By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

The Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber will honor two of metro Atlanta’s most successful international businesses, two schools with international studies programs and Mayor Eva Galambos for her leadership in international business development at a Global Gateway Gathering on Nov. 18.

Billed as “a celebration of international commerce & culture,” the event at the UPS corporate headquarters in Sandy Springs is designed to provide an opportunity for those attending to hear about the growing presence of international business activity in Sandy Springs and the Central Perimeter market, while enjoying music and foods from local international restaurants.

The chamber event is all part of the organization’s efforts to attract foreign companies to the area and to help more local firms go global, said George Bergmark, the international vice chair of the chamber.

Earlier in the year, the chamber adopted the name Global Gateway to promote its international business efforts.

The evening will feature a panel discussion on the impact of international business on the Sandy Springs/Perimeter market. Panelists include Jose Acosta, vice president of Strategic Development & Public Affairs, UPS Americas; Curtis Foltz, executive director of Georgia Ports Authority; Arnaldo Ruiz, assistant general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and Tamer Cavusgil, chair/director, Institute of International Business, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. The panel will be moderated by CNN International’s Colleen McEdwards.

In addition to being the presenting sponsor and hosting the event, UPS will be awarded the SS/PC’s first annual international business award for large companies. Sandy Springs-based AJC International, which is an international distributor of food products, will be the mid-size company award recipient.

There also will be two education awards presented, one to Dr. Lisa Stueve of North Springs Charter High School, which now offers Mandarin Chinese studies, and the other to Eddie Echols of Riverwood International Charter High School, Bergmark said.

The final of the five awards will be the International Person of the Year Award. It will be presented to Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos “because she has been a catalyst in promoting international business and led the charge to China last November and December and is the one who asked Dr. Stueve if she would consider adding Mandarin Chinese at North Springs,” Bergmark said.

The event will provide an opportunity for local and international business people to sample foods from six international restaurants in the Sandy Springs/ Perimeter area, Bergmark said.

And it provides an opportunity for the chamber to get across its message about the importance of international business to the area.

“We have three goals,” Bergmark said. “The first is to attract more companies here. Second is to get our current members to figure out how to do business internationally. Third is just general economic development and jobs.”

According to a flyer on the G3 event, funds raised “will go to support chamber international business literacy initiatives to prepare area students to compete in the worldwide marketplace.

Sponsorships will also help the chamber recruit foreign companies to locate in the area by creating an international company ‘friendly zone,’ a one-stop place for foreign companies to locate their U.S. or Southeast offices….and help create jobs through chamber education programs showing area companies how to initiate or expand international operations,” the flyer said.

John Schaffner

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.