. In this capacity, he built an efficient network of contacts, from high-level government officials to industrial leaders.

James Xue is currently, as business advisor, working for The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He helps the university to develop joint programs with major Chinese universities, and also helps to create a unique program to provide internship opportunities in China to MSF students. Many of China’s top financial institutes, such as Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shanghai Future Exchange, commercial banks, security companies and etc., participate in and supporte the program.

 James Xue also serves as Deputy Director of Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy.


Sarah Burkemper - Treasurer

Sarah (Hartmann) Burkemper is a certified public accountant and a certified financial planner with a practice in Troy, Missouri.  She served as the public administrator for Lincoln County (Missouri) for twelve years, retiring from the position in December 2008.

Burkemper was a Pershing Scholar at Truman State University and graduated cum laude with two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in 1992. She went on to earn a master’s degree in International Affairs from Washington University in 1997.

Burkemper was honored as Truman’s Alumna of the Year in 2006. She served as president of the Truman State University Foundation from 2011-2014 and served as a member of the Truman Board of Governors from March 2001 to June 2007.

Burkemper is a graduate of the CORO Women in Leadership program. She is chair of the Lincoln County Health Foundation Board and chair of Community Opportunities (the County’s Senate Bill 40 Board). 


David Firestein - Policy Chair

David J. Firestein is the inaugural executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As CPPC chief, Firestein leads UT's institutional engagement with China and oversees innovative interdisciplinary research on China-related domestic and foreign policy topics.

Prior to joining UT, Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute; there, he led the Institute’s work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.

A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers. Firestein speaks Chinese at the near-native level.

Throughout his career, Firestein has played an active role advancing U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, scholarship and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation, and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict today.  Firestein was also a principal architect of the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue.

A native of Austin, Firestein holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and two master’s degrees from The University of Texas.


Yawei Liu - Research chair

Yawei Liu is director of the China Program at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been a member of numerous Carter Center missions to monitor Chinese village, township, and county people's congress deputy elections since 1997.

Dr. Liu has written extensively on China's political developments and grassroots democracy, including three edited book series: "Rural Election and Governance in Contemporary China" (Northwestern University Press, Xi'an, 2002 and 2004), "The Political Readers" (China Central Translation Bureau Press, Beijing, 2006), and "Elections & Governance" (Northwestern University Press, Xian, 2009). He is the founder and editor of the China elections and governance website www.chinaelections.org. Dr. Liu is also co-author of the popular Chinese book "Obama: The Man Who Will Change America" (October 2008).

Dr. Liu is adjunct professor of political science at Emory University and associate director of the China Research Center in Atlanta.

He earned his bachelor's degree in English literature from Xi'an Foreign Languages Institute (1982), master's degree in recent American history from the University of Hawaii (1989), and doctorate in American political and diplomatic history from Emory University (1996).


Mr. Alan Wong is the Executive Director of China-United States Exchange Foundation since November 2010. The Foundation is a Hong Kong based non-profit organization established in 2008 to promote positive relationship and better understanding between China and United States.

The Foundation’s annual program includes a host of activities in policy research, senior executive exchanges, high-level dialogues, education programs and outreach initiatives. In his capacity as Executive Director, Mr. Wong oversees the day to day running of the organization and is responsible to the Foundation’s Board of Governors.

Prior to his appointment with the Foundation, Mr. Wong was the Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, a statutory organization responsible for promoting Hong Kong’s external trade. In his more than 30 years of service with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, he had extensive experience working both in Hong Kong and overseas including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Panama, Paris, London, etc.

Mr. Wong was born in Northern China. His family moved to Guangzhou soon afterwards and later the family settled in Hong Kong. After attending high school in Hong Kong, Mr. Wong went to Canada for his tertiary education, where he graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree of Bachelor of Science. Mr. Wong is married with two daughters.


Jeff Moseley

Jeff Moseley has four decades of public and private sector experience, particularly in the transportation industry and economic development.

Currently, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Association of Business, the largest business association in Texas, representing over 2, 800 businesses, from major corporations to small start-ups. Combined those businesses employ over 2.5 million Texans and drive the economic engine of the state.

Before that, Moseley was appointed by former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) to the five-member Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and a $12 billion annual budget.

Previously, Moseley was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), the primary business organization for the 11-county Houston region. Under his leadership, the GHP gained national recognition as a center for economic development and became the largest chamber of commerce in the Lone Star State with a board consisting of 130 business leaders representing companies with a combined annual revenue of $1.6 trillion.

Prior to joining the GHP, Moseley was Chief Executive Officer of the Office for Economic Development and Tourism for the state of Texas and served as the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Economic Development. Under his direction, the Department was instrumental in bringing the Toyota Tundra manufacturing facility to San Antonio and the move of CITGO to Houston.

Moseley is a sixth generation Texan and graduate and Outstanding Alumnus of Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.


Tyler Walston

Raised in Wichita, Tyler was immersed in the aerospace and manufacturing industries. The deep familial roots which run strong in many Wichitans fostered a deep love and passion for business with the two industries. Now a Friends graduate and a 40 Under 40 honoree, Tyler uses his formal and practical knowledge of business administration and international business to help those very industries.

At Kansas Global, Tyler helps bring business to the global theater. His unique perspective on business and market development, trade compliance, and program management allow him to lead the team in implementing established business plans and cultivating a global network.


Michael Froy

Mike Froy is co-chair of Dentons' global Corporate practice and global Manufacturing sector. Mike advises businesses in meeting their strategic objectives focusing on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate governance and public company compliance.

While Mike represents clients across a broad array of industries, his work on behalf of manufacturers and regulated businesses (energy, health care and insurance) has been particularly noteworthy.

  • Executive Committee, Northwestern University’s Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute

  • Board of directors, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and The Lake County Community Foundation

  • Secretary and member of the executive committee, Junior Achievement of Chicago

University of Chicago Law School, 1983, JD

University of Michigan, 1979, AB, with honors and high distinction


Jim Schultz - Agriculture Committee Chair

Jim is the Founder and Managing Partner of Open Prairie and a fifth generation agriculture investor and entrepreneur with over 30 years of investment experience and has been instrumental in starting and providing capital to companies throughout the country. Jim has a diverse background in venture capital and private equity, investment banking and other entrepreneurial ventures.

Before founding Open Prairie, Jim was active in negotiating investment agreements in numerous equity and mezzanine financings for start-up and growth-stage companies in the Midwest. In 2015, Jim was appointed by the Governor of Illinois as Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In career prior to private equity, Jim held executive level management positions and served as the Chairman of the Board of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Small Business Advisory Council on Agriculture, Labor and Small Business.

Jim is a graduate of the National Venture Capital Association Venture Capital Institute. He received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law. Jim graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University.


Dan Johnson - Economic Development Committee Chair

Dan Johnson has served in higher education leadership positions for more than 40 years, during which time he developed significant collaborations and partnerships among various public universities, government entities, industrial corporations and international organizations.

Dr. Johnson became president of The University of Toledo in 2001 where he fostered community engagement and led the highly successful effort in 2006 to merge UT with the Medical University of Ohio, creating the third largest public university in the state.

In 2008, after a distinguished career in higher education leadership positions, Dr. Johnson was invited to become Provost and Chief Operating Officer of Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates with campuses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. At Zayed University he worked closely with the Minister of Higher Education in building a new, billion-dollar campus in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, he developed collaborative relationships with universities in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.

In 2011, Dr. Johnson returned to the University of Toledo as President Emeritus where he led the University’s initiative for Global Engagement. Since retiring from UT, former President Johnson has remained professionally active in Northwest Ohio. In particular, he has been actively involved in promoting the Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame Foundation and working to raise the level of education attainment in Toledo. He is the 2016 recipient of the Medical Mission Hall of Fame Lifetime Distinguished Service Award.


Dr. Dean Hubbard - education Committee chair

Under Dr. Hubbard's guidance as president, Northwest Missouri State became the first public university in the nation to create a fully networked "electronic campus" based on the concept that "students come first."

Dr. Hubbard has long been a champion of programs that promote greater access to higher education, such as Northwest's pioneering American Dream Grant, a needs-based initiative that provides tuition, room, board, books and a computer to students from lower-income families.

Dr. Hubbard was instrumental in the building of the Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation, a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance research opportunities for students and faculty as well as help grow small businesses in the region.

An educator with broad international experience, Dr. Hubbard lived in Seoul, Korea, from 1966 to 1971 and helped develop language programs in six countries. In addition to extensive work in Asia, he served as a consultant to educational institutions in Europe and Central America and sits on the board of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy .

Prior to coming to Northwest, Dr. Hubbard was president of Union College, in Lincoln, Neb., and earned degrees from Stanford University, Yonsei University and Andrews University.


Dan Slane - environment/Infrastructure/Energy Committee chair

Dan Slane holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Law Degree from the Ohio State University. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Law from the University of Amsterdam. He served for a number of years as a Case Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He was a staff assistant to President Gerald Ford in the White House. For many years, he owned and operated a real estate development company that built over 100 shopping centers and commercial buildings in 12 states. He has overseen billions in public works projects. He owned three plywood manufacturing plants in China. He is the former Chairman of the Board of the Ohio State University, the nations largest university. He is the Chairman of the Ohio Capital Corporation, a $4 billion dollar syndicator of housing in 6 states. In 2008 he was appointed by Speaker John Boehner to the US-China Commission and went on to chair it. The China Commission is a Federal Government Agency that reports to Congress on policy issues with China involving national security, economics and trade. Slane holds a Top Secret Security Clearance and is a China expert. In 2016 he was appointed to the Trump Transition and charged with preparing the infrastructure plan for the White House. In December of 2016 his plan of 60 projects went viral worldwide after being released by the National Governors Association. He resides in Houston and is the Chief Operating Officer of a disaster recovery company.


Dan March - Service and Retail Committee Chair

Dan March is Sr. Vice President of International for Sbarro Pizza. Sbarro is in 25 countries around the world and Dan’s responsibilities include managing the areas of franchise development and operations support. In this role, he provides leadership to the International Consulting team and is the relationship partner with in-country Franchisees.

Most recently Dan was the Chief Financial Officer of Cedar Enterprises, which was one of the largest Wendy’s Franchisees which owned and operated 215 restaurants in 6 markets throughout the U.S. and Western Canada.

Prior to that, Dan was the Chief Ownership Strategy Officer for McDonald’s China. He was responsible for all Franchising initiatives within the China market, which exceeded 25% of the China business.

Before assuming this role Dan was the McDonald’s APMEA Controller which comprised of 4,000 restaurants over 9 countries throughout Asia. Dan also served in the role of Chief Financial Officer for McDonald’s China. Prior to joining the McDonald’s China team, Dan was the C.F.O. of McDonald’s South Africa.

In all he has nearly 3 decades of domestic and international experience, with McDonald’s in both corporate and market level positions. He held key financial positions within McDonald’s in the APMEA Division, Partner Brands (Donato’s Pizza), Taiwan, Detroit Region, North American Shared Services Center and various Home Office Departments (Oak Brook).

Dan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from the Ohio State University and is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants in the US.

Communications Advisor


Steve grand

For over 30 years, with offices in Washington DC and San Francisco, CA, Steve Grand has provided strategic advice, research and planning coupled with creative, persuasive, winning media for political and corporate clients.    He designs, produces and places messaging, advertising and long format content for political and corporate campaigns in all video distribution media.  Political clients include Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Governor Doug Burgum, and numerous Members of the House and Senate.

In addition to his extensive, winning political campaign work, Grand has advised corporate clients as well as Governors, Senators, Congressmen, state legislators political parties, Prime Ministers and Presidents and other elected and appointed officials in new technologies, education, telecommunications, broadcasting, computers, intellectual property, health care, the environment, transportation, energy, tourism, the economy, election law, and public perception of government as well as conducting message development and deployment.  

Dr. Grand’s international work includes research, strategy, media and messaging in over 36 countries, including national election campaigns in Slovakia, Croatia, South Africa and seven national elections in the Netherlands.  He has also done media, research, strategy and communications in places as varied as Sri Lanka, South Africa, Hungary, Jordan, Morocco, England and China.    His international work also includes measuring and affecting American public opinion and attitudes about foreign countries and cultures.

A Rotary Scholar in England, Grand also holds a BA (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, a Masters in Communications Management, a Masters in Research Methodology and a Ph.D. in Communications from the Annenberg School for Communications at University of Southern California. 

Dr. Grand has taught at the college level and lectured at numerous campaign schools and universities in the US and Europe.  In 2011, Grand was named a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government where he taught  classes on public opinion, campaigns, media, messaging, production and persuasion.