Indian Consul General P Harish invites Houston Mayor Annise Parker to lead a Business delegation to India
November 27, 2012 : Mayor Annise Parker delivered the 2012 IACCGH “Thought Leadership Series” lecture at the Westin Galleria in Houston.
The audience included IACCGH members, leaders of other area Chambers (including the Asian Chamber, East End Chamber and the Turkish American Chamber), Economic Development Agencies and IACCGH Resource partners. Booths had been set up by the office of business development of the Houston Independent School District and the Goldman Sacs 10,000 Small Business initiative.
The Consul General of India, P. Harish, encouraged Mayor Parker to lead a business delegation to India to underscore the opportunities and fundamental transformations that are about to occur in Houston.
The event was kicked off by the IACCGH Executive Director, Jagdip Ahluwalia, who explained that it was Mayor Parker’s focus on business and economic development that prompted him to accept the position to serve as the current Chair of the Mayor’s International Trade Development Council for South Asia.
IACCGH President, Ajit Thakur CPA, in his welcoming remarks, commended the Mayor for helping make Houston livable and affordable. He gave a very interesting perspective of why Houston is a great place to live in. He spoke about how Houston offers attractions dedicated to collaborative efforts using art, science, and educational resources, such as The Museum District, as well as globally recognized institutions such as NASA. Mr. Thakur explained that Houston’s education system was a big draw when he had a choice in choosing where to raise his family. He commended the HISD as one of the best in the county (county or country?) and praised the quality of education that institutions such as Rice University and the University of Houston provide.
IACCGH Director Sanjay Ram introduced Mayor Parker as a City leader that has set a record in the number of times she has been elected citywide and also as a Mayor that has taken on many tough issues to secure the future of our city.
Mayor Parker in her remarks said that members of International Chambers, like IACCGH, “get it” and share her incredible sense of pride in our city and have chosen to make it their home. She reiterated that Houston would continue to be a business friendly city with a focus on international trade. She emphasized the need to grow from our strengths, such as being the oil and gas capital of the world, being home to the largest foreign tonnage port in the USA, having the largest medical center, and our growing manufacturing capacity.
Mayor Parker divided her remarks into three parts. She started by addressing some of the positive trends she saw emerging with our ties with India, then followed that by talking about opportunities in Houston to grow business, and finally, how she would appreciate the Chamber and its members’ leadership in guiding the continued development of this city.
Mr. Icken’s office oversees all development-related activities in the city of Houston. Mr. Icken has coordinated the city’s role in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, as well as having played an instrumental role in all of the economic development projects proposed and carried out during Mayor Parker’s administration.
In his remarks the Consul General commended the Indo-American community not only on their personal success, but also in their efforts in nation building and giving back to the community. He reminded the audience that Texas is responsible for 11% of the bilateral trade with India and that Houston is a major economic dynamo that attracts people, investments and ideas. He remarked that many people are now coming from other parts of the USA to retire here and that is a demographic that needs some attention. He emphasized the opportunity offered by the energy revolution in new areas like shale gas and feedstock that are leading to opportunities for companies to partner and invest in our city. Students from India number over 4,000 in Texas with around 1,500 in and around Houston. He commended the Indo-American community for being model citizens and giving back to society,
The Consul General and his wife Mrs. Nadita joined IACCGH past President Deepa Thakur and Ajit Thakur in presenting Mayor Parker with a shawl honoring and thanking her for addressing the Chamber. Mr Safa George, VP R&D in P&T at Shell delivered the vote of thanks. Michelle Baden, Managing Director with United Airlines, drew the winning survey submitted by IACCGH past president Dr. Atul Varadhachary and presented him with a certificate for a United Airlines domestic ticket. Houston Community College, Westmont Hospitality Group and the Turkish American Chamber were recognized for sponsoring tables.