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  • Tuesday, January 04, 2022 2:09 PM | Mary Odom

    Anna Grossman became a member of ITC when she joined Bestway International almost 5 years ago. She started attending events almost immediately to meet people and learn more about international trade. In 2021, Ms. Grossman was elected as the new Board Secretary.

    Ms. Grossman wanted to join ITC out of curiosity as to the different types of professional fields that supported the international trade market in Kansas City. She was hoping to network with folks who would need freight forwarding services or consultation on international trade processes and therefore would be a great fit professionally.

    Ms. Grossman loves traveling internationally. It’s always an adventure, and you never quite know what to expect. She has been to Canada, London, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Mexico. Her absolute favorite place by far was Vietnam, in Da Nang, which is a centralized city within the country. The people there were so kind and helpful and the food was amazing.

    Currently, Ms. Grossman works at Bestway International, a local freight forwarder that specializes in international trade within the Kansas City market where she is an account manager. Her journey to Bestway began while she was attending the University of Missouri Kansas City when she needed a flexible job to work around her school commitment. She took a job at a call center and learned how to do phone sales. She spent three years learning inside sales before joining the team at Bestway International, where Jay Devers actually mentored me one-on-one for business-to-business sales. She continues to look for ways to be of service to the community and to grow professionally and personally.

    Fun Facts & Advice

    Name one person (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    I would invite my grandpa who died when I was 18. I would love for him to meet my son, Adam and just sit with him again.

    Who inspires you?

    Laura Trimble is a very close friend of mine, who inspires me. She was also a single mom for quite some time and has helped me navigate many areas of my life both personally and professionally. Without her mentorship and direction, I would not be where I am at today.

    What are your career goals?

    I am currently working on finishing my MBA at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Although an MBA was in no way required for this position, I believe it’s very important to continue challenging myself, to learn new things and help others succeed. I hope to broaden my travel, to learn first hand more about international trade, by participating in the supply chain process overseas.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    I would suggest that they ask a lot of questions! This industry has so many moving parts and is constantly changing. I learn things everyday from the operations team at Bestway International, clients that we work with, and people in my professional network. There is wealth of knowledge in the Kansas City area on International Trade and International Business, and it has been so important to surround myself with people who know more than I do!

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself that is generally not known?

    I really love what I do, professionally. I think it is so important that I get to work for a company that mirrors my personal values of living in service and putting others first. Bestway International really focuses on providing the absolute best service possible for our partners and always doing our best without cutting corners.

  • Wednesday, October 06, 2021 9:22 AM | Mary Odom

    What is the GKCFTZ?

    The Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. (GKCFTZ) is a grantee of the national Foreign Trade Zone program. The GKCFTZ partners with businesses in the Kansas City area to help them establish Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) for their manufacturing and distribution facilities. GKCFTZ supports economic growth and American competitiveness by allowing companies in FTZ’s to source cost-competitive assemblies from overseas without paying Customs duties for U.S. workers to use and incorporate into final products for domestic consumption or export.  In addition, companies can also competitively source other merchandise and consumer goods on the same basis (duty-unpaid) for U.S. workers to store, repackage and distribute throughout the U.S. or to export. The value-added to the U.S economy by the jobs performed by U.S. workers is a significant economic benefit to the U.S. and keeps the cost of these U.S. products and merchandise competitive with products and merchandise imported from foreign countries. It is through this process that trade zones create incentives for firms to maintain and expand business in the United States, as well as entice foreign companies to bring their business to the United States.

    It’s Rich History

    The Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone has been around for a long time and is very rich in history. GKCFTZ has been the grantee since 1974 and was the first non-profit to be designated as such. It was in 1970 and 1971 that Marshall Miller published an article in the Virginia Journal of International Law on Foreign-Trade Zone Manufacturing. At the same time, Henry Bloch (President of H&R Block), Donald Hall (Chairman of Hallmark Cards) and Charles Kimble (Chairman of Midwest Research Institute) were looking at international trade in Kansas City for the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. This group asked Marshall Miller to structure the program and obtain the approval for a Foreign-Trade Zone in Kansas City, which came to be in 1974.

    Keeping up with the Times

    Today, the GKCFTZ is one of the largest zones in the United States with over 450 million square feet of approved foreign trade zone space. This space includes both General Purpose and Subzone space. The GKCFTZ has two foreign trade zones that they sponsor; one in greater Kansas City, Kansas and the other in greater Kansas City, Missouri. Their Kansas zone serves the needs of nine counties and their Missouri zone serves 22 counties. Companies located in these zones employ over 3,000 full-time workers which generates $3.1 billion in added value activity, either to merchandise entering the United States or exiting through exports to other countries.

    The GKCFTZ has a unique advantage because of their location in the center of the United States. The superior highway, rail, air, and water barge transportation infrastructure here in the Heart of America provides companies with access to a population base of 155.6 million consumers within a two-day time. This has caused the organization to become one of the leaders in international trade activity as America’s inland port solution.            

    The Effect of the Pandemic

    The looming question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this organization has not gone overlooked by its leaders. It is not news that there have been supply chain issues as a result of the pandemic to those in international trade. Unlike other businesses, this has created a unique advantage for the GKCFTZ as foreign trade zones are beneficial for keeping inventory on hand because the goods and merchandise are admitted duty unpaid. Once goods or merchandise is in a foreign trade zone, it can be stored, processed, repackaged, transformed, destroyed or handled in various ways which provides value-added work before it leaves the foreign trade zone, which is when formal entry is filed.

    Thanks to Mary Rooney and Alfred Figuly for sharing information about the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.!

    Alfred J. Figuly, President, CEO
    Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.
    Phone: 816-474-2227
    Mobile: 816-305-1378

  • Friday, September 03, 2021 4:34 PM | Mary Odom

    Meet our intern, Kelsey Neufeld! She is a Senior at Baker University and is from Manhattan, Kansas. She will be graduating in December with two majors, International Business and Business Management along with two minors, Pre-Law and Spanish. Her interest in International Trade stemmed from a class taught by Narbeli Galindo where she discovered one way to quickly get connected to the the global business world, in which she hopes to pursue a career in, is through International trade! 

    Kelsey will be working with the ITC Global TradeWins® Committee, writing for social media and marketing campaigns, and supporting educational and networking events. We are very excited to welcome her to the ITC family!

  • Tuesday, August 03, 2021 3:56 PM | Mary Odom

    Ms. Ramboldt has been a member of the ITC since 2019 and joined in an effort by previous President Anh Sirridge to increase trade representation on the board. She was also motivated to join because of a love for international business and cultures. As with many in the industry, Ms. Ramboldt has traveled extensively. The countries she has been to include China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, the U.K., Germany, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina; each of them she has loved. Of these countries, her favorite one to travel to was China, her home country. It is its size combined with the landmarks and culture, people, and food that are so different from place to place. It is this combination of differences in China that continues to amaze her.  

    Presently, Ms. Ramboldt is the Global Project and Solutions Manager at Staples Promotional Products. She helps to manage a global network of supplier partners that covers over 70 countries in North America, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, and the Europe-Middle East region. She has been in her current position since 2015 and has worked on many complex projects that involved sourcing and distribution to countries around the globe. Initially, Ms. Ramboldt worked in marketing but did not find it a satisfying job, because she felt that she did not have enough of an understanding of American culture. However, thanks to blooming US-China trade relations in the early part of this century, she found a job in Kansas City working for a manufacturer who wanted to import machinery parts from China. In this position, she learned about global sourcing and logistics which led to her first position at Staples as the Global Sourcing and Logistics Director. In her first 11 years there, she established a well-structured department that covers sourcing, import operations, compliance, export operations, and domestic freight. After this, she got involved in managing the Global Supplier network that covers markets in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. From this, she learned how to conduct business in many countries, develop relationships, learn and experience different cultures, and make connections for customers and suppliers where it makes sense. Some of the goals that Ms. Ramboldt has include continuing to learn about international business and culture, help facilitate more global trade and exchange, spark more global interests in herself, and travel more of the world.

    Fun Facts and Advice:

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    • Michio Kaku, because of his question for understanding the universe and our future 
    • Agatha Christie, because of her imagination and observation of life
    • Her younger self, to share the wisdom she has learned later in life

    What was the last book that you read?

    Family Trust by Kathy Wang.

    Who inspires you?

    My father. My father is a man of wisdom, integrity, and endurance. He lived through the brutal cultural revolution in China, but remained hopeful, and taught me a lot of great life lessons that still benefit me today. He is always looking forward and is now learning to drive at the age of 71!

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    Have the understanding that people in different countries do things very differently. Don’t assume the American way on others. Be respectful and open-minded, stay curious, keep learning, and really use your mind to apply your knowledge at work.

    What is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    I am an enthusiastic "RVer". My family has been camping since the early 2000s, and we have upgraded from a folding tent to a motor coach over the years. We have been to more than half of the states in the U.S. and hope to cover all the continental states one day!

  • Thursday, July 01, 2021 10:10 AM | Mary Odom

    Joe Lohman has been a member of the ITC for 3 years now and joined to help fill a vacancy in the position of Treasurer, a role in which he still serves. As with many ITC members, Mr. Lohman was attracted to the ITC because of his enjoyment of international business, particularly in college, where those classes were his favorite. In between college and moving to Kansas City to work at Port KC, Mr. Lohman worked a with non-profit missionary agency that has 250 missionaries around the globe. He now works for Port KC and though Port KC is limited to the city limits of Kansas City, the ITC helps him to feel connected to the larger world around him. Mr. Lohman has spent a good deal of time traveling mainly through his mission trips, which included a 2-month trip in and around Narok, Kenya in 2017, and extending to Panama, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Yangon, Myanmar.

    Presently, Mr. Lohman works for Port KC and has been with the agency for 7 years. His current position is as the Director of Finance, which converges well with his interests in the intersection of accounting, finance, economics (the micro/local impacts of business more than macro), and international business. His career has unfolded in a way that intersects well with these interests, which has made him able to explore each of them in small and different ways. His faith has had an impact on the way that his career has unfolded, most notably through the mission trips he has taken. Being a part of ITC helps him increase his awareness of global trade in Kansas City, something he views as important to his career. His career goals are fairly open-ended and not well-defined, but they include an openness to continuing education with an acknowledgement that we always need to be learning. From this mindset, Mr. Lohman sees his goals less as career goals and more as self-development goals. This way of thinking led him to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), similar to a CPA, and to join the board of a local CMA chapter. He is currently also enrolled in the Development Finance Certified Professional program and would like to pursue a master’s degree after he has completed that program.

    Fun Facts and Advice

    Name Three People (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:
    • His mother, who passed away when he was 14
    • An International Ambassador to hear about their experiences
    • Patrick Mahomes (because he would be fun to hang out with).

    What is the last book that you read?

    Trade Is Not a Four-Letter Word

    Who inspires you?

    Those with great experiences to share.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    Throw your expectations about international business in the trash. Always be a learner.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    I led vocals and guitar in a band in college. The largest groups that I have played in front of was about 200 people.
  • Wednesday, June 02, 2021 2:53 PM | Mary Odom

    President Alyson Schroer has been a member of the ITC for nearly 5 years and is currently serving as President until the end of August. Her company, The Scarbrough Group has been a member of the organization for much longer. She was motivated to join the ITC after attending the first Women in International Business Luncheon and enjoyed the event and meeting the people who were part of the organization. It was that day that she decided to become a member. As with many members of the ITC, President Schroer has traveled extensively, visiting Central America on several occasions. Her favorite place was Belize where she got to go snorkeling with her husband.

    Currently, President Schroer is working as the Corporate Compliance and Consulting Manager at The Scarbrough Group in Kansas City. Originally beginning as a receptionist for the company, she continuously took advantage of more and more opportunities and as the company has grown, she has grown with it to the position that she is in today. She has been with the company since 2005.

    Fun Facts and Advice:

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    • Her Grandmother
    • Ryan Reynolds
    • Eleanor Roosevelt

    What was the last book you read?

    The Murmur of the Bees by Sofia Segovia.

    Who inspires you?

    Her parents. They are very hard working and taught me the importance of hard work in achieving what you want in life.

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    There are so many different aspects to explore, so be comfortable exploring them. It is a constantly changing industry, and it is one of the reasons that I enjoy being involved in it. It is never the same.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    I love spending time with my family, my husband and our two kids, as well as the Corgi puppy. I love to spend a lot of time in the garden, planting, and enjoy harvesting in the fall to make my salsa.

  • Thursday, April 29, 2021 9:12 AM | Mary Odom

    Ms. Moore has been a member of the ITC since 2018, for a little more than 2 and a half years now. She joined the ITC, because at the time, she was starting out as a Remote Sales Representative and wanted to help build the brand locally for the company she was working for and give them good brand exposure through a local network, a need that she thought was met by the ITC. As with many in the international trade industry, she is well travelled, having been to the Caribbean, Peru, Honduras, and China. Of these places, China is the country that she enjoyed visiting the most, because it provided her with a direct, personal insight to the people with whom she works every day. Additionally, it gave her an appreciation for the life, the culture, and the hard work they do.

    Presently, Ms. Moore is working with a tech company called Optimally, as a Senior Account Executive. Optimally is a technology company that brings big data to small and medium sized businesses to help with operations and managing expenses. Her role in this is introducing people to Optimally to see how Optimally can help their business. Her career has included a lot of hard work and making genuine connections with others is the reason she is successful today. Her current position came through a friend who knew the owner and a unique circle of women who through professional connections created this opportunity. The main goal in her career is balance between being a career-driven woman and all the other things that she is in life. Additionally, she wants to know that the things she is doing in her career are having a positive impact. Therefore, she works hard, taking her job very seriously and studying early on to be able to help her clients.

    Fun Facts and Advice:

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner.

    • Jesus 
    • Tom Petty
    • A friend of hers who shares the same palate as her so she can try more foods

    What was the last book that you read and what are you currently reading?

    Presently, she is reading Women Who Run with Wolves, a kind of collection of fables about the ‘wild’ women who are in tune with themselves.
    The last book that she read was called Educated.

    Who inspires you?

    In some ways, everyone, because the negative aspects that you see in others give you an opportunity to see what you do not want to be and want to avoid
    Additionally, her mother, who was also a very career driven woman who had four children and basically did it all. She wants to emulate the happiness and love of her mother.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    Definitely do it. To someone who wants to get involved, try to immerse yourself in the industry, in what is going on, talk to other people who have been in the business, especially in the aspect of it that you want to get into. It will make your journey easier. And stay engaged, it is an industry that changes on a regular basis. When you look at historical trends, breathe, the world will not end.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    She is a proud Delaware Lenape Indian, and is active in her tribe. Her grandmother has tried to teach her to do beading, and some of the other cultural aspects of Native American life.
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021 5:01 PM | Mary Odom

    Narbeli Galindo – GlobalEITRade LLC President & CEO, Mealman Business Leadership and Innovation Chair, and Associate Professor of Business and Economics – presented on “NextGen International Trade Professional: Preparing a Pipeline for Kansas City”. 

    Narbeli has had quite the expansive and impressive upbringing and career. She was born in Colombia, grew up in Switzerland, attended University in Austin, TX and then pursued graduate school at Thunderbird in Arizona. Her career jumpstarted in New York City with Warner Lambert/Pfizer where she travelled and lived throughout Japan, UK, and Colombia. She then joined AT&T as an International Marketing Manager Senior Strategist, before relocating to Kansas City to serve as the Global Marketing Strategist for Sprint. In 2003, Narbeli seized the opportunity to start her own importing business – Narbeli’s Imports LLC – where she imported items from over 20 countries with clients such as Nelson Atkins and Kauffman. She has also served as Senior Marketing Strategist at Cerner and Professor of International Management at UMKC. 

    Community Involvement is clearly a passion of Narbeli’s, as evidenced by her work and leadership with International Trade Council of Greater KC, International Relations Council, KC International Steering Committee, South KC Chamber of Commerce, and the FBI Kansas City Citizens Academy. Her work with these groups led to another career change landing Narbeli at the Economic Development Council of Kansas City serving as the Director of International Trade & Affairs. Unsurprisingly – Narbeli was recognized with several awards throughout her time in this role. 

    Throughout her career, Narbeli quickly realized that companies need help understanding and utilizing their resources to go global. To satisfy this need, Narbeli founded GlobalEITrade LLC to consult on all things global!

    Narbeli left the group with a few tips that she has learned over the years:

    1. Stay informed
    2. Network
    3. Volunteer
    4. It is all up to you, how far you want go
    5. Learn to prioritize
    6. Be curious
    7. Be adaptable and flexible
    8. Partner with others
    9. Keep learning
    10. Get vaccinated 

    Watch the recording and/or download the slides.

    Written by Kelly Steck, ITC Board Member   

  • Monday, April 05, 2021 4:32 PM | Mary Odom

    On March 26th Chris Gutierrez, President of Kansas City SmartPort, Inc. joined the International Trade Council to provide an update on Kansas City’s logistics industry.

    SmartPort is a non-profit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies, such as manufacturing, distributions, and warehouses to the 18-county, bi-state Kansas City region. Chris and his team at SmartPort contributed to record development in 2020, and are confident that 2021 could surpass 2020’s growth. 

    • Chris has worked in development, logistics, and international business for more than thirty years – in both the public and private sectors. His passion around international business actually started at a young age when he and his Dad realized that if they sent American beer overseas, they would receive Foreign beers back. He started quite the beer can collection!
    • Throughout Chris’s career, he has traveled to about 40 different countries, and has some great (sometimes scary) travel stories.
    • SmartPort was responsible for bringing in 12 new companies to KC in 2020 – about 4.4 million square feet of space and $900M in capital investment, 3,000+ jobs, and $123M in payroll. Companies that added new locations in KC in 2020 include: Chewy, Urban Outfitters, Dot's Homestyle Pretzels, Melaleuca, Pretzels Inc., Tuthill, Kenco Logistics, Project Frosty, UPS, Phoenix Package Logistics, BoxyCharm, and World Pantry.
    • Much of the current and anticipated growth stems from the Food & Beverage and E-commerce industries.
    • Chris and his team have been leaning on social media and technology to tell the story of KC during the pandemic and plan to incorporate this strategy, in addition to in person conferences and meetings, in the future. The team’s passion for Kansas City economic development is evident and allows them to really explain why Kansas City is a crucial area in which to invest.

    Written by Kelly Steck, ITC Board Member     

    Access the presentation slides here.                               

  • Thursday, April 01, 2021 11:57 AM | Mary Odom

    Kelly (Stokes) Steck has been a member of the ITC for seven months and joined because of her background, passions, and interest in international trade. Additionally, she joined because she was interested in learning more about other companies’ views on international trade, as well as learning more about the Kansas City companies with a global footprint—whether that be well-established ones or just-getting-started ones. She was fortunate enough to begin working for a company with significant foreign operations right out of college. Like many in the industry, Mrs. Steck has travelled extensively. She has traveled predominantly in both Latin America and Europe. Of all the places that she has been to, her favorite country is Spain, specifically the city of Barcelona. In her words, “the city, beaches, history, culture, and food are hard to beat!”

    Kelly is a Senior Account Manager at Lockton Companies. She coordinates non-US risk management for US-headquartered companies and has been in this role for around 4 years. One of the goals that she has includes continually learning and getting out of her comfort zone, a goal that she applies to both her personal and her professional life.

    Fun Facts and Advice:

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    • Michelle Obama
    • Hedy Lamarr
    • Sacagawea

    What is the last book that you read?

    “The Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff. (She is a sucker for anything WWII related!

    Who inspires you?

    “This may be cliché, but my Mom is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. She is a fun-loving, hard-working, barrier-breaking professional woman and the best Mom a family could ask for!”

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business?

    “Do it! Get curious, be open-minded, do your research, travel, create meaningful relationships, and be ready to work some weird hours…”

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself; what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    “I love interior design and real estate – you can frequently find me searching through warehouses in the west bottoms for the best vintage finds or at random open houses throughout the city!”

© 2021 International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City

ITCGKC is a 501(c)3 Organization

The International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City is a network of international business professionals, educators, and students that actively work with each other and the community to build a stronger support system for international trade in the Kansas City region.

PO Box 12340
Kansas City, MO 64116


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