Leadership

The GlobalAustin Board meets monthly. Elections to fill vacancies are held during our annual meeting held in the summer months. The Board is diverse in gender and ethnicity; and various professions represented are government, business, labor, law, and education.

2013-14 Executive Committee:

  • Stephen Niemeyer, President

  • Matthew Flueckiger, VP/Treasurer

  • Julie Van de Zande, Secretary

  • Carol Eckelkamp, Member-at-Large

Additional 2013 Board Members:

Catherine Crago
Dave Dart
Barbara Foreman
James H. Hall
Anita Knight
Ramey Ko
Jack Mason
Katrina Meredith
Jerry Mitchell
Estuardo Robles
Sarah Sherman
Liz Walton

Full Time Staff Members:

  • Margie Kidd, Executive Director

  • Pamela-Jean Mohamed, Associate Executive Director International Programs

Advisory Committee:

Geoff Connor
Frank & Lynn Cooksey
Larry Graham
Jerry Harris
Wayne & Joan Holtzman
Mortada Mohamed
Marco Munoz
Judge Harriet Murphy

Board and Staff Member Bios:

Catherine Crago leads Diversity Interactive, a firm that produces interactive learning and development tools focused on increasing organizational performance through cultural competence – she received the Texas Diversity Council DiversityFIRST award for her innovation in the field of diversity and inclusion in the Fall of 2011. Ms. Crago has participated in the development of international joint ventures, consortia and work teams in Asia and the US. She has been published in diverse publications such as the Journal of Project Management, the Corporate Comptroller and the IEEE International Engineering Management Society Journal. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce and is on the Board of Advisors for the University of Texas M.Sc. in the Human Dimensions of Organizations and the SXSW Interactive Festival. Ms. Crago holds Bachelor of the Arts degrees in History and Russian from the University of Texas at Austin and has lived and worked in Belgium, the Netherlands, Korea, and Taiwan. She speaks several different languages.

Dave Dart  is founder and Executive Director of Dart Music International.  For the past six years he has engaged in “international relations through interpersonal relations” by collaborating with musical artists and governmental organizations in order to create personal experiences that lead to greater international understanding.  Since 2007, he has acted as the primary contact and agent for modern

Carol Eckelkamp works as a Financial Advisor with New England Financial, runs and owns the consulting practice A Parenting Partnership LLC, and is the founding member of the Professional Women of Williamson County. She is currently a member of the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs committee, a chairperson of the Texas Women in Business Legislative Affairs Committee, and has run her own farm and ranch business in central Texas. Mrs. Eckelkamp has a special passion for health care issues and is an avid cook with an extensive collection of antique cookbooks, which she utilizes on a regular basis; she is an enthusiastic home hospitality host for international visitors.

Matthew Flueckiger: Currently working for an international medical device consulting company in Austin, Texas. Matthew hails from Switzerland, speaks English, German and French, and received a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Western Carolina University where he also played four years of NCAA Division I Golf. He has lived in Montpellier, France, and Switzerland where he managed one of the most prestigious Swiss golf Clubs.

Barbara Foreman: Over the years, Barbara has acted as a Special Assistant in State and Local Program Development to the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training as well as a Manager of Special Investigations and Commander of the TCEQ. She has acted as a Special Investigator for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; as a Senior Special Agent for the Texas State Treasury; an Investigator for the Texas Commission on Human Rights; and as the Deputy Sherriff for the Texas County Sheriff’s Department. She has been published many times for her works on Criminal Justice, has received both the Texas State Flag from the Texas House of Representatives as well as the United States Flag from the US House of Representatives, and is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at St. Edwards University Austin, Texas.

James H. Hall is a consultant on International Security Matters, his profession since he returned to the United States in September 2003 following a series of assignments as a Senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. Mr. Hall joined the Department of State in 1973 and served in various capacities in Washington and at Foreign Service posts in Viet Nam, Belgium, China, Burma, Japan and Bosnia. In 1984, Mr. Hall opened the first Foreign Service post operated since 1949 by any country in Northeast China (formerly Manchuria) — the American Consulate General in Shenyang (formerly Mukden). He was Consul General from 1984 to 1986. In 1990, he was appointed Associate U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. He opened the United States Liaison Office in Hanoi in 1994 and was Chief of the Liaison Office, the United States’ diplomatic representation in Viet Nam until normalization in August 1995.
Prior to his diplomatic service, Mr. Hall served as a U.S. Army Officer from 1962-66, with assignments in the U.S., Germany, Korea and Viet Nam. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service in Viet Nam. He was twice awarded the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award.

He holds an MA from Harvard University in Regional Studies, East Asia (1969), and a BS from Fordham University in Chemistry (1961). He speaks and reads Chinese (Mandarin), Vietnamese, Japanese, French, and some Serbo-Croatian. He is married to Huong Phan Hall and they have three daughters.

Anita S. Knight grew up in Queens, New York, to immigrant parents from Germany. She traveled to W. Europe to visit relatives as a teenager, then later with her husband on business and pleasure.  Anita met her husband in college in PA, and they moved to MI where they raised their children. In 1991, they moved to Chicagoland. Anita used her biology/chemistry degree and graduate work in environmental science in the chemical industry, primarily in product safety.  Always a dedicated volunteer, Anita is a life member of AAUW (American Association of University Women) for which she was an officer in MI, IL, and TX; former Program Chair for professional group SCHC (Society for Chemical Hazard Communication); former elected member of Board of Education in MI; member of several environmental groups; docent for Wild Basin Preserve and an NWF Habitat Steward.   Anita and her husband Don stay busy with grandkids, travel, entertaining and volunteer activities. They enjoy hosting international visitors with IVLP and Friendship Force.

Ramey Ko is a partner with Jung Wakefield PLLC, an immigration and business law firm, and an Associate Municipal Judge – the first Asian American judge in Austin. Ramey is also an adjunct lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Texas and serves on the Austin Public Safety Commission and the Advisory Board of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce.  In September 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which advises federal agencies on how to better serve the AAPI community. Ramey has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago.  Ramey speaks Mandarin Chinese and enjoys travel, public speaking, community work, and everything about food culture.

Jack Mason is a senior analyst with the Legislative Budget Board and provides recommendations and advice to members of the Texas Legislature regarding funding levelson a portfolio of state functions and programs.

Jack is also a mentor with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)2012 Fellowship for Afghanistan program. The Fellowship, an annual eight-month longprogram, is aimed at capacity building and enhancing the leadership, management andprofessional skills of a core group of senior government officials, academics and practitionersfrom Afghanistan. Looking forward to a post-conflict reconstruction within Afghanistan,the Fellowship program discusses important themes such as organization development andchange, project design and management, and human resource development/management. Jackserves as a mentor, along with two other individuals, to a group of six Afghan civil servantsin order to increase their knowledge and confidence in the transformation of a post-conflictAfghanistan.

Jack has also served as a 2012 World Learning Legislative Fellow in Bangladesh. WorldLearning, a non-profit U.S. State Department funded organization, seeks to bridge culturesand promote understanding among nations. World Learning conducts exchange programs forobservational study tours around the world in order to learn about the culture, people, andgovernment of developing countries. Jack was selected, along with five other participantsfrom around the United States, to travel to Bangladesh and meet with government officials,various Bangladeshi government entities, universities, and non-profit organizations regardinggovernment policy, budget, and public service related matters.

Katrina Meredith  has served as Executive Director of South Texas Children’s Habilitation Center, Director of Humana Healthcare and Health First, Executive Director of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, and Director of VHA, Inc.  and Director of Clinical Improvement, VHA, Inc.  She became a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2005, serving in the Republic of Macedonia.  Her initial work was in a micro financing project.  She developed a secondary project working with an ethnic Turkish NGO to increase the enrollment of ethnic Turkish and Roma students in school by providing resources needed for participation:  books, supplies, shoes and a school meal.  She volunteers with Austin Habitat for Humanity and Art from the Streets.  Katrina serves as President of the Ethnic Turkish Educational and Cultural Foundation, a non-member non-profit corporation organized to promote the advancement and education of ethnically Turkish and Roma minorities in the Republic of Macedonia, supporting and promoting Turkish culture in Macedonia and abroad and assisting impoverished communities in Macedonia.  Katrina holds a BA in History and Political Science from Texas A&M at Kingsville and an MA in Environmental Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio

Jerry Mitchell Prior to moving to Austin in 2004, Jerry spent 29 years with the U.s. Foreign Commercial Service helping U.S. business overseas.  He served in Korea, Belgium, Greece, Canada, two African countries, and Mexico.  He served as Deputy Director General, the top career position in the Commercial Service, from 1999-2001.  In Austin, he has served as Executive Director of the International Center of Austin, as Vice chair and Chair of the Camino Real District Export Council, and currently teaches International Business at Austin Community College.  Jerry speaks French, Spanish and Greek.  He holds a BA from Monmouth Collect, Monmouth, Illinois and an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Business (Thunderbird).

Stephen Niemeyer has worked on U.S.-Mexico border issues since June 1992 at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and predecessor agencies. At the TCEQ he has been responsible for a number of U.S.-Mexico border activities, including: managing border air, water and waste technical
studies; reviewing border waste, water and air quality studies and data; and recommending policy for agency management on border issues. He is currently charged with implementing the agency’s Border Initiative with Mexico. He has represented the agency in various fora, among them the Binational Border 2012 program; the Environment and Water Tables of the Border Governors Conference; and NAFTA-related environmental entities the Border Environment cooperation Commission, the North American Development Bank, and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Since 2005, Stephen has represented the State of Texas on the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, a federal advisory committee to the President and the Congress on U.S.-Mexico border environmental infrastructure issues. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and is Chair of ASCEs Border International Water Quality Standards Committee.

Stephen holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas at Austin, and is licensed in Texas as a Professional Engineer. His current service work includes volunteering for  the Worker’s Defense Project. He is a past president of both the LBJ School of Public Affairs Alumni Association and its Austin Chapter, and is also a past member of the Texas Exes Advisory Council.

Estuardo Robles is specialized in International Business Development. His experience includes opening new markets in Latin America for IT and BPO companies and in helping to promote the Nearshore region. He has advised several Investment Promotion Agencies in developing their BPO markets. His background also includes significant experience in economic development, country branding and promotion of municipal and city level redevelopment urban zones such as AirportCities, Tech Districts, and Medical Districts.

Robles is the co-founder of SMSRGENCY, a mobile technology startup which helps communities stay connected during times of crisis. His company has been recognized by the World Summit Awards and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Robles holds a BBA in Marketing and International Business from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and exchange coursework at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil. He has taught a seminar course on Foreign Direct Investment at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala, and has lived in cities like Miami, Boston, Guatemala, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Panama, San Salvador, and is currently based in Austin. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

Sarah Sherman is a graduate of Texas State University, Sarah Sherman graduated with degrees in mass communication, public relations, and psychology. Sarah was involved in the Universities Spanish Language study abroad program in Costa Rica, was the principle volunteer in the 2012 Global Austin Auction at the Austin International Awards Ceremony, and is a current intern at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Liz Walton
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Margie KiddExecutive Director
Appointed Executive Director in 2010, Margie is a long time community advocate for international interests. Among her many accomplishments, she succeeded Joe Neal as Director of UT’s International Office. Upon her retirement, she and her husband, Richard, embarked on a world cruise in their own boat over a 5 year period before eventually settling back in Austin. Her past GlobalAustin volunteer activities have encompassed serving as chair of the Scholarship Committee, Co-chair of the International Student Committee, and Tuesday morning coffee with families of international students. She was also honored in Washington, DC as the Lorinne Emery Award winner & “2008 Volunteer of the Year” by the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) at their national convention.

Pamela-Jean Mohamed, Director of Programs, joined GlobalAustin in 2000. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in education, she taught French in grades 7-12 in Canada. In 2002, she received the National Council for International Visitors’ award for excellence in programming.

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