Letter from the President
As this is our first letter for the year, I want to wish you an extraordinarily, successful, healthy and happy 2010.
Happy New Year!
One year ago today, we didn’t have very much to celebrate. We were in the middle of a terrible recession, in many ways the worst recession the western world has seen since the Great Depression started in 1929. In addition to unemployment being up and business being down, the markets were showing horrific performance. We were witnessing many firms, including banks and brokerage firms, simply going bankrupt.
However, starting in early March 2009, we had the encouraging signs of world markets turning the corner. This trend continued throughout the summer so that by autumn 2009 we were starting to really believe that the recession was over. Business performance results are always uneven. This has been the case during this current recovery but businesses are once again starting to make money, especially in the financial sector. Trajectories are still positive; we are approaching that point in time where we can rejoice. Better days are here.
Until now there have been only two elected officers for the Association of the AGBC, the president and the treasurer. I have always thought that this is insufficient at the executive level. The association needed to have an elected officer available to represent the association in the absence of the president. During our last membership meeting, on 24 October 2009, we voted to add a new elected position, the office for vice president for the association. This proposal was unanimously approved and the position was established. I recently nominated Mr. Thomas Leiser of the Frankfurt chapter, President of SGA Chemie. Thomas is an exceptional individual, well experienced in international business, and utterly capable of providing assistance on our behalf. I am pleased to report for our good fortune that he accepted.
Our next national membership meeting will be on 8 May 2010 in Stuttgart. This should be an exciting weekend for us because our competent president Nic Susta from the Stuttgart chapter has a team putting together a memorable weekend for everyone in attendance. Please register your interest and your attendance for this national meeting. It will be a good opportunity to see how we function.
Please refer to our website. We ask you to sustain a little patience with its improvement. Our webmaster, Uwe Twelker, has been working on the requisite architecture for the continuing improvement of the site. Individual chapters are now responsible for their own content on the web; and your chapter president should designate someone to regularly post updates. In addition, we have the Business Directory in the final stages of preparation, as well as a section for Events Management, which will coordinate all events for the association. Herr Twelker has assured us that we are now in the final stages of making all these systems polished, complete and effective for our use. Stay tuned.
Most importantly, we had a major awards ceremony in Frankfurt on Saturday, February 6 for the ‘Entrepreneur of Tomorrow’ program. The US Consul General Edward (Ned) Alford presented the awards during the ceremony and spoke on the subject of the entrepreneur in today’s world. This was a very exciting evening for the participants who completed their own business plan. Each team received certificates and the first prize winner took home a thousand euro. The runner up received 500 Euro, and the third place recipient 250 Euro, each for their efforts. (See the adjoining article)
A very special thanks is due from all of us for the enormous work done by the EOT Coordinator, Mr. Dennis Phillips, Chief Judge, Mr. Oliver Dohr, all the mentors and advisors who assisted, and most importantly all the students who participated.
Finally, our economy has grown at a 5.7 percent pace during the fourth quarter of 2009, which is the fastest since 2003. Our markets increased during the six months following the recessionary slump, well in excess of 50 percent, which is the fastest six month period since 1933. Sales of existing housing actually increased in 2009. Some businesses have started hiring again and unemployment has stabilized. All in all it looks like we have a very exciting start for the year 2010. And we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of the world’s markets rebound on March 9, 2009. With all these great events of the AGBC and all this good business news, it is once again our extraordinary pleasure to wish you a terrific 2010, with success, health and happiness throughout the year.
Barry E. Swanson CFP