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Providing International Business Expertise - Hero in Business, Tim Nowak (July 2011 Small Business Monthly)

When Tim Nowak, who traveled to more than 30 countries during his career in the health care industry, was told that the World Trade Center Saint Louis was looking for a new executive director in 2007, he immediately recognized that it would be the perfect way for him to combine his business and personal interests with his career experience. “I was motivated by a unique opportunity to continue in an area I love, international business, with a twist of working to better St. Louis and our region,” he says. “It is where I was raised and where my wife and I consciously decided to stay. I am able to bridge my interest of international with the advancement of St. Louis.”

Today, in his role as executive director, Nowak leads a team that is delivering services to the regional business community. “I view international trade as very important,” he says. “There are 4,000-plus businesses in the state that rely on exporting. That’s why we exist – so that we can encourage the growth of those businesses and find new markets. And trade means job growth.”

Nowak and his team, which he says provides talent, experience and commitment to make the World Trade Center the organization it is today, provide research and training in the complexities of trade. The first step, he says, is to look beyond our borders. “You need to analyze what market is best,” he says. “That’s where my team steps in. We look at and analyze what the company does and where the best opportunity is. We find how you can get there. It comes from carefully developing an international business plan. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, working with small- to medium-sized companies is where we can be very useful – those who don’t have the resources to do all of the research internally. It’s hard enough to execute a domestic business plan.”

Nowak has found that he relishes the opportunity to work with so many companies. “I spent my whole career in health care with blinders on,” he says. “I have the opportunity now to meet with and work with individuals and businesses in a wide range of industries. It is enlightening and rewarding. And I have had the rare opportunity to bring my experience and international expertise to entrepreneurs and the region.” 



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