Meet our Team

Dr. Joseph J. Penbera established the CEIC to promote economic activity and job creation under the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. The CEIC received its designation from USCIS on August 12, 2009 and under the Reform & Integrity Act has filed the I-956 for the purpose of investing EB-5 capital into new commercial enterprises that create jobs and benefits to the U.S. economy. The focus of the CEIC is to identify qualified projects in various sectors including alternative energy, alternative fuel, technology, and real estate development in the State of California and Nevada.

Dr. Joseph J. Penbera
Dr. Joseph J. Penbera CEIC Chairman
Ph.D., American U; MPA, Baruch School, CUNY; BA. Rutgers; Postgraduate: Senior Finance Program, Harvard Business School, and Computer Applications Program, MIT/Bowdoin.

Dr. Penbera has been working in the EB-5 field since 1998 and has guided the work establishing EB-5 regional investment centers in Hawaii, California, Texas, and Florida. Dr. Penbera has a distinguished record in both the public and private sector, and as a university professor and executive.

He was appointed Senior Fulbright Scholar in Economics, one of the highest scholarly honors in the U.S., and has been identified as “one of the top economists in the nation” by Knight Kiplinger, editor/publisher of The Kiplinger Magazine, the oldest business publication in the U.S. In 2017 he was recognized as one the foremost economists in the world by the Invest in the U.S. Summit held in Shenzhen China. He is a recipient of the Paul Harris Medal awarded for outstanding public service, and the ORMASZ Medal for his work on behalf of Poland during its transition to a private enterprise economic system. He has been recognized as a financial expert under NYSE/SEC guidelines, and is a member of the Financial Executives Institute, and the National Association of Forensic Economists.

Dr Penbera began his professional career in the agro-industrial sector, At age 26, he was appointed Director of the International Programs Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School in Washington, D.C. and lead the Project Management programs funded by the USAID, The World Bank, and other international agencies which focused on Vietnam, Mexico, India, Bangladesh, and east and West Africa. As a result of his doctoral training in technology management and an association with think-tank leadership and forecast methods, his appointment was expanded to include directing the Technology Forecasting and Futures Programs serving NASA, NSF, and other federal agencies, Subsequently, he worked in Brazil under the sponsorship of the Planning Secretariat leading training programs which trained business leaders in modern management methods.

Dr. Penbera has engaged in pioneering work related to digital age technologies. As Dean of the Franklin School of Business and Public Administration, he designed the CSP project funded by the Cleveland Foundation, Apple and IBM and held at the U. of Waterloo which trained university business school faculty in the integration of new computer related technology into the curriculum. Dr. Penbera authored one of the first referred journal articles on the “Economics of E-Commerce” and one of the first comprehensive analysis of director responsibilities in Standard and Poor 500 companies, (published by MIT/Sloan), and co-authored a Bookwatch Bestseller which for many years served as the seminal resource for business researchers.

He has also worked as a consultant to many government entities, The White House Consortium of U.S. Cabinet-Level Agencies, on a variety of issues and was the keynote speaker celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Federal Executives Institute. His work in the private sector includes serving as a director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of companies that are leaders in their field, including Rug Doctor (the largest cleaning machine manufacturer in the U.S. and now owned by American Capital (ACAS-NASDAQ), and Vendo (VEN-NYSE) the largest vending machine company in the U.S. and now part of Sanden of Japan. He has also served as Senior Economist to five banks, including California Bank & Trust, and Westamerica.

Dr. Penbera recent work experience includes serving as Dean and Professor of The Craig School of Business, and leading the school’s successful building construction, naming endowment, overseas expansion, and advanced technology initiatives. He was appointed as Eaton Fellow of Economics in the Futures Institute, and in 2019, he completed the early retirement program.

For more than thirty years, Dr. Penbera has served as Chairman of PenberaParis, LLC, a consulting firm which specializes in providing a complete set of services related to all components of the EB-5 Project Exemplar Applications and Regional Investment Center designation processes. This work has helped hundreds of petitioners and their families make a successful transition to the U.S, via approval of I-526 petitions, encompassed projects which have deployed more than $3 billion in total capital investment, and led to the creation of more than 25,000 jobs. He has also provided hundreds of Professional Opinion Letters relating to I-526 and I-829 applications for investors from all over the world, including China, Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America, and the Middle East. Dr. Penbera has been invited to Washington to meet with principals of the USCIS and Members of the U.S. Congress on EB-5 matters.

Dr. Penbera has had a lifelong commitment to promoting best practices in all endeavors. He was a member of the FEI Task Force which produced guidelines for implementing good governance practices under the landmark Sarbanes Oxley Act. These endeavors seek out opportunities to help people succeed, projects which are financially successful, and ways to contribute to health of communities and the planet. To this end, virtually all EB-5 projects have involved innovative, environmentally friendly technologies and/or methods and have been located in targeted employment areas. Dr. Penbera has served on many community boards, including as a founding member of the San Joaquin River Parkway. He has also been a contributor to the Rural Alliance.

Michael Penbera CEIC Executive Director
Michael Penbera has been the Executive Director of the CEIC continuously since 2010.

He has worked virtually all of professional career in California and has assisted in the preparation of many business plans relating to the investment alternatives which encompass the central mission of the CEIC, including biofuels, solar power, agriculture, real estate, and innovative technologies, among others. Mr. Penbera is the principal point-of-contact with the USCIS and supervises staff in the preparation of reports for investors and government agencies. He is very familiar with USCIS compliance protocols, regularly attends USCIS online meetings, and participates in EB-5 national conferences. He has established relationships with the prominent EB-5 attorneys as well as the overseas investment community. Mr. Penbera provides direct technical assistance to prospective projects in the preparation of their comprehensive Business Plan, technical documentation, IMPLAN job creation studies, and offering documents. He also has demonstrated skills in project financing, including in capital sourcing, conventional loans, and property development.

As a result of the CEIC’s staff commitment to both conducting the CEIC business at a high professional level and their demonstrating a commitment to each investor, in 2017 the CEIC was awarded a NES Financial Best Practices Award.

Maryanne Banich CEIC Operations Manager
Certified Paralegal Since 1998

Maryanne Banich serves as operations manager for the CEIC providing important day-to-day support for the Executive Director, including client services and investor liaison, creating excel models, producing legal documents, attorney support for client filings with USCIS and assuring the accuracy and security of all information exchanged with third parties, including investors, attorneys, and the USCIS. Accomplished Operations Manager equipped with 20 years of diverse and progressive experience in promotion and project management with a record of $40MM successful project integration. Skilled at achieving project objectives, managing and building customer confidence.

Ruditsky Consulting Group, LLCIMPLAN and RIMS II Economist
BS, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; MBA, CSU, Fresno.

Brian Ruditsky developed his expertise in input/output modeling while attending CSU, Fresno. Subsequently, he worked with Dr. Penbera in developing IMPLAN and RIMS II modeling and regional economic output and benefits analysis for many EB-5 projects. Mr. Ruditsky is Lean/Six Sigma qualified and is responsible for maintaining CEIC’s updated data and software accounts with IMPLAN Group, LLC.

Gill & McAvoy, LLPCertified Public Account & Annual Audit
Mr. Donny Gill received his MBA from Fresno State California.

His firm provides the following: Accounting, Tax Returns, and Business Consulting Bookkeeping Services, Payroll Services, Virtual CFO Services, Audits – Reviews – Compilations, Succession Planning, New Business Formation.

Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP

H. Ronald Klasko is widely recognized by businesses, universities, hospitals, scholars, investors, and other lawyers as one of the country’s leading immigration lawyers. A founding member of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, and its Managing Partner, he has practiced immigration law exclusively for over three decades.

CEIC’s Core Strategy

Focus its capital investment and economic activity on projects which have high employment and income producing potential in communities with chronically high unemployment. CEIC believes that the CEIC Region has unique attributes– including an abundance of sun days and agricultural products, and an existing transportation infrastructure which includes international and regional airports and road systems — all of which facilitates alternative energy-related projects. It should be noted that jobs in the alternative energy sector typically pay more than agricultural jobs. As a result, CEIC believes that the impact of its projects on the CEIC Region, including income and purchasing power, as well as income, sales, and property tax revenues, will be substantial. It is estimated that more than 75% of the population in the Central Valley lives within proximity of Highway 99 and Interstate 5. In some of the towns along these highways general unemployment is well over 30% and, in certain age groups, well over 50%. CEIC’s investment categories will be in proximity to large concentrations of unemployed people.

“We decided in 2014 to apply for the EB5 program and selected CEIC as the regional center. The CEIC team was always available through phone or email and answered all our queries promptly. We are now in the US on our conditional green card. CEIC was very cooperative when we applied for removal of conditions and provided required documentation to file with USCIS. Due to our positive experience, we would wholeheartedly recommend CEIC.”


“The CEIC team has provided excellent customer service, I wholeheartedly endorse CEIC. Thank you very much!”

“I worked with the CEIC for my EB-5 visa process. The overall process was really smooth with great communication from Maryanne and rest of the team. I would recommend others going through this process to also work with this regional center. Thanks.”