CNE Staff

Miguel A. Soto-Class, President & Founder

Mike Soto-Class founded the Center for a New Economy (CNE) in 1998, and since then has steered CNE into becoming one of the most credible and influential voices in Puerto Rico. Beggining in 2014, CNE has been recognized yearly as one of the Top Think-Tanks to Watch by the Global Think Tank Report of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mike has served as member of the Community Innovator’s Lab at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts, and the YouthSave Advisory Board at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he was selected as an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow.

Mike was an editor of, The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth, published by the Brookings Institution in 2006 and selected that same year as a Notable Book by the American Library Association. He has been a columnist for El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest circulation daily, since 2003, and was the host of a weekly news radio program on economics for several years.

He is currently the Yale Alumni Schools Director for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Baldwin School of Puerto Rico; Endeavor Puerto Rico; Espacios Abiertos, an organization dedicated to growing civic capacity and promoting transparency in Puerto Rico; Co-Chair of Re-Imagina, the Advisory Commission for a Resilient Puerto Rico; and an Emeritus Member of the Advisory Council for the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.  Mike has a B.A. from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University

 

Sergio M. Marxuach, Public Policy Director

Sergio M. Marxuach is the Policy Director and General Counsel at the Center for a New Economy, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Marxuach served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and as Special Assistant to the executive director of the Commonwealth’s Office of Management and Budget.

Before joining the Commonwealth government, he was an associate for five years in the New York City law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, where he worked mostly in Latin American transactions and international corporate matters, structuring cross-border capital market transactions, and arranging vendor financing and syndicated credit facilities for U.S. multinational firms.

His work at CNE has been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Economist, among other prestigious publications. Mr. Marxuach has also been invited to testify before several Congressional committees and to brief committee staff members as well as U.S. executive branch officials on matters related to Puerto Rico’s economy and fiscal situation.

Mr. Marxuach has a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University, where he was awarded the Henry Edwards Ellsworth Prize for his Senior Essay. He also obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from the Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

 

Rosanna Torres, Director, Washington DC Office

Rosanna Torres is the Director of the Center for a New Economy’s office in Washington DC.  Rosanna joined CNE after ten years of public service in several roles within the federal government.  

Prior to this role, she served as Legislative Director for a senior member of Congress, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, a role she assumed after having worked as a professional staff member in the House Small Business Committee.  Rosanna also served as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she worked closely on the federal government’s response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic crisis.  She has experience at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget where she gained insight into the budget and appropriation process for multiple federal government agencies. Her first role in government was with the U.S. Census Bureau, where she also participated in detail programs with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Performance Improvement Council.  

Rosanna holds a master’s degree in International Commerce and Public Policy from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Statistics from the University of Puerto Rico.

 

 

Deepak Lamba-Nieves, Research Director & Churchill G. Carey, Jr. Chair in Economic Development Research

Lamba-Nieves

Deepak Lamba-Nieves is the Research Director & Churchill G. Carey, Jr. Chair in Economic Development Research at the Center for a New Economy. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico’s Graduate School of Planning.

He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’ s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and completed a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) while affiliated to the department’s International Development Group (IDG). His current research interests focus on: the migration-development nexus, economic and social policy, state-society dynamics, and transnational ethnography.

Before joining MIT, he spent close to seven years as Research Director in CNE. While at the Center, he also taught Geography and Planning courses at the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras Campus, and also at the Polytechnic University’s School of Architecture.

He completed a Masters in City Planning (MCP) at UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) prior to joining CNE. His Masters work looked at high-technology policy in Puerto Rico and the contemporary economic development challenges in the island. He spent his college days at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras Campus, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Economics.

 

Raúl Santiago-Bartolomei, Research Associate

Raúl Santiago-Bartolomei is a Research Associate at CNE. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Urban Planning and Development at the University of Southern California (USC). His research interests lie in the intersection between institutional change, social networks, and economic development, and how these relate to urban change. He is applying this approach in his current research on economic reforms and changes in the housing rental market in Havana, Cuba. Prior research experience includes work examining the relationship between transit-oriented development (TOD), environmental sustainability, and housing affordability in Los Angeles, as part of a research team at USC, and work examining multiple environmental and sustainability issues in urban planning at San Juan, as part of the San Juan Urban Long Term Research Area (ULTRA) project. 

He has a Masters in Planning (M.P.) degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, a Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree from Cornell University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. His professional experience includes engineering work on water infrastructure in Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Mexico, as well as urban and environmental planning work on multiple development projects in Puerto Rico. 

 

 

Gustavo J. Bobonis, Chief Economist

Gustavo J. BobonisGustavo J. Bobonis is an expert in development economics. His recent research has focused on government accountability and the effects of social policies on human and economic development. Bobonis’ areas of interest include development economics, political economy, and labor economics. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Economics in 2009, the Journal of Development Economics Award in 2003, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) research grant for the years 2007- 2009. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Development. He has published in distinguished academic journals including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. Professor Bobonis received his BA in Economics from the University of Puerto Rico, and his PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

 

 

 

 

Nuria Y. Ortiz-Vargas, Executive Director

NuriaOrtiz

Nuria Y. Ortiz-Vargas is the Executive Director of the Center for a New Economy. 

Nuria was the Executive Director of Espacios Abiertos, a non-profit advocating for transparency and public accountability from its founding in 2014 until the Summer of 2017. She previously worked at CNE in various positions since 2010. Prior to joining CNE, she worked in the private, non-profit and government sectors in Puerto Rico.  Among them, she was Associate VP of Origination & Structuring at General Electric Commercial Finance Corp., and Fund Analyst at Grupo Guayacán, Inc., a non-profit corporation specializing in private equity fund-of-funds investments.  

Nuria has a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Tufts University and a M.Sc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  She holds a J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico and is admitted to practice law in Puerto Rico. 

 

 

Carmen A. Vargas Nin, Finance & Administrative Director

Carmen A. Vargas Nin is the Finance & Administration Director at the Center for a New Economy. Prior to joining CNE, she was the Finance Comptroller for the Caribbean Region in multi-national company leaders in communications. Carmen has over 15 years with USGAAP Standards and over 10 years of experience at the managerial level with excellent accomplishments. Her expertise and efficiencies in business financial structural processes allowed her to receive awards such as 2010 #1 Performer of Caribbean Region and Top 10 Performers in the Latin-American Region. Carmen graduated with honors from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in Business Administration majoring in Accounting. 

Nydia Suárez, Public Affairs Director

 

Nydia Suárez is the Center for a New Economy’s Public Affairs Director. She graduated from the Sacred Heart University and worked as a journalist for El Nuevo Día. She was Vice President of a consulting company of public opinion research and she presided her own Communications firm, working with organizations of social responsibility. She is the author of a book on social and political satire, and Master Coach in Neurolinguistic Programming. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ana I. Martel, Communications & Outreach Manager

Ana I. Martel is the Center of a New Economy’s Communications & Outreach Manager. Her  professional background is on marketing and communications. She started her career at a local advertising agency, De La Cruz & Associates (DLC&A), were she worked as Group Director. Ana was responsible for supervising accounts such as Oriental Financial Group, Sears, Novus and Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, among others. She was also part of the New Business team of the agency.

Ana later joined Oriental Financial Group as Marketing Manager where she helped develop strategies for the group’s business divisions. Ana has a B.S. in Communications from Cornell University, Ithaca N.Y. She started in CNE as a volunteer for the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund.

 

 

 

 

Carla J. Alonso Vélez, Special Events Coordinator

Carla J. Alonso Vélez graduated from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has devoted much of her life to the administration of institutional projects and the production of events in the areas of Education and Sports. Since the very beginnings of the CNE, she has worked as the concept manager of all its conferences, seminars and public events. Her experience extends to Puerto Rico and abroad.  

 

 

 

 

 

Camelia Valldejuly-Montilla, Program Associate

Camelia Valldejuly-Montilla is the Program Associate at the Center for a New Economy. Camelia focuses on projects related to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund (“PRRF”), created by CNE after Hurricane María hit the island in September 2017. Camelia has some experience in both the private and public sectors, having worked for the Federal Affairs Division of the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, and in an asset management firm based in New York, NY. Prior to joining CNE, Camelia worked as a harvest intern for a winery in Sonoma, CA. Camelia graduated from Harvard University in 2017 with a B. A. in Government.

 

 

 

 

Kimberly N. Ayala Sánchez, Administrative Assistant

Kimberly N. Ayala Sánchez is the Administrative Assistant at CNE. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in Communications in Production for Media with a minor in writing for media and radio. Previously, she worked as a production assistant at ACISUM Group, affiliated with Univisión PR and was the Assistant to the Executive Director of the Restaurant Association for Puerto Rico (ASORE). 

 

 

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