The Alliance Team
José E. Martinez, President & CEO
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Mr. Martinez is the President & CEO of Free Trade Alliance San Antonio. Prior to this Mr Martinez was the President and CEO of J.E. Martinez & Associates. The firm's clients benefited from his decades of experience with defense, appropriations, international trade and finance issues. He has significant experience with cross-border and Latin American issues, and has a record of success in building public and private-sector coalitions to address important policy issues.
Mr. Martinez was also a Senior Principal with The Loeffler Group, a full-service consulting firm specializing in government relations. Prior to this position, Mr. Martinez served as President and CEO of Free Trade Alliance San Antonio. He led the Alliance's efforts to promote San Antonio as an inland port and center for international trade in the Americas. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mr. Martinez was the President of a national and international management consulting and marketing firm based in San Antonio and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Martinez has a long history of public service, holding senior government positions, including Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Special Assistant and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel for National Security and International Affairs for President George H.W. Bush. From 1981 to 1985, Mr. Martinez was a Professional Staff Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. His responsibilities included the authorization for the Department of Defense requests for other procurement, military construction and ammunition. This followed 20 years' service in the U.S. Air Force in various positions, including Congressional Liaison Officer for the Secretary of the Air Force and country manager for foreign military sales.
Mr. Martinez received an M.A. from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. from Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio, Texas.
Rogelio Garcia, Executive Vice President
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Rogelio Garcia is the Executive Vice President of Free Trade Alliance San Antonio. In this capacity, he is the chief operating officer for the organization.
Free Trade Alliance San Antonio is a business organization that coordinates and leads the San Antonio community efforts related to international business, trade and investment. Rogelio has been a part of the Alliance since 2000 and has been involved in various activities for the organization such as developing and promoting the Alliance and its programs locally and internationally, coordinating trade missions and events, membership recruitment and services, providing international expertise to members, serving as the liaison between the organization and its members and providing oversight and guidance to projects of high importance.
Prior to this promotion to Executive Vice President, Rogelio served as Director of Business Development and led the Alliance’s foreign direct investment initiatives with his team. Rogelio helped attract foreign based companies to invest and do business in San Antonio through the International Business Development Center (IBDC) program and other trade related services. Since 2003, he has been an adjunct professor at the University of the Incarnate Word teaching the Importing & Exporting business course.
He has traveled to Mexico, Central America, South America, Canada and China to promote trade and investment and takes pride in promoting economic development and connecting individuals and businesses with international resources.
A first generation Mexican-American and native of San Antonio, Rogelio earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration majoring in Finance and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration majoring in International Business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Rogelio and his wife Carmen are the parents of two children, Juan Pablo and Emma Paola
Carlos Jarquin, Vice President of Foreign Investment
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Carlos assists foreign companies to establish their businesses and promote their services or products throughout South Texas. His duties include market research, coordinating training seminars, marketing the services abroad, and developing trade missions for IBDC clients. Carlos has been very successful in establishing companies from Mexico, France and is currently assisting companies across the globe.
Carlos joined the Alliance in 2009. He has received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in International Business Management and a minor in Marketing from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He also holds an MBA graduate degree from Texas A&M University in San Antonio. Carlos spent four months abroad in the European Union studying international trade and European Business strategies. Carlos is fluent in English, Spanish, and conversational French.
Carlos was born in Mexico City, and has lived in the United States since 1996. His goals include expanding business operations with Latin America, the European Union, and Asia through the IBDC.
Maria Elena Perez, Executive Assistant to the President and Office Manager
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Maria Elena Perez manages the day-to-day administrative affairs of the President’s office, scheduling all appointments, travel and other commitments. In her capacity of Office Manager she maintains the office services by organizing office operations, procedures and financial accounting.
Prior to joining the Alliance Ms. Perez worked with First National Bank of Chicago, Corporate Trust Department. She previously served at the Alliance from 1997-2007 in the same capacity. During that time she had the opportunity to work under Presidents, Jose E. Martinez, K. Blake Hastings, Sarah S. Sanchez (Interim) and Kyle Burns.
Ms. Perez is a native San Antonio with a Chicago connection. She attended Andrews School in Willoughby, Ohio and Spanish Coalition for Jobs Business Technology, Chicago, Illinois.
Vanessa Rogers, Member Services Director
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Vanessa Rogers is the Member Services Director and manages the events, membership and communication.
Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and recently completed an MBA in International Business (iMBA) from UTSA. Prior to her employment with Free Trade Alliance San Antonio, Vanessa was an intern for the city of San Antonio at the Economic Development Department and several non-profits including Make-A-Wish Foundation, GENaustin, and Hemisfair Park Redevelopment Organization. She has held an array of different positions such as a Marketing and Sales Consultant, a Segway tour guide, and was an English teacher for several years in Chile and South Korea.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking with her husband, traveling, watching movies, having dinner parties, and playing nerdy board games with friends. She also volunteers with TEDxSanAntonio as the Outreach Chair.
Fun Fact: Vanessa’s bucket list includes visiting all seven continents in her lifetime. She has lived in Europe (Italy), South America (Chile), Asia (South Korea) and North America (Texas) however has yet to visit Australia, Antarctica and Africa. Much of her travels she has documented on a blog she has kept for close to seven years.
Saani S. Fong, Director of Communications and Membership
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Saani Fong is the Director of Communications and Membership, working to enhance communication and programs of Free Trade Alliance San Antonio. Originally from Jamaica, Saani has made San Antonio, Texas her home since 2013. Prior to working with the Alliance, she worked as a Program Director and Law and Human Rights Consultant to the National HIV/STI Program in Jamaica. She has worked in the public and private sector as a legal and policy consultant in such diverse fields as child rights, agriculture, housing development, and land titling. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the West Indies and from Oxford Brookes University, a Master of Science in Urban Planning, with a focus on developing countries.
Saani loves the outdoors and spends much of her free time exploring San Antonio with her husband and daughter, Mika. She enjoys swimming, hiking, gardening and most outdoor activities. She is also enjoys playing board games. And Saani is a bee keeper.
Cecilia Cross, Free Trade Alliance Intern
Cecilia is an intern with the Free Trade Alliance San Antonio.She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with an area concentration in North Africa and the Middle East from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2012. Her interests include diplomacy in the Middle East region, refugee and diaspora issues, and foreign relations on a local level. Her colligate studies took her abroad to study languages and cultures in several countries: in Paris, France she studied French; in Rabat, Morocco she studied French and Arabic, lived with a Moroccan family, and taught English classes during her free time; and while studying in Amman, Jordan, she lived with a Jordanian family and interned with Dr. Malik Tawl, Secretary General of the Ministry of Political Development. Before graduating, Cecilia interned at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC where she worked with the Americas office of the Chamber’s International Division.
Cecilia also currently works as a hostess at Biga on the Banks, a fine dining restaurant located next door to the Free Trade Alliance in the International Center. In her free time, Cecilia likes to read, take Zumba classes, and ride her bike in the Hill Country. She enjoys traveling and hopes to live abroad again.
Upon completion of her internship, Cecilia will be available for full-time employment and is hoping to pursue a career in the field of international relations and/or diplomacy.
Elisa O'Reilly, IBDC Marketing Reseach Intern
Elisa O'Reilly is an Intern woking on Marketing Reseach with the Alliance's IBDC program. She is an international student, from Chihuahua, Mexico, currently in her senior year at St. Mary’s University with a double major in International Business and Marketing. She had the opportunity to study abroad for 9 months in Switzerland (10th grade) and speaks Spanish, English, and French. She has traveled to many countries around the world and loves to learn from other cultures. Elisa is currently the president of the International Business Association at St. Mary's University.
She loves the rodeo and every sport related to water and snow.
Alex Barrera, Intern
Alexander Barrera is an intern at Free Trade Alliance San Antonio and a current student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Alex studies International Business and Political Science and serves as a senator for the College of Business among various other student organizations. Along with participating actively on the university campus he also enjoys giving back to the local community with activities such as N.I.O.S.A, where he constructed and facilitated operations during the annual event for conservation and culture. He also studied and worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His studies focused on the Mercosur market and the business relations of the B.R.I.C.S. countries. He worked as a team leader in Argentina with Un Techo Para Mi Pais, a nonprofit organization constructing multiple houses for various people in rural communities.
A local from the west-side of San Antonio, Alex grew up with very modest beginnings. However, he believes that it is because of his hurdles early in life he is highly motiveated to succeed, strong, ambitious, and passionate.