The Seattle Times LiveWire Event Series Presents “A Bridge to China: The Northwest’s Future with the East”

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The second event in the new series explores current political and economic dynamics within China, and between China and the Pacific Northwest

The Seattle Times new event series, LiveWire – Conversations that Spark Insight, will present “A Bridge to China: The Northwest’s Future with the East” on Thursday, Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond.

The Seattle Times LiveWire is a new event series that features meaningful discussion about vital issues impacting our region and its people. The events bring together local and national experts for provocative conversations on key topics moderated by Seattle Times journalists.

This second Seattle Times LiveWire event, “A Bridge to China: The Northwest’s Future with the East,” will feature former U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, who also served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Governor of the State of Washington, in a conversation exploring current political and economic dynamics within China, and between China and the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton will moderate a discussion about expanding our ties with China and the implications to our local economy. Joining Ambassador Locke will be executives from Seattle’s premier global companies and experts on China in the areas of trade, investment, human rights and education. In addition to Ambassador Locke, the presenters are:

Ray Conner, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Vice Chairman, The Boeing Company. Conner is responsible for delivering on a record backlog and overseeing the growth of its airplane programs and services. A native of Washington, Conner joined Boeing in 1977. Considering fast-growing passenger demand for air travel, Boeing has forecast demand in China for more than 6000 airplanes valued at $870 billion over the next 20 years, making China the world’s largest market for commercial airplanes. In this very competitive market environment, Boeing’s relationships with China’s airlines and its aviation industry have significant implications for jobs and the economy in the Pacific Northwest.

Nelson Dong, Seattle-based partner in the international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP and co-head of its Asian Law Practice Group and head of its National Security Law Group. Dong focuses particularly on U.S.-China investment and business affairs and on export control, embargo and national and homeland security-related matters such as clearances before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). He advises the U.S. Department of Commerce as a member of the President's Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA). He is a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jimmy Hexter, former Chair of McKinsey & Company’s Beijing office and currently Senior Partner and Head of the Operating Team at Catterton Partners. Hexter spent over 20 years in Asia. While at McKinsey & Co., Hexter was co-head of McKinsey's Global Operations Practice and the founder and head of McKinsey's global infrastructure practice.

Catterton is the leading consumer-focused private equity firm with more than $4.0 billion currently under management and a 25 year track record of success building high growth companies including its partner fund in China. Mr. Hexter leads the firm’s team of professionals that works with portfolio companies in due diligence and post-investment to identify and support the execution of growth agendas including both market and supply chain opportunities and challenges in the US, China and globally. He has served as a board member for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations for five years.

Brad Smith, Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel, leads the company's Legal and Corporate Affairs Group, with more than 1000 professionals located in 55 countries. Microsoft has been in China for over 20 years and has extensive operations there that support its global business, including the Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, the company’s largest R&D facility outside the United States. Microsoft is bringing its mobile-first, cloud-first vision to China, introducing new cloud technologies such as Office 365 and Microsoft Azure for the first time in mainland China, and just last month Xbox One became the first non-Chinese gaming console available in China.

Michael Young, President, University of Washington, home of the Jackson School of International Studies. Young joined the UW in 2011, having three decades of experience in teaching, research, public service, and leadership in higher education. President Young has significant expertise in the areas of international law including experience and teaching in the areas of human rights, international religious freedom, trade and the environment.

Microsoft has partnered with The Seattle Times as the presenting sponsor for the first four events. Also partnering on the series as principal sponsor is the University of Washington, and the Sabey Corporation as major sponsor. Additional event specific sponsors are being sought.

For information on sponsorships, contact Seattle Times Director of Corporate Marketing Suzanne Canino, at 206.652.6374 or at scanino(at)seattletimes(dot)com.

LiveWire events are free to the public, though tickets are required. Learn more and register at

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The Seattle Times serves the Northwest with thoughtful, independent, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. As one of the region’s most trusted news media companies, The Seattle Times provides clarity above the information clutter, engaging readers across print and digital platforms with news, information and entertainment when and how they want it. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen and now led by the Blethen family’s fourth and fifth generations, The Seattle Times news media company also owns and operates the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Issaquah Press, the Newcastle News, the Sammamish Review and the SnoValley Star.

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