Meet Our STEDC Team

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South Texas Economic Development Center (STEDC) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) was formed and approved by the Texas A&M University System in 2014. The Center aims to catalyze economic progress in South Texas and beyond by providing data-driven analytics and technical assistance to leaders and other decision makers in the public and private sectors.

Our Team

Veysel Avsar

Dr. Veysel Avsar is a Professor of Economics and a faculty fellow in Research and
Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He earned his BS in Economics from
Istanbul University in 2006 and his Ph.D. from Florida International University in 2011,
where he received multiple academic accolades. His academic career spans global
institutions, including Deakin University, UC San Diego, Antalya International University,
and Montana State University. Dr. Avsar's research has been published in leading
economics journals and extends to collaborative projects with government and the private
sector. He is globally recognized, presenting at international conferences, and receiving
numerous research awards.

Dr. Deniz Gevrek is a Professor of Economics at the TAMU-CC and a Research Fellow at
International Labor Institute, IZA. She is the national VP of Omicron Delta Epsilon. She
earned Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr.
Gevrek’s research interests include Applied Microeconometrics and Labor Economics. She
is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and has published in prestigious peer-reviewed
journals with research featured at The Wall Street Journal and Wired magazine. She is
trained in survey methods and conducting economic impact studies. Dr. Gevrek received
numerous awards for teaching, research, and service excellence.

Ahmed Kamara

Dr. Ahmed Kamara is an Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University-
Corpus Christi. He received his PhD in Economics from Texas Tech University, an MA in
Economics from Georgia State University, and a BS in Agricultural Economics from the
University for Development Studies, Ghana. His research is focused on fiscal and
monetary policy analysis, regional economics, and economic impact analysis of
government and private sector projects. Moreover, he has been involved in
multidisciplinary research by teaming up with researchers from science, engineering, and
operations management. His research has appeared in highly reputable journals in
economics.

Jim Lee

Dr. Jim Lee is Regents Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
During his tenure at TAMU-CC he served as Chair of the Decision Sciences and Economics
Department from 2012 to 2015, and as Director of the South Texas Economic Development
Center from 2014 to 2024 in the College of Business. In addition to teaching, his academic
research evolves around the application of econometrics to macroeconomic policy and
regional economic development. His research findings and commentary have been
featured in the popular press, including The Wall Street Journal and Business Week, and
media outlets across Texas.

Brian Tietje

Dr. Brian Tietje is Interim Director of the STEDC, Professor of Marketing, and has served as
the Dean of the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2021.
Dean Tietje’s experience in entrepreneurship began in 1991 when he served as a Business
Plan Specialist at the Pacific Business Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He also
served on the Board of Directors of the Economic Vitality Corporation during his 22-year
academic career at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He now works closely with business and
community leaders to support innovation and economic growth throughout South Texas.