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EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE

Top 25 Attorneys 2016: EB-5 Community Economists

Panel

For the first time, we are pleased to recognize EB-5 business plan writers and economists in the EB5Investors.com community for their experience and expertise. Our list includes 10 EB-5 economists and 10 EB-5 business plan writers. We selected these EB-5 professionals based off of their participation in the EB5Investors.com community and their reputation in the field. Next year, we will open up selection to the EB-5 community with a voting process just as we do for the EB-5 attorneys. We look forward to starting an all new special feature highlighting these professionals, who perform such an integral role to the EB-5 industry. For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.

Kimberly Atteberry

Vermilion Consulting LLC

Kimberly Atteberry has worked as a labor economist for over 20 years, both in the private and public sectors.  Her first exposure to EB-5 came during her tenure as the USCIS Chief Economist.  While at USCIS, she improved the quality and responsiveness of the EB-5 adjudication process.  Atteberry served as the agency expert for EB-5 Immigrant Investor economic analyses, providing guidance to senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security leaders, members of Congress and staffers, external stakeholders, and adjudicators.  She also taught both economics and marketing at the United States Air Force Academy as one of a select group of civilian instructors.  

After leaving government service in 2011, Atteberry restarted her economic consulting practice, Vermilion Consulting LLC, focusing primarily on EB-5 economic analyses, TEA analyses, business plan writing, and general programmatic consulting. Vermilion’s clients include numerous EB-5 stakeholders, including regional centers, developers, broker-dealers, local & state governments, investment banks, private equity firms, and immigration attorneys. 

Atteberry’s EB-5 submissions stand apart from those of other service providers because they are written in plain language, and are designed to ease the adjudicator’s workload. This approach has allowed for more rapid adjudication. Atteberry customizes each submission with the investors’ goals and ultimate I-829 adjudication in mind. By submitting thoughtful, straightforward documents, she helps ensure success at the culmination of the EB-5 immigration process. 

Atteberry’s unique perspective provides clients the ability to quickly and efficiently review projects for EB-5 suitability.  Additionally, her teaching experience allows her to communicate complex concepts using understandable terms. Her hands-on engagement with clients allows Atteberry to guide the process with an eye on the end-game and achieving desired results. 

Atteberry enjoys working in the EB-5 industry, where she says there is never a dull moment.   The collaboration with other industry participants provides satisfying opportunities for professional development. She values her experiences in the EB-5 industry, and eagerly anticipates a bright future for the program. Atteberry and her husband, Christopher, operate Vermilion from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Scott Barnhart

Barnhart Economic Services LLC

Scott Barnhart is president of Barnhart Economic Services LLC, a consulting firm founded in 2005. The firm employs three Ph.D. economists and specializes in EB-5 and non-EB-5 economic job creation studies, Targeted Employment Area designations, and EB-5 business plan writing.  Barnhart received his Ph.D. in economics/econometrics from Texas A&M University and is an Associate Professor of Finance and the Program Director of the Certified Financial Planner Program at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. 

The firm has used RIMS II and IMPLAN Pro Input-Output models to estimate the economic job creation impacts in support of I-924 regional center applications, I924A and I-829 job reporting and RFE (Request for Evidence) responses for dozens of regional centers, resulting in excess of 400 job creation and TEA reports submitted to USCIS in the EB-5 program, resulting in a 100 percent approval rate. To date, the firm has analyzed projects with capital expenditures in excess of $13.5 billion with associated gross revenues of $8 billion, and job creation estimates of over 215,000 jobs. 

Projects include $10 - $40 million hotels and assisted living facilities, $200 million to$500 million destination and resort hotels and office buildings, hospitals, manufacturing, a $1.4 billion deep water cargo port off the coast of Louisiana, and a $1.3 billion electrical transmission line project in the southwest United States, two of the largest projects submitted to USCIS. Barnhart is also an active speaker in the national EB-5 circuit, having discussed EB-5 job creation and RFE issues in seminars across the United States as well as in China.  

Barnhart teaches Corporate Finance and Investments, and his research addresses mutual funds, futures markets, exchange rates and econometric applications in testing financial theories.  His research has been published in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Harvard University’s Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Empirical Finance, the Journal of Banking and Finance, Financial Review, the Journal of International Money and Finance, the Journal of Futures Markets, and other finance and economics journals.

John Barrett

Performance Economics

John Barrett began his career as an economist working for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). He was a regional economist in the BEA’s Regional Economic Analysis Division, the same division that produces the RIMS II model. 

After leaving the BEA, Barrett held the position of Director of Research at the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), a public policy think tank housed in the economics department at Suffolk University in Boston. The research at BHI focused on tax policy and its effect on growth and employment.  He was lead researcher on the team that developed the computable general equilibrium framework that would become BHI’s trademarked STAMP model. 

Following his position at Suffolk University, Barrett took the position of Principal at IHS Global Insight, the world’s leading economic forecasting and consulting firm.  In his capacity as Principal he led teams of researchers/economists on engagements for large Fortune 500 clients, including Intel, Walmart, S.W.I.F.T. and Hewlett Packard.  As part of the engagement for the European Commission, his team authored three chapters for the EC’s 2009 report, “Sectoral Growth Drivers and Competitiveness in the European Union,” including a sole authorship on the chapter on profitability. 

Prior to founding Performance Economics, Barrett was Vice President of Strategic Analytics at Mullen in Boston, Advertising Age’s 2014 Agency A-List # 2 Agency.  He managed the team of analysts in the Strategic Analytics department that ensured that clients were getting the maximum ROI for the advertising dollar. Their clients included JetBlue, U.S. Cellular and Barnes & Noble. Since founding and managing Performance Economics, Barrett has been the economist on many EB-5 engagements. He has also been a panelist at several EB-5 related conferences. He advises attendees on issues regarding EB-5 economic impact modeling and provides guidance around the latest issues the USCIS has raised concerning job impacts in the EB-5 program.  He has been a guest speaker at several conferences for the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, Association to Invest in USA and Immigration Law Weekly.   

Jeffrey Carr

Economic & Policy Resources Inc.

Jeffrey Carr is president and senior economist of Economic & Policy Resources Inc., and has more than 35 years of experience as an economist-analyst. At EPR, Carr has completed more than 175 assignments under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in 43 states and U.S. Territories. These assignments include economic impact assessment studies for regional centers, I-526 investor petition filings, and I-829 proceedings. Carr also has worked on dozens of assignments relating to Targeted Employment Area design, drafting of EB-5 project business plans in all EB-5 settings, and on regional center business-operations plans for I-924 applicants and amendments. Carr has lectured on EB-5 economic impact studies and EB-5 project business plans throughout the United States and China. He also was a member of the “Best Practices Committee” in 2013 and currently serves on the Policy Committee for IIUSA. In addition, Carr has extensive experience in economic analysis, economic forecasting, regional economic and fiscal impact analysis, financial analysis, economic-tax revenue forecasting, and preparing and presenting state economic-fiscal data to Wall Street bond rating agencies. For the past 26 years, he also has served as the consulting State Economist and Principal Tax Revenues Analyst-Forecaster for the past five Governors of his home state—including six years for current Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, eight years for former Governor James H. Douglas, 12 years for former Vermont Governor Howard B. Dean and for Governor Madeline Kunin and Richard A. Snelling. He has been Forecast Manager for more than 25 years for his state for the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP)—a regional group of business-academic forecasters. He has been a member of the NEEP Board of Directors for the past five years. In the late 1980s, Carr worked in Washington D.C. for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state of Michigan. He holds a B.S. and a M.S. degree from the University of Vermont. He currently holds several appointed Board positions and held elected office in his hometown from 2001 to 2010.

Michael Evans

Evans, Carroll & Associates Inc.

Dr. Michael Evans is the chairman of Boca Raton, Florida-based Evans, Carroll & Associates Inc., an economic consulting firm specializing in EB-5 immigration analysis, economic impact studies of development projects and new construction, models of state and local tax receipts, impact of current and proposed government legislation and construction of econometric models for individual industries and companies.

Evans and his team exclusively handle EB-5 project reports for regional centers. They have provided economic impact reports for more than 550 clients in industries across the country, including hotels, residential housing complexes, mixed-use commercial projects, senior living facilities, apartment buildings, charter schools and mines.

Evans was the co-developer of the original Wharton Model with as an assistant and associate professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He has taught as a clinical professor of Economics at Northwestern University, was a visiting professor at Radford University and visiting lecturer at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

As a consultant for the United States Senate Finance Committee, Evans designed the first large-scale supply-side model of the U.S. economy. Evans has served as a consultant to the U.S. Treasury, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In the area of Casino Gaming he has built an econometric model to measure the growth of the gaming industry over the next decade, and the economic impact of that industry in employment and tax revenues at the Federal and state levels.

Evans also worked in the area of determining the economic impact of smoking bans and higher taxes in both the U.S. and Canada. He examined the impact of smoking bans on restaurant sales in several different locations to determine how such sales changed when these taxes or bans were imposed.

Finally, Evans built an econometric model to examine how U.S. tax and regulatory policies help determine whether the gold mining industry would invest in the U.S. or in other countries.

Ismael Fernández

Greengate Consulting

Dr. Ismael Fernández started his career in the EB-5 space as an extension to his practice in immigration business consulting, which began in 2010. As a professional that thrives when learning continuously, he saw the opportunity to naturally expand his trade to those clients seeking EB-5 visas through direct investment methods in 2011, and through Regional Centers in 2012. Dr. Fernandez learned quickly how to build economic models using IMPLAN, and transitioned to RIMS-II due to its transparency, flexibility, and government origins. He now offers REMI as a third option to those clients that may prefer to consider competitor effects. Fernández is the founder and president of Greengate Consulting, a firm dedicated to EB-5 and non EB-5 project development.

Prior to being an independent business consultant, Fernández was a manager at General Electric, where he controlled a team of forecasting analysts predicting worldwide demand of gas turbine parts. He was responsible for determining the production schedule of $1 billion worth of parts per year. Prior to that, he was the portfolio risk leader of GE Contractual Services, where he developed critical systems to monitor the financial risk exposure to GE of power plant technical failures.

Fernández, originally from Madrid, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he then obtained an MBA along with a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in the subject of financial engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He worked for the Georgia Tech Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory in Atlanta in conjunction with Boeing, Airbus, and General Electric. Fernández has conducted extensive research and developed methods to assess the value of intangible assets, such research and development projects, using Real Options, a financial valuation method derived from stock option pricing. 

Fernández currently resides in Atlanta with his three kids, and dedicates most of his free time to his family. He is passionate about soccer and aviation, and takes advantage of his flying skills to visit EB-5 projects in the region whenever he has a chance.

Sean Flynn

Impact Econometrics LLC

Sean Flynn is an associate professor of economics at Scripps College in Claremont, California.  He is the author of the international best-seller Economics for Dummies, which has now been translated into seven foreign languages, as well as the coauthor, along with Campbell McConnell and Stanley Brue, of the world’s best-selling college economics textbook, Economics: Principles, Problems, and Policies.  The latter is also the world’s best-selling textbook of any subject. His research specialties are behavioral economics and behavioral finance, with a focus on irrational investors. 

Flynn is an economist and the founder of Impact Econometrics LLC, headquartered in Upland, California. Flynn is skilled in conducting USCIS-compliant economic impact studies involving complex input/output models, such as IMPLAN, for EB-5 development projects. 

He started Impact Econometrics after completing an economic impact analysis to assist a friend who was utilizing EB-5 money for a major hotel project in California. Now he works with top immigration lawyers to both fund American entrepreneurs and to give international investors the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. Flynn has consulted on a number of projects in fields such as hospitality, retirement, and recreation in order to calculate the economic impact related to construction, operation, remodeling, and more.

Flynn taught economics and finance for seven years at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, before relocating to sunny southern California, where he has taught since 2010 at Scripps College in Claremont.

An avid martial artist, Flynn is a former aikido national champion and has coached five of his students to U.S. national aikido titles. Flynn’s research specialties are behavioral economics and behavioral finance, with a focus on irrational investors. A commentator on FOX Business, ABC News, and NPR, Flynn holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California Berkeley, where he completed his dissertation under the supervision of 2001 Nobel Laureate George Akerlof.

Michael Kester

Impact DataSource LLC

Michael Kester is the lead EB-5 economist with Impact DataSource LLC, an economic research, analysis and consulting firm based out of Austin, TX. In the past twenty years, Impact DataSource has completed more than 2,500 economic impact analyses in all industry sectors across the United States for firms, projects and activities. Leveraging this deep experience in economic analysis, Impact DataSource has become an EB-5 industry leader in economic studies, Targeted Employment Area analysis and due diligence.  

As Impact DataSource’s lead EB-5 economist, Kester has been in charge of a team that has prepared more than 125 comprehensive EB-5 economic impact analyses and assisted clients in obtaining hundreds of TEA letters. Impact DataSource is also a part of USAdvisor’s due diligence team. Kester has conducted EB-5-specific economic analyses of various project types and sizes including hotels, assisted living facilities, multi- and single-family developments, mixed-use developments, infrastructure projects, oil and gas projects, and manufacturing firms. He continues to focus on providing EB-5 consulting, services and deliverables that reflect the evolving needs of EB-5 clients and also the changing requirements of USCIS.

Outside of client work, Kester and the Impact DataSource team have other significant industry involvement. Kester is on the Invest in the USA (IIUSA) EB-5 editorial committee, offering the economist’s perspective and authoring several articles for the Regional Center Business Journal, and he has led and participated in several economist-related webinars and panels. Impact DataSource also provides free public tools, including a user-friendly TEA map, to assist and educate EB-5 stakeholders in economic analysis and TEA-related matters.  

Kester is originally from Wichita, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He moved to Austin after working several years for Deloitte Consulting in New York City. He enjoys spending time with his wife Emily, daughter Isabella, and Airedale mutt Ozzie. Whatever time might be left is split between playing keys in a local Austin band, and soccer. 

Elliot Winer

NorthEast Economic Analysis Group and Winer Economic Consulting

Elliot Winer is the founder of Northeast Economic Analysis Group (NEEAG) and Winer Economic Consulting and its chief economist. The companies provide professional economic analysis and assistance, focusing on analyzing Targeted Employment Areas in the EB-5 program. Winer works with clients to organize authoritative documentation which address the unique requirements of each individual state, presenting these documents to the local or state-governing department/entity for quick verification and expected designation of the requested TEA. 

As the chief economist for NEEAG since 2010 and Winer Economic Consulting since 2015, Winer has extensive expertise in evaluating and developing potential TEAs, and has received well over 700 TEA designations in over 35 states.  Winer has a breadth of experience working with state and local governments across the country to secure TEA certifications which adhere to USCIS and individual state rules and regulations. He has watched the EB-5 program grow and evolve into a stronger program today. 

Prior to establishing NEEAG, Winer worked as a labor economist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving as the chief supervisor of economic research for the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development (DWD), where he managed all of the major U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS) federal-state cooperative research programs including the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program. Winer subsequently served for 12 years as the director of economic analysis and chief economist for the DWD. In this role, he directed the development of widely-acclaimed labor market information publications, managed Massachusetts’ occupational employment and industry forecasts, and designed and developed a new job vacancy survey. 

Winer was the recipient of the 2005 Commonwealth Corporation Excellence in Research and Evaluation Award. He has been frequently quoted in the media for his economic expertise and currently is a member of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Executive Advisory Board. Winer graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and he received his MBA degree from the University of Maryland. Winer enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, horseback riding, and following Syracuse University basketball, the Boston Red Sox and Celtics.

Kevin Wright

Wright Johnson LLC

Kevin Wright, Chief Executive Officer of Wright Johnson, is a world renowned EB-5 expert and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the EB-5 Immigration Visa program.  As an accomplished researcher, EB-5 economist, and professional author, he has completed economic impact studies for more than 500 projects in such diverse industries of hotel, senior living, oil and gas, technology, and medical projects in the EB-5 space.  Further, Wright is responsible for the creation of more than 175 Regional Centers in the United States.

Wright began working on EB-5 projects in 2006 when the industry was still in its infancy and became one the preeminent figures in the rise of EB-5 after the economic downturn that propelled the program to prominence in the following years.  During that time Wright has seen EB-5 grow from an obscure program that was utilized by less than 20 Regional Centers and administered by a few department heads with little guidance, to a robust program that is overseen by a USCIS department of more than 150 adjudicators, economists, and supervisors. Today the adjudication of projects is fairly well understood, but along the way there have been many iterations of change including tenant occupancy, refinements in Regional Center geography, standards for independent verification of economic inputs, and TEA refinement. Fast forward to 10 years later, and Wright Johnson has completed more than 600 economic impact studies related to the EB-5 program and employs a large team of economists, analysts, and business plan writers.

Due to his breadth of knowledge and experience in the EB-5 field, Wright is a highly sought after speaker in the industry. He is invited to speak at conferences in numerous cities across America, as well as international events in China, Vietnam, Russia, the Middle East, and South America. His dedication to his clients and the growth of the EB-5 program has led Wright to spend several months of the year in China, working with investors and migration agents on a daily basis to improve their understanding of the EB-5 program and input/output analysis.  

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