When did you graduate from UPS?
What have you been doing since graduation?
During the Summers of ’94 and ’95, I spent a month each year traveling all over the United States and Canada, sleeping in my car, visiting National Parks and seeing old college friends. Jack Kerouac played a large role in these adventures and I would recommend the entire experience to those who have yet to experience their country on a face-to-face basis.
I entered the East Asian Studies Program at the Gaston Sigur Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in ’94 and quickly became involved in the area of International Trade Development. While in D.C., I had the opportunity to work at the New Zealand Embassy, the Australian Embassy, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and several private trade development groups, which concentrated on development bank projects as well as environmental and energy trade development work. I was fortunate to travel to Hungary, Romania, and Croatia while working for USAID.
After 6 years in Washington, D.C., I was ready to experience international trade development work from a State-perspective and moved to Vermont.
I spent four years as the State’s only senior international trade and business development specialist at the Vermont World Trade Office and now I am the Chief International Officer of the first cross-border international trade coalition in U.S./Canada history (The Northern Vermont-Quebec Trade Coalition).
I am also a proud father of two boys (Jack – 5, Finn – 2), Executive Council member of the Frog Hollow State Craft Center Board of Directors, Adjunct Professor of International Business and International Marketing at Champlain College and a volunteer lacrosse coach for South Burlington’s 5th and 6th grade youth team.
Why and how did you decide to take the career path you did?
While looking for unique internships in Washington, D.C., I stumbled across a newspaper article that talked about a company owned by a woman named Diane Wilkens, who was one of the first to use a database to track international trade development projects through the World Bank pipeline – a commonplace occurrence now, but this was back in ’94. An internship with Diane’s company led to the New Zealand Embassy and another database system, which led to the Australian Embassy and another database and finally on to USAID’s Global Technology Network where a database of over 14,000 U.S. firms were being matched with international trade projects all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the first generation to approach international trade from an academic background and to be on the cutting-edge of technology at the same time.
Are there any aspects of the Politics and Government major or your UPS education in general that have served you particularly well?
For me, the name really says it all – Politics AND Government. Understanding the difference between the two, how they interact and how they influence policy has always separated me from the average PolySci crowd.
My classes with Profs. Share, Fields, Sousa and Ziegler provided me with a solid foundation to critically analyze past and present political events, the regulatory repercussions of those events and their global ripple effect. Being able to form an accurate historical picture of a country’s political evolution and anticipate future governmental developments has opened many doors for me.
Do you have any advice about what our students should make certain they do (or don’t do!) while still in school?
I would recommend three things:
1) Travel – your understanding is always deeper when you’ve spent some time seeing the world through someone else’s eyes
3) Use your Professor’s office hours – I often learned more during office Q&A sessions than I did in class
Do you have any advice about what our students should be thinking about as they consider their careers or further education?
Do something you are passionate about – everyone says it because it’s true.
Approach your career like a thesis project, look at trends, examine the major players, find a niche. Don’t follow the rest of the pack, stand out.
Any other words of wisdom, or important questions I haven’t asked?
Keep track of your friends and classmates!