I just returned from a business trip in Shanghai, China. Short (duration), long (19-plus hour flight each way) trip but I got the opportunity to meet up with an ACE alumnus.Robin Wong is a consultant for many U.S. trade groups including the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) and the Alaska Seafood Council. He works with these groups to identify potential export markets for U.S. products in his country of more than 1.3 billion people.
In 2007, West Virginia hosted a regional meeting in Charleston and the day after the meeting several of the in-country consultants got to experience rafting during West Virginia’s largest one day festival, Bridge Day.
The boat was multi-state and multi-national. Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, India, Canada and China paddlers all in one raft led by a somewhat hesitant Deputy Director, Bernadette, from New Orleans. The ACE staff members were accommodating, professional and by the end of the day, all in the boat were believers as they expressed their exhilaration on the way back to the airport.
Everyone that was on that trip reminds me of their adventuresome day in West Virginia while others can’t believe they actually did the trip. Robin ranks his day on the river as one of his top experiences in the U.S. and is a roving ambassador for southern West Virginia and ACE.
How interesting that I run into someone halfway around the world that has rafted at ACE? It is hard to believe some locals have never experienced the New River. The next time you have guests in town from next door or overseas, consider a trip to New River Country. Remember, we are within 500 miles of more than 50 percent of the U.S. population.
You’ll create memories that last a lifetime and expand the international network of West Virginia rafters. You never know when you’ll run into ACE alumni. It is a small world.