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The Business of Trade

Sometimes business owners need a little nudge to step outside of their comfort zone and try a new venture.

Angelo State’s International Trade Office (ITO), an extension of the university’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), serves just that purpose.

“We provide the technical how-to expertise for exporting and importing, but we focus more on exporting,” said Dave Erickson, SBDC director. “It can be very complex.”

Founded in 1995 with funding from the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, the ITO is staffed each semester by two international graduate students in the ASU Master of Business Administration program. The university pays the graduate assistant salaries while the SBDC seeks donations to cover operating expenses, travel and professional development. The ITO also receives office space from the SBDC.

The majority of the graduate assistants who work in the ITO come to ASU from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Chihuahua, Mexico. Their input about trade with Mexico and other Latin-American countries is invaluable for small businesses in the Concho Valley. This past academic year, Monterrey Tech grad David Rodriguez shared his knowledge with ITO clients in the SBDC.

“Because my work experience is in Mexico, I know how they do business,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the best advantage I can give the SBDC here.”

In addition to students from Mexico, the ITO has also been staffed by students from several other countries, including Russia and Germany. The graduate assistants work to make connections and relationships with business owners in the local community to help generate interest in exporting and importing. No matter what business owners are interested in, the graduate assistants have knowledge to help.

Rodriguez said his role in the ITO complements his student experience at ASU. He frequently pulls from his statistical knowledge when he is helping clients to research ventures. His ITO experience will also be beneficial to him when he is searching for a job because he is planning a career in international trade.

“Exporting is always better because you’re producing here and getting money overseas,” Rodriguez said.

When helping a client, the specific product for importing or exporting must be taken into account.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Hispanic Experience

  • Success by Degree Martha Perez Cox believes she should never be considered a role model, but her work ethic, her personable nature and her sense of humor counter that personal belief.
  • Living Her Life For small-town girl Jolene Varela, a case of love at first sight brought her to San Angelo, where she has stayed ever since graduating from high school.
  • Borderline Student When John Eusebio Klingemann speaks to young students, he stresses that with persistence and hard work they can overcome any obstacle. After all, he did.
  • Harvest of Acclaim For Arnoldo De León, the military lifted him out of poverty and the history profession elevated him from obscurity.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Latino Influence

  • A Generation of Possibilities Like many students who are the first in their families to attend college, Teresa Rivera entered Angelo State University not knowing what would be expected of her in the classroom.
  • All in the Family Recruiting Hispanic students to Angelo State often means reaching out to their entire families.
  • Driving Growth Hispanic students will play a key role in the future of Angelo State University.
  • The Business of Trade Sometimes business owners need a little nudge to step outside of their comfort zone and try a new venture.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Distinguished Speakers

  • Fueling the Future With the world oil market as volatile as the fuel it deals in, Middle East Institute Scholar Molly Williamson advocates using all possible sources of energy to minimize the impact that conflict and stress over oil have on the U.S. economy.
  • Passion for Storytelling Storytelling plays an important role in the Laguna Pueblo Native American tribe’s culture, a culture that author Leslie Marmon Silko honors through her writing.