The Metro Atlanta Chamber has announced the winners of the second annual Global Impact Awards, which honor members for attracting and expanding international business in Atlanta.
At a luncheon on March 9 at the InterContinental Buckhead, chamber officials presented the inaugural award for global partner to the law firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP.
The firm was recognized for recruiting international companies to the area, helping local companies go abroad and assisting the chamber with legislative efforts related to international business.
A number of winners and finalists were focused on developing sustainable environmental practices.
Jorge Fernandez, the chamber’s vice president of global commerce, said these organizations reflected a growing trend abroad.
“As we travel and market Atlanta through our priority markets, what we are seeing is an increased interest on the role of the environment,” he said.
An example of this focus is the environmental consulting firm, NewFields Companies, which received the trade and business development award.
The firm has conducted environmental studies and created alternative solutions for companies in the oil, gas and agricultural industries. Since 2002, NewFields has also provided environmental consulting for the National Park Service at Yosemite National Park.
Founded 15 years ago, NewFields has more than 200 engineers, scientists and specialists in 70 countries.
Co-founder and CEO William Hall said the start of the company with his colleagues Shahrokh Rouhani and Gary Kreiger was an unusual partnership.
“We were an odd trio. A Southern Baptist Georgian, an Iranian Muslim and a descendant of Eastern European Jews decided to go into business together. It sounded like a joke,” said Mr. Hall.
He added that their international success was due to their willingness to look beyond boundaries, including different ethnic backgrounds.
“In retrospect, we realize the attitude that brought us together is what set the trajectory for our business and our international presence, and that is the respect and empathy that looks beyond boundaries,” said Mr. Hall,.
Sekisui SPR Americas LLC, an infrastructure and pipeline rehabilitation company, was awarded the foreign investment award.
Sekisui SPR, which is part of the Japan-based Sekisui Chemicals Co. Ltd., established its facilities in southwest Atlanta in 2006 and expanded in 2010, enhancing its research and development operations.
The company was also praised at the luncheon for its focus on developing environmentally friendly technology.
Habif Arogeti & Wynne LLP, the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia, received the service provider award, which recognizes companies for attracting capital investment to Atlanta.
Facilitating Atlanta’s connections abroad, the firm connected the chamber’s Global Commerce Council with many affiliates of Baker Tilly International, a network of independent accounting firms in 120 countries.
“We’re really proud of Atlanta becoming so international … when I moved here 20 years ago from St. Petersburg, Russia, Buford Highway was the most international part of Atlanta,” said Yelena Epova, partner-in-charge of international tax practice for Habif Arogeti & Wynne.
As one of the many finalists and winners with a focus on environmental stewardship, Habif Arogeti & Wynne also received recognition for reducing paper use and waste through its paperless tax practice.
The luncheon also featured keynote speaker Shedrick Harrison Jr., vice president of TeleWeb STG Americas, IBM Corp., who underscored the difficulties of doing international business but encouraged companies to be leaders and expand abroad.
“Being a leader can be a burden. Being a leader can be very stressful. Being a leader can be lonely … Be a leader anyways, because the results are well worth the efforts,” said Mr. Harrison.
For more information on the Metro Atlanta Chamber, visit www.metroatlantachamber.com.