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LA Architects Learn How to Be International Stars
By Derek Washam, Manager, Federal & International Programs

    Dozens of AIA members braved the infamous Los Angeles traffic to take part in the Working Abroad: Pros, Cons, and Ways Forward international practice training session with representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank, as well as fellow architects with extensive experience in practicing overseas on September 18th.

    The morning workshop kicked off with a presentation by Terri Batch, a U.S. Commercial Service International Trade Specialist from the West Los Angeles Export Assistance Center. Batch highlighted some of the many services that the Commercial Service offers, such as market intelligence, trade counseling, and business matchmaking, as well as giving insight into some of the challenges that architects face abroad. Pellson Lau of the Small Business Administration and Greg Moore of the Export-Import Bank rounded out the panel with information on the loan programs and insurance programs that help you realize and protect your goal. During the networking break after the presentations, the audience was able to speak directly with these speakers who all work in the greater Los Angeles area. Many participants have already continued to grow these relationships to further explore international opportunities.

    Local Architects Frank Glynn, SAGA Architecture, and David Hunt, gkkworks, advised the audience based on their experiences working abroad. Both have extensive understanding of international practice in India, a market that offers a wealth of opportunities because of its economic and demographic growth. Though they both have faced obstacles in their practice, they have managed to overcome them with patience and hard work. They both suggest that architects be mindful of local business and cultural practices, needs, and to be prepared for an adventure.

    Look out for announcements of Working Abroad: Pros, Cons, and Ways Forward sessions coming to a city near you at aia.org/advocacy!


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