The Global Commerce Forum

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The Global Commerce Forum is a non profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities, and exchanging knowledge and ideas about global commerce and the environment.

This group of dedicated and forward thinking business executives, government and non-governmental officials, academicians, engineers, investors, students, and policy makers from different fields and countries around the world seeks to catalyze worldwide coordination, cooperation and collaboration among different constituents and stakeholders to facilitate low carbon global trade and emerging market countries’ economic development, alleviate poverty, and recast the standard of living of the under-served populations.


3 Luka Powanga

Luka Powanga
Regis University

Dr. Luka Powanga is a professor in the School of Management at Regis University and the Executive Director of the Global Commerce Forum.  He is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Global Commerce Research and the Journal of Current Research in Global Business.  He is currently the US correspondent for CargoNews Asia a trade magazine based in Hong Kong.

He holds a BSC degree in Metallurgy and Mineral Processing, Masters and PhD degrees in Mineral Economics from Colorado School of Mines with a minor in Finance from the Graduate School at Denver University.  He also holds a Masters degree in Computer Information Technology and Graduate Level Certificate in Object Oriented Programming from Regis University.  His industry and academic experience spans over thirty years at middle and senior management levels.  He consults in mining and international business management. He taught at Colorado School of Mines before transitioning to Regis University.



2 David Posner

David Posner
EnVent Energy LLC

David M. Posner founded EnVent Energy LLC in 2000.   EnVent’s primary business is negotiating gathering, processing, transportation and marketing arrangements for natural gas producers, and related strategic initiatives.

Posner previously led the marketing function and midstream operations for Santa Fe Snyder, Snyder and Ladd, is a past Chairman of COGA, and has over 30 years of experience in energy marketing, project development, and management.

EnVent is also involved the development of waste heat power projects on gas pipelines and at processing plants, and the interface between new energy technologies including renewable sources and natural gas.

Posner is a graduate of Brown University and received his Masters degree in Mineral Economics from the Colorado School of Mines.


Robert Stoner
Deputy Director
MIT Energy Initiative
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA

After earning his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Brown University in 1992, Dr. Stoner joined the Microprocessor Development Group at Intel Corporation. In 1995, he formed Cooper Mountain Corporation, which developed the first commercial instruments to incorporate ultrafast pulsed lasers. These instruments, based on the picosecond ultrasonic method which he co-invented, are now extensively used to characterize computer chips during production. He subsequently founded Vinestone Corporation, a UK-based peer-to-peer database and workflow software developer. Dr. Stoner later held a number of senior executive positions and served as Chairman of the Technical Advisory Board at Zygo Corporation, a developer of precision optical systems and instruments for the global consumer electronics, aerospace and semiconductor industries.

Dr. Stoner received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University, Canada. He was a National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Scholar, and holds US patents in the fields of semiconductor devices, optical measurement and imaging systems, optical devices, network computing, and acoustics. His current technical interests include high resolution imaging techniques, distributed computing, and energy distribution and storage technology and policy for developing countries.


5 Azra Tutuncu

Azra Tutuncu
Harry D. Campbell Chair and Director
Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute (UNGI), Colorado School of Mines

Professor Tutuncu is the Harry D. Campbell Chair in Petroleum Engineering Department at Colorado School of Mines and the director of Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute (UNGI). Dr. Tutuncu held various research and leadership assignments in Well Engineering, Rock Physics, Geomechanics and Subsurface R&D groups at Shell International E&P and Shell Oil Company. Her research interest areas include rock-fluid interactions, integrated borehole stability, geomechanics, reservoir characterization, formation damage and contamination detection, mitigation and removal for environmental protection.

Dr. Tutuncu leads several multidisciplinary consortia in solving variety of technical, environmental and economic challenges in reservoir characterization, coupled geomechanics, wave propagation and fluid flow measurements, modeling and real time characterization and monitoring of the drilling, hydraulic fracturing, acoustic stimulation and production in unconventional oil and gas resources. In addition, she coordinates the federal and state regulatory training curriculum for the United States contributing toward the standardization of the unconventional regulatory effort. She is a member of the EPA Scientific Advisory Board on Hydraulic Fracturing Research, former President of American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA), the SEG representative for AGI Environmental Geoscience Advisory Committee, and a members of SEG Research Council and Global Affair Committee in addition to serving on various SPE, SEG, ARMA and ISRM technical and executive committees.

Dr. Tutuncu is a licensed Professional Petroleum Engineer and Licensed Geoscientist in the State of Texas.


Andrew Yager
Senior Advisor
Renewable Energy Advisory Services

Andrew Yager is a sustainable development advisor resident in Oslo, Norway. He has more than 30 years experience in the public and private sectors as well as academia. He recently retired from the United Nations where he had served as head of the Water, Energy and Strategies Branch in the Division for Sustainable Development.

Dr. Yager works on strategy and program development related to sustainable energy access, energy efficiency, alternative energy, and ‘smart city’ issues. He is currently conducting a formal evaluation of the Global Energy Assessment for the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Prior to spending 9 years at UN HQ in New York City, Dr. Yager lived in Nairobi, Kenya where he managed a major Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, aimed at increasing sustainable industrial development and decreasing global carbon emissions.

Prior to joining the United Nations, he was Head of International Development at the Institute for Energy Technology in Norway where he managed the energy and climate change portfolio.

He previously served for 6 years as Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification Advisor to the SADC Energy Sector, while residing in Luanda, Angola for 3 years.

Dr. Yager is a Norwegian resident and a Canadian citizen. He received his Ph.D. in Energy Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1984.


Jason Nagy
Mainspring Innovation, LLC

Jason Nagy founded Mainspring Innovation, LLC (Member, Posner Center for International Development) in Colorado as an international business and economic development enterprise providing consulting services and innovative programs to advance infrastructure development, technology transfer, skills development, job creation, economic/social justice, environmental stewardship and sustainability. Jason is also Director, Public Sector Engagement for Africa Finance and Advisory Partners, LLC, a company established to revolutionize how American businesses engage the African Continent. AFAP’s approach blends the best from the public and private sectors, which is important given the available monies and strategic partners having both developmental and profit-seeking motives.

Jason led USTDA’s Africa office (2008-2014) and served on Ex-Im Bank’s sub-Saharan Africa business development, policy and program team. He identified and crafted over $70mn of USTDA program funding primarily in clean energy, transport and ICT projects. In 2013, he launched the US-Africa Clean Energy Development and Finance Center and supported the launch of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. He has an MA International Affairs from American University with concentration in international economic policy and international business, and a BA in Journalism and Political Science from Indiana University. Jason is a passionate promoter for innovation, education and collaboration!


Mark D Safty

Mark D Safty
Partner, Project Development and Finance Renewable Energy
Holland and Hart

For more than 30 years, energy companies operating on five continents have turned to Mr. Safty for virtually every type of development and financing transaction. In transactions involving $2 million to those exceeding $2 billion, clients trust his extensive experience developing and financing energy projects. Mr. Safty provides the counsel clients need to clear regulatory, financial, and operational hurdles so they can keep pace with industry changes and demands.

Since the 1980s, Mr. Safty has served as lead counsel in the development, acquisition, financing, and refinancing of dozens of power generation facilities across the spectrum of energy technologies. Since the late 1990s, Mr. Safty has focused his practice on development, construction, financing, and M&A activity in the renewable energy industry. His earlier years of experience as general counsel and COO of a bank holding company, and his time as outside director and chairman of the board of a $2.5 billion financial institution, help him understand his clients’ interests from the business side of any matter.

As a complement to his energy practice and an additional service to his clients, Mr. Safty handles general corporate and transactional matters. He advises multinational clients on the sale and acquisition of mining and oil and gas properties, and has helped them successfully complete corporate reorganizations including spin‐off transactions and mergers. His clients span industries including mining, manufacturing, power generation, health care, education, transportation, and water and waste treatment, among others.

Mr. Safty currently serves as the practice group leader for Holland & Hart’s Energy & Infrastructure Group. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for project finance law. Mr. Safty is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and at the University of Colorado Law.


12 Michael Allender

Michael Allender
Project Manager (Retired)
Hewlett Packard

Michael Allender is a retired Hewlett Packard engineering manager with over 30 years combined engineering and management experience. He joined Hewlett Packard in 1973 in Loveland Colorado and began his career as an engineer in an Integrated Circuit manufacturing and R&D facility designing and building complex Integrated Circuit products used in instrumentation products for highly technical applications.

In 1986 he left HP and took a position as the Engineering Manager with Microlithics a subsidiary of the Coors Porcelain Company in Golden Colorado. At Microlithics Michael managed the development and production highly reliable products used in the Trident Submarine Project. In 1988 Michael returned to Hewlett Packard in Corvallis Oregon to work in HP’s fledgling Ink Jet facility. During his 18 years in Corvallis, Hewlett Packard’s ink jet group grew into a multi-billion dollar division of HP. While working in HP’s Ink Jet R&D group Michael managed numerous aspects of a variety of new and innovative HP Ink Jet products that were introduced into both the commercial and personal printing markets.

Michael received his BSEE with distinction at the University of Virginia and his MSEE from Colorado State University focusing on Physical Electronics and Solid State Physics at both institutions. He has a demonstrated competence in leading diverse teams to deliver on complex projects across a broad spectrum of disciplines.


Bai K Blyden 150x150

Bai K Blyden
Senior Engineer
Southern Nuclear Services

Bai K Blyden currently serves as a Senior Engineer with Southern Nuclear services under the Calculations Design Basis Validation Program for Configuration Management on the 2 x 940 MW Plant Hatch Nuclear plant. Over his career he has contributed his expertise to over forty major and minor power plant projects and their associated interconnections in various capacities of electrical systems design, operations planning, project development and construction management.

Among his more notable assignments, Mr. Blyden served as Project Manager on the team, which planned the Calpine 70,000 MW development program. Within this scope he also served as onsite Construction Manager for the California Emergency Peaker Program which planned and managed the construction and commissioning of eleven (11x 45 MW) General Electric LM6000 gas turbine units under California executive order  D-26-01 issued to protect the grid around Silicon Valley at the peak of the 2001 California energy crisis.  Mr. Blyden has also worked on large Nuclear, hydro and mid to small distributed energy systems as well as having held senior technical consulting and staff positions with various utilities and AE firms such as TVA; Pacific Gas & Electric; The New York Power Authority, Texas Utilities, ABB among others.

An early advocate of an Integrated African Grid, Mr. Blyden has presented a conceptual framework and technical analysis for a centralized African Power pool with links to North Africa at the first IEEE Region

8 conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, December 1983. Since then authored numerous papers on African Energy Development with a particular emphasis on the strategic role of Micro Grids and Knowledge development.

Mr. Blyden earned an MS.EE from Moscow Energetics Institute in Power Systems, Generation and Industrial Distribution Systems and is a member of the IEEE International Practices Subcommittee. Fluent in multiple languages Mr. Blyden brings a multicultural mindset and an exceptional relationship building acumen.  He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and serves as Chair of the IEEE PES International Practices subcommittee for Africa. He is also an advisor to Centric Ltd a commercial startup focused on the  development  of  sustainable  Green  Housing  and  general  building  systems  and  to  the  strategic consulting group BBRM.


Robin McGuckin
Senior Climate Consultant

Ms. McGuckin led all of Winrock’s programs and projects worldwide. This included a portfolio of approximately $100M in annual revenue in projects spanning over 60 countries worldwide including the US. She oversaw four technical implementation Groups, a cross-cutting Project Management Office, and Regional and Country Planning. In this role she was tasked with reorganizing the Programs Division in order to accomplish key strategic objectives. She was able to set the organization on track to realize record financial results, set global result-based implementation targets for the first time, establish and prove project management practices, and initiate a global strategic planning process.

Mrs. McGuckin managed this business unit, which encompassed the areas of renewable energy, carbon management, energy efficiency, sustainability and climate change across the federal, municipal and industrial market sectors. Robyn created this business unit and its services. She led business development for the group, meeting with clients frequently. She also provided direct technical leadership and expertise to projects in climate change, energy management and renewable energy.

At USAID, Directed the eight-country, $68M, USAID SARI/Energy program. Led a major initiative to restructure and revitalize the program working with stakeholders across the region and in the US. The result was a repurposing of the program to: increase the energy security of South Asian countries through cross-border trade of energy, improved energy regulatory structures, and off-grid rural electrification. Responsible for managing this program with multiple cross-border and national-level projects, several contractors and direct staff located within each country.

Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction

2003-2004: Initiated reconstruction work shortly after the fall of Baghdad, drafted the first Power Reconstruction Plan for Iraq working extensively with the Iraqi Ministry of Power and resulting in the approved budget request to Congress of $5.2B. Travelled throughout the country to assess reconstruction needs and progress, and to coordinate and track progress of power reconstruction across the multiple contractors and agencies operating in country. Led planning and oversight of projects in the power sector. Mrs. McGuckin’s work on the Iraqi power sector has been highlighted by IEEE, NPR, the Washington Post, BBC, Fortune, USG/GAO historical reports, and in two bestselling current affairs books on Iraq.

2004-2005: Coordination of inter-agency priorities for the $18.4B Iraq Reconstruction and Relief Fund. Seconded to the Department of Defense Project Construction Office, covering interagency relations relevant to all project activities in Iraq. Washington DC manager for projects in electricity, public works and water resources. Coordinated programs, projects and priorities with the Department of State, National Security Council, Defense Intelligence Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, USAID, relevant Congressional committees and other involved agencies.


S. Gabriel Shumba
Chief Executive Officer
Group Shumba, LLC

Gabriel has over 17 years’ experience in banking, structured finance, private equity, and business venture development. He is an astute negotiator, deal structuring expert and business operations strategist, and he has advised Fortune 500 corporations, asset management firms and international financial institutions in North America and Africa. His experience includes work at PWC, Goldman Sachs, Barclay Capital, KPMG, and GMAC (now Ally Bank). He is an inspirational leader who speaks on various corporate, community and economic platforms on the subjects of frontier investing and personal financial independence. He volunteers on many levels and is passionate about developing African communities, poverty alleviation, and about alternative energy explorations. As the Founder & CEO of Group Shumba, LLC, he dedicates most of his time in developing ventures in frontier geographies for listing on developed financial markets.



Sharrieff Mustakeem

Sharrieff Mustakeem
MCX Environmental Energy Corp.

Sharrieff Mustakeem is President and Chief Executive Officer of MCX Environmental Energy Corp., based in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Mustakeem, the company’s founder, has developed MCX as a forward-thinking, environmentally conscious entity with emphasis on a clean, sustainable energy paradigm. Mr. Mustakeem founded MCX after extensive successful careers in sales and financial services. Mr. Mustakeem is or has served on the boards of the International Power Institute [Morehouse College], Organic High Yield, The African-American Alliance [Newnan, GA] and Southface Energy Institute. Mr. Mustakeem is also a founding member and Co-Chairman of the Sustainable Community Technologies Consortium [SCTC].

In 2013 Sharrieff was appointed to the Fulton County Sustainability Commission. Mr. Mustakeem, a Pittsburgh native, holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, with minor emphasis in Philosophy, from Fordham University, in New York.


Ravi Vora

Ravi Vora
Advisor-International Programs, Renewable Energy Grid
National Renewable Energy Laboratory-NREL

Ravi R. Vora is an experienced international energy executive with focus on clean energy. He has a successful track record in renewable energy (Solar, Wind, and Biomass), power generation, international electric utility, oil/gas industries (upstream, mid-stream, LNG, refining, petrochemicals) and commercialization of disruptive clean technologies including energy storage.  His career in the international energy spans from first of a kind global commercialization of synthetic lubricants for a major oil company to marketing, trading of clean fuels, natural gas liquids, natural gas as well as electricity covering both the physical and financial transactions.

He has comprehensive knowledge and relationships related to clean energy economy in North America (including Mexico), Southern Africa, South Asia and Middle East.  He has led successful business models in clean energy both in private sector (Creation of a multi-billion dollar Suzlon-global leader in wind energy) to public sector (Advising Eskom on RE when South Africa’s RE IPP attracted over $17 Billion investment in less than five years and on creating a clean fuels /natural gas strategies and regulations).   Leads and facilitates international energy conferences in workshops in USA, South Africa and India. He possesses in-depth experience and a proven track record in all phases of development, organization, financing and monetization (A to Z) of full life cycle based clean energy business ventures.  He has a strong network of relationships with key stakeholders in the global clean energy markets especially in emerging economies.  He has BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and Masters in International Management from USA and lives in Arvada Colorado with his partner.  (Sept 2015)



Anita Arthur
Simple Consulting, Ghana

Anita has over 20 years’ experience as an HR executive, career guidance counsellor and a business coach.

Her hallmark is the ability to turn all ideas into concepts.  A graduate of the University of Westminster, UK, Anita has coached many directors and human resource professionals of which she has received praise from business leaders across the African Continent.  She was a finalist of the Industries Sector of Africa’s most influential women in Business and Government.

Anita’s core competency includes Talent Acquisition for the African Continent, Designing and Setting up organizations from scratch, Coaching HR Executives to align their businesses with their goals, Career guidance counselling to professionals



Kadi Konate
Director – Planning, Strategy & Business Analysis
Rio Tinto Minerals

Kadi Konate is a business leader in Finance with 15 years of experience in Business Planning, Financial Reporting, Enterprise Risk Management as well as Business and Controls process design and improvement for large and medium size companies in the Energy, Real Estate and Mining sectors.

Kadi currently holds a position as Director of Planning, Strategy and Business Analysis for Rio Tinto Minerals in Denver, Colorado. In this role, she has global responsibilities for managing business strategy and 5-year Plans, integrating Commercial and Operational plans to ensure delivery of business objectives. Prior to this, Kadi served as Acting CFO and Controller for Rio Tinto’s $20 billion Iron Ore project “Simandou” in Guinea from 2011 to 2014 and was responsible for all aspects of establishing a Finance team and best practices financial processes, including overseeing the Project’s Risk Management plan. Before joining Rio Tinto, Kadi had over 10 years of progressive experience helping design and implement business strategies, financial reporting processes, risk management practices and internal controls systems for companies like Clark Realty Capital, Washington Gas light and ExxonMobil in the Washington DC Metro area.

Kadi holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has undergone several leadership development programs including the Women Leadership Program at Harvard in 2012 and a Business Leadership training program from Duke University in 2015.

Kadi is passionate about changing the landscape of Africa’s economic development and strongly believes that sustainable and meaningful change will be achieved when the new generation of African business leader across the globe come together to lead the continent into the 21st Century.


13. Adrienne Bambou Diagne

Adrienne Bambou Diagne
President and CEO
International Ventures

Adrienne Bambou Diagne is the President and CEO of International Ventures, a company that works closely with U.S. investors, the African Diaspora in the United States and African entrepreneurs. She has extensive knowledge of the African market having worked in over 20 African countries as a business person as well as a volunteer for Doctors without Borders.  She has served as team leader in several hospitals in Senegal and large Organizations such as the International Rescue Committee, Institute Fournier in Paris and the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1999, under the umbrella of the Doctors without borders, she received the Nobel Peace prize as one of the volunteers of the organization.

She is a strong advocate for improving the living conditions of the underprivileged populations, the victims of war and women welfare focusing on education and health.

Adrienne Bambou Diagne holds a nursing qualification as a mid-wife, anesthesiology, mental and physical development of early childhood and Reproductive Health from Clermont-Ferrand France. She also has a PhD Degree in reproductive health and Social welfare from the Paris Institute Fournier, France.


Energy Africa Marketing Committee

3 Luka Powanga

Luka Powanga 
Regis University

Dr. Luka Powanga is a professor in the School of Management at Regis University and the Executive Director of the Global Commerce Forum. He is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Global Commerce Research and the Journal of Current Research in Global Business. He is currently the US correspondent for CargoNews Asia a trade magazine based in Hong Kong.

He holds a BSC degree in Metallurgy and Mineral Processing, Masters and PhD degrees in Mineral Economics from Colorado School of Mines with a minor in Finance from the Graduate School at Denver University. He also holds a Masters degree in Computer Information Technology and Graduate Level Certificate in Object Oriented Programming from Regis University. His industry and academic experience spans over thirty years at middle and senior management levels. He consults in mining and international business management. He worked in the mining and telecommunications industry at middle and senior management level within and outside the United States. He taught at Colorado School of Mines before transitioning to Regis University. He has written a textbook in economics published by McGraw-Hill.



Atupele Powanga
Project Manager and Social Media ConsultantAtupele is a corporate project manager with experience working with companies including L’Oreal, and Victoria’s Secret. She is a Columbia University graduate and a co-founder of the Global Commerce Forum. She wrote a paper titled “Impact of the Panama Canal Expansion on the US Transportation Infrastructure” that was published in the Journal for Global Commerce Research.

Her interests include global marketing, communication, and business operations.


Rocío Alicia Pérez

Rocío Alicia Pérez
President and CEO

Executive with 20 years of experience in the private and public sectors.

Rocío Pérez is the Principal of Inventiva Consulting, LLC.  Ms. Pérez is an expert with more than 20 years in developing talent and energizing teams, designing and executing business & marketing strategies.  Ms. Pérez helps companies design a strategic and profitable future by saving them time, energy and money while increasing their productivity and profits.  She is the former President and CEO, Definitive Marketing, LLC, a multicultural marketing consulting firm.

Ms. Pérez’s core competency and experience includes:

  • Guiding leaders through change management process
  • Coaching leaders and individuals with their professional development needs
  • Assessing organizational needs and implementing innovative solutions
  • Creating strategic and congruent marketing strategies

Ms. Pérez holds the following degrees: a B.S. in International Business (University of Colorado), a Dual MBA in International Business and Marketing (Regis University), and a Certificate in International Entrepreneurship (University of Colorado).