WE ARE HERE TO HELP
The Midwest International Trade Association (MITA), is an organization that encourages the expansion of trade between the Midwest and foreign markets by sponsoring. Take a moment to learn more about our great leadership group.
Zach Severin: MITA Vice President
Zach Severin is the General Manager of Marisol International in Omaha, NE. Marisol International is a C-TPAT validated NVOCC and Licensed U.S. Customs Broker authorized to operate in every U.S. Port of Entry. Marisol provides a full range of Customhouse and freight-forwarding services along with discerning attention to U.S. Customs and other government agency compliance demands. Zach, a licensed custom broker, has spent time with Marisol in Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL prior to returning to his Omaha roots.
Jim Douglas: MITA Vice President
Jim Douglas is a Senior Vice President with Warren Distribution, a petroleum lubricant & chemical manufacturer and distributor whose corporate headquarters is in Omaha, Nebraska and has plant and distribution operations in Iowa, Alabama, and West Virginia. Jim has been with Warren Distribution since 1999 and his responsibilities include strategic planning, fiscal budgeting, and overseeing the distribution, warehousing, international sales, customer service, transportation, risk, environmental, and safety functions at Warren. Jim also serves on the advisory committee for the Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics program at Omaha Bryan High School, he has been a supporter of the high school DECA programs in Nebraska and Iowa for many years and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Heartland Family Service in Omaha. Jim graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a BSBA with an emphasis in Finance in 1987. Jim earned his MBA with an emphasis in Management from the University of St. Thomas in 1999. Jim and his wife Sherry reside in Omaha. He has two adult sons who live in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In his free time, Jim enjoys traveling, live entertainment, cooking, and spending time with family. One of the biggest influences in his life were his parents who taught him the value of hard work, determination, and service to others. Jim has a never-ending thirst for knowledge and adventure, which has led him and his wife to visit over 15 countries (and counting) around the world.
Karen Pinkall: MITA Treasurer
Karen Pinkall serves as senior manager for the Global Trade Services Group at First National Bank of Omaha. In that role, Karen manages a team that oversees trade finance sales and operations for the bank. In addition to offering trade solutions to customers, Karen and her team conduct training to customers and bank professionals. Karen is a 1995 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received her bachelor’s of art degree in international affairs. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Florida State University, where she studied international affairs. Prior to joining First National, Karen worked on the international trade desk at Wells Fargo Bank in Omaha, Neb., and managed two Omaha retail banking stores at Centris Federal Credit Union. In the community, she is a guild member for Angels Among Us, a nonprofit that helps meet the financial needs of families with children battling cancer, and is a member of the Crestridge Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization. She also is an active member and past board president at St. Michael Lutheran Church. She currently resides in Omaha with her husband Andy, and their children, Lily and Anna.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeremy Baker is currently with Oxbow Animal Health where he has served in multiple capacities within the sales division both domestically and internationally. Jeremy joined Oxbow Animal health in 2007 after moving back from Chicago, IL where he held several roles in both sales and marketing for Black & Decker and Dewalt. You always come back home right? At least if home is Nebraska! Currently Jeremy serves as the Director of Business Development for Oxbow Animal Health. Leading a sales and customer service team of eight is only part of the fun. He is a member of the leadership team at the organization and works to support the strategic direction of a rapidly growing animal health company, in a global marketplace. Oxbow Animal Health currently supplies products throughout all of North America in addition to 30 other countries. Jeremy earned a degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He currently lives in Omaha, NE with his wife and two amazing boys with a third on the way! My philosophy is to always believe in yourself, your dreams, learn something new every day and strive to make a difference in the lives of others through knowledge and wisdom.
Mr. Hou has over 10 years’ experience in International Trading, Agriculture, Technology, and Financial Field. As a member of Nebraska Diplomats, Mr. Hou has been actively involved with helping business exchanges and networking between Nebraska’s and foreign regions’. Mr. Hou obtained his Master of Science in Management Information System with certificates of Project Management and System Analyst and Design from University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also attended UNO for his Bachelor of Science in Banking and Financial Markets and Investment Science & Portfolio Management.
Grant is a highly adaptive transactional attorney and a member of the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources team. He focuses his practice on international trade, international compliance, securities, mergers, acquisitions and general corporate matters. Prior to his time at Husch Blackwell, Grant was an associate attorney at another law firm, and then spent six years as an in-house attorney for an international agricultural equipment manufacturer.
Terry McMullen: MITA Past President
Terry McMullen is the Branch Owner of AIT Worldwide Logistics/Omaha and the President of Cargo Zone LLC – the General Purpose Foreign Trade Zone Operator for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. With over 35 years in the transportation industry, Terry and his wife, Lori, co-founded T.L.K. Air Care, Inc. currently dba AIT Worldwide Logistics in 1991. TLK is a Nebraska company that has grown from just two employees to over 30 transport specialists, serving hundreds of clients across the Midwest with global supply chain needs for all import, export, and domestic transportation modes.
Janie Ogg is the Logistics Manager for Lindsay Corporation, responsible for both domestic and international transportation for the Irrigation Division. Janie manages their in-house domestic truck brokerage division, Lindsay Transportation Inc. She is also responsible for international transportation for all other Lindsay USA entities. Janie has been in the import and export business for 26 years, working for both importers and exporters, as well as freight forwarding companies, which gives her experience in handling import/export documentation, compliance and freight negotiations.
Mindy Ruffalo brings a wealth of world experience to her role as international business development director for the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership. Her responsibilities include: overseeing all international economic development programs; building the area’s business, governmental and cultural infrastructure to support international trade; and enhancing Omaha’s image as a center for international trade. With degrees in International Business Management and Political Science from Franklin University, Switzerland and studies in Chinese Business and Mandarin at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China – Mindy developed her career in international business development working with top global blue chip companies in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Most recently, she served as vice chair at the Phoenix National Association of Asian American Professionals. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Mindy is also a natural outdoorswoman. Her hobbies include running, motorcycling and sports in general.
Manage all sales functions and develop strategy for HFI’s global sales initiatives. Drove collaboration across multiple functional groups both in the US and globally. Developed broker/distribution strategy and network. Worked close with Government Agencies to capture market intelligence as it relates to the Global Egg Industry/Market. Worked alongside both R&D/Quality to drive product innovation and on-trend products. Collaborated with our VP of Meat Sales to capture synergistic opportunities within the egg/meat space driving company sales in excess of $70M Annually. Instrumental in driving/creating a sales culture positioning the company to succeed.
Jennifer Zhang immigrated to the United States from Shanghai, China in 2000 and moved to Nebraska in 2003. In 2005, she formed JZW International Development, LLC in Nebraska, to facilitate international business opportunities between the United States and Chinese companies; specializing in business consulting and construction products. She maintains her home and a business office in Omaha. In 2006, she began working with the State of Nebraska to develop business relationships with China. While working with State of Nebraska during 2008, she was named Representative of Nebraska to China. Ms. Zhang’s multi-lingual skills (she is fluent in several languages), her multi-cultural background, 15 years of experience in international business, and having a network with Chinese businesses and government officials prove invaluable to American businesses and Nebraska government in establishing international business relationships in China. As a result of the collaborative efforts of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and through Ms. Zhang’s knowledge of China’s culture and economic system and her personal relationships in China, Nebraska has been successful in inviting Chinese companies to open businesses and offices in Nebraska.
Adam is a Regional Sales Executive for Vantec Hitachi Transport System (USA), Inc., a full-service international freight forwarder, NVOCC, and U.S. Customs Broker. Experienced in international transportation and logistics services, he customizes supply-chain solutions for Midwest companies involved in global trade and procurement. Adam preserves his “heartland” values and volunteers at UNO’s International Professional Development (IPD) program and is an active participant in the International Traders of Iowa (ITI) organization. In his spare time, he enjoys connecting with friends, traveling, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A native of Manchester, Iowa, he is a 2007 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Business. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.
Keith Larsen: MITA Past President
Keith is a partner in the McGrath North law firm in Omaha. He has acted as lead counsel on acquisitions, divestitures and joint venture transactions in numerous countries, and advised on a variety of international trade, distributorship and other commercial transactions for over 20 years. He is also a former adjunct professor of International Business Transactions at Creighton University School of Law. Keith is also a past president of MITA.
Ronn Nolin is a Global Account Executive for Crane Worldwide Logistics, a licensed Freight Forwarding, NVOCC and US Customs Broker, globally headquartered in Houston, Texas. In addition to freight forwarding, Crane Worldwide also has a Full Truckload subsidiary, Crane Freight and Cartage, that operates throughout North America. Mr. Nolin has 18 years of transportation industry experience and is responsible for account management and driving sales for logistics solutions throughout the world. He has been active in MITA for 10 years serving on the Board of Directors as well as the Advisory Council. Crane Worldwide was founded in 2008, and has grown from 12 offices and $40M in business that year, to 72 offices in 22 countries and plans to exceed $650M in 2013. Ronn is a native of Colorado who graduated from Doane College in 1992, and has lived in Nebraska since.
Susan Rouch: MITA Past President
Susan joined the Department of Economic Development in 1983 to establish a state-wide export trade lead program. She has since initiated and manages a variety of programs to support and expand international trade and investment for Nebraska businesses. As director of the Office of International Trade and Investment, Susan has led a number of international trade missions abroad, traveling to Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Great Britain, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Russia and the Ukraine. She is past president and member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Trade Association (MITA) and currently serves on their Advisory Committee.
Michael is the Director of Logistics at Westin Foods, Inc. & Divisions Feaster Foods, Westin Cold Storage, Westin Packaged Meats, Westin Health and Wellness, Investments: Dominex, Mario Camacho Foods, Shelby County Cookers, Mae’s Health and Wellness, & Great American Appetizers since April 1, 2013. Michael first joined Westin Foods, Inc., Mario Camacho Food, America’s largest green olive importer, on September 01, 2001, as Senior Director of Supply Chain & Logistics & Director of Corporate Security. Michael has over 30 years of experience in Transportation/Supply Chain/Logistic/Warehousing Management. Michael is a past MITA Board of Director.
Gloria has served as the Executive Assistant for the Midwest International Trade Association for the past fourteen years. She provides support to the MITA President, to the Board of Directors and to the Advisory Council as well as current MITA member companies. Gloria is a past Board of Director of the Midwest International Trade Association while working as an International Banker at Wells Fargo.
“MITA helped us expand our business by venturing into internation trade. Thanks for all your help.”