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.
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.
Graphics and Production Manager
In her role as our Graphics and Production Manager, Lluvia is responsible for ensuring impactful and cohesive messaging throughout all communication and marketing channels. She oversees the development of the Institutes' strategic communication strategies, branding, and visual direction to create compelling communication and visual content that aligns with the organization's goals and values. From the monthly newsletter to publications and online platforms, Lluvia's attention to detail ensures that every communication piece resonates with the intended audience.
Lluvia's educational background includes a Master's in Business Administration from The University of Texas at El Paso, complementing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design, where she specialized in data visualization and cartography. This unique blend of creative and business acumen allows her to seamlessly combine creative insights with astute strategic thinking. With multi-disciplinary talent and a keen eye for design and dedication to data-driven storytelling, Lluvia excels at transforming complex information into visually captivating materials that resonates with diverse audiences.
Xiaofei serves as our Economic Development Analyst for the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness. Her role focuses analyzing data and research with a specialty 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.
Nancy, a proud native of Juárez, laid the foundation for her remarkable career with a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Mass Media from The University of Texas at El Paso in 2005.
With an impressive two-decade career in investigative journalism, Nancy has garnered a profound understanding of border issues and amassed numerous journalism awards. Notably, in 2017, Nancy was selected to join the media pool covering the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India and the U.S., demonstrating her global perspective and expertise.
Over the last 15 years, Nancy has consistently delved into the intricacies of cross-border dynamics, covering trade, industry, and the economy in Mexico and the U.S. Her insightful reporting has graced the pages of various distinguished media outlets.
Nancy's profound knowledge and expertise in U.S.-Mexico border relations seamlessly align with our mission here at the Hunt Institute. Her blend of strategic communication and journalism experience enhances our commitment to the Paso del Norte region, making her an invaluable asset to our team as our Communications Strategist.
James E. Payne
Dean of the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University
James E. Payne, Ph.D. in Economics, serves as the Dean of the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University 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.
Honorary Consul of Spain in El Paso
Martha Vera, MIL, MS received her Master’s degree in International Law, Foreign Trade and Foreign Relations from “Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía” in Madrid, Spain. She also holds an M.S. in Biology from the University of Texas at El Paso. She earned an Executive Diploma in International Diplomatic Law for Honorary Consuls from the United Nations Training and Research Center in Geneva, Switzerland. Her research at the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness focuses on the analysis of international trade agreements such as the USMCA.
Associate Professor of Management
Dr. Mengge Li is an Associate Professor of Management at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he teaches international business and corporate strategy classes. Dr. Li received his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Houston, and an M.S. in Information Systems and Operations Management from the University of Florida. His research areas include corporate strategies, strategic leadership and governance, and innovation management. His works have been published in management journals such as the Journal of Management, Group & Organization Management, and Journal of Management & Organization, among others.