Board of Trustees
Mr. Craig Lesser
Pendleton Consulting Group, LLC
Former Economic Development Commissioner for the State of Georgia
Mr. Lesser is the former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He is now in the private sector providing advice and strategy in the areas of economic development and government affairs through various entities including the Pendleton Consulting Group, the JEL Consulting Group and the Saffron Group.
Mr. Lesser served the Department of Economic Development from 2004-2007. As chief marketing officer for the state, he led efforts to recruit new business to Georgia and expand trade and tourism on a global stage. During his tenure, there were almost 500 new investment and expansion announcements, totaling more than $8 billion, creating more than 40,000 new jobs. Mr. Lesser also oversaw expansion of Georgia’s international presence with the opening of state representation in Chile, Brazil, China and France, in addition to the already existing international offices. During this period, he also served as president of Hemisphere, Inc., a public private partnership that led efforts to bring the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas Secretariat to Atlanta.
Previously, Mr. Lesser served as managing director of McKenna Long & Aldridge, where he headed international affairs consulting. He served as vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Georgia Power Company; president and CEO of Mirant, New York; and senior vice president of external affairs for Mirant Americas.
He is chairman of the board of the World Trade Center, Atlanta, chairman of the board of the World Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the international committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, secretary of the Georgia China Alliance and trustee of CIFAL , a UN based initiative to train elected officials in the western hemisphere. He recently agreed to join the board of the Council for Quality Growth.
Mr. Lesser has been recognized numerous times by Georgia Trend, James Magazine and the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Georgia’s most influential people and has been honored for his work in the international sector and the arts by a number of organizations. He has been asked to speak on international business at universities and seminars around the world.
He received his B.A. from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, Leadership Georgia and the Regional Leadership Institute.
Mr. Jose Ignacio Gonzalez
President & CEO
Hemisphere Trade Services, Inc.
909 West Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA, 30309, USA
José Ignacio González, born in Louisville, KY and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, is the Chief Executive Officer of Hemisphere Trade Services, Inc. (HTS) and President, COO of MAPA GROUP. These companies are unique business development firms dedicated to identifying and enhancing trade and investment opportunities for its clients and partners in the fields of Renewable Energy & Environmental, Airports and Aeronautics, Logistics and Trade and Government Relations in Economic Development. Mr. González served until December 2006 as the Executive Director of Hemisphere, Inc., a non-profit, public-private partnership formed by the State of Georgia, City of Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He was appointed in August 2003 by Governor Perdue to lead the campaign to attract the permanent Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas to the State of Georgia.
Mr. González is Past Chairman of Summit Bank Corporation and Past Vice Chairman of The Summit National Bank. He served as Chairman from April 2002 through March 2004. Mr. González served as director of the Summit Bank Corporation from 1998 to 2006. He was Chairman of the Compliance Committee and also served on the Loan, Audit, Marketing and Credit Risk Committees.
He is the Past-President and CEO of PanAmerican Logistics, LLC and Perishables Group International JV, LLC, which operates the Perishables Complex at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and is a founding partner of PanAmerican Transport, LLC.
Mr. Gonzalez currently serves as the Vice Chairman of CIFAL Atlanta, a United Nations agency he co-founded in Atlanta in 2004 to support the nations in the Americas in meeting their Millennium Development Goals commitments. He is the Vice Chairman of the board of the Georgia Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #26), in which board he has served since 2002. He also serves on the Boards of MAPA GROUP, Visiting Nurse Health Systems, Inc., Georgia Chamber of Commerce International Committee, Promotora Aeropuerto Bicentenario S.A.S. and Intellione Technologies Corporation.
Mr. González holds a BS-Management degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Mercer University-Atlanta. He has served on the Advisory Board of The Carter Center, on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, as Regional Chair on the national Board of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as Chairman of the Dekalb Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the executive committee and Board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and is a former member of the Best Practices Committee of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.
In April 2004 he received the Citizen’s Diplomat award presented by the Georgia Council for International Visitors. In 1999 he received the Business Man of the Year Award presented by the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was named the 1998 International Business Person of the Year by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and the 1997 recipient of the State of Georgia Small and Minority Business Advocate of the Year award by the US Small Business Administration.
Secretary and Treasurer
Mr. Axel Leblois
President and Executive Director
Axel Leblois is the Founder and President of G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, an advocacy initiative launched under the auspices of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in December 2006 to promote the ICT accessibility provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with the participation of industry, governments, disability advocacy organizations and United Nations agencies.
Over the past ten years, G3ict has established itself as the leading international source of references and good practices in implementing digital accessibility among States Parties to the CRPD with publications, web resources and in-country programs developed in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNESCO, several other UN agencies and the active support of both IT industry leaders and organizations of persons with disabilities.
Prior to creating G3ict, Axel Leblois spent over 20 years at the helm of information technology companies in the United States including as CEO of Computerworld Communications, CEO of IDC – International Data Corporation, President & CEO of Bull HN Worldwide Information Systems – Formerly Honeywell Information Systems, CEO of ExecuTrain, a global provider of computer training services. He also served as a director of several publicly traded technology companies, including Wang Laboratories, PSI Data Systems and Hungry Minds. He is a founding trustee and current Treasurer of CIFAL Atlanta, the North American affiliate of UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
Samuel L. Gude, III
Chief Executive Officer
With a background that spans management, construction and contracting for a variety of industries, Gude is the chief visionary and driving force behind Integral-Gude’s success. His passion today is leading the organization to new heights and achievements through a commitment to superior service and delivery standards. Gude founded Gude Management Group (GMG) in 2005, after having served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director for a global construction management and general contracting firm. During his 25 year construction career, he worked on a number of landmark projects including the Centennial Olympic Stadium. During its first five years, GMG grew to over $1.5B of work managed annually under his leadership. His expertise comes from managing over 150 education, transportation, government, healthcare, sports, cultural and corporate construction projects valued at more than $3B.
After attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, Gude graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Organization Leadership. He received his Global Executive MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta and Regional Leadership Institute. Gude has a lifetime commitment to civic involvement and currently serves on the boards of the Atlanta Technical College Foundation, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and CIFAL Atlanta. He also serves on the board of advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress and is a past board member of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta Urban League, and the Metro Atlanta YMCA.
His Excellency Celso Alejandro Jaque
Ambassador of Argentina to Colombia
Celso Alejandro Jaque, born in Malargüe (Mendoza), Argentina is the current Argentine ambassador to Colombia and former governor of Mendoza province in Argentina.
Mr. Jaque graduated as a public accountant from the National University of Cuyo in 1987. He was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1991, serving until 1995, when he was elected Mayor of Malargüe – Mendoza. He was re-elected in 1999, serving until 2003. In 2003, Mr. Jaque was elected to the Argentine Senate, where he served until 2007. Mr. Jaque was then elected Governor of Mendoza from 2007 to 2011.
Mr. Jaque has played a vital role as an Administrative Manager with various organizations that deliver services to the Mendoza province, devoting many years of service in both the private and public sectors. He has served as Private Secretary for the Ministry of Finance of the Province in 1987, quickly rising to General Director of Administration in the same office from 1989 to 1991. In 1991 he was the Administrative Coordinator for the Provincial Implementation Unit for the Argentine provinces aiding with economic growth in these provinces. From 1997 to 2003 he was a full member and auditor for the Argentine Federation of Municipalities. Mr. Jaque was also appointed to Governor of the Chamber of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce for the Valley of Tupungato (Mendoza – Argentina) in 2011 and Governor of the Institute of Higher Education for the City of Malargüe (Mendoza – Argentina) in 2012.
Mr. Jaque has also dedicated his time to the university, recognizing the importance of training the next generation. He has served as the Secretary for Student Welfare and Social Action as well as served as the Executive Director for Students as faculty for Economics from 1985-1987. He continued to teach as a professor in various universities, such as Marcelino Champagnat University and his alma matter National University of Cuyo. He has attended as guest lecturer and professor to University of Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, España in the College of Law.
Mr. Jacque has received many awards:
- Legislator of the Year – Argentina 1995
- Racimo de Uva 1999 – Mendoza – Argentina
- Pro-Oveja Leader 2002 – Argentina
- Malargüe, Mendoza city selected as city with best practice by United Nations for “Building Social Capital for Integration” – 2003
- Decorated “Orden al Mérito Victoria” honor granted by the Government of Chile for the integration of Chile and Argentina – 2004
- Parliamentary Distinction 2006 – Argentina
- Americas Awards for Public Service 2008 – CIFAL Atlanta and UNITAR
- Commanderie des Costes Du Rhône – France 2011
Dr. Daniel S. Papp
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road, #0101
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144
Daniel S. Papp served as president of Kennesaw State University, Georgia’s third largest university, from July 2006 to June 2016. Under his leadership, Kennesaw State rose in academic stature as it became a doctorate-granting institution and launched its first Ph.D. program. In 2008 and 2009, KSU was recognized as an up-and-coming school by U.S.News & World Report. During Dr. Papp's tenure as president, KSU also completed its transition to NCAA Division I and expanded its infrastructure with the opening of state-of-the-art buildings such as the student dining hall, the 8,300-seat KSU Soccer Stadium and the Health Sciences Building. Under Dr. Papp, KSU also launched a football program.
Prior to assuming the presidency of KSU, Papp, an international affairs scholar, served as senior vice chancellor for academics and fiscal affairs of the University System of Georgia from 2000 to 2006. In that role, Papp was responsible for systemwide academic issues, business and financial affairs, academic and business information-technology systems, and strategic planning for the university system’s 35 institutions. Previously, Papp directed educational programs for Yamacraw, Georgia’s initiative to become a global leader in broadband technologies. He served as interim president of Southern Polytechnic State University from 1997 to 1998 and as executive assistant to the president of Georgia Tech from 1994 to 1997.
Papp was founding director of Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs from 1990 to 1993 and director of Georgia Tech’s School of Social Sciences from 1980 to 1990. He joined Georgia Tech’s faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor of international affairs. While at Tech, Papp was also visiting professor at the Western Australia Institute of Technology; research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College; senior research professor at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education of the U.S. Air War College; and visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. In 1993, Papp was recognized as distinguished professor at Georgia Tech, the first time the honor went to faculty other than an engineer or physical scientist. He has twice been awarded the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service medal.
Papp is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College and received his Ph.D. in international affairs from the University of Miami. His academic specialties include international security policy and U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policies. He has authored or edited 10 books on these topics, including the biography of former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He has published more than 60 journal articles and chapters in edited books.
Papp’s research has been funded by the Army, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Information Agency, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Department of Education and NATO. He has traveled extensively in the former USSR, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa and was the recipient of a Sloan scholarship and a National Defense Education Act fellowship.
Mr. Mack Reese
Gateway Development Services, Inc.
Centergy One, Suite, 1000
75 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone (404) 214-6900
Fax (404) 214-6901
Mack Reese is currently a partner at Gateway Development Services, a real estate company which finances, develops, and markets residential, commercial and governmental projects. Before joining Gateway in 1996, Mr. Reese worked in marketing for both Childress Klein Properties and Trammell Crow Company. Mr. Reese also participates in a variety of civic activities and is active with the alumni organization for his alma mater. In 1995, he was the recipient of the Georgia Institute of Technology Alumni Volunteer Award. He has also participated in Midtown Atlanta Leadership and Leadership Georgia. Mr. Reese earned both his Masters degree in Science Management and Bachelors degree in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mr. Brian Oak
Former Consul General of Canada in Southeast United States
Mr. Oak retired from the Government of Canada in 2012 following a 34 year career in the Canadian Foreign Service. He served abroad for 15 years as a Trade Commissioner at Embassies in Prague, Washington and Santiago, and as Head of Mission on two occasions - as Ambassador to Ecuador (2004-06) and Consul General in Atlanta, GA (2006-09). Among assignments at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa, he was Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister and Director General for North America (with responsibilities for the United States and Mexico). Extensive experience was acquired in matters related to financial, human resource and program management. Mr. Oak was centrally involved in intergovernmental collaborative initiatives, organizational change, audit and evaluation, client servicing and values and ethics issues. As a post-retirement assignment, he served as Charge d'affaires at the Embassy of Canada to the Czech Republic (2013).
A native of Ottawa, Brian was educated at that city's Carleton University. He resides there with his wife Lydia, and has two grown sons.