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Profile: Hans H. Hertell

December 7, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

On November 26, a prominent lawyer and businessman arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from his home in Puerto Rico. Though he had made the same trip many times before for vacation or business, this time he was there to assume his duties as Ambassador of the United States of America in the Dominican Republic.

Hans H. Hertell, 50, had been sworn in as U.S. Ambassador by Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington earlier in the month and he presented his credentials to Dominican President Hipólito Mejía on November 29.

At a reception to introduce Ambassador Hertell to members of the Cabinet of the Dominican Republic and to other members of the Diplomatic Corps, he said, "As most of you know, I am from Puerto Rico, born and raised in San Juan. Although all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, in the past century very few of the residents of the Island of Enchantment were named by the President of the United States as Ambassadors, for which I feel doubly honored."

Ambassador Hertell assumes his responsibilities at a time when the two countries are brought closer together through sorrow. Many Dominican lives were lost in the recent crash of an American Airlines flight from New York City to Santo Domingo and many of those who perished in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York were from the Dominican Republic. Hertell said, "I want to express my most sincere condolences to all the families of the victims of Flight 587 and to all those who lost their loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11. It has been a very deep sorrow that the Dominican Republic and the United States have had to share from these terrible tragedies."

Commenting on the broad perspective of his new position, Hertell said, "Our two nations share a very profound and multifaceted relationship. We are primary commercial partners, we share a stong commitment to democracy, and we cooperate very closely in our approach to affairs dealing with international crime and terrorist organizations."

Some of the most difficult aspects of Ambassador Hertell’s job will be working with the Dominican government to stem the flow through the Dominican Republic to the United Staes of illicit drugs and the creation of legal mechanisms to control the pirating of American copyrighted music, videos, computer games and computer software.

Ambassador Hertell can draw on more than 20 years experience in law, business, government and public affairs to meet the challenges he will face. He was one of the founding partners of the third largest full service law firms in Puerto Rico -- Goldman, Antonetti, Ferraiuloi, Axtmayer & Hertell -- and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Puerto Rico’s Law School.

Most recently, Hertell was Chairman of American Builders Corporation, a general contractor in Puerto Rico, and Chairman of a joint venture between American Builders and Beers Construction Co., a member of the Skanska group from Sweden which is one of the largest construction companies in the world.

Ambassador Hertell has also served on the Board of Directors of OCASO Insurance Offices of P.R., a subsidiary of one of the largest insurance companies of Spain. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Interstate Waste Technologies, Inc., which is involved in developing municipal solid waste projects in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Colombia, the Philippines, Chile, China, Thailand and other locations. .

From 1992 through 1996, he was Managing Director for the Caribbean and Latin America for the firm of Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, a government and public affairs company based in Washington DC. He was responsible for all aspects of the firm’s activities in his designated region.

His banking experience included a position as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of PonceBank (NYSE), one of the largest publicly traded corporations in the Caribbean with $1.3 billion in assets. From 1989 to 1991, he served as a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

Between 1982 and 1984, Hertell was a political and legal advisor to the Governor of Puerto Rico, as well as to the Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Treasury of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Recognized for his leadership abilities at an early age, Hertell served, in 1986, as a delegate to the conference of the American Center for International Leaders, held in Moscow. During 1989, he served as a member of the Commission to Review U.S. Magistrates for Reappointment, U.S. Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Ambassador Hertell has been active in the Republican Party for many years. He was Puerto Rico State Chairman of the Young Republican National Association from 1984-85 and a Member of the National Steering Committee for George Bush’s successful 1988 presidential campaign. He has served on the National Finance Committee of the Fund for America’s Future and as an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1988, 1992 and 1996. In 1999, the Governor of Texas, George W. Bush, appointed Hertell as co-chairman of the George W. Bush Presidential Exploratory Committee in Puerto Rico. He was a Delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Ambassador Hertell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University of New York and a Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Puerto Rico. He and his wife, Marie, have three children.


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