Greater Cleveland's Top Execs Share Their China Business Best Practices

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Perspectives from Timken, Masco, Smartshape, the Cavs, and more on November 3rd

All over American's business landscape, like it or not, managers in functions from new business development to HR; design to procurement; IT to marketing are being challenged to work more effectively with colleagues, partners and customers in China. What are best practices, to keep in mind as dealing with China becomes part of the job description? Area executives are invited to hear from senior execs leading China initiatives at Timken, Masco, SmartShape, the Cleveland Cavaliers and other area businesses.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and Continental Airlines have joined with The China Business Network to host China Business Boot Camp Cleveland on November 3, at the GCP's offices in the historic Higbee Bldg., 100 Public Square on the second floor in the Shattin Board Room. Tickets are still available, with early bird incentives through October 20, at http://chinabusinessbootcamp.eventbrite.com, or on the GCP website http://www.gcpartnership.com/Events/GCP/China-Business-Boot-Camp-11-03-09.aspx

After lunch, attendees can opt for a China Business Orientation track or a China Business Implementation track. The Implementation track consists of three panel discussions around best practices in partnering, managing, and innovating with Chinese organizations.

Cleveland -based Steve Alexander, former head of North Asia for Hershey, will head the first of the three Implementation panels, called Partnering for Success. "The Partnering for Success panel looks at the product, financial, banking, legal and cultural aspects of exploring and structuring a partnership that works." Fellow Partnering panelists include sourcing specialist William Sinn, trade banker Alfred Ho, and attorney Edyta Zydorek.

Chris Hegele, M.D., Procurement at Masco, is on the Managing for Quality panel, which follows the Partnering discussion. Hegele says, "Finding a partner that can produce to your specifications is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ensuring that quality output is supplied with each and every shipment." Kim Kirkendall, a consultant with 20+ years of China business experience, moderates. Tool and die specialist Thomas Hargis and project manager Stephen Cingle round out the Managing panel.

Finally, in the third panel - Innovating With Trust - features Mike Maczuzak, founder of the industrial design firm SmartShape says, "China is turning out significant design and manufacturing talent. It is important to harness that talent effectively in order to deliver high-value product development support to our clients, especially those manufacturing in China and those wanting to design for success in the China market." Doug Smith, SVP Technology, Timken, adds "Meaningful innovation isn't just a product or design issue; it has to come from clear company goals, and be understood all the way down to the factory floor." The Innovating panel will be moderated by Nina Ying Sun, Assistant Managing Editor & Asia Specialist for Plastics News (and Plastics News China), and attorney at Benesch and Co-Chair of their China Group Allan Goldner is on hand to address the legal issues that innovation raises.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), with more than 17,000 members, is a membership association of Northeast Ohio companies and organizations and one of the largest metropolitan chambers of commerce in the nation. Our organizational core includes our small-business partner, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), a one-stop resource for our small-business member companies. COSE provides cost-effective group-purchasing programs, advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues, and resources focused on helping companies grow.

The China Business Network is an online and offline membership organization and content site that helps everyone working between China and the west to be more successful. Our members are people working in China business whether part of the diaspora of China expats and experts or individuals newer on the learning curve and looking to gain confidence and get connected.

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Michael McCune
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