8:30 a.m. Registration, networking and breakfast
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions, Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley
9:10 a.m. Strategies and Resources for Export Success, Carlotta Gmachl, Assistant Director of International Trade Programs and
Erkan Kocas, Assistant Director for International Trade Research at the Michigan State University International Business Center
9:50 a.m. State Trade and Expansion Program, David Newhouse, International Trade Manager, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
10:05 a.m. Break and networking
10:20 a.m. Panel Discussion and Company Case Studies on Doing Business Globally
Robert Ruffini, President, Fluxtrol, Inc.
Don Carbone, Advisor to the Board, Managed Programs, LLC
Gianluca Romano, President, MiC Customs Solutions
11:05 a.m. Open Discussion and Q&A
11:30 a.m. Conference Adjourns
Noel’s responsibilities include assisting SMEs become globally competitive by
expanding their markets overseas. He identifies countries with a high demand for Michigan-made products, services and technologies and leads trade missions around the world where U.S. companies have an opportunity to meet with potential buyers, end users. and business partners. He also helps companies bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds while keeping pace with the rapid transformation in manufacturing today (i.e., Industry 4.0).
Under Noel’s leadership, Automation Alley received the President's "E Star" Award from President Biden (2021), President Obama (2013), and President George W. Bush in 2008---the nation’s highest, most prestigious international trade awards granted to organizations in recognition of their accomplishments in global trade and economic development. Companies participating on Automation Alley trade missions worldwide have generated more than $1.619 billion in export sales while creating 8339 local jobs.
Noel’s other responsibilities include marketing and promoting Michigan as a diverse high-tech powerhouse and global center of innovation to potential investors worldwide. This has led to 28 foreign companies setting up their operations in Michigan (generating $210M in foreign direct investment and 1193 high value added, well-paying jobs in our region). As a result of these successes, Automation Alley "best practices" in the areas of international trade and foreign direct investment were ranked among the nation's top ten in a study commissioned by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
A citizen' of the UK and US, Noel graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan with bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Russian Studies. He also received a master’s degree with honors from the London School of Economics in International Relations; and a doctorate in Chinese-Russian studies from the University of Michigan. Nevshehir’s cross-cultural experiences include having worked, studied, lived, and/or traveled to 84 countries. Language skills include Russian and conversational Spanish.
Carlotta Gmachl is the Assistant Director of International Trade at the International Business Center (CIBER). In this role, Gmachl works as an academic outreach specialist where she leads the Global Business Club, work with community colleges and minority serving institutions, be the person of contact for external stakeholders and various other trade related projects. Prior to her role at MSU, Gmachl was a Manager of Business Attraction and Trade at the Detroit Regional Partnership. Gmachl has worked in the international governmental, trade and export, and business relations field since 2016. Her experience has allowed her work both nationally and internationally – specifically throughout the United States and China. Carlotta Gmachl grew up in Salzburg, Austria and is still an Austrian citizen. In 2013, Gmachl moved to the U.S. to study International Relations with minors in international business and Chinese at the American University in Washington D.C. During her time as a student, Gmachl studied abroad at Peking University in Beijing, China while also interning at the German Industry and Chamber of Commerce. Soon thereafter, she interned with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. and graduated with honors in December 2016. Gmachl also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Central Michigan University in October 2021.
Erkan Kocas is the Assistant Director for International Trade Research at the Michigan State University International Business Center. He is involved in all efforts to connect the mid-Michigan business community with the resources of the International Business Center (MSU-CIBER) and the Broad College of Business. This work is strongly export focused and includes programs such as the Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan and the Michigan Export Growth Program. The center also organizes tailored programs to assist businesses and associations in developing international strategies and creating export plans. Other resources include globalEDGE, the number one resource for international business information. Erkan teaches ‘International Management’ both at the undergraduate and graduate level and he received the ‘Instructor Excellence Award’ in Spring 2019 and Spring 2020. Prior to joining the Broad College of Business Erkan worked in different roles for more than 15 years at companies with extensive global reach such as Xerox, Thomson Reuters, and Citrix. He gained intensive business operations experience at Thomson Reuters where he was responsible for the sales operations of the Central and Eastern Europe region from 2008-2010. Years prior, Erkan became an entrepreneur by establishing his own internet-based business.
Erkan graduated from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University with a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Supply Chain Management, and currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. program at the College of Education studying Higher Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE).
David Newhouse is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade Development Manager responsible for Southeast Michigan. With over thirty years of international trade experience, he draws upon his expertise and MEDC’s many export assistance programs to help small and medium-sized enterprises extend their global reach. MEDC’s centerpiece program showcased to export-minded companies is the Michigan State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant.
Prior to joining MEDC, David served as President of InterClean Equipment, a specialized wash equipment manufacturer for large vehicle applications, serving the mining, oil, rail, defense, public transit and trucking industries. He navigated the company through the depths of the Great Recession, achieving record sales and profits by growing its international business to over 50% of its revenue. It was then that David learned of and benefitted from MEDC and U.S. Commercial Service export assistance programs. In 2014, he came out of early retirement to join MEDC’s International Trade group.
David also spent twenty-four years with General Motors in a variety of international roles, managing global cross-functional teams in advanced vehicle development. His foreign assignments included Argentina, where he helped GM reestablish its operations and manufacturing footprint, and Switzerland, where he served in Strategic Planning at GM’s then European headquarters.
David holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Detroit. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).