World Trade Association of Utah Marks 50 Years

Governor Declares Nov. 4 as WTA 50th Anniversary Day

International Business Leaders Honored

Salt Lake City, UT – November 5, 2021 – The World Trade Association of Utah (WTA), the state’s oldest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing global commerce, last night marked its 50th anniversary during a celebration at the Alta Club in Salt Lake City.  The two-hour event featured a reading of the Governor’s declaration, networking reception, and awards ceremony honoring top international business leaders.

“We are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Trade Association of Utah, which continues to provide unparalleled mentorship and networking opportunities to Utah companies,” said Vasilios Karpos, WTA president.  “In the middle of COVID, we recognized the need to expand our global leadership formally by creating WTA hubs across the world and have successfully established WTA branches in Greece and Brazil, with more on their way.”

Founded in 1971 by leaders across Utah’s international business sector, local and federal government agencies, and educational institutions, the WTA has for decades provided hundreds of educational forums, site visits to companies, and global mentorship and networking opportunities for Utah’s rapidly growing economy.  Given its unparalleled contribution, Governor Spencer J. Cox declared Nov. 4 as the 50th Anniversary of the World Trade Association in Utah.

“The Governor’s Office joins Utah’s international business community in congratulating the World Trade Association of Utah on achieving this important milestone,” said Franz Kolb, director of international diplomacy and protocol for the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.  “For half a century, this organization has provided critical support, knowledge and networks to help businesses succeed in an ever-evolving global marketplace, and we are grateful for their strategic partnership through the years.”

Traditionally, WTA honors international business leaders as part of its annual event, with this year’s celebration awarding Dr. Baldomero Lago, chief international officer for Utah Valley University as ‘Person of the Year,’ O.C. Tanner as ‘Company of the Year,’ and Lisa McPhie Sagers, former director of operations at Air & Sea International for ‘Lifetime Achievement.’  

A native of Santander, Spain, Dr. Lago arrived in the U.S. in 1987 to embark on an educational journey as a first-generation college student. Now, as the Chief International Officer for Utah Valley University, Dr. Lago organizes and manages UVU’s global and intercultural academic initiatives, including organizing four diplomatic conferences, the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference with more than 6,000 attendees across 144 countries, and the 1st Academic International Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals occurring in October 2022.  As a service to his country and to the local community since 1999, Dr. Lago has fulfilled his appointment as the Honorary Consul of Spain, and in 2016, was awarded the title of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Civil Merit by King Phillip VI of Spain.

As the past year has forced companies and HR teams around the world to rethink their approach to company culture, engagement and employee recognition, O.C. Tanner has continued to provide its client base with new and innovative ways to ensure their employees accomplish and appreciate great work. O.C. Tanner helps thousands of global organizations foster cultures that help people thrive, including 30 of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For® that use the Culture Cloud apps and Culture by Design services to attract talent, inspire accomplishment, and fuel success. Its 3000+ clients in over 180 countries, including over 1,100 multinational clients, also rely on academic-grade research published in the company’s annual Global Culture Report that tracks, analyzes, and forecasts worldwide culture trends.

The International Company of the Year honor adds to the list of recent accolades including being named as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2021, being named as one of Great Place to Work’s 2021 Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services and being recognized as a leader in Everest Group’s 2021 Rewards and Recognition Solutions PEAK Matrix Assessment. Meghan Stettler, a director at the O.C. Tanner Institute, was also named to the HRD Global 100 list this year.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from the World Trade Association of Utah and to celebrate 50 years of its tremendous work in advancing global commerce,” said Stephen Tanner Irish, chairman of the board at O.C. Tanner. “This award is a testament to the perseverance of our incredible team over the last year and their unwavering dedication to delivering innovative solutions to our customers around the world.”

For more than 40 years, Lisa McPhie Sagers has been integral in building global bridges for Utah’s international transportation sector.  Before retiring in 2020, she served as the longstanding director of operations for Air & Sea International, a freight forwarding company for nearly two decades.  Currently, she serves on the Utah District Export Council and teaches courses as part of Salt Lake Community College’s Global Business Management certificate, which was honored by the Obama administration in 2016 with President’s “E” award for its role in advancing exports.  Across her career, Lisa has served on the board of World Trade Association, including organizing scholarship funding at annual golf tournaments for international business students, and being the second female president in 1990.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award from the World Trade Association of Utah,” said Lisa McPhie Sagers.  “WTA has added value to my own career through mentoring, networking and education, and it’s been a privilege belonging to an organization where I could give back in return.  These friendships, business connections, and memories will last a lifetime.”

O.C. Tanner Media Contact

Raphael Magre

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