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Washington Regional Leaders to Join Hispanic Chamber on Exploratory Mission to Cuba

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2016 -- Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) President and CEO Angela Franco today announced an historic regional exploratory mission to Cuba, February 20-25, 2016.  The mission will include District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Ike Leggett, and Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia Maurice Jones. Collectively, the delegation represents the strength and diversity of the regional economy, and affirms the region as a global leader in development, innovation, and international trade.

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Seal of Montgomery County, Maryland


“For 40 years, the Chamber has dedicated its work to building innovative partnerships that advance Latino business ownership and expand their reach into new markets at home and abroad,” said Angela Franco. “We are hopeful this mission will be a start to securing future economic and community benefits for the region, its residents, and its businesses.”

The regional delegation will lay the groundwork for future relationships and potential economic and cultural opportunities in Cuba.  The mission will also serve as a platform to learn best practices and showcase the Washington metropolitan area’s strengths in transportation, tourism, health, and education.

“From China to Cuba – and everywhere in between – these missions are important because they can create jobs for our residents and improve our local economies,” said Mayor Bowser. “I look forward to joining my fellow regional leaders to Cuba as we explore investment opportunities and position ourselves for greater economic success.”

“I look forward to exploring ways that Montgomery County residents and businesses can connect with Cuba and with our regional partners to advance our mutual interests,” said Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Ike Leggett.

Maurice A. Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade said, “This mission is a great opportunity to build relationships that will be the foundation for economic development, tourism and trade opportunities for the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia. I look forward to collaborating with my partners from Maryland and the District of Columbia to highlight the world-class assets we have.”

Dan Waetjen, Chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade said, “This regional cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions is exactly how we will grow our economy. We commend Mayor Bowser and her team, County Executive Leggett, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and all the officials and Council of Governments leaders joining together to explore opportunities in Cuba.”

In Havana, the delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, including Havana Mayor Marta Hernández Romero, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz.  Members of the delegation will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis about U.S. diplomacy in Cuba and economic opportunities for regional businesses in Havana.

In addition, the delegation will visit primary and secondary schools and the University of Havana to learn lessons on how literacy, graduation and retention rates, and other educational successes remain consistently high.  Delegates will tour research hospitals and local clinics to learn about strategies that achieve high health standards amid a scarcity of resources.

Government officials for the regional delegation include:

  • Muriel Bowser, Mayor (DC)
  • Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade (VA)
  • Ike Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County (MD)
  • Jack Evans, Ward 2 Councilmember (DC)
  • Vincent Orange, At-Large Councilmember (DC)
  • Nancy Navarro, Councilmember of Montgomery County (MD)
  • Roger Berliner, Vice President of Montgomery County Council (MD)
  • John Falcicchio, Chief of Staff to Mayor Bowser (DC)
  • Brian Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DC)
  • Beverly Perry, Senior Advisor (DC)
  • Kaya Henderson, DC Public Schools Chancellor (DC)
  • Ana Harvey, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DC)
  • Bruce Adams, Director of the Office of Community Partnerships (MD)
  • Claudia Canales, Administrative Assistant to the County Executive Ike Leggett(MD)
  • Schannette Grant, Chief of Staff to Jack Evans (DC) 

Additional members of the regional delegation from the private and non-profit sectors are:

  • Angela Franco, President & CEO of the GWHCC
  • Jim Dinegar, President and CEO, Greater Washington Board of Trade
  • Daniel Waetjan, Chairman of Greater Washington Board of Trade
  • Barron Harvey, Dean of Howard University’s School of Business
  • Robert Sweeney, American University’s Assistant to the Dean of Business
  • Richard “Chip” Davis, President of Sibley Hospital
  • Pedro Alfonso, Chairman and CEO of Dynamic Concepts, Inc.
  • Scottie Irving, President and Founder of Blue Skye Construction
  • Corey Arnez Griffin, CEO of Global Government and Industry Partners
  • Margarita Dilone, President of Crystal Insurance Group
  • Syddia Lee Chee, Chairwoman of GWHCC International Initiative
  • David Slaughter, President of M Luis Construction
  • Natalia Luis, COO and Founder of M Luis Construction
  • Cidalia Luis-Akbar, CEO and Founder of M Luis Construction
  • Jon R. Meyers, Managing Partner of The Meyers Group, LLC
  • Karen M. Meyers, Senior Partner of The Meyers Group, LLC
  • Carlos Perdomo, President of Keystone Plus Construction
  • Margaret Pulles, CEO of PuMa Communications & VamosGlobal
  • Ashanthi Kiridena, President of Health 2 IT Business Solutions
  • Dasarath Kiridena, Vice President of Health 2 IT Business Solutions
  • Jordan Valdes, Vice President of Podesta Group
  • Edwin Villegas, President & CEO of Winmar Construction
  • Marc Weller, President of Sagamore Development Company
  • Trevor Williams, CPA at Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman
  • Alfredo Casta, President & CEO of Cascades Technologies/ GWHCC Chairman
  • Chuck Bean, Executive Director of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  • Nicole Quiroga, Station Manager of Telemundo Washington, DC
  • District and regional reporters are also scheduled to attend the mission 

Recently named Chamber of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, GWHCC initiatives work to drive economic growth in the DC Metro region and foster economic relations in Latin America.  The GWHCC Embassy Celebration Series launched the “Promoting Trade of the America’’ initiative to promote the use of existing trade agreements between the U.S. and Latin America.

About the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce                                                      

The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a 501(C) 6 membership driven organization founded in 1976 that supports the economic development of the Greater Washington metropolitan area. The Chamber facilitates the success of Hispanic and other minority-owned businesses and the communities they serve through networking, advocacy, education and access to capital. For additional information visit our website www.gwhcc.org.

 

CONTACTS:
Pamela Nieto: 202.340.5157; pnieto@gwhcc.org 
Joaquin McPeek (DC): 202.445.9765; joaquin.mcpeek@dc.gov 
Patrick Lacefield (MD): 240.777.6528; Patrick.Lacefield@montgomerycountymd.gov 
Kelly Spraker (VA): 804.225.4522; Kelly.Spraker@governor.virginia.gov 

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