2024 Michigan Business Conference Agenda

Exporting Michigan Made

Designed, Engineered, & Grown

38th International Business Conference Agenda

Date: May 1, 2024 | Time: 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Location: 50 Front Ave SW Grand Rapids, MI 

Experts will speak at the 38th annual Michigan World Trade Week Business Conference. 

This half-day in-person conference offers an executive luncheon, breakout sessions, networking, and a VIP reception for $215.



11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Registration & Networking

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm


12:30 pm - 12:40 pm

Introductions by World Trade Week Planning Committee Chair
Sonja Johnson, Executive Director, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Grand Valley State University

12:40 pm - 1:30 pm

Featured Luncheon Presenters
Cherry Central - Melanie LaPerriere, President/CEO
U.S. Department of Commerce - James Golsen, Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, Global Markets

1:30 pm - 1:50 pm

Networking Break

1:50 pm - 2:35pm


Export 101 - Developing a Successful Export Sales Strategy With Panelists: Michael Olvera, Duperon Corporation; Gregg Wildes, DornerWorks; Rob Kukowski, Kamps Hardwoods, Moderated by Allie VanDriel, U.S. Commercial Service
Hear from companies that design, engineer, or grow Michigan-based products. Learn about the opportunities and challenges these companies face while developing their international sales. 

The AI Revolution in Global Business: How to Stay Ahead Presented by Pete Terryn & Jon Liebertz, NuWave Technology Partners. Moderated by Kendra Kuo, U.S. Commercial Service
Artificial Intelligence is rapidly transforming small business productivity. Learn about AI hot topics such as deep fakes, prompt engineering, and enhanced digital customer experiences. Stay ahead of your competitors by leveraging AI for your international business strategies.

European Union Sustainability Requirements/Regulations Presented by Jack Black, DLS Electronic Systems, Inc. Moderated by Steve vonDobschutz, Sound Off Signal
A discussion regarding the business impact that the European Union sustainability requirements have on companies conducting business in that region; including the effects on supply chains, operations, compliance, and consumer behavior as well as the impact of expanding social responsibility criteria on foreign operations.

2:35 pm - 2:55 pm

Networking Break

2:55 pm - 3:40 pm


Unlocking Opportunities: Exporter Tools for Your Business! Presented by Dallas Hobgood, Wolverine Worldwide & Victoria Satterlee, GHSP Inc. Moderated by Sonja Johnson, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Grand Valley State University
Join us for an engaging discussion with industry experts from manufacturer and warehouse distribution companies. We’ll delve into two powerful federal programs that can accelerate your organization’s success:

  1. Duty Drawback: Discover how this program can reclaim import duties and boost your bottom line.
  2. Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ): Explore the advantages of operating within an FTZ, to improve cost savings.

Taking it to the People: Training and Integrating Export Compliance Practices Presented by Angela Gamalski, Honigman LLP & Matthew Fawcett, Gentherm
This session explores the ‘how-to’ on implementing export compliance requirements into day-to-day operations. The presenters explain real-world employee training strategies that have been proven effective in mitigating risks associated with international trade regarding adherence with export laws.

Currency Market Outlook and Risk Management Implications for Corporates Presented by Dan Ryan, JP Morgan. Moderated by Darin Blocker, JP Morgan Chase
Explore current trends shaping the currency market and discover practical strategies for managing currency risk in today’s volatile economic landscape. This session offers valuable insights to help safeguard financial assets for all industries and businesses, large or small.


Transition to Next Session

3:45 pm - 4:30 pm


Incorporating Logistics Considerations into International Sales Contracts Presented by Mark Bleckley,  Van Andel Global Trade Center, Grand Valley State University
Discover the intersection of logistics and international sales contracts and learn how to effectively address logistical challenges when engaging in global trade. Whether you are a logistics expert or new to exporting, this session provides invaluable insights needed to optimize your international sales agreements.

The AI Revolution in Global Business: How to Stay Ahead Presented by Pete Terryn & Jon Liebertz, NuWave Technology Partners. Moderated by Kendra Kuo, U.S. Commercial Service
Artificial Intelligence is rapidly transforming small business productivity. Learn about AI hot topics such as deep fakes, prompt engineering, and enhanced digital customer experiences. Stay ahead of your competitors by leveraging AI for your international business strategies.

Protecting Trade Secrets from Industrial Espionage and Other Threats Presented by Brian Gill, General Counsel, tesa tape North America 
As innovation, trade secrets, and confidential information become even more vital to commercial success, theft by state and non-state actors has risen to massive levels. Yet, few companies have adopted plans to safeguard the secrets that give them a competitive edge. This session will look at trends in research and development, including reengineering for sustainable production, provide a framework for intellectual property, with an emphasis on the broad scope of trade secrets under US and foreign law, and discuss legal, HR, and IT best practices for preserving rights and countering threats.

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Networking Reception
Following conference

Page last modified May 3, 2024