WITA's Annual Awards Dinner

Jul 25, 2018


On July 18, 2018, the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) and the Washington International Trade Foundation (WITF) hosted their Annual Awards Dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The event honored Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for their leadership and accomplishments in trade policy. The Lighthouse Award, given to an individual that has made significant contributions to the trade community over the course of their career, was awarded to Laura Baughman from The Trade Partnership. Additionally, the evening program featured Senator Heitkamp (D-ND); Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means; and Former Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman.

Congressional Leadership Awards

The evening opened with an embassy-sponsored cocktail reception featuring wines, beers, and spirits from around the world. The cocktail reception was held in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Baseballs, bats, and vintage baseball signs decorated the area as a nod to the MLB All-Star Game hosted in Washington, D.C. the previous evening.

The awards were presented during the dinner portion of the evening. Senator Heitkamp began by presenting the Congressional Leadership Award to Senator Cardin. Senator Cardin was appreciative in his acceptance and shared his views on trade.

“We are in a global economy…the economy in Maryland depends upon trade. Our economy in America depends upon trade,” Senator Cardin remarked. “America needs to be the leader, globally, on [trade] issues. We cannot do it alone.”

While accepting the Congressional Leadership Award from Dan Glickman, Senator Roberts underlined the lessons he learned while serving as the incumbent Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“Trade—more specifically, agriculture trade—should not be used as a weapon,” Chairman Roberts said. “Rather, it is a tool. It is a tool for peace, it is a tool for national security, it is a tool for open markets, and it is a tool for economic growth.”

American Leadership Award

In recognition of his work in expanding global market access for American farmers by removing trade barriers, Secretary Perdue received the American Leadership Award from Chairman Kevin Brady. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue played on the dinner’s baseball theme as he shared his remarks about trade policy in today’s political climate.

“Baseball is a great game, but it has a book of rules…that both teams are responsible for complying with,” Secretary Perdue commented. “We’ve got to acknowledge trade-wise, internationally, that we’ve got some people that aren’t playing by the rules…I am confident if we have free and fair trade, the United States farmer, rancher, producer, or forester will out-compete anyone in the world.”

Lighthouse Award and Closing Remarks

The evening concluded with the presentation of the Lighthouse Award by WITA/WITF Board Member, Sarah Thorn (Walmart) and WITF Vice Chair, Bill Lane (Trade for America). The Lighthouse Award is a surprise recognition given by the Foundation to outstanding members of the trade community. This year’s recipient was Laura Baughman, President of The Trade Partnership and Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC.

The Lighthouse is awarded in recognition of the contributions Baughman has made to the trade community over the course of her career. The Washington International Trade Association and Washington International Trade Foundation are proud to have hosted Washington’s Trade Prom for over twenty years, and many more to come.