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.

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. Jon Barela also served as New Mexico’s Economic Development Cabinet Secretary. 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.

Mr. Barela become CEO of the Borderplex Alliance in 2016.

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).

Arturo Wiener is the Senior Vice President of Finance for The Borderplex Alliance. His duties include managing budgeting & financial planning, human resources, and accounting. 

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.

John A. Meza is the Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs for The Borderplex Alliance. 

Previously he served as Communications Director for Beto O'Rourke. Prior to joining the Borderplex Alliance, he was a Principal at a national public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. 

A sixth-generation Texan, Mr. Meza was educated at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Kassandra Huhn is Vice President of Workforce Development and Analytics at the Borderplex Alliance. Her work focuses on providing economic research and data analysis to organizations interested in conducting business in the Borderplex region. Prior to joining the Borderplex Alliance, she worked in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - El Paso Branch. She received her BBA and MS in Economics and Finance from UTEP.

Natalie Littlefield is Vice President of Strategy at the Borderplex Alliance where she is developing & implementing the 2025 regional strategic plan. Before taking this role, Natalie worked at the local workforce board where she oversaw the administration of federal, state and privately funded industry training programs and research projects, was project lead for grants development, and was the liaison for businesses, economic development and education partners. 

Natalie has been an avid community volunteer since she was a teenager. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors at the El Paso Chamber and Progress321 and is on the Advisory Board for the UTEP Education Department. She has served on several other boards and committees, including the World Affairs Council (former President), the EP Chamber Education and Workforce Committee (2018 Chair), the Texas Education Agency IT Advisory Council, and the United Way Young Leaders Society. 

Before returning to her hometown of El Paso, Natalie lived in Washington, DC where she worked at two international nonprofit organizations centering on conflict resolution as well as a startup company dedicated to increasing access to healthy food. She was an adjunct law school competitions coach and her teams won various awards including a national championship for an academic triathlon.

She has a law degree from American University, a BA in English Literature from UTEP and is an alumna of the U.S. Institute of Peace Academy. She has certifications in workforce development and business services consulting and is a member of the International Economic Development Council.

As the Staff Accountant at the Borderplex Alliance, Monica is responsible for the day-to-day execution of activities including billing, payroll, and tax preparation. Prior to joining the Borderplex Alliance, Monica worked as an accountant for a variety of major firms and small businesses. She is an El Paso native and a graduate of Texas State University. 

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.

Denise Avila is the Program Coordinator of Borderplex de México, a subsidiary of the Borderplex Alliance. She works to improve planning and coordination between the community, public, and private sectors to impact the formation and development of talent. Denise has experience working in nonprofit organizations in communications and analytics roles. She is a graduate of the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua and is currently studying for an MBA.