Puerto Rico Investment Summit

2018 Guest Speakers

  • José Carrión José B.
    Carrión III
    HUB International
    CLC, LLC
  • Manuel A. Laboy Rivera Manuel A.
    Laboy Rivera
    Secretary of
    Economic Development
    and Commerce (DDEC)
  • Iván Rodríguez Iván
    Former Major League
    Baseball catcher,
    2017 Baseball
    Hall of Fame
    Managing Partner of
    Putnam Bridge
  • Noel Zamot Noel

José B. Carrión is a proven leader, producer, and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the insurance brokerage industry, an extensive network in the Puerto Rico business community, and a deeply rooted commitment to public affairs and social development.

Born in Puerto Rico, Carrión obtained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in History and Political Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He later pursued his business education at the Tobin College of Business at St. John's University in New York, where he obtained a Diploma in Risk and Insurance in 1994 and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1995.

Upon graduation, he joined the Puerto Rico office of Aon Risk Services—the second-largest insurance broker in the world—where he first served as Client Service Representative and, later, Client Service Director. In 1998 he was appointed Senior Vice President and went on to become President in 2000. At Aon Risk Services of Puerto Rico, Carrión ran an office with more than $15 million in commission income across all lines during a difficult period when federal law changed to allow banks (who had been key clients) to enter the insurance business.

In 2001, Carrión co-founded his own firm—Carrión, Laffitte & Casellas—serving as lead owner and one of the principal producers of what became the second largest locally owned insurance brokerage in Puerto Rico. For twelve years, as Principal and President, Carrión played a key role in driving revenues of more than $14 million, a retention rate of more than 95%, and operating margins of 36% and positioning the firm for sale in 2012, in spite of the worst economic situation in Puerto Rico's history.

In 2012, Carrión, Laffitte & Casellas was purchased by Hub International, the largest privately owned, full-service insurance brokerage and the tenth largest brokerage in the world, with offices throughout the United States and Canada. Following the purchase, Carrión was retained in an executive leadership role as President of Hub/Carrión, Laffitte & Casellas, leading strategic planning, budgeting, and production efforts across all lines, and as member of HUB International's executive management committee.

Mr. Carrión has played myriad leadership roles in a number of professional and community organizations including the Young Presidents' Organizations, the Automobile Accidents Compensation Authority, the State Insurance Fund, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society, the Ponce Museum of Art, the San Juan Rotary Club and the Salvation Army, among others.

In 2016, Carrión was nominated by House Speaker Paul Ryan and appointed by President Barack Obama Chairman of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, pursuant to the bipartisan Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act ("PROMESA") enacted by Congress to address Puerto Rico's economic and fiscal crisis by providing the Island with the tools it needs to implement fiscal reforms, restructure its debts, embark on a path to economic recovery and restore opportunity to its people.

Eng. Manuel A. Laboy Rivera is the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC) and Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) with the mission to attract new investment, promote the creation of new jobs and strengthening of small and medium enterprises. He is responsible for the formulation and strategic implementation of the Puerto Rico economic development plan, including competitiveness-related reform, infrastructure projects and the innovation of technology agenda. Secretary Laboy Rivera oversees over seven government instrumentalities that include agencies and public corporations.

Engineer Laboy Rivera has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico. He is also a member of the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico, and holds s Certified Safety Professional certification from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is a retired Major League Baseball (MLB) player who played at the competitive professional level for more than 21 years and who statistically is considered the greatest defensive catcher in MLB history. On the field, Mr. Rodriguez was the recipient of numerous achievements and awards, including, MLB’s all-time games leader as catcher, 7 time silver slugger winner, 2003 World Series champion (Florida Marlins), 2003 NLCS MVP, 1999 AL MVP, 14 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glove award, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, Latino Hall of Fame and his last and most prestigious award 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame!

After Mr. Rodriguez’s retirement from baseball, his love for the game endured and to this day he continues to be involved in the sport through his involvement as the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Texas Rangers, coaching of various major and minor league ballplayers as well as his work as a sports analyst for Fox Sports South West. Off the field, Mr. Rodriguez has and continues to be a well-versed businessman taking on a wide range of investments both domestically and abroad. Pudge also enjoys donating and giving his time to many different communities and non-profit organizations because giving back is a virtue he holds close.

Nicholas Prouty is the founder and CEO of Putnam Bridge Funding, a firm engaged in the acquisition and management of distressed landmark properties in the United States and abroad. Mr. Prouty has been a real estate principal in several companies, including a General Partner of Hudson Cross Financial, a company engaged in the acquisition and disposition of foreclosed houses on a nationwide basis. In addition, he has served as an advisor to many specialty real estate companies.

Within the last year, Mr. Prouty's firm has been active in Puerto Rico and has made two significant nine figure investments. Those investments include the acquisition of Ciudadela, a mixed-use real estate development in Santurce and Puerto del Rey, the largest marina in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Prouty formerly headed acquisitions and restructuring for a $1+ billion hedge fund focused on asset based lending and real estate finance. Prior experience also includes serving as Managing Partner to a prominent family office, and as treasury analyst at Lazard Freres & Co.

Mr. Prouty is the founder of the Habitat Support Foundation, a non-profit entity based in Washington, D.C. engaged in providing non-recourse loan guarantees to Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Prouty received a Bachelor's of Arts in European History from the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. He is married, has two children and lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Noel Zamot was recently appointed Infrastructure Revitalization Coordinator by the Puerto Rico Oversight and Management Board. He has over twenty-five years of experience in the aerospace & defense (A&D) industry, including government, commercial and startup ventures.

Zamot is the founder and president of the cyber security firm, Corvus Analytics in Bedford, MA, former Director of Air Force Programs, providing cyber security and system engineering brainpower. He provided Program Management, Systems Engineering and Subject Matter expertise to US Air Force, US Navy, US Coast Guard and Federal Government customers and directed the US Air Force’s elite Test Pilot School. He also represented the United States as Senior National Representative to NATO leadership.

He has a Masters of Business Administration in Sloan School of Management of MIT, a Masters in National Security Strategy of the National Defense University, a Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering of the University of Michigan and a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering of MIT.

  • Jeff Carmichael Jeff
    Caribbean Center
  • Mark Curry Mark
    Sol Partners
  • Walter Keenan Walter
    Advantage Insurance
  • Matt Rodrigue Matt
    Managing Director,
    Miller Buckfire
  • Keith St. Clair Keith
    St. Clair
    Founder & Chair,

Jeff Carmichael is the CEO of Yingke Caribbean China Center in Puerto Rico. His strong commitment to providing excellence in senior resident care, having served as an advisor to multiple Chinese senior housing companies with investment interest across China and the United States, has resulted in speaking engagements on these subjects as China copes with the largest senior population in world. Carmichael had extensive experience in trade with China, and co-founded the first residential lighting buying co-operative in North America, with an annual volume exceeding $500 million and over 130 locations throughout the U.S. Prior to his importing experience, Carmichael practiced as a certified public accountant with an emphasis on mergers, acquisitions and strategic planning for privately held businesses, including major Coca-Cola bottlers across the United States prior to and including their consolidation into Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE).

He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bair Foundation, one of the largest non-profit foster care agencies in the United States, serving over 7,000 children per year across 9 states. His contribution and passion for assisting underprivileged children and senior adults have enormously benefited people from China and the United States.

A San Juan resident since 2012, Mark Curry is dedicated to helping improve post-hurricane conditions through his continued investment, and belief, in the people of Puerto Rico and the local business community. Since 2016, the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation has been committed to supporting groups in Puerto Rico that demonstrate a need and solid stewardship of their resources to provide a hand-up to their constituents.

As the founder and CEO of Sol Partners, Curry also provides marketing, analytics, and other consulting services to fintech organizations.

Matthew Rodrigue is a Managing Director of Miller Buckfire, specializing in restructuring and complex leveraged finance situations.

Mr. Rodrigue’s company-side experience includes representing 888 Holdings, General Growth Properties, Ingenco Holdings, LodgeNet Interactive Corporation, Mervyns Department Stores, among others. Creditor-side and buy-side experience includes representing the secured lenders to Puerto Rico (COFINA), Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Coldwater Creek, and FairPoint Communications. He has also represented buyers in the auctions of Borders, Inc., MSD Performance, and Spheris, Inc.

Mr. Rodrigue has worked in corporate strategy for NewPage Corporation. Preceding that, he was a team leader at the engineering, science and operations consulting firm, Woodard & Curran.

Mr. Rodrigue holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maine, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maine. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of Maine.

Keith St. Clair has been a leader in the travel industry and a recognized international speaker at forums and events for the last 30 years. He has managed and or founded some of the most successful travel companies in the world, including Sol Holidays and Traveleaders, the largest independent travel distribution company in Florida and top 10 national enterprise. Under his leadership, his companies have traveled hundreds of thousands of people and generated billions of dollars in revenues on a global level.

Most recently Keith has brought his expertise to Puerto Rico where he has been instrumental in a $100+ million dollar redevelopment of Isla Verde Beach through his purchasing and renovation of the Iconic ESJ Towers Resort, in addition to building two new resorts in the area. He is also leading the way to build a world-class digital movie and production studio in San Juan.

As a recent citizen of Puerto Rico, Keith has become one of the most significant movers and shakers on the island, actively involved in economic and humanitarian ventures, generating thousands of jobs and a greater future for Puerto Rico.

Walter Keenan is Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Insurance Holdings Ltd., a leading international specialty insurance firm with offices in Puerto Rico. Advantage administers over $2 billion of insurance assets for captive insurance companies, private placement life insurance and other insurance structures.

Prior to leading Advantage's recapitalization and growth plan in 2013, Mr. Keenan was a private equity investment professional in San Francisco and New York focused on financial services investments. He began his business career as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley in 1989.

  • Rich Cooper Rich
    Cleary Gottlieb
    Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • Edgar Ríos Edgar
    Pietrantoni Méndez &
    Alvarez LLC
  • Adrian Escude Adrian
  • Brian B. Su Brian B.
    Artisan Business
    Group, Inc.;
    Chariman, Yingke
    Caribbean China Center
  • Gabriel Hernández Gabriel
    BDO Puerto Rico

Richard Cooper is a partner based in Cleary Gottlieb’s New York office. His practice focuses on international and domestic restructurings both in the private and public sectors. He has represented corporate, sovereign and municipal debtors; creditors, creditor committees, buyers and sellers of distressed assets and securities, DIP lenders, and other participants in out-of-court and in-court bankruptcy proceedings.

Edgar Ríos-Méndez is an attorney. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and went on to receive a LL.M. is Taxation from the New York University School of Law.

Mr. Ríos-Méndez' practice focuses on international tax matters, inbound and outbound corporate reorganizations, registered investment companies, structured investment vehicles and other complex federal, international and Puerto Rico tax law matters. He has been active in some of the major Puerto Rico tourism related projects with respect to the negotiation of tax incentive grants and the sale of tourism investment tax credits. In the Puerto Rico industrial tax incentive area, he has assisted clients in the industrial and service sectors and in recent times has actively participated in the negotiation of tax incentives for clients in the financial services industry. Edgar has acted as tax counsel in the structuring of financing transactions with borrowers located in Puerto Rico, the Baltic region, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Adrian Escude is a data and solution driven marketing leader with a strong business acumen and expertise in digital marketing, data analytics and product management across technology, consumer electronics and cyber security industries. Adrian excels at translating analytical insights into business and marketing strategies and was recently awarded as Agency Professional of the Year by the SDX Association, the oldest Marketing Association in San Diego, California.

Mr. Brian Su has extensive experience in international trade, business development, marketing management, strategic planning and government affairs. Mr. Su is a recipient of the US China Outstanding Contribution Award from the US China Business Association in 2012.

He is the Founder and CEO of Artisan Business Group, Inc., a Springfield Illinois based cross-border business and investment services consulting firm, working with financial and investment companies including real estate developers, banks, wealth management firms, private equity firms, family offices, insurance companies, government agencies and others.

Mr. Su also serves as Managing Director of Yingke Chicago China Center and Yingke Caribbean China Center, a business platform between the U.S. and China. Yingke is Asia's largest law firm headquartered in Beijing China. Yingke China Center provides consultation services to Chinese and American companies through Yingke Ecosystem with 45 offices in China and over 40 offices throughout the world.

Mr. Su has a MPA degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield in the U.S. His extensive network of government and business connections, together with the amalgam of his Chinese background, U.S. education and multinational work experience, leave him well placed to bridge the business knowledge gap between the two cultures. He has facilitated many business and trade missions to China, and assisted Chinese trade missions and government delegations to the U.S. He has been interviewed by Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg/Newsroom, Bloomberg Business News, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Reuters, Los Angeles Business Journal, Newsweek, Commercial Real Estate Direct, NHK (Japan), The Daily (U.K.), China Daily, China Press, South China Morning Post, etc.

Gabriel Hernández is the Head of the Tax Division at BDO Puerto Rico, the 4th largest local accounting firm in Puerto Rico serving a portfolio of over 600 clients through a talented group of more than 120 professionals. In the past 25 years Gabriel has become an expert in restructuring companies and operations, executing buy-sell agreements and supervising other non-tax corporate functions. Prior to founding BDO in Puerto Rico, he worked in the Tax Departments of global firms PwC, Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. Gabriel has specialized in providing tax consulting services to clients in all aspects of U.S. and P.R. taxation, mainly structuring mergers and acquisitions and outbound and inbound investments, including experience in assisting clients in negotiating tax exemption packages under the various tax incentive laws available in P.R.

Mr. Hernández has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Major in Accounting, and Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico.

  • Mark Leeds Mark
    Tax Partner,
    Mayer Brown LLP
  • Francisco Luis Francisco
    Tax Partner,
    Grant Thornton LLP
  • Federico Stubbe Federico
    PRISA Group
  • Margaret Juvelier Margaret
    International Realty
  • Frank Holder Frank
    Berkeley Research

Mark H. Leeds is a Tax Transactions & Consulting partner in Mayer Brown's New York office. His practice is focused on the tax consequences of a variety of capital markets products and strategies, including over-the-counter derivative transactions, swaps, tax-exempt derivatives and strategies for efficient utilization of tax attributes—such as net operating losses. Mark advises on the tax aspects of capital markets, structured finance, derivatives, financial products and insurance transactions and has extensive experience working with both buyers and sellers to develop and structure complex derivatives. He also advises on hedge fund and other investment vehicle formation matters.

Mark is a former managing director and senior tax counselor with Deutsche Bank in New York. He was a partner at Deloitte & Touche, where he led the capital markets tax practice. Mark is a frequent writer and speaker on tax topics affecting the capital markets.

Francisco Luis has over twenty years of experience in public accounting, including the "Big Four" and private consulting practice. He engages in the design and development of tax planning and consulting strategies and has assisted clients before the International Revenue Service, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, the Municipal Revenue Collection Center, and various municipalities.

He is a former president of the San Juan Chapter of the Puerto Rico State Society of Certified Public Accountants, past member of the Board of Directors and has also led various committees, including Strategic, Planning, Ethics and Regulations.

He is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in business administration, major in accounting. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Puerto Rico Law School.

An award winning developer of planned communities, Federico “ Friedel” Stubbe is a civil engineer, and one of Puerto Rico’s largest developer-builders of upscale residential, master-planned communities with over $100 million in annual sales and more than 800 employees. In addition Stubbe chairs the board of the Peninsula de Cantera project.

With a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he worked as project engineer and project manager for a general building contractor from 1971 to 1977. He turned toward public service when he became an aide to the then-Governor Carlos Romero Barceló, and later chief of staff. He attended Harvard Business School’s Program of Management Development.

A twice president of the Puerto Rico chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, recipient of the Frank Ramírez de Arellano Homebuilders Award, member of the Georgia Tech Engineering Advisory Board as well as of the Governor’s Advisory Board for the Construction Industry, Stubbe personifies the modern-day entrepreneur.

Frank Holder is the managing director of BRG's Latin America Practice. He has directed corporate investigations and security consulting assignments in Latin America and the United States including due diligence and reputational investigations related to politically motivated allegations and defamation campaigns, and hostile takeovers among others. As a security expert, he has designed the security for international airports, seaports, and many more.

Before joining BRG, Mr. Holder was the chief executive officer of Holder International and president of Kroll Inc.'s Consulting Services Group, responsible for operations in more than 35 countries. He was the president of Holder Associates in Buenos Aires.

Mr. Holder began his career with the U.S. Air Force as a political-military analyst for the U.S. embassy in Argentina and as a special agent for the Office of Special Investigations.

He is an accomplished public speaker and has written articles on similar topics for U.S. and Latin American newspapers.

After 28 years as Senior Vice President and Associate Broker with Sotheby's International Realty in New York City, Margaret gracefully transitioned to become Founder/President of Puerto Rico Sotheby's International Realty, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A seasoned, savvy and skilled negotiator, Margaret has sold in excess of $700 million worth of properties and has created stellar sales including the most recent sale of 5th Avenue property selling at $32,000,000 substantially above the asking price and featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Margaret speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.

  • Fernando Goyco-Covas Fernando
    Pietrantoni Méndez
    & Alvarez LLC
  • Alicia Figueroa Alicia
    Pietrantoni Méndez
    & Alvarez LLC
  • Nick Brown Nick
  • Giancarlo González Giancarlo
  • Thelma López Thelma
    GFR Customer
    Engagement Solutions

Fernando Goyco-Covas has more than 40 years of experience in the entire spectrum of Puerto Rico tax matters. His practice includes tax litigation; structuring of tax exempt and taxable operations in Puerto Rico; structuring of complex business transactions, investment vehicles, private equity funds and mutual funds; tax planning and counsel and advice on Puerto Rico and United States federal international income tax matters. 

Lately, Fernando has been very active in advising clients and obtaining grants of tax exemption under Puerto Rico’s Act to Promote the Transfer of Investors to Puerto Rico and Act to Promote the Exportation of Services.

Chambers and Partners has consistently ranked Fernando as one of the top tax lawyers in Puerto Rico. He was named Best Lawyers 2016 Tax Law “Lawyer of the Year” in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fernando is a frequent speaker on Puerto Rico income tax matters at seminars in Puerto Rico and outside of Puerto Rico. 

Alicia Figueroa-Llinás provides counseling in business immigration law, particularly on investors’ visas, employment visas, labor certifications and employment-based permanent residence. She has represented both buyers and sellers in complex acquisition transactions with significant employment related issues. Alicia has been a member of the Labor Law Committees of the Puerto Rico Bar Association and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, and was designated as the Government Affairs Director of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in 2012 and 2013.

Nick Brown is a Reuters correspondent covering Puerto Rico. He lived on the island from 2015-2016, establishing Reuters’ San Juan bureau and serving as its chief. His reporting has included breaking news on milestone developments in the island’s debt restructuring, chronicling decades of misguided public pension policies, and exposing the crisis facing Puerto Rico’s hundreds of thousands of informal dwellers and squatters in Maria’s aftermath. Nick also wrote a first-person account of his battle with Zika. He previously covered corporate debt for Reuters, where has worked since 2011.

Giancarlo served as CIO of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, transforming the delivery of services through digital means across multiple levels of government. He is now helping governments & their leaders, along with private and public institutions to do the same and bringing together the tech ecosystem in the Puerto Rico through Piloto 151, supporting civic-tech organizations such as HackNights and Code4PuertoRico and the Dear Fiscal Board speaker series.

Prior to serving in government, he was co-founder of Compraoalquila.com, Tasamax.com and ListaMax.com, a suite of digital real estate services which was bought by El Nuevo Día.

Thelma López joined GFR Customer Engagement Solutions in June 2017. López has over twenty years of experience in executive positions ranging from Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Sales & Marketing and General Manager for country operations for AT&T and DIRECTV. She has also held regional executive responsibilities in Latin America managing a budget of $1.6 billion dollars.

López has ample experience in world-class engagement strategies, which improve the experiences for customers as well as employees. In addition, López’s forte is partnership negotiation and structuring alliances which result in benefits for partners, employees and communities.

Lopez is also an active community leader leading fund raising efforts for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, co-founder of the “Uno a Uno” initiative to feed the homeless and is an active member of the Robinson School Board of Directors.

  • Alex Borschow Alex
    Managing Partner,
    Semillero Ventures LLC
  • Philipe Schoene-Roura Philipe
    Executive Editor,
    Caribbean Business
  • Chris R. Hamm Chris R.
  • Michael Terpin Michael
    CEO, Transform
    Group International,
    CoinAgenda; Partner,
    Alphabit Fund
  • Brock Pierce Brock
    Bitcoin Foundation,
    Blockchain Capital

Alex Borschow is co-founder and Managing Partner of Semillero Ventures, Puerto Rico's first food and agriculture private equity investment fund. A native of the island, he returned after 14 years between working in investment banking at BNP Paribas and as Director of Finance at Eataly USA, the largest Italian food marketplace in the world. He has been investing in and advising food and ag startups for the past five years. He is a Mentor-in-Residence at Parallel18, Puerto Rico’s premiere startup accelerator as well as a Mentor for the Rabobank-MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize. Alex also sits on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Puerto Rico, as well as of Food Tank.  Alex holds a BS in Chemical/Biological Engineering and an MBA from MIT.

Philipe Schoene Roura is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in the news business, starting his career as the business editor for Puerto Rico Living in 1988. Schoene Roura has covered Puerto Rico politics both on the island and in the federal realm. His story “Who the Health Cares?”, drawing parallels between healthcare reform in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., helped shape policy on the island. That story is one of nine reported by Schoene Roura to have garnered Overseas Press Club awards during the past 20 years.

Schoene Roura has won journalism awards in seven different categories for feature writing, in-depth reporting, editorial writing and best news interview.

His story, “Heir Rosselló,” profiling Gov. Pedro Rosselló’s first administration in 1992, was included in “Cultures: Diversity in Reading and Writing.” That anthology, published by Prentice Hall in 1996, includes stories by Mario Vargas Llosa and other recognized writers.

In 2008, Schoene Roura’s interview and profile of then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, during her first run for the White House, was highlighted by Puerto Rico’s print and broadcast news outlets as well as TIME magazine. His recent reporting on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis has also been quoted by Bloomberg, the Bond Buyer, Debtwire and Reuters.

Chris Hamm is CEO and Co-founder of Consulting & Ancillary Services of Puerto Rico (CASPR), a qualified promoter business specializing in education, structure and formation of new Act 20/22/273/399 decrees. His professional career has been focused on international business and middle market tax strategies for US companies. Chris is an IL licensed CPA, earning his Masters of Business Administration from The University of Mississippi and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Southern Methodist University. As a member of the AICPA and a board member of the ICPAS Accounting Principles Committee, Chris is active in the Chicago CPA community

Michael Terpin is a serial entrepreneur, best known for creating Internet Wire (now Marketwired), the world’s first Internet-based company news distribution platform. The company sold for $35 million and is now the third largest company newswire in the world.

In early 2013, Terpin co-founded BitAngels, the world’s first angel network for digital currency startups, and now serves as its chairman. Terpin is also co-founder and managing partner of bCommerce Labs, the first technology incubator fund focused on e-commerce companies for bitcoin and the blockchain.

In addition, Terpin is founder and CEO of Transform Group, a marketing holding company. In November, he started Marketeeria, a global online marketplace connecting independent marketers with companies looking to contract them.

Terpin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from SUNY at Buffalo and degrees in Newspaper Journalism and English Literature from Syracuse University. Terpin is also an investor and advisor to many media and technology companies.

Brock Pierce is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with an extensive track record of founding, advising and investing in disruptive businesses. He's credited with pioneering the market for digital currency in games and has raised more than $500 million for companies he has founded. He is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, co-founder of Blockchain Capital, co-founder and Head of Strategy at Block.one, and founding board member of Mastercoin (first ICO).

Block.one was created in 2017 and has sold over $500M tokens in the EOS crowdsale making it the largest ever. Blockchain Capital was founded in 2013 and is the first sector-focused venture fund that invests solely in Blockchain technology companies. Pierce led the firm through the first ICO of a venture fund, which created the first security token. Blockchain Capital has made more than 75 investments in the sector across its first three funds. The firm was named the most active FinTech Venture Fund by Pitchbook. 

Pierce is an early investor in Bitcoin and one of the largest investors in the Ethereum crowdsale. He is the founder of IMI Exchange, the world’s leading digital currency marketplace for games, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion and investors such as Goldman Sachs, which was sold in 2016 for more than $100 million. Pierce founded ZAM, one of the world’s largest media properties for gamers, which was acquired by Tencent in 2012. He founded IGE, the pioneer of digital currency in online games, achieving revenues exceeding $100 million in 2006 and sold in 2007. Pierce is also a co-founder of Tether, D10e, GoCoin, Blade Payments, Five Delta (sold NASDAQ: SRAX), Xfire 2.0, Playsino, Evertune, GamesTV, and DEN. He also advises Bancor, Airswap, BlockV, and BitGo.

Pierce is faculty at the Singularity University and is a sought-after speaker who has spoken at the Milken Global Conference, Mobile World Congress, Wired, INK, Stanford, USC, and UCLA.

  • Rafael Rojo Rafael
    President and CEO,
    VRM Companies
  • Emilio Colón Zavala Emilio
    Colón Zavala
    ECZ Group Inc.
  • Julia Hamm Julia
    President & CEO,
    Smart Electric
    Power Alliance
  • David Barnes David
    RBC Capital
  • Anthony Mak Anthony
    New York, HKTDC

Rafael Rojo is President and CEO at VRM Companies, one of Puerto Rico’s leading real estate development firms specializing in master planned residential communities and responsible for over 12,000 housing units built and delivered. In recent years, Rojo has been actively involved in the diversification of VRM extending its development footprint into several US markets and the Dominican Republic. Also, Rojo along with his partners, have widened their diversification through several private equity investments in US and PR, including Million Air San Juan Corp, an FBO and aviation services company, Ron del Barrilito, one of Puerto Rico’s oldest rum manufacturers and Tierra Nueva, a chocolate and coffee manufacturer in Miami, FL.

Mr. Rojo has received several recognitions, including Caribbean Business Person of the Year, SME Top Management Award in Construction, and the Industries Defense Award from the Puerto Rico Builders Association.

Emilio is founder and president of ECZ Group and Endeavor Construction Group, dedicated to engineering and construction services, providing a wide scope of services on projects such as; The Humacao Fine Arts Center, Pier 6 in San Juan, Port of Las Americas and Paseo de la Real Marina in Aguadilla amongst others. His career began with Redondo Construction, where he was responsible for projects for the PR Highway Authority. He later joined Quality Engineers & Contractors, serving as project manager, becoming vice president and member of the Board of Directors, where he was responsible for the development of over 1,500 housing units and commercial projects.

Born in Troy, New York, Graduated from University of PR High School and pursued a bachelors degree of Science in Civil Engineering, at the Mayagüez campus of the UPR. Interned at the NASA’s Center for Space Construction at the University of Colorado program, researching structural design for a long-term lunar base.

Julia Hamm has 20 years of experience advising and collaborating with utilities, technology companies, and government agencies on renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies and programs. The knowledge and experience she has gained as the President and CEO of SEPA since 2004 makes her one of the world’s foremost experts on the nexus between utilities and distributed energy resources.

Julia guides and oversees all of SEPA’s research, education, and collaboration activities for its 1,100 member companies. Julia has led the organization through significant expansion in recent years, including rebranding from the Solar Electric Power Association to the Smart Electric Power Alliance, and merging with both the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS) and Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). Julia was the founder of Solar Power International, the largest solar-focused trade show in North America.

Prior to joining SEPA, Julia worked for ICF International where she supported the EPA’s implementation of the ENERGY STAR program. Julia – a graduate of Cornell University – walks the talk, living in a PV-powered energy efficient home in Northern Virginia.

David Barnes has an MBA with a concentration in Economics and Finance from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto. 10 years ago David began his career in equity derivatives as a Structured Note sales person at a competitor firm in Canada. Since joining The Royal Bank of Canada in 2007 David has helped grow all aspects of the Structured Note business in Canada and the United States. David’s role is includes working with trading and quantitative staff in Toronto, New York and London on new product creation as well as developing and maintaining client relationships at various wealth management firms, family offices and institutions across North America.

Anthony Mak is in charge of HKTDC’s operations in New York and East Coast of the United States, responsible for promoting Hong Kong’s world-class service and business platform. Prior to New York, Mr. Mak was the section head for financial services, responsible for the marketing aspects of IPO fund raising, offshore RMB/yuan business and international M&A for Chinese enterprises. He was awarded the Annual Emerging Leaders Awards, by The M&A Advisor, for his achievement as a marketing, communication and business development professional in the M&A, financing and restructuring industry. Previously, he served as Marketing Manager of HKTDC in Paris and Moscow. Mr. Mak is an MBA (Global Executive Stream) graduate of Columbia University, HKU and London Business School; and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Hong Kong. He speaks Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) and French.

  • Thomas Novak Thomas
    Dean of Academics,
    Robinson School
  • Juan Carlos Marcial Juan Carlos
    RBC Capital
  • Alexis R. González-Pagani Alexis R.
    Senior Associate,
    Ferraiuoli LLC
  • Dialy M. Otero Dialy M.
    Tax Director
    BDO Puerto Rico
  • John B. Helmers John B.
    Founder and
    Investment Manager
    Long Focus
    Capital Management

Bio coming soon.

Juan Carlos Marcial is Associate Administrator at Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, the largest and most complete medical institution in the Caribbean. He is in charge of day to day operations at the Hospital and its specialized centers, third parties contracting and innovation models. Juan Carlos has a Bachelor in Business Administration University of Baltimore and a Master in Healthcare Administration University of Puerto Rico. He has over 20 + years experience in the Healthcare Industry, he is Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Industry (ACHE) and a Member Board of Directors PR Hospital Association.

Alexis R. González-Pagani is a Senior Associate Attorney with our Tax Law Practice Group.

Prior to joining Ferraiuoli in February, 2015, Alexis, who is also a Certified Public Accountant, worked as a Senior Associate in the Corporate Tax Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he assisted various Fortune 500 companies with the development of tax planning opportunities and managed their tax compliance responsibilities in Puerto Rico.

Before working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he worked as a Tax Consultant for BDO Puerto Rico, P.S.C. for three years, where he assisted multiple high net worth individuals with their relocation to Puerto Rico under Act 22-2012 and helped establish their new businesses on the Island under Act 20-2012.

Alexis also has experience with the pre-filing, filing and compliance of agreements under the Incentives Acts 73 and 83. He has also co-led multiple due-diligence projects for multinational companies.

As part of his legal studies, Alexis participated in a dual degree program with the University of Barcelona, School of Law, through which he obtained a bachelor’s degree in law in Spain.

He is also a Notary Public.

Dialy M. Otero is a Certified Public Accountant with over 18 years of public accounting experience in tax compliance and consulting services. Dialy has extensive experience in providing U.S. and P.R tax compliance and tax advisory services to individuals and businesses in various industries including Consumer Business, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Technology, Media and Entertainment.

She currently specializes in providing tax advisory services to high-net worth individuals and businesses that relocate to Puerto Rico under Acts 20 and 22, Act 273 and other local tax incentive laws. Daily works with Puerto Rico inbound tax planning, design of businesses structures, negotiation of tax exemption decrees, transfer pricing, and intercompany agreements and exit strategies. Dialy works closely with the Department of the Economic Development and Commerce, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions and the Office of Industrial Tax Exemption promoting the tax incentives offered by Act 20 and 22 and IFE licenses for her clients, helping them in negotiating and obtaining tax incentives under these Puerto Rico tax incentives laws.

John B. Helmers manages the investments on behalf of Long Focus Capital Management, a firm he founded in 2011. Mr. Helmers began his career as a fixed income trader at J.P. Morgan before becoming a market maker in the CBOT bond pit. Subsequently, Mr. Helmers ran the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index business. Later he held portfolio management positions at Tudor Investment Corporation, Swiftwater Capital Management, and Citadel Investment Group. Mr. Helmers graduated from Princeton University. He relocated from South Carolina to Puerto Rico in 2013.

  • Jaime Fortuño Jaime
    Zumbador Coffee
    Fortuño Finance
    & Marketing Advisory
  • Ruben A. Gely-Ortiz Ruben A.
    PR International
    Insurers Association
  • Eduardo Colón Eduardo
    PR International
    Banks Association
  • Hugo Cordova Hugo
    PR International
    Insurers Association

Jaime is a 4th generation specialty coffee producer and exporter.  His efforts since 1991 have place Puerto Rico's best beans at Starbucks Reserve Program, Harrod's of London, Fauchon, Mitubishi, among many others.  First producer in history elected to the SCA Board of Directors.  Hurricanes George ('98) and Maria ('17) destruction have shaped his non-coffee work.  Ran DDB Advertising agencies in Puerto Rico and New York. Former SVP-Sales & Marketing of a $2 billion hotel and residential developer.  Advisory practice currently active in capital raising, corporate turnarounds, and brand development in the Americas and Europe. Harvard MBA.  Wharton BS Finance & Marketing.

Ruben Gely Jr. manages captive insurance structures in Puerto Rico and provides advisory services related to Puerto Rico's economic incentive programs including Act 399, 20 & 22. Ruben currently serves as Vice President of the Puerto Rico International Insurer’s Association (PRIIA).

Eduardo Colón is President of Advantage International Bank Corp., a newly-formed bank intended to serve the needs of specialty insurance companies and their private clients. Eduardo has over 30 years of experience with leading banking, securities and non-bank financial services companies. Prior to joining Advantage in 2015, Eduardo was the Chief Operating Officer of Citi International Financial Services, a broker dealer subsidiary of Citibank. Eduardo’s other previous leadership roles include being First Vice President of Corporate Banking of SunTrust Bank; Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Head of Corporate and Commercial of Scotiabank Puerto Rico; President of BBVA Securities Puerto Rico; Senior Vice President and Head of Capital Markets and Trading of Santander Securities; and Vice President and General Manager of Chase Securities Puerto Rico. Eduardo earned his BBA from the University of Puerto Rico, Cum Laude and his MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Hugo Cordova has worked with Aon Puerto Rico for the past 8 years as a Manager, working  closely with the International Insurers managed by Aon. Previously, worked on the banking industry as a Branch Manager. Has served as the president of the Puerto Rico International Insurer Association since its inception on 2014.

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