Where can Utah business leaders go to make international contacts with some of the world's major movers and shakers?
Prominent Salt Lake couple Deedee Corradini, chairwoman and chief executive officer of the consulting firm Bonneville Associates Inc., and Yan M. Ross, an attorney and chairman of First Professional Bank, believe the answer might be the World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland.Corradini and Ross recently returned from the weeklong 1991 forum where they made numerous contacts with international leaders - something they believe U.S. companies need to do more.
"Americans could learn a lot by participation in this forum because our perspective is so focused upon ourselves," said Corradini. "We need to hear the world view on these issues."
Ross, an attorney with the Salt Lake office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae, agreed but noted that making global contacts can result in far more than good feelings and a pocketful of business cards. It can lead to new business.
"Our law firm has recently engaged a resident attorney in Moscow to complement our other three offices in the U.S.," he said. That representative, he said, "has been quite successful in setting up joint ventures. Interestingly, most of the transactions where we represent clients have not been in the Center (Moscow) but rather in the outlying republics."
Ross added that he has been in contact with Ukraine Chairman Leonid Kravchuk on behalf of two U.S. clients setting up joint ventures.
"There is a lot of networking at these meetings," said Corradini, who is a shareholder in Bonneville Pacific, an independent electrical power producer and a former sister firm (now spun off) of Bonneville Associates. "I have been contacted by several people who say there is a tremendous need for independent power in other parts of
the world, but they don't know how to go about setting it up. They need our know-how."
Bonneville, she said, already has several projects in East Germany and may soon be involved in other countries, particularly in India and Eastern Europe.
South America is another. Ross said privatization of energy utilities and financial institutions is currently underway in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico. "We are now fol
lowing up to offer some of the expertise that LeBoeuf Lamb can offer in privatization of those areas."
Other areas of follow-up, they agreed, involve Utah's attempt to win the 1998 Winter Olympics bid. "Several of the people we met are involved in or know members of the International Olympic Committee," said Corradini, who serves on the Utah bid committee.
"We opened some new lines of communication there. Our (U.S.) ambassador to Switzerland offered to have an event at his home to deliver Utah's bid books to Swiss members."
The decision on who will host the 1998 Winter Games will be made around June 15. Corradini said she believes Utah has "a good chance if we get enough (IOC) members to come here (to Utah)" prior to the decision being made.
The World Economic Forum does not take specific action as a body but attempts to educate leaders about the issues that affect them, such as the environment. In that case, it can be effective in convincing people what not to do, said Corradini. "People have gone back to South America from the forum and effectively blocked construction of major facilities that might negatively affect their countries" and the rest of the world.
Attendance at the World Economic Forum is by invitation only, but Ross and Corradini said they would be pleased to help any Utahns who might want to attend next year's forum to receive one. They can be contacted at their respective offices.