Blue
Economy
Resilience
Forum

El Conquistador Resort - Fajardo, Puerto Rico August 4 – 6, 2021

Meet our
Speakers

Albert Bryan Jr. 
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Albert Bryan Jr. is the ninth-elected governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently the only African American governor in the United States. He is an entrepreneur, not-for-profit executive, and a tireless and compassionate advocate for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Immediately upon earning a B.A. in economics from Wittenberg University in Ohio in 1989, Governor Bryan returned home to the Virgin Islands, where he began a lengthy and successful career in the private sector. He held positions of responsibility at HESS Oil Corporation, and later became a leader and senior executive with organizations specializing in supporting innovative entrepreneurship, talent development, and other critical functions designed to foster a healthy environment for business growth and development in the Territory.

The managerial experience gleaned during his tenure in the private sector, coupled with his subsequent government leadership roles as Commissioner of Labor and Chairman of the Economic Development Authority, to name a few, helped prepare him for what is his most consequential role to date. The Bryan-Roach Administration is committed to transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government, and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov

 


Albert Slap
President, Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

As President of Coastal Risk Consulting, Albert Slap helps individuals, businesses and governments accelerate resilience to floods, natural hazards, and climate change impacts. Coastal Risk provides cloud-based, risk assessments for any property/building in the US in seconds at http://www.floodscores.com. Slap is a nationally recognized environmental lawyer and law professor, having taught at the University of Cincinnati and Florida International University Colleges of Law. Over the years, Mr. Slap has used the environmental laws of the US to stop pollution and protect public health. His legal work has brought billions of dollars of reinvestment in aging and polluting public infrastructure and tens of thousands of new construction jobs to cities like Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Miami. Mr. Slap has been a board member of The Nature Conservancy (PA) and Friends of the Everglades and The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Advisory Council. In 2014, Mr. Slap was the recipient of the prestigious, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas “Defender of the Everglades Award.”

 


Alex Kaplan
Executive Vice President of Alternative Risk, Amwins Group, Washington, D.C.

Alex Kaplan leads the development and execution of innovative risk transfer solutions, such as parametric insurance, that transform financial risks across all segments of society. Over the last 5 years, he has helped move over $2 billion USD of taxpayer exposure into the private markets. He holds a patent for a parametric windstorm insurance mechanism design and was featured in National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously for his expertise on insurance solutions to address climate-related risks.  Prior to Amwins Group, Alex was Head of North America Public Sector Solutions unit and Senior Vice President for Global Partnership at Swiss Re where he assisted governments and international financial institutions in their management of financial risks, helping society create effective responses to major challenges, including natural catastrophes and climate change while transforming the industry’s approach to these risks.

 


Alexis Dragoni
Senior Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech Industries, Puerto Rico 

Alexis Dragoni is a specialist in Tropical Ecology, Tropical Forestry, Environmental Impact Analysis, Natural Resource Inventories, Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Topographical Analysis, Geomatic Applications Development, Mapping, Location Evaluation & Siting, and Permitting. He is a commercial drone pilot and has been the Executive Director of Fundación Biosférica (Biospheric Foundation) in Puerto Rico since 2003. From 2000 to 2002, Alexis was the Scientific Inventory Division Director of the Puerto Rico Department of National and Environmental Resources. Alexis holds a Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences from George Washington University, and a Master of Science, Environmental Studies from Ohio University.

 

Amaury Malavé, Ph.D., PE
Associate Professor, Executive Director of PREC School of Energy

Ph.D. in Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, 2007

 

Andrew Stephens (FCMA)

Executive Director at The Sustainable Shipping Initiative, Hurst, England, United Kingdom

An experienced global leader, Andrew Stephens is skilled at managing business transformations, continuous improvement, integrations, and change management programs because of strategic objectives, mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring needs; business process re-engineering programs; system implementations and upgrades; and cultural alignment initiatives. He provides senior leadership to diverse teams within matrix organizational structures in Finance, Operations, Business Transformation/Change Management, Business Process Re-engineering, Product Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Strategic Procurement, and IT. He was previously Group Chief Operating Officer for Wallem Group in Hong Kong and Senior VP International Operations for Wilhelmsen Ships Service in Lysaker, Norway.

 


Anthony Kane

President and CEO, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, Washington, D.C. 

As President & CEO, Anthony Kane oversees the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s operations and leads the development of the Envision framework for sustainable infrastructure. Anthony was formerly a research director at the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, a research associate with the Materials, Processes, and Systems Group at Harvard University, and an instructor at the Boston Architectural College. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture summa cum laude from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Design Studies from Harvard University. Anthony is a co-author of Ceramic Material Systems in Architecture and Interior Design and a contributing author of Infrastructure Sustainability and Design. Anthony also sits as a commissioner for the Washington DC Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency.

 


Calandra Cruickshank 

Founder and CEO of StateBook International, Co-Founder of Viral Insights 

Calandra Cruickshank is one of the leading technology innovators in economic market data analytics and advises proptech, fintech, and govtech firms on how normalized public and private data can be integrated with their proprietary data and applications to derive deeper and more meaningful insights for their businesses and customers. Calandra also works with hundreds of economic development organizations (EDOs) across the U.S., providing data and technology-driven, digital marketing tools to help attract new businesses, jobs, funding, and resources to their communities. She also collaborates with site selection firms to provide SWOT analyses, industry assessments, and strategic plans for EDOs. Calandra has served on the Board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), serves on committees for CoreNet and IAMC, and is actively involved in several other industry groups.

 


Dr. Carlos M. Padín
Rector, Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Cupey Campus

Dr. Carlos M. Padín is an educator, planner, public servant, and above all a faithful defender of the protection of natural resources. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography in Natural Resource Planning and Management and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Southern Illinois University. In addition, he has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Padín has served as Rector since January 17, 2013 at the Universidad Metropolitana now Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Cupey Campus. Prior to this appointment, he worked since 1994 as Dean of the School of Environmental Affairs of the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico. From 1989 to 1994, he directed the Division of Water Resources and the Coastal Zone Program of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of the Government of Puerto Rico.

 

Carmen Guerrero
Director, Caribbean Environmental Protection Division of the Environmental Protection Agency

Carmen R. Guerrero Pérez was the former Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and as of September 2019, is the director of the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division of the Environmental Protection Agency. Guerrero-Pérez obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Public Policy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She has a Master of Planning in Environmental Planning from the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Planning and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in Connecticut. She also participated in sustainable development study programs in Costa Rica and at the University of California in Berkeley. She is a licensed professional planner in Puerto Rico.

Carmen returned to Puerto Rico to join the San Juan Bay Estuary as a Project Coordinator. For more than 15 years, she served as an environmental and conservation planner and consultant to numerous organizations and government entities, among them: Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, El Yunque National Forest, Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña, University of Puerto Rico, Banco Popular Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. Carmen founded an environmental nongovernmental organization that provided volunteer advisory services on environmental and sustainable development issues to local communities across Puerto Rico.

 


Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade 

Manager Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, International Tsunami Information Center, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 

Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade researches and implements earthquake and tsunami warning systems. She is a trailblazer for the implementation of the U.S. TsunamiReady and the UNESCO/IOC Tsunami Ready programs in Puerto Rico and the wider Caribbean region. Christa has been a coordinator since 2011 of the regional CARIBE WAVE exercises covering 48 countries and territories in the Caribbean and adjacent regions, with over 2 million participants. She is a member of the Executive Planning Group and Interim Advisory Board for the UN Decade of Science for Sustainable Development and past Chair (2012–2019) of the UNESCO IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunamis and Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS).  Christa currently chairs the CARIBE EWS WG on Preparedness, Readiness, and Resilience and the UN Ocean Decade Western Tropical Americas Working Group on Safe Oceans.

 


David Dodd, CEcD/FM/HLM
Senior SME, Contract Support, EDA Economic Recovery Support Function

David Dodd is a seasoned international thought leader in economic development, disaster recovery, and resilience.

He leads a team of committed experts in Sustainability, Disaster Recovery & Resilience using Public-Private Partnerships as a Specialist Centre of Excellence under the UNECE International Center of Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships. In addition, he supports and coordinates other Public-Private Partnership Specialist Centers in sustainable disaster recovery & resilience and provides expertise and ingraining sustainable resilience into all types of “People First” public-private partnerships.

Over the last twelve years, David has developed specialized expertise in economic recovery and resilience, born from his personal experience leading economic recovery efforts in the U.S. Gulf Coast after the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That work led to projects in Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Japan, and the Gulf Oil Spill. For over 6 years, David has been an Economic Recovery contractor to the Economic Development Administration under the National Disaster Recovery Framework. David currently provides contract support as Sr. SME to EDA Economic Recovery for Puerto Rico.

 


David Hall, SJD
President, University of the Virgin Islands

Dr. David Hall began his tenure as the fifth president of the University of the Virgin Islands on August 1, 2009. At that same time, he was also awarded a Distinguished Professorship of Spirituality and Professionalism at UVI.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Hall holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University, where he was named an “All American” for his athletic and scholarly accomplishments. After graduating from Kansas State, he played professional basketball in Italy. Dr. Hall received his doctor of jurisprudence (JD) from the University of Oklahoma, where he also earned a master’s degree in Human Relations. In addition, he holds both an LL.M. degree and a doctorate in juridical science (SJD) from Harvard Law School.

Having taught law for more than 25 years in the law schools of the University of Mississippi, the University of Oklahoma, and Northeastern University, Dr. Hall has enjoyed a distinguished career as an educational administrator and preeminent scholar in law. In May 2010, in recognition of his significant contributions to the legal field, Dr. Hall was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, he has been honored by the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association as a Trailblazer, and President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Hall to serve on the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors.

 


Dr. David Méndez Pagan

Rector, Universidad Ana G Méndez – Gurabo Campus 

Dr. David Méndez Pagán is an educator with more than 20 years of diverse experiences in higher education administration, international affairs, student support services, undergraduate teaching, and postgraduate, program development and coordination, corporate relations, and program management financed by external resources. As administrator of higher education, Dr. Méndez played a key role in the development of innovative programs at state and private universities, such as New York University, Rutgers University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Princeton University. These experiences allowed him to become the first dean of doctoral studies at the University of Turabo (UT), today Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus.

In 2013, he was selected to become spokesperson and coordinator of the world center of the United Nations Academic Impact global citizenship initiative (UNAI). Where more than 1,200 universities around the world are developing collaborative projects that support the ten principles of the United Nations, like global citizenship. In 2014, he was named one of the Top 30 Leaders in Internationalization of Higher Education Institutions by the Institute of Internationalization Leaders of the American Council on Education and the Association of International Education Administrators.

For the past 16 years, he has remained an educator and is a full professor at the School of Education of the (UAGM-Gurabo). Dr. Méndez obtained his Ph.D. in Educational Sciences from New York University and his baccalaureate from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus.

 


Diane Foster, Ph.D.  

Director of the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and professor of mechanical and ocean engineering at University of New Hampshire 

Diane Foster is a leader in her field of coastal sediment transport with a research portfolio that includes support from NSF, DOD, NOAA, EDA, and more recently DOE. She led UNH’s efforts to establish an undergraduate ocean engineering program and expand its ocean engineering research capacity with a major renovation and building expansion. Since becoming Director, she has generated funds to launch a new Center for Sustainable Seafoods. She believes that addressing our increasingly complex societal problems impacted by our oceans will require a firm commitment to interdisciplinarity and stakeholder engagement.

 


Don Graves 
Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Don Graves is the 19th Deputy Secretary of Commerce and brings decades of experience in the private sector, government, and nonprofits to the Department of Commerce. Most recently, he served as Counselor to President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. Prior to that, Graves served as Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations at KeyBank. In this role, Graves led KeyBank’s corporate responsibility team, including the bank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, the bank’s sustainability work, stakeholder engagement, and outreach, and oversaw the KeyBank Foundation and the First Niagara Foundation.

During the Obama-Biden Administration, Graves served as Counselor and Domestic and Economic Policy Director for then-Vice President Biden. He was previously appointed by President Barack Obama as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and led the federal government’s efforts in the economic recovery of the city of Detroit. Graves also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he oversaw the CDFI Fund, the $4 billion Small Business Lending Fund, and the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative. He was also the U.S. Federal Representative to the G7 Task Force on Social Impact Investment.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the MetroHealth Foundation, the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, the Board of Trustees of the Community Reinvestment Fund, the Policy Advisory Board of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware, the Board of Visitors of the Cuyahoga Community College, the Advisory Board of the Commission on Economic Inclusion, and as Co-Chair of Cleveland Rising.

 


Eric Dawicki
President and Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Maritime Institute

Mr. Eric R. Dawicki, MPA has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Maritime Institute since 1995. He also currently serves as the Commonwealth of Dominica International Maritime Registry President and CEO. He has served in both the United States Coast Guard Reserve and the United States Merchant Marine.  He attended Arkansas State University and The American University.

During his tenure at Northeast Maritime Institute, Mr. Dawicki has been responsible for overseeing its growth from an exam preparation facility to a full-service Maritime Education and Training Institution, providing quality education to mariners at all levels. He created a vision and follow through for NMI to become the first private maritime college in the United States and has recently developed the concept and architecture of the most comprehensive online learning management system in the world for mariners to receive compliance training for the International Convention on Standards of Training and Certification for Watchkeepers and Seafarer’s (STCW).

Mr. Dawicki has advised numerous shipping companies, government agencies, and industry associations on regulatory trends and compliance programs. Mr. Dawicki is regarded as a leader of industry and has also participated in numerous delegations at IMO Committee meetings and subcommittee meetings annually since 1996. He continues to serve as the lead delegate on Government delegations to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO).

 


Ernesto Diaz
Caribbean Regional Manager, Tetra Tech, Inc., Puerto Rico 

Ernesto Diaz is a Coastal and Marine Scientist with more than 25 years of experience designing nature-based solutions to reduce risks and build resilience. He is the Project Manager responsible for the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan for Catalyzing a Blue Economy in the U.S. Caribbean, the lead author of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Report – U.S. Caribbean Chapter, Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme Integrated Planning and Institutional Development Project for 13 Caribbean Countries and a leader in restoration and design of hybrid interventions for coral reefs, coastal wetlands, dunes beach systems, and sea-level rise adaptation. Prior to his current role, Ernesto was Director of the Office for Coastal Management and Climate Change, Director of the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program, Director of the Puerto Rico Coral Reef Conservation and Management Program, and Coordinator of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council.

 

Geoffrey Hamilton
Principal, Hamilton Consulting; Former Directorate, Economic Cooperation and Partnerships, UNECE (Retired) 

 


Guifre Tort
Interim Executive Director, Bluetide Puerto Rico

Guifre Tort received his education in Puerto Rico where he obtained a BA in Visual Arts from The Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, as well as three years of Architectural studies towards a Master’s in Architecture. After graduating, he dedicated the next 16 years to build a very successful career as an Art Director and Production Designer in the movie industry. As a creative problem solver, wanting to pursue new dreams, he set his mind into tackling bigger challenges such as; energy generation and energy efficiency (where he was granted two US Patents for his invention), access to alternative financing for startups and SME (founding the first Puerto Rican crowdfunding platform), access to mentoring, prototyping, and incubation facilities for students, inventors and entrepreneurs (by Co-Founding the University of the Secret Heart’s, Innovation Center), and the use of technology to create new ways of doing things, co-founding a tech company. With his diverse experiences and eagerness to share all that knowledge, he started doing consulting for Startups and NGOs, where he was able to see NGOs as a perfect platform, from where to help Puerto Rico. Looking at the Ocean as an economic development opportunity, in 2018 he Co-founded Bluetide Puerto Rico, Inc. to which after little less than 18 months the Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $9.2 million, Federal Grant to design the common grounds from where to build a new approach to the economic development of the Blue Economy for the US Caribbean.

 

Haldane Davies, Ph.D.
Vice President for Business Development and Innovation at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)

Dr. Haldane Davies serves as Vice President for Business Development and Innovation at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). Haldane holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Administration with a focus on higher education from Andrews University, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. He is also a strategic planner, certified mediator and PULSE practitioner, trainer, accreditation evaluator, competency assessor, and member of the Baldrige Board of Examiners. In addition, Haldane holds certificates in related areas from Harvard University, Cornell University, the University of the West Indies, and Yale University. He also serves as Executive Director of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands.

In his role as Vice President for Business Development and Innovation at UVI, Haldane leads the University’s agenda to create new and innovative opportunities for income generation through targeted expansion, sustainability and growth of programs, strategic partnerships, contract acquisitions, and entrepreneurial activities. In addition to his work at the University of the Virgin Islands, Haldane serves on the Board of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium (NCPMC), the Board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and the Board of the United States Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (EDA). He is also a member of Mediation Training Institute International and the PULSE Institute.


James Ellsmoor 
CEO, Island Innovation and Solar Head of State, Portugal 

James Ellsmoor is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and writer. As CEO of Island Innovation, a social enterprise, and the Co-Founder and Director of Solar Head of State, an NGO, James has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for his work on sustainable energy initiatives. His work covers climate change policy, renewable energy, and sustainable travel, with expertise in small island developing states (SIDS). Island Innovation runs two key events for island stakeholders: The Virtual Island Summit and the Island Finance Forum.

 


Dr. Jennifer Lynch 
Research Biologist, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Co-Director, Hawaii Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research; Waimanalo, Hawaii 

Dr. Jennifer Lynch has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for 18 years working in organic analytical chemistry and now plastic polymer pollution science. She founded the Center for Marine Debris Research at Hawaii Pacific University in 2019, with the mission to develop and apply optimal methods to investigate the quantities, sources, transport, fate, impacts, and reuse of plastic marine debris. She has published over 60 manuscripts and book chapters in marine environmental toxicology and chemistry and mentored 95 students in field or laboratory marine science research. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Duke University in Marine Environmental Toxicology.

 


Jenny Barker
Chief of Party, Seafood Alliance for Legality & Traceability (SALT), Fishwise, USA 

Jenny Barker is a leader with 20 years of experience in the public and private sector managing international programs with USAID and foundations using partnerships, communications, and expertise in sustainable fisheries management, seafood supply chains, and ecosystem-based fisheries management. She has worked in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Dr. Barker leads the USAID SALT global alliance for collaboration and knowledge sharing to promote legal and sustainable fisheries through improved transparency in seafood supply chains with global convenings including the seafood industry, governments, and NGOs with representation from 37 countries and 187 organizations. She has supported the growth of the SALT community to 60 countries and 1000 members in three years, its development as an online hub, and providing expertise in traceability that received 5000 unique users from 124 countries in the first year. She also developed and launched the Comprehensive Traceability Principles and Pathway to support stakeholders to implement traceability.

 


Jezabel Rodríguez, Procurement Center Representative, Area 1, Office of Government Contracting, U.S. SBA

Jezabel Rodríguez joined the Small Business Administration (SBA) in March 2018 as a Procurement Center Representative (PCR) for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Jezabel’s role as the PCR is to review acquisition strategies to ensure small businesses are provided the maximum opportunity in Federal contracting. 

Before joining the SBA, Jezabel worked as a Procurement, Administrative, and Termination Contracting Officer, with an unlimited warrant for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy.  At DLA Energy, Jezabel purchased Electricity, Renewable Energy, Energy Savings Performance Contracts and was the Program Manager for Demand Response.  Jezabel is Level III Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certified, with 15 years of Federal Contracting experience.  In addition, Jezabel has a master’s degree in Business Administration, a Master’s in Management and Leadership from Webster University, and a bachelor’s degree in Materials Management from the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón.

 


Dr. John Goodlad 
International Fisheries Expert
Shetland Islands, Scotland

Dr. John Goodlad is an Expert Advisor to the Sustainable Oceans Fund, a pioneering impact investment fund focused on sustainable fisheries and fish farming initiatives. He directed the process whereby the Scottish herring and mackerel fisheries secured MSC certification and chaired the Dumfries House Group established to encourage greater sustainability in the Scottish salmon farming industry. Before his current position, Dr. Goodlad was Chair of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Unit; Senior Fisheries Advisor to the Prince Charles International Sustainability Unit; Vice President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, and owner and operator of an organic salmon farm. John earned his Master of Arts, Master of Literature, and Ph.D., from Aberdeen University, Scotland.

 


Juan Bauzá 
U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) Representative (EDR) for PR & USVI

Juan Bauzá serves as the Field Coordinator for the Economic Recovery Support Function for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and has led efforts to invest $130M in over 30 strategic recovery projects in PR and USVI within a 36-month period. These projects have a combined economic development potential of creating over 8K new jobs, retain 5K jobs, and spark over $261M in private investment. As EDR, Juan led the team drafting the Economic Recovery Courses of Action in the PR Economic Recovery Plan. He has actively engaged and led transformational economic development initiatives including negotiating a historic MOU between the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Virgin Islands, designed the methodology, and led the implementation of the first Economic Development District for PR and USVI (first 100% remote and 100% in Spanish), and designed the framework of a US Caribbean Collaborative anchored in the Blue Economy/ Ocean Economy as a catalyst for long term economic vitality for the US Caribbean.

 


Laurie Lane-Zucker 
Founder & CEO, Impact Entrepreneur, LLC, Sheffield, Massachusetts, U.S 

Laurie Lane-Zucker is the host of two popular webinar series with international audiences on impact entrepreneurship, impact investing and impact the economy. He is the founder of one of the first Certified B Corps and the first company ever to complete an equity transaction on an impact investing exchange. Mr. Lane-Zucker is publisher, editor, and introduction writer for numerous bestselling and award-winning books and magazines on sustainability themes. As the author of numerous pieces for books, textbooks, and blogs on impact entrepreneurship and impact investing, he coined the term “impact entrepreneur” and established a global movement and network (28,000+ members), one of the largest in the impact space. Prior to his current role, he was Founder & CEO of Hotfrog (a Founding B Corp), Founder & CEO of Triad Institute (a global sustainability think tank), and Founding Executive Director of Orion Society.

 


Hon. Manuel Cidre Miranda
Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC)

Manuel Cidre Miranda has been the Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development and Commerce Department (EDCD) since January 2021. He is a recognized businessman raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, with more than 46 years of experience. His professional career began at Upjohn Inter American Pharmaceutical. In 1978 he founded Cidrines, Inc., the first bakery and pastry chain in Puerto Rico. In 1984, he developed and founded Pastelería Cidrines, a bread and pastry wholesaling and manufacturing operation with a strong presence in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and 44 states of the United States of America. Cidre has also been an active collaborator in multiple educational, community, and philanthropic organizations, having occupied leadership positions in the Puerto Rico Commerce   Chamber, Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, and Puerto Rico Products Association. In 2016, he entered politics as an independent candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico, motivated by his significant commitment to the socio-economic development of the people and the structural changes that the island needs. He has a bachelor’s degree in Management, Finance and Marketing from the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

 


Miguel Canals 
Professor of Oceanography and Ocean Engineering, UPR Mayaguez Rincon, Puerto Rico

Ph.D. Coastal & Ocean Engineering

M.S. Oceanography, B.S. Biology

 


Paloma Zapata 
Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Travel International, Barcelona, Spain

As CEO of Sustainable Travel International, Paloma Zapata leads the organization’s global efforts to maximize tourism’s contribution to conservation and development to protect destinations, preserve natural environments, and improve community well-being. With over 15 years of experience in sustainable tourism and economic development, Paloma has designed and implemented impactful initiatives and projects in 25 nations across the globe. Paloma’s work has ranged from addressing the shortcomings of the current tourism supply to deriving sustainable development strategies and formulating policies. Currently, she is leading efforts to help Palau become the first Carbon Neutral Destination chartering a path forward for other island nations to follow and conducting a Tourism Carrying Capacity Study for Seychelles (Mahe, Praslin, La Digue); Seychelles Ministry of Tourism. She is consulting on the St. Maarten National Recovery and Resilience Plan post-Hurricane Irma Disaster- Tourism sector damages, losses & needs assessment and a Tourism Carrying Capacity Study for Aruba with the Aruba Tourism Authority.

 


Paul Holthus 
Founding President and CEO, World Ocean Council, Honolulu, Hawaii 

Paul Holthus founded the World Ocean Council (WOC) – the Global Blue Economy Business and Investment Organization – as the international business leadership alliance on “Corporate Ocean Responsibility.” The WOC brings together investment, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil/gas, offshore renewables, mining, submarine cables, ports, and other sectors for global business community leadership, collaboration, and action. The WOC Ocean Investment Platform links investors, ocean industries, and innovators. The annual WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) is the premier high-level global ocean business and investment event on ocean sustainable development. Paul has worked in 30+ countries, with companies, communities, industry associations, UN agencies, NGOs, and governments on practical ocean sustainability solutions. Paul was a Fulbright scholar in Australia and is an East-West Center alum.

 

Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi
Governor of Puerto Rico

Hon. Pedro Pierluisi began his professional career in Washington DC with the then Resident Commissioner Baltasar Corrada del Río. Then he practiced for six years as a trial attorney in that city. He returned to work in Puerto Rico in 1990, and during the four years from 1993 to 1996, he served as Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico. There he published numerous opinions and argued two important constitutional cases before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, supervised over 500 lawyers and prosecutors, and stood out in the fight against crime, obtaining the designation of Puerto Rico as a High Zone Drug Trafficking Incidence. Commissioned by the White House, he lobbied Congress for the passage of President Clinton’s Anti-Crime Act. Before returning to public service, he was a partner in a prestigious law firm for more than 10 years.   

He was the nineteenth Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington from January 2009 to December 2016. During his tenure in Congress, he compiled an impressive record of accomplishments in multiple areas. For example, he secured billions of dollars in federal funds and tax credits for Puerto Rico under the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In addition, he ensured that Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories received fair treatment in the Reform of Federal Health (ACA) which tripled the number of federal funds granted to Puerto Rico to finance the public health system. Similarly, Pierluisi worked to advance multiple concrete actions on federal agencies regarding public safety, economic development, education, health, and environmental protection.   

 


Randy Durband 
CEO, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), South Korea 

Randy Durband has enjoyed two careers in travel and tourism: 30 years in the private sector, mostly management and executive positions in luxury outbound tour operators, followed by 10 years and counting with NGOs for sustainable tourism policy and development. As CEO of the UN-created GSTC, Randy provides strategic leadership for the organization’s work managing global standards for sustainable tourism. GSTC has conducted destination assessments at several Caribbean destinations including St Kitts & Nevis, Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas. GSTC is advising the Bahamas on the development of six regional councils for inclusive management of tourism and partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises for their preferred contracting at ports with certified sustainable shore excursion/land tour operators. Randy serves on the Tourism Action Committee of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy which is driven by 14 national governments. Previously, he served on boards for the ETOA/European Tour Operator Association, Global Exchange and participated actively in many trade associations and tourism organizations including PATA, USTOA, ETOA, Destination Canada (when it was CTC), Africa Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance, and The Travel Institute (when it was ICTA).

 


Ricardo J. Sanchez 
Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Head of Infrastructure and Logistics Section, United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, Chile 

Ricardo J. Sánchez is the Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Regional Expert on Infrastructure and Ports, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), engaged in maritime, infrastructure, and transport affairs for the whole region of LAC. Ricardo has worked professionally or academically in 30 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for 35 years, as well as in Europe and Asia. Ricardo’s specialties include Maritime Economics; International waterborne transport: container and dry bulk; infrastructure and transport economics; and Port industry. He has 197 publications among peer-reviewed journals, books, chapters in books, and other working or institutional papers and is a member of the International Association of Maritime Economics, the International Navigation Association (PIANC), the Port Performance Research Network (PPRN), and the Argentine Association of Political Economy (AAEP). Ricardo is an economist who graduated from University of Salvador, Argentina, MSc in Management and Economics of Public Services from Universidad Carlos III – Madrid and Universidad de París X, and Ph.D. in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina.

 


Richard Seline 
Co-Founder, Resilience Innovation Hub and Managing Partner, ResilientH2O Partners, Houston, Texas

Richard Seline advises business leaders and policymakers on Public-Private Asset Partnerships and Optimization and Situational Analysis & Competitive Market Intelligence. He served as Senior Consultant to Puerto Rico’s 21st Century Life Science Cluster, Assessment and Strategic Road Map for Advancing Puerto Rico’s Life Science Cluster (INDUNIV, PRIDCO, University of Puerto Rico) and Innovate Honolulu – a Strategic Road Map and Cluster Assessment including reuse of public and academic facilities for advancing life, ocean, and agricultural science commercialization (Greater Honolulu Chamber of Commerce and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development). Richard was Design Lead for InQTel (US Intelligence Community Venture Fund), Texas Advanced Product Development Fund and Regional Commercialization- Innovation, Science, Tech Fund (State of Texas), Indiana Science Fund, Utah Science, Technology and Research Fund, East Tennessee Technology Fund (Oak Ridge National Laboratory & Lockheed Martin Energy); and the Maine Innovation Initiative (State of Maine). Through strategic partnerships, The Resilience Innovation Hub aligns insurance, reinsurance, and alternative investment for accelerating the development and deployment of innovative technologies, equipment, and integrated data science. The Hub has engaged over 700 individuals across the United States and increasingly around the world through monthly forums.

 


Robert Pieroni 
Director of Economic Development, Central Houston, Inc., Houston, TX

Robert Pieroni designs and implements strategies to accelerate the growth of innovation ecosystems to proactively advance a location as a preferred global destination for corporate headquarters. In Houston, Robert is the force behind creating the Downtown Launchpad, a 17,000 sq. ft. innovation hub, that will integrate specific ecosystem elements in a distinct space developing one of the most inclusive innovation hubs in the world. The project is anchored by nationally recognized startup accelerators MassChallenge, gener8tor, and globally recognized incubator Impact Hub. The unique group of partners enables startups and entrepreneurs to move seamlessly through the stages of startup production, all in one space. The project is quickly emerging as a powerful engine for economic growth and vitality, generating jobs and higher wages for all Houstonians.

 


Susan Holliday  
Senior Adviser IFC, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Susan Holliday is a global strategic financial services advisor and board member who spots emerging trends early and assesses the risks and opportunities to capitalize on them. She has leveraged extensive knowledge of capital markets, emerging markets, and technology to deliver strategies for global financial services leaders including UBS, Swiss Re, and World Bank. Susan led strategy for the Reinsurance business unit of Swiss Re. For Swiss Re Property & Casualty and Life & Health, Susan developed reinsurance strategy worldwide, with $24.5B in premiums, $20B shareholders’ equity, and $3B+ average net income. Susan led the International Financial Corporation (IFC) Women and Insurance program in Asia and Africa and is the author of The InsurTech Book and the AI Book.

 


Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy 
Senior Advisor, North America / Strategic Partnerships and Development Director, Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN), Washington, D.C.

Stewart Sarkozy-Banocky is Senior Advisor to the Global Resilient Cities Network, the world’s leading urban resilience network, consisting of member cities and Chief Resilience Officers from the 100 Resilient Cities program, working toward rebuilding safe and equitable cities for all. Stewart is also the Founder and Chief Precoverist at Precovery Labs, a hub for community, impact, and creativity. The firm focuses on strategy, implementation, and storytelling in support of resilience and precovery for the most vulnerable people and places. Stewart’s specialties include island resilience, resilient cities, and indigenous community development.

 


Tamara Kahn 
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Spiral Pacific 

Tamara Kahn is an expert in strategic collaboration and partnership development. She works to advance and develop programs that enable STEM students, researchers, policymakers, government officials, and technology companies to come together to innovate and collaborate internationally towards sustainable solutions.

Prior to joining Spiral Pacific, Tamara spent a decade ocean bound for weeks at a time, deploying, and helping develop state-of-the-art geophysical sensors in the salty depths of the world’s oceans. Around the world, she witnessed the greatest challenges facing humanity, from ocean pollution to water scarcity, and resolved to pivot her career into sustainability and ecological resilience.

Tamara holds a Master’s in Advanced Studies in Climate Science and Policy from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, CA, and a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.

 


Tessa Greco
Powering the Blue Economy Initiative Lead, U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office

Tessa Greco currently manages the U.S. DOE Water Power Technologies Office “Powering the Blue Economy” initiative, which seeks to understand the power requirements of emerging coastal and maritime markets and advance technologies that could integrate marine renewable energy to relieve these power constraints and enable sustainable growth of the blue economy. The Powering the Blue Economy initiative incorporates end-user perspectives and values so that the resulting research, technology innovation, application, and community engagement are representative of and informed by the populations it serves.


Tim Ramsey
Program Manager for Marine Energy at United States Department of Energy, Denver, Colorado

Tim Ramsey currently serves as the Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office’s Marine Energy Program. In this role, he leads the Program’s efforts to conduct early-stage R&D specific to Marine Energy applications, supporting the development of new, cutting-edge technologies and the establishment of a strong and competitive Marine Energy industry in the United States.

 


Tony Bonnici
Officer in Charge, Cooperation and Partnerships Section, UNECE, Geneva, Switzerland

Tony is the head of the PPP secretariat at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, Switzerland, and he leads a program on PPPs in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that identifies people as the main beneficiaries of infrastructure and public services. Prior to joining the United Nations, Tony was a member of his country’s diplomatic service. Tony holds a first degree in law, a master’s degree in international relations, and a Ph.D. in international law.

 


Wally Castro
President, Wally Castro Marine

Wally Castro has actively participated in the boating community for the last 30 years, having worked directly in the boat sales business during the last 12 years. Boating has always been a part of his life, translating into an invaluable wealth of knowledge in the area of boat sales and service. Wally Castro Marine is dedicated to the sale of new and previously owned boats and yachts. They represent Riviera Yachts, Boston Whaler, Invincible, Bertram, Regulator, Belize, Wellcraft, Nor-Tech & WorldCat in the Caribbean. Our Brokerage Department offers all brands of previously owned boats. They also offer a parts store, a service department, repairs, and maintenance for all boat brands.

 


Wilbert De La Paz
Caribbean Region Tech Sales Manager, Siemens Energy

Experienced Technical Support Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the mechanical or industrial engineering industry. Bachelor’s degree focused in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology.

 


Ziad Alexandre Hayek
Chairman, World Association of Public-Private Partnership Units and Professionals

Ziad Alexandre Hayek serves as the Vice-Chair, Bureau of the UNECE Working Party on PPP of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and has previously held senior executive positions with Citibank, Solomon Brothers, Bear Sterns, and the Inter-American Development Bank. In addition, he is the Former Secretary-General of Lebanon High Council for Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships and a Former Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has extensive experience in international finance, investment banking, corporate governance, socio-economic development, public policy, and public-private partnerships. He has led large multicultural teams in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.