Victor Mercado

A native of the Southwest, Victor Mercado was born in Mexico and educated in the United States. He received both his bachelor and master's degrees from Northern Arizona University and is a member of the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA). A restless entrepreneur, Victor served as Director of the Women's Business Center of Southern Arizona, a startup incubator of the U.S. Small Business Administration before taking over as Director of Public Relations for the Sunnyside Unified School District, the second largest school district in Southern Arizona. Prior to launching Southwest Design Labs, Victor worked at the University of Arizona, where he was responsible for managing a wide-range of creative projects and providing strategy through data analytics using Oracle databases to harness the power of big data. Over the years, he has supervised master's and Ph.D. graduate assistants in Management Information Systems (MIS), Sociology and Higher Education. He has presented at national conferences on topics ranging from marketing and branding, to program evaluation, to culturally-relevant pedagogy.


Cesar Fuentes, Ph.D.
Research Methods

Cesar Fuentes was born in Nogales, Arizona and received his master's and doctorate in Biology from Northern Arizona University. He has lectured for the past five years at three different undergraduate institutions. His experience as lab technician and lab supervisor is extensive as he has worked in various laboratories at different institutions of higher ed. As senior laboratory technician at Rutgers University, he contributed to a publication accepted into the Journal of Comparative Neurology. His M.S and subsequent Ph.D. investigations also led to a publication in the Journal of Phycology. Cesar has also published and presented several poster and oral presentations at national and international conferences. His background and experience as a scholar and researcher has provided him with a scientific perspective to help non-traditional and traditional enterprises think strategically based on scientific literature. The world and the field of science are evolving at a fast pace, and so it is with utmost importance that an accurate and reliable science policy be adapted by new enterprises.

Dane Velasquez
Audio + Video Lead

Dane Velasquez is a videographer, editor, and multimedia producer. He has been working with video- and audio-editing for over ten years, and videography for over five years, specializing in event videography. He has produced projects for Arizona Repertory Theatre, Tucson Advertising Federation, the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts and other clients.