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Home  /  These were the fifty leaders of the Americas and Beyond that participated in the 9th Americas Competitiveness Exchange program

These were the fifty leaders of the Americas and Beyond that participated in the 9th Americas Competitiveness Exchange program (2018-07-10)

These were the fifty leaders of the Americas and Beyond that participated in the 9th Americas Competitiveness Exchange program

Israel and Germany opened their doors and co-hosted the 9th Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) on Innovation and Entrepreneurship on June 24-29, 2018. This Special Edition of the program, under the theme “Building Bridges,” included visits to the cities of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel; and Berlin and Dresden in Germany. This was the first time the program took place outside of the Americas. The program drew its attention to clusters in different fields such as research, software development, health products, education 4.0., manufacturing, water technology, high-tech innovations, which were topics for discussion, exchange of knowledge and areas of collaboration and partnerships.

ACE gave participants an opportunity to experience a tour of innovative hubs, leading firms, research institutions, share experiences and best practices and build networks. After an exhaustive process of selection where more than 250 leaders from the Americas and beyond applied, 50 of them were selected by the Selection Committee. The selected group was composed by high-level authorities and officials including Ministers, Vice Ministers, CEO’s, Secretaries, Directors and Deputy Directors, among other decision makers from the public, private and academic sectors.

The fifty leaders that participated in the ACE 9 program were:

-Jorge Aguado, Secretary of Planning and Policies at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Argentina;

-Facundo López Raggi, Minister of Production and Industries of the Government of Neuquén Province in Argentina;

-María Virgina Ávila, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Tucuman, Argentina;

-Duane Belisle, Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce in Belize;

-Lejia M. Gideon, General Manager of Enterprise and Innovation at the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE);

-Luis Guillermo Pou Munt Serrano, President of the Economic and Tax Affairs Commission of the Confederation of Private Businessmen of Bolivia (CEPN) and majority shareholder of the Business Group Pou Munt;

-Carlos E. Pereira, Director of Operations at the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Research and Innovation (EMPRAPII);

-Jackeline Conca, Deputy Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services in Brazil;

-Andre Godoy, Director of Administration at the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP) in Brazil;

-Newton Hamatsu, Advisor to FINEP’s President at the Brazilian Agency for Research and Innovation in Brazil;

-Michael Curry, Executive Director of the National Research Council (NRC) in Canada;

-Patrick Hyndman, Director of Canadian and International Partnerships at the Ministry of the Economy, Science and Innovation of the Province of Quebec in Canada;

-Erin Lynch, Senior Director at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada;

-Juan Carlos Gavito, General Manager of iNNpulsa Colombia;

-Leonor Hidalgo, current R&D Manager of Ruta N in Colombia;

-Marcela Rueda, Deputy Director at Connect Bogota Region;

-Vanessa Gubson, Head of Investment Clima at the Costa Rica Investment Promotion Agency CINDE;

-María Walevska Villavicencio, CEO of Road Quality Consultant in Ecuador;

-Andrea Pérez Castro, General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador;

-Fernando López Fernández, President of Grupo Polytec in Guatemala;

-Juan Carlos Paiz, Director at the National Competitiveness Program (PRONACOM) in Guatemala;

-Lucía Barreda, General Director at PRODETUR in Guatemala;

-Clifford Réginald Nau, Economic Adviser of the President Haiti and Director of Private Sector Development Strategy Division (DPE) at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Haiti;

-Fabiola Antoine, Executive at the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) of Haiti;

-Itzel Villa, General Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Financing at the Ministry of Economy’s National Entrepreneurship Institute in Mexico;

-José Alonso Huerta Cruz, Director General at Council of Science, Technology and Innovation in Hidalgo State (CITNOVA) in Mexico;

-Miguel Ángel Esbrí, Executive Secretary to the Secretariat of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness at the Ministry of the Presidency in Panama;

-Rodrigo Gónzalez Paniza, Vice President of Digital Bank and Innovation for Banesco in Panama;

-Clara Chacón, Executive Manager of Innovation Culture at Banesco, Panama;

-Javier A. Arias-Real, Director the Panamanian National Metrology Center (CENAMEP AIP);

-Oscar Stark, Vice Minister of Commerce at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Paraguay;

-Jhoseph Guzmán del Río, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of WAPOSAT S.A.C. in Peru;

-Susan Bansropansingh, Program Manager at Suriname Business Climate and Innovation Program in Suriname;

-Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education in the Bahamas;

-Sharon Louise Poitier, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Education in The Bahamas;

-Desmond Dougall, Managing Director of GISCAD Limited in Trinidad and Tobago;

-Graham King, Lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Global Director of Global Leadership Interlink in Trinidad and Tobago;

-Glenda Humiston, Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources at University of California in the United States;

-John Sternlicht, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County in the State of Washington, United States;

-Judith A. Sheft, Associate Vice President Technology and Enterprise Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), United States;

-Frank Logan, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation in the United States;

-Timothy E. Kelley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC), United States;

-Mike Amman, President and Chief Executive Officer of San Joaquin Partnership, United States;

-Denisse M. Rodriguez, Director and Executive Advisor to the CEO at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust in Puerto Rico;

-Adelheid Adam, Deputy Head of the Department for International Business Development at Fraunhofer, Germany;

-Sylvia Dohnert, Private Sector Lead Specialist at the Competitiveness, Technology and Innovation Division and Compete Caribbean Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank;

-Camilo Fernández de Soto, Coordinator of the Americas Business Dialogue (ABD) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB);

-Christian Gómez, Jr., Senior Manager for Latin American Government Affairs at Walmart; and

-Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit for Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship at the European Comission (EC).

The 9th ACE was convened by the Organization of American States (OAS) as the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) Technical Secretariat; the Government of Germany, through its Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; and the Government of Israel, through its Foreign Ministry and Innovation Agency (Israel Innovation Authority). For its next edition, the ACE program will take place on October 21-27, 2018 in Northern California, which is also known as the “Birthplace of Innovation.”

For more information, please contact us at and/or visit the ACE webpage at