Networking Evening and Talk Show
The Tamil Nadu region hosted a networking evening for members of the NEB, members in the Chennai region, prospective members and the newly arrived officers at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai.
Mr. R. Ramkumar, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM, welcomed all the guests and said that this was indeed a great opportunity to meet and greet especially at a time when the city of Chennai that was Madras is celebrating its founding on August 22, 1639, from whence the modern city of Madras grew and laid the foundations of the British Empire.
Extending a warm welcome to members of the National Executive Board, members from Chennai, prospective members and Consul General Robert Burgess and his team of newly arrived officers, Mr. Ramkumar said that it is estimated that Tamil Nadu has over 100 American companies — big, medium and small — in industries as diverse as auto manufacturing, heavy machinery, financial services, consulting and advisory, information technology and BPM, electronics and hardware manufacturing, auto components, pharmaceutical, medical devices, chemicals, animal nutrition, among others. He said that that these companies have brought in a cumulative FDI of over $4-5 billion in the past decade, directly employing approximately 200,000 professionals, with indirect employment of about half a million.
Mr. Ramkumar added that these companies have had significant positive experience with the ease of doing business in the state, its rich educational infrastructure and the resultant quality of person-power, the work ethic of its people, physical infrastructure, good government and quasi-government support and a willingness to change for the better. The last time we had a networking dinner of this magnitude the state was reeling under a power shortage and today the state is power surplus—this indicates the “can do” attitude of the government to turn things around and quickly address issues, if any. Mr Ramkumar said that “while marketing triumphs reality in many parts of the world, this state, unfortunately is quite the opposite. I guess it’s not just the State but companies as well as leaders in the State. They let their performance do the talking.”
Mr. Arun Kumar, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM India spoke about his connections with the city of Madras and the developments in the state. Consul General Robert Burgess said that his first business engagement on assuming office at the Chennai Consulate was a meeting with AMCHAM and he was happy to have had an exclusive briefing session. He then introduced his team at the Consulate who arrived in Chennai over the past few weeks. He said he looked forward to his tenure in Chennai and particularly looked forward to working closely with AMCHAM. Ms Ranjana Khanna thanked all sponsors who made this event possible and said that we need the active participation of members in all events.
The special event of the evening was the talk show by Mr. V. Sriram, historian and story teller, who presented an audio visual on ‘Madras and the American Connection.’ Mr. Sriram began by recounting the connection the city of Madras has with the Yale University in the U.S. and how Elihu Yale who was Governor of Madras had made a donation to the school in Connecticut which later grew and took the name of its benefactor and is now known as Yale University. Sriram also traced the establishment of the American connection with trading missions, establishment of the diplomatic mission, bringing ice blocks to Madras, establishment of American manufacturing with Ford being the pioneer and right through to the Hollywood connection to the making of commercial cinema in Madras. It made for a very memorable evening and all the guests were quite fascinated with the many aspects of Madras and the American connection. This was followed by cocktails, dinner and networking, which builds lasting business relationships.