Eugene Cornelius, Jr.

Eugene Cornelius, Jr.

Senior Director, Center for Regional Economics and California Center

Eugene Cornelius, Jr. is the senior director of the Milken Institute's Center for Regional Economics. He previously had a distinguished career in public service, most recently as senior advisor to the Office of International Trade, US Small Business Administration (SBA). After successfully setting up and organizing this office, as deputy associate administrator, Cornelius accepted a one-year detail to the International Council of Small Business (ICSB), located at George Washington University. He brought extensive international experience and executive leadership to the design, development, and delivery of the ICSB Global program between the United States and 10 allied countries that are interested in learning best practices on how to establish small business support agencies. The program also promotes the facilitation of trade between other countries' small businesses and those in the United States. Cornelius was also responsible for administrating the oversight and execution of four program divisions: (1) Federal & State Trade Development Division (which focuses on delivery and management of grant programs), (2) International Trade Finance Division (which provides trade financing, counseling, and training with SBA's three loan programs via 21 Export Assistance Centers nationwide), (3) International Affairs & Trade Policy Division (which focuses on national initiatives, trade policy mandates, export promotion, interagency collaborative efforts, field network, and outreach), and (4) Administration & Operations. In addition to his agency role, Cornelius served as an international consultant in the Bahrain, Tunisia, and Jordan and twice in Egypt under the US State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative, where he facilitated public-private forums to streamline registration, regulations, and zoning policies and expanded lending and non-financial services to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Cornelius previously served as the deputy associate administrator for the Office of Business and Economic Development, where he provided senior leadership to over 42 percent of the agency's budgeted workforce, ensuring the implementation of its overall goals, programs, and operations. He was responsible for management and oversight of over 90 offices covering all US states and territories.

Cornelius is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and Acquisition (Level 3) Senior Project Manager Program at American University and is nationally certified as an Associate in Risk Management. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in public administration and is a visiting scholar at George Washington University. He was awarded the Harvard University School of Business "Bright Idea" for Innovation in American Government Award for the Business Builder economic development initiative. He is a native Chicagoan and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Panel Appearances