Management & Team



Philip H. de Leon is President of Trade Connections International LLC ( a Washington, DC based international trade & business development consultant who assists companies work abroad and foreign companies work in the United States. Mr. de Leon elaborates business, marketing, project management and public relations strategies, seeks financing for projects, and gathers critical information for his clients.

Mr. de Leon spent ten years with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS) in Washington, DC rising to the position of Director. BISNIS was part of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service and served as the U.S. Government’s primary market information center for U.S. companies exploring export and investment opportunities in Russia and Eurasia. Since its opening in 1992, BISNIS facilitated more than $4.5 billion worth of U.S. exports and overseas investments.

Mr. de Leon is a regular speaker at conferences and a contributor to finance publications, writing on business opportunities and on attracting export financing for Eurasian transactions. His recent contributions on Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were for Global Trade Review (, Marchmont News ( and Trade Finance Magazine (

Mr. de Leon was educated in France where he earned a law degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris as well as a graduate degree in Russian Language and Studies from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris. In 1996 he earned a Master’s Degree (LLM) in International Law from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Law.

Mr. de Leon has traveled extensively to Russia and Central Asia since 1983. In 2004, he organized conferences in Moscow and St. Petersburg on doing business in Russia’s regions; in 2005 he ran conferences in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan on doing business in Central Asia. For this work, he was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Bronze Award for Superior Federal Service in 2005. Most recently, the events he worked on focused on Afghanistan and Ukraine.


Mr. de Leon is fluent in English, French and Russian and is conversant in Spanish.




Mark Shulgov, President of Foreign Trade Alliance LLC - a consultancy agency based in Tomsk, Siberia - became in 2009 an Affiliated Partner of Trade Connections International LLC for Siberia, Russia.


A few years earlier Mr. Shulgov worked under Mr. de Leon's lead as a Representative in Russia for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BISNIS. He possesses more than ten years of diversified experience in international trade, market analysis, investment and development consulting, including positions in public and private institutions.


During more than four years of service with BISNIS, Mr. Shulgov provided business consulting to US and Russian companies interested in economic collaboration, identified and processed trade and search for partner leads, organized visits of US government officials and businessmen, and on monthly basis updated commercial newsletters. He facilitated a number of international transactions and investment projects, prepared over 40 articles on commercial and investment opportunities in Russia, trained new BISNIS Representatives, and made public presentations during US and Russian outreaches.


After BISNIS, Mr. Shulgov was invited back to the Regional Administration, where he took the lead of the Inter-Regional Relations Committee. He was engaged in the development and implementation of the territory's interregional relations strategy. Mr. Shulgov also dealt with protocol and negotiation issues and prepared collaboration agreements between regions of Russia and Asia. Since 2008 he has been occupying the position of Commercial Director in a small Russian machine building holding engaged in engineering and custom manufacturing of technological equipment and metal ware.


In the early 2000s Mr. Shulgov served as Deputy Chief for External Relations in a mid-size Siberian company engaged in commercialization of scientific developments in medicine, and later occupied Senior Expert's position in Foreign Relations of the Government of the Tomsk region, where he dealt with analysis and coordination of international economic activities of local companies.


In 1997 Mr. Shulgov graduated with distinctions in international relations and foreign languages from the Tomsk State University, and started his career in marketing and sales of the Siberian Group of Chemical Enterprises, a flagship of the Russian nuclear complex. There he managed the fulfillment of international and domestic contracts for high-tech chemical products, being also responsible for marketing research and advertisement. At the same time Mr. Shulgov continued his studies and in addition to taking a number of business and foreign language courses, he pursued a one-year long specialized professional  course in economy and management under the Russian President's Management Training Initiative from the Moscow State Institute of Engineering and Physics. Mr. Shulgov also received some business training in the UK.


Mr. Shulgov is fluent in Russian and English, and is conversant in Japanese.


Tim Louzonis joined Trade Connections International in 2009 as an Affiliated Partner and is based in L'viv, where he works to develop trade relationships for companies interested in the Ukrainian import/export market.


Mr. Louzonis has spent more than 15 years traveling and working in the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  Much of this time was spent with MCT Corp., where he worked to develop cellular telecommunications operators from their start-up as greenfield projects until their $300M sale to TeliaSonera in 2007.  While at MCT, Tim held a number of positions, including six years as project manager for Tajikistan.  As project manager, Mr. Louzonis reported directly to MCT's CEO and led expansion strategy, operating and capital budgeting, and purchasing of major networking equipment from companies such as Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent. 


Mr. Louzonis returned to Ukraine in 2008 and served two consulting assignments: first, as interim CFO for Barvinok Trading Company (a grocery retailer), following its acquisition by Abris Capital Partners, and second, as interim Director of Supply Chain for Discovery Drilling, Ltd. (a manufacturer of land-based oil-drilling platforms).  Tim's return to Ukraine also provided him an opportunity to reconnect with his distant relatives in L'viv, who run an internationally successful wedding dress design and manufacturing company.


Mr. Louzonis was educated in the U.S., where he earned a bachelors degree in Russian Area Studies from Middlebury College, spending his junior year abroad in Odessa, Ukraine in 1993-1994.  Since 2007 Mr. Louzonis has held the Chartered Financial Analyst ("CFA") designation.


Mr. Louzonis is fluent in English and Russian and is conversant in basic Ukrainian.


Uliana Sapronova is a trade associate at Trade Connections International LLC.  Uliana joined Trade Connections International from the United Nations Foundation (UNF) in Washington, DC where she spent one year working in the Partnership and Development department. At UNF Uliana assisted in designing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy and implementing CRM software (Raiser’s Edge 7.5) to enable better management of relationship with donors.  Prior to UNF, Uliana worked for two years at Moscow office of the Ministry of the Republic of Bashkortostan where she conducted business development functions including leads generation, events organizing, and public relations, and marketing of Bashkortostan abroad. 

Uliana holds a BA Degree in International Relations with concentration on Spanish Government Relations from the Moscow State University of International Relations, and a MA Degree in International Commerce and Policy from the George Mason University. 

Uliana is fluent in English, Russian and is conversant in Spanish. 


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