Nelson Balido | Chairman & CEO

Nelson Balido | Chairman & CEO

Nelson Balido drives results in diverse government, politics, private industry, and non-profit arenas. As one of the leading authorities on the U.S. border for trade, travel, energy and security issues, he leads Balido and Associates, a strategic management consultancy, and is founder of the Border Commerce and Security Council and the Energy Council of the Americas. Prior to assuming his current role he was the President of the Border Trade Alliance; a presidential pick to lead the private sector division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and also served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, where he was awarded the department’s highest civilian award – the Outstanding Public Service Medal.

He has extensive experience in the public and private sectors at the local, state and federal levels. For years, Nelson has worked closely with the governments of U.S., Canada, and Mexico at every level by advocating on behalf of policy initiatives designed to improve cross-border affairs, trade and security relations, energy reform and cultural understanding. In 2014, Nelson was re-appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Industry Trade Advisory Council by United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Commerce.

Governments, companies and media outlets seek his council for his extensive outside-the-beltway relations, real-world international cross-border experience and unique understanding of bi-lateral businesses insights. Nelson was recently credited by the San Antonio Business Journal with orchestrating the largest hydrocarbons deal of 2014 in the Sabinas Basin by taking advantage of Mexico’s new energy reform laws.

His other career stops include respected companies as SBC Communications (at&t), where he served as the company’s director of multicultural marketing, Commissioner of the Texas Commission on the Arts, Member of the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board, and various other positions within municipal agencies and non-profit boards. Mr. Balido holds a B.S. in International Economics and a B.A. in Spanish from Texas Tech University, a Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs from the Bush School at Texas A&M University and a Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Houston. He is an active U.S. NAVY reserves public affairs officer, a professional speaker for Energy, Trade and Border Security conferences, the ASPEN Institute, the US Department of Commerce, and a FOX NEWS LATINO contributor.

Follow Nelson here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nelsonbalido

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John Renison | Regional President

John Renison | Regional President

John Renison is Chief Executive Officer at Britton & Company, a Customhouse Brokerage firm established in 1944 along the Southwest Border of the United States. John represents Mexican Manufacturers that have a global presence and are key players within cross border trade operations.

John is also Founder of Piggyback Technologies, a crowd sourced on demand same day delivery start up, currently in app development and investor pitch mode. The idea is to disrupt the shipping industry and make same day shipping a collaborative community effort.

Piggyback’s market niche is just about anything that needs to get delivered within the same day or even within the hour. Whether its in store pick ups from online purchases, trade show and convention deliveries, Piggyback enable users to locate pre screened drivers to get the job done, taking advantage of your daily established transit routes.

Based on his 18+ experience in global logistics, John has gained much exposure to the just in time shipping expectations from consumers.

John attended the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives and holds a Professional Certificate on Innovation and Strategy from the Harvard University DCE.

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William O’Keeffe | Board Member

William O’Keeffe | Board Member

President and CEO O’Keeffe’s Inc. / SAFTI FIRST

William O’Keeffe brings more than 60 years of experience in the architectural building supply industry as the President and CEO of O’Keeffe’s Inc. / SAFTI FIRST. His successful career in the architectural building supply business began in high school when he first worked as a glazier installing skylights throughout California, learning hands-on the fundamentals of working with all types of glass and aluminum extrusions.

In 1978, Bill performed the first US testing of advanced fire rated glazing products from Europe. In 1981, Bill officially established SAFTI FIRST, a division of O’Keeffe’s Inc., and became the first USA-based company to develop, manufacture and bring to market advanced fire rated glass and framing systems used in schools, universities, hospitals, offices, mixed-use buildings, hotels, factories, data centers, laboratories, urban interface areas and high-end residential homes.  Bill has been an advocate for public safety from the start. After learning about the thousands of injuries caused by traditional wired glass – most of which happening to unsuspecting school children, he led the charge in a successful code change that now prohibits the use of traditional wired glass in doors, sidelites and other hazardous locations. At the same time, he developed clear, safe and economical tempered glass alternatives to traditional wired glass that offer better protection and value than any foreign-made wire or ceramic glazing product used in the same application.

Under Bill’s leadership, SAFTI FIRST was the first company to have USA-made, fully code-approved, fire rated and hose stream tested glazing products rated 20 minutes to 2 hours. SAFTI FIRST holds patents on many of these newly developed fire rated products, including a 2 hour fire resistive glass floor system. SAFTI FIRST remains committed to developing products that enhances the design and safety of buildings. In addition to fire rated, he has developed glazing systems that also protect against hurricane, ballistic attack, blast, forced entry, UV, noise, and more. Today, SAFTI FIRST is the only vertically integrated, single-source fire rated glass and framing manufacturer in the USA – with four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and a dedicated research and development facility in Merced, CA. The company is currently headquartered in Brisbane, CA.

On a personal note, Bill serves on the board for the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BAHSOF), a non-profit organization that is committed to celebrating sports greatness while inspiring youth sports participation throughout under-served communities in the Bay Area. TM

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Bob Johnston | Board Member

Bob Johnston | Board Member

Bob Johnston is Vice President of Business Development at Qual-Tron, Inc. (QTI). QTI is a leading manufacturer of Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS). QTI has been providing UGS for border applications worldwide since 1986. Mr. Johnston, during his 40 plus years of business, continual training, and hands on management, has developed an extensive background in sales and new product development. Bob has a diverse background in corporate leadership including Small Business Owner, Regional Director, Director of New Markets, and Director of International Sales.

Bob is in the Who’s Who of International Business (1986) and proudly serves on the board of the Border Patrol Foundation, a charity supporting the families of fallen Border Patrol agents. Bob has expertise working with business leaders and company owners to assist smaller companies in developing a strategy of growth and market penetration. Bob is a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and has served on the State Advisory Council. Mr. Johnston currently resides in Derby, Kansas with his wife and their furry daughter

 

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Sandy Brooks | Board Member

Sandy Brooks | Board Member

Sandy is widely acclaimed for her achievements as an inspirational leader, and organizational and technological innovator that has positively advanced our national security posture and interests. She is widely recognized and respected for developing highly effective partnerships within DOD, Interagency, coalitions, partner nations, industry, academia and private consortiums.  Ms. Brooks has a long and successful history of leading highly dynamic and innovative technological change and providing the motivational and inspirational leadership that fosters a sense of urgency and passion at every level she engages. She is actively sought out by senior DOD, Intelligence and Interagency leaders for her advice and counsel.

 

Ms. Brooks has extensive experience in leadership positions to include almost a decade as a DOD senior civilian leader in Intelligence and a 28 year military career as a Naval Cryptologist/Information Warfare Officer that included command at senior levels. She accumulated a record of successes in progressively challenging assignments at the National, strategic, operational, and tactical levels and more recently as a private sector consultant.

Ms. Brooks was recognized nationally for her remarkable achievements as the 2010 recipient of the Service to AmericaSamuel J HeymanHomeland Defense Medal. “By providing technical and intelligence support to the military, law enforcement agencies, and partner nations. She was selected from a field of 30 highly qualified candidates for her unprecedented work in enabling National authorities to better combat threats to our National security interests”  In 2016, Ms. Brooks was awarded the Office Director National Intelligence coveted National Intelligence Superior Service Medal for “contributions to the National Intelligence Community; distinguishing herself through meritorious actions to the betterment of national security in the United States of America, through sustained and selfless service of the highest order.”

Her military and civilian accomplishments illustrate highly effective motivational leadership and innovative “thinking” that serve this Nation well in countering the greatest challenges facing our national and global security interests.

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Louay Eldada | Board Member

Louay Eldada  | Board Member

Louay Eldada is CEO and co-founder of Quanergy Systems, Inc. Dr. Eldada is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Quanergy is his fourth start-up. Dr. Eldada is a technical business leader with a proven track record at both small and large companies and with 70 patents, is a recognized expert in quantum optics, nanotechnology, photonic integrated circuits, advanced optoelectronics, sensors and robotics. Prior to Quanergy, he was CSO of SunEdison, after serving as CTO of HelioVolt, which was acquired by SK Energy. Dr. Eldada was earlier CTO of DuPont Photonic Technologies, formed by the acquisition of Telephotonics where he was founding CTO. His first job was at Honeywell, where he started the Telecom Photonics business and sold it to Corning. He studied business administration at Harvard, MIT and Stanford, and holds a Ph.D. in optical engineering from Columbia University.

 

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Brian J. Conroy | Board Member

Brian J. Conroy | Board Member

Brian Conroy has over 30 years of experience as a senior technology leader in Life Cycle Systems Engineering, Enterprise Information Technology (IT) Operations, and Engineering Program/Project Management. He is currently working for NOVA Corporation, a tribally owned company established by the Dine’ Development Corporation by the Navajo Nation Tribal Council. He has had a very successful and diverse career within the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). His career started as a Submarine Engineer and progressed to numerous Project Engineering challenges to include submarine maintenance and modernization, establishing forward deployed bases and IT Network Design and Development. He was awarded the Navy’s Meritorious Commendation and numerous Engineering Awards.

His career advanced to that of a Naval Sea System Command Information Technology Division Director. In 2008, he took a position with DHS as the Enterprise Operations Director and then to a Deputy Executive Director within Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In this position his responsibilities included the deployment and sustainment of IT and Law Enforcement Technology.

Mr. Conroy holds undergraduate Engineering Degrees in Civil and Electrical Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management, is certified as a DoD Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer, DHS Program Manager Level 3, and DHS Contracting Officer Level 3. He is also a DHS First Responder, DHS Surge Capacity Force Member (Tier 3) and a Doctoral Candidate in Information Assurance.

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Maisel N. Klütts | Board Member

Maisel N. Klütts | Board Member

Mr. Maisel N. Klütts has over 30 years of experience leading the research, development and introduction of new products into the telecommunications, defense, and fire suppression industries.  He currently works for Williams RDM, a woman owned small business focused on research, development and manufacturing for the defense, energy, & residential fire suppression markets.

Mr. Klütts is the Director of Engineering, Business Development, and Planning, concentrating on increasing the number and velocity of innovative engineering solutions which are transitioned to commercially viable products.  During  his 10 years at Williams RDM, Mr. Klütts has led the development of the Tibbetts award winning IECS tactically deployable micro power grid, and was responsible for the research, development, and successful commercial product launch of the F-16 SMS MTE and F-22 SWAT flight line testers and STFS Plus, Plus LC, and Plus Sensor residential fire suppression products.  Mr. Klütts is currently responsible for the development and introduction of the STARTTM Sensor Network border security intrusion detection system.  During Mr. Klütts’ 30 year career he has specialized in product and program management of new product development, from conception to successful commercial deployment, focusing on time to market, development cost control, and product profitability.   He holds undergraduate degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

 

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César Martinez | Board Member

César Martinez | Board Member

César is one of the top media advisors in the US and Latin America, with more than 20 years of experience in marketing, political advertising and broadcast news. During the 2008 Presidential Elections, MAS Consulting was the Hispanic advertising agency of record for the McCain-Palin campaign, with César was in charge of production of Hispanic media materials for Senator McCain.

César served as Hispanic Creative Director/Producer for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, and was a member of the Strategy/Media team for Bush-Cheney 2004. He has also served as Hispanic Creative Director for Jeb Bush 2002 and Rick Perry 2002 Texas Governor Election Campaign. César’s experience also includes campaigns in Mexico, Latin America and Spain.

César is the recipient of numerous prestigious advertising awards including Clios, EFFIE, Telly, Mobius as well as Addy awards. Additionally he was named “Creative All Star” by Adweek. César has been a guest speaker in many forums including George Washington University, Harvard University, Universidad Europea de Madrid (Spain), Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (Spain) and Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) to name a few.

On the Public Affairs Arena, César has helped many organizations with their Hispanic communication needs like the Foundation for a Better Life and MATT.org (Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together). He is a member of the board of ProLiteracy World Wide, which is the most important Non-Governmental Organization in the world for Adult Literacy. Further, he also helped pass legislation for the anti-littering campaign in the city of Morelia in Michoacán, Mexico. He has also been active in the Water fluoridation campaign for Bexar County in the City of San Antonio, as well as a Plastic Bag Recycling movement/campaign for Bexar County in the city of San Antonio.

 

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Ilia Rosenberg | Board Member

Ilia Rosenberg | Board Member

Ilia Rosenberg is VP Programs at Cogniac Corporation, a market leader in specialized applications of Artificial Intelligence for Homeland Security, Geospatial Intelligence and Defense markets. Ilia is an executive with a track record of delivering strong results across a wide range of functions, geographies, and business models. Prior to joining Cogniac in 2016 he served as Managing Director of ISR GeoSensing consulting group, where he was leading technical developments and commercial negotiations with a variety of gov’t and private customers. From 2011 to 2015 he served as Chief Technologist for AGT International Global Delivery Organization in its Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

In this role he supported leading the worldwide engineering team to assure effective development of new products and creative solutions in line with the AGT strategy for growth and acquisition. Before joining AGT International in 2011, Ilia Rosenberg served as the Director of Technology Assessment for the Boeing Global Security Solutions in Arlington, VA. Since 2005 he participated in the work of Boeing Technology Sourcing, Evaluation and Integration group with the mission to initiate and grow global R&D alliances and secure strategic technologies. From 1995 to 2005 he was a Boeing Integrated Product Team lead on the Space Station Communication System and co-chaired the Space Station Boeing-NASA International Partners Super Problem Resolution Team. After the Shuttle Columbia accident he led activities in Radio Frequency Systems Certification Assessment for the Space Shuttle Return to Flight Program. Before joining Boeing he worked in the field of atmospherical physics and completed his postdoctoral studies at the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. His projects were covered by Washington Technology, New York Times, Time Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, New Scientist, The BBC, Discovery Channel, and Washington Technology.

 

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Wesley B. White | Board Member

Wesley B. White | Board Member

Wesley White is a retired Army Infantry and Force Management Officer with 20 years active duty leadership, management, and programs experience, retiring out of the Pentagon as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2007. White is now the Director of Military Business Operations for PowerFilm, Inc. a flexible thin-film solar developer and manufacturer. PowerFilm makes amorphous silicon rollable and foldable solar panels used for military basing, vehicle and man-portable remote power solutions. Wes has been with PowerFilm since Feb 2011.

Prior to joining PowerFilm, Wes was a marketing manager for Rockwell Collins for 3.5 years hired to stand-up and lead the ground vehicle C4ISR (Command and Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance business.

Wes received his Army officer commission from Iowa State University. After completing Infantry OBC, Airborne, Ranger, and Bradley Commander courses White was assigned to the 3-36th INF Regt (later 5-5 CAV), 3AD in Germany where he deployed to Desert Storm. His assignments include infantry platoon leader and special staff, company grade command in the 101st Air Assault Division, senior staff level positions in the Operational Army, instructor and leader positions in TRADOC, and seven years in the Pentagon on the Department of the Army Staff.

In the Pentagon, LTC White served for three years in the G3 reorganising Division structures, developing Stryker Brigades, and as an FD Directorate XO. After the G3, White was assigned to the G8 where he served for four years working on the Future Combat System (FCS) program, multiple Force Protection initiatives, and a tour of duty in OIF as the HQDA liaison officer to CENTCOM.

Wes’s current PowerFilm duties include working with the DoD, Fed Govt, and Industry Team partners to fill remote energy capability gaps and develop and provide solar power solutions at the tactical and operational levels. PowerFilm, Inc is also supporting DHS/FEMA programs around the globe by providing remote power to command and control centres, hospitals, and areas devastated by disasters.

Wes received his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and his Master’s degree in Industrial Technology from Illinois State University

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