Mayra G. Maldonado
Mayra is a Research Economist who leads the Institute’s work on binational, comparative commercial and financial analysis. She has worked as an Economist at the Central Bank of Mexico, where she led the economic and financial analysis of Mexico’s northeastern border region, and its linkages with the rest of Mexico and the U.S. Mayra has also worked for Morgan Stanley Capital International, where she led the Americas Index Research and Corporate Actions teams based in Mumbai, India, and Monterrey, Mexico. During her time at MSCI, she specialized in analysis of Inter-American financial markets inequities. She received her BA in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM Campus Monterrey) and her MA in Economics from New York University (NYU) through CONACYT and Fulbright scholarships. During her BA studies, she participated in an exchange program with the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP). Born and raised in a dynamic cross-border region (Texas-Nuevo Leon), Mayra is personally and professionally invested in contributing to the economic development of the Paso del Norte region.
Director of Operations
Roberto is the Director of Operations for the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, in his role he oversees the institute's projects, ensuring that tasks and resources advance according to objectives and guidelines. Roberto provides efficient use of resources and management to strengthen regional and binational cooperation for the institute.
In previous roles, Roberto established a keen working knowledge of the Paso del Norte Region through developing, directing, and administering businesses outreach efforts in recruitment, retention, and expansion. These efforts contributed to the strong economic growth of the Southern New Mexico’s Borderplex region, generating hundreds of jobs and attracting numerous industries by developing close and lasting partnerships with businesses owners from small, medium, and large companies.
Subsequently, Roberto enjoyed working at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), first, in envisioning and building the success of the UTEP Centennial Year project for the Office of the President, and then, in implementing and administering the nation’s first Department of Engineering Education and Leadership in the College of Engineering.
Roberto obtained his BA in International Business and Computer Information Systems from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2005. Having worked in the private, public, and academic sectors, Roberto has extensive experience in the representation of binational affairs for the Paso del Norte Region.
John D. Gibson
Director of Research
Dr. Gibson is the Director of Research for the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness. In this role, Dr. Gibson focuses primarily on producing policy relevant technical reports and scholarly research papers using data gathered by the Institute. Dr. Gibson is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, the coordinator of the M.S. Economics program at UTEP, and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Economics and Finance.
Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Gibson served as an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University and he is currently a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a consultant to the GMF Latin American Division of the World Bank. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University and his B.A. in economics with mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi. His research interests include measuring the economic impact of public policies, such as infrastructure investment, and investigating the important role played by real-world frictions related to labor and credit markets. Dr. Gibson’s work has been published in leading economic journals including Journal of Money, Credit & Banking, Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, and Economic Inquiry, among others.
José Ángel Moreno
José Ángel Moreno was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and grew up in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, for the greater part of his life. By virtue of these life experiences, he became intimately aware of the Paso del Norte’s economic structures and practices. In fact, José Ángel refined this knowledge and regional economic analysis skills first by acquiring a BA Economics and then, most recently, an MS in Economics, both from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Throughout his graduate studies, he contributed to various major projects at the Institute as a Research Assistant, most notably to the Regional Economic Sector Reviews. There, he collected, analyzed, and harmonized regional economic data while also overseeing the creation of all of the energy sector infrastructure maps that showcase the region’s crude oil, refined gasoline, and natural gas infrastructure, as well as its renewable energy potential and associated infrastructure. As a Research Economist at the Institute, José Ángel continues this work by overseeing the Regional Economic Sector Reviews and is currently in the process of finalizing a Regional Banking Sector Review and Water Sector Review.
Senior China Trade Analyst
Xiaofei serves as Senior China Trade Analyst for the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, her role focuses on the maritime shipping industry research and trade relationships between Asia and the Paso del Norte Region. With her previous experience in China, Xiaofei brings with her a comprehensive background in international business and management. She co-founded Jiahua Language School in Shenzhen, China and was the Managing Director for the company responsible for all day-to-day operations. She took part in all aspects of operations including business development, strategy and service delivery. Xiaofei led the organization’s expansion into multiple locations in Guangdong province and the company was eventually acquired by Aston Education in 2013. Aston Education has over one hundred and twenty different international education locations in China, Vietnam and the United States. After the acquisition, she participated in various projects around the world gaining a unique perspective and understanding of international business.
In 2012, Xiaofei was honored as one of Shenzhen University’s top 30 graduates in the school history. She was one of the youngest recipients to be named alongside CEOs of multinational corporations like Tencent Holdings. She was also active in the Shenzhen business community as the Vice President for the Shenzhen Zhanjiang Chamber of Commerce. She also served as the Vice President for the Shenzhen Nanshan District Education Committee primary focusing on research and analysis. She received her BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Shenzhen University and her MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. Since moving to the United States from Mainland China, Xiaofei has focused her efforts in international trade and the economic impact to the Paso del Norte Region.
Lluvia is a multi-disciplinary creative with a talent for conceptualizing content and data as infographics and data visualizations. As the Institute’s Graphic Designer and Cartographer, she oversees the branding and visual direction of all awards and collaborations. Through her brand management Lluvia supports our monthly newsletter, all publications, and visual content requested by the office of the President and key leadership.
Joshua joined the Hunt Institute in April of 2015 as an administrative assistant. An El Pasoan and former student of the University of Texas at El Paso, Josh graduated in May of 2014 with a B.B.A. in Economics. He is excited to be assisting the Hunt Institute in its mission to foster the economic and social well-being of the communities in the Paso del Norte Region, with a special interest in the Social Policy and Economic Development.
James E. Payne
Dean of the College of Business Administration
James E. Payne, Ph.D. in Economics, serves as the Dean of the College of Business Administration at The University of Texas at El Paso and holds the Paul L. Foster and Alejandra de la Vega Foster Distinguished Chair in International Business. Dr. Payne received his B.A. in Economics from Berea College and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from Florida State University. Dr. Payne’s research interests cuts across the spectrum of economics and has authored over 275 peer-reviewed journal articles in generating nearly 20,000 citations in such outlets as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic History, Energy Economics, Ecological Economics, Southern Economic Journal, Canadian Journal of Economics, Journal of Risk and Insurance, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Financial Research, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Macroeconomics, Public Choice, European Journal of Political Economy, Economics Letters, Journal of Regional Science, Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, among others and serves on the editorial board of a number of academic journals. Dr. Payne has also been recognized in several national and international rankings with respect to his research productivity and citations to his work. In addition, Dr. Payne has served as a Fulbright Research Scholar and Fulbright Senior Specialist to the Institute of Economics in Zagreb, Croatia.
César M. Fuentes Flores
Associate Professor at Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF)
Dr. César M. Fuentes Flores received his Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California and his M.A. in Regional Development from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF). Since 1990 he has been a professor-researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, attached to the Department of Urban and Environmental Studies at the Ciudad Juárez Campus. His research areas are related to the analysis of territorial phenomena, through spatial and econometric modeling, associated with research topics such as urban spatial structure, housing, transportation, and urban violence and border studies. He is co-editor of six books on urban issues and author of two books. In addition, he has published 31 articles in national and international journals and 30 book chapters. He has taught and directed theses at COLEF, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) and UTEP. He was Visiting Professor at the Institute for Policy and Economic Development at the University of Texas at El Paso and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Border Studies at New Mexico State University. He received funding for research projects from IDRC of Canada, COCEF, OPS, SCERP, CONAHEC, CONACYT among others.
Xiaojin (Aaron) Sun
Associate Professor of Economics
Dr. Aaron Sun received his Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech. His research areas include empirical macroeconomics, real estate, housing, and mortgages. His work has been published in leading economics and real estate journals such as the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Economics Letters, among others.