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.
Karen Pinkall: MITA President
First National Bank of Omaha
Director, Global Banking
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.
Juan J. Miceli: MITA Vice President
International Operations Manager
Juan holds an MBA, a Master’s of Science in Agronomy, and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy Engineering. He speaks English, Spanish and understands Portuguese.
In his role, Juan manages and established distribution partners and direct international sales, coordinates regular distributor meetings (regional and worldwide), works with distribution partners to prepare marketing collateral in the local language. In addition, he plans and implements product demonstrations, seminars, exhibitions, equipment installation, and customer training, oversees and evaluates distributor sales and technical training, organizes distributor visits and related support activities Juan develops sales, support strategies, and operating plans with metrics to ensure the performance of established revenue targets. Finally, Juan represents the company and its products at multiple international conferences and scientific meetings
Daily, he manages sales activities within the International Sales Group, makes decisions for technical sales issues, and develops sales and support strategies to carry out operating plans and reach sales targets. Juan leads the technical sales process and development/implementation of sales strategies and objectives prepares market analysis and provides input on the unique needs of markets with different geographies, languages, business cultures, and procurement processes. In addition, Juan develops metrics to quantify and predict market potential by geography and customer segments, while carrying out the Export Compliance program to ensure ongoing export compliance privileges. Finally, he conducts commercial and technical training and supervision (remotely, in-office, and hybrid environment) for new members of the International Operations Group.
Juan enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and learning about new cultures and languages. In his spare time, he enjoys doing yoga, running, and reading.
Jim Reinders: MITA Treasurer
Paraclipse Systems LLC.
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Jim Reinders is currently Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Paraclipse Systems LLC. Paraclipse Systems is a Columbus, Nebraska based manufacturer of insect control lighting systems which sells products in the domestic marketplace as well as 18 countries around the globe. Jim has spent over 35 years in various sales capacities for food manufacturers in the US and has moved around the country during his tenure, most recently with Buffalo, NY based Rich Products Corporation. Jim and is wife Karen currently live in Omaha.
Russell L. Schertz: MITA Secretary
Leo A. Daly
Market Sector Leader – Food/Distribution/Manufacturing
Russell has designed and managed an array of expansion projects directly for major food companies over the last 21 years, managing projects that include ammonia refrigeration, automated crane systems and robotics. He is experienced in design of the site, building envelope, utility systems, manufacturing lines, control systems, material handling and finished goods distribution for both green field projects and plant expansions. His specialties include ammonia refrigeration and clean room design details. With a unique perspective as an owner’s representative, Russell always maintains focus on the owner’s needs and expectations by continually communicating with the client and right-sizing the engineering effort to provide the best value.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Phani Tej Adidam
University of Nebraska Omaha
College of Business Admin.
Chairman & Executive Education Professor
Dr. Adidam joined the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in August 1996. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and also the Director of CBA’s Center for International Business Initiatives. Professor Adidam has taught in more than twelve business schools across the globe as a Visiting Professor, including schools in Germany, Austria, Finland, Belgium, France, India, Egypt, Pakistan, China, and Australia. At UNO, Dr. Adidam teaches Marketing and International Business courses to undergraduate, MBA and Executive MBA students. In 2019, he received the UNO Faculty Excellence in Global Engagement Award. In 2008, he received the prestigious UNO’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2007, he received the UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award. Students in the Executive MBA program have awarded him the Distinguished Executive MBA Professor Award seven times in the past 20 years. As a researcher, his work was awarded the Journal of Marketing’s Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award for “…most significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing” for 1999. He has published more than 40 research papers in distinguished peer-reviewed journals.
Brian Gordon: MITA Past President
Senior Vice President & Manager
International Banking Group
Brian joined Commerce in May 2012 with a wealth of knowledge in the international banking industry.He started his banking career at National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1989 while attending the University of Nebraska, working in their international banking department.In 2000, he moved to the Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank where he focused his business development efforts in 7 midwestern states.He then joined Sovereign Bank in the MidAtlantic & New England markets to set up a structured trade finance group. Before returning to the Midwest to join Commerce he was with HSBC in New York City as an international business development officer covering CT, NJ, NY, PA, MD, VA, and Washington DC.He has 30 years experience in trade services operations, trade finance, and structured trade finance areas and has also worked closely with global treasury and foreign exchange.He serves as board president for MITA (Midwest International Trade Association), is on the advisory board of the World Trade Center-Kansas City. Is currently Co-Chair of the BAFT (Bankers Association for Finance & Trade) Regional Banks Council, and serves on the memberships committee of BAFT globally.
CFO Systems, LLC
Neal Greenberg has more than 30 years of financial and operations experience specializing in the renewable fuels, transportation, healthcare, communications, and advertising industries. He works closely with clients to improve operational efficiency, develop strategic plans, be SEC compliant, improve balance sheet management, and strengthen board relations.
Neal has served companies in the roles of President, CFO, Director of Operations and Controller. He has led efforts to improve efficiency, reducing staff and overtime by 50% while improving productivity. In addition, Neal has designed reporting packages to provide a Board of Directors with needed data to make timely management decisions. He eliminated the need for capital contributions by developing a rolling five-week cash flow report and improving overall cash flow by cutting invoicing time from three weeks to one week. He has negotiated debt instruments totaling over $25mm and is experienced in XBRL detail tagging and SEC reporting for many companies.
As an entrepreneur, Neal has experience securing funding through venture capital firms and leading company acquisitions. He founded and ran his own wholesale and manufacturing enterprise and led an improvement in productivity that increased production volume over 300% over two years while lowering production time and costs by 20%.
David R. Mayer
Dvorak Law Group, LLC
David Mayer is a founding member of Dvorak Law Group and counsels clients in a broad range of areas and provides advice on the wide variety of business opportunities and challenges faced by clients. He assists clients with respect to business entity formation and structuring, corporate governance, supply chain management, loan transactions, real estate matters, commercialization of intellectual property assets and the review, drafting and negotiation of all forms of business contracts. Dave routinely acts as outside counsel for clients, handling a broad spectrum of corporate and business matters in conjunction with other legal, accounting, insurance, business and banking experts. Dave helps structure and restructure family businesses in pursuit of long-term family goals. When generational transition poses critical challenges, Dave works closely with the clients to reorganize corporate structures and shareholdings in preparation for a significant corporate transaction, such as a sale of the business.
Honorary Japan Consul in Nebraska
Andrew Schilling was a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, specializing in public diplomacy and strategic communications. In his 24 years with the foreign service, Andy served as a public affairs officer at U.S. embassies in Warsaw, Oslo, Vienna, Rome and Tokyo. His principal duties included Embassy press spokesman; overseeing media relations and senior delegation visits; and managing professional and educational exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. government. He is fluent in German, Italian and French, and speaks or reads six other languages, including Japanese.
Following his foreign service career, Andy resettled his family to Omaha and accepted a position as the command speechwriter at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB. Andy was employed for six years at First National Bank of Omaha, where he worked in the enterprise marketing department, with previous experience in the Bank’s mortgage, credit card and risk management areas. Most recently, Andy was the senior director for international business development at the Greater Omaha Chamber, where his responsibilities included export promotion, foreign direct investment, and other business development opportunities with international partners.
Andy graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Modern Languages, and served four years in the Navy as a surface warfare officer. After his naval service, he earned an MBA in marketing from The Wharton School, and worked four years on Madison Avenue as an advertising account executive at Young & Rubicam New York. Beginning in Fall 2021, Andy is teaching German and French at Skutt Catholic High School. He is a board member and Vice President of the Omaha Sister Cities Association. He is a member of the Nebraska World Affairs Council (NEWAC). He is an adjunct professor at UNO, teaching the GLOBE international business issues course, and serves on the UNO International Studies Community Advisory Board. As an adjunct professor at Sheridan University (WY), he has taught online courses in International Business and Electronic Commerce.
Andy was the recipient of a Japan Foundation GEN-J grant [Grassroots Exchange Network], and participated in the program in October, 2019, with visits to Tokyo and Hiroshima. He participated in a Nebraska Trade Mission to Tokyo in February of 2020. In August 2020, he was appointed as Honorary Consul for Japan to Nebraska by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He and his wife Tracy have two grown sons: Tony, a graduate of Creighton; and Jamey, who graduated from Marquette.
Ascent Global Logistics
Director of Strategic Accounts / Business Development
Zach Severin is the Director of Strategic Accounts / Business Development for Ascent Global Logistics in Omaha, NE. Ascent Global Logistics is a C-TPAT validated NVOCC and Licensed U.S. Customs Broker authorized to operate in every U.S. Port of Entry. Ascent 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 Ascent in Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL prior to returning to his Omaha roots.
Oxbow Animal Health
Director of Business Development
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.
U.S. Commercial Service – Omaha
Meredith Bond is the Director of the US Commercial Service’s Omaha office, a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Commercial Service works with companies who are expanding their international business as well as those just beginning export sales. As the Director covering Nebraska, she manages a diverse portfolio of clients by developing international marketing strategies, performing market research and locating overseas business contacts. She has served as President of the Midwest International Trade Association (MITA) and served on the organization’s Board Advisory Committee. In 2007 she achieved “CGBP” certification. The Certified Global Business Professional exam provides a benchmark for competency in global commerce. Meredith is a graduate of Bucknell University and received a Masters in International Affairs from American University.
Jim Hushka, CCE, CICP is the Credit Manager for Warren Distribution, Inc. located in Omaha, NE. He began his more than 19 year career in credit management shortly after receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Creighton University. Jim has held board positions for the Nebraska Connect affiliate of the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), the Omaha/Lincoln Chapter of the Credit Financial Development Division (CFDD), as well the national board of CFDD. Jim currently lives in Omaha, NE with his wife Carrie and sons Stephen, Henry, and Jude.
Terry McMullen: MITA Past President
AIT Worldwide Logistics/Cargo Zone LLC
Branch Owner of AIT Worldwide Logistics/Omaha
President of Cargo Zone LLC
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.
Gloria has served as the Executive Assistant for the Midwest International Trade Association for the past twenty 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.”