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Sunset on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – “forest of the Apache”.


Deborah Burns, MBA Chief Executive Officer and Director

Ms. Burns’ financial career spans more than 30 years and includes roles as an institutional investment officer in New York City, financial officer at a New Mexico start-up company that became the largest publicly-traded company in the state, and Chief Lending Officer for a community bank.

Ms. Burns began her career as an investment officer and analyzed more than 3,000 businesses and invested more than $3 billion throughout her seventeen-year career in New York. She returned to her New Mexico roots as a senior member of the initial team that developed an innovative lending platform at Thornburg Mortgage Inc. (TMA). In that capacity, Ms. Burns was responsible for all financing arrangements and issued over $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

Ms. Burns earned a BA in Economics from Princeton University and an Executive MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Mark Lautman, CecD President and Director

Mr. Lautman has over 30 years of experience as a professional economic developer. He has designed and managed four economic development programs that procured more than 80 corporate locations, accounting for more than 15,000 new jobs, 6 million ft.² of industrial space, and $11 billion in new investment.

Most recently, Mr. Lautman was Vice President of Economic Development of Mesa del Sol where his business unit was responsible for recruiting Albuquerque Studios, Schott Solar, and Fidelity Investments. Mr. Lautman is the author of “When the Boomers Bail: a Community Economic Survival Guide.” He is a founding director of the Community Economics Lab, a private not-for-profit think tank that innovates new approaches for economic development in labor and capital constrained economies.

Mr. Lautman is a 1971 graduate of the University of New Mexico in Economics, Architecture and Geography, and a former Peace Corps volunteer.

Mike Oppedahl Director

Mike Oppedahl cut his teeth as an engineer at Honeywell Aerospace writing and developing software for US Air Force fighter jets and leading large retrofit programs for the US Army. After rapidly climbing the corporate ladder, he realized that his true passion was in helping create organizations that everyone wants to work for. Knowing that good is the enemy of great, Mike is determined to enable great companies to make a lasting and significant impact on the people doing the work and on the world as a whole. After leaving Honeywell, he worked for a New Mexico health care startup that would nearly double in size over the next four years. Notably, the company was recognized on the Albuquerque Business First and Albuquerque Journal lists of Top Places to Work for three years running. He coined the axiom in his businesses, “If you do not love working here, you cannot stay,” believing that life is too short and should be spent working in areas you are truly passionate.

Mike believes in being a leader worth following and aspires to empower teams by first helping individuals develop self-awareness and their ability to build influence. He encourages leaders to use their influence, power and authority for the good of those they lead, NOT for themselves and the advancement of their own agenda. He is passionate about promoting healthy leadership culture internally at GiANT Worldwide, where he currently serves as Managing Partner, as well as externally in the businesses of the clients he serves.

Mike lives by the principle that you should always add more value to others than you extract – give before you get. His experience starting up and shutting down a number of businesses is a testimony that “failing forward” helps to shape who you become as a leader. Constant self-improvement and always having focus on the things that truly matter in life are incredibly important. This is a value he embraces at home with his wife and four young children.(Ashley, Riley – 6, Regan – 4, Asher – 2, Baby on the way).

Luis Ortiz, Attorney Director

Luis Ortiz is a patent attorney and has more than twenty years experience representing clients in intellectual property matters including: litigation, patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, and patent/trademark portfolio development strategies.

Mr. Ortiz co-founded Ortiz & Lopez, PLLC in 2001 and is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and in Texas. His firm specializes in intellectual property protection, IP litigation and licensing. His clients include fortune 100 companies, educational technology transfer organizations and startup companies. Mr. Ortiz and his firm have obtained almost 700 issued US Patents for their clients.

Mr. Ortiz earned a law degree from the University of New Mexico, a BS in Engineering from New Mexico State University, and an MBA in Business from the University of Phoenix.

Alison K. Schuler Director

Alison K. Schuler is founder and senior partner at Schuler.Daly in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ms. Schuler actively practices securities law, public company registration and reporting, corporate governance, entity formation and operation, mergers and acquisitions, venture investments and financing, as well as international transactions.

Ms. Schuler has served on the faculty of the University of New Mexico Law School as an Adjunct Professor in corporate and securities law. She has also served in many international, national and local nonprofit organizations, almost always in a senior executive function. Previously, Ms. Schuler was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico. She is listed in numerous Who’s Who publications, the Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers USA.

Ms. Schuler is an AB cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School and Radcliffe College/Harvard University with an emphasis on international law and relations.

Noreen Scott, CecD Director

Noreen Scott serves as managing member of the New Mexico Economic Catalyst Foundation since 2003. She served on the Community Board of Presbyterian Hospital and served as a Regent on the Board of Regents for Western New Mexico University.

Prior to her retirement from the Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation, the RREDC partnered in the location of 28 companies that created more than 15,000 economic base jobs. She is a member of numerous professional organizations including the International Economic Development Council. Ms. Scott is a founding member of the New Mexico Economic Development Institute at Western New Mexico University and currently serves on the faculty, and is Treasurer of the Academy for Economic Development.

Ms. Scott holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Mundelein College, Loyola University in Chicago, a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Western New Mexico University, and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.

Paul Silverman Director

Paul Silverman lives and breathes real estate. He has been involved in real estate development throughout the Southwest for forty years, and in Asia since 2002. Previously, Mr. Silverman spent four years in China developing retail opportunities.

Mr. Silverman has developed residential and commercial real estate projects worth $410 million, earning multiple awards in the process. Under Mr. Silverman’s leadership, Geltmore, LLC is New Mexico’s recognized leader in commercial real estate development services. He is also co-founder of several companies, including TeleServices Development International, LLC, Planning Technologies, LLC, and Store-It! PTE. LTD, Singapore.

Mr. Silverman graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration and has received professional certifications from the University of Houston in real estate.

Dora Wang, M.D. Director

Dr. Wang has lived in New Mexico since 1998. Born in Brazil and raised in California, Dr. Wang’s family resides in San Marino, California, a city that has prospered from foreign investment. She would like to see New Mexico prosper similarly, and to welcome new immigrants to the Land of Enchantment.

Dr. Wang strives to bring excellence and integrity to whatever she endeavors. She was Partner in a real estate development firm, Infill Solutions, which revitalized the west end of downtown Albuquerque and renovated the historic Southern Union Gas Company Building. She has co-financed multiple real estate developments.

A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Wang has served on the University of New Mexico School of Medicine faculty since 1998. She is the author of two books, including a memoir from Penguin Books, and a history of the UNM School of Medicine. She is the devoted mother of a daughter who attends Bosque School.

America is a living, thriving, evolving idea. We are people from around the globe who have come together to live a free, prosperous, multicultural life in the extraordinary place and purpose that is New Mexico, USA. Together, we can help you live this American dream.


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