Article Written by: Manu Shah
Photography by : Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images
HOUSTON: Describing the Indo American Chamber of Greater Houston as “dynamic”, Consul General of India in Houston, Honorable P. Harish was the Chief Guest at the IACCGH 2015 Inaugural “Networking Works” Reception. The event was held at The Rotunda Houston City Hall and attended by dignitaries Senator Rodney Ellis, County Clerk Chris Daniels, Senator Cornyn’s District Director Jay Guerrero, MITDC SA Chairman Nishan Khan, ICC President Charlie Patel and Former Houston Mayor Pro Temp Gordon Quan. The event saw the passing of the baton of leadership from outgoing President Sanjay Ramabhadran to incoming President Ashok Garg.
Following tradition, the event honored two distinguished business leaders for their longtime support of the Houston business community. Manuel Gonzalez, recently retired Director of the US Small Business Administration was presented a plaque on behalf of IACCGH by Asif Dakri, CEO of Wallis State Bank, the leading bank in the region for SBA guaranteed loans. Nyamusi Igambi, Senior International trade specialist, recently promoted to Director of the US Commercial Service in Kansas City was presented her plaque by the Honorable Gordon Quan.
Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering. Introducing Past President Ramabhadran as one of the “first volunteers” of the IACCGH and a President who led the Chamber “to new heights,” the Executive Director invited him to give a brief rundown of the events organized by the IACCGH in 2014.
In his address, Past President Ramabhadran gave a brief recap on the past year which kicked off on a high note with Dr. Durga Agrawal’s impressive appointment to the UH Board of Regents. This was followed by India’s Ambassador to the US, H.E. Dr. S. Jaishankar’s reception hosted by IACCGH.
The Chamber was also successful in hosting distinguished speakers such as Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator, Secretary of State Nandita Berry and MD Anderson President Dr. Ronald DePinho. The Annual Gala saw Houston’s most influential people with US senior Senator John Cornyn as Keynote Speaker, a successful trade delegation to India in December and a chance meeting with none other than the Dalai Lama was the “icing on the cake” of a rewarding and successful year. Past President Ramabhadran also thanked the Board and friends of the Chamber for their support.
Described by Executive Director Jagdip as “a great proponent of the Indo US bilateral trade”, Consul General P. Harish, in his address, appreciated the fact that Presidents were willing to give their time and energy to make the Chamber “dynamic and an important partner”. Describing 2014 as a politically important year for India, he echoed India’s PM Modi’s invitation to invest in India and promised that there would be “no red tape, only a red carpet” for investors.
In his address, President Ashok Garg thanked the 70 plus gathering as well as the luminaries for their support. He lauded Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran for his tremendous contribution to the Chamber’s work and believed that the Past President had “raised the bar for all of us.” He also stated that he looked forward to sustaining and strengthening the Chamber’s mission to maximize business opportunities in the Greater Houston region and observed that it is “not just our duty but also in our best interests to promote the economic growth of the region”.
President Garg also announced plans of a delegation to India with Mayor Parker in April as well as two new programs that are to be launched this year – a Student Internship program with Indian multinationals and an energy meet with members and leaders in the energy field. A unique Rolex watch raffle fundraiser by IACCGH to fund these events was also announced.
Describing “networking as one of the golden rules of business” and one of the Chamber’s core missions, he concluded his address by encouraging the gathering to “get to know as many people as possible during the evening.”
Upcoming IACCGH events include a Tax Seminar on Sunday, Jan 25 from 2:00 pm at India House and a Small Business Outreach program at the HCC Katy Campus on Thursday, Feb 12 at 6:30 pm. For details, visit www.iaccgh.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org