New 2016/17 board of directors coming soon . . .
Justin Vélez-Hagan, PhD (ABD), MBA
National Executive Director
Justin founded The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce as a means for filling a void in services catered to helping budding entrepreneurs. Within a very short time, The NPRChamber has quickly become the fastest growing and largest Puerto Rican organization in the United States, as well as one of the fastest growing Hispanic organizations, and has established Local Leadership Councils (LLCs) in New York City, Charlotte, NC, San Juan, PR, and Washington, D.C., with more expected to open soon. Justin also works as a professor, writer, and researcher and previously developed senior care facilities internationally. Previously, Justin founded D.C. Concrete Technologies, which became known as the dominant producer and service provider of new concrete technologies in the Southeastern U.S. and select international locations. D.C. Concrete Technologies was a frequent guest on HGTV’s Curb Appeal, NBC’s House Smarts, and in several national and local magazines and newspapers. A true believer in the necessity of entrepreneurship as a means for supporting a strong economy, Justin has volunteered to teach entrepreneurship and economics with Junior Achievement, has been requested as a guest lecturer at several universities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, co-authored Blueprint for Universal Economic Inclusion, and is the author of the forthcoming book The Common Sense behind Basic Economics (Lexington Books, 2015). Justin has studied Commercial Law at Cardozo Law School and the University of Barcelona, Entrepreneurship at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Business, International Business at the University of Puerto Rico, completed his MBA at Arizona State University, and is working on his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Justin is also a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Jacklyn Ríos, JD, LLM
National Director of Legal Affairs
As the National Director of Legal Affairs, Jackie works to ensure that The NPRChamber is aware of policy issues that are important to entrepreneurs and Hispanics and provides advice and analyses on how best to advocate for those policies that affect The NPRChamber’s mission. In that role Jackie has established relationships with legislators both on a national and local level, advised them on issues of concern, and has developed strategies to support our mutual efforts. She also provides legal advice on administrative and compliance issues related to The NPRChamber. Jackie also currently works as an associate in an international law firm with areas of expertise in Maritime and International Commercial Law. Prior to joining her current firm, she worked as a consultant advising legislators and federal agencies on proposed legislations’ impact on international trade. Jackie received her JD from Fordham University and an LLM from NYU.
Verónica Colón-Rosario, MA
National Director of Development and Political Affairs
Verónica joined The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce in February 2011, inspired by its mission and driven by an interest in working for an organization that helps minorities in the United States. As the National Director for Development and Political Affairs, Verónica facilitates the growth of the organization at the national level by supporting the development of Local Leadership Chapters. She also maintains organizational outreach to government officials and organizations whose interests match those of The NPRChamber. She currently works for Telefónica International USA, in Washington, D.C., and dedicates her time at Telefónica to studying the relationship between telecommunications, development, and democracy. Veronica completed a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico and, due to her exemplary academic achievements, she was subsequently awarded a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While at NIH, she developed a passion for supporting the Hispanic community in the United States, compelling her to study Latin American Studies, resulting in a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University’s prestigious School of Foreign Service. A fond believer in continued education, Verónica recently completed a certificate in International Business Development from Georgetown University.
Marshall Kirby, MID
Policy Analyst, Contributing Writer
As a Policy Analyst for The NPRChamber, Marshall has dedicated his time to researching and analyzing policies that are most relevant to the mission of our organization, which include, but are not limited to: minority economic policy, small business policy, foreign policy, immigration policy, and U.S. fiscal policy. Although already proven as an expert in international policy analysis, Marshall has developed a wide-ranging expertise on both domestic and foreign economic policy matters. Marshall has written dozens of policy pieces for The NPRChamber and is a regular contributor to The Minority Business and Economic Report, The NPRChamber’s online publication dedicated to educating its readers on subjects related to business and economics that affect minority populations. Prior to joining The NPRChamber, Marshall worked as an Issue Analyst for Americans for Informed Democracy as well as at the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, and within his county’s local government. Marshall received a Master of International Development degree from the University of Pittsburgh, his BA from Mount Saint Mary’s in Political Science, and has also studied at the American Institute of Foreign Study in Dublin, Ireland.
Edward Cruz, MBA
Edward joined The NPRChamber with the intent of analyzing and providing research analyses in the areas of small business development and corporate tax policy. In order to contribute best to The NPRChamber, Edward devotes his time to maintaining awareness of legislative proposals that affect the U.S. economy and provides analysis and feedback to our partner organizations as well as to members of Congress. Through his current position as a Research Analyst at Babson College, his research and opinions have been published in numerous business journals, including the Boston Business Journal and the Harvard Business Review, and he is quickly becoming well-known as an expert in his field. Edward received his undergraduate degree with a concentration in Economics from Harvard University and his MBA from Babson College, the nation’s #1 graduate school for entrepreneurship.
Octavio del Valle
National Director of Entrepreneurial Programs
As the National Director of Entrepreneurial Programs, Octavio has helped to establish and implement programs that allow The NPRChamber to better serve its members and constituency with valuable services that promote new venture and entrepreneurial development and education. Most recently, Octavio was responsible for creating partnerships with Acción, one of the largest and most successful microlenders in the world today, as well as with LegalZoom, the nation’s fastest growing provider of online small business legal services. In addition, Octavio is responsible for addressing the needs of our members who have questions regarding starting a small business, marketing a business, and complying with local rules and regulations. Octavio also runs several online websites and, through his expertise, has helped to setup and run The Minority Business and Economic Report, The NPRChamber’s online publication. Octavio received a BS in Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, and is working on his MBA at the University of Florida.