Manufacturing, transportation leaders to address trade at Federal Affairs Summit
Leaders of a successful manufacturing company and a transportation firm will speak and share their experiences at AWB’s Federal Affairs Summit in Tacoma next Tuesday.
Olowo-n’djo Tchala, the CEO of Alaffia, and David Konz, the corporate risk and government affairs manager at Tidewater Transportation & Terminals, are featured in the panel, “Trade Today in Washington State.”
The panelists will offer their unique perspectives about making great products and transporting them to markets at home and abroad. There were more than 12,600 Washington exporters as of 2014, and 90 percent of those firms were small and medium-sized companies.
Alaffia is on roll with award-winning soaps and body care products made with sustainable ingredients from Africa. The company employs 145 people in Tumwater, recently landed a distribution deal with Wal-Mart and continues to create jobs and promote charity in Tchala’s home country of Togo in West Africa. And, Tchala was recently named to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Advisory Committee on Africa.
“Trade between the U.S. and Africa is vital to helping people on both continents rise up out of poverty through fair private enterprise, something we work on every day at Alaffia,” Tchala said in a news release announcing his appointment.
Alaffia distributes products across the country, and exports to 10 foreign countries. And that’s where the customers are, according to the Washington Department of Commerce.
Ninety-six percent of potential customers live abroad, the department reports, and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power is abroad.
For its part, Tidewater Transportation helps move those products every day. Barges move grain, oil, paper products and export containers along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and the West Coast region. The company’s portfolio includes 62 grain barges that can haul more than 6.7 million bushels, for example.
The company has been moving products for 85 years and is the largest inland marine transport company in the western United States, company officials report.
Konz, the government affairs manager, builds relationships and engages with industry associations, regulatory partners and local, state and federal governments.
Paul Read, publisher of the Journal of Business, will moderate.