About Us

Dedicating focused, one-on-one attention to our clients is core to the Fischer & Associates approach.

Our Philosophy

We firmly believe in collaborating with our clients to build pragmatic and enabling compliance programs that are strictly scaled to reflect their risk profile and business needs.

Our History

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and founded in 2008, Fischer & Associates serves more than 40+ universities, non-academic research institutions, DOE National Laboratories, as well as established and start-up engineering and manufacturing companies across a broad spectrum of industry sectors.

We welcome our clients’ collaborative insights toward achieving engagement objectives.

Our Background

All lead practitioners in our group are technical experts in U.S. export control and trade sanction regulations (including the ITAR, EAR, Anti-boycott, and OFAC sanctions; other trade-related requirements mandated by DoD/DFARS, NASA, DoE, DHS, NRC, NNSA, USDA, U.S. Customs.) Our team is comprised of consultants with many years of experience in program assessment, development and implementation; we also advise our clients on navigating agency enforcement actions resulting from potential or actual violations.

Meet Our Team

Don Fischer, Principal

As one of the country’s foremost Higher Ed and Corporate consultants on federal research compliance, international engagement; and research security, Don brings a highly experienced, benchmarked perspective on how to effectively organize and execute research compliance functions from a governance, operational and budgetary standpoint. Don holds a J.D. and LL.M from the University of Miami School of Law, with a specialization in international law and trade, and B.A. from Emory University. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and has been a lecturer for SPIE Photonics, the Association of University Export Control Officers (AUECO); the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM); and the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). Prior to founding Fischer & Associates, Don served as a Managing Director of Price Waterhouse Cooper’s World Trade Management Services practice, and the Director of International Trade at Deloitte & Touche. He is the author of many articles on export control compliance, Customs valuation, and multinational trade planning and a contributing commentator to the Journal of Higher Education.

Laurel Dean

Laurel Dean advises numerous universities and colleges on all aspects of research security, trade compliance, facility security, conflicts of interest, intellectual property considerations in export controls, organizational development, process design and effective use of electronic administration tools. Previously at The Ohio State University and the Director of Research Security and Assistant Facility Security Officer, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and several research & development companies, Laurel holds a J.D. from Liberty University School of Law, and a B.B.A. in Business Administration from Roanoke College. She has previously served as member of the AUECO board for multiple terms, is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.

Jilda Garton

Jilda is a nationally-recognized leader in academic research administration and policy development. Jilda served as the Vice President for Research and General Manager for Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), Vice President for Research Administration at The Ohio State University Research Foundation, and in various other sponsored research programs at in her 20+ years experience in sponsored programs. Jilda is currently a Senior Fellow and Board member for the UIDP; previously she has served on the faculty of NCURA-Sponsored Programs, as a representative to COGR, and was a participant in the University Industry Congress. “Actively” retired, Jilda now assists research institutions in developing and assessing their sponsored research programs.

Sean McMillan

Sean has over 24 years of experience in government security, including law enforcement, intelligence, counterintelligence, and industrial security. Sean is a recognized subject matter expert in both security information management systems and development of facility security programs. Previously he served as the Corporate Facility Security Officer for a Fortune 200 company, where he spearheaded all aspects of the company’s international facility security and industrial security programs. Prior to this work, Sean was a Special Agent with the U.S. government, where he inspected government contractors, conducted counterintelligence investigations, adjudicated background investigations and polygraph examinations, and oversaw the agency’s Special Agent Training program. Sean is a graduate of Radford University with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice.

Jen McCaw

Jen has 20 years of experience in export compliance in both university and industry settings, with a focus on research security and trade compliance. Previously she was the Export Compliance Officer at Oregon Health & Science University and an active member of the Association for University Export Control Officers (AUECO), where she often served as a subject matter expert on international shipping and trade compliance. Prior to joining OHSU, Jen served as the ECO for a freight forwarding company specializing in ITAR and hazardous materials exports, where she was responsible for developing and implementing their Export Compliance program. Other key contributions included meeting with government officials to discuss regulatory concerns on behalf of her clients, and developing and conducting training programs for clients ranging from micro manufacturers to Fortune 500 corporations.

Leah Rothman

Leah has been an Associate with Fischer & Associates since 2009. As coordinator of the Fischer & Associates Help Desk Service, Ms. Rothman assists clients in a variety of capacities including jurisdiction analysis; classification of hardware, software, and technology to ascertain control implications; deemed export reviews; EAR and ITAR license support; OFAC General and Specific license utilization; export compliant project planning; denied and restricted parties screening interpretation; and more. In her capacity as an Assessment analyst, Leah specializes in transaction testing of various processes. Her specialized knowledge of controlled biologics, select agents, and related technology is a valuable resource for biomedical research institutions and biotech companies.

Other Affiliated Colleagues

To help meet our client’s teams, Fischer & Associates routinely engages with individuals who are nationally recognized experts in certain highly specialized areas.