Japan-Texas Economic Summit


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Donna F. COLE
President & CEO
Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc.
Ms. Cole founded Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc. in 1980. Her expertise is in chemical trading, distribution, packaging, warehousing and manufacturing with supply chain optimization and business process savings for many industries. In 2012, she received the American Leadership Forum’s Joseph Jaworski Leadership Award. In 2016, the Houston Business Journal awarded Ms. Cole with the Women in Energy Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves on boards of the Institute for Supply Management, Center for Asian Pacific American Women, and U.S.-Japan Council. She served on President George H. Bush's Export Council from 1991 to 1993. She attended Pan American University, The Amos Tuck School of Business Minority Business Executive Program, and graduated from the Manpower Business Training Institute of Technology.
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Chairman, Pacific Northwest Region
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Ms. Campbell is the chair for the Pacific Northwest region for JPMorgan Chase & Co. Previously, she served as the president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation, the largest community foundation in Washington. She is an independent director for Alaska Air Group. She served on the Nordstrom board of directors and chaired the Audit Committee for seven years. She chairs the USJC Board of Directors and serves on the Diversity Advisory Board of Toyota, the nonprofit board of PATH, and the global advisory board of Women Corporate Directors. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Audit Committee Chair Advisory Council.
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Acting Consul General of Japan in Houston
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Founder & Chairman | Chairman of the Executive Committee & Principal
CityView | Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., L.L.C.
Henry Cisneros is Chairman of the CityView companies, which work with urban homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families, and is Chairman of the Executive Committee & Principal at Siebert, Cisneros, Shank, & Co., L.L.C., a municipal finance firm and a top corporate underwriting firm on Wall Street. Before this, he served three terms as a City Councilmember, then as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, during which time he helped rebuild the city’s economic base and spurred the creation of jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements. He later served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He holds multiple degrees, including a Doctorate in Public Administration from George Washington University.
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Rolando B. PABLOS
Texas Secretary of State
Governor Greg Abbott appointed Rolando B. Pablos as the 111th Texas Secretary of State on January 5th, 2017. Secretary Pablos brings an extensive record of public service to the Office of the Secretary of State, including tenure as a commissioner on the Texas Racing Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas. As a state official and in his private practice, he has played critical roles in the advancement of direct investment, international relations, and trade with Texas’ partners across the globe. He has been instrumental in the success of many community development projects designed to improve quality of life, deliver educational opportunities, and help bring prosperity to the people of Texas.
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U.S.-Japan Council
Ms. Hirano Inouye is President of the U.S.-Japan Council, where she oversees the organization and administers the TOMODACHI Initiative. She is the former President and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum, a position she held for twenty years. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and an honorary doctorate degree from SMU. Ms. Hirano Inouye has extensive experience in non-profit administration, community education and public affairs with culturally diverse communities nationwide. Her activities include serving as Chair, Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Center; Trustee, The Washington Center, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; former Trustee and Chair, Ford Foundation; former Trustee and Chair, Kresge Foundation. She was married to the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii.
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Sachi KOTO
Sachi Koto Communications
Following more than 16 years as an anchor with CNN in Atlanta, Ms. Koto launched a public relations and communications firm, Sachi Koto Communications, Inc., in July 2005. Before joining CNN, she worked as an anchor for JCTV (Japan Cable Television)—CNN’s affiliate station in Tokyo—and for Nippon Hoso Kyoku (NHK) Radio. Previously, she was a reporter for WQXI radio station in Atlanta from 1974 to 1975 and for CNN affiliate WAGA-TV in Atlanta from 1975 to 1977. She graduated summa cum laude from Reinhardt College with a bachelor’s degree in communications and earned a diploma in Japanese language and culture from the Gendai Japanese School in Tokyo.
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Shinsuke J. SUGIYAMA
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America
Ambassador Sugiyama presented his credentials as Ambassador to the United States in March 2018. His diplomatic career with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spans over 40 years. He most recently served as Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. Previous positions include Deputy Director-General of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau as well as the International Cooperation Bureau; Director-General for Global Issues, including Ambassador for Climate Change; and Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. He has also held leadership positions within the Foreign Policy Bureau and Treaties Bureau of MOFA. His overseas assignments have included multiple positions at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC; Political Minister at the Embassy of Japan in Korea and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Egypt. He entered MOFA in 1977.
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Shigeki MAEDA
Executive Vice President
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Mr. Shigeki Maeda is Executive Vice President at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. At JETRO, Mr. Maeda is responsible for the North America region as well as the promotion of inward foreign direct investment into Japan and administrative affairs since August 2015. Mr. Maeda joined JETRO after graduating from Keio University, Department of Economics (BA) in 1981. In his 37 years at JETRO, he has served in numerous principal positions including Executive Director of JETRO New York (1998-2001), Senior Coordinator for North America and Oceania (2001-2006), Director of Export Promotion (2006-2008), Deputy Director-General of Research Planning, Institute of Developing Economies (2008-2010), Managing Director of JETRO Singapore (2010-2013) and Director-General of the Invest Japan Department (2013-2015). He was also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of International Policy Studies (IIPS) from 1993-1996.
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Shell Oil Company
Bruce was appointed as U.S. Country Chair and President of Shell Oil Company in April 2016. In this position, he heads the U.S. Country Leadership Team, overseeing strategy and plans for all Shell assets and businesses in the United States. Bruce became President after most recently serving as Executive Vice President of Upstream Americas and Unconventional Resources, based in Houston, Texas. As U.S. Country Chair and President of Shell Oil Company, Bruce frequently engages with public, private, media and non-governmental leaders on a wide range of energy policy issues. He is charged with establishing and advocating for innovative, industry-leading solutions to the challenge of securing safe, secure and sustainable energy sources. Bruce graduated with honors from the University of Alabama in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management. Shortly thereafter, he began his thirty-six-plus-year career with Shell at the Norco Manufacturing Complex in Louisiana. Since then he has served in a number of Upstream, Downstream, and Corporate leadership positions of increasing responsibility and scope – both internationally and in the United States.
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President & CEO | Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Envoy International LLC
Ambassador Schieffer is the CEO of Envoy International LLC, a consulting firm that advises clients on international business. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2005 to 2009 and as Ambassador to Australia from 2001 to 2005. Prior to his diplomatic service, Ambassador Schieffer was an investor in the partnership that bought the Texas Rangers Baseball Club in 1989. He oversaw the building of the team’s new home, The Ballpark in Arlington, and served as President of the franchise from 1991 to 1999. Ambassador Schieffer attended the University of Texas, where he earned a B.A. in government and an M.A. in international relations, and studied law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1979.
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Mitsuru Claire CHINO
Managing Executive Officer | President and CEO
ITOCHU Corporation | ITOCHU International Inc.
Claire is Managing Executive Officer of ITOCHU Corporation (“Itochu”), and President & CEO of ITOCHU International Inc., a subsidiary of Itochu in New York. Before that, she was General Counsel of Itochu. Claire has received several recognitions, including from the World Economic Forum (Young Global Leader), Yale University (Yale World Fellow), Asia Society (Asia 21) and the U.S. Japan Foundation (USJLP Fellow). She has also been recognized in the in-house community, including as a “Financial Times Global General Counsel 30.” She is a graduate of Smith College (B.A. cum laude) and Cornell Law School (J.D.), where she is an advisory board member.
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Takeshi EBISU
President and CEO
Goodman Global Group, Inc.
Takeshi Ebisu has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Goodman Global Group, Inc., a member of the Daikin Group, since 2014. In addition, he is an associate officer of Dakin Industries, Ltd. After joining Daikin in 1988, he has progressively served in several operational and corporate planning leadership roles. Previously, he led the formation of the medium-term strategic management plans for the Daikin Group worldwide from 2005 to 2014. Additionally, he was instrumental in the acquisitions of Goodman Manufacturing in 2012 and OYL Industries which included McQuay (currently Daikin Applied) in 2007. A native of Hyogo, Japan, he graduated from Kyoto University and earned an undergraduate and master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering. He is married and has two children.
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Kubota Credit Corporation and Kubota Insurance
David Sutton began his career with Kubota in 2007 as Vice President of Kubota Credit Corporation (KCC). A finance professional with 36 years of industry experience, he was promoted to President in October 2010, becoming the first American to occupy this office. Under his leadership, KCC has implemented policies and systems to return more than 90% of loan decisions to dealers in under 15 minutes, greatly facilitating the dealer sales process. Sutton has also led the exponential growth of Kubota’s property and casualty insurance agency, Kubota Tractor Acceptance Corporation (KTAC), providing Kubota dealers not only with added profit opportunities, but additional product offerings to better serve their customers.
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David M. BOONE
APTIM Federal Services
Mr. Boone is the President, Government Strategic Business Unit APTIM, an engineering company that provides environmental remediation and construction services. Mr. Boone retired as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps Rear Admiral in 2013. He managed facilities and infrastructure throughout his career at bases and expeditionary locations in the United States and throughout the world. Raised in Yokohama, Japan, he attended high school in Oregon. Mr. Boone graduated with honors from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Civil Engineering, with master’s degrees in Coastal Engineering and Construction Management from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a registered professional engineer in the states of Virginia and Florida. He also received the Nippon Zenkokai Award from the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan.
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Senior Manager for Japan F-35 Business Development
Lockheed Martin
Mr. Malone leads market development and strategy supporting F-35 sales and future capability improvements for Japan. Previously, he served as senior manager for U.S. Air Force F-35 customer engagement and business development from 2009 to 2013. He served more than 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he started as a civil engineer but quickly earned his pilot "Silver Wings". At the time of his retirement from the Air Force in 2008, he was 35th Vice Wing Commander at Misawa Air Base, Japan. He holds a B.S. in building construction from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in political science from Auburn University, and an M.S. in national resource strategy from National Defense University at Ft. McNair.
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NuanceBlue, LLC
Mr. Mori's work spans from security consulting to community service. He is a board member and project manager at AP Math Creative & Intelligence Labs, which creates social media campaigns that explore alternatives to violence for companies and social causes. He is also a facilitator for Be the Peace, Be the Hope Foundation in Houston. Previously, he worked for 24 years with the FBI, where he organized dialogues with community members finding common ground, while addressing violent narratives of groups affecting our society. He has worked in the fields of intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and computer forensics. He understands the potential risks and rewards when technology is combined with human creativity. He was born in Tokyo and is married with three teenage children.
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Special Agent
FBI (retired)
Mr. Shaw enjoyed a 25 year career as a Special Agent of the FBI. In addition to his domestic assignments, he served two tours at the FBI liaison office at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Early in his career he moved to Japan, where he taught English at a college, created product and marketing strategy for Seibu (a major department store chain) in Tokyo, and handled public relations for Japan’s largest financial newspaper. He also served for two years as the secretary of the Houston chapter of the American Society of Industrial Security, and is currently the secretary of the Houston chapter of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. He graduated with a J.D. from the UC Davis School of Law, and is an active member of the California Bar.
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Varun RAI
Associate Dean for Research & Associate Professor
LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Varun Rai is Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group. Through his interdisciplinary research, delving with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy, he is developing effective policy approaches to help accelerate the deployment of sustainable energy technologies globally. He has presented at several important forums and his research group’s work has been discussed in prominent newspapers and other venues. He received his Ph.D. and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.
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William CANNON
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure Group
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
William Cannon is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Infrastructure Group for Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA). With his over 20 years of experience in the development, acquisition, sale and financing of thermal generating assets, renewable energy assets, nuclear assets, regulated utilities, water projects, ports and other infrastructure assets, he is primarily responsible for overseeing business development and asset management within his group, which finds projects to develop, acquire, finance and ultimately own and operate in wind, solar and other renewable assets throughout the Americas. Prior to joining SCOA, he was with Rothschild, the international M&A advisory boutique, in the Power, Utilities and Infrastructure Group. He started his career at Fieldstone advising clients on project finance and the acquisitions and divestitures of power projects.
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Toshiro KUDAMA
Senior Executive Vice President | Chief Executive Officer
JERA Co., Inc. | JERA Americas Inc.
Mr. Toshiro Kudama has been assigned as Senior Executive Vice President of JERA Co., Inc. in 2016 and concurrently serves as CEO of JERA Americas Inc., based in Houston since 2018. He joined Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in 1982, where he performed a number of roles in thermal power plant development projects throughout Japan, Asia and Middle East countries such as Team Energy in Philippines and Facility D in Qatar. He also has worked at OECD, IEA as an administrator for 3 years during this period. Mr. Kudama is currently spearheading the Freeport LNG Project in TX and several IPP Projects in the US, Canada and Mexico, including the recently announced LINDEN project in NJ. He holds a B.M.E. and M.S.M.E. from Tokyo Institute of Technology.
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Energy Advisor, Corporate Strategic Planning
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Lynne Taschner is an Energy Advisor in ExxonMobil's Corporate Strategic Planning Department. In this capacity, she is responsible for assessing economic and energy trends, and related market and public policy issues. She is a principal contributor to ExxonMobil's long-term global energy outlook. She has worked for ExxonMobil for 25 years in a variety of economic and commercial advisory roles. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration & Economics from The King’s College (New York) and an M.B.A. from Lehigh University (Pennsylvania). Lynne has lived in the USA, Europe and Asia; she currently resides in Texas.
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Partner, Corporate Department
Paul Hastings LLP (Tokyo)
Eiji Kobayashi is a partner in the Corporate Department of Paul Hastings LLP and is based in the firm’s Tokyo office. He has more than 20 years of experience in representing leading Japanese industrials and conglomerates, including technology, automobile, real estate and life sciences companies on cross-border M&A and corporate matters. Being fully bilingual in Japanese and English, he also has extensive experience representing companies and individuals in civil, administrative and white-collar criminal matters, especially in the manufacturing, technology, life sciences, aviation and financial institutions sectors. He is a Houston native, growing up in the Memorial area, and also started practicing as an M&A lawyer in Houston before transferring to Tokyo. He has both a B.B.A. and J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
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Steven J. FRANK
Professor, Radiation Oncology, Deputy Division Head and Medical Director of Proton Therapy Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Frank is an endowed tenured professor of Radiation Oncology, Deputy Division Head and Medical Director of MD Anderson's Proton Therapy Center, leader of the Proton Therapy Program for head and neck cancer and also serves as Director of Advanced Technologies in Radiation Oncology. He is amongst the first, if not the first, to use Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) to treat head and neck tumors. He is the Principal Investigator of an NIH/NCI-sponsored Phase II/III randomized trial in oropharyngeal cancer that compares outcomes after chemoradiation given by IMRT vs IMPT. His company, C4 Imaging, has funding from the NIH, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Texas Ignition Fund, Hitachi and MD Anderson. He has served as past President and Chairman of the Board of the ABS and chaired the ABR's Oral Examinations Program for head and neck cancer.
Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute
Dr. Halvorsen is the Director of the TMC Innovation Institute, where he keeps visionary new ideas moving through the TMCx accelerator, TMCx+ incubator and TMC Biodesign Fellowship Program, while playing an instrumental role in JLABS @TMC, the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health@TMC, the TMC advisor/mentor network and the emerging innovation funding infrastructure. Previously, he served as the Senior Executive Director of Technology Transfer & Industry Collaborations at Tufts University, the Executive Director of the Technology & Innovation Development Office (TIDO) for Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Managing Partner of Children’s First Technology Development Fund for pediatric-focused advancements. He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1994), an M.S. in human anatomy from the Medical College of Virginia (1995) and a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from University of Virginia (2000).
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The Delta Companies
As Chief Executive Officer, Bill Tracewell is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of The Delta Companies. Bill coordinates strategic initiatives toward sales, marketing, and recruitment growth, while fostering an environment of support and training for their internal employees. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M, Bill worked in the automotive oil industry. He left that industry in April of 2001 to join The Delta Companies, where he was the first employee to generate $1 million in gross margin. Bill has fulfilled several roles, including physician recruiter, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In addition, he started the first business unit within the Allied Healthcare Market, Delta Healthcare Providers, and grew that unit into a multi-million dollar department.
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Principal and Future of Work Leader
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Mr. Harman is one of the Deloitte US leaders for the Future of Work initiative. He is an active speaker at conferences and with client leadership teams on the market disruptions and how the nature of how work will get done in the future is changing rapidly. He is a leader in Deloitte’s HR Transformation offering and has over 30 years of industry and consulting experience assisting global Human Resource organizations improve their customer service delivery and drive operational efficiencies. In addition to the experience mentioned above, he leads the Human Capital capability for Deloitte Consulting’s Energy and Resources practice in the United States. Ron is based in Houston.
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Professor | Jefferson Science Fellow
Purdue University | U.S. Department of State
Barrett S. Caldwell, PhD (1990, Social Psychology, Univ. of California, Davis) is Professor of Industrial Engineering (and Aeronautics & Astronautics, by courtesy) at Purdue University. His BS degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Humanities are from MIT (1985). His Group Performance Environments Research (GROUPER) Laboratory team studies how people get, share, and use information well in settings including aviation, event response, healthcare, and spaceflight. He is a Fellow and Past Secretary-Treasurer of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). He was a 2016-17 Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State assigned to the Office of Japanese Affairs.
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Executive Director
SA Works
Ms. Matta-Barrera joined SAEDF in August 2016. As the Executive Director of SA Works, she leads efforts to align education, workforce and economic development with the talent needs of San Antonio’s current and future employers. Previously, she served as the President and CEO of Fluent Strategy Group for eight years, working on strategic initiatives, federal funding, public policy and multicultural marketing and advocacy. She also shaped education policy as the Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, and as the Director of Hispanic Outreach and Communications at the U.S. Department of Education. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a double major in Government and Latin American Studies.
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Manager, Aviation Industrial Collaboration and Coordination Division
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Ms. Uchitomi (Mizuno) is engaged in JAXA collaboration with Japan’s aviation industry including human resources development. As a government-certified SME consultant, she has also long been active in space ventures incubation. With a BA in law from the University of Tokyo and an LLM in international law from Leiden University, she has many years of experience in practicing space law including negotiation for inter-governmental agreements on the international space station. Added to her official duties at JAXA, she has been engaged in space law, policy research and education at the University of Tokyo from 2010. She is a founder of “Sorajo,” a voluntary group within the Japan Rocket Society promoting diversity in the Japanese aerospace industry through supporting female professionals and students.
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Hideaki OHMURA
Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Hideaki Ohmura is the current Governor of Aichi Prefecture, Japan, having first been elected in February 2011 and re-elected in February 2015. During his tenure as Governor, he has been very keen on strengthening the friendship between Aichi and Texas, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Agreement of Friendship and Mutual Cooperation with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in April 2016. Prior to serving as Governor, he has held numerous political and bureaucratic positions in Japan, including serving at the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishers from April 1982; as a Diet Member in the House of Representatives for five terms from October 1996; as the Parliamentary Secretary of Economy, Trade and Industry from May 2001; as the Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet Office; as the Senior Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office; as the Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare; and as the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration, House of Representatives. He holds an LL.B. from Tokyo University (March 1982). Governor Ohmura and his wife, Fumiko, were married in 1987. They have a son and three daughters.
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Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors | Vice Chair | Chair, Committee on U.S. Affairs
Toyota Motor Corporation | Keidanren | Keidanren
Shigeru Hayakawa was born on September 15, 1953. He graduated from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor’s degree in economics in March 1977, and joined Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in April of the same year. In 2005, he became division general manager of the Public Affairs Division. He was then made managing officer in 2007, and was appointed president of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. In 2011, he became the chief officer of the Public Affairs Division and deputy chief officer of the External Affairs Group. He then became a senior managing officer at TMC in 2012. In 2013, he became the chief officer of the External Affairs & Public Affairs Group. In 2015, he was named a member of the board of directors, and became chief communications officer. In 2015, he was appointed chief officer of the Olympic & Paralympic Division. In 2017, he was named vice chairman of the board of directors of Toyota Motor Corporation. His key posts outside of Toyota Motor Corporation include: Vice chairman, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) (May 2017-), and Chairman, Committee on U.S. Affairs, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) (May 2017-).
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William F. "Bill" HAGERTY IV
U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan
Ambassador Hagerty was nominated by President Trump on March 27, 2017 and sworn in as the 30th Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan on July 27, 2017. He began his professional career at global management consultancy Boston Consulting Group, including three years in Tokyo, Japan. He subsequently served as CEO and board member of companies with extensive operations in Asia and Europe and most recently was Managing Director of Hagerty Peterson & Company, a private equity investment firm. He has also been a public servant at both the federal and state levels, including serving on President George H.W. Bush’s Council on Competitiveness, and as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee. He has a B.A. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University.
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Susan Kwok ANNOURA
Owner/ Real Estate Broker
Annoura Realty Group LLC
Ms. Annoura is a native of Houston, Texas. She lived in Japan for fourteen years with the experience of working as a radio personality, a guest lecturer at multiple universities, and an English instructor for various Japanese institutions and multinational companies. After returning to the United States in 2007, she obtained her broker’s license and opened Annoura Realty Group LLC, a full service real estate company specializing in international client representation. Today, her company supports more than 25 major Japanese companies in Houston, helping their expats relocate and settle down in the Houston area. She serves at the Houston Association of Realtors as the International Advisory Group’s 2018 Chairperson and as an advisor to the Houston chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America.
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Vice President of Operations
Stematix, Inc.
Mr. Bonner is Vice President of Operations for Stematix, Inc. and specializes in marketing and commercialization of new technologies in regenerative medicine. He joined Stematix in 2009 and served as Director of Operations for Stematix’s clinical operation in Buenos Aires, Argentina until 2013, where he was responsible for establishing adult stem cell processing facilities and forming doctor/patient networks to support treatment operations in licensed territories. Prior to joining Stematix, he served in the United States Air Force as a Captain in U.S. Space Command. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Texas Christian University and his MBA from the University of Wyoming.
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Texas Central
Mr. Keith serves as President of Texas Central, a private, Texas-based company that is developing a high-speed passenger train that will connect Houston and Dallas. He is a seasoned executive and investor with nearly 25 years of financial and operational experience in large real estate and infrastructure projects. His prior experience includes co-founder and chief investment officer of HKS Capital Advisors; the Global Chief Executive Officer of RREEF/Deutsche Bank Infrastructure Investments; a 10-year career with RREEF/Deutsche Bank where he held various senior executive positions and served on the firm's Global Executive Committee; a partner of RREEF America LLC prior to its acquisition by Deutsche Bank; chief executive officer of Cabot Industrial Trust; and an executive at Hunt Realty Investments.
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Lisa M. KITAGAWA, Esq.
Ms. Kitagawa is a Japanese American bilingual business lawyer at KITAGAWA & EBERT, which has offices in Irvine, California and Plano, Texas (by appt.). She represents many prominent Japanese companies throughout the United States and is licensed to practice law in the states of Texas, California, Georgia and New York. She was educated in both the United States and Japan, and has received many academic scholarships. She is the third of only four American lawyers to have graduated from Kyoto University in Japan (she also attended Tokyo University). She has 36 years of experience in representing Japanese clients in litigation (arbitrations and trials), employment, contracts, corporate, finance, real estate, and M&A. She is the outside general counsel to Japanese companies in the energy, automotive, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, technology, manufacturing, entertainment, logistics, distribution, retail and food production industries. She is respected for her experience and risk management strategies.
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William L. (Bill) STRANG
President of Operations and eCommerce
Bill is responsible for all operations in North America, including technical support, logistics, environmental sustainability and management of two major manufacturing plants and warehousing facilities. Under Bill’s leadership, TOTO has received awards for manufacturing implementation, green energy, water efficiency, water conservation and more. TOTO USA was recently honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with its Excellence in Green Power Use Award. In his role as President of eCommerce, Bill collaborates with stakeholders and eTailors to identify and implement strategies that make it easier for consumers and building professionals to work with TOTO. In this position, Bill has built a continuous improvement culture to enhance operational excellence within eCommerce and deliver business value solutions to all TOTO stakeholders.
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Plano, TX
Harry LaRosiliere is currently serving his second term as Mayor of Plano. The emphasis of his administration has been creating a vibrant business community that allows the City staff to consistently deliver high-quality services. During his tenure, Plano has emerged as a nexus of economic development activity in North Texas with some notable major corporate relocations. He is also very passionate about inspiring youth through community activities he helped initiate. He serves as Chair on the prominent Transportation and Communications Committee for the United States Conference of Mayors. He is a wealth manager with a Global financial firm. Of all his accomplishments he is most proud of his family that consists of his wife and two daughters.
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James E. 'Jim' DARLING
McAllen, TX
Mayor Darling was elected mayor of McAllen in 2013 and is currently serving his second term in office. He has a distinguished record of public service – current and past leadership roles include president, chairman, vice chairman, and board member of several committees, boards, planning groups and others, including currently as a Board Member of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. He is also an attorney specializing in local government law with 28 years of experience as a city attorney for the City of McAllen and other government entities. He also previously served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy Reserve. He received a BA from Baylor University and a JD from Baylor Law School.
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Kiichiro SATO
Oita City, Oita Prefecture, Japan
Mayor Sato was born in Oita City, Japan in 1957. He entered the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (present-day METI) in 1980 after graduating from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor’s degree in economics. His later assignments include Consul at the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco from 1995; Director-General of the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade, and Industry from 2006; Vice President of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade, and Industry IAA from 2007; Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency from 2009; and Chief Director of the Japan External Trade Organization in New York from 2010. After entering JSR Corporation in 2012, he was successful in his bid for mayor and was inaugurated as Mayor of Oita City in April 2015.
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Beverly L. HATCHER
Golden Triangle Minority Business Council (GTMBC), Inc.
Ms. Hatcher became President of the Golden Triangle Minority Business Council (GTMBC) in 1990. Through her leadership, the Council has served the Gulf Coast region for 29 years, fostering its mission to promote, educate, and develop minority, women and all small business enterprises. She is a career diplomat with a solid background in the fields of economic development, business administration and business certification. She is a member of the Jr. League; a Leadership Beaumont & Texas & America Graduate; a Rotarian; Officer, 100 Club of Southeast Texas; and Member, National Association of Parliamentarians. She attended Wichita (KS) State University. She has been married to her husband Stanley for 52 years; has two sons, a grandson, and great granddaughter; and belongs to Windsor Village UMC.
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Rose City, TX
Mayor Stephenson became Mayor of Rose City in 2014 and has been re-elected two terms. In Rose City, all the homes but one sustained critical damage during the catastrophic flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey. Appearing on NBC’s Megyn Kelly TODAY show, Mayor Stephenson asked for help and told her story of all the destruction left in the aftermath of the hurricane. She is the mother of three sons, grandmother of nine, great grandmother of one, and has been married to Karl Stephenson for 43 years. Born in Winnsboro, LA, she moved to Texas with her family, and graduated from Vidor High School in 1963. She was employed at Norvell Wilder in accounts payable until retirement, and then ventured off selling real estate for many years.
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San Antonio, TX
Ron Nirenberg was elected mayor of San Antonio on June 10, 2017. He has been committed to public service most of his life. He was first elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2013. The former District 8 councilman helped guide one of the fastest-growing areas in the state and pursued policies that celebrated the city's diversity. Mayor Nirenberg is committed to nurturing San Antonio's diverse economy, promoting its leadership on an international stage and pursuing strategies that foster resilience and equity in all sectors of the city. A graduate of Trinity University (B.A.) and the University of Pennsylvania (M.A.), Councilman Nirenberg and his wife Erika Prosper, a respected business and community leader, are proud parents of their son, Jonah.
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El Paso, TX
Mayor Margo moved to El Paso in 1977 from Nashville where he attended Vanderbilt University, to join his father-in-law at John D. Williams Company (JDW). He later served as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, participated in the founding of the Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDCO, now the Borderplex Alliance), and became the Chairman of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010, was appointed President of the EPISD Board of Managers in 2013, and most recently was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee. In June 2017 he was elected as the 51st Mayor of El Paso.
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Council Member
City of Dallas, TX
Council Member Gates is currently serving her third term as Dallas City Councilmember representing District 13. In this role, she serves as the Chair of the Government Performance and Financial Management Committee and sits on the Public Safety and Quality of Life Committees. She serves as the Chair of the Domestic Violence Taskforce, holding regular meetings that help bridge communication between the Dallas Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, judges, and community partners. She is also the Co-Chair of the Visit Dallas Board of Directors. A lifelong Dallasite, she attended Ursuline Academy, then went on to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, and is still licensed as a Registered Nurse.
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Shunichi KAMIYA
Deputy Mayor
Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Deputy Mayor Kamiya was born in 1973 in Aichi Prefecture. In 1996, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics at Tokyo University. That same year he entered the Ministry of Home Affairs (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications). After successive jobs as Vice Director-General of the Management Support Headquarters of Saga Prefecture; Deputy Mayor of Saga City; and Director of the Regional Policy Division, Location Administration Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; he worked as the Director-General of the Economy and Agriculture Bureau of Chiba City before beginning his current post in April 2015.
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Director of Tourism and Exchange Department
Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
Kenichi Mishima was born in 1964 in Kumamoto City. He entered City Hall in 1988 after graduating from the University of Osaka. He began working in the Tax Payment Section and then the Finance Section. After being transferred to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry), he was dispatched to San Antonio City Hall before returning to Kumamoto City to work for the Planning Section. Later positions include the Administrative Management Section, Waste Management Planning Section, Board of Education, National Pension Service Section Chief, and Health and Welfare Planning Section Chief before becoming Director of the Tourism and Exchange Department in 2016.
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President & CEO
Texas Forest Country Partnership
Ms. Windham is President & CEO of the Texas Forest Country Partnership, a 12-county economic development organization whose mission is to enrich the economy and well-being of rural East Texas through marketing, business development and advocacy. She is responsible for leading the organization’s economic development efforts by managing the relationships with alliances and partners serving the Texas Forest region for new and expanding business opportunities, infrastructure projects, site selection, incentive negotiations, workforce development and available land sites. Nancy has worked in the economic development profession for more than 33 years and has held several leadership positions throughout Texas and the United States. She currently serves as Secretary of the Texas Economic Development Corporation, an appointed position by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University and lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
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President & CEO
Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce
Diane Probst, IOM, CCE is the President/CEO of the 5-star rated Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce since 1990. She is a past chairman of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives and a 2012 recipient of the Marvin Hurley Award—that organization's highest award. She has published a book, "Chamberology"—an inspirational all-in-one guide for maximizing a Chamber professional potential for building and maintaining a 5-star organization. She holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University - College Station, and is a graduate of the US Chamber's Institute of Organization Management and a certified Chamber Executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. She and her husband Mike have two grown daughters, Alyssa (Doug) and Ashlee (Cody), and three grandchildren, Ben, Connor and Campbell.
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President and CEO
Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Bhargava is the President and CEO of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC). She oversees the overall management of the Chamber, with specific responsibilities over the Chamber’s grants, program and partnership development, events and execution of the Chamber’s goals and objectives. Her career has been in a variety of industries, ranging from benefits consulting at Hewitt Associates to family-owned plastics manufacturing. Prior to joining the Chamber, she was the Language Access and Outreach Coordinator for the Asian Family Support Services of Austin, a domestic violence agency. There, she created trainings for and built relationships with various Asian communities in Austin, and recruited and managed 20 contract interpreter advocates. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in economics from Northwestern University.
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Executive Director
Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation – REDI
Jim Rich has spent the past 19-years providing leadership and expertise to a wide range of economic development and community development activities in Southeast Texas. He serves as the Executive Director for the Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation with a mission to promote the region. Previous roles include the CEO/President of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce and a federal law enforcement career with the United States Department of Justice. He is a former Commissioner for the Sabine Neches Navigation and Waterway District. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and History from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s of Arts degree in Sociology from Kent State University, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
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Andrew F. ICKEN
Chief Development Officer, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
City of Houston, TX
Mr. Icken currently serves as Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Chief Development Officer. He has oversight of the Houston Airport System, Convention & Entertainment Facilities, Planning Department, Office of Business Opportunities, Housing and Community Development Department, Emergency Medical Services, Economic Development, International Affairs and Homeless Initiatives. Prior to his appointment to Chief Development Officer, he served as Deputy Director of Public Works & Engineering, 6 years as Executive Vice President of the Texas Medical Center, and 30 years with ExxonMobil.
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General Manager
CoStar Group
Kevin Ready is a serial entrepreneur and business author who has written about innovation, entrepreneurship, and Japanese startups for publishers including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. He is currently General Manager at CoStar Group, a NASDAQ (CSGP) traded real estate data company where he builds products and leads a corporate R&D team. He conducted graduate research on the management dynamics of international projects at the University of Texas at Austin, and was a member of the Sony Playstation 3 Cell Processor engineering team. He is actively involved in the development of ‘innovation ecosystems’ both in the United States and in Japan. He currently resides in Austin TX.
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Senior Researcher
IBM Austin Research Laboratory
Harm Peter Hofstee is a Dutch physicist and computer scientist who currently is a distinguished research staff member at the IBM Austin Research Laboratory, USA, and a part-time professor in Big Data Systems at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. He is best known for his contributions to heterogeneous computing as the chief architect of the Synergistic Processor Elements in the Cell Broadband Engine processor used in the Sony Playstation3, and the first supercomputer to reach sustained Petaflop operation. He is an IBM Master Inventor with more than 100 issued patents and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. He has a master's degree in theoretical physics from the University of Groningen and a PhD in computer science from the California Institute of Technology.
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Executive Director, Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)
The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Stanzione is the Executive Director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the principal investigator (PI) for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to deploy and support Stampede2, a large-scale supercomputer, which will have over twice the system performance of TACC’s original Stampede system. He is also the PI of TACC's Wrangler system, a supercomputer for data-focused applications. He was co-director of CyVerse, a large-scale NSF life sciences cyberinfrastructure. He was also a co-principal investigator for TACC's Ranger and Lonestar supercomputers—large-scale NSF systems previously deployed at UT Austin. Stanzione received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and his master's degree and doctorate in computer engineering from Clemson University.
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Shinsuke "Shin" TAKAHASHI
Chairman of the Board & Head of Government Relations
NEC Corporation of America
Shin Takahashi is Chairman of the Board and Head of Government Relations for NEC Corporation of America, an industry leading provider of biometrics and communications technology and integrator of IT solutions. In his Government Relations role, Mr. Takahashi is focused on further strengthening NEC’s relationships in the U.S. government and other international organizations based in the Washington, D.C. area. Mr. Takahashi previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for NEC Corporation of America and was responsible for the business strategy, operations and leadership of the company. He is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of extensive sales, marketing, business development and management experience with NEC Corporation and NEC America.
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President & CEO
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Senior Vice President
Miller Milling Company LLC
Mr. Imanishi serves as the Senior Vice President of Miller Milling Company, LLC – a U.S. subsidiary of Nisshin Seifun Group Inc. and manufacturing company for wheat flour and flour-related products with $500 million in annual sales. His responsibilities are to plan and implement business expansion strategy in the U.S. market, and develop and cascade the organization's strategy/mission statement to the entire staff. He has 25 years of experience in the global flour milling industry, including serving as a Sales Manager and then in charge of several M&A projects including Miller Milling’s 4 mills acquisition in 2014 as the General Manager at Nisshin Flour Milling Inc. in Tokyo.
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Executive Vice President - Corporate Relations & PR
ITO EN (North America) INC.
Rona Tison is the Exec. Vice President of Corporate Relations at ITO EN (North America) INC., the world’s leading green tea company and innovators of healthy beverages, to include Oi Ocha, TEAS’ TEA & Matcha LOVE. Being half-Japanese she is well versed in Japanese culture and traditions, with extensive experience in the food & beverage industry, hospitality and retail. She serves on the Tea & Health Committee of the U.S. Tea Association, on the Advisory Board of the World Tea Expo and has been a guest speaker and ambassador of U.S.-Japan relations at the Smithsonian Lecture Series, Shizuoka World Tea Festival and prestigious James Beard Foundation. She was the first woman to receive the prestigious John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 for her educational contributions to the tea industry.
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Kenshiro UKI
Vice President of Operations
Sun Noodle North America
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mr. Uki dreamed of traveling the world playing soccer. That ambition was halted by an injury during a match attended by college scouts. He quickly found himself traveling between Sun Noodle factories in Hawaii and California, perfecting his understanding of the family business. In 2012, he opened the company’s third noodle plant in New Jersey and is currently the Vice President of Operations for Sun Noodle North America. Under his leadership, production, sales and distribution have expanded to new markets including New York, Miami, Chicago and major European cities.
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Attorney at Law
Kei Law
Kei Ashizawa is an attorney engaged in business and property transactions and Japan-Texas relations advising. A native Houstonian, Kei is a member of the U.S.-Japan Council active in the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program, the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program, as a USJC U40 Summit inaugural co-chair, and on the Japan-Texas Economic Summit host committee. She has contracted as a Researcher at Stanford University APARC and very briefly at ORIX Corporation in Tokyo. She frequents Japan, and studied abroad there twice. Kei has law licenses in Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, and Montana, and is a certified mediator and APMG Public-Private-Partnership-Professional. Kei earned a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, a JD from the University of Houston Law Center, and an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program & TOMODACHI-STEM @ Rice University Program
Natsumi is currently a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. She received her bachelor’s degree in applied physics at Keio University Japan. She spent her junior year at Rice University participating in an exchange program supported by the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program. She was also a participant of the TOMODACHI STEM @ Rice University for Female Students Program in 2017. Her research interest is studying carbon nanomaterials for next-generation semiconductor and renewable energy devices.
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225th District Court, Bexar County
Judge Peter Sakai was elected on November 7, 2006 to the 225th District Court bench and is now serving in his fourth consecutive term of office. He has served on the Board of the Texas Center for the Judiciary and is currently on the Board of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas. In 2018, he was elected Local Administrative Judge of the District Courts of Bexar County. He has been a Chief Prosecutor for the D.A.’s Office, an experienced trial litigator, Associate Judge of the 289th District Court (Juvenile Court), and the Presiding Judge for the nationally renowned Bexar County Children’s Court. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Senior Finance Advisor
Shell Oil Company
Arielle Montgomery earned a degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford in 2008. During her undergrad, she studied abroad at Kyoto University and formed a lifelong connection with Japan. Her career pursuits led her to investment banking roles in M&A and securities analysis at several firms including Lehman Brothers, Barclays, and Citigroup. Broad exposure to a variety of industries led her to decide on the energy industry and she presently works in Houston for Shell as a Senior Finance Advisor at the most significant refining and chemical asset in the Americas. In 2015 she became a member of the USJC and was selected as a delegate for the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program in 2016.
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Gene WU
Representative, 137th District
Texas House of Representatives
Rep. Wu serves the people of District 137 in the Texas House. Prior to being elected in 2012, he served as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney Office. His time as a State Representative has been characterized by his relentless advocacy for issues that include the enhancement of public education, criminal justice reform and child welfare. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University, his master’s degree from the LBJ School for Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, and his law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Rep. Wu and his wife Miya reside in Southwest Houston and are the proud parents of their sons, Winston and Lyndon.