Bob Blades
President

Bob Blades

After 30 years with Texas Commerce Bank and JPMorgan Chase, Bob Blades established Blades International, Inc. in 2009 as a broker to provide Trade Finance and Ex-Im Bank solutions, such as guarantees and insurance to support U.S. exports. Blades began his career in 1979 as a foreign exchange intern with Texas Commerce Bank, where he remained throughout a career dedicated to international banking. On his rise through the ranks, Blades served as Vice President and Manager of the bank’s European Division in Houston, and then, as the bank merged to become JPMorgan Chase, as Senior Vice President and Manager of the Trade Finance and International Divisions.

While a student, he sold mutual funds for American Capital Financial Services, Inc., and was a clerk for a specialist broker on the floor of the American Stock Exchange in New York. Blades earned a BBA with honors and his MBA from The University of Texas. He is a graduate of Leadership Houston and has served on the Boards of the Houston World Affairs Council and the Asia Society. He now serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Greater Houston Port Bureau. 

 

Jack Borland
Managing Director of Foreign Exchange Advisory

Jack has been active in the foreign exchange markets since 1979.  He worked first for Algemene Bank Nederland-New York as an FX Sales person, then as an FX Trader, and finally as FX Sales Manager.

After two years with Bank of America-New York, as FX Sales Manager, Jack joined Texas Commerce Bank in 1986 as Vice President and Manager of FX Sales.  Through mergers Texas Commerce Bank became JP Morgan Chase, where Jack served as a Managing Director of foreign exchange sales, trading and operations until 2012.

The Foreign Exchange Sales department evolved from a small scale operation to a major force serving corporate, commercial and financial clients throughout the southern United States.  This growth was fueled by attention to the client’s financial needs and the management of their risk exposure at the appropriate level for their businesses.  Solutions employed included combinations of hedging instruments and automated systems to help manage the exposures, hedges and payment flows.

Jack graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a BA in International Relations and from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with an MA in International Studies.  Prior to entering the financial world, he served as an officer in the United States Navy.  In 2013, Jack became an Advisory Director of Blades International, Inc.

 

Sherry Mama
Managing Director of Letter of Credit Advisory and Brokerage

Sherry is well respected for her expertise in Letters of Credit – both Domestic and International.  Her past experience includes Letter of Credit Manager with Bank of America, Assistant Vice President with Banque Indosuez.  In 1992, Sherry joined Texas Commerce Bank – Houston as Vice President and Division Head to Manage the 35 person Letter of Credit Operations.  At the time, TCB was part of Chemical Bank, which became JPMorgan Chase Bank.  After a decade of managing the Texas Letter of Credit operations, Sherry was instrumental in merging them into the Global operations of JPMorgan Chase.

After leaving JPMorgan Chase Sherry joined Halliburton Company in 2002 to manage a Global Portfolio of Letters of Credit and Bank Guarantees.  In 2011, she became a Senior Vice President of MetroBank NA, which was acquired by East West Bank in 2013.  She Managed the Letter of Credit Department and promoted Trade Finance and International Services.

Sherry Mama started her career with multinational --Rallis India Limited, one of the Tata Group of Companies after being recruited out of Business School, She holds a Business BBA from University of Bombay, as well as Executive MBA from the Bajaj Institute of Management, University of Bombay.

Sherry is actively involved with Bankers Association for Foreign Trade    (BAFT-IFSA), National Association of Credit Managers (NACM), Asian Chamber of Commerce, Financial Women in Texas (FWIT) organization as well as the Greater Houston Partnership.

Her pastime passion is Real Estate, where she is a licensed Realtor, and along with her Husband and two Daughters continues to deal in Real Estate.  In 2014, she joined Blades International, Inc. as a Director with responsibility for the Letter of Credit Advisory and Brokerage Business.

 

Tom Spellman
Director / International Project Finance

Tom worked in the International Project Finance area for the Halliburton Company for over thirty-five years and served as their Director of Trade Finance. Tom successfully coordinated efforts between global clients and various financial institutions, such as Eximbank and the World Bank, to bring about the completion of a number of transactions.

Countries which Tom was involved in to coordinate financings include: Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, Venezuela, Angola, Algeria and Morocco.

Tom started his career with Mobil Oil and joined the Halliburton Company in 1979. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with an Accounting Degree. He went on to gain a Master's Degree from Texas A&M at Commerce.

Tom joined Blades International, Inc. in 2015 as Director of International Project Finance.

 

Paul Poullard
Director

As a career International Banker, Paul  spent the bulk of his career with JP Morgan Chase and Texas Commerce Bank in Houston, Texas.  During the course of his career with Chase he held numerous leadership positions focused on corporate and international banking, bank relations and trade finance.  His numerous managerial assignments included General Manager of the Bank’s London Branch and Executive Vice President & Manger of International Banking for the Southwest Region, building the leading business of its kind in Texas and the Southwest. 

Following his departure from JP Morgan Chase after 33 years, he assumed leadership responsibility for the international banking and trade finance business of a regional financial services company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a three year period.

A graduate of Lamar State College (now Lamar University) in Beaumont, Texas (B.A.-1970), Paul currently serves as an advisory director of the Asia Society Texas Center, and previously served on other boards including: The Institute of International Education, The World Trade Division of the Greater Houston Partnership, The World Affairs Council, the Japan America Society, and the Houston Area Urban League.  Paul became an Advisory Director of Blades International, Inc. in 2013.

 

Mike Ryan
Managing Director

Mike is an International expert on credit risk management. He has a proven track record of developing solutions to complex international transactions in Manufacturing and Distribution. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration – Finance from Houston Baptist University and completed his BS degree at Stephen F. Austin University.

Mike started his 39-year career in industrial credit and finance in Houston with Stewart & Stevenson in 1979 as a Credit Representative. He advanced his career into International credit and finance in 2002 as Director of Corporate Credit in the Oil & Gas, Transportation (On / Off highway), Marine, Power Generation and Power Rental markets. Mike has extensive knowledge in Trade Letters of Credit, Standby Letters of Credit for performance and payment guarantees, Construction Bond and Lien compliance and has a track record of managing banking relationships. Mike has worked on structuring export deals with customers in Europe, the Middle East, India, China and in the difficult Russian market.

Mike is a long-time member of the National Association of Credit Management – NACM and maintains the designation of Certified International Credit Professional (CICP) from the FCIB - an Association of Executives in Finance, Credit and International Business.

Mike enjoys mentoring the next generation of financial professionals and sharing his experience in risk management in the cyclical oil & gas and marine markets.

In 2018, Mike joined Blades International as an Associate. From his days at Stewart & Stevenson, Mike was a user of Blades International’s Letter of Credit and Foreign Exchange services.

 

Marisa Licon Lara
Marketing Manager

Marisa began her career in international business in Washington, D.C. with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) monitoring domestic and international press for the firm’s International Trade group.  Her dual language ability and bicultural skills opened the opportunity to serve as a translator and a liaison to the Washington Hispanic community where she advised the firm on community related events.

Marisa later joined the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in 1998 to support the incoming President as an interim scheduler handling the daily activities of the executive office. She supported the protocol officer with foreign delegations and in-house board meetings. She transitioned to the Investment Development department to provide advance support for specific missions to Latin America. She provided research support to the department's Business Development Managers by analyzing client's business plans based on OPIC's established criteria.

After 5 years in Washington, D.C. Marisa moved to Houston where she joined Agroenlinea.com, a startup company focused on the online sale of agricultural products from Mexico.  As the Director of Business Development, Marisa created and managed the company’s efforts in identifying proper channels to distribute and sell Mexican produce in the U.S. market.

She later joined Lara & Associates where she provided translation services for industries such as sports leagues, human resources, marketing, energy and non-profits.

Marisa graduated with honors from Tecnológico de Monterrey with a BA in International Business. She attended Baylor University as an exchange student during her junior year at college. She is certified as a Global Certified Business Professional (CGBP) from the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) and holds a Certificate Degree in International Business from Houston Community College.

Marisa joined Blades International, Inc. as a Marketing Associate in 2018.

 

Sharon Martin
Administrative Manager

Sharon joined Blades International as Administrative Manager in January, 2013.   Her responsibilities include all accounting duties including banking and taxes.  She brings with her over 25 years in accounting experience.

Sharon also assists with our Directors and Client relationships, assisting with projects between Blades International, Inc. and the needs of its clients regarding meeting coordination, conference calls, data collection and seminars.

Prior to joining Blades, Sharon helped to create a successful start-up company in the medical field, as Director of Financing.  In addition to her years of experience in accounting, Sharon brings with her a background in Commercial and Personal Lines Insurance placement, Real Estate and Legal administrative experience.

 

Paola Gasca
Analyst 

Paola graduated from Episcopal High School in Bellaire, TX as a regular honor roll student. She obtained a visiting student certification from UCLA's Anderson School of Management, where she studied Data Analytics; specifically, technology leadership and innovation through big and small data as it applies to business and marketing.

Her previous work experience includes secretary work for X-Steel USA, LLC. and Salzgitter Mannesmann International.

Currently, Paola monitors Blades International's social media accounts included Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Analytics. Other responsibilities include handling the Blades International blog, writing about current events in the foreign exchange and technology markets. She also utilizes Microsoft, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to create spreadsheets, charts, and presentations that detail global foreign exchange rates.

Paola joined Blades International, Inc. in May 2019 as an analyst. Her background in Data Analytics, combined with her multicultural roots and bilingualism, allow her to assess exchange rate trends to better understand foreign markets.