Pro-trade leader O’Connell accepts CBP post
The Department of Homeland Security has named Maria Luisa O’Connell, president of the Border Trade Alliance, to be assistant commissioner for public affairs at Customs and Border Protection, the trade association said.
She begins her new job on Aug. 3.
The Border Trade Alliance works to promote increased trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada and address quality of life issues for border communities.
In her previous role, Luisa O’Connell was a frequent critic of DHS policies and procedures that made cross-border cargo transportation and personal travel more difficult. But she also worked closely with DHS and its border agencies to solve trade and travel impediments.
Her expertise covers trade relations, environmental resources and health issues, travel and immigration, agri-business, import and export regulations, border security, and others.
The BTA said O’Connell hopes to expand outreach efforts with CBP’s counterparts in North America and regional stakeholders to enhance regional trade competitiveness.
The BTA is located in Phoenix and O’Connell, who is fluent in Spanish, had good ties with then-Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, who is now secretary of homeland security. ' Eric Kulisch