EB5 Investors Magazine "Top 25 Awards Edition" Volume 8 Issue 1 | Page 71

TOP ECONOMISTS DAVID EVANS ECONOMISTS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE D avid Evans joined Evans, Carroll & Associates (ECA) in 2012 and has led its EB-5 economic impact practice since 2016. The firm specializes in economic analysis for EB-5 programs and the development of custom econometric models for individual industries and companies. ECA has successfully submitted hundreds of EB-5 economic impact reports that have been approved by USCIS. Prior to joining ECA, Evans served as the Chief Scoring Officer for Capital One Bank (1999-2011). He started his career in economic consulting (1989-99), most notably at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Evans received his degree in Economics from Brown University in 1989. WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? After 22 years in corporate America, I was exploring my next career move – and for the first time in his life, my father (Michael Evans, who founded ECA) said to me, “Son, I need your help.” Since then – over the past 10 years – what’s kept me enthusiastic in the EB-5 industry is threefold: 1. Being part of the win-win of creating new jobs and providing opportunity to immigrants. 2. The variety. I’ve written reports ranging from a flight simulator attraction to Asian carp fishing. 3. More than any other work I’ve done, EB-5 truly combines art and science. WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? The most significant change we’ve seen recently is the importance of pre-identifying whether projects are located in Targeted Employment Areas. Prior to the November 2019 policy change, nearly all project locations qualified as TEAs; this is most certainly no longer the case. The other major trend is since USCIS rescinded Tenant Occupancy, nearly all new projects have been heavily dependent on construction jobs, especially those exceeding 24 months (whereby direct construction jobs can be included as well). Otherwise, we are seeing a bit of a resurgence in new projects, perhaps due to increased confidence that EB-5 is here to stay. ISMAEL FERNANDEZ ECONOMISTS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE D r. Ismael Fernández, originally from Madrid is the founder and president of Greengate Consulting, an Atlanta-based consultancy firm. With a PhD and MBA from Georgia Tech, Fernández, a published author in the field of technology valuation, extended his career into the EB-5 space as an economist given his experience in financial modeling. Prior to funding Greengate, Fernandez was a senior manager at General Electric, leading a global team forecasting demand for gas turbine parts. Since 2010, Fernández has assisted hundreds of firms to get established in the U.S. and secured dozens of I-526, I-924, and I-829 approvals. WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? For me, the EB-5 industry was a natural extension to the practice I founded when leaving GE. Given my background and origin, I fit well in the shoes of foreign investors looking to migrate to the U.S. for business purposes, especially the Spanish speaking regions of the world. My practice is aimed to those families that were seeking to start their own business in the U.S. Since I was accustomed to building complex financial models, I found EB-5 economic models a natural extension to my education and skillset. We love to be creative about our work, and to advocate for our clients using numbers. WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? The majority of EB-5 investors continue to favor real-estate projects with the perception of less risk and higher returns, especially now. Given the long USCIS processing times however, EB-5 benefits are coming second to return on investment. This means that projects have to show a higher appreciation for the EB-5 investment that in the past couple of decades. Projects within a solid TEA are at a competitive edge, but because the long I-526 processing times, I would caution those projects that rely on TEAs that could potentially see an improvement of economics in the next few years while the approval is still pending. EB5INVESTORS.COM 71