EACC Behind the Scenes - January 2017January 30, 2017
A Message from EACC Executive Director Todd Shcwartz
Many of you have asked about my career with the Department of State, so I’ll use this first “Behind the Scenes” to provide a bit more of my history as a Foreign Service Officer. My first day at the State Department was April 13, 1987, and after my initial training, my dear wife Nancy and I found ourselves in Frankfurt, [West] Germany that fall. I spent about 18 months there as Vice Consul, issuing visas and passports and birth registrations in a very busy consular section. But Nancy wanted to go someplace where it was warm and didn’t rain so much, so in the summer of 1989, with our new son Christopher, we found ourselves in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where I took the position of Economic Officer at the U.S. Consulate there. I learned a great deal about the oil business there (Dhahran is the headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company). I also learned about the U.S. military and security policy when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait about 400 miles north of Dhahran. Nancy, Christopher, and our second son David were evacuated just after the August 1990 invasion, but I stayed to finish my assignment in May of 1991.
We reunited in Washington where I spent two years working in the State Department’s Office of Global Energy, then another year studying Arabic at the Department’s Foreign Service Institute. That was followed by a second year of Arabic study in Tunisia before our family of five (son John joined us in 1993) arrived in the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar. I became Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy there with its staff of seven Americans. After three years in Doha, the six of us (we finally got the daughter, Marian Grace!) ventured off to wetter climes as I became Deputy Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Manila (where we also had some fascinating Cub and Boy Scout adventures).
We returned to the Persian Gulf in the summer of 2001 when I became Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Alas, Saddam Hussein again interrupted out family life when the U.S. invaded Iraq and my family was again evacuated back to safety while I continued to do my job. We again reunited in the summer of 2003 when I took the post of Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Winnipeg, Manitoba (where the 50℃ days of Kuwait gave way to -50℃ in the Canadian winter).
Now having worked outside the U.S. for about 12 years, it was time to come home, so I became the Director of the Office of Iraq Economic Affairs in the summer of 2006. My planned two years in that job were cut short when Ambassador Ryan Crocker asked me to become the Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2007. After that very challenging year, I returned to Washington to become the Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs. From 2010-2012 I was an Assessor with the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service, helping to select future generations of American diplomats through largely the same process I had been selected. Finally, I took up the post of Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, and worked in that office through my retirement in 2015.
I was remarkably fortunate to have the opportunity to serve this country for so many years, and whether in hardship or comfort, was proud to defend and advance our interests, working with remarkable partners from around the world. But I’m also happy to be home – I’ve always considered Ohio home – and to have the opportunity to build friendships and partnerships that advance our shared interests in promoting business and networking relationships between the Cincinnati Tri-State region.
2017 EACC Event Planning
With the first month of 2017 already coming to a close, the EACC is busy planning our programming for the year:
- February 2 – Be sure to join us this Thursday for the Austrian-Swiss-German Committee’s Stammitsch networking event at Hofbräuhaus Newport. Click here to register. The Stammisch Series will now be held on the first Thursday of every month.
- March 9 – Be sure to save the date - The EACC will kick off the 2017 Company Briefing & Networking Series at Michelman. Registration will open later this week.
- March 16 – Join members of the French-American Business Alliance for the next L’Aperitif networking event at La Petite France. Click here to register.
- May 2017 – EACC Annual Gala – The EACC will once again host our Annaul Gala at Drees Pavilion. Stay tuned for more announcements!
- The EACC Young Professionals Group will be hosting a series of happy hours again in 2017. The YP Group will also be adding an Executive Insights/Professional Development Series, offering young professionals the chance to hear from an established executive. The executive will share individual experiences, discuss their career development and take part in a question/answer session. The event format is professional, yet informal in an effort to foster open conversation. Stay tuned for a formal announcement!
- November 16 – Beaujolais Nouveau – This annual event will take place at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, celebrating the first wine of the grape harvest and bringing together a dynamic corporate network for both EACC members and the general public to enjoy. Registration will open this fall.