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MSSC's center provides help in going global

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by Christen Jackson

SBJ Contributing Writer

Joplin's Missouri Southern State College is educating students, industries and businesses on how to do business on an international level. The primary purpose of the International Trade and Quality Center, operating in the School of Business at MSSC, is to promote international business and serve as a resource for regional organizations.

"We are trying in every way possible to make international business possible for businesses and industries in our state," said Terry Marion, director of MSSC's International Trade and Quality Center.

In 1996, the Missouri Legislature named MSSC as the state's Institute of International Studies. As such, part of the college's mission is to encourage faculty and students to travel and study overseas.

As part of this new designation, the International Trade Center was established. The ITC works closely with the World Trade Center in St. Louis and with the Department of Commerce, Marion said.

There is much to be considered when entering the international marketplace, Marion said, such as cultural issues, contractual and legal issues, and international payments and financing.

"We can provide companies who want to do business internationally with a variety of services," Marion said.

Among those services are:

?General international business counseling.

?Market research, information sources.

?Practical international business support translation, legal, financial, transportation, telecommunication.

?Choice of distribution channels.

?Development of a business plan.

"We can provide a great deal of assistance, or just a small amount," Marion said. "We provide whatever the business needs."

For example, the International Trade Center has a list of translators, which can be of service to businesses, Marion said. In addition, many of the translators are natives of other countries and can provide cultural insight.

The ITC regularly sponsors seminars and workshops dealing with international business issues.

During the spring semester, the ITC will host a continuing series of seminars dealing with "Current Issues in International Business."

The seminars begin Feb. 18 and will continue for 10 consecutive weeks, meeting 6:30-9:30 p.m. Presenters will include Voytok Zmijewski, vice president of the international department, Commerce Bank, Kansas City; Arnold Berney, vice president international sales, Leggett and Platt, Carthage; and Dr. Julio Sardiav, MSSC International Trade and Quality Center.

"I don't think people realize how sophisticated some of our local companies are," Marion said. "Companies like Eagle Picher and Leggett & Platt have been part of the international business community for years."

Serving on the ITC's advisory board are representatives from area businesses which have already stepped foot into international business: Konrad Heid, president of Commerce Bank of Joplin; Glenn Brown, president of Contract Freighters Inc.; Rick Wohlschlaeger, marketing director, Doane Product Co.; Trisha Tucker, contracts manager, and Jeff Daniel, international contracts, Eagle Picher Industries; Clive Whiteside, director of manufacturing, ICl Explosives; Arnold Berney, vice president of international sales, Leggett & Platt; Pedro Pantoja, international marketing manager, Agtrol Chemical Products; and Tom Renich, international sales, and Lori Zeigenbein, international regional manager, A.O. Smith Storage Systems.

"We have a terrific advisory board," Marion said. "They are very hands-on and are available with assistance and lots of good ideas."

Students are the next generation of businesspeople, and MSSC accommodates both local and international students. Among the business majors at MSSC are students from Russia, Sweden, Poland and Spain.

In fact, business is the most common major of international students attending MSSC, Marion said.

The ITC also offers business majors the opportunity to travel and study abroad through internships with local companies doing international business.[[In-content Ad]]

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