Baltimore is often thought of as a small town, where everyone already knows one another.
But the city and the state of Maryland are thriving hubs of international activity, with a major seaport and airport serving businesses that do business overseas or are foreign-owned — and are looking for new opportunities.
To help with that, there is the World Trade Center Institute, an international business education organization headquartered in Baltimore’s World Trade Center. The institute showcases what’s already here to attract new business and offers training and networking possibilities to those just wading into international waters.
That international focus was what attracted Eddie Resende, who was born in Brazil and came with his family to the United States 23 years ago.
“I was looking for a position, and I applied and knew right away it was where I wanted to work,” said Resende, who is now the group’s vice president of operations.
He interned twice at the institute while earning a degree from Towson University in international business, found a job at a Hunt Valley telecommunications company and then returned to Brazil to see family and work for a nonprofit. He found his place back in Baltimore at the institute, where he puts his language, cultural and business skills to work helping develop and run programs for the local business community.
The institute was founded in 1989 by then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the chairman of the architectural firm RTKL Associates, Harold Adams, and it offers dozens of programs a year. On a trade mission to Asia, they had learned that even the most experienced corporate leaders may not understand how international business works.
Resende said the world has become more connected over time, but it’s also grown more complex. People can learn some basics just by logging onto their computers, but the institute has an important role in building relationships and helping business leaders understand the latest developments in foreign economies and culture, transportation logistics and supply chains, for example.
But perhaps most importantly, the institute helps build relationships, he said. The institute connects people in industry with others who may help a company grow by finding new avenues for products and services.
And a new program this summer will offer training and business networking opportunities to 30 internationally minded college students.
“We want to develop and keep talent local,” Resende said. “We can show them they can work for McCormick or Under Armour or another local company.”
Next, Resende said he hopes to channel his enthusiasm for nonprofit work and international business by connecting local business leaders with local service organizations to help tackle some of the world’s social problems.
He said he’ll still have time to continue his own education. He’s pursuing an MBA from Georgetown University. And he’ll still indulge his passions for outdoor sports, cooking and visiting the country’s national parks with his wife of 10 years, Katie Hussong.
“We’re always looking at new opportunities,” Resende said of the institute. “We want to continue to grow and expand and be of service.”