Our Team

John Shen – Chief Executive Officer

John Shen is the creative pioneer behind the groundbreaking integration of banking’s senior loan origination with EB-5 operations. John obtained his master’s degree from Duke University in 2006 and his undergraduate degree from the Law School of Peking University in 1992. John founded American Lending Center, LLC (“ALC”, formerly “USEDLC”) in June 2009. As of 2022, ALC regional centers have successfully sponsored and fully funded over 80 EB-5 projects exclusively through secured senior loans. By originating customized senior loans with third party construction fund control and on-site management, ALC’s unique approach minimizes the risk in both capital operation and corresponding immigration adjudication. These projects have collectively created over 12,000 full time jobs throughout the United States. In October 2017, John received the Coleman Report’s “SBA 504 Lender of the Year Award” for his outstanding leadership and contributions to business lending across the nation. An Economic Development Commissioner for the City of Long Beach, John also co-founded the first ever Long Beach Accelerator™ to support tech startups and to help promote foreign direct investments (FDI) and international trade for the City.

Stella Zhang – Chief Operating Officer

Stella was born and raised in China and obtained her MBA from the University of California, Irvine. Stella has over 15 years of experience in the immigration services industry and has brought in tremendous expertise in managing and servicing investors. Since 2011, Stella has been the Chief Operating Officer of Regional Centers Holding Group and has led the company through rapid growth and success.  Stella has taken primary responsibility in managing and coordinating the development and implementation of many SBA projects in the U.S. She is also one of the cofounders of Sunstone Management. In 2017, Stella won the Coleman Emerging Leader Award from prestigious media outlet, the Coleman Report. Her experience and leadership in operational management make her a valuable asset to the company.

Scott Wagner – Senior Economist

Scott is an economist specializing in the EB-5 program. From 2011 to 2013, Scott worked on-site with the USCIS Investor Program division, where he was a team leader for a group of economic and business consultants that modernized and facilitated USCIS’s adjudication of EB-5 investment projects. In 2014, Scott founded Wagner Consulting Group (www.wcgeb5.com), an EB-5 economic advisory firm.  Scott’s past work experience includes research positions at San Francisco State University and San Diego State University, and he was a senior business consultant at LECG Corporation. Scott received his bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Westmont College in 2004 and his master’s degree in economics from San Diego State University in 2010.  Scott’s master’s thesis investigated trends in Chinese foreign direct investment in the early 2000s.

Justin Blackhall – Finance Counsel

Justin earned his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his B.A. from Syracuse University. He has clerked for the Honorable Shira A. Scheindl in in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Honorable Thomas B. Bennet in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the Honorable Thomas K. Moore in the District Court of the Virgin Islands. As a shareholder and the founding member of Blackhall, P.C., Justin’s practice focuses on the representation of U.S. and international bank and non-bank lenders in complex financing transactions, planning and compliance in addition to the creation and deployment of secondary market and securitized loan products (with a specialization in representing lenders in SBA loan related transactions).

Kraig Schwigen  – VP, Strategic Development

From 1985 to 2008, Kraig was a law enforcement officer with the Rock Island County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Department. At the same time, he and his wife developed two large residential subdivisions with more than 110 home sites. In 2008, Kraig shifted focus to the EB-5 foreign investment program, growing one regional center into one of the country’s largest and most successful regional center groups at California Military Base (CMB). As COO of this group, he grew the number of investors from 40 to more than 5,400, representing more than $2.7 billion in EB-5 investment capital. After his retirement from CMB and in the face of historic changes by the US Congress to the EB5 program, Kraig helped launch a new venture (American Investment Migration) which created a cutting-edge platform for developers seeking EB-5 capital. At ALC, Kraig applies his unique experience and knowledge to help develop and drive the strategic goals of the organization.

Tony Wong – Immigration Counsel

Tony has been licensed to practice in the State of California since 2006. Tony obtained his bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Hong Kong, master’s degrees in law from the City University of Hong Kong and the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, and J.D. degree from the University of West Los Angeles, School of Law. Tony is also licensed to practice law in Hong Kong, England and Wales. For his EB-5 practice, he represents investors through the immigration process including filing of 526, 526E, and 829 petitions. Tony has also practiced law in different areas including corporation, international business transactions, asset protection and estate planning, intellectual property, civil litigation, and a wide spectrum of immigration law.

Scott Thompson – VP, Chief Lending Officer

Mr. Thompson serves as the organization’s lead in developing new international markets. He also develops and maintains relationships with government agencies, trade associations and other global strategic partners. Mr. Thompson is an alumnus of Azusa Pacific University, and has over 18 years of experience developing marketing campaigns and business development projects throughout the United States. During his career, Mr. Thompson has managed marketing campaigns that have successfully targeted millions of American households and businesses utilizing all advertising mediums including digital, print, telecom, broadcast, outdoor, and direct mail. As a business developer, he has assisted dozens of organizations in achieving their financial goals through customer and capital acquisition. Much of his capital acquisition experience came while serving as an officer of a large publicly traded bank where he helped secure U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 and 7(a) loans, and USDA Business and Industry loans for start-ups, equipment, and commercial real estate.

Leo Zhou – Co-founder

Leo Zhou is the co-founder of ALC Regional Center. Prior to founding ALC, Leo was with a top 3 national bank in the U.S. for about 10 years, where he received the Top 10 Producer award for four consecutive years. He has extensive experiences in private banking, commercial and government guaranteed lending as well as structural financing. Leo is also a top-notch banker understanding the needs of UHNW clients. Leo graduated from Beijing Foreign Affairs College in 1997 with a B.A. majoring Diplomatic English & Administration then earned a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 2000. Leo is a member of the National Rural Lenders’ Association and active in supporting non-profit education initiatives and youth welfare.