IACCGH 17TH ANNUAL GALA | September 9, 2016
Indian-American entrepreneurs awarded in US
US based energy giant has “clear aspirations” to grow in India
IACCGH 16th Annual Gala | September 19, 2015
In a historic first for Houston and the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), a sitting US Ambassador to India, the Hon. Richard R. Verma was the Gala Keynote Speaker at their 16th Annual Gala on September 19th,2015.
The IACCGH Board with Ambassador Richard Verma
Ambassador Verma was welcomed warmly by about 650 Houstonians which included city business leaders, high ranking professionals, Chamber members and elected officials at the Hilton Americas.
Keerthana and Kruthi Bhat gave a beautiful rendition of the National Anthems
Executive Director of the Chamber, Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering by remarking that he “was overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from the community.” He recalled the year 1999 when with the support of the then Consul General Rinzing Wangdi, Dr. Durga Agrawal and a group of 40 business leaders, which included him, formed the Chamber to promote bilateral trade between the US and India – “when India was not fashionable.” Since then the Chamber, which is inclusive, had grown steadily by broadening the scope of its activities and having a broad spectrum of community partners to become one of the strongest economic Chambers in Houston.
Mistress of Ceremonies, KHOU11 TV Anchor and reporter, Rekha Muddaraj invited Vice Chairman and CEO Asif Dakri from Wallis State Bank and Gala underwriters, to address the gathering. Describing Wallis State Bank as “a commercially focused institution serving businesses from a one man operation to multinationals,”
Asif Dakri remarked that the bank was the number one Small Business Administration lender in Houston for the year 2014 and “currently on track” to capture the title for 2015. Describing the Chamber as “an integral part of the Houston landscape for the last 16 years”, Dakri also lauded the Chamber’s efforts to increase commercial ties and bring “two diverse and powerful economies together.”
In a congratulatory televised message, Senator John Cornyn applauded the tremendous contribution the Chamber has made not only to the Texas economy but also the deepening of ties between the US and India.
India’s Consul General of Houston and an Advisor to the Chamber, P. Harish highlighted the personal commitment of the two leaders, President Obama and PM Modi in working together. He was happy to note that the first LNG exports to India is scheduled for early 2017 which would supply one-third of India’s imports and one-fifth of its consumption as of last year. It would also “realize the emergence of the US as a significant producer and exporter of hydrocarbons.” He also referred to PM Modi’s efforts to “make development, economic growth and employment as the principal planks of governance with a multi-agency effort to ease business.” India, he remarked, was looking to the US to be a partner in bringing about a transformation through economic engagement.
President Ashok Garg, in his address, welcomed Ambassador Richard Verma and stated that his appointment as the first Indian American US Ambassador to India was “not only a matter of great pride but also striking at a time of closer ties between the world’s two largest democracies.” He also emphasized that Ambassador Verma understands India and would bring a new momentum to the relationship between our two countries. Commending Indo Americans for not only contributing to this great country with their talent and hard work, he stated that they give back to their own country by “building bridges of business and bonds of friendship between the two countries.” President Garg also gave a brief recap of the year’s activities and expressed his happiness that the Chamber’s mission of encouraging trade between the US and India, creating a platform for local businesses and helping members network has been successful and impactful.
In an address that was lightened with humorous reflections and pride at his family’s migration from India to the US, Ambassador Verma remarked on how connected Indo Americans are despite the miles that distance them. He was full of admiration for the courage and perseverance of Indo Americans who had come to America to “build a better future, to chase your dreams,” and believed that they kept the two democracies together through their shared values.” As Ambassador to India since January 2015, Ambassador Verma spoke of traveling across India and “witnessing first-hand the impact and the promise of the US Indo strategic partnership.” He also stated that it was increasingly clear the US considers India as “our best partner and one of the most consequential relationships of the 21st century.” The two countries, he believed, can be close partners in areas of military, medicine, deep sea and space exploration and combating terrorism and “the trends are heading in the right direction.” He was realistic about the challenges faced by India but concluded on an optimistic note by stating that he was “heartened by the promise we see in India and look forward to a resurgent India.”
Ambassador Verma received a standing ovation and was also recognized as an honorary Texan by a Texas State Resolution from Senator Rodney Ellis, arranged by Past President Sanjay Ram, after which President Garg formally presented the Ambassador as “a fellow Texan.”
IACCGH invited Ambassador Verma to help them recognize the professional and public service achievements of members of the community.
Ambassador Verma presented an award to CEO Umesh Verma of Blue Lance for the Entrepreneur of the Year for cyber security technology innovation.
Mani Iyer, President, Mahindra USA was presented an Inbound Investment Award recognizing inbound investment and local job creation in Harris County.
Wallis State Bank was the recipient of the Business Advocate of the Year Award for fueling small business.
The Community Service Award was presented to India House for bringing communities together and was received by President Dr. Manish Rungta.
Appreciation Awards were also presented to the major sponsors of the evening, Emcee Rekha Muddharaj and Therese Cole-Hubbs of Electric Karma for event management.
President Elect Joya Shukla thanked the Chamber for their trust in her ability to lead the Chamber and looked forward to partnering with the members to “do great things together.”
To view Ambassador’s Verma’s Twitter post of the event click here or to follow him on Twitter click here.
IACCGH Gala Report (below) by Manu Shah
Gala pictures courtesy: Biyani Photography
2015 Award Winners
Inbound Investment Award
recognizing inbound investment
& local job creation in Harris County
accepted by President, Mani Iyer
Business Advocate Award
Wallis State Bank
for fueling Small Business
accepted by Founder and Chairman Musa Dakri and President & CEO Asif Dakri
Community Service Award
For bringing communities together.
accepted by President of India House, Dr. Manish Rungta
Entrepreneurship Award (Technology)
For cyber security technology innovation
accepted by President & CEO, Umesh Verma.
Incoming President Joya Shukla proposed the vote of Thanks
To purchase sponsorships/tickets click here
IACCGH 15th Annual Gala | September 27, 2014
“This past weekend, I had the honor of speaking to the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston and discussing why the case for closer U.S. relations with India is overwhelming. India has a remarkably young population and a rising middle class, and the growth of its consumer market will create massive new opportunities for U.S. exporters in the decades ahead.”
– US Senator John Cornyn in an Op-Ed on “The Hill” – Sept. 30, 2014
HOUSTON: The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston’s (IACCGH) biggest event of the year, the Fifteenth Anniversary Gala, took place at the Hilton Americas on September 27th. The evening saw local business leaders and high ranking professionals networking at the Reception prior to the main event. Several elected officials were also present at the 600 strong gathering.
At the Reception, Dr. John Mendelsohn, Past President of the MD Anderson Cancer Center presented plaques of appreciation to the major sponsors of the evening. Sheriff Adrian Garcia took the opportunity to greet the gathering with a traditional Namaste and appreciated the work carried out by the Chamber.
Setting the tone for the evening was the energetic dhol player who led the guests into the ballroom where Chloe Choudhury vowed the audience with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner as well as the Indian national anthem. Raashi Vats of Fox TV was the EMCEE.
Dubbed by Senator John Cornyn as “the glue” that holds the Chamber together and by IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran as the name that is “synonymous” with the Chamber, Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering. He reflected that the Chamber had created a strong relationship with local economic agencies over the past 15 years which “continues to this day.” He expressed his pride at the Chamber’s achievements in the energy and education sector as well as the “job creation that’s happening.” He encouraged everyone to go through the Gala magazine to get a full picture of the Chamber’s history, work and accomplishments over the past 15 years.
IACCGH President, Sanjay Ramabhadran profiled IACCGH’s mission and asserted that the Chamber has over the years “Built bridges for business here in the Greater Houston region and with India” According to him, this was due to the zeal of its Past Presidents, Board Members and Advisors who helped propel the organization along the right path.
IACCGH has set the stage for multiple trade delegations to India in the coming months. Previous trade missions have resulted in the opening of the Mahindra facility in Harris County and while Trade Missions may “take time to fruition” they reinforce the Chamber’s efforts to create local jobs. President Ramabhadran remarked that the Chamber’s networking events reflect diversity of business opportunities and people and if “properly tapped” will pay huge dividends.” In short, IACCGH’s efforts have made “a direct impact on the Houston economy” and delivered tangible results over the last 15 years.
A congratulatory video message from India’s Consul General P. Harish in Houston and Mayor Annise Parker was played.
Senior US Senator for Texas and Keynote Speaker at the Gala, Senator John Cornyn warmly congratulated the Chamber for helping strengthen the critically important US India partnership. He noted that in the last two decades, organizations like the IACCGH have played an important role in deepening and strengthening cooperation between the two great democracies. He also referred to the milestone achieved by India last week in joining the exclusive club of countries to orbit Mars and saw opportunities for collaboration with NASA’s space mission in Houston.
Referring to India and the US as natural allies, he believed that this kind of ideological bond between the two nations translates into a powerful partnership on the world stage. India represents a massive opportunity for the US which is why the idea of forming an India Caucus came to him appropriately enough at the Taj Mahal. Founded in 2004, India is the only single country Caucus and it is a great recognition of the strategic alliance between the two nations. There is little doubt that the two nations have made great progress together with trade having grown by 500% since 2000.
However there are several priorities that the US needs to focus on – the primary one being the export of LNG to India. Under the current laws, US companies need to seek federal approval to export LNG. Senator Cornyn pushed for legislation to accelerate this process and believed that this will be good for the US, good for our partnership and good for our mutual strategic interests.
He also referred to the growing threat of terrorism and stated that the US cannot afford to neglect India, its strategic partner and closest friend in that region and the two countries need each other to tackle the threat of terrorism.
Referring to PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US as a historic opportunity to make our partnership stronger, he regretted the fact that due to the timing of the session, the US could not host PM Modi at the joint session of the Congress but will surely do so in the future
Photos by Bijay Dixit
2013 Event Gala
The Indo- American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston celebrated its 14thAnnual Gala 2013 at the Hilton Americas Houston on Saturday August 17th2013. The theme of the gala was “Empowering Energy & Education –
“Onwards & Upwards” and had over 600 people in attendance. The Gala co-chairs were Brij & Sunita Agrawal and Chowdary & Angela Yalamanchili.
presented the State of the Chamber address and talked about some of the Chambers “firsts” which included a live video conference at the annual gala of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Pune, India,
the presentation by Ernst & Young of a webinar for IACCGH members on the impact of the recent Indian budget
and the newly launched “Women Mean Business” series.
The Consul General of India the Honorable P. Harish was the Chief Guest. The Keynote Speaker Mr. Robert E. Beauchamp, Chairman & CEO, BMC Software, highlighted the IACCGH’s contribution in connecting India and America. He described how the Chamber leadership convinced him that India, thanks to talent available, was the best location for their expansion. He mentioned BMC India has become a hub for innovation.
The program included a fashion show with Congressmen Pete Olson and his wife Nancy Olson walking the ramp in fabulous Indian ethnic wear.
Jay Guerrero, District Director for US Senator John Cornyn, addressed the audience and presented a video message from the Senator. Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, and Congressman Pete Olson, Harris County Sherriff Adrian Garcia, Houston Mayor Anise Parker, Houston City Councilmember Helena Brown, Sugar Land City Council members Himesh Gandhi and Harish Jajoo also addressed the audience. Four Indian Americans received the IACCGH annual awards. Incoming IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran proposed the vote of thanks.
Mr.Ash Shah – “International Business Person of the year”,
Dr.Latha Ramchandran –“Educator of the year”,
Mr.Dhiren Sethia – “Business person of the year”,
Mr.Gaurav Khandewal – “Young Business entrepreneur of the year”
IACCGH founding member Mr.Jagdip Ahluwalia who currently serves as Executive Director received a special award for his “Outstanding Contributions to the Chamber” since its inception in1999.
A Fashion show and dance performance was organized by Naach Houston. Some of Houston’s powerful women business leaders and professionals walked the ramp in apparel by Sari Sapne. Chef Gary and Claudia Behring of the Hilton Americas worked closely with Dawaat Catering (A Madras Pavilion group company) to provide a great dinner and Sara Dugal of “A Touch of Elegance” gave the room a great festive look. Flowers were provided by River Oaks Flowers.
Contact Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director, IACCGH at email@example.com call 832 746 8372(M) if you have any questions.
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