October 2019 Chairman’s Message

Dear ABGR Members,

With our fall season now in full swing, your board of directors is busy with several initiatives to improve our branding and business operations while exploring new ways to add value to your membership. As we proceed, I will seek your guidance and suggestions for improvement. We will continue to serve you with as diverse a program of speakers and events as possible, and look forward to your participation.

We were honored to have a majority of the US Embassy leadership, including Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong, kick off the season at our “Meet Your Embassy” membership breakfast on September 30th. The panel of these accomplished public servants provided an overview of their sections and took questions from the audience on topics of particular interest to American business. As we witness the momentous changes taking place in the Kingdom, it was highly beneficial to get the perspectives of our diplomats.

Following up on this engagement, we are eagerly looking forward to the luncheon event with the new US Ambassador, John Abizaid. He has made outreach to the American business community a priority, and his leadership is already having positive impacts for a number of companies. I’m sure he will provide an invaluable assessment of the state of business in the kingdom. Perhaps no Ambassador in recent memory brings the level of strategic experience to his position, and we are again honored by the support provided by our Embassy.

We had an excellent presentation by ExxonMobil economic analysts Chris Birdsall and Irene Chang on October 7th, who showed us their work on the future of the global energy economy out to 2040. The busy person’s summary is that while renewables are certainly going to grow as a proportion of the world’s energy supply, we are some ways off still from eliminating our reliance on oil. That’s certainly good news for the kingdom and likewise for American businesses that provide products and services here, but I was also encouraged that the demand for the cleaner fossil fuels is increasing. It seemed to me that the use of oil and the imperative to control carbon emissions are not mutually exclusive, and we can in fact do both with achievable goals for economic growth.

We want to recognize our departing board member Alan Lowe. Alan and Kaye have been fixtures in the American community for many years, and Alan’s contributions on the ABGR board of directors makes his exodus a loss that will be hard to replace. We wish them all the best as they move into the next, post-KSA chapter of their lives.

Please take a moment to look at the upcoming events list to see what we have in store for you. If you are interested in joining our Infrastructure, Defense & Security, Finance, ACME or Legal Committees please contact either our Manager Shohreh Shadmand or our committee chairs directly.

Kevin Darnell
Chairman

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Kevin Darnell

Kevin Darnell is director of Business Development and Operations for Raytheon Saudi Arabia (RTN SA) and is based in Riyadh. chairman@abgrksa.com +966-11-478-2554