From Campbellsville to Louisville – An International Perspective

Guest Post by Matt (Lars) Tomaz, Campbellsville University student

As I sat in the stadium seats of the newly built KFC Yum! Center, excitement was in the air.  I was digesting not only the scene but also the culinary delight of beer cheese and pretzel sticks that I just ate at Troll Under the Bridge (a nearby eatery).  I watched and listened to the endless hum of professionals networking their little hearts out and waited with great anticipation to hear from the keynote speaker, the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt.

Being an international student, I wasn’t expecting anything Immelt said to apply to me. On the contrary, my expectation was that Immelt would give a passionate speech about the great land of the free and home of the brave, while the audience cheered sporadically while humming the chorus of ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ in unison. But that was not the case. What Immelt delivered was a message of hope for the struggling business community but also an urge to move forward and not stay stagnant. In his list of ten things a business had to do to stay competitive, number four was to not be afraid to do business around the world.

According to Immelt, by 2020 there will be 3 billion more customers around the world that are in the middle class. For him, it was imperative for businesses in the United States to be the first ones to grab hold of these customers. Although the economy was weakened in the United States and in Europe, many countries around the world are experiencing exponential growth, such as China, Brazil and India. Those countries need to spend that money, and the businesses in America are ready to spring up after a treacherous winter in the world of the economy.

Given the global economy, businesses cannot limit the market to one’s own country or people anymore. With cultures melding together with the help of the Internet, it is time for countries to invest in other countries. Yes, in my wonderful country of Brazil, we welcome American business! I feel that Brazil, now being the sixth largest economy in the world, having recently passed the United Kingdom, has also realized that it must expand its economic borders to succeed. Brazilian companies such as Embraer produce products being used all over the world, even in the United States. The United States, who is the largest economy in the world, has been a great exporter in the past and must continue to do so in the future. Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to sit on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro while sipping on apple cider and munching on pretzel sticks covered in beer cheese.

Matt (Lars) Tomaz is an International student from Brazil at Campbellsville University in Kentucky. He is a junior majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Psychology. He can speak several languages, including English, Portuguese, Romanian, and French. He hopes to someday be a public relations consultant for a company that does business in many countries.

This blog is the first in a series chronicling Campbellsville University Students experience on a recent visit to Louisville for Greater Louisville Inc.’s annual meeting.