Meet the People that Keep The Borderplex Alliance Working for You

Our team is here to help you receive more information about the Borderplex or answer any questions that you may have about doing business in the Borderplex.

As the new Chief Executive Officer of The Borderplex Alliance, Jon Barela will build on the successes and inroads The Borderplex Alliance has made in the last three years by unifying our region, creating new jobs, and elevating The North American Borderplex to national and international audiences. Previously, Jon Barela served as New Mexico’s Economic Development Cabinet Secretary. Jon brings a unique set of experience to The Borderplex Alliance having served in the public sector, as a Fortune 100 company executive, and as a small business owner.

During his tenure as cabinet secretary, he led unprecedented efforts to develop and attract investments to the North American Borderplex and exponentially increased trade with Mexico. New Mexico became a national leader in export growth; this includes quadrupling exports from New Mexico to Mexico and doubling the international exports from the time he took office. According to the United States Department of Commerce, New Mexico became the number one state in export expansion and export - related job creation. As a result of these trade initiatives, more than 16,000 jobs were added in the state. His efforts to improve the business climate also led to private-sector job growth reaching its highest level in nearly a decade and New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropping 2.5 percentage points.

Jon Barela is a native of the North American Borderplex, born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After graduating from Las Cruces High School, Barela received an international relations degree with honors from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.

He began his career in public service as a senior aide to the late New Mexico Congressman Joe Skeen on the House Appropriations Committee, and he earned his law degree from Georgetown while working for Congressman Skeen. He served as New Mexico’s Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Civil Division, where he led unprecedented efforts to enforce and educate the public about New Mexico’s open meetings and public records laws. Barela also worked at Intel Corporation as its government and community affairs manager and as an attorney with Modrall-Sperling Law Firm.

Laurie Banitch leverages her skills in project management and economic analysis as the Vice President of Strategic Planning at The Borderplex Alliance.

Ms. Banitch began her career in Washington, DC, where she served a number of federal agencies in the financial services and health care industries as a (consultant) with Deloitte. Later, Ms. Banitch was a senior consultant with Deloitte on commercial projects for a large financial institution in New York City. A native El Pasoan and graduate of Loretto Academy, Ms. Banitch spent more than a decade on the East Coast before returning to El Paso in 2015. Ms. Banitch is a graduate of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington, DC , where she double majored in Finance and International Business. She also has a Master of Science in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University Krieger School.

Mr. Delgado is the Executive Vice President at The Borderplex Alliance. His responsibilities include the business recruitment, retention and expansion efforts, economic development and strategic partnerships. He also oversees the organization’s operations management. He has over 20 years in the engineering and business fields in both the United States and Mexico. He has held various engineering and engineering management positions with companies such as Rockwell International, TI Automotive Group and the Whirlpool Corporation.

Mr. Delgado served as Vice President at Neologic International, a United States based manufacturing firm with operations in Cd. Juarez Mexico. After his tenure with Neologic International, Mr. Delgado served as Vice President at SLI Engineering, a privately held engineering, project management land development company. At SLI Engineering, he managed the firm’s U.S. and Mexico business development efforts and business operations functions.

Mr. Delgado has served on the board of directors of the Notre Dame Club of El Paso and National Society of Hispanic MBAs. He is also member of the University of Texas – El Paso Alumni Association, Society on Automotive Engineers and currently serves on the advisory board of the Lone Star Emerging Business Fund.

Mr. Delgado holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame.

Susan A. Melendez is the Senior Vice President for Investor Relations at The Borderplex Alliance, a regional non-profit organization dedicated to economic development and prosperity in the Cd. Juárez, El Paso, and southern New Mexico region. In this role, Ms. Melendez manages more than 230 investors and members who have come together to promote comprehensive regional economic development, cooperation, and collaboration.

Prior to joining The Borderplex Alliance in 2012, Ms. Melendez served as Executive Vice President of Business Development and Operations for the Inter National Bank, where she established the bank's first branch location outside its headquarters in McAllen, Texas. She began her 32-year banking career with Chase Bank, formerly Texas Commerce Bank, where she held several senior positions, including Senior Vice President for Marketing and Business Development; Vice President for Commercial, Real Estate and Consumer Loan Operations; Vice President and Compliance Officer; and Audit Manager.

Ms. Melendez has played a critical role in the economic development of the North American Borderplex region for more than two decades. She was a founding board member of the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corp (REDCo) and of the Paso del Norte Group, which was a predecessor association to the Borderplex Alliance.

A life-long El Pasoan, Ms. Melendez has matched her professional accomplishments with significant community service and engagement. She has served in leadership roles in many community and charitable organizations, including the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, YWCA Paso del Norte Region, YWCA of El Paso Foundation, The El Paso Center for Children, the Visiting Nurse Association, FEMAP Foundation, Project Arriba, and the Women's Fund of El Paso. She has also been active with the Advisory Council for the University of Texas El Paso’s College of Business and the Boy Scouts - Yucca Council. Ms. Melendez serves on the Governing Boards of The Hospitals of Providence at Memorial & Sierra Campuses.

Ms. Melendez graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BBA in Accounting. She is a licensed Texas certified public accountant (CPA).

Lydia Nesbitt-Arronte is the Vice President of Education & Workforce Development at The Borderplex Alliance, a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development and prosperity in the Cd. Juárez, El Paso, and southern New Mexico region. In this role, Mrs. Nesbitt-Arronte manages The Borderplex Alliance’s efforts around the creation and implementation of a regional strategic plan and helps cultivate and align local efforts to improve educational outcomes for students in both the United States and Mexico.

Prior to joining The Borderplex Alliance, Ms. Nesbitt-Arronte worked in the financial industry initially and was hired to into the manufacturing sector where she spent several years. She headed the administrative, human resources and financial departments at three different companies, one of which was a start-up operation.

Ms. Nesbitt-Arronte served as a professor and the Director of Industry Relations at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) during some of Cd. Juárez’s most difficult years. While there, she established collaborative efforts between academia and industry in the areas of research, internships, continuing education, and alumni relations, including a partnership with New Mexico State University. In 2010, she contributed to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s regional study and participated in its presentation in Paris.

Ms. Nesbitt-Arronte is an architect and co -founder of CONDREDES, an organization that aims to bridge the gap between maquiladoras and higher education in Cd. Juárez, Mexico. She also helped found the Council for Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), which works to improve college and career opportunities for high school students in the region. Ms. Nesbitt-Arronte serves on the boards of a number of community organizations, including the HUB of Innovation - El Paso, The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, and Workforce Solutions Borderplex.

Ms. Nesbitt-Arronte graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a BBA degree in Economics and Finance. She also obtained her MBA from UTEP.

Robert Palacios is the VP of Communications at The Borderplex Alliance. He is a graduate of Coronado High School in El Paso and of Oberlin College. After graduating from Oberlin, Robert was selected as Venture For America Fellow, a selective, two-year program that connects college graduates to positions at startup companies in emerging cities nationwide. During his VFA Fellowship, Robert was on the Business Development team at Beam Dental, a Columbus, OH-based healthcare technology startup. His additional experience includes an internship with the management consulting firm Monitor Deloitte and a fellowship with the policy and communications firm The Raben Group.

Tony Ramirez is the Vice President of Economic Development for The Borderplex Alliance where he focuses on business recruitment, retention and expansion efforts, economic development and strategic partnerships. A native El Pasoan, Ramirez has more than a decade experience working in various leadership roles in corporate sales for a global Fortune 200 logistics and supply chain company in Dallas/Fort Worth and El Paso, CH Robinson.

While at Robinson, Mr. Ramirez successfully assisted multiple organizations in various industries with supply chain mapping and process design in regard to distribution, technology optimization, and the end-user experience. He has also driven solutions for clients manufacturing in Mexico conducting global cross-border trade.

Previously, Mr. Ramirez served as a regional economic developer with the New Mexico Economic Development Department. While at the New Mexico Economic Development Department Mr. Ramirez assisted public and private organizations to leverage resources to enhance economic development opportunities in industries such as energy, agriculture, tech startups, & value added manufacturing which led to significant job growth and private investment.

Mr. Ramirez also has served as a market analyst in business retention and expansion for the Arrowhead Center of Economic Development while pursuing a degree at NMSU. He has a BA in Business Administration - Marketing from New Mexico State University and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Sandra Sides serves as the Office Manager and Administrative Assistant for The Borderplex Alliance. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Sandra graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara with a degree in Business Administration. She later joined the accounting and consulting firm PwC as an Administrative Assistant, where she worked in both the Guadalajara and Cd. Juárez offices. Prior to joining The Borderplex Alliance, Sandra was an Office Manager at Sigler’s Inc., an El Paso-based wholesale and distribution company.