H. Frances Reaves, Esq.
Frances was born in Brazil and spent her life traveling with her family to Libya, The Philippines, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Singapore. After graduating from college she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and worked as Director of International Marketing for the Louisiana World Exposition. Following that she moved to Miami and received her law degree. Soon after, she was called to Baltimore, Maryland where she practiced litigation and lobbying. Frances was then asked to join the Economic Development Marketing team for then Governor Parris Glendenning. After five years she left to join ADP in its Site Selection/Tax Credit consulting group. After five years of working with Fortune 500’s Frances was called back to Maryland as the Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Business Development. She left that post about two years ago to start Latin America Connection.
Her strength is knowing how to put businesses and people together. Understanding the culture and language of the Pacific Alliance nations makes it easy for her to assist US companies in what to expect and how to react. She has traveled extensively through the Americas – for business, for pleasure and philanthropic causes. Her contacts in these countries come from her school years and long lasting partnerships.
International Corporate Advisor
LAC is pleased to be joined by Roberto Yepes, the immediate past CEO of GE Energy for Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. His knowledge of Energy, Energy Services, Oil and Gas, Coal Mining and Water Technologies is invaluable to LAC’s trade missions into these countries. Mr. Yepes knows the industries, their leaders, the government sectors, and their ministers and, most importantly, how to create those very important relationships. He also brings great expertise in the financing of multinational partnerships. LAC is delighted to have Mr. Yepes as our International Corporate Advisor.
International Strategic Advisor
Carla joins Latin America Connection after many years as a Senior Partner at A.T. Kearney & Heidrick and Struggles. Her strength is working closely with Boards of Directors and top management of leading international firms to address turnaround situations, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and global expansions. She has worked throughout South and Central America with companies such as Grupo Kriete, Grupo Novella, Grupo Panteleon, Grupo Pellas and Grupo Robie. Her contacts go from CEO’s to Ministers. Carla concentrates on working with clients who want to meet the C suite for possible mergers, partnerships or other working relationships.
Frank R. Nero
For the past 17 years Frank was the CEO of The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership in charge of recruiting new business and assisting local businesses with their expansions. Under his leadership more than hundreds of companies worldwide were recruited to South Florida.
Frank began his economic development career in New Jersey as well as his political career (he was on the North Plainfield, NJ City Council then its Mayor). His experience has included both Federal and Regional appointments: President Carter made Frank Chairman of the Regional Council responsible for coordinating the White House policy for all domestic agencies in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. He was then chosen as Assistant Commissioner of Labor and Industry for New Jersey where he oversaw all economic development programs. He was also appointed to the New Jersey Enterprise Zone Authority while serving as President of the New Brunswick Development Company.
Frank came to Miami through Jacksonville, Florida where he served as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Executive Director for the Jacksonville Downtown Development Authority. After his move to The Beacon Council his leadership spawned new initiatives and Beacon Council became one of 24 Accredited Economic Development Organizations by the International Economic Development Association (IEDC). Upon leaving The Beacon Council Frank founded Beacon Global Advisors, which specializes in working with international companies moving to the United States.
Frank’s impressive credentials makes him a natural as the “go to” guy within Latin America Connection for incoming businesses His connections are strong in Florida but he has a network through out the United States. Whether you have three employees or 300, Frank is the person who can make the introductions and guide you through the ‘regulation and incentive maze.’
Carmenza Restrepo F
International Retail and Development Advisor
Carmenza, “Mechos” comes to Latin America Connection with more than 15 years of retail experience in small and big-box stores. Prior to joining us she worked at Home Center -- the Home Depot of Colombia. In her experience she has created and developed a supply management chain of up to 1500 national and international suppliers. She also had leadership roles in building and remodeling commercial establishments -- including floor layouts. Mechos role with Latin America Connection is to assist retail clients with niche products to find distributors and to work with builders who want to connect with developers and big-box stores.
Tom, a graduate of Bradley University, started his career working for Caterpillar Tractor Company. He left the company when he bought the first of his many businesses including distributorships for Cummins Engine, Onan Generators and Waukesha Engines. His business plan included exporting parts and engines into India, Iran, the Caribbean, Mexico and Argentina. (All before Free Trade Agreements had been signed.) For sixteen years Tom served on Maryland's Port Commission, the governing body of the Port of Maryland. Tom knows exporting, the finance of exporting, working with Letter of Credits and how to choose the right export bank.
Customer Relations Manager
Mona has spent nearly 30 years working within State Government and knows all the ins and outs of procurement, grant process, budgeting and metric evaluation. She’s been an invaluable member of the marketing and business development team which assists companies in relocating into Maryland or retain their businesses in the State. Her value comes from planning and implementing a responsive metric system which measures work and performance.