Our Board of Directors
Ziad K. Abdelnour
Founder and Chairman
As Founder and Chairman of the Financial Policy Council, Ziad K. Abdelnour is also a Wall Street Financier, Author, Philanthropist, Activist, Lobbyist, Oil & Gas Trader & President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., a New York based private equity “family office” that focuses on originating, structuring, advising and acting as equity investor in management-led buyouts, strategic minority equity investments, equity private placements, consolidations, buildups, and growth capital financing in companies and projects based both in the US and emerging markets and the trading of key physical commodities.
Since 1985, Mr. Abdelnour has been involved in over 125 transactions worth in aggregate over $10 billion in the investment banking, high yield bond and distressed debt markets and has been widely recognized for playing an integral role in those three key market sectors.
Mr. Abdelnour serves on the board of Elate Partners, a Chinese investment group backed by large institutional, strategic and wealthy individual investors from China.
Mr. Abdelnour also serves on the Advisory board of DPG Investments, a recognized premier multi strategy global merchant banking, alternative investment, management and advisory firm.
He is the author of “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics” ; a best seller manuscript written for investors that need to navigate the troubled geopolitical waters of the post-crisis world and a prolific writer for 100+ entrepreneurial and financial publications advising and educating investors in private equity, hedge funds, crowdfunding, Sovereign Wealth Funds, fund-of-funds, angel networks, venture capital and family offices.
Mr. Abdelnour is also a regular speaker on Private Equity, Physical Commodities trading and Middle East geo-political analysis at industry conferences & TV outlets nationwide including but not limited to Fox News, Newsmax, etc… and a key “influencer” in his own right having a hard core constituency of over 2 million viewers having read his blog postings and analyses since January 2014.
Mr. Abdelnour holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from the American University of Beirut.
He was recently listed as one of the 500 Most Influential CEOs in the World.
Vice President - Founding Member
As Vice President of the Financial Policy Council, and with over 25 years of experience as a financial services IT professional, Mr. Eppanapally has been involved in directing and managing global technology initiatives including strategic planning, architecture, design, development and deployment. He has worked over the years at several Wall Street investment banks like Merrill Lynch, Blackrock, Credit Suisse, Alliance Capital and BNY Mellon.
Mr. Eppanapally is the Chairman of the board for Quibble Genomics Institute, Inc. (QuibbleMD.com), focused to bring a revolution in consumer genomics, personalized medicine, and population health. Quibble specializes in human genome modeling, analysis and visualization by transforms the bio samples to visually appealing Genomic insights based on Unity3D gaming technology.
Mr. Eppanapally is the Chairman of the board for the CIC Group, Inc., a management consulting and advisory firm for mergers and acquisitions. He has a keen interest in investing and promoting education, healthcare and energy sectors.
Mr. Eppanapally was the Vice President of Concepts in Computing, Inc., an IT services company providing specialized services to major Wall Street firms and global investment banks.
Mr. Eppanapally is the founding Chairman of the board for Lead India 2020 Foundation, Inc. a social transformation organization promoted by the former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to educate, inspire and transform 640 Million youth of India into responsible citizens to develop the nation.
Mr. Eppanapally was the founding President of VT Seva, (Volunteering Together for Service), a global non-profit organization with over 100,000 volunteers dedicated to providing education to tribal and blind children, cancer screening for rural women and children, and disaster relief during floods/tsunamis and earth quakes.
Mr. Eppanapally received his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India, and M.S. in Computer and Information Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey.
Secretary - Founding Member
Mr. Ferguson has more than 25 years’ experience launching and managing several successful high technology ventures and designing complex information environments. Mr. Ferguson brings the business experience garnered from building a multi-million dollar defense contracting company, as well as a cutting-edge technical know-how, and the visionary acumen of a true futurist to the complex needs of solving today’s business problems. The sole founder of Crius, Inc., one of the founders of Intercom Consulting and Federal Systems, and a co-founder of Scarlet Fire Entertainment; Mr. Ferguson brings the business experience of founding and building a multi-million dollar defense contracting company, as well as a cutting edge entertainment technology firm to his high level of competence in solving the complex needs of today’s businesses. In the Washington Metropolitan Area, where technologists abound, Washington Technology magazine noted Mr. Ferguson as one of the area’s notable technology entrepreneurs and futurists. Of note is that Mr. Ferguson’s patented concept preceded market leader Apple Inc’s iTunes service by two years, and correctly predicted the rise of downloadable internet content which today represents an important and significant growth sector of the global economy today. Mr. Ferguson’s next patent in individual medical logistics predicted the rise of personalized medicine and information logistics.
Mr. Ferguson’s clients include various Cabinet level Departments, and Inter-Agency working groups. Mr. Ferguson also served as CIO-level consultant to the Executive branch of the US Government, along with lead architect and technical leader for a number of major global information networks. Currently, his recommendations to a Cabinet level Department’s Strategic Planning Office are regularly reviewed by the Executive branch, Legislative branch, and other agencies. Mr. Ferguson founded Crius, Inc., providing system architecture and design services for both government and commercial clients. As an example of the level of work done by his companies, while heading up Crius, Mr. Ferguson played a lead role in restructuring architecting the changes that dramatically improved a US Government global network that was ranked as one of the worst in the federal government, and two years later was ranked one of the best.
Mr. Ferguson continued to build upon his early success, co-founded Scarlet Fire Entertainment, a content aggregator and music download service. Recently, he has also founded Dawn’s Light, a media company that is an executive producer and management team for multiple feature length films. In 2000, Mr. Ferguson founded Kaang, Inc. to provide strategic, enterprise-level consulting on the intersections of security, technology, and business alignment for major clients. Mr. Ferguson is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. He also served in the 29th Light Infantry, and is a multi-decade practitioner of the martial arts.
Treasurer - Founding Member
As Treasurer of the Financial Policy Council, Mrs. Ramirez is currently President & Chief Executive Officer of Maria Fiorini Ramirez, Inc., (MFR) an independent global economic and financial consulting firm formed in August 1992. Mrs. Ramirez and her colleagues are highly rated for their consistently accurate, unbiased analysis of economic trends and other issues that affect markets and investment decisions.
Mrs. Ramirez is a frequent speaker at U.S. and international forums and is a regular guest on a variety media outlets such as CNBC, CNN, ABC, Fox News, Bloomberg Financial News, PBS, CBS, and TV Tokyo. She is also a regular contributor to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s leading financial publication.
Mrs. Ramirez began her career in 1967 with Meinhard Commercial a subsidiary of CIT. In 1968 she joined American Express International Banking Corporation and learned various aspects of banking while earning a BA in Business Administration/Economics from Pace University. In 1973, she spent one year as a credit analyst at Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in New York. In 1974 she joined Merrill Lynch where during her 10 year tenure she was appointed First Vice President and Senior Money Market Economist. Mrs. Ramirez became a Senior Vice President and Senior Money Market Economist at Becker Paribas in 1984 when the firm was acquired by Merrill Lynch. From 1984 to 1990 (when the firm dissolved) she was Managing Director and Money Market Economist for Drexel Burnham Lambert.
In March 1990, she founded Maria Ramirez Capital Consultants, Inc., a subsidiary of John Hancock Freedom Securities. As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Ramirez created an economic consulting business and was responsible for the management of the firm’s global fixed income funds. In 1992, Mrs. Ramirez established Maria Fiorini Ramirez, Inc., which also serves as the holding company for MFR Securities, an institutional brokerage firm specializing in taxable and municipal securities, with offices in New York, Miami and San Francisco.
Jinan Glasgow George
Chair, Public Events Committee
Jinan Glasgow George A Patent Attorney and former Patent Examiner with the US Patent & Trademark Office, JiNan Glasgow George is an IP practitioner with experience across a wide range of technology fields, serving clients in the US and internationally. She is a registered patent attorney with the North Carolina Bar and the USPTO and the founding partner of Neo IP (formerly Triangle Patents, PLLC) in Durham, NC, USA (www.neoipassets.com).
JiNan has worked with clients doing business or investing in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya for strategic patent analysis and the development of intellectual property rights including patents, trademarks, and copyrights for licensing and commercialization globally.
JiNan Glasgow George is also the CEO and co-founder of Magic Number, Inc., a business intelligence SaaS company that provides insights for investors and executives, serial entrepreneurs and innovation-based companies – giving vision ahead of market data using patent data and machine learning (www.magicnumberip.com).
She was founder & CEO of Neopatents, a patent research and analytics company that provided consulting services and software worldwide from the headquarters in Durham, North Carolina USA (www.neopatents.com). She is also the inventor of patent claims diagramming innovations (Patent Matrix software) and the co-inventor of proprietary patent mapping tools for analyzing patents across all technology fields – and using visuals that help communicate complex information about patent sectors.
Since 2007, JiNan has been working to leverage patent information to stimulate and accelerate innovation, particularly in developing economies. She introduced the Patent Free Zone model – applicable in most developing countries to leverage the world’s most cutting edge research & technology for commercial acceleration of in-country development, while providing an unparalleled opportunity to innovate in ways that are impossible in the US, Europe, Japan, and even China or India.
JiNan also founded the Eclipse IP Futures Conference in RTP/Raleigh-Durham, NC USA area – now in its 6th year. This invitation-only conference uniquely addresses the questions that entrepreneurs and investors have with patents as business assets, not simply legal issues. Patent strategy, competitive intelligence, valuation, and enforcement are key areas addressed by global experts in patents, technology & investment.
JiNan Glasgow George has built her career from engineering to patent law and investment by finding non-conventional approaches, streamlining the path, and creatively using resources to provide answers. She supports large companies and entrepreneurs alike in using intellectual property for creating economic value and sustainable development. She believes that everyone has the power to create – and her work globally has focused on transforming ideas into reality and creating positive commercial impact from them.
JiNan’s background includes software, mechanical & electrical engineering, energy, financial technology, polymer fiber science, biomedical devices, surgical/dental devices and applications, fiber optics, textiles, and pulp/paper science. Her educational background includes degrees in engineering, law and theology from NC State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University, respectively.
Chair, Special Events Committee
Joseph Lutz is an energetic leader with over 20 years of experience in Technology Sales and Management.
In 2016, Joseph co-Founded and is Vice President of Eros Group Inc., based in Washington, DC. Eros Group is focused on Real Estate Investments, Private Equity, Energy Solutions, and Commodities Investments.
Since 2016, Joseph has closed Real Estate development deals in Washington DC for $5M and in Dayton FL for $70M. Also, bringing in $5M+ for a Baltimore MD Coffee Distributor.
In 2017, Joseph joined Pickwick Capital Partners in White Plains NY where he closed Private Equity Clients in Medicinal Cannabis in CA and CO of over $5M in financing.
Prior to becoming an Entrepreneur, Joseph had a distinguished career in Information Technology, holding both Sales and Management roles.
In 2015, as a National Account Manager for Cisco Systems, Joseph led a Team that closed over $70M in Revenue.
In 2011 and 2012, Joseph was the top Sales at Red Hat’s Private Sector Division growing the company’s revenue of $10 million to over 200% year over year.
In 2009, with Intel/McAfee, Joseph closed over $15M in sales to the Department of Defense in support of protecting the Nations Warfighters.
At EMC Corporation from 2002 to 2006, Joseph was the Verizon National Sales Manager where he built a National Team and grew revenue to over $80M starting from scratch; achieving Chairman Circle Awards each year in the process.
Joseph received a B.A. in Communication, at the University of New Hampshire, Durham in 1988. He currently lives in the Washington, DC area and is active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters and coaching CYO Sports for his 2 Daughters.
Special Events Committee
Barry Moniês serves as President and CEO of Computronix, LLC an 18 year old technology solutions company that designs, implements and manages data networks and communications infrastructures for small to medium sized businesses in the financial, legal and medical industries.
Almost consecutively, from 2008 through 2015, Computronix has been included in the MSP mentor 501 list, a distinguished list of the world’s top managed technology service providers. In addition, From 2012 through 2015, Mr Moniês has been included in the yearly MSP mentor 250, a global list of the top 250 worldwide executives in the technology managed services industry.
Through Mr. Moniês leadership, Computronix has become one of the forefront managed technology service providers in the New York metropolitan area. Computronix specializes in Microsoft based server environments, multi-office networking (including international implementations), Communications/Exchange server implementation, network security assessment & implementation , data backup & recovery, remote services/VPN implementation, Cloud services, 24/7 monitoring and remote support/maintenance.
Mr. Moniês is also noted for his expertise in the area of internet security and the protection and recovery of electronic data. Several years ago, he was invited to participate in a Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C. with Homeland Security on issues relating to internet security and electronic terrorism. Mr. Moniês has also worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on matters related to electronic security, internet forensics, and issues related to network intrusion.
In 2000, Mr. Moniês spun off Computronix’ security division as a separate incorporated entity. Under the name Computronix Security Systems, Inc. (CSSI), the new company built a state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC) and monitored more than $4 Billion in annual transactions & 50-100 hacker incidents per day. In 2002, Mr. Moniês successfully forged a strong alliance with Sony Electronics to jointly offer an Internet security service for small to medium sized businesses nationwide. In 2004, Mr. Moniês purchased CSSI from the investors and incorporated the business as part of Computronix’ managed services offering.
As a consummate entrepreneur, Over the years, Mr. Moniês also started and/or participated in various businesses including an exotic automotive sales and service business, a day-trading & stock advisory service, a commercial real estate investment firm, an international importing business and several Internet based ecommerce businesses.
Mr. Moniês is an active participant in local, regional and national business organizations. He has served on many Boards and continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of The Soundview Club, a private regional business club located in Stamford, CT. Mr. Moniês and his companies have received media attention in many publications including Forbes magazine, the Connecticut Business Magazine, the Fairfield County Business Journal and various other news outlets.
Mr. Moniês believes strongly in community involvement and has actively participated in several non-profit organizations including Stoneage Incorporated, where he held a position of Chairman of the Board, the United Way, the Outreach Program for the blind, the Special Olympics and many others.
Mr. Moniês enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife Indira and sons, Eric, Brandon and Julien. He also enjoys fishing, day trading and starting new businesses.
Roy J. Salame
Special Events Committee
Roy J. Salame is Vice Chairman Global Commodities. He joined JPMorgan in October 2008 and is responsible for senior commodities client relationships and for the origination and management of large strategic deals globally. In this capacity, Roy is a member of the Global Commodities Management team and the Americas Sales & Marketing Executive team. Most recently, Roy was Managing Director and Global Head of Sales and Structuring for Commodities.
Prior to joining the firm, Roy was a Managing Director and Head of Global Natural Resources Sales and Origination at Lehman Brothers. Roy led a team of professionals responsible for structured and flow risk management solutions for corporate, investors and sovereign clients
Roy spent nearly 14 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was most recently a Managing Director and Head of Oil, Metals and Mining and Forest Products in the US and Latin America. Roy spent 7 years in London where he led the effort to build a large commodity based non-conventional banking and finance franchise in the Arabian Gulf. Roy was responsible for the firm’s Metals Sales and Structuring efforts in the Middle East and Africa, pioneering a number of exotic derivatives in both base and precious metals. Roy was also responsible for all Central Banks in Europe, Middle East and Africa on gold reserves management optimization strategies. The last 2 years of his assignment in London, Roy worked extensively with various sovereigns and national oil companies in the Middle East and North Africa on various strategic energy risk management initiatives.
Prior to his career at Goldman Sachs, Roy worked at Citigroup for more than 10 years, where he was VP and Head of Marketing for the Financial Institutions Group for the Middle East Africa Division in New York initially, and subsequently out of Bahrain. Roy was lead marketer to Central Banks, government agencies, commercial and investment banks in 22 countries. During his tenure in Bahrain, Roy significantly expanded Citibank’s structured finance and cross border risk participations with institutional investors in the region and led the effort to launch a separately capitalized Citibank Islamic Bank to compete more effectively in the region
Roy is Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the JPMorgan Center for Commodities at University of Colorado, Denver. He is also on the Board of the Financial Policy Council, a research think tank and educational institution. Roy also serves on the Board of B*CURED, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to funding cutting edge research to cure brain cancer. Roy holds a BA in Economics “With Distinction” and MBA in ‘Finance and Investment’, both from The George Washington University; Roy lives in Connecticut with his wife Melissa.
Stanford Silverman is President of Silver Betty, Inc./Devotion Internet, Inc., Advertising and Marketing Agencies located in New York, N.Y. Silver Betty, Inc. is one of the largest proprietary education marketing and advertising companies in the United States. The agency has represented over 200 private and publicly traded universities, colleges and schools. The success of an investment in the Education Space requires the ability to leverage social media, search engine optimization, web site design, pay per click and pay per lead advertising to generate new student leads which translates to students in chairs and revenue. Stanford is an authority in these areas.
Stanford is a sought-after authority and is a contributor to Prentice Hall, Advertising Proceedures-7th. Edition-by Otto Kleppner, a contributing columnist in Advertising Age, Media Decisions & Radio-Television Age, and a guest lecturer at NYU, Pace, Hofstra & Cornell Universities on media negotiation and target marketing. In addition, he has served as a panelist on NBC Network-Demographic Marketing in the U.S. and as a radio personality with various stations on Marketing & Demographic Studies.
Stanford’s experiences have brought him to his present position and visionary of Minerva Capital Management. His attention has been focused on bringing together a powerful operational education management team headed by his colleague and co-founder, Dr. Jon Coover. The team has an impressive track record of R.O.I for its investors over three decades and continues to generate a significant rate of return for new investors.
Stanford holds his B.S. in Economics from Hofstra University and graduate, MBA work at Hofstra and at New York University.
Public events committee
Naia Toa is an independent trader, and aspiring portfolio manager. She is trained by the Institute of Trading and Portfolio Management, where she successfully completed master courses with distinction grades in both professional trading, and forex.
A NYC transplant, she moved to the financial capital of the world in January 2019 to immerse herself in the realm of finance, with the goal of building long-lasting relationships in the industry, and working to empower others. Naia has previously lived in Los Angeles, American Samoa, and the Midwest. She is very happy to now call New York City her home.
Naia has a diverse and unusual background. Syrian and German ancestry on her mother’s side, and Polynesian on her father’s. She became a ward of the court as a young child due to her mother’s passing. She has overcome great odds which developed in her grit and resilience, which are a benefit to her in her professional pursuits. It is her intention to be an example to others aspiring to tremendous goals, who are seeking to beat all the odds and attain immense success.
With a seasoned career in professional administration, where she served as a strategic business partner helping executives successfully reach their goals and in leadership and mentoring roles, Naia deeply believes that success is all about empowering others, and in the power of a community of success-oriented individuals. She is a participant and contributor to two global networks of high-performers in the fields of independent trading and professional administration.
Naia is a life-long learner and a voracious reader. She enjoys early morning workouts, kundalini and raja yoga, and she values building deep, long-lasting professional relationships.
Chair, Publications Committee
Paul Vancea is an aggressive entrepreneur and our youngest board member.
Paul started his career as a financial analyst for Lightower Fiber Networks, a $5B telecommunications company in MA. After 1 year, Paul decided it would take way too long to achieve his potential in the corporate world, so he quit his job and partnered with a couple of serial entrepreneurs and investors in Boston. He helped create and operate a few companies, as well as a startup investment fund. Paul also worked with Northeastern University’s Center for Research & Innovation to evaluate the market fit for 10 patents (biomedical, electro-magnetic, medical devices, etc.).
Most recently, Paul partnered with a retired transactions partner from Ernst & Young, to form a dental service organization (DSO) through which to consolidate the U.S. dental office industry.
Paul moved to San Diego, CA, from Romania with his family when he was 14. In high school, Paul was MVP of his football, wrestling and track teams while maintaining a nearly perfect GPA. His original plan was to win a football scholarship, but when learned in his junior year that he could win a scholarship for academic achievement, he quit all sports and focused on school.
Paul graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University, where he earned a triple major in Economics, Business, and Film Studies
Paul is currently working with the Massachusetts Corrections Institute (MCI) where he teaches FDIC’s “Money Smart” finance class, to both minimum and maximum security inmates. He is also a member of Toastmasters International, where he delivers frequent speeches and serves as Treasurer.
Paul likes to hike, box, work out, and be deliberate about doing something that scares him every single day. He has 11+ years’ experience of martial arts, including Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Boxing.