On Sunday, May 29 we wrapped up the 2015-2016 ABGR season on a high note with our traditional Summer Send-Off! Hosted by Deputy Chief of Mission, Tim Lenderking. Since January, ABGR has offered a steady stream of events to our membership community, 19 events in total! The 2015-2016 season presented the most diverse events we have ever had and we intend to keep providing our members with a wide variety of speaker topics. The opportunity to be involved in our very active community is available and we encourage you to join us!
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to many friends of the ABGR community, including our Chairman Rick McCabe and his bride Moira. Rick fueled an enthusiastic Board and staff eager to generate new events and opportunities. Much of our 2015-2016 success was driven by Rick’s vision and leadership. At the same time, we also said goodbye to Christy Roe, who single-handedly guided our ABGR support efforts for the past five years and modeled the Board it into the dynamic structure that it is today. We also extend well wishes to Chris Maslak from Bechtel, Jason Mundy from Banque Saudi Fransi and Jay Sharma from Marsh. Two other very significant losses were Nancy Carpenter who stepped down from the Board after many years of facilitating key industry leaders for our speaker platform and one of the longer serving Board Members, John Langford also stepped down due to his ever growing travel schedule. We miss all of them and wish them well in their future endeavors.
As we say goodbye, we also have the opportunity to say hello to five new ABGR Board members: Ross Ridge from Vinnell Arabia, Mace Crowe from Northrop Grumman, Alan Lowe from Riyad Bank, Bob Catalanotti from SOS International LLC and Michael Trahan from L-3 Saudi Arabia, LLC. In addition, Tom Merkel was elected for another three-year term.
Many of you may not be aware of the incredible efforts behind the scenes to pull together our events. These efforts are successful only due the dedication of a special group consisting of: Amanda-Grace Tafunai who is our Editor and Marketing Communications lead. In addition, Ronda Saead, in conjunction with Mohammed Ayaz (AGBR Treasurer) maintains a prudent fiscal over-view as the Assistant Treasurer. Barbara Merkel, the newest member of the team, brings over 30 years of experience in KSA and assures our marketing efforts and facilitation of events runs seamlessly. This group is led by our ABGR Manager, Claire Bridge. The best way to describe Claire, is that she could be a CEO of anybody’s company! Claire has managed the team assets to assure maximum efficiency and professionalism to support an evolving and expanding organization. To exemplify the efforts, the 2015-2016 year increased our events by 30% over the past year, corporate and individual membership are up (12% increase) to over 430 members.
As we look toward the future, we have many exciting developments in production including a restructuring of our virtual presence and securing new and diverse speakers. We will be reaching out to our membership for insights and concerns as we prepare for our annual visit to the US Capitol to discuss US-Saudi Business concerns. Look for more on this important mission from Chris Johnson.
As we close this season, I wish to express our sincere thanks to all of our directors, members and sponsors for their continuing support of their ABGR. Together, may we all continue to pursue greater goals, and serve and grow the American business community in Riyadh. Let’s all look forward to another great ABGR season for 2016- 2017. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy summer holiday!
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