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“Learning about South Florida’s IT Ecosystem” – EU Delegation in Washington: Digital Counselors Trip to Miami, Florida

January 28 - January 29

At the end of January 2021, the Delegation of the European Union to the US led a one-and-a-half day virtual mission to Miami to learn about Miami’s Information Technology ecosystem. The mission included Digital Counselors from 13 EU Member States including Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Spain. The mission was organized in partnership with EACC Florida. It was the first time that the EU Delegation led a virtual mission to Florida.

On the program

  • Economic relations between Miami-Dade County and the European Union
  • Insights into Miami and South Florida’s IT ecosystem
  • Digital policy-making – the view from Brazil
  • Blockchain in Florida
  • Visit of the Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas


  • Samuel Armes, Founder and President, Florida Blockchain Business Association
  • Jorge A. Cortes Restrepo, Co-founder and COO – UniFy Inc.
  • Jaap Donath, Senior Vice President, Research & Strategic Planning – Miami-Dade County Beacon Council
  • Peter Fatelnig, Minister Counsellor for Digital Economy Policy – Delegation of the European Union to the United States
  • Evi Fuelle, Advisor, Digital Economy Policy, Delegation of the European Union to the United States
  • Christine Johnson, Vice President, Innovation, Economic Development – Miami-Dade County Beacon Council
  • Carlos Olivera, Counsellor for Information Society and Digital Market – EU Delegation in Brazil
  • Steve Sasse, Director Sales, Equinix
  • Christina Sleszynska, Executive Director EACC Florida
  • Raj Sundaram, Lead Sales Engineer, Equinix
  • Alan Sutin, President EACC Florida

Speaker biographies

Samuel Armes

Samuel is Director for blockchain and legislative affairs at the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office in Central Florida. This is the first government position anywhere in the United States to specifically advance blockchain initiatives. Samuel, a member of BlockSpaces since 2017, has an extensive background in blockchain and government spaces and did research for United States Special Operations Command and for the Department of State on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. He also founded the Florida Blockchain Business Association, a Tampa-based organization created to foster blockchain-related businesses in Florida.

Jorge Andrés Cortes Restrepo

Jorge is an entrepreneur with over +10 years of experience building smart, resilient and sustainable cities. He was co-founder of Momentum International, the organization committed to Social Innovation growth across sectors in South Florida and Latin America from The LAB Miami in the Wynwood district since 2012. Jorge received the key to the City of Miami followed by the key to Miami-Dade County in 2017 for his achievements on building Miami’s innovation & tech ecosystem. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Association / Miami, a member of the Innovation Working Group at the Miami Dade Beacon Council and Innovation Council member at the City of Coral Gables. Jorge was official Advisor and mentor at the Blockchain Center Miami, Wework Labs Miami program and the World Happiness Summit as well as regular contributor to the tech and innovation ecosystem advancements in the cities of Bogota, Medellin and Barranquilla – Colombia. Jorge is also a CERTIFIED BLOCKCHAIN PROFESSIONAL (CBCP).

Jaap Donath

As Senior Vice President, Dr. Donath is responsible for providing up-to-date data and information on Miami-Dade County to allow companies to make informed decisions on locating or expanding in Miami-Dade County. Prior to the Beacon Council, Donath was Business Development Coordinator at the City of North Miami. An Adjunct Professor in 2 universities in S. Florida, Jaap Donath has also published and lectured internationally. Dr. Donath, a native of the Netherlands, received a Ph.D. and M.A in International Relations and International Business from the University of Miami and a B.A. in Education for History and Dutch Language from Windesheim University in the Netherlands. He is fluent in English, Dutch, and German.

Peter Fatelnig

Peter Fatelnig is Minister-Counsellor for digital economy policies at the Delegation of the European Union to and resides in Washington DC since 2018. Peter’s long experience in the digital tech sector, notably in building industrial innovation strategies, helped the EU to drive forward internet innovation policies. A senior manager at the European Commission since 1998 he is committed to a positive European vision of the future internet society and economy. Before coming to Washington he managed the team leading Europe’s new Internet policy and investment initiative (flagship on ‘Next Generation Internet‘). Prior to the EU he worked on international assignments for the strategy consulting firm American Management Systems, and for the European Space Agency, in the Netherlands. Peter holds a Master degree in Communication Engineering from the University of Technology in Graz, Austria, and is a senior member of the IEEE. He is married and has raised two daughters.  The EU Delegation was first established in Washington, DC in 1954 and now represents the European Union across the United States. It has expanded to host staff of the European Parliament Liaison Office, EUROPOL, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Air Safety Agency.

Evi Fuelle

Evi Fuelle serves as Advisor, Digital Economy Policy at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. In this role, Evi works alongside the Minister-Counsellor for Digital Economy Policy to monitor, track, and analyse digital policies (such as AI, cybersecurity, privacy, data flows, disinformation, and platform regulation), and facilitate trans-Atlantic digital engagements with key stakeholders in D.C., Brussels, and the Bay Area. Evi joined the delegation in September 2019 after four years at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). Prior to joining ITI, Evi worked on the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she worked on a variety of federal agency trade promotion programs and initiatives, including the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Before joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, Evi worked with the Trans-Atlantic Business Council (TABC), where her work focused on enhancing the trans-Atlantic relationship and advancing trade agreements related to transatlantic business operations, including TTIP and the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Evi received her Master of Arts degree in European Union Policy Studies from James Madison University in partnership with the European University Institute in Fiesole, and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from James Madison University.

Christine Johnson

As Vice President, Innovation, Economic Development at the Beacon Council of Miami-Dade County, Christine is charged with leading recruitment, retention, and expansion efforts for the technology and innovation sector. Her work involves supporting the entrepreneurial landscapes by leveraging resources and brokering relationships to foster the community’s growth. Ms. Johnson’s career spans more than 10 years furthering local and national entrepreneurial ecosystems, including a significant stint as a team member in various capacities at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) –  one of the nation’s leading technology-based economic development organizations and funders of seed/early-stage companies, as well as the south’s most active startup investors. Christine has been seen and heard on multiple outlets and forums and was voted one of the Top 10 Most Powerful Women in DC Tech Startup Community in 2012. She holds a B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University, a private, woman’s university in Baltimore, MD.

Carlos Oliveira

Carlos is Minister Counsellor at the EU Delegation in Brazil since January 2017. He is in charge of fostering EU-Brazil cooperation in the areas of Economy, Industry, Digital Markets and Mobility. In this context the policies for “digital transformation” play a especially prominent role. Formerly he was Head of Sector at the European Commission in DG CONNECT (Communications Networks Content and Technology) and responsible for the co-ordination of international cooperation aspects of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) research and innovation in Horizon 2020.  In this role Carlos participated in the policy dialogues with most EU international partners round the world. He was also in charge of the coordination of the ICT European Technology Platforms and Public Private Partnerships in the areas of 5G, robotics, big data, cyber-security, high performance computing and factories of the future.  Beyond this wide experience at the European Commission in policy development and research program management, Carlos Oliveira worked for nearly 10 years in computer and communication systems in the telecommunications industry.

Carlos holds MSc and BSc degrees in Computer Systems and Telecommunications Engineering by the Technical University of Lisbon and an MSc in Public Policy by the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Steve Sasse

Steve Sasse is the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at EQUINIX and is responsible for sales and expansion in the region. Sasse began his career with Equinix in 2013 in New York as Director of Channel Sales for Latin America. Prior to Equinix, much of his professional career was at Verizon, where he had several roles in Sales Management and Channel Sales Director for Latin America as well as the Terramark business unit, managing strategic relationships with network operators and partners and overseeing sales of strategic data products for all major network providers. Steve received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Vermont at Burlington with a major in International Business and holds several industry certifications. He has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry.

Christina Sleszynska

Christina is a Member of the Founding Committee of the Florida Chapter of the European American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) and was appointed as its Executive Director in January 2020. An International Association Executive with an expertise in EU policy, she was formerly based in Brussels (Belgium) where she managed European trade associations and their EU government relations activities for 25 years. Prior to EACC Florida, in 2006, Christina established the Europe Representative Office of the International Trademark Association (INTA), the world’s largest trade organization of Intellectual Property professionals. She ran INTA’s European office until she moved back to Miami in the summer of 2017.

Raj Sundaram

Raj Sundaram, PMP, is a 6+ year Equinix veteran. Prior to this, he has held numerous positions at Sprint/T-Mobile in Finance, IT, Sales Operations and Sales Engineering. In his last role as a Global Sales Engineer, he supported Canadian, Japanese, and Indian network service providers. Raj lives in the Miami area with his wife and daughter. In addition to his PMP certification, Raj has a BA (Econ/Stat) and an MBA (Finance).

Raj is a devoted father that loves playing tennis, soccer and pursuing other outdoor activities with his daughter.  He also enjoys entertaining, music, cooking and traveling with his family.  A little-known fact about Raj: He is a Qualified Tennis Umpire and has officiated in numerous international tournaments including the Asian Games.

Alan Sutin

Alan is a Principal Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig and Senior Chair of the firm’s Global Intellectual Property & Technology Practice. Greenberg Traurig is a large international law firm, which was founded in Miami and has served as a legal advisor to South Florida’s business community for more than 50 years. Alan was active in EACC’s New York Chapter during his years in Greenberg Traurig’s NYC office. Greenberg Traurig is a Founding Member of EACC Florida. Alan Sutin is EACC Florida’s first President.

Organized in partnership with the European Union.


January 28
January 29
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