Cynthia Whittenburg Becomes NCBFAA Educational Institute Executive Vice President
Silver Spring, MD, January 23, 2023—NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI) has announced that Cynthia Whittenburg has been appointed Executive Vice President, effective immediately.
“NEI was already on a glide path toward greater heights in the world of enabling continuing trade education and I am honored to step into that upward trajectory,” Whittenburg said. “I have long been an advocate of hands-on, practical education in the trade space due to the complexities in which we operate. It’s my hope that strengthening the professionalism of cross-border enablers will shine a light on this industry as a choice career for the next generation.”
Whittenburg, who most recently served as NEI Associate Director, has succeeded Federico “Kiko” Zuniga who was NEI Executive Director for the past 12 years and has been credited with building the institute into a nationally recognized program for international trade professionals to advance their education. Prior to NEI, Zuniga spent several decades serving NCBFAA on various committees. He was NCBFAA President from 2002 to 2006 and has since served as NCBFAA Senior Counselor. Zuniga will continue to operate in an advisory and promotional capacity to Whittenburg and the NEI team.
"I was given the privilege and honor to lead the NCBFAA Educational Institute over the last 12 years, surrounded by amazing, knowledgeable, and giving people who have helped create the NEI and made it what it is today, which in turn has raised the level of professionalism and recognition of our industry,” Zuniga said.
“We are blessed to have had Cynthia Whittenburg take the lead at NEI over the past year and a half, where she has demonstrated to me what I already knew, that she is the right person for the position and will move NEI to a higher level of service and recognition,” he added.
“We are honored to have Cynthia at the helm of NEI and we applaud the amazing amount of work that she has already done for the institute since coming on board,” said NCBFAA President Jose D. (JD) Gonzalez. “We also want to thank Kiko for his tireless work and abundant accomplishments over the years while serving as NEI Executive Director. Going forward, we know that Cynthia and her team can continue to rely on Kiko’s sound advice and willingness to assist the institute.”
NEI provides educational opportunities to the members of NCBFAA and the larger trade community in the areas of international trade, supply chain management, global logistics, customs brokerage, export transactions, transportation, attendant government regulation, and those areas of knowledge necessary to manage or advance a career path in a business providing services to those sectors.
Whittenburg joined NEI as Associate Director in July 2021 to promote and enhance the knowledge base and professionalism within this dynamic industry. Prior to that, she was Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner in Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade in Washington, D.C. NEI benefits from Whittenburg’s decades of experience with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where she served in senior roles in trade oversight.
At CBP’s Office of Trade, Whittenburg drove key enforcement strategies over priority trade areas including antidumping and countervailing duties, intellectual property rights, import safety, textiles, broker compliance, forced labor, and trade agreements.
She spent more than 30 years at CBP, joining the agency as an import specialist in the Port of New Orleans and was promoted over the years to increasing senior management roles within the agency.
While working for CBP, Whittenburg served 24 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard. She also a graduate of Dillard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science/Business and has earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University. Additionally, she graduated from the Department of Homeland Security Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program in 2013 and completed the Senior Managers in Government course at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2016. In 2022, Whittenburg earned a Master’s in Legal Studies, International Business Law, at University of Oklahoma, and became a licensed U.S. customs broker.