Ajmal Abdulsamad

Years: 2011-2019

Ajmal was a Research Analyst with Duke GVCC from 2011 through mid-2019. He received his M.A. in International Development Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University. Prior to 2011, he had over nine years of international development experience working for various International Development Organizations and the United Nations. His experience includes extensive work in program management and research in international development. Ajmal’s research interest is the interface of institutions, industry competitiveness, and economic development strategies.


Ghada Ahmed

Years: 2009-2018

Ghada was a senior research analyst with the GVC center from 2009 through early 2018, and continues to be engaged in GVC-related work.


Penny Bamber

Years: 2009-21

Penny Bamber was an independent contractor with the GVC Center from 2009-2020. Her work focused on economic development and competitiveness in Latin America and Africa, with a particular interest in the role of workforce development and gender in supporting industry upgrading. Key industries for her include agriculture, medical devices, and offshore services. She has led several projects related to improving national competitiveness in both high- and low-tech sectors for developing countries. Penny has also led trainings in the use and application of the GVC framework for industry representatives and policy makers in developing countries. Prior to joining the Duke GVC Center, Penny worked in the leadership development-training field, facilitating programs for business students and executives at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.


Lukas Brun

Years: 2010-2018

Lukas Brun was a Senior Research Analyst with Duke GVCC from 2010 until mid-2018. He is now a Faculty Fellow at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. His research uses global value chain analysis to understand corporate and regional competitiveness. He has published in peer-reviewed academic journals and industry trade journals. Articles by Lukas appear in the Economic Development Quarterly, the Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, and the Marine Technology Reporter, among others. Prior to joining the Duke GVC Center, he was a senior research associate at the UNC Center for Competitive Economies working on state and local area economic development projects, and as an economist for a Los Angeles-based economic consulting firm. Lukas holds master’s degrees with concentrations in economic development and international political economy from UNC-Chapel Hill, and bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from Texas Christian University.


Vivian Couto

Years: 2017-2018

Vivian Couto was an independent contractor with GVCC in 2017-2018. Vivian graduated from the Utrecht University’s Masters of International Economics program in 2015. Prior to working with GVCC, her research focused on improving the competitiveness of Latin American countries in the offshore services value chain, with a particular interest in both economic and social upgrading. She has consulted for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the ILO. Vivian has also been responsible for the development of the professional offshore services industry of Uruguay at the National Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. Before that, she worked as project coordinator at ALES (Latin American Association of Service Exporters) for five years, an IADB-funded project aimed at promoting service exports from Latin America. Finally, she is an assistant professor and thesis coordinator at the Catholic University of Uruguay.


Jack Daly

Years: 2013-2020

Jack was a research analyst with GVCC from 2013 to 2020. He graduated from the N.C. State’s Masters of International Studies program. Prior to joining the Duke GVC Center , his research focused on government responses to recent crises within automotive value chains in Sweden, Germany and the United States. He has also been an analyst for firms specializing in political risk, analyzing regime stability, policy initiatives, societal tensions and business environments in more than 30 countries. Finally, he worked in newspapers for nine years, writing for the Raleigh News & Observer, Charlotte Observer and Durham Herald-Sun. While he was born in Toronto, Jack has lived in Durham since 2005. He has a wife and two sons.


Kristen Dubay

Years: 2008

Karina Fernandez-Stark

Years: 2008-2019

Karina Fernandez-Stark was a Senior Research Analyst at the Duke GVC Center from 2008 until early 2019. She has led several research projects related to economic development and competitiveness in Latin America and other regions of the world. She has consulted for the African Development Bank, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank, OECD, UNCTAD and the World Bank, amongst others. She has published several research reports and articles on industrial upgrading and social and economic development focusing largely on the offshore service and agriculture-related industries.


Stacey Frederick

Years: 2006-2021

Stacey was the Director (2018-2021), Research Scientist (2010-2018), and Research Affiliate (2005-2009) of the Duke GVC Center. She was with the Center since its inception in 2005-06 working on the NC in the Global Economy and Nanotechnology projects. Her research involves using global value chain (GVC) analysis to identify economic, social and environmental upgrading opportunities for countries and firms in a variety of industries, including textiles and apparel, electronics/digital/ICT, medical/pharma, automotive, and several other manufacturing and technology-based sectors. She has used the framework to analyze issues ranging from employment generation to trade policy impacts for global organizations including the World Bank, the ILO, the UN Statistics Division, and UNIDO; regional organizations including the Islamic Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as a number of national governments (USA, South Korea (KIET), Costa Rica, Philippines, Nicaragua, and Bahrain). One of her primary interests is developing new research methods that combine qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluate country and firm participation in GVCs. She started in this field through her research on the textile industry, and received her B.S. in Textile Management and Ph.D. in Textile Technology Management from North Carolina State University.


Gary Gereffi


Gary Gereffi is an Emeritus Professor at Duke University and the founding director of the Duke GVC Center. He is currently teaching a course in Public Policy on Global Value Chain Analysis. As a Professor of Sociology he taught courses on economic sociology, globalization and comparative development, and international competitiveness. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Gereffi has published numerous books and articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development in various parts of the world. His books include: Manufacturing Miracles: Paths of Industrialization in Latin America and East Asia (Princeton University Press, 1990); Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism (Praeger Publishers, 1994); and Global Value Chains and Development (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Gereffi’s research interests deal with the competitive strategies of global firms, the governance of GVCs, economic and social upgrading, and the global knowledge economy.