By Laura Toraldo
(July 4, 2017—BALTIMORE, Md.) Check the the vanilla extract in your cabinet. While the idea of it growing in a small farm in Madagascar may seem distant, the story behind it started right here in Maryland when McCormick Spice Company formed a relationship with another Maryland business.
Although the spice conglomerate has many sources for their spices, they are exploring a new partnership to utilize a Baltimore based company’s Madagascan farms. It’s a connection that would not have formed without the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) bringing them together.
WTCI Director of Marketing and Events Walter Pinkard explained that this is a fundamental part of their mission.
“We strive to drive international collaboration and business growth,” he explained. “We do that through events, referrals, and our leadership programs.”
The Emerging and Developing Global Executives (EDGE) Program is WTCI’s leadership program that brings local leaders engaged in international business under one roof. Each year’s class is culled through personal outreach and nominations.
“We try to put together a diverse group in a variety of ways—some with a very strong market-specific experience and some with a broader view, to breath new life into the program,” Pinkard said. “There is a lot of learning that happens from the peers within the program itself.”
Along with connecting diverse global leaders to share best practices, EDGE also taps some of the largest companies within the state to share their expertise. Whether it is lessons in supply chain management from Under Armour, culturally accurate translation advice from Welocalize or a visit to global manufacturing factories like Volvo, each lesson is geared to share market specific experience to aid within the international economy.
Along with the EDGE program, WTCI offers a series of events that help educate members on international business issues and put Maryland on the map in the global business world.
“Baltimore is an international city, much more so than people realize,” Pinkard said. “That is a misconception that we do have to fight.”
Maryland’s geographical location make it a key hub for international business, he explained. The Port of Baltimore is one of the deepest and widest harbors on the U.S. east coast—allowing international supersized container ships easy access. According to the Maryland State Archives, 32.4 million tons of international cargo can move through the port within a year, carrying a value up to $51.1 billion. Once in Maryland, the state’s infrastructure also provides easy distribution by air, rail and road within the country.
Other draws? Our proximity to the federal government and dynamic workforce. Pinkard said that in today’s market, most companies are affected by international business.
“Today, trade barriers have fallen and most companies are competing within an international market, whether they acknowledge it or not,” Pinkard said. “Every person is tied to global business in some sense.”
Whether it is aiding companies bidding on World Bank contracts, providing global traveler’s packets, or inviting international businesses to learn from Maryland businesses through their Professional Exchanges Program—WTCI gives its members a competitive edge, preparing them for success in the global market.