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Thu, Apr 30



Que Pasa in Colombia: Business Dialogues - Virtual

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Que Pasa in Colombia: Business Dialogues - Virtual
Que Pasa in Colombia: Business Dialogues - Virtual

Time & Location

Apr 30, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


About the Event

The Canadian Council for the Americas Alberta would like to extend you an invitation to participate at the upcoming Zoom Webinar “QUE PASA IN COLOMBIA” BUSINESS DIALOGUES that will take place on Thursday April 30, 2020 at 10:00 am Calgary time as part of our Que Pasa in Latin America Series. The program is a signature CCA event which provides participants with first-hand information, key contacts, and valuable market intelligence to support their efforts to do business in strategic sectors of the Colombian market.

The Que Pasa in Colombia program is intended to provide a general perspective on the opportunities and challenges that exist for Canadian and Colombian companies to collaborate in sectors including Energy, Agri-Business and Capital/Investment Infrastructure Sectors, which are some of the ones we have identified as strategic in the relationship Colombia-Canada, particularly with Alberta. Due to the unprecedented circumstances that we all are facing as a result of COVID-19, the webinar can be a good opportunity to share some perspectives on the implications that the pandemic will have on the way of doing business with Colombia.


  • David Rincon, General Manager, Ionos Directional Services, Colombia
  • Fernando Vargas, Chairman, Sierra Genetics, Colombia
  • Juan Camilo Vargas, Partner, VT Investors, Colombia
  • Ken Pinsky, Chief Financial Officer, Parex Resources, Colombia.
  • Liliana Villaveces, Executive Director, Colombian Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Colombia.
  • Mauricio Alvarado, Partner, SMPS Legal, Colombia
  • Moderator: Miguel Cortines, President and Executive Director, Canadian Council for the Americas Alberta


David Rincon, General Manager, Ionos Directional Services, Colombia

David founded Ionos Directional Services in 2013 in Colombia along with his brother and his deceased father, as an opportunity in this fast-growing oil and gas market encouraged by the Colombian government as a pillar of the economy. Ionos Directional Services is a joint venture between a Canadian company and a Colombian holding company they owned that provides a comprehensive service of directional and horizontal drilling for the oil and gas industry, it has achieved close to 100 wells in Colombia, Paraguay and recently in Mexico. By diversifying his portfolio of services, it has also executed with success plenty of Horizontal Directional Drilling projects for river crossing in southern Colombia. David is a successful entrepreneur in business, with extensive experience as professional investor in Wall Street, expert in finance with tremendous commercial abilities. He also had experience in the financial services industry in New York City servicing high net worth individuals, families and institutions as Senior Vice President of Investments at Worldwide Asset Management. He was Managing Director at Worldwide Asset Protection, worked at Prudential Securities and a member of the Private Consulting Group at Merrill Lynch. During financial turmoil in 2008, He frequently appeared live on the financial segment of CNN En Español and Telemundo/NBC New York discussing different aspects of the financial market crises. David holds a degree in Finance and International Relations from Externado de Colombia University and studied at American University and New York University in international business, trade and economic policy studies. David spends his time traveling between North America and Latin America but lives with his wife in Bogota.

Fernando Vargas, Chairman, Sierra Genetics, Colombia

Fernando Vargas has more than 20 years of professional experience in international business and industry-government relations in highly regulated sectors. He worked as commercial attaché for the Canadian embassy in Colombia and oversaw the extractive industry with a focus on oil, gas and mining. During his 15 years of service for the Canadian government, was responsible for bringing more than CAD15 Billion in investment to the Colombian extractive sector.

Juan Camilo Vargas, Partner, VT Investors, Colombia

Juan Camilo Vargas has more than 15 years of experience in the promotion of foreign direct investment (FDI), international trade, development of new businesses and public affairs, 14 of which have been specialized in the Canadian market, first on the side of the private sector as deputy director of the Colombian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and later as Minister Counsellor and Chargé D’affaires in the Colombian Embassy in Canada. Has successfully Advised multiple companies about how to expand into new markets, regulatory affairs, financing, market understanding, procurement, and forging of alliances and relations with the public sector and local partners, among other activities. He has Experience in the sectors of renewable energy, infrastructure, medical cannabis, agribusiness, real estate, defense, mining, oil and gas, among others. He has a bachelor’s degree in business (BBA), with a graduate diploma in corporate social responsibility (CSR), and a master’s degree in sustainability from Columbia University, and is a fellow of the South Korean Government in energy cooperation. Has studied shared value (SV) at Harvard University and Result-Based project Management from Witwatersrand University.

Ken Pinsky, Chief Financial Officer, Parex Resources, Colombia.

Ken Pinsky: Chief Financial Officer of TSX listed Parex Resources Inc. since inception of the Company in 2009. Prior to was Vice President Finance & Chief Financial Officer Petro Andina Resources, a Calgary based TSX listed oil and gas company active in LatAm from 2008 to 2009. Previously, Chief Financial Officer of Ultima Energy Trust, a TSX listed Royalty Trust from 2001 to June 2004, and the Chief Financial Officer and director of a Canadian based private exploration and production company from September 2004 to January 2008. Mr. Pinsky is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CA and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Liliana Villaveces, Executive Director, Colombian Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Colombia.

Liliana Villaveces is the Executive Director of the Colombian Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCCC), a non - profit organization with more than 22 years of existence and around one hundred members from 25 economic sectors; who its mission is to generate opportunities to promote and develop business and trade investment between both countries. Lawyer with more than fifteen years of experience in commercial law, corporate and government relations, and business development. Liliana has been working with the Chamber since 2010, first as Deputy Director and later as Executive Director. One of her objectives is to work for the CCCC´s recognition as one of the most influential entities in the Colombian Canadian business community, through the elaboration of positions papers in specific topics presented to the government; and the realization of academic committees and events; trade missions and B2B meetings, among others. Liliana has been invited as a speaker in many conferences around Colombia and Canada to talk about the commercial trade and investment opportunities between Canada – Colombia.

Manuel Buitrago, President and Country Manager Gran Tierra Energy Colombia

Mr. Buitrago has +19 years of experience in a broad range of international corporate finance and business development roles working for publicly listed companies. Mr. Buitrago is the President and Country Manager of Gran Tierra Energy in Colombia. Mr. Buitrago was previously the President and Country Manager for Gran Tierra Energy Mexico and prior to that was the Vice President of Finance for Gran Tierra Energy in Colombia. He was responsible for all finance functions and supported new business opportunities and post M&A integration. Previously he was the CFO of PetroTiger from 2010 to 2014, during which he oversaw group integration, structured debt facility and implemented financial reporting and internal controls. From 2008 to 2010 he was Head of Finance for MPX and OGX entities working in Colombia and Brazil. He has also held numerous positions overseeing financial, accounting, planning and treasury functions in Occidental Petroleum Company (OXY) in Colombia from 2003 to 2008.  Prior to that he worked in the United Kingdom and Europe working for British Petroleum from 1999 to 2001.  Mr. Buitrago has a Bachelor in Business Administration, with a major in International Business from Schiller International University and holds a Master of International Accounting from University Javeriana in Colombia as well as further studies from the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago, Kellogg at Northwestern University and Thunderbird University. Mr. Buitrago is fluent in four languages (Spanish, English, French and Portuguese). Mr. Buitrago is in the Board of Directors of the ACP (Asociación Colombiana de Petroleo) and previously in AMEXHI (Asociacion Mexicana de Empresas de Hidrocarburos) as well as led the Energy task Force at the Canada Mexico Chamber of Commerce and is on the Board of the Canada Colombia Chamber of Commerce.

Mauricio Alvarado, Partner, SMPS Legal, Colombia

Mauricio Alvarado is an expert energy and natural resources attorney licensed to practice law in both Colombia and the United States (Texas).  He is one of the founding partners of O&G Energy and Natural Resources Attorneys (currently SMPS Legal), a full service law firm dedicated to the energy and natural resources industry, including oil & gas (upstream and downstream), mining, energy (including power generation and transmission), water and energy infrastructure projects with a Latin American regional expertise.  He is currently the head of the Global Energy Practice at SMPS Legal. He was a founding partner and the Head of the Oil & Gas Practice of Norton Rose Fulbright Colombia S.A.S (formerly Macleod Dixon).  He worked with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins and with Amoco Corporation (now part of BP), both in Houston, Texas, where he represented new and existing clients on matters relating to high-level and sophisticated international transactions and ventures, including ongoing international exploration and production, oil, natural gas, power generation and energy privatization projects. In addition to his extensive experience in Colombia and the United States, Mr. Alvarado has done a significant amount of work in several countries in Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean. In the past, he has been ranked by Chambers Global as Energy & Natural Resources (Experts Based Abroad) for various years and has been recognized as an Oil & Gas expert by the International Who’s Who of Oil & Gas Lawyers.

Moderator: Miguel Cortines, President and Executive Director, Canadian Council for the Americas Alberta

Miguel is the President and Executive Director of The Canadian Council for the Americas Alberta and Founder of Casa Mexico Foundation. Miguel's expertise includes more than a decade of international business development experience promoting trade and investment opportunities between Canadian and Latin American businesses. His expertise includes providing strategic advice and facilitation services to companies interested in expanding their operations to Mexico and Latin America. Miguel’s main responsibilities include international trade and market research, evaluation of business opportunities, B2B international negotiations, corporate and government relations, conference and trade shows planning. Miguel has also a solid accounting and financial background with expertise in project planning, financial analysis, and budgeting. Miguel’s previous expertise includes working with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of Economic Affairs and Community Relations with the Consulate of Mexico in Calgary. Miguel's experience also includes working for dmg events Canada, organizers of the Global Petroleum Show, where he managed the Latin America portfolio and the relationship with diverse NOC’s in the region including PEMEX, PDVSA, CNOOC and Perupetro, among others.

This virtual seminar is sponsored by:

- SMPS Legal

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