Our Advisors bring experience in business management, entrepreneurship, development and marketing.
Their guidance was instrumental throughout the early stages of the business, and they continue to help us improve our business and investment products.
Emil is a noted civil and environmental engineer and manager with over 40 years of top-level experience. He is the retired Chairman and CEO of Hatch Mott MacDonald Infrastructure and Environment Inc. (formerly Killam Associates Inc.), where he was president for 26 years and led the organization through four ownership changes. He also served as CEO of Killam Randers, a public engineering company listed on the American Stock exchange as one of the Thero TerraTech Group of companies. He distinguished himself by managing the operation to consistently high pretax profits and organically growing the company from a local consulting engineering firm of 20 employees to over 600 at his retirement.
Since his retirement in 2004, Emil has devoted himself to numerous philanthropic activities. He is currently emeritus Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Vice President-Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Opera, a member of the advisory group of Planting Empowerment, and mentor and advisor to RFWare - the winner of the 2008 McClosky Business Plan Competition. He continues to serve as a judge for the McClosky Business Plan Competition of the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame. He is a founder of the NJIT Highlander Angels - currently in formation - to provide startup capital to NJIT originated startups, and is active in Engineers without Borders-USA, including establishment of a student chapter at NJIT.
Emil has a BS from the University of Notre Dame and and an MS from NYU, and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program. He and his wife Ann have six children and four grandchildren.
Tom is an investment professional with more than 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is currently a Vice President at The Wicks Group of Companies, a $1 billion private equity firm that invests in the education, information and media industries. Since joining Wicks in 2005, Tom has been involved in the acquisition, strategy development, operational planning, and divestiture of the firm's investments. Prior to joining Wicks, Tom worked as an Investment Banking Associate at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, where he structured, marketed and executed more than $9 billion in M&A, leveraged finance, and public securities transactions.
In addition to holding leadership positions with alumni groups in the New York area, Tom currently serves on the Board of Directors of Harlem Prep, a non-profit public charter school in New York, and advises the Finance Committee of New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center, a Preschool and Kindergarten in lower Manhattan.
Tom graduated from Georgetown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Economics and English. He currently lives in lower Manhattan with his wife, Sara, and daughter, Dorothy. Both Tom and Sara visited the Nuevo Paraíso and Adelante plantations 2008, and are strong proponents of the Planting Empowerment mission and business model.
Dr. Goodell, former SC&D director, earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University with a dissertation based on two-and-one-half years of field research in the World Bank's showcase Dez Irrigation Project in Khuzestan Province, Iran. The first agricultural anthropologist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, she has been a visiting scholar at the Australian National University and at the Harvard Institute for International Development, a fellow in law and development at the Harvard Law School, and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Goodell's field research and applied work frequently link her with agricultural scientists in two main areas of agricultural development: crop protection and irrigation. She has had short-term assignments with numerous development agencies, and has served on various advisory boards. She is currently writing a book on the non-economic factors behind the rapid rise of East Asia's "four little dragons" (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea). Goodell has also lectured at various universities, published numerous articles, and collaborated in writing a university-level agricultural textbook for use in developing countries.
Raúl Arias de Para
A Panamanian by birth and by heart, Raúl is the grandson of Don Tomás Arias, one of the Founders of the Republic of Panama.
Raúl studied economics in St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, and in the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where he obtained an MS in 1970. His thesis director was Dr.Leland B. Yeager. Upon his return to Panamá, Raúl worked in the banking industry for 10 years. Motivated by the absence of freedom and human rights in the Panamá of that time, Raúl entered politics in 1983 and quickly reached the top echelons of the Christian Democratic Party, then the largest opposition party in the country. After the elections of 1984, the first presidential elections in 15 years, he became incensed by the fraud perpetrated by the government and wrote Así fue el Fraude (Anatomy of a Fraud), a detailed and well documented exposé. This book became the all-time best seller in Panamá, was translated to English and can be found in the Library of Congress and in Harvard University's library.
Later Raúl served two terms in the National Assembly and was detained twice by the Noriega regime. After the fall of Noriega in 1990, he served the new government of Panamá as Financial Director of Public Security and was part of the team that dismantled what remained of Noriega's Defense Forces, transforming military installations into hospitals and generals' ill-gotten mansions into schools . Subsequently, the government of Panamá reformed the Constitution to prohibit the existence of armed forces. Panamá is now a country without an army as Costa Rica has been for many years. After leaving the public sector in 1991, he founded and succesfully managed several businesses (a brokerage firm, a public opinion polling company, and a real state development corporation).
In 1994, he entered the field of ecotourism motivated by his desire to conserve a waterfall close to his heart and located in el Valle de Antón, on lands owned for over 80 years by his family. Before Raúl hired some locals previously engaged in "slash and burn" agriculture as guides, installed a gate at the entrance of the trail to the waterfall, instituted an entrance fee, and started enforcing rules, the waterfall was being ruined by insensitive visitors. The waterfall and surrounding rainforest are now clean, peaceful, and a home to innumerable birds as well as other indigenous life forms including the golden toad. Thus, an ecotourism activity was born: an activity that does not deplete the natural resources it uses, and that promotes appreciation of nature.
You may read more about the waterfall and the Canopy Adventure -- a truly thrilling cable ride through the canopy created in early 1995. The following year, he began to look for a place to build an ecolodge in the forests surrounding the Panama Canal and, in August of 1996, found the Semaphore Hill Radar Station which he later converted it into the Canopy Tower.
Hank currently leads business development efforts for CM2 Limited, a global strategy firm serving multinational corporations and investors in the areas of growth, diversification, competitive positioning, and transactions. Hank joined CM2 following his experience as Director, Business Development with Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm focused on energy, natural resources, and global trade. In these capacities, Hank has successfully negotiated advisory engagements with a range of Fortune 500 companies, investment firms, and international government agencies.
In addition to his efforts with Planting Empowerment, Hank has spent time as a Volunteer Consultant with Washington Area Community Investment Fund, a nonprofit community development loan fund that provides access to capital and technical assistance to local businesses, childcare centers, and affordable housing developers. Hank is also an active participant with community-focused organizations such as Martha’s Table and Greater DC Cares.
Hank is currently earning his MBA at Georgetown University. For his undergraduate education, Hank attended Denison University and received a BA in Political Science. He is originally from Washington, DC.