Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is Hub for Making Connections
February 13, 2018 8:10 PM
Most major properties don’t require management by a company that brings with it the acumen of a cultural attaché or trade consul. But the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, with both government and private sector functions, is no ordinary property. Just down the street from the White House, this federal government building is the only structure in the United States with a dedicated mission to promote international trade and cross-cultural affairs. On behalf of the US Government, TCMA (part of the Drew Company) manages the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington DC. Drew's International initiatives include WebPort Global, and the World Trade Center in Dublin, Ireland.
On a given day, explains TCMA Vice President Andrew Gelfuso, those participating in events held in any of the Reagan Building’s 27 different conference spaces might comprise officials of the US executive branch—perhaps even the president or vice president—congressional members, business leaders, and diplomats from among the numerous embassies that dot the Washington landscape. The firm works closely with the embassies and has a dedicated embassy liaison on staff.
Tenants include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Custom and Border Protection, the US Department of Commerce, and numerous private sector firms with an interest in international business.
Dealing with all these distinct but interdependent entities earned TCMA’s Gelfuso a place on the International Trade Advisory Council (ITAC), which helps make trade policy affecting small and mid-size exporters.
Given his front row seat at the intersection of cross-cultural affairs and trade policy, WebPort Global was eager for Gelfuso’s insights about trends we might expect for international trade in 2018.
He pointed to some interesting statistics. While the US economy is cruising along nicely—third quarter GDP showed annualized real growth of 3.2 percent—trade is a big part of the reason. Take trade out of the equation, and annualized domestic economic activity is 1.9 percent. Trade, it seems, is the secret ingredient. Without it, we’d have a recipe for rather bland results.
“TCMA and the Drew Company see the strong trade stats as a sign that we have been making the right decisions by dedicating our time and resources to growing our international business division,” says Gelfuso. “For the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in particular, it demonstrates that, more than ever, people need a place to learn what is happening with global trade policy and to meet and convene with each other in person to form important new business connections.”
And that intersects with one of the Reagan Building’s primary missions, he says: “to expose US business people to the programs of the federal government that can help them grow internationally.”
TCMA plays a very active role in facilitating such connections. “We've also aligned ourselves with some of the top nonprofit trade associations in town that put on a significant number of high-quality trade events,” he says. More partners than clients, TCMA actively recruits attendees from its database. “We've got a built-in audience to participate in everything from business roundtables, to policy speeches, to trade and tourism conferences.”
And the relationships it has with embassies open opportunities for mutual benefit. “Some of the smaller embassies, though they have rich histories, might not have the facilities to host major events,” he says. “That's led us to host some fabulous national based celebrations, including the Ukraine National Day.”
Being connected to other World Trade Centers—the Reagan Building is also the official World Trade Center of Washington, DC—opens other advantageous avenues. “We host members when they're here in Washington for no charge and make introductions between them and our local partners. We also often invite them to participate as speakers or as audience members at events that we're sponsoring or hosting.”
Reagan Building rooms can accommodate everything from a small private meeting to a seated banquet for 800 in its signature Atrium space. It hosts 2,500 to 3,000 events each year and welcomes about a million visitors to the building.
Is there a way WebPort Global members can directly benefit, we asked? “The Reagan Building is a hub where people meet and talk about important pressing global issues,” says Gelfuso. “When you're in Washington, DC, plan to attend a trade event. Reach out to me or someone in my office, and maybe we can make an introduction to one of the speakers, or a fellow audience member who could help you grow your business.”
More information about The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, as well as about events that WebPort Global members may attend to help grow their businesses, may be found at www.itcdc.com.
Tell A Friend / Share