ULI Southeast Florida/Caribbean: The Puerto Rico Symposium


2022-03-15T07:15:00 - 2022-03-15T19:00:00

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    Hotel AKA Brickell 1395 Brickell Ave Miami, FL 33131-3353 UNITED STATES
    Join ULI Southeast Florida / Caribbean and the Puerto Rico Builders Association on March 15, 2022, at Hotel AKA Brickell for our Puerto Rico Symposium: Building Synergies for Long-Term Growth and Development Opportunities. We’ll bring together owners, operators, developers, and investors interested in shaping the future of Puerto Rico.

    This one-day symposium will explore how both the public and private sector can work together to reimagine, revitalize and rebuild Puerto Rico, with a special focus on hospitality, housing, manufacturing, and infrastructure. Highlights will include new financing solutions and success stories in Puerto Rico’s development.



    Scott MacLaren

    President, Stiles

    Mr. MacLaren was promoted to President of Stiles in 2016 as part of the company’s long-term succession plan. He currently serves as the Committee District Council Chair for the Southeast Florida/Caribbean region. As a member of the company’s executive leadership team, he is focused on day-to-day operations and overall strategy. He plays an integral role in driving Stiles’ future pipeline of activity, including development, acquisitions, and third-party services. Since joining Stiles in 1999, Mr. MacLaren has held roles of increasing responsibility in all aspects of sales, financing, acquisitions, and asset management, and has directed numerous ground-up development projects. He is highly experienced in the development and redevelopment of neighborhood shopping centers and mixed-use projects as well as the acquisition of value-add commercial properties and new land inventory. Most recently, Mr. MacLaren served as President of Stiles North Carolina Operations, in which he developed and executed the company’s growth strategy in North Carolina as well as select Southeastern US markets. His team is credited with successfully establishing the Stiles brand and reputation throughout that region while building a pipeline of development projects. He also previously served as Senior Vice President of Stiles Real Estate Investments, in which he focused his efforts on the pursuit of new retail and multi-family development opportunities throughout Florida. Prior to joining Stiles, Mr. MacLaren worked in the finance division of Sony Corporation. He is a licensed Florida real estate salesperson and graduate from the University of Florida with both an undergraduate degree in Finance and an MBA. Mr. MacLaren has been actively involved in numerous professional and community organizations, including ICSC, Urban Land Institute, Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board, University of Florida Real Estate Advisory Board, the Soccer Association of Boca Raton, and St. Joan of Arc Church.


    Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz

    Co-Founder & CEO, Alvarez-Diaz & Villalon Architecture & Interior Design

    Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz, AIA, NCARB, CAAPPR Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz is the Co-founder and CEO of Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón® | Architecture & Interior Design. With offices in Puerto Rico and Florida, the firm topped the list of largest Architectural Firms in Puerto Rico (CB Book of Lists) and was included in 2020 ENR’s list of the top 225 International Design firms. His firm has also been recognized with numerous local and international design awards for their work in the United States, Central America, South America and the Middle East. In 2016, Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz was included as one of the Top 15 Architects in Miami (by Builddirect.com) and chosen as one of the Top Power 100 Executives in 2017 and 2018. He served as the president of the Builders Association of Puerto Rico in 2017. Álvarez-Díaz began his professional career in New York, working for the renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern. He studied in Italy and the United States, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He is currently pursuing an AMDP (GSD) from Harvard University in Boston. Álvarez-Díaz is licensed to practice architecture in Florida, Texas, New York, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.


    Vanessa de Mari

    Development Manager, F & R Construction Group, Inc.

    Vanessa de Mari Monserrate, AIA, a licensed Architect and Real Estate Broker in Puerto Rico. Vanessa de Mari got her dual master’s degree in Architecture and Construction Management from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. She started working in F&R Construction back in 1996 as the assistant to the Project Superintendent in the construction site, and after a few years in the field, she was promoted to Assistant Procurement Manager. De Mari is now F&R Construction’s Development Manager, and President of F&R Management Services, LLC, a company dedicated to managing projects from its initial planning and developing phase, construction and final delivery. She also serves as Vice-President of Urbanus Development, Inc., a Fullana Group company dedicated to the development of residential projects. Mrs. de Mari has been part of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Builders Association for the past 10 years, where she has held various roles, and is currently the Vice Chair of the Board. She was elected Puerto Rico Builders Association’s Chair for 2022-2024.


    Daniel Kodsi

    CEO, Royal Palm Companies

    Since 1991, Mr. Daniel Kodsi has been CEO of Royal Palm Companies (RPC). Under Kodsi’s leadership, RPC has developed over $3B in completed projects to date with over $2B in the pipeline. During the last three decades, Kodsi has delivered over 6,000 units consisting of over 10 million square feet of mixed-use and master-planned communities, hotels, multi-family, and high-rise developments. Kodsi is known for identifying underserved markets alongside of his ability to execute large-scale, mixed-use developments, and master-planned communities. In 2011, Kodsi founded Participant Capital as the capital arm of Royal Palm Companies and a vehicle to empower individual investors to participate in ground-up construction projects. Throughout his career, Kodsi has been credited for changing skylines with his award-winning projects. Kodsi has created several branded residences including the Paramount brand that includes three distinct properties including the recently completed and internationally renowned, Paramount Miami Worldcenter, which is the second largest master-planned urban project in the United States. RPC is about to break ground on its latest branded residence, Legacy Hotel & Residences, Miami Worldcenter’s newest mixed-use tower that will overlook the heart of downtown. Legacy offers both buyers and investors a unique blend of business models across hospitality, real estate, preventative healthcare, and wellness that work financially independently, but also creates an asset ecosystem that appeals to the new ‘disease conscious traveler’. Kodsi has appeared as a guest on national television newscasts, major cable business networks such as CBS World News, NBC Universal, CNN, CNBC, FOX News, MSNBC, Bloomberg News and is a regular guest on FOX Business news. He has also been a frequent guest speaker and panel member for The Urban Land Institute, Real Deal, BizNow, the National Multifamily Housing Council, and the EB-5 Council.


    Natalia Zequeira

    Commissioner of Financial Institutions - Puerto Rico

    Natalia I. Zequeira Díaz was appointed last January as the Commissioner of Financial Institutions after working for several years in the banking industry where she was able to gain extensive knowledge of issues that are increasingly important as a post- pandemic economy surges forward. As the new Commissioner, Zequeira has the momentous responsibility of overseeing the public policy of the financial system of Puerto Rico through the design and implementation of regulation that is both modern and flexible. The Commissioner wants to play an important role in guaranteeing the stability of Puerto Rico’s financial institutions as they face the many challenges brought by the pandemic and the changes the banking industry will face in the future. Zequeira, who obtained a Master of Laws from Fordham University after obtaining her law degree from Interamerican University, is an experienced legal counsel with extensive knowledge of privacy law, internal audits, legal compliance, and risk assessment. Her professional trajectory led her to work as an associate of Pirillo Law LLC before being appointed Commissioner by Governor Pedro Pierluisi. As a legal counsel, she represented a great variety of clients, such as international financial entities, banks, and broker-dealer firms. She has given special attention to regulatory and corporate compliance matters relating to the financial sector, as well as other banking-related issues, such as protection laws, project finance, and securities laws. During different stages of her career, she has been able to provide specialized insights in regulatory compliance matters relating to banking products and services. And her experience and knowledge as a lawyer has been front and center in her work in the banking industry. Prior to joining the firm, Zequeira was the Corporate Compliance Officer for Banco Santander Puerto Rico after serving as an in-house counsel within the same institution. Among her achievements, she introduced the bank’s corporate compliance program and oversaw the company’s compliance with safety and soundness regulations in relation to the Code of Conduct, Transactions with Affiliates, Insider Lending, and Insider Trading. It is also worth noting that Zequeira, with areas of practice that included federal and local corporate and banking law, assisted rolling out projects that included the consolidation of U.S. and Puerto Rico operations under an Intermediate Holding Company, the bank’s annual FDIC Safety and Soundness Exam, and in the first compliance exam performed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to a financial institution in Puerto Rico.


    Rodrick Miller

    CEO, Invest Puerto Rico

    Rodrick Miller is Chief Executive Officer at Invest Puerto Rico, the Island's public-private partnership focused on business attraction and investment promotion. Miller is recognized as one of the foremost economic development leaders in the country, respected for his ability to maneuver in complex political and business environments, and craft strategies to provide long-term value to communities and investors. Prior to coming to Puerto Rico, Miller led economic recovery efforts for the cities of Detroit and New Orleans. Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a degree in international business from St. Augustine's College. He also completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Finance in Mexico.


    Nathan Whigham

    Founder & President, EN Capital

    Nathan Whigham is the Founder and President of EN Capital and has been placing debt and equity across all types of commercial real estate since 2006 and has been involved in over $1B of transactions. Prior to founding EN Capital he was the Senior Director of Business Development for CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital for Southern California. Before his tenure as a commercial PACE lender, he was Senior Vice President of Business Development at Nebo Capital, a boutique commercial real estate capital advisory firm. Nathan has also developed over six megawatts of large commercial renewable energy projects, has a background in building energy efficiency and has been involved in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. He holds an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona and a Graduate Certificate in Space Law through the Law School at the University of Mississippi. He lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has a passion for space, sailing and the outdoors.


    Jorge Ruiz Montilla

    Chair, Real Estate & Finance, McConnell Valdés Consulting, Inc.

    Mr. Ruiz-Montilla is a Capital Member and Chairman of the Real Estate & Finance Practice Group at McConnell Valdés, Puerto Rico’s oldest and largest law firm. His practice includes real estate, hospitality, corporate, advertising, sports and entertainment law. Over the years he has been involved in many aspects of real estate, hospitality and corporate transactions, including resort and commercial developments, structuring of corporate acquisitions, planning and structuring timeshare, condo-hotel and condominium projects, negotiating lease agreements for all types of commercial developments, and the creation of governance structures for resort communities. He has worked as real estate counsel in a number of renewable energy projects in Puerto Rico, including Puerto Rico’s first wind farm, and has extensive experience in real estate matters related to the petroleum industry’s retail operations. Mr. Ruiz-Montilla acts as international counsel for the world's leading zip-line operator, providing advice on its global expansion in jurisdictions such as Puerto Rico and Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. He has participated in the drafting a number of laws and regulations providing incentives for the tourism and film industries in Puerto Rico, including the Puerto Rico Tourism Development Act of 2010. Mr. Ruiz-Montilla is ranked as one of Puerto Rico’s Leading Attorneys in the Real Estate field by the renowned international publication Chambers & Partners in both its Global and its Latin America Guides. He is also ranked in in the Real Estate Law field of The Best Lawyers in Puerto Rico guide. He is Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Coalition for Puerto Rico, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which aims to provide legal assistance to non-profit organizations throughout Puerto Rico. He is also the legal counsel to the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Construction Materials Merchants Association, a non-profit organization representing manufacturers, distributors and retailers of construction materials. For over five years, he served as Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors of the Ricky Martin Foundation, and Co-Chair of Libertad, the Foundation's main fundraising event in Puerto Rico.


    Andrew Carlson

    SVP Country Manager, Retail, JLL-Retail

    Mr. Carlson is the JLL Market Lead for the Caribbean and Retail Lead for Latin America. Andy Provides transaction, consulting services and market planning to clients in the administration of their real estate throughout the Americas. In addition, as of January 2018, Mr. Carlson was promoted to the position of Country Manager for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region. He is responsible for customer relations and the integration of all JLL business lines to provide comprehensive solutions throughout the life cycle of all asset classes of commercial real estate. Mr. Carlson has over 35 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, including positions in consulting, planning, property management, development / construction, asset management, transactions/capital markets, agency leasing and tenant representation. Mr. Carlson holds real estate broker license in Florida and Puerto Rico.


    Brad Dean

    CEO, Discover Puerto Rico

    After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Accounting, Brad Dean worked as a financial analyst for General Electric, and in 1993, he joined the Rank Corporation as a Unit Controller for its Hard Rock Cafe chain. In 1995 he was tapped to open and lead the Myrtle Beach unit, which became one of the most successful in company history. Three years later, Brad joined the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce as its Chief Financial Officer, and in 2003, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber. Under his leadership, the Myrtle Beach tourism industry enjoyed record growth and the organization was named Chamber of Commerce of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (2015), while also earning full accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Destinations International. In 2018, Brad was tapped to lead Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s Destination Marketing Organization created after Hurricane Maria. He and his team have been very involved in helping lead the Island through a record pace of recovery, setting all-time records for visitation in 2019 and again in 2021. He serves in various leadership roles with a variety of organizations including the U.S. Travel Association, Destinations International and Meeting Planners International. He is a member of the National Council of State Tourism Directors (NCSTD) and also serves on the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. In 2018 he received the Destinations International Leadership Award, and in 2021 he was named State Tourism Director of the year by the NCSTD. Brad has been active with many charitable organizations and also holds a Master’s Degree from Moody Bible Institute. He currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico with his family.


    Francisco Luis

    Tax Partner, Kevane Grant Thornton

    Francisco 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. Francisco engages in the design and development of tax planning and consulting strategies. This includes tax services in the area of mergers and acquisitions, business reorganizations, partnership transactions, tax incentives and exemptions, individual and corporate tax issues, personal financial matters, and others. His experience includes participation in multiple international and global business transformation engagements, including post-acquisition implementation and executing strategies focused on reducing global effective tax rates, mostly interplaying with the Puerto Rico tax incentives. Francisco has significant experience assisting clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, among others. He also possesses extensive tax compliance experience. He is a member of the Puerto Rico State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. As part of his involvement with the Puerto Rico State Society of Certified Public Accountants, he is a former president of the San Juan Chapter, past member of the Board of Directors and has also led various committees, including Strategic Planning, Ethics and Regulations. Francisco is a frequent speaker on matters of Puerto Rico taxation, incentives and exemptions. He also serves as technical instructor in various seminars sponsored by the Puerto Rico State Society of Certified Public Accountants.


    Adam Greenfader

    Principal, AG & T

    Adam Greenfader is a global real estate professional with a proven track record in over 52 new construction projects in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the United States. As managing partner of AG&T, Adam's principal responsibilities is in connecting capital with development opportunities. Adam is passionate about resiliency – Green building practices. Adam speaks English, Spanish and French and holds a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California. He currently Chairs the Caribbean Council at the Urban Land Institute and Florida Liaison Committee of the Puerto Rico Builders Association. For more info. www.agandt.net


    Michael McDonald

    Executive Vice President and Group Director, Firstbank Corp

    Michael McDonald has been the Executive Vice President and Business Group Director of FirstBank Corp since September 2012, where he leads the Commercial Business Unit. Mr. McDonald has a career of more than 30 years in various senior executive roles within the financial services industry including roles within asset management, investment banking and commercial banking. Prior to joining the Corporation, Mr. McDonald served as President and CEO of Popular Securities from 2007 until September 2012 and as Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance and Advisory Services of Banco Popular from 2003 to 2007. Mr. McDonald also served as Co-Head of Investment Banking at Citibank, N.A./Salomon Smith Barney from 1992 to 2003. Mr. McDonald is a FINRA-registered Series 24 general securities principal and holds the Series 7 securities license.


    Yael Tamar

    CEO & Co-founder, SolidBlock

    Yael Tamar is Co-CEO and Co-founder of SolidBlock, an issuance platform and a marketplace for property-backed digital securities. Yael co-founded several fintech) startups, a successful marketing company in the blockchain space and an import/export company that was acquired. She is also a regional co-chair at FIBREE, the Foundation for International Blockchain and Real Estate Expertise, the leading international network for exchanging knowledge within the real estate industry. She is regularly invited to speak worldwide as an expert in Blockchain, Real Estate and Fintech.


    Andrew Farkas

    Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer , Island Capital Group

    Andrew L. Farkas founded Island Capital Group LLC in May 2003 and is its Managing Member, Chairman, and CEO. Mr. Farkas was previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Insignia Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:IFS), a global real estate services company that he founded in 1990 and was merged with CB Richard Ellis in July 2003 to form the world's largest commercial real estate services company. At its peak, Insignia was the largest owner and operator of multifamily residential housing and among the largest owners and operators of commercial space in the United States, owning, controlling or managing approximately 275,000 apartments and over 200 million square feet of commercial space. Immediately subsequent to Mr. Farkas' merging oflnsignia with CBRE in 2003, he founded Island Capital Group, an international merchant banking firm specializing in real estate investing, real estate operating businesses, and real estate securities. Island Capital presently owns controlling interests in a number of businesses with peak Assets Under Management over $9 billion and, since inception, has been a named servicer for over $240 billion of mortgage capital. In 2005, he founded IGY Marinas, the world's only global superyacht marina company, serving over 8,000 annual customers at 22 marinas in 13 countries. Founded in 2010, his next venture, C-III Capital Partners, is now a leading commercial real estate investment management and services companies engaged in a broad range of activities. C-111 Capital's subsidiaries include NAI Global, the leading network of commercial real estate service finns with 350 office worldwide and The Planning & Zoning Resource Company, the nation's leading zoning due diligence company.


    Federico Sanchez

    President & CEO, Interlink Group

    Federico J. Sánchez is the President & CEO of Interlink Group (www.interlinkpr.com), a full-service real estate investment firm founded in 1977. Based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Interlink has in-house capabilities in ,and asset management with regional coverage of the Caribbean and South Florida. Interlink’s signature developments and holdings include: the 503-key Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino Metro, the first LEED-certified hotel in the Caribbean; the 375- year-old Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan; Bahía Beac Resort & Golf Club, a 483-acre beachfront resort certified by Audubon International as a Gold Signature Sanctuary; the AAA Five-Diamond The St. Regis Bahía Beach Resort; the 233-key AC Hotel San Juan in Condado; Beef Island Resort, a 650-acre estate for development in the British Virgin Islands jointly owned with Island Global Yachting (IGY) and Applied Holdings Ltd. (Hong Kong); Cosmopolitan, a luxury condominium in Miramar; and Las Casitas Village at El Conquistador Resort, among others. From 2011 to 2017, Interlink, in partnership with Rockwood Capital, owned the 527-key San Juan Marriott Hotel & Casino. In early 2022, Interlink will complete the 231-key Residence Inn by Marriott in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Interlink Construction is a leading construction manager and general contractor in Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean. Recent projects include the extensive renovation works of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU); El Portal, the US Forest Service Visitor Center for the El Yunque Forest; St. Regis-branded beachfront estate homes at Bahía Beach; the new headquarters for Puerto Rico Pathology; Autogermana BMW and Mini Cooper dealerships; Residence Inn Isla Verde; The Square at San Patricio Plaza; and the renovation works of the San Juan Marriott Hotel & Casino in Condado, Ritz Carlton in Isla Verde, Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino Metro, and the Four Points Sheraton in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Interlink Construction also performed the post-Hurricane Irma STEP Program (FEMA) in St. Croix, USVI. Interlink Management Services provides asset management services for hospitality and mixed- use properties in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Sánchez is Full Member of Urban Land Institute (ULI), Young Presidents Organization (YPO); a Governor of the Urban Land Foundation; Co-President of the Puerto Rico Tourism Business Council; a Board Member of: Puerto Rico Builders Association, Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, University of the Sacred Heart, and Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola. He holds a BA from College of the Holy Cross, an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an AMDP from Harvard Graduate School of Design.


    Pam Patenaude

    Senior Executive Advisor, IEM, Inc.

    Pamela Hughes Patenaude is an accomplished real estate, housing policy, and disaster recovery expert with a three-decade track record of success as an executive in government, nonprofit sector, and private industry. Patenaude is an Independent Director of loanDepot, Inc. (NYSE: LDI) and a member of the Audit Committee. Patenaude is a member of the Board of Directors for Target Hospitality, Corp. (NASDAQ: TH) and a member of the Audit Committee and Committee Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Patenaude serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity International and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bipartisan Policy Center. Patenaude is a Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Home Builders Institute (HBI). Patenaude is a member of the Social Impact Advisory Board for the Center Creek Housing Funds. Patenaude is Principal of Granite Housing Strategies, LLC, serving as a strategic advisor for clients engaged in real estate development, affordable housing, and disaster recovery management. Patenaude served as an Independent Director of CoreLogic, Inc. (NYSE:CLGX) and a member of the Audit, Compensation, and Strategic Planning and Acquisition Committees. Patenaude served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As HUD’s Chief Operating Officer, Patenaude managed the day-to-day operations of the $52 billion cabinet level agency with a diverse portfolio of federal housing and community development programs and over 7,000 employees located in sixty-five offices nationwide. During her time at HUD, Patenaude provided oversight for an unprecedented $37 billion in disaster funding for the long-term recovery efforts in Puerto Rico; Texas; Florida; Hawaii; U.S. Virgin Islands; California; North Carolina; and South Carolina. Prior to rejoining HUD, Patenaude served as the President of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, a national nonprofit, education, and research organization dedicated to illuminating America’s affordable housing crisis. Previously, Patenaude was the Director of Housing Policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she successfully led a 21-person commission to present a new direction for national housing policy. Patenaude also served as Executive Vice President of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Founding Executive Director of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. Earlier in her career, Patenaude served as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at HUD, where she administered more than $8 billion in housing and community development funds. She also played a significant role in the Department’s efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast region following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by providing direct oversight of $17 billion in disaster recovery funds. Patenaude also served at HUD as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management. A New Hampshire native, Patenaude worked as State Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Bob Smith. Patenaude also served as the Director of the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center. She began her career in housing and community development at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. Patenaude earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Anselm College and a Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University. Patenaude was the first recipient of the CoreLogic EPIQ Impact Award and was honored as one of Housing Wire magazine’s “2013 Woman of Influence”. Patenaude received the Saint Anselm College Alumni Award of Merit in 2006.


    Calixto Garcia

    President and CEO, Banesco

    Calixto (Cali) Garcia-Velez is the President and CEO of Banesco USA, an independent Florida state-chartered bank. Mr. Garcia-Velez is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and has been involved in the financial sector since 1993. He began his banking career at the former First Union National Bank followed by a very successful career in Citibank, Doral Bank and in his most recent position as Executive Vice President of First BanCorp (NYSE:FBP) as a Regional Executive of FirstBank Florida. He has been involved in his community for many years. He served as Chairman of the Beacon Council in 2004, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Miami, the Alliance for South Florida National Parks Trust, and was recently named to the Florida Bankers Association Board of Directors. He also serves as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.


    Madhu Beriwal

    Founder, President, & CEO, IEM, Inc.

    IEM Founder, President, and CEO, Madhu Beriwal, has over three decades of experience in disaster and emergency management, homeland security, national defense, and the use of information technology to resolve complex protection issues. Beriwal founded IEM in 1985 as a company dedicated to developing solutions for the most complex challenges in emergency management, homeland security, and defense. Today, IEM is the largest woman-owned homeland security and emergency management firm in the world., relied on by those charged with ensuring the safety, security, and resiliency of citizens, communities, regions, states, infrastructure, and nations. IEM’s customers include federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense; state and local emergency management organizations in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories; critical infrastructure including nuclear power plants, chemical plants, hospitals, mass transit agencies, and ports. IEM’s international work includes projects in the Middle East, India, Russia, Turkey, the Ukraine, Korea, Taiwan, Haiti, and Kuwait. Prior to founding IEM, Beriwal worked for the state of Louisiana, focusing on floodplain management and hurricane evacuations for the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. In 1984, she received a Special Merit Award from the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association for her achievements in hurricane emergency preparedness. She has been a member of the prestigious Army Science Board (ASB) and was on the Defense Science Board’s Task Force for Intelligence Needs on Homeland Defense, created at the request of the DOD and the CIA to address counter-terrorism intelligence requirements for homeland defense. In 2001, she was the invited facilitator for DOD’s Chemical and Biological Modeling and Simulation Futures Workshop, which examined strategic defense issues. Beriwal is a guest lecturer at the Homeland Security Executive Leadership Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, such as the International Association of Emergency Managers conference and the World Conference on Disaster Management. A true visionary and pioneer, Beriwal was inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2011, Beriwal was named an Enterprising Women of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine.Beriwal holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning (Transportation and Land Use) and a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Economics.


    Carla Campos

    Travel and Tourism Executive, The Puerto Rico Tourism Company

    Carla Campos is an award-winning travel & tourism executive who recently served as the Government of Puerto Rico’s Tourism Minister (or CEO). A destination manager, strategist and sustainability specialist, Carla’s practical experience in tourism development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have positioned her as a fiercely determined and purpose-driven industry leader capable of transforming challenging circumstances as catalysts for tourism growth. Carla is recognized as a key driving force behind the recent transformation of Puerto Rico as an avant-garde destination, and re-defining tourism in PR with unparalleled vision and stewardship. Under Carla’s leadership, Puerto Rico’s tourism sector faced and overcame a number of historical challenges including Zika, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, earthquakes, political unrest, and most recently the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through the implementation of destination management plans, sound public policy, and building strategic public-private alliances, the island has able to bounce back and report record-breaking travel and tourism performance repeatedly. Currently, Carla leverages her proven track record and expertise to provide practical, data-driven and strategic solutions to the challenges facing developers, businesses, and tourism boards in the travel and tourism space. A native Puerto Rican, Carla holds a Masters in Tourism Administration with a concentration in Destination Management from the George Washington University.


    Ella Woger-Nieves

    Chief Operating Officer, Invest Puerto Rico

    A Puerto Rico native, Ella brings 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and management consulting to strengthen Invest Puerto Rico’s endeavors. She played an instrumental role in the organization’s creation, helping establish InvestPR’s mission, objectives, and roadmap to accomplishing them. A true believer in the island’s potential as a world-class investment destination, Ella ensures that all stakeholders – internal and external – are aligned to InvestPR’s vision of being a transformational and results-oriented accelerator of economic development in Puerto Rico. Ella began her career at multinational corporations with marketing and strategy consulting roles at Ernst & Young and Johnson & Johnson. Since then, she has put her experience to work for boutique consulting firms, Vision-to-Action and Collage Group in San Juan, Miami and Washington DC. Her 20-year career spans successful runs working with Fortune 500 companies in strategic sectors like financial services and life sciences, as well as counseling an array of leading public and private sector clients, including Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce. Ella is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. “I am committed to rebuilding Puerto Rico’s economy in order to set the Island on a path of sustainable growth and prosperity.”


    Maretzie Diaz

    Deputy Secretary , Puerto Rico Department of Housing

    Throughout her distinguished professional career, Ms. Maretzie Díaz Sánchez has been celebrated for her enthusiastic and persevering vision, unique and persuasive instructive style, strategic conceptualization skills, tactical legal planning, and ability to face complex challenges. In 2003, she graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, School of Law, and began cultivating what has become an extensive career with, a reputation for unique quality performance. Ms. Díaz Sánchez has provided key strategic counsel in administrative, contractual, real estate, commercial, labor and family law as associate attorney for several reputable local legal firms, while maintaining her legal advisory practice, specialized in Civil Cases with particular emphasis on Administrative Law, Contract Law, Real Estate and Tort cases. Her natural talent for fostering teamwork and understanding of legal practices led her in 2013 to the Faculty of the University of Puerto Rico, where she offered various courses as an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Department and Business School. Ms. Díaz Sánchez’s key competencies are founded upon organizational leadership and development, contracts formulation and negotiation, regulatory compliance, cross- functional teams training experience. In January 2019, Ms. Díaz Sanchez integrated her experience in the recovery effort led by the Puerto Rico Department of Housing through the CDBG-DR Program, as the “Director of Disaster Recovery”. In mid-2020, Ms. Díaz Sánchez was selected as the “Disaster Recovery Deputy Secretary”, leading the most comprehensive, complex and ambitious disaster recovery program in the Island’s history – or the history of CDBG-DR funding. Ms. Díaz Sanchez maintains a steadfast commitment to leading a team of dedicated professionals at the Department of Housing, focused on the transformation of Puerto Rico through a structured and innovative recovery process and fortifying the island for future generations. Ms. Díaz Sánchez maintains an active oversight, financial management, procurement, monitoring and audit structure, which guides the effective and efficient use of federal funds for the $20 billion recovery portfolio. As way of internal controls, Ms. Díaz Sánchez has successfully implemented a digital payment framework which provides access to financial data via passwords, lockouts, and electronic access logs, allowing for prompt and efficient payment of federal funds, making PRDOH a prompt-payer for service providers. Under her leadership, the Disaster Recovery Office established a procurement process designed to comply with federal regulations on Cost Principles with independent cost estimates and strong practices to ensure free and open competition to receive the best services for Puerto Rico.


    Manuel Laboy Rivera

    Executive Director, Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) of Puerto Rico;

    Engineer Manuel A.J. Laboy Rivera (PE, MBA), is the executive director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience of Puerto Rico (COR3) and the Governor's Authorized Representative (GAR). Its responsibility and commitment are the execution of the reconstruction and recovery projects of the island in an agile, efficient manner, with a sense of urgency, and in total compliance and transparency. Laboy Rivera has 24 years of work experience in both the public and private sectors, including manufacturing, chemical production, living sciences, construction, utilities, export services, renewable energy, infrastructure, technology, and project management. The Executive Director of COR3, has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, and a Master of Business Administration from Ana G. Méndez University. He is a member of the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR). Prior to assuming the position as Executive Director of COR3, Laboy Rivera served as secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC) and executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, from 2017 to 2020. Among its achievements are the new Incentives Code, the reorganization of the DEDC umbrella, the new Single Service Center for SMEs, the Single Business Portal, the


    Rogelio Carrasquillo

    Managing Shareholder, Carrasquillo Law Group

    Roy has been providing strategic guidance and advice to clients in a variety of complex and sophisticated legal transactions for over 20 years. He advises domestic and foreign companies, multinationals, and entrepreneurs on their business activities and investment considerations in the United States and throughout Latin America, Asia, and Europe, including in cross-border transactions. Prior to founding CLG, Roy worked with various US and international law firms in New York, Puerto Rico and Shanghai, China. Roy began his career as an associate of the New York office of Fried Frank where he represented foreign and domestic issuers with their capital markets, securities and corporate needs. He has also been a partner with Akerman LLP, Fox Rothschild and Cozen O’Connor. He was also the Secretary of the Board of Directors of First BanCorp (NYSE: FBP), the financial holding company of FirstBank Puerto Rico and a member of the Board of Directors of Metro Puerto Rico, LLC and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance in New York. Roy has counseled domestic banks and international financial entities, as well as their operating subsidiaries, affiliates and holding companies, on domestic and international activities and relationships. He has also advised boards of directors, executive management and chartered committees in the exercise of their powers and performance of their duties to these institutions, their creditors, shareholders, and the bank regulatory agencies. He has also represented numerous institutions in the filing and processing of applications for the creation of international financial entities in Puerto Rico. Roy leads CLG’s Opportunity Zones Practice and CLG’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Services and Compliance Practice. He has experience in the formation of Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds and assisting clients in the incorporation of opportunity zones funding in their projects or transactions. He also represents public and private clients using EB-5 as a source of capital, filing for an EB-5 Regional Center designation from USCIS, as well as developers seeking to raise capital using the EB-5 investor visa program. He is experienced with public-private partnership projects using opportunity zones funding, EB-5 funds and other economic and tax incentives, as well as the combination of these with other programs, such as U.S. federal tax credits (i.e., LIHTC, NMTC, and HTCs) or bond financing. Roy assists clients in equity and debt offerings registered under U.S. securities laws, the issuance of equity and debt in global transactions not subject to the registration requirements of U.S. securities laws — principally Rule 144A, Regulation S and Regulation D offerings, 1934 and 1933 Act compliance — and with corporate governance and securities regulation matters. Roy also advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, real estate transactions, and infrastructure development, with an emphasis on Puerto Rico and the Latin American region. He routinely counsels U.S. and foreign clients and high net worth individuals seeking to relocate to Puerto Rico on maximizing available opportunities under the Puerto Rico economic tax incentives pursuant to Puerto Rico Acts 20 and 22 and other incentives now included under Act 60, the new Puerto Rico Code of Incentives. Roy also provides guidance in the development and finance of affordable multifamily, elderly, and single-family housing, including mixed financing developments to developers, LIHTC syndicators, and financial institutions.


    Rafael Rojo

    President, VRM Companies

    Mr. Rafael Rojo is President and CEO of VRM Companies, one of the leading companies in the real estate development industry based in Puerto Rico, with offices and developments also in Florida and the Dominican Republic. He graduated with a double major in Economics and Business from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Besides VRM’s core real estate business, over the past decade, Rojo and his partners have also been active expanding VRM’s business through strategic equity investments in multiple industries, including companies like Million Air San Juan Corp., Miami Franchise Group, Star Solar, Ron del Barrilito, Hello Media, among other investments. In addition to his role at VRM, Rojo's concern for Puerto Rico has led him to become actively involved in political and economic issues important to the island. Since 2005, Rojo has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Builders Association, an important organization for which in 2007 he was elected president. He served for two years as president and today still sits on the board. In 2016, Rojo co-founded and is currently president of Bonistas del Patio, which was created to defend the significant capital base represented by Puerto Rico's local bondholders. Rojo is also involved in various other efforts and initiatives to protect and improve the socioeconomic conditions of Puerto Rico. Mr. Rojo has been recognized for his hard work at VRM as well as various roles in important public policy and economic matters. These recognitions include Caribbean Business Person of the Year, the SME Top Management Award in Construction, the Industry Defense Award from the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) and more recently he was recognized with the Frank Ramírez de Arellano award, the highest award granted by the PRBA for a successful trajectory and career of excellence for the benefit of the construction industry and the island of Puerto Rico. Despite Rojo’s career achievements, his most treasured accomplishment are his wife Michelle, his 15 year old daughter, Stephanie and his 18 year old son, Rafael Andrés.


    Stephen Inglis

    CEO, AI Capital LLC

    Currently CEO of AI Capital LLC, developer and operator of the Puerto Rican Tax Credit Exchange (PRTX) a debt capital market for Puerto Rican tax decrees and a clearing venue for tax credits. AI Cap is also developing Syndicus, a digital asset syndication product with R3 Corda for capital stack management, syndication, and secondary market liquidity. Prior to Syndicus, AI Cap through its Inportal brand ran the STO for ikioo Technologies Inc’s in March 2019, this being the first company in California to issue blockchain digital securities. Stephen draws on thirty‐five years’ capital markets experience in senior roles at Morgan Stanley, Robert Fleming‐JP Morgan, Head of Investment Banking for WestLB Pacific in Tokyo, and M&A in New York. As CEO of Enclave Capital, a capital markets platform, he led a team hosting thirty of the world's leading investment banks and deployed algorithmic trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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