Tuesday there was an international gala, put on by the Oregon Consular Corps and the City of Portland: the Annual International Business Awards & Scholarship Dinner.
Hosted by Mayor Sam Adams, the list of honored businesses included Vestas, a company that builds wind-farms, and Air Canada, offering non-stop flights from Portland to Vancouver BC, Toronto and Calgary. Leatherman Tools, a company that locally manufactures multi-use tools and Webtrends, an analytic team that gives us everything we need to know about online traffic flow, were both given awards for their international business success. Another company that was recognized was Columbia Green, highly reputed manufacturers of green roof technology, worldwide.
Then, two awards were announced for “Outstanding Achievement in Oregon’s Global Environment.” First, to an individual named Fred Ziari who, born in a rural town in Iran, grew up to found ezWireless, “quietly becoming a heavy hitter among Oregon’s business leaders.” Last but not least, The Portland Timbers were recognized for “playing the world’s game,” bringing us all the excitement and opportunity that major league soccer has to offer.
Wearing a classic LBD (just-below-knee-length) with a light-weight turquoise scarf and my favorite silver pumps, it a was nice look. I arrived in time for the social hour preceding the event, had glass of wine and soon everyone was herded upstairs to the ballroom.
Some people were vaguely familiar, but there was one person I knew I’d seen him before, a tall, older gentleman, wearing a little rotary pin. We met at an event celebrating Ted Wheeler’s appointed transition from County Chair to State Treasurer. I asked if he remembered me:
“After discussing the fact that I was born and raised here in Portland, you asked what I was doing there and I said (one of my favorite lines), ‘I’m just here to make sure everything’s under control.'””
How could he forget? We laughed, he remembered it well.
Both amused to bump into each other again, he invited me to hang around for a spare seat at his table. Dinner was excellent, starting with a yummy salad: dark greens with candied walnuts and goat cheese, topped by an oven fresh Parmesan crouton puff (like a mini-croissant, my favorite detail of the meal). Next up was baked salmon with steamed veggies. An orange sauce gave these flavors a bold kick. To finish, we were offered coffee – I declined. And desert: two precious chocolates, mounted together on dainty little stick.
Leaving the event, I felt optimistic about Portland’s future. Here’s to looking forward to what’s ahead!