On May 13th and 14th, 2015, General Microcircuits had the opportunity to host and coordinate the itinerary for Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis and his entourage. Although only in Charlotte for less than 24 hours, he had a chance to connect with many in the Charlotte region. After meeting the President at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, he was whisked away by Secret Service to prepare for a VIP Dinner hosted by GMI at the Charlotte City Club. Joining the President were members of his administration: the Minister of Foreign Trade, the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the US, Director, Investment Division Ministry of Foreign Trade and Consul General of Costa Rica for NC. Also travelling with the President: Jorge Sequeira, the Director General of CINDE, several members of his staff; and four members from organizations that represent the Private Sector in Costa Rica.
At the VIP Dinner, the President and his entourage were greeted by GMI’s Ownership and Executive Team. All of GMI’s Customers whose products are built in Costa Rica, a few key suppliers and a group of organizations that have, either directly or indirectly influenced GMI’s initial success in the development of the Costa Rica facility and who will play a critical role in our future success were invited.
GMI representatives attended a Thursday morning Charlotte Chamber of Commerce breakfast where the Governor of North Carolina welcomed President Solis. Both agreed that North Carolina and Costa Rica have much in common and that a collaborative spirit between the two should be encouraged.
After the breakfast, the President’s motorcade traveled to Kannapolis to meet with David Murdock, Chairman and CEO of Dole Foods and the creator of the North Carolina Research Center (NCRC). After congenial discussion, they agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to share an exchange between the NCRC and several Costa Rican Research Universities.
By noon, it was time for the President to travel back to Charlotte for a luncheon with the World Affairs Council at the Westin hotel. To a sold out Ballroom, President Solis emphasized the need to ensure those businesses that have committed to manufacture in their country are given every opportunity to succeed and expand.
Despite the whirlwind trip, the entire delegation was grateful for the welcome they received and quite impressed with the number of companies who showed interest in the Costa Rica economy. Also one aide remarked that Charlotte was nearly as green as Costa Rica. He also observed how friendly everyone was that he came into contact with.
This trip was triggered by the long-standing relationship between GMI and CINDE. CINDE is the Foreign Direct Investment Promotion organization who walked hand in hand with GMI as we set up our Costa Rican operation. Based on this relationship, CINDE recommended President Solis reach out to GMI and visit Charlotte on his cross-country trip of the US.
GMI’s culture emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships between customers and suppliers. Equally important, GMI sees the importance of building channels of dialogue with organizations with influence. Many complain that business to business has become transactional. GMI still values the importance of relationships as its long-established customers and suppliers do. An arm’s length transaction can never take the place of a relationship that invests the time to understand an issue, flushing out the root cause and provides a solution that satisfies the need. Often GMI has relied on those long-standing relationships to assist when issues arise that require more than a simple phone call, email or general conversation.
Staton Williams, GMI’s General Manager in Costa Rica has been there for five years. In those five years, he has met many wonderful Costa Ricans (Ticos) and multinational business people. He has built strong personal relationships with private and government sectors. When Staton comes into a room, many greet him as if he has been in Costa Rica for a decade or two. Although many Costa Ricans have never visited our North Carolina facility, they get a genuine sense of our character and culture through Staton and his staff.
View “Costa Rican President Visits Charlotte and Meets with Chamber” Video here.