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Berenice Carmona
Sr. International Business Consultant
International Trade Center

berenice carmonaBerenice Carmona is a senior international business consultant at the International Trade Center. After joining the International Trade Center in 2005, she served as international market research specialist, interns coordinator and client services coordinator before taking up her current position.

Berenice holds a bachelor’s degree in Management with a concentration in International Business from the University of Northern Iowa and is a Certified Global Business Professional. She is also a member of the North American Small Business International Trade Educators. She is bilingual and bicultural having worked and lived in both the United States and México.




Ramiro A. Cavazos
President and Chief Executive Officer
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

ramiro cavazosRamiro Cavazos is the president and chief executive officer of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he provides direction on small business issues, international trade efforts, economic research, leadership development, education expansion, workforce growth and small business advocacy. He has extensive economic development experience and served as the director of economic development for the City of San Antonio and as the director of research and economic development for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Ramiro’s civic involvement extends to his service as chairman of the San Antonio Housing Authority, as vice chairman of the Brooks Development Authority, as a director of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, as executive board member of the San Antonio Mobility Coalition and as a board member of Project Quest, Inc.

Ramiro has taught Economic Development for the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned a Masters of Public Administration from St. Mary’s University of San Antonio and a BA in Government from The University of Texas at Austin.




Hon. Ted Dean
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

ted deanTed Dean directs the Department of Commerce’s efforts to enhance the competitiveness of the US services industries, which accounts for approximately 80% of the private sector economy of the United States. In that capacity, he leads his division’s efforts to develop trade policies, initiatives and programs aimed at ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the US services industry. He also directs the analysis of trends affecting US businesses across the full services spectrum ranging from digital to finance, logistics supply chain and professional services. Additionally, Ted works to ensure that US businesses have competitive access to export finance through the Department of Commerce’s representation at the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the World Bank.

Ted has extensive international business experience, having run a consulting firm based in China for over a decade and done business across the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining the Commerce Department in 2013, he was the president and managing director of BDA, a consulting firm based in Beijing, China, where he advised companies and investors on their businesses in Asia. He was also a founder of Americans Promoting Study Abroad, a former chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in China and a former board member of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. 

Ted received his BA from Yale College and his MBA from the University of Chicago.


Wanda Felton, First Vice President and Vice Chair
Export Import Bank of the United States

wanda feltonWanda Felton is First Vice President and Vice Chair of the Export Import Bank of the United States (“Ex‐Im Bank”). Nominated by President Obama, she was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve a second term. As Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, she votes on policy matters and transactions spanning global markets and industry sectors, including power generation, manufacturing, transportation and satellite communications, among others.

Ms. Felton has approximately 25 years of investment banking and private equity advisory experience. Early in her career, she worked in corporate finance, serving clients in the financial services industry. Ms. Felton was at the forefront of bringing U.S. institutional capital to Africa, having led transactions that steered more than $3.5 billion to emerging markets, including sub‐Saharan Africa, a region where Ex‐Im Bank has a congressional mandate to boost exports.

Prior to joining Ex-Im Bank, she operated MAP Capital Advisors. Previously, she was a Managing Director at Helix Associates, a division of Jefferies Inc.; a Director at Credit Suisse First Boston; and a Managing Director at Hamilton Lane Advisors. She began her career as a loan officer at Ex-Im Bank.

Ms. Felton received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives outside Washington, DC with her husband, Michael Owens.




Damon Fogel

bio coming soon



Yuki J. Fujiyama
Trade Finance Specialist
Office of Financial Services Industries
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Fujiyama YukiYuki Fujiyama serves as the U.S. Commerce Department’s trade finance specialist. In this capacity, he works with commercial financial institutions helping them to increase access to working capital, trade credits and financing for U.S. exporters, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their foreign buyers. In addition, Yuki serves as a member of the Commerce Department liaison team to the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and analyzes annually over 100 Ex-Im Bank financing proposals that support approximately $41 billion in U.S. export sales in markets or are deemed too risky for commercial lenders to consider.

Yuki is the author of the Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters—a concise and easy-to-understand guide designed to help U.S. exporters, especially SMEs, quickly learn how to get paid from export sales. As one of the most successful and popular export assistance resources published by the Commerce Department, the Trade Finance Guide has been widely distributed as a self-learning tool to exporters, as a counseling tool to financial institution professionals, and as an educational tool for college professors teaching international business. The Spanish language version was published in May 2013.

Yuki is the 2009 recipient of the Commerce Department’s individual Silver Medal Award for Personal and Professional Excellence and a 2012 graduate of the Executive Leadership Development Program.

From 1993 to 1999, Yuki served as a legislative assistant to California U.S. Congressman George E. Brown, Jr. His assignments on Capitol Hill included foreign affairs, international trade, banking and financial institutions, consumer finance, small business, and tax issues; and U.S.-Japan cooperation in science, space and technology under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was instrumental in drafting the original version of H.R.1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which was signed into law in August 1998.

Yuki holds a BBA from Loyola Marymount University and an MBA from California State University. In addition, he holds the designation of International Certified Credit Executive from FCIB.



Carla Gonzalez
Site Specialist

carla gonzalezCarla Gonzalez is the SBDCGlobal.com site specialist at the International Trade Center. In this capacity, Carla oversees the development, maintenance, usage and promotion of the online trade platform, which connects the small business clients of the US and Mexican SBDC networks for bilateral trade opportunities and education. Carla joined the International Trade Center in 2008 and previously served as an International Market Research Specialist where she conducted and provided market research for the small and medium-sized businesses of the 79-county South-West Texas Border Region.

Carla holds a BA in International Relations with a minor in Business Administration as well as an MA in International Relations with a concentration in International Development, both from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. She was born and raised in San Antonio and is fluent in English and Spanish.



Jose Maria Gonzalez
Chief of Staff
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Jose Maria Gonzalez joined the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in January 2010. His previous international experience includes the Foreign Trade Department at the Spain—U.S. Chamber of Commerce, located in New York City; several international positions in Madrid, Spain; plus internships at the Iacocca Institute in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and in San Antonio Texas as an international market researcher.

Jose is a Board Member of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Business Administration from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain where participated in an International Exchange Program at the University of the Incarnate Word.



Orestes Hubbard
Director, MBDA Business Center San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

Orestes Hubbard is the director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center located at the University of Texas, San Antonio. There, he directs the activities of consultant professionals dedicated to improving the economic conditions of larger minority business enterprises by empowering them in accessing resources to enhance their market penetration opportunities as well as sources of capital for their operations and growth. Orestes envisioned and obtained funding for the creation of the first Global Business Center in the country sponsored by U.S. Department of Commerce, MDBA.

Annie Hudspeth
Labor Relations Specialist
Small Business Administration

annie hudspethAnnie Hudspeth has been with the Small Business Administration for over 20 years. Her experience is in processing, servicing and liquidation of SBA loans. Currently, she is assigned to the Lender Relations Division assisting lenders with eligibility, servicing and liquidation questions as well as marketing the SBA products and services to the public to educate them on the Small Business Advantage. Annie is also the district international trade officer, Women Business Centers Representative both for Austin and San Antonio as well as the San Antonio district office branch manager.




Sara Jackson, PhD
Associate Professor of International Business
University of the Incarnate Word, Texas

Sara Jackson is an associate professor of International Business at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), the largest Catholic university in Texas. She is a member of the NASBITE International Board of Governors and has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the organization. Sara also represented North America on the Board of Directors of IATTO, the International Association of Trade Training Organisations. She was the visiting professor at the European Study Center in Heidelberg, Germany during Spring 2014 and has traveled to more than 40 countries, taking students abroad every semester for the past 14 years.

Sara was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. She was the founding director of the South-West Texas Border International Trade Center, and as director established the award-winning San Antonio Export Leaders program and created Export Texas, a trade show for small business exporters. She has been a member of the Camino Real District Export Council since 1993, and served on the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Council for International Visitors.

Sara was the first executive director of the San Antonio World Trade Association in 1990, the owner of her own company, International Marketing & Promotions, which started Dial Berlin Inc., and was the director of marketing for North America for the AMK Berlin—Berlin Trade Fairs. She has a PhD in Organizational Leadership and an MBA in International Business and recently earned the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential from NASBITE International.


Shawn Levsen
UPS International Account Executive for Central Texas
Austin, Texas

shawn levsenShawn Levsen is the UPS international account executive for Central Texas. In earlier roles, he was the international sales operations manager for a local technology company, an international trade specialist/export policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and an Army Intelligence officer. Shawn holds a MA from American University in Washington, DC and a BA from the University of Iowa. He now teaches international Business at Austin Community College.






Mabel Luen
Regional Manager for International Insurance Services
Meridian Finance Group

Mabel Luen is regional manager for International Insurance Services at Meridian Finance Group, a company providing credit, insurance and trade finance tools that exporters use to expand their international sales. A graduate of Temple University (BBA in Accounting and International Business), Mabel has many years of experience in the financial services sector. Prior to Meridian Finance Group, she was with Morgan Stanley and before that she worked in the retail and automotive industries. Mabel and her colleagues at Meridian have received the President’s “E” Award, and honors from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and the U.S. Department of Commerce, in recognition of Meridian’s contributions to international trade.


Mohit V. Mankar
Secondary Market & Distribution
London Forfaiting Americas Inc.

Mohit Mankar of London Forfaiting Americas Inc., which is wholly owned by London Forfaiting Company Ltd. and a member of the FIMBank Group, has been working in the trade finance industry for the past five years. Mohit is well versed in forfaiting, international factoring, EXIMBank financing and back-to-back L/C facilities. At London Forfaiting Americas, he has spent time working on primary market deals with American exporters and well as dealing on the secondary market with banks and other investors.

Mohit is London Forfaiting America’s representative to the Association of Trade and Forfaiting in the Americas (ATFA). He holds a BA in Economics from Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania.


Jaime Martinez
Senior International Business Consultant, TIBA
International Trade Center

jaime martinezJaime Martinez joined the San Antonio Small Business Development Center in 2007. He now is a senior international business consultant for the International Trade Center heading up Programa Invierte, a program in the International Trade Center’s Texas International Business Accelerator (TIBA). His role is to provide specialized business advice to foreign investors to Texas in the areas of business plans, financial projections and marketing plans.

He began his professional career with Frost National Bank working in the customer service, telephone banking and international private banking departments. Jaime continued his banking career with Wachovia Bank as a financial specialist. As an international banker he has assisted many Mexican national business owners with establishing their businesses in San Antonio.

Jaime holds a BBA in International Business from UTSA and an MBA in Management from Our Lady of The Lake University.


Shawn M. Ricks
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary
Global Markets – Western Hemisphere
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

shawn ricksShawn Ricks has over 24 years of experience as part of the International Trade Administration. She served as the director for the Americas Project Team, Office of the Western Hemisphere, for two years. In June 2012, she became the senior advisor on Global Affairs with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency where she helped to develop the Agency’s global strategy. In January 2013, she joined the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee as a senior advisor, spearheading the U.S. government’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign. In January 2014, she returned to Global Markets as senior policy advisor to the deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, assisting with ITA’s engagement on trade and economic issues related to entrepreneurship, education and competitiveness.

Early in her tenure with ITA, she provided guidance on market access and compliance issues as they relate to business opportunities with Mexico and Canada. She also contributed to the development of U.S. trade policy in the Western Hemisphere for a number of U.S. bilateral and multilateral negotiations, including the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic FTA, as well as, the U.S. free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Peru. In 2007, Shawn was recruited to join a special regional coordination team created to design and implement key strategic initiatives in the Americas surrounding the issues of competitiveness and economic development.

Shawn is a recipient of two Gold Medal Awards, the Department’s highest honor, a Silver Medal and Bronze Medal. In 2009, she developed the concept for an award-winning international opportunities seminar for minority-owned firms, which reached over 1,000 individuals. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as well as across the United States and spoken at numerous events and conferences on behalf of the Department, consulting with the U.S. private sector and other invested stakeholder groups on key trade and economic subject matters.

Shawn is a graduate of Hampton University’s School of Business in Hampton, Virginia.



Joseph Ringer
Regional Director
Export-Import Bank of the United States

joseph ringerJoe Ringer is regional director for Export-Import Bank of the United States based in the Southwest Regional office located in Houston, Texas. He has extensive international banking experience, both in credit administration and marketing, including six years in Asia (Hong Kong, Philippines and Singapore) with Bank of America and upon his return, as credit administrator for Bank of America’s former Edge Act Bank in Houston. In addition to Bank of America, Joe also worked at several local banks in the Houston area in the 1980s in both domestic and international banking.
Joe is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in International Relations/Chinese Language.  He also received a graduate degree (BFT) from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Foreign Trade.  He has a working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.



Daniel G. Rodriguez
Director, U.S. Export Assistance Centers South Texas
U.S. Department of Commerce

Daniel G. Rodriguez is the director of the U. S. Department of Commerce, U. S. Export Assistance Centers in San Antonio and McAllen, Texas. He is responsible for export development in South Texas and the U.S./Mexico border region, helping small and medium-sized businesses grow in the international markets. He collaborates with the U.S. Commercial Service around the world in providing services to U.S. exporters that include business counseling, market research, match-making meetings and trade show participation.

Daniel is the former director of International Trade Development for the Free Trade Alliance San Antonio, a local public-private partnership of the City of San Antonio and the local business community promoting international trade. He came to San Antonio after serving as director general of Casa San Antonio in Mexico City, one of the three San Antonio international trade offices in Mexico.

Previous to his time in public service, Daniel worked in private industry where he spent 24 years in manufacturing and engineering providing services to the refining and petrochemical industry. During his private business career, he held positions in international business development as sales manager for Latin America, international marketing and export manager.

Daniel completed a bachelor of applied arts and sciences and a master of public administration at Texas State University-San Marcos.


Russell L. Root
Senior Vice President and Foreign Exhange Sales Manager
Amegy Bank

Russell Root has been the senior vice president and FX sales manager at Amegy Bank since 2013 where he manages a team that provides market information and advice on trade execution and exposure management. In addition, he assists with investment and FX services including simple transactional foreign exchange and FX risk mitigation. Prior to his current position, he was senior FX sales advisor at Amegy for 10 years. Previous to Amegy, he worked at JPMorgan Chase NA.

Russ is very active with Habitat for Humanity where he leads crews of volunteers in building homes. Russ has a BBA in Marketing from Texas Christian University.




Albert K. Shen
National Deputy Director
Minority Business Development Agency

albert shenAlbert K. Shen was recently appointed to serve as national deputy director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). In this role, Albert serves as the principal advisor to the MBDA national director and assists in managing the day-to-day activities of the Agency. Prior to his appointment with MBDA, he was a small business owner and respected community advocate whose leadership made a big impact on some of the Northwest’s largest and most critical infrastructure and environmental clean-up projects.

Albert lends his expertise to support educational institutions, non-profit community organizations, civic committees, business organizations and political advocacy groups. He is a continuous advocate for the minority business community on a variety of economic issues and has hosted numerous roundtables for Asian American small businesses and the Obama Administration on domestic and international business development policy matters. He is a co-founding Board Member of a non-profit group called the Washington State Minority Business Advisory Council (MBAC) and is now an Advisory Board Member for MBAC.

In 2013, he was appointed by governor of Washington to serve on the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB). In 2012, he was recognized as one of the Top 100 Asian American Businesses in the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the 2012 U.S. Small Business Administration Region X Minority Champion of the Year Award. In 2011, he was awarded the International Examiner’s Community Voice Outstanding Individual Award in addition to being an Honoree for the 2011 NW Asian Weekly Asian American Pioneers in Social Entrepreneur.

Albert earned his BS in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of Washington.



Douglas Smith
Assistant Director
International Trade Center
University of Texas at San Antonio

douglas smithDouglas Smith is assistant director of the International Trade Center, University of Texas at San Antonio. He has worked in international consulting for 25 years, focusing on import and export development, marketing channel management, international marketing strategy and market and economic research. His consulting experience involves a broad range of industries, ranging from industrial products to processed foods.

Douglas has consulted for small businesses and a broad range of organizations, including IBM and Johnsons Wax, Business Round Table and the foreign trade agencies of Thailand, Portugal, and Colombia. His international experience includes projects in Western Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.

Douglas was a contributing editor to Textile Asia Magazine and has been published in Atlanta International Magazine, Twin Plant News and Business Horizons. He holds an MA in International Relations and an MBA in Finance and International Business from the University of Texas Austin, and is a Certified Global Business Professional.



Andrew K. Sokol
General Manager, Emerging Markets

Andrew K. Sokol is general manager, emerging markets at Escrow.com. He brings over 25 years of solid experience creating, managing and nurturing profitable relationships in a myriad of industries worldwide. In the past, Andrew has owned a successful consulting company (TASK Partners) and held senior executive positions at Revolution Money. As a professor of Advertising Design, he taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and currently runs Been There, Teach That!, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching business skills to those in need. He also sits on the Board of Directors at The Fender Music Foundation.


Nadir Tayyab
Director of Operations
Trade Technologies Inc.

Nadir Tayyab is the director of operations for Trade Technologies’ Houston office. He has over 15 years of international trade documentation and management experience.  He helped streamline payment terms for numerous small and large exporters in oil and gas, chemical, and other industries. Nadir also spent over 10 years in various senior management positions at Siemens AG.

Nadir has conducted numerous workshops and seminars on Incoterms at NACM Houston. He is certified by the FCIB as an International Credit Professional. He also holds an MBA from Adamson University, Manila, Philippines.


Jeff Tharnish
Team Leader, International
CCAA Certified Senior Collection Professional
ABC-Amega, Inc.

jeff tharnishJeff works directly with the Assistant Vice President of Global Operations to manage the daily global collections departmental needs. In addition, Jeff assists the ABC-Amega’s international collection representatives in maintaining the company’s high quality standards and international best practices.

Managing an international collections desk, Jeff works closely with clients to recover their past-due accounts receivable from debtors all around the world. He provides orientation and ongoing education to ensure clients are fully-versed on the collections processes and procedures put forth by ABC-Amega, in addition to explaining international differences in law and procedure as questions arise. Jeff is fluent in Spanish and has specific focus in Latin America and EMEA.

Jeff has been with ABC-Amega since 2007, and has learned the business by working in a number of departments including domestic and international third-party collections as well as first-party outsourcing.



Christopher Williams
Outreach Coordinator, Credit Programs/FSA
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Chris-WilliamsChristopher Williams has 20 years of service with the USDA, serving first with the former Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, now known as the Risk Management Agency. He then served with the Farm Service Agency, and has spent the past ten years in his current position as outreach coordinator for export credit with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).  

Christopher is a recipient of the Excellence in Communications Award for the 2002 Food Aid Conference, the Export Expansion Award for outstanding market development activities, as well as a 2010 recipient of the honored Secretary’s Award for outstanding contributions supporting USDA’s mission.

In promoting the export of US agricultural commodities, Christopher continually strives to raise the awareness level about the guarantee programs and assists US exporters and bankers with their participation in the programs.