Henk Jelsma

Henk Jelsma
Radial Drilling Services, Inc.

Mr. Jelsma is an inventor and developed the innovative radial drilling technology that is used today throughout the world. RDS is a Houston-based service company involved in the design, manufacturing, operating and servicing of its proprietary radial drilling technology for oil & gas rehabilitation and production optimization. Mr. Jelsma also presently owns Dominion Oil (USA) Corp, which operates oil and gas assets in Kansas. Mr. Jelsma has also served as the COO of Aurado Energy Inc. and President of Liman Caspian Oil BV where he managed the start-up, organization, seismic, drilling and production activities of the companies in Kazakhstan. Previously, Mr. Jelsma was Senior VP for Seagull Energy Corp., a US-based independent oil & gas company, and he managed the most profitable and successful joint venture in Russia to date between a U.S. oil & gas company and a Russian oil company, known as Tatex. Mr. Jelsma supervised for the Tatex JV the drilling of 80 wells and built production to 8400 bopd resulting in annual revenues of $80 million. Mr. Jelsma is also past President and CEO of Dominion Energy PLC, a UK-listed oil & gas producing company. Mr. Jelsma is a graduate Ingenieur-Geologue of Ecole Nationale Superieure France and holds an Executive MBA from Rice University. Mr. Jelsma’s educational background and 35 years experience in the oil & gas industry in the areas of drilling and drilling technology, field exploration development and production, revitalization of oil fields and operations experience in remote and difficult areas has served him well and has helped him achieve rapid growth with his radial drilling technology.

Peter Kolesar

Peter Kolesar
Peter Kolesar is the Trade and Innovation Counselor at the Embassy of Slovakia in Washington, D.C. He focuses on promoting expansion of Slovak companies to the US market, attracting foreign direct investment to Slovakia and supporting innovation collaboration between Slovakia and the US.

He previously served as a Commercial Counselor at the Slovak Embassy in Tel Aviv. Prior to moving to foreign service he worked as a Senior Consultant at Candole Partners, a CEE public policy and regulatory consulting firm, where he advised FT Global 500 clients out of the Bratislava office.

Peter holds a Master degree in international political economy from the Central European University in Budapest and MA-equivalent in international relations from Masaryk University in Brno. He was a scholar at Bard College, New York.

Contact: peter.kolesar@mzv.sk

Wout Last

Wout Last

Wouter Last is a no-nonsense, enthusiastic, radiant people person. For Wouter, relationships are central. After studying Information Technology, working at Shell(NAM) & 30 years of experience in the Oil & Gas /Petrochemical Industry he is now focusing on the quickly diminishing line between IT and Automation Control. His ability to provide great work is due to his characteristics. Entrepreneurship, enthusiasm, customer focus, quality, and integrity play a crucial role. As a professional, he takes a flexible and creative approach to new challenges. Wouter values a compact enterprise where colleagues communicate well and pursue common goals.

Lorraine McCord

0006_lorraine_for_printLorraine McCord is the Creative Director and Founder of Xworks Project an online international business blog, training and consulting platform. Prior to starting Xworks Project, she served for 10 years as the Director of the North Texas International Trade Center SBDC where she was responsible for providing training, counseling and market research services to businesses in the North Texas areas as well as managing a team of advisors who helped hundreds of companies achieve export sales totaling $50 million. She has more than 10 years experience working for Fortune 500 companies such as EDS and Regions Bank in strategy and planning, international finance and internal audit.  Lorraine has worked and traveled extensively in the Asia Pacific region and has spoken extensively at national and international conferences on the topics of small business and international trade. She currently serves on the faculty of Richland College’s International Business and Trade division. Lorraine previously served on the board of governors of the North American Small Business and International Trade Educators (NASBITE) and the Dallas Furniture Bank. She holds a MBA in International Management from Thunderbird in Glendale, AZ and is both a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP).

Fabrizio Nava

Fabrizio Nava
Counselor Fabrizio Nava was born 1969. He graduated from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1993 with a degree in Political Science. He joined the Italian Foreign Service in 1995. His first assignment was at the Directorate General for Political Affairs. He began serving on foreign postings at the Embassy of Italy in New Delhi, India, from 1998 to 2002, as First Secretary for Consular and Press Affairs. While in India he obtained a post-graduate degree in Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law & Refugee Law from the “Indian Academy of International Law and Diplomacy” of New Delhi. From 2002 to 2006 he was First Secretary for Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of Italy in Ottawa, Canada. Then he returned to Rome at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Development Aid, where he held the positions of Chief of Staff, Head of Unit for scolarships then Head of Unit for bilateral Aid to Sub Saharan Africa. He was appointed Consul General of Italy in Houston on July 15, 2010. Fabrizio Nava is fluent in English, French and Spanish, and has a good knowledge of German.



Georgios Papanikolaou

PapanikolaouGeorgios Papanikolaou , Consul General of Greece

Accepted his duties on October 18, 2011.
He was born in Athens in 1975.
He has studied International Relations and International Economy at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, (1993-97), at the University of Nice, France (1997-98), and has completed his studies with an MA in International Economic and Monetary Relations from the American University and Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA (1998-2000).

Working experience:

2003 – 2005 Marketing consultant 2005 Joined the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affair
2005 – 2006 Served at the Greek Diplomatic Academy in Athens, Greece
2006 – 2007 Deputy Head of Mission and Consul at the Embassy of Greece in Kinshasa, DRC
2007 – 2008 Stationed at the Special Secretariat of the Greek MFA for the Development of International Program
2008 – 2011 Deputy Head of Mission and Consul at the Embassy of Greece in Baku, Azerbaijan He is married to Mrs. Afshana Danishani.

Rob Porterfield

Porterfield, Rob

Vice President, Manufacturing and World Wide Operation of National Instrument

As vice president of manufacturing for National Instruments, Rob Porterfield oversees the worldwide manufacturing organization including purchasing production, operations, and services. Porterfield and team focus on continuously improving customer satisfaction and production efficiency, lowering material costs, reducing quoted product lead times, managing inventory levels, and ensuring the timely release of new products into production. Since joining NI in 1993 as a warehousing supervisor, Porterfield has held positions including materials manager, planning manager, director of international operations and global planning, and director of international operations and global supply chain. Prior to joining NI, Porterfield worked as a design engineer at General Dynamics. Porterfield holds a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University.


Ben Ramirez

Ramirez, BenInternational Economic Development Manager

City of Austin

Ben Ramirez is responsible for the City of Austin’s governmental initiatives for projects involving international economic development and foreign direct investment. His duties include creating, coordinating and managing the City of Austin’s global economic development strategic plan with division staff and partner organizations. This strategic plan received a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Responding to Globalization from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2013. Drawing from professional experience earned in the public and private sectors, Ben has assisted international business expansion efforts in the North American Free Trade Agreement region and around the world. Ben has a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Michigan, and a JD from the University of Toledo. He is an associate member of the Texas Camino Real District Export Council; a board member of CleanTX and the Austin Latino Music Association; Secretary of the Board for Central Texas Foreign Trade Zone #183; external advisory board member of the Center for European Studies; and Vice President of the World Affairs Council of Austin.

Nicolas Rubio

Rubio, Nicolas
US President, Cintra

Nicolas Rubio is US President at Cintra, the transportation infrastructure development arm of the infrastructure global leader Ferrovial. Cintra operates on three continents with managed assets in excess of $25 billion. In the US Cintra is a majority shareholder in toll roads with an investment over $13 billion, including SH 130 in Cental Texas; NTE, LBJ, and I-35W in the Dallas Fort Worth region; the Chicago Skyway; and the Indiana Toll Road. Cintra was recently selected preferred bidder for the I-77 managed lanes project in North Carolina.

Leading operations from Cintra’s US corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas, Mr. Rubio has more than two decades of international executive leadership experience within the transportation and construction sectors.

From 1998 through 2009, Mr. Rubio was Head of Business Development and Technical Department for Cintra. During his tenure, Mr. Rubio was involved in the development of more than 150 private infrastructure projects spanning more than 30 countries.

Mr. Rubio’s professional experience began in the construction industry, with several executive management positions in Europe and Africa. His professional qualifications include a Master’s degree in civil engineering from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain.

In 2010 Mr. Rubio was presented the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association “for his continuing contributions that have promoted the art and practice of public private partnerships for transportation in the United States”.

Mr. Rubio and his family reside in Austin, Texas.

Sujiro Seam

Seam, Sujiro

Sujiro Seam joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1998. In 2001, he moved to Brussels, working as a national expert in the World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Unit of the Directorate General for Trade in the European Commission. In 2004, he joined the Permanent Representation of France to the European Union, as Counsellor in charge of fisheries, regional policy, outermost regions, overseas countries and territories and maritime affairs. In this capacity he chaired the working parties on these matters under the French Presidency of the European Union in 2008. 

In 2009, he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for food security and economic development. He was promoted Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Public Goods in 2011 and then for Development and Global Public Goods in 2013. During these years in the Headquarters, he was in charge of the preparation of the Ministerial Conference of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille in 2012 and led the French Delegation to the Development Working Group of the G20. 

Sujiro Seam was appointed Consul General of France in Houston on 17 June 2013. He holds a diploma from the Paris Graduate School of Management (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris, class of 1993), and also studied in the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Institut d’études politiques de Paris, 1993/1994) and in the National School of Administration (École Nationale d’administration, class of 1998).