Russ Jones, chairman, Border Trade Alliance
Jones, who resides in Yuma, Ariz., leads one of the U.S.-Mexico border's largest customs brokerages, with operations in California, Arizona and Texas.
"I am honored to assume the chairmanship of the Border Trade Alliance, one of the nation's most respected trade advocacy groups," Jones said. "I look forward to collaborating with my fellow board members from San Diego, Calif. to Brownsville, Texas and along the northern border to continue BTA's work of promoting policies that, for 30 years, have encouraged efficient and secure trade in North America."
Jones takes the helm of the board of directors from Jesse Hereford, who directs government affairs and business development for S&B Infrastructure in San Antonio. Hereford served for three years as chairman and oversaw numerous public policy wins for the 30-year-old group.
"Jesse has set a very high bar for me to reach in my term," Jones said. "During his tenure, the BTA played a major role in the development of innovative public-private partnerships for staffing and infrastructure improvements at the ports of entry, as well as worked successfully to see passage of a multi-year highway bill that contained numerous provisions that are positive for the border region. On behalf of the entire BTA board, I can't thank Jesse enough for his service to the BTA."
Jones looks forward to strengthening the BTA's grassroots and expanding its strategic alliances in the coming year.
"I have made it a priority for 2016 that the BTA deepen its relationships with a broad network of border region stakeholders on both the northern and southern borders," Jones said. "From like-minded organizations, to chambers of commerce and business groups, to academic institutions, we can make a bigger impact for our borders by working together. The BTA is the best kept secret in many parts of the border, something I aim to change."
Jones said that while the BTA is well known and respected on Capitol Hill, its influence shouldn't be limited to just the U.S. government.
"I intend to forge new relationships in Ottawa and Mexico City," Jones said. "The BTA will build on its tremendous successes in the U.S. and make an impact on trade policy throughout the NAFTA marketplace."
In addition to Jones, the BTA also welcomed new officers. They are:
Vice Chair: Taylor Moreno, Office of the Mayor, El Paso, Texas
Secretary: Carrie Stumfall, consultant, Dallas, Texas
Treasurer: Julian Alvarez, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, Weslaco, Texas
As the immediate past chairman, Hereford will also serve as an officer.
The Border Trade Alliance also welcomed two new board members.
Paola Avila, is the vice president of international business affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Olivia Varela is the executive director of the Laredo Development Foundation.
"I want to welcome both Paola and Olivia to the board of directors," Jones said. "I am looking forward to the insight into border issues that they will bring from San Diego and Laredo, respectively."