Phillip Poland, an attorney specializing in international contracts for DHL, talks to attendees at the International Trade Luncheon on Wednesday in North Charleston. Poland spoke during the event. (Photo/Andy Owens)
By Andy Owens
Published July 26, 2012
A business development executive with a degree in mechanical engineering has been named as the director of the newly formed World Trade Center Charleston.
Jeff Cain, who has experience in managing several international businesses for DuPont, was presented during the inaugural International Trade Luncheon at Montague Terrace in North Charleston on Wednesday.
“I’m just super excited to be here to be stepping into this role as director of the World Trade Center Charleston,” Cain said to an audience of 150 business leaders after being on the job for eight days.
| ||“I’m just super excited to be here to be stepping into this role as director of the World Trade Center Charleston.” |
— Jeff Cain, director of World Trade Center Charleston
The luncheon was a kind of coming out party for World Trade Center Charleston, which is now under the umbrella of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce after the organization acquired the franchise from the international World Trade Centers Association last year.
“When we first re-established World Trade Center Charleston, we always knew that it would take full-time attention to realize the possibilities, to meet the vision, to meet the mission we had in place for it,” said Pennie Bingham, a senior vice president with the chamber.
Cain said that launching World Trade Center Charleston as part of the chamber gives the organization a tremendous platform to operate from.
“It’s also a good time to be reconnecting back into the World Trade Center Association,” Cain said. “There are over 300 locations globally, operating in 90 countries, and these networks have been in place for, in some cases, as many as 20 years.”
Two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans were parked outside Montague Terrace during the International Trade Luncheon. Daimler Vans Manufacturing in Ladson received the award for Importer/Exporter of the Year. (Photo/Andy Owens)
The World Trade Center franchise in Charleston struggled as an independent not-for-profit organization during the past few years, and effectively stopped operating during the recession after funding dropped off and several members of the organization’s small staff were fired or quit. That allowed the chamber to pick up the license from the WTCA and launch the franchise as a new organization in 2011.
Cain said the WTCC is working on an 18-month strategic and operational plan that should be completed in the next few weeks at the latest. He invited the business community to engage him and give feedback to the World Trade Center, which he said it vital for the organization to be able to serve businesses.
In general, he said World Trade Center Charleston will be focused on growing businesses locally, expanding and enriching global networks and promoting the region as a leader in international trade.
“There is a lot of emphasis from these other trade centers around buildings and creating assets to work and operate. That’s not on our radar screen right now,” Cain said. “We want to be a service-focused business.”
Two companies were honored for their work in international trade during the luncheon with awards from World Trade Center Charleston.
International Service Provider of the Year went to Bentley World-Packaging, which operates multiple facilities in six states, including one on Commerce Circle in Hanahan.
Importer/Exporter of the Year went to Daimler Vans Manufacturing, which operates an assembly plant for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans at Palmetto Commerce Park in Ladson and North Charleston.