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L&IT Annual Conference 2014

International Entreprenuership

March 12, 2014

the beginning

The purpose of the Language and International Trade Conference is:

  • To promote the Clemson Language and International Trade Program and business studies at Clemson University
  • To promote student awareness of international businesses in the region
  • To provide networking opportunities for students, alumni and international firms
  • To provide a forum for members of academia and business to exchange ideas
  • To raise awareness and understanding of globalization
  • To highlight Clemson University's relationship to the business community.

Agenda

9:30 a.m. Welcome Center opens
Ballroom A&B, Hendrix Student Center
10 - 10:15 a.m. Opening ceremony
10:15 - 11 a.m. Keynote speech: Elizabeth Belenchia
President at CPC Industrial
11:00 a.m. - noon Panel of Entrepreneurs:
Paul Wetzel, President, Wetzel Services
Ramon Nieves-Lugo, CMO, UniComm Media Group 
Ken Zwerdling, CEO, Foreign Staffing
Elizabeth Belenchia, President, CPC Industrial
12:15 - 1 p.m. Lunch
1:15 - 2:25 p.m. Panel Discussion with Clemson alumni, moderated by Clemson faculty

2:35 - 4 p.m. Round Table with Clemson students and international business leaders (Registration required)

4 - 4:15 p.m. Closing ceremony
4:30 - 5 p.m. Ice cream social

Note: Attire is business casual for this event.

Keynote Speaker

         Elizabeth Belenchia

Elizabeth Belenchia, SIOR, CCIM, RICS
President, Carroll Properties Corporation 1976-Present

Elizabeth Belenchia, President CPC, Spartanburg, SC for 37 years has focused her business on Sustainable Real Estate Solutions.  A specialist in Foreign Direct Investment into the US she became engaged in the US EPA Brownfield Initiative in 1996 managing a Pilot 4 years to become a national “Success Story”.  Subsequently she was appointed to represent the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) on the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Land Use Property Rights and Environment Committee for 10 years.  The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) elected her to their Legislation and Environment Committee ’04 where she led efforts with global water advocates and universities to create a juried Eco Film Festival on Water as it Relates to Real Estate in Amsterdam in 2008.  She was appointed twice to lead FIABCI UN NGO activities overseeing 20 UN Representatives worldwide. She was selected an Industry Expert to the International Standards Organization ISO 26000 Working Group on Social Responsibility (only RE representative in the world).  SC Governors appointed her to the SC Jobs Economic Development Authority Board where Industrial Revenue Bonds are cleared for the State Budget and Control Board.  Locally she has led 2 year-long initiatives with Clemson University Architecture Department to create the vision for a Sustainable Village along a 2 mile Rail Trail as well as a Water Centric Commercial Hydroponic Operation.  October 2011 the Society of International Business Fellows selected Elizabeth as Facilitator for a Middle East Leadership Academy in Egypt, she went on to be contracted by the Dubai Land Institute and Middle East North Africa Real Estate Society to teach in Dubai and throughout the Gulf, Levant and N. Africa. In May 2012 the Pachamama Alliance of Indigenous People loaned Elizabeth their juried films to host an Eco Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia during the World Congress of the International Real Estate Federation.  In June 2012,Elizabeth was selected the sole representative to Rio+20 for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), London, England where she sent daily blogs to its 120,000 strong global membership.  Belenchia holds a world record in Foreign Direct Investment having located companies from 26 countries into the Carolinas.  Her focus is in offering entrepreneurial multi-nationals with a complete corporate real estate outsource.  Elizabeth has a special talent for nurturing and mentoring. 149 domestic and international interns have sought her counsel in guiding their path.  Elizabeth is an active corporate member of the UN Global Compact and its US Network.  She participated in its Corporate Sustainability Forum in Rio de Janeiro.  In January 2014 Elizabeth was made part of the first sectorial steering group to advise the UN Global Compact along with 14 other colleagues of RICS.  This is a 2 year assignment to create outcomes for post 2015 Sustainability Goals of the Corporate members of the Global Compact.

Elizabeth hosted two Side Events in NY at the Uganda House for FIABCI in the past two years.  One event focused on Greening the Supply Chain and one NY Climate Week.

Elizabeth serves as a senior advisor to MENARES, The Middle East North Africa Real Estate Society where she has addressed professional audiences in Beirut, Jordan, Bahrain and Dubai.  Additional advisory services include the South Carolina Asia American Chamber of Commerce, and the Documentary Film Team preparing Arrival Cities.

Panel Discussion of International Entrepreneurs 

paul-wetzel

Paul Wetzel
President, Wetzel Services

Wetzel Services, Inc., is a family-owned business in Greenville, S.C., that supports international companies in the Upstate. Its three divisions (Relocation, Realty, and Language & Intercultural Training) provide a full range of services that help international companies to quickly assimilate workers and their families into Upstate life.

Paul and Valerie Wetzel are the owners of the company, which was started over 18 years ago. The Wetzel Team consists of eleven employees. Five are native German speakers, and others speak French and Chinese. Wetzel Languages also has more than 15 teachers and intercultural trainers.

Mr. Wetzel has a master's degree in education (M.Ed.) along with his real estate brokerage license. He recently earned the National Association of Realtor's designation of "Certified International Properties Specialist."

ramon-nieves-lugo

Ramon Nieves-Lugo
CMO, UniComm Media Group

As CMO of UniComm Media Group, Mr. Nieves provides the strategic and marketing expertise necessary to deliver a successful product to a client. He is constantly meeting and consulting with clients in order to make sure objectives are met. He has lived in Greenville for seven years and has been active in the Hispanic community through the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he has served as Marketing Director.

Mr. Nieves has a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and has earned an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Ramon serves on the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and on the Michelin Development Corporation Steering Committee

ken-zwerdling

Ken Zwerdling
CEO, Foreign Staffing

With over 30 years of business experience, Mr. Zwerdling is currently the CEO of Foreign Staffing, Inc., an international, bi-lingual staffing and recruiting agency. For the past 16 years, Ken was the CEO of Foreign Translations, Inc. which he just recently sold. Ken is responsible for Foreign Staffing's business development, marketing and internet/website activities. Prior to forming these companies, he was the CEO of New Ventures Business Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in the preparation of business, strategic, capital and marketing plans for emerging and expanding companies.  He also spent 5 years in Accounting and Finance with CRSS, Inc. (now Jacobs Engineering) and 5 years with Ryder System in Miami.  Ken started his career in New York City with Goldman Sachs.

Ken has extensive experience in financial modeling, strategic planning, technology and global business. He has an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York in Finance and Economics and an MBA from Nova's Graduate School of Business.

elizabeth-belenchia

Elizabeth Belenchia
President, Carroll Properties Corporation

(See the keynote speaker bio)

Alumni Panel Discussion

The panel will give Clemson students the opportunity to hear from alumni who graduated recently in the L&IT program and are now working in an international company. The aim is to exchange views on understanding the transition from Clemson to the workplace. The alumni will share their experience about:

  1. their studies at Clemson (including internships and study abroad);
  2. looking for a job and selecting a company; and
  3. their current work and responsibilities.

Joining our L&IT alumni on the panel will be Professor Leslie Williams of Clemson University.

 Nicole Nissen

Nicole Nissen, Alumna, Chinese and International Trade

Nicole is a production and project manager with extensive international experience as an expatriate. She has traveled throughout Asia for factory visits, negotiations and quality control.

Upon graduating from Clemson with a degree in Language & International Trade, Chinese, Nicole lived and worked for five years in Shanghai, China. She relocated to New York City at the beginning of 2013 and is currently directing internal operations for the Contract department of an American-based textiles design and trading company with overseas offices in Shanghai, China, and New Delhi, India.

Allison Trefzger

Allison Trefzger, Alumna, Spanish and International Trade

Allison was born in Cleveland, OH and her family moved around a lot in her youth, ending up in Columbia, SC. After graduating from high school, she decided to go to Clemson to study business, and while she was at it, a bit of Spanish as well. She was happy to find that Clemson offered a major that met her needs perfectly. She was able to study abroad in Granada, Spain for a year where she worked as an intern for an international company. After graduating in 2009, she decided to move back to Spain to work and has been living there for almost three years. She worked as a translator for a private company for a year and a half and is currently working as a promoter for a school of Spanish in the Albaicin of Granada, Spain.  So far, this job has taken her to London and several US cities to attend fairs and conventions.  She speaks Spanish fluently and her day consists of conversing with people from all over the world, in both Spanish and English.

Michael Hunt, Alumnus, French and International Trade

Michael Hunt entered the Logistics industry with Evergreen America Corporation after graduating from Clemson in 1994. Over the last 20 years, he has participated in different facets of logistics including steamship line, NVOCC, and container drayage. He is currently a Regional Sales Representative with Atlantic Trucking Company covering Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas. Atlantic Trucking Company's customers include Coach, Bacardi, Ross Stores, Harbor Freight Tools, Honda Trading America, Walgreens, Kapstone, MeadWestvaco, and Pirelli Tire.

Catherine McDavid, Alumna, German and International Trade

Catherine is currently a Planner of Material Flow and Structure at BMW Manufacturing Company in Greenville, SC, the home of the X3, X4, X5 and X6 Sport Activity Vehicles.  She is responsible for writing processes for physical logistics, evaluating the structure needs and layouts in the plant for the future, and calculating the headcount needs that come with future projects & models.  She recently visited Munich, Germany on project, where she conducted negotiations and finalized agreements using the German she learned as a Language and International Trade student at Clemson.

Upon graduation, Catherine began her career at Draexlmaier Automotive of America (DAA) in Spartanburg, SC, where she had previously done her internship in Human Resources.  DAA is a maker of premium automotive interiors, including leather-wrapping, injection molding, and electrical wiring.  She started with DAA as a Material Planner, and was then promoted to a Production Scheduler.  After gaining experience at DAA in the automotive industry, Catherine moved to BMW Manufacturing where she has been for two years.

Shannon Callihan

Shannon Callihan, Alumna, Japanese and International Trade

Shannon has worked for Stryker since she graduated in 2004. She has worked in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and in the United States. In Japan, she was active as a specialist in the field of Medical Education. While in Germany, she worked as a Market Communications Associate dealing with the Neuro and Biomaterials areas, and a Global Marketing Associate. In the U.K., she stayed busy as a Marketing Product Manager in the CMF and Neuro fields.  Now back in North America, she is a Medical Education Consultant for the Central US region, working out of offices in Chicago and Houston.

Round Table Hosts 

grant-burns

 America Fujikura Ltd.

Grant Burns, Vice President and General Counsel
Grant Burns serves as vice president and general counsel at America Fujikura Ltd. (“AFL”). In this capacity, Grant oversees all legal matters, including corporate governance, intellectual property, litigation and securities compliance as well as government affairs. In addition, Grant is also involved in the strategic and legal activities of several other Fujikura group companies, including Fujikura Automotive America (FAA) and Fujikura America Incorporated (FAI).

Grant’s legal experience spans over two decades. Prior to AFL, Grant was most recently a Member at Nexsen Pruet, LLC, where he focused primarily on first chair litigation, compliance and labor and employment matters. Additionally, Grant mediated a wide variety of complex business disputes by court appointment.  He previously had been a Shareholder with Ogletree Deakins, where he tried numerous cases to juries in state and federal courts. Further, he advised clients on labor, employment and contractual issues.  During his career in private practice, he was recognized for excellence by publications such as The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell (AV).

A member of the South Carolina Bar and the Virginia State Bar, Grant has been admitted to also practice in numerous federal district courts, appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court.  He is also a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Defense Research Institute’s Corporate Counsel Committee.

Grant is a graduate of Clemson University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Economics. He also holds a Juris Doctor from the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Grant has worked extensively with his alma mater, Clemson University, where he formerly served on the Clemson University Board of Visitors and as president of the university’s alumni association.

Grant is active in several civic and philanthropic organizations in the Upstate of South Carolina, including the Boys Home of the South. In 2013, Grant joined the board of directors of South Carolina Charities, Inc., the non-profit that manages the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation.

xiaodan-zhou

 Century 3

Xiaodan (Dan) Zhou, Market Research Analyst

In her position, she is responsible for researching and assisting potential Chinese companies to locate/relocate or expand manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Thanks to her background in construction, Ms. Zhou works with project managers to bridge the communication gap due to language and cultural differences. She also holds a part-time position as Business Recruitment Officer for Asia with Upstate SC Alliance, where she focuses on researching the Chinese markets and targeting Chinese companies for investment in the Upstate region. Originally from Qingdao, China, Zhou received her Master’s in Civil Engineering from Clemson University in 2010 upon which she joined Century 3 and then Upstate SC Alliance in early 2011. She is fluent in both Chinese and English. Currently, Xiaodan is working toward her MBA degree and will graduate at the end of 2014.<tdstyle="vertical-align: top;"> Wetzel ServicesPaul Wetzel, President
Wetzel Services, Inc., is a family-owned business in Greenville, S.C., that supports international companies in the Upstate. Its three divisions (Relocation, Realty, and Language & Intercultural Training) provide a full range of services that help international companies to quickly assimilate workers and their families into Upstate life.Paul and Valerie Wetzel are the owners of the company, which was started over 18 years ago. The Wetzel Team consists of eleven employees. Five are native German speakers, and others speak French and Chinese. Wetzel Languages also has more than 15 teachers and intercultural trainers.Mr. Wetzel has a master's degree in education (M.Ed.) along with his real estate brokerage license. He recently earned the National Association of Realtor's designation of "Certified International Properties Specialist."

 American Bakers Association

Paul Abenante, former CEO and president of the Washington-based lobbying group, the American Bakers Association
Mr. Abenante also served on the legislative lobbying staff representing financial institutions. He came to Washington with the Central Intelligence Agency and served more than two years on the White House staff in the White House Situation Room. He graduated from Southern Illinois University and pursued graduate studies at SIU and Long Island University. He has represented multiple international companies and testified before many international regulatory agencies.

 AXA Insurance and Financial Services

Timothy Williams, Financial Consultant 
AXA Insurance is a French company headquartered in Paris. Mr. Williams is also  president of Delta Financial, LLC. He has been with his firm for 20 years in the SC, NC and GA market. His practice focuses on helping clients—individuals and small businesses—recognize, name and prioritize financial goals, develop and implement a game plan for achieving those goals, and then through periodic reviews monitor the progress. Risk management plays an important part, i.e. risk of premature death, risk of losing the ability to work, inflation risk, market risk,etc.

 BMW Manufacturing

Moritz Kippenberger, Manager, HR Planning and Steering
Moritz Kippenberger is the Department Manager for HR Planning and Steering, as well as the Department Manager for Training and Talent Programs at BMW Manufacturing in Greer, South Carolina.He received his Mechanical Engineering degree from RWTH Aachen in Germany, specializing in polymer processing and fiber reinforced plastics.

Prior to joining BMW, he spent three years as a scientific assistant at the Institute for polymer processing at RWTH Aachen (IKV).  In 1999, he joined BMW AG, located in Munich, in the technical planning group.  In 2005, he transitioned to Human Resources, where he was responsible for HR Planning and Steering, HR Controlling, and Reporting for global production.  In 2010, his responsibilities extended to diversity, the implementation of a global associates management program, and the future HR for dealers in his new role in HR Management and Global Initiatives.

In 2012, he accepted a position in Greer, SC, at BMW Manufacturing, as Department Manager for HR Strategy, Planning and Reporting, and Compensation and Management.

Moritz has a keen interest in students’ priorities when selecting an employer, as well as an intimate knowledge of international careers, language skills, and intercultural experiences.

crowe

 Buckeye Technologies

John Crowe, Retired Chairman and CEO
John B. Crowe, Retired Chairman and CEO, Buckeye Technologies Inc. was elected as chairman and chief executive officer of Buckeye July 1, 2006. He served as president and chief operating officer from April 1, 2003 until July, 2006. He was elected as a director of Buckeye in August 2004. He served as senior vice president, Wood Cellulose Division, from January 2001 to April of 2003. Mr. Crowe joined the company in December 1997 serving as vice president, Wood Cellulose Manufacturing, until January 2001. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Crowe was executive vice president / general manager of Alabama River Pulp and Alabama Pine Pulp Operations, a division of Parsons and Whittemore, Inc. and was Vice President and Site Manager of Flint River Operations, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Company.  Now retired from Buckeye, Mr. Crowe is the owner of Crowe Consulting International LLC.

ivan-contreras

 Carbures

Ivan Contreras, CEO Carbures USA
“My background is in sciences at the University of Barcelona in Spain (Bachelor Degree) and I have an MBA in Spain. In USA my academic background is in Doing business with Spanish and US companies at Harvard Business School. I have a certificate in Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals at the Unmanned Vehicle University in Washington State. I have a Master in International Intelligence throughout the EOI (Industrial Organization School). 

My professional background is starting business, I fall in my first 2 business and in my third I am working now. I am the Co-Founder of Carbures and I was there from the beginning starting the company, growing the company and doing the international expansion of the company. Carbures was a spin off from the University of Cadiz and now is a public trade company at the Alternative Stock Market in Madrid, with locations in China, USA and Europe. And market focused in Transportation (Aerospace, Automotive, and Railway) and Infrastructures”.

david-kibler

 Consulate General of France in Atlanta

David Kibler, Secretary of Embassy, Cultural Attaché at the Consulate
David Kibler is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and holds a master degree in economic public law from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, and a degree from the doctoral school of the IEP. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008 through the competitive exam, “Secretary of Foreign Affairs”. From 2008 to 2011, he served as division manager in the Department of financial affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then in 2011 and 2012, he served as the First Secretary at the Political Chancellery of the French Embassy of Denmark during the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union where he worked on the expansion of the European Union (Balkans, Turkey, Iceland). He will serve in the position of cultural attaché.

aurelie-surble

 Consulate General of France in Atlanta

Aurélie Surblé, Deputy Cultural Attaché
Aurélie Surblé received a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages, Literature, and Civilization with a concentration in English in 2006. She then went on to complete a master degree in French as a Foreign Language (FLE) - Applied Linguistics from the Université de Rouen. Wanting to seize every opportunity to train abroad and improve her knowledge in languages and cultures, she set off as a language assistant in Dublin in 2007 and Auckland in 2010. In 2009, she did an internship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Göteborg where she worked as an assistant, responsible for the promotion of the French language and culture in two high schools. For her Master 2 internship, she chose Brisbane and intercultural studies in order to continue to become more specialized in relations with the English-speaking public. Before arriving in Atlanta, she taught at the Alliance Française de Rouen. At the Consulate General of France in Atlanta, Aurélie Surblé is in charge of linguistic and educational cooperation.

alex-diaz

 Delfos Tech

Alex Díaz, New Board Chairman
Alex Díaz, is the Director of North American Operations for Delfos Technologies. He holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. Previous work experience includes employment with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as an SAP Financial Consultant, and with Bloomberg in London as a Financial Analytics Specialist. Alex joined the board of Hispanic Alliance in January of 2012.

Draexlmaier Automotive

Ralph Schwarz
Ralph Schwarz is responsible for Corporate Communications at DAA Draexlmaier Automotive of America in Duncan, S.C., where he oversees all aspects of internal and external communications for the Dräxlmaier Group in the North America region, including media relations, public relations and marketing. He also closely works with his colleagues in Corporate Communications at the corporate headquarters in Vilsbiburg, Germany.

Ralph, who joined Dräxlmaier as corporate communications specialist in July 2006, has worked in the journalism/mass communication field for more than 10 years. Before coming to DAA, he worked for four years as an editor at Niagara Frontier Publications (NFP) in Grand Island, N.Y, where he was responsible for the weekly community newspaper, Niagara-Wheatfield Tribune. In addition to two town hall beats and one school board beat, he also served two years as sports editor for all three weekly papers published by NFP.

Born and raised in Germany, Ralph transferred to the USA as a college student in 1995, earning a master’s degree in Print Journalism from Emerson College in Boston in 2001, as well as bachelor degrees in Business Administration (Accounting) and Journalism/Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, N.Y., in 1999.

Ralph, who has one son, lives in Duncan. Aside from work, he likes to spend time with his family, listen to music and follow NHL ice hockey, German soccer and Formula One racing.

Draexlmaier Automotive

Lisa Cope
Lisa Cope, has been working in human resources for more than 20 years. During that time, she has gained a wealth of experience in various areas of HR in different industries, including call centers, financial institutions, and automotive manufacturing. Her track record includes problem solving, implementing efficiencies and introducing best-practice standards.

Since joining automotive supplier DAA Draexlmaier Automotive of America LLC in 2011, she has been focused on talent management in the automotive industry and learning the cultural difference in a very diverse industry.

Prior to joining Dräxlmaier, she led a very successful recruiting department in the financial industry for 17 years, where she developed MBA rotational programs and undergraduate programs. What she most enjoys about her job is the interaction with new recruits and watching them develop and grow with their careers.

ken-zwerdling

 Foreign Staffing

Ken Zwerdling, CEO, Foreign Staffing, Inc.
With over 30 years of business experience, Mr. Zwerdling is currently the CEO of Foreign Staffing, Inc, an international, bi-lingual staffing and recruiting agency. For the past 16 years, Ken was the CEO of Foreign Translations, Inc. which he just recently sold. Ken is responsible for Foreign Staffing's business development, marketing and internet/website activities. Prior to forming these companies, he was the CEO of New Ventures Business Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in the preparation of business, strategic, capital and marketing plans for emerging and expanding companies.  He also spent 5 years in Accounting and Finance with CRSS, Inc. (now Jacobs Engineering) and 5 years with Ryder System in Miami.  Ken started his career in New York City with Goldman Sachs.

Ken has extensive experience in financial modeling, strategic planning, technology and global business. He has an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York in Finance and Economics and an MBA from Nova's Graduate School of Business.

jean-blair

 FUJIFILM Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc

Jean Blair, Vice President, Human Resources & Administrative Services
Jean Blair is VP of Human Resources and Administrative Services with Fujifilm in Greenwood, SC.  With a BS in Biology from Furman University Blair has been with Fujifilm for 16 years where she is currently responsible for HR, Health and Safety and Quality Management Systems. During her time with Fujifilm, she has also held the positions of IT Manager, IT Director, Imaging Division Director + IT Director and Maintenance & Engineering Director.

isao-ito

 JTEKT Automotive SC (JASC)

Isao Ito, Corporate Advisor, JTEKT North America
 Mr. Ito graduated Science University of Tokyo in Japan and joined Toyoda Machine Works,(JTEKT) as an engineer in 1984. At that time, Machine tools were at the center of production representing 70% of sales. The company had been adding sales of automotive parts, including a power steering system. Mr. Ito proposed a new automotive component and developed the four wheel drive (4WD) component with three other coworkers for 4 years. The new product launched into the market dramatically increasing sales and market share. This product was recognized as one of the World's Top 10 inventions. The product was reengineered from mechanical to electrical control taking the No.1 share in the world.

He worked for Toyota Motor Europe in Germany from 1996 to 1999 to develop the new vehicles. Mr. Ito was promoted from manager of R & D in 2004 to general manager of R & D in 2005 and general manager of Quality Assurance in 2007.

He moved to the USA in 2013 to join JTEKT Automotive SC (JASC) as Corporate Advisor of JTEKT North America. Ninety-percent of JASC sales are this 4WD product now known as "ITCC". He enjoys both working and living in South Carolina, and serves on the boards of the Japan America Association of South Carolina. He loves new discoveries, marine sports and winter sports. 

About the company JTEKT

 Lau Rubber & Plastics

Graden H. Ashby, Regional Sales Manager
Mr. Ashby has been working in sales for over 13 years and is responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing efforts of the company by developing and implementing marketing and business development strategies through the evaluation of potential customers, market and industry conditions. Graden’s overall strategy creates tighter connections between customer requirements and innovation, while ensuring greater speed-to-market. He manages the alignment and acceleration of LAU’s products and capabilities to enable a faster response to market transitions, increased customer relevance, and growth.        

Prior to his current role, Mr. Ashby has held various positions such as Program Manager, Sales Manager and Regional Sales Manager in industries such as Telecommunications, Manufacturing and Consumer Services.He has received a BA in Music Theory from the College Conservatory of Music – University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Charleston Southern University.

 Lau Rubber & Plastics

Jocelyn Jiang, Group Business Manager
Ms. Jiang worked for Lau almost 6 years since graduated from University in 2008. Her role is to connect the interaction between U.S. subsidiary and Headquarter, to build company image by collaborating with customer, employees, government, community organizations, to contribute to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.

Lau Rubber and Plastic Products, LLC. Was established in 1986 in GuangZhou China near Hong Kong. Lau is an innovative and diversified manufacturer and supplier of precisely engineered molded and extruded rubber and plastic products. Many of the most trusted brands in the world trust Lau. Like TTI, BISSEL, BYD, HAIER, GREE, Foxconn, Huawei, ZET, etc. The American subsidiary of Lau is locate in Greer, SC. We specialize in serving current customer and expanding business in North and South America. Our goal is build our U.S. factory in 3-5 years. Lau is recruiting inside and outside sales now.     

karen-summers

 Michelin North America

Karen Summers, Relocation and International Mobility Manager
Karen recently returned to the United States after an 8 year period of expatriation to France and Canada.  She is currently responsible for Relocation and International Mobility for Michelin North America, based in Greenville, SC.  She was previously located in Montreal, Quebec, where she was responsible for Personnel for the Michelin Marketing & Sales organization in Canada.  She has held various HR positions in Michelin in specialty and generalist HR roles. 

Overall, Karen has more than 25 years of experience in human resources in the automotive, entertainment and telecommunications industries at the corporate and operational level. Prior to joining Michelin in 2002, she worked at AOL Time Warner and BellSouth Telecommunications. 

She earned her bachelor's degree in Human Resources and an MBA from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.  

 SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ramon Nieves-Lugo, Chief Marketing Officer/Partner
As CMO of UniComm Media Group, Mr. Nieves provides the strategic and marketing expertise necessary to deliver a successful product to a client. He is constantly meeting and consulting with clients in order to make sure objectives are met. He has lived in Greenville for seven years and has been active in the Hispanic community through the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he has served as Marketing Director.

Mr. Nieves has a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and has earned an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Ramon serves on the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and on the Michelin Development Corporation Steering Committee

celena-gordon

 Sulzer

Celena Gordon,  Export Sales Representative in Easley, SC
Sulzer is an international engineering and manufacturing company based in Switzerland with factories and offices worldwide. Celena Gordon is a 2012 L&IT (Spanish) alumni currently working for Sulzer as an Export Sales Representative in Easley, SC. Her current responsibilities include handling all communication with clients primarily in Central and South America and insuring that export regulations are followed.  While attending Clemson she completed her study abroad in Alicante, Spain and an internship supervising Spanish-speaking housekeeping staff at a Hyatt Regency hotel in Maryland.  She loves traveling and has visited over 25 countries!

elena

 Vetroresina

Elena Colombarini, General Manager
Elena graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in Business Administration and Economics in 1999. She then began work as a financial analyst for "Il Sole 24 Ore". At this daily financial newspaper, she was responsible for the assessment and analysis of the management and funding of a group of companies listed on the Milan stock exchange. These businesses belonged to diverse sectors including the manufacturing, electronics, tourism, nautical, and papermaking industries. she compiled financial reports of these businesses that were subsequently offered to banks and other financial institutions. She also wrote articles and commentary on behalf of the newspaper. She later became the Overseas Sales Manager for Vetroresina SPA. When she took over this position in 2003, she also gained the responsibility of developing new strategies for widening the American market particularly regarding new applications for flat glass-fiber laminates. She maintains close relations with the new US plant, and she manages all relations with the American branch of the company. She also coordinates the activities of the research laboratory. In 2005, she was promoted to General Manager of Vetroresina LLC. Vetroresina is a distributor of Italian-made products in the U.S. market. Thereafter, she also became responsible for variety of areas including book keeping, general accounting, and relations with the general contractor for building construction and equipment installation projects. She has obviously made use of her skills in English, Italian, and French. She now lives in Greenville, SC, and maintains relations between Italy and the USA for Vetroresina.

mark-manella

 Walt Disney Company

Mark R. Mannella, Director, International & New Business Compensation.  
Mr. Manella began his  career in 1981 as part of the first Disney College Program working as a Front Deck Host at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. His career at Disney has included working in a variety of functions including recruitment, labor relations, employee relations, succession planning, compensation, benefits and business development. Many of his responsibilities have included working in a numerous countries including France, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and China. He was part of the opening team for major new businesses including Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disney Resort. Responsibilities in these new businesses include pro forma development, government negotiations and creation of compensation and benefit policies, practices and procedure.

laura-keck

 Wetzel Services

Laura Keck, Relocation Specialist
Laura joined the Wetzel team in January 2011 and has assisted with all three branches of Wetzel Services  (relocation, realty, and language departments). Laura says that while she loves all aspects of her job, the face-to-face interaction with the German clients is the most rewarding. Laura graduated from Bob Jones University in December 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Humanities and a minor in German. She spent a semester in Germany and Austria in 2010 and has enjoyed additional traveling to countries such as Spain and the Czech Republic.

Registration:

Please click on the link below and fill out the form by Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Register for the conference

Note: Attire is business casual for this event.

conference sponsors 2