Directors & Staff
Officers and Directors
DANDAN ZOU, Chair
Mrs. Zou is the founder and CEO of Mainstay Global, a marketing consulting firm specializing in foreign direct investment in the U.S., and Texas Investment Regional Center, a USCIS designated EB-5 regional center in Austin, Texas. She serves as the Chair of the Invest in Texas Initiative (IITI), a statewide non-profit trade organization which promotes the Texas Investment landscape internationally, and is an active member of the Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national EB-5 Regional Center trade association. She also serves on the board of the Greater Austin Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Mrs. Zou has extensive experience in international investment consulting, business and project management (certified PMP), as well as direct involvement in real estate investment. Originally from China, she is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Mrs. Zou is frequently invited to be a speaker and panelist both domestically and in China on issues related to the EB-5 program.
She is very active in the Austin Chinese community and is always looking for opportunities to give back by organizing events and volunteering for local charities.
JARED MERMIS, Secretary-Treasurer
Jared Mermis has over 24 years of business management, engineering, construction, and sales experience spanning a wide range of industries. As Managing Partner, Jared heads up Mainstay Global's domestic operations and new business activities. He also serves on the board of directors for the Invest in Texas Initiative. Jared is passionate about all aspects of real estate and has specialized knowledge of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program.
His real estate career covers a wide spectrum from managing the construction of a single family development for a production home builder to investment to real estate sales to structuring and administering debt and private equity investments in large commercial projects. Before immersing himself in real estate, Jared left a successful 11 year engineering and project management career working as an asset manager, a project engineer with General Electric, and an R&D design engineer with a leading oilfield services company.
In addition to his duties with Mainstay Global, Jared is also the Managing Director of Texas Investment Regional Center, a USCIS designated EB-5 regional center in Austin, Texas.
Jared has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their two daughters.
Mr. Howell is a Facilitator, Community Planner and Program Manager with over forty years of experience in resource planning, policy development and management. Mr. Howell has assisted water districts, river authorities, counties and municipalities in the development of water/wastewater infrastructure, transportation, parks and recreation and master plans. He has been a planner, senior project manager in charge of coordination, design and implementation of over a billion in infrastructure and private development projects. His background in program development and management, urban planning, policy development, land development, recreational planning, utility bundling, major water and wastewater infrastructure, transportation planning, and implementation provide a unique understanding of the social and political intricacies of large scale projects. Mr. Howell was appointed to the Lower Colorado River Authority Board of Directors in the mid 90’s by the Governor of Texas.
Mr. Howell is currently consulting, as president of Diverse Planning and Development, on both urban and rural projects; and works formally and informally with various municipalities and counties on program management, regional infrastructure organization, regional policy issues and the social interface of law enforcement and the public. He organized the Coalition of Central Texas Utilities Development Corporation, whose membership of effected communities from Burnet County to Matagorda County, successfully maintained customer control over 90% of the $160 million water and wastewater facilities the Lower Colorado River Authority planned on selling to private water purveyors. He is currently organizing a Utility Development Authority for water service to Central Texas and providing Program Management Services to the City of Liberty Hill.
JIANWEN "JEFF" YIN
Technology Innovator – With 25 patents submitted to the United States Patent Office (USPTO) in the area of system management, virtualization, storage, networking, power saving etc. 12 of which granted from USPTO. Patent Milestone award winner of FY 2007 with 11 authorized patents. Patent Milestone winner of FY 2013 with 10 granted patents from USPTO. A Mentor for technology innovation and a Dell patent committee members for three patent sub-committees.
Entrepreneur and Leader – Co-founder of multiple non-profit entities. Co-founder of the Greater Austin Chinese Chamber of Commerce (GACCC). Founder and president of the Science & Technology Committee of GACCC. The Principal and Director of the Austin Great Wall Chinese School in the year 2006-2007.
Product Developer – Architected developed and deployed systems in SCADA system for more than 10 automation in hydro-power station and substation in China, the automation control system of the Hong Kong subway system, the Dell Openmanage system management products and security products. Led, co-authored and contributed in multiple system management standard documents in Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).
Richard May is IITI's Executive Director in charge of fulfilling the mission and goals of IITI's board of directors and membership. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with more than 20 years of association experience ranging from the State Bar of Texas to the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations.
Richard began his political career as one of the youngest city commissioners appointed in Austin. He then went to work at the State Capitol as the Texas House Appropriations Committee clerk advising state representatives on state agency budgets. His public relations career began as the publicist for the national TV series, Austin City Limits. He combined those two expertise becoming a trade association executive for the next two decades representing a national retail industry before Congress, state legislators, the media and Wall Street.
His achievements in protecting and promoting the retail rent-to-own industry became a college textbook chapter for business students to study the power associations have in shaping public policy, business and industry practices. Richard holds a B.A. in History from the University of Texas. He also showcases his creative side as a published songwriter and producing an award-winning documentary. He has lived in Austin all of his life and cherishes his time with his wife, daughter and their rescue dogs.