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  • Tuesday, July 04, 2023 9:08 AM | Heidi Stevens (Administrator)

    Anyone who has had the pleasure to meet Frederick Baehner, President and Publisher, has undoubtedly been captivated by his stories. His thirst for knowledge serves him well at, where he enjoys interviewing CEOs from all over the USA about their international business. He began IBNewsmag in 2004 focusing specifically on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that conduct international trade with practical news and information in support of their business. This in turn lead Fred to be nominated for the US Industry Trade Advisory Council (ITAC 9) for SMEs as a cleared advisor to the US Trade Representative (USTR) for free trade agreements. 

    Fred has been a long standing member of ITC, holding numerous positions within the organization, and even President twice! Former member Mayor Dick Berkley and current member Doris Ganser, who was long-time ITC Secretary, first encouraged him to join the ITC. Two years later he was elected President for the first time. "Back then we held our Board meetings at the old Rockhill Tennis Club for lunch. (We all loved the location and the food.)"

    His stories and memories aren't limited to just international trade and ITC. This raconteur has a variety of interests and stories to tell. He even once auditioned for a part, and got it, in a community musical, “Somebody to Love,” inspired by Freddie Mercury with intermittent one-on-one humorous dialogs as seen in the movie, “When Harry Met Sally.” While it only played for three nights, it sold out every night. 

    More Fun Facts & Interesting Info in his own words...

    Something unique about you, that many people don't know?

    • I’m also a big fan of Formula One racing. 

    What was the last book you read?

    • The last book I read was The Code Breaker about advances in gene editing (CRISPR) by Walter Isaacson.  I’ve just begun reading Quantum Biology (Sub -title). I guess I’m part nerd. 

    Who inspires you?

    • To that point, the person who inspires me is Dr. Jennifer Doudna who developed a pursuit of science and gene editing based on her reading of The Double Helix.  

    What is your favorite place to visit?

    • I’ve traveled to many countries. One of my favorite cities is Sydney, Australia, where I lived for a couple of months on an assignment for Telstra International (Australia Telecom). 

    What are your current professional goals?

    • My primary goal is to expand readership of to 17,000 SMEs. 

    What advice would you give those getting into International Trade?

    • My advice to young wanting to get into international business is to immerse themselves in international news and events from around the world and read widely. 

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2023 11:30 AM | Heidi Stevens (Administrator)

    Paula Kimkleinschmidt, Global Procurement Ops Manager at Design Resources Inc., is making an event of joining the ITCGKC!  Not only is she one of our newest members, she has taken a very active role as part of our events committee. After attending events, like the Women in International Business, and networking with other members, she knew she wanted to take advantage of all the educational and community engagement opportunities.

    Paula's road to international business started in the food industry, helping her parents out with their restaurant and in the Korean Market. This passion for food and baking specifically, brought her to Kansas City to be a pastry chef at a French bakery. It was her contacts created and her International Business Degree that lead her to DRI, where she has grown over the last 10 years in all areas! She has covered all the basics importing/exporting, supply chain/logistics, and was an Import Manager before taking on her current roll. 

    Her advice to someone wanting to get into International Trade is to "stay up-to-date with the constantly changing industry and travel and explore as much as you can." This coupled with "being open minded and get(ting) out of your comfort zone by educating yourself with the diverse business culture and etiquette" and "learn to be flexible and adaptable", are great words of wisdom in all areas of life! 

    Fun Facts & Interesting Info 

    What languages do you speak?

    • Korean and Elementary Mandarin

    What was your favorite international trip?

    • My favorite trip was the first time I visited my parents' homeland in Seoul and Busan, South Korea. Being able to experience the beauty of both the city and countryside was so rewarding. Other than the AMAZING food, the country is known for its Triple Threat: K-Pop, K-Drama, and K-Beauty which always leaves me wanting more!

    Something that is uniquely you? 

    • I'd like to consider myself an amateur food critic that loves trying new places and taking pictures of food. I also enjoy gardening with my husband in our backyard which we nicknamed P2K2 farms.

    Three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner?

    • My Father- I miss him everyday and would love to see his face and hear his voice again
    • Lisa Ling- I have so much respect for this journalist who uses her platform to give people the opportunity to use their voices and share their stories
    • Anthony Bourdain- As a foodie myself, bonding over good food while discussing our appreciation of the culinary world would be a dream come true
  • Wednesday, May 03, 2023 8:54 AM | Heidi Stevens (Administrator)

    Caleb Hall, the Customs Brokerage Manager for Scarbrough International, is the newest member to the ITC board as of April, 2023.  He has been a general member of ITC for a few years, but is excited at the opportunity to take a more active role in developing KC area businesses, and himself as a professional. 

    Caleb is not new to navigating changes, which happen frequently in the international trade world. He started at Scarborough International as an intern while looking for a teaching job. During the search, he found that he was more at home in logistics and within a corporate structure. After starting out in exports he quickly moved over to imports, where he relishes learning as much as he can to be a greater resource to Scarborough.  For the last four years he has loved being the Customs Brokerage Manager for Scarborough. 

    There is still a teacher deep inside him, as he wants to continue to not only grow himself, but to teach and mentor those who work for him. His goal is also to continue learning, gaining a better understanding of all international logistics processes. He counts learning something new everyday and the opportunity to problem-solve as the most exciting part of his job.  And while he may have first pursued his Masters in Education, he "often say(s) that there are not a lot of folks who intend to work in this industry, but most of us couldn't imagine working anywhere else after we are in it!"

    Fun Facts & Advice

    • Who inspires you?
    My grandfather, who was the most honest, hard-working man I ever met, and he spent his entire retirement in Excelsior Springs doing everything he could to improve the community
    • Job experience?
    My first job was as a dishwasher at The National Golf Course club house.  I  was also the general manager of the Sheridan's Frozen Custard on Barry Road for a few years and can actually tell you the difference between ice cream and custard, and why custard is the undisputed winner in the head-to-head match up.
    • Upcoming life experience you are excited about?
    My five-year wedding anniversary is this year, and the wife and I are trying to decide where to go for vacation to celebrate!
    • What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into  International Trade/Business?

    If you stop learning you stop growing. Always be open to the idea that what you learned when you started will change.

    • What do you love about KC?

    I love the BBQ, the Chiefs, and the fact that I'm from a place where people are so kind to the point that we're almost made fun of for being "Midwest Nice"

    • Who are some of your professional mentors?
    My former bosses, Jennifer Kahmann and Alyson Schroer, have both been hugely instrumental in my growth as a professional. I wouldn't be where I am without them!

  • Monday, March 20, 2023 2:10 PM | Deleted user

    Change is in the air.  Change is neutral.  It can be good or bad or anywhere in between.  It can be planned, discovered, or fallen into.  This change is bittersweet.  Our wonderful Executive Director, Mary Odom, CAE is leaving the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City (ITC), and her last day is April 15, 2023.  Also, I'd like to introduce you to ITC's new Executive Director, Heidi Stevens, and her first day with ITC was March 15, 2023.  Yes, it all happened fast, so let me go back and explain. 

    Throughout the second half of 2022, Mary was seeking counsel from her doctors for some new health challenges she was experiencing.  It took a lot of visits, tests, and discussions.  By the time 2022 was completed, answers were found.  The diagnosis was ALS, which is a terminal diagnosis which can go as quickly as a few months or could last a few years.  In January, Mary shared her devastating news with ITC's executive group and the board.  The plan, at that point, was to continue working together as long as Mary's health allowed.  A short time later, Mary's doctor advised her that it was time to begin scaling back on her activities to focus on her health.  Naturally, Mary took her doctor's recommendation and submitted her resignation letter to ITC.  None of this has been easy.  All of the feelings and fears you can imagine are very real and raw.  In my eyes, Mary has faced these circumstances with an incredible amount of courage.  Her courage comes from her faith in Jesus. 

    Before February was completed, the executive team brushed off the job description to begin a search.  Before the job was posted or advertised, we received a referral.  We acted quickly to interview Heidi Stevens.  We gave it some time for thought and further discussion, and then extended an offer. 

    Heidi comes to us from extensive work experience in the pharmaceutical industry managing a large, regional sales team.  After a strong season with this team and company, the company made some structural changes.  Heidi found herself at the crossroads of these changes, and she chose Option 3 to be a homemaker and mother for her children.  When she was ready to join the workforce again, one of her highest priorities was to find work she could be passionate about.  How does one find a job that feels like you're truly giving back to the community and finding personal fulfillment while also retaining balance and flexibility for your family?  This can be a tough needle to thread, but it's a balance that fits ITC well. 

    I honestly don't know if you'll get a chance to see Mary between now and April 15th.  I know this community loves her and has many kind words to share.  Please reach out at  For your first opportunity to meet Heidi, please join us for our Slam Dunk Joint Networking Event (ITCGKC & MADEC) on March 30th to welcome her to the team.  Keep an eye out for future event opportunities as well. 

    Thank you to all of you in our ITC community who represent our amazing city and region, globally.  All the best to you as life carries on in each of our busy environments.  Yes, life can be full of surprises, and for some, life can be shorter than we'd prefer.  We don't know, yet, how Mary's story will end, but we do know her story is not over.  Have courage!  Take heart!  Stay connected!

    President Joe Lohman

  • Tuesday, February 28, 2023 2:49 PM | Deleted user

    Joe Pandolfi has a heart for Ethiopia, its people and economic situation. This is what motivated him to join the International Trade Council (ITC). He has  traveled to several countries in Central and South America, China, and Ethiopia. My favorite place is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    He is the owner of American Land Professionals, LLC, a fairly new company which handles real estate matters for pipeline, utility, and energy companies. He has been in the real estate industry for 40+ years. His journey to the present was by way of his creative business nature and being a serial entrepreneur. Additionally, life in Addis Ababa with the mission of helping non-profits with their self-supportive business endeavors, has certainly shaped his current career.

    Joe's main goal is to responsibly structure and grow his business to create passive income in order to create business and income opportunities for those less fortunate.

    Fun Facts & Advice

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner.

    I would invite my grandparents to dinner.

    What was the last book that you read?

    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

    Who inspires you?

    My inspiration comes from Jesus Christ and a variety of friends and family members.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    I am just learning, but I would say team up with someone who knows the ropes and is market/industry/country-knowledgeable. Also, be prepared for delays and glitches along the way.

    What’s something coming up in life that you’re excited about?

    Planning a trip to Addis in spring/summer.

    What languages do you speak?

    A little Spanish and Amharic (Ethiopia).

    Have there been any memorable surprises or unexpected twists in your career?

    While real estate is my life-long work, when the industry slowed in the mid-eighties, I became a Deputy U.S. Marshal for a short while in Washington, D.C. - quite enlightening and very memorable.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    One of my greatest joys in life is being “papa” to the best grandchildren ever.

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 1:02 PM | Deleted user

    Velia Calcara

    Velia is a new member of ITC and has always been curious about international trade. She was lucky to win a raffle for an ITC membership during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2022.

     "I am from Mexico so, visiting my country is a normal thing to do. I love my country and all the beauty in it from natural to man-made. I love it there! We have a lot to offer and so many gorgeous places to enjoy. There's no place like home."

    Velia works as a program manager for a non-profit organization, Community Capital Fund where she has been for about six months. She likes to say that she “borrowed” the field of languages while raising her children. She knew it was going to be hard to re-enter the business world after having a gap in employment (many women face that), so she became a freelance language service provider. It was a very rewarding experience.

    She never thought about working in the non-profit field until now. Velia was very fortunate to be referred by the Women Employment Network, which is a fabulous organization in Kansas City. She was hired on the spot as a contractor, and later became a full-time employee. She recognizes that all her previous experiences became handy while performing her current duties.

    What are a few goals that you have in your career?

    • I want to improve my leadership skills
    • Build a solid reputation as a management professional with an eye for quality and efficiency
    • Serve others with my skills and knowledge

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    • Thomas Alva Edison – I admire his invention, and the fact that he never forgot where he came from.
    • Gaspar Yanga– I admire his courage.
    • Leonardo da Vinci – He was a genius in several fields.

    What was the last book that you read?

    Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Who inspires you?

    Individuals who have achieved despite odds against them, I include here both of my grandparents.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    I am in no position to give advice about it, I would like to learn more about it and explore other horizons.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    That I have a dream project for my retirement years involving learning and capturing knowledge about celebrations and traditions in my country.
  • Sunday, November 27, 2022 9:35 AM | Deleted user

    Jaime Sikes

    Jaime is a new member of ITC and was recently elected to fill  a vacant term on the Board of Directors. She is also the Vice Chair of the ITC Events Committee. Jaime joined ITC because of an invitation from Anh Sirridge who told her about ITC on the first day she started working for Design Resources Inc. " It sounded like an interesting and rewarding opportunity…mostly because these types of groups were not readily available to me when I started in the industry," Jaime said. As the Import Manager at DRI since February 2022, she is in her element and wants to keep doing importing until she has nothing left to learn (basically forever).

    Jaime started to work at Fritz as a freight forwarder fresh out of college. She spent close to 9 years as a freight forwarder before jumping over to the importer side. She likes that being a freight forwarder led her to importing.

    So far, Jaime has only travelled domestically, but her favorite city in the US is Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

    Fun Facts & Advice

    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:

    • Tony Hawk
    • Roy Lichtenstein
    • Andrew Garfield

    What was the last book that you read?

    I’m usually reading several at a time (long story) …I recently re-read “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton

    Who inspires you?

    My daughter Marleigh

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade?

    This industry is a lot of “hurry up and wait”. Remember to have an open mind, take lots of notes, and always bring your patient pants.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    I could spend hours in an art museum and never get bored or tired. Also, I can go somewhere just once and remember everything about it. 

  • Thursday, November 03, 2022 8:14 AM | Deleted user

    ITC Young Professionals and several board members hosted a booth at the recent international career fair at the Kansas City Convention Center. The event was focused on high school students from 21 area schools. Over 1200 students attended the event.

    Caleb Hall, Hans Peter, Samantha January, Lourdes Kessler, and President Joe Lohman explained to students what a career in international trade requires in terms of education and experience, as well as the many options for forging a career path in our industry. Students were asked to sort 10 products into "Import" or "Export" baskets such as bananas, lightbulbs, bulldozers, tractors, etc. Students also received a handout about a variety of careers in international trade.

    ITC was one of 63 international organizations participating is this annual event organized the International Relations Council. A big thank you to all of the volunteers who invested their time in this workforce development project.


  • Thursday, October 06, 2022 4:52 PM | Deleted user

    Sarah Vogelsmeier (Faubel)

    Sarah is the Logistics & Compliance Coordinator for Essense of Australia where she started working in February of this year. She  was eager to become a member of the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City for networking, education, and community engagement opportunities.  

    Sarah has travelled internationally to Mexico, Ireland, and England. She really enjoyed exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and London. Her and her husband are wanting to visit Germany and Greece in the next few years!

    Fun Facts & Advice

    What is a book you have enjoyed or are currently reading?

    One of my favorite reads is a daily devotional called, “New Morning Mercies”, by Paul David Tripp.

    How has your career unfolded and led you to where you are today?

    Prior to joining Essense, I spent near five years of my career in multi-mode, transportation management, supporting clients with freight solutions and strategic initiatives. I greatly enjoyed building meaningful, account relationships, problem solving, and executing continuous improvement projects.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade and Logistics?

    Be proactive in your educational development and seek mentors. There is always something new to learn in the industries of supply chain, trade, and logistics, with ever-changing conditions. From there, use your experiences to encourage and help others with their professional growth.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    In addition to logistics, a few passions of mine include fashion, my faith, and playing volleyball. My family and I are also big, Nebraska volleyball fans, and are beyond excited to watch their season this year!  

  • Wednesday, August 03, 2022 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    Trisha Nikolova is the International Logistics Specialist at KGPCO where she has worked for 1 year. She recently joined ITC because of the useful and relevant information and a variety of helpful resources.  She specifically enjoys the webinars.  “It allows me to continue learning about international trade.  The events are a great place to connect with peers in the international trade community.”

    Trisha has travelled several times internationally visiting Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, Mexico, and Bulgaria.  She spent the most time in Bulgaria, where she has family (Plovdiv, Bulgaria). She is fascinated with the culture and history of Bulgaria.  “It’s not a very large country but there is so much beauty.  Each time I visit, I discover a new food or dish that I love.”  

    Trisha has been in Transportation and Logistics in some form for the last 20 years.  She started out handling export for a flour milling company and then transitioned to railcars and domestic trucking for the same company. After that, she worked about 10 years in Freight Forwarding where she handled Ocean and Air Import.  A year ago, she moved to KGPCO where she works on all international business, whether it’s import or export. Trisha believes the time she spent in Freight Forwarding has really helped to give her a full picture of the international trade, although there are always new things to learn. “It’s my goal to learn more about operational efficiency, improving communications across departments, and achieving cost savings just to name a few.”

    Fun Facts & Advice 
    Name three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner: 

    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fascinating to me. She did so much to help women during her lifetime, and I would love to get insight from her on the current situation we see regarding Roe v. Wade being overturned. 
    • Michelle Obama is very intelligent, and I love hearing about her life experiences.
    • Amelia Earhart was a real pioneer in her time. She really pushed women to value themselves and excel even in a time when women weren't valued by society.

    What was the last book that you read? 

    "Good Morning, I Love You" by Shauna Shapiro. This book is about mindfulness and self-compassion practices that I have begun to incorporate into my own life and the lives of my children. It's never too late to change your brain.

    Who inspires you? 

    There have been several people who have inspired me in my life and career. Whether it's a leader, a friend, or my sister, these people encourage me to be a better person, better colleague, a better wife, and a better mother. Without these inspirations in my life, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to get into International Business/International Trade? 

    Continue educating yourself! There are always new things to learn. You can't possibly know everything about this industry. Regulations change often, so it's important to stay up to date.

    What else do you want to tell us about yourself/what is something unique about you that is generally not known?

    I love all things paranormal (ghosts, cryptids, etc.). I listen podcasts, read books, and watch movies on this genre.

© 2021 International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City

ITCGKC is a 501(c)3 Organization

The International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City is a network of international business professionals, educators, and students that actively work with each other and the community to build a stronger support system for international trade in the Kansas City region.

PO Box 12340
Kansas City, MO 64116


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