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New Executive Board Members

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the new Executive Board Members:

PRESIDENT
John Ercolani, Vice President, J&K Fresh East, div. of 721 Logistics

VICE PRESIDENT
Sean Mahoney, Senior Director of Marketing, PhilaPort

TREASURER
Edward Fitzgerald, Vice President of Trade Services, GEODIS USA, Inc.

Thank you to Robert Palaima, Andreas Economou, and Miriam Borja-Fisher for their 15+ years of service leading the CACC organization. ¡Gracias!

Learn About the 2023 Friend of Chile Honorees

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

RECEIVING THE 24th ANNUAL “FRIEND OF CHILE” AWARD
Mark Greenberg, President and CEO, Capespan North America

Mark Greenberg, President of Capespan North America, was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. He attended Clark University in Worcester, MA where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations in 1977 and then went on to earn his MA (Economics) in 1979 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1981, after working in Vancouver as the Director of Research Services for the British Columbia School Trustees’ Association, Mark headed back east to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he earned his law degree in 1984.

After practising corporate and commercial law in Toronto, Mark returned to Montreal in 1990 and ultimately joined FBI Foods, the parent company of Fisher Bros. Ltd., as the Vice President-Procurement. Mark’s primary responsibility was to develop Fisher Bros’. Chilean business and take advantage of the opportunities that the expansion and development of the Chilean fruit industry offered.

In 2008 Mark was named Chief Operating Officer of Fisher Capespan, as the company was then known, and in 2012 he was named President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2015 the company officially changed its name to Capespan North America.

Mark has traveled extensively and frequently to Chile, and elsewhere, establishing close and long-standing relationships with the growers, packers and shippers that have formed the supply backbone of Capespan North America. He has a dedicated team behind him working in Montreal, Gloucester, Pedricktown, Fresno, Fort Lauderdale and Cape Town, all of whom are committed to driving Capespan North America’s business forward.

Mark lives in Montreal with his wife Lise and their dog Lucy and cat Tyson.

Sponsorship Opportunities

RECEIVING THE 2023 ALBERT S. MARULLI “LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT” AWARD
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce Outgoing Executive Board Members
President and Chairman Robert Palaima
Vice President Andreas Economou
Treasurer Miriam Borja-Fisher

In 2008, Robert Palaima, Andreas Economou, and Miriam Borja-Fisher joined the Executive Board of the CACC as President and Chairman, Vice President, and Treasurer, respectively.

Robert joined the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce in 1990 at the urging of the organization’s founders, Madeleine Champion and Marcel Jeanneret. As President of Delaware Stevedores, Inc. he worked closely in the fruit trade with Pacific Seaways at Pier 84, and later with CSAV at Tioga Marine Terminal, and attended a number of trade missions to Chile.

Miriam came on board at Western Fumigation, eventually becoming Senior Business Development Manager, in April 2002 and became active with the Chamber within a year, assuming a prior Chamber President Don Chrobak’s Board Member seat. Miriam has been a strong advocate for the Chilean-American trade in keeping with the Western tradition.

Andreas was approached by the Denadai family in 1984 to lead an importing company in the United States to market the fresh deciduous fruits produced by their Chilean export company, Unifrutti Traders, LTDA, now Tastyfrutti International, Inc. He is most proud of his work advocating for Chilean growers during the 1989 Chilean grape scare.

Ports along the Delaware River grew to handle over 60% of fresh fruit exports from Chile, and CACC grew to become the largest international chamber within the purview of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

As a result of the Chamber’s efforts to promote a Week of Chile in 2009, the Bacchanal Committee of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for the first time recognized new world wine makers by giving their prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award to Chilean producers Vina Montes and Concha y Toro. In 2010, the Chamber hosted a number of events to aid relief efforts in Chile after a particularly devastating earthquake.

During their time at the helm, the Executive Board had the privilege of working with a number of Ambassadors of the Republic of Chile over the years, including Mariano Fernandez, Arturo Fermandois, and Juan Gabriel Valdes, as well as former ASOEX President Ronald Bown. They had the opportunity of meeting former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, and in 2015 hosted Michelle Bachelet at a dinner in her honor; the first time a sitting President of Chile visited our region.

The Chamber’s leaders believed in an ecumenical approach to leading CACC, promoting with vigor trade opportunities between Chile and Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Beyond commercial ties, Robert encouraged the advancement of Chilean arts and literature as well as cuisine and culture. He left his post on September 1st, but hopes to continue to serve the membership and Board in an emeritus role.

Miriam will retire from Western Fumigation at the end of the year and will continue to be an Honorary Member of the Chilean board, helping the Chamber to capitalize on the strength of her relationships within the industry both locally and in Chile.

Andreas sold Tastyfrutti International to Procacci company and continues to provide business consulting services. He will keep his role as a Board Member.

Register Here

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Lista at [email protected].

CACC Updates

Sunday, September 4th, 2022

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

The CACC is back in action!  I hope you had a fantastic summer and I’m glad to be writing to you about a few noteworthy recent and upcoming CACC activities.

For one, I am now managing things at the CACC on a part-time basis, and I am happy to announce that the planning phase for our next (and long-awaited) in-person event has begun. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 22 for the 23rd Annual Friend of Chile Awards Luncheon.  We are now collecting nominations for the Friend of Chile Award and the Albert S. Marulli Lifetime Achievement Award.  Please send all nominations to me, [email protected], by Friday, September 23.  A full list of past honorees can be found on our website.

As you may have heard, Chile recently welcomed an impressive delegation of CACC Board Members. Miriam Borja-Fisher, Treasurer, Lisa Himber, Board Member, and John Ercolani, Board Member, were proud to represent the CACC on a trip to Chile this past August organized by Western Fumigation. The group participated in a meeting hosted by Western Fumigation for Chilean growers and exporters, congratulated Ronald Bown, ASOEX Chairman, on his retirement and presented him with an award of achievement, and met with numerous stakeholders and CACC partners. More details on the productive trip are outlined in an article on FreshFruitPortal.com.  Click here to view more photos from the trip. Below are photos from the trip:

If you haven’t already RSVP’d to participate in the Chilean Fruit Working Group in partnership with the Maritime Exchange, please email Rob Wurtenberg by September 30.  An informal meet and greet is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 from 10:00 to 10:30 am followed by a full meeting tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at 10:00 am.

Lastly, membership invoices were mailed out last month.  If you haven’t received yours or have any questions regarding payment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  As a reminder, all membership dues invoices can be paid by credit card at this link.

I look forward to building upon the trade mission’s momentum and strengthening the Chile-Delaware River relationship even further.

Best wishes,

Christina

Spotlight Series: Miriam Borja-Fisher of Western Fumigation

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

 

SPOTLIGHT SERIES: 

Miriam Borja-Fisher 
Senior Business Development Manager at Western Fumigation and
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce Treasurer

 

 

CACC: How did your experiences lead you to your role at Western Fumigation? Did you always envision yourself involved in this industry?

Miriam Borja-Fisher (M.B.F.): No one embarks on a career path with the intention of going into the fumigation business. And, I must say, when I first arrived at Western in 2002, I hadn’t realized commercial-scale fumigation of commodities was “a thing.” Fresh out of college, my experience focused on the financial and the marketing/ public relations industries, having started my career first with American Express, then Ted Bates Worldwide, and Australia & New Zealand Banking group, in New York City.

Once I left The City, and acquired an MBA, I started morphing into what would most prepare me for my work with Western. I moved to the Princeton, N.J. area and began working for a UK start-up biotech company called Biotrace, Inc. I was hired to open up “The Americas” market for them, and with a fax machine and some rented office furniture, I began making inroads first in the US, and then in Latin America.

By the time I was finished at Biotrace, the company had grown successfully from zero to a multi-million-dollar operation, which was then sold to 3M. The need to be resourceful and to build networks during my time with that company is what most prepared me for my work with Western.

As my mentor at Western, Barbara Hunter, always said to me, “you’ll never be bored, here at Western. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something will hit and you’re back fighting fires.” She was certainly telling the truth. Now, in my 20th year with Western Fumigation, I can definitely say there is always something that requires innovative and creative thinking.

CACC: How is your work at Western Fumigation connected to Chile and how does it support Chilean trade?

M.B.F.: A major part of our work in the Philadelphia/Delaware River region involves treatment of commodities arriving at the ports from Chile. This movement of food supplies requires the careful orchestration of an array of stakeholders, both at origin and on arrival. Western is a cog in the wheel that keeps everything moving efficiently to market. Western is known for its advocacy role on behalf of the industry, with regulators, nationally, internationally, and at the local level; and is often credited for many “win-win” solutions for the industry in general.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry?

M.B.F: Working with people with an entrepreneurial spirit is definitely my favorite part of the maritime industry. Making things happen, and happen correctly and smoothly is very satisfying.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

M.B.F: The CACC is a very highly regarded organization in the maritime trade industry in our region and in Chile. It is the perfect platform for bringing together stakeholders who are involved in the Chilean-American trade to work collectively to keep this industry vibrant, adaptable, and growing. I am honored to be a part of the executive team and the Treasurer of the organization.


Many thanks to Miriam for participating in this Spotlight Series!

 

In Memoriam and with Gratitude

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

 

 

It is with great sorrow that we share the sad news about the passing of dear friend and longtime Board Member, Dennis Rochford, President of the Maritime Exchange

Dennis was an active and dedicated member of the Chilean Chamber Board of Directors for many years. He consistently advocated for the promotion of business between the United States and Chile and cultural appreciation between the two nations. Additionally, his steadfast commitment to trade development paralleled our mission and exemplified the vision of our Chamber. Strengthening the diplomatic, investment, and commercial relationship between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region.

During his time with the Chamber, Dennis was the recipient of our Albert S. Marulli “Lifetime Achievement” Award at the 22nd Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon in 2019. This special event honors an individual’s leadership and dedication to promoting the region’s trade relationship with Chile. Dennis’ dedication to his work was incredibly admirable and a blueprint for everyone to follow. His legacy will always be remembered and his passing marks the end of an era for both the Chilean Chamber and the Maritime Exchange.

We are greatly saddened by this tragic loss, and have and will always keep Dennis, his family and friends in our thoughts, offering them our deepest sympathies.

If you would like to read more about Dennis’ life and career, please follow this link. 

 

 

 

Chile at a Glance

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce has faced many challenges this past year. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions that were set forth by the CDC and the City of Philadelphia, we have been unable to host large gatherings, resulting in a loss of our primary source of revenue- event sponsorship and ticket sales. With these restrictions having been lifted, we are now looking to begin having our annual programs once again, starting with our Annual Fresh Fruit Workshop and “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon this upcoming Autumn.

Though things have been fairly quiet here at the CACC for the past couple of months, we have not been completely stagnant. A project we have been working on is an original illustrated map of Chile that has been created to compliment our digital directory. The illustrated map features listings from CACC Membership and interesting facts about certain Chilean regions and the country’s main exports.

We would like to thank all of those who contributed and made this special piece of marketing possible. We would not have been able to do it without you.

If you would like to view the illustrated map, follow this link

2021 Annual Fresh Fruit Workshop

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

 

Wednesday December 8th, 2021
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Program

Click here to register

Join colleagues, port representatives, and government officials to participate in an interactive experience, including panel discussions and open Q &A sessions, reviewing the trade, technical, legal, regulatory, and business issues affecting the import of Chilean fresh fruit into the Delaware Valley region.

Previous event panelists include Ed Fitzgerald, the Senior Director of  Trade Services at GEODIS USA, Inc.; Elliot Ortiz, the Chief Agriculture Specialist, Area Port of Philadelphia, at U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Evan Moss, the Senior Director of Perishables at J&K Fresh East. Additionally, past guest speakers have included Andrés Rodriguez, the Agricultural Attaché at the Embassy of Chile.

Complete event details coming soon.

We look forward to seeing you!

An Introduction from the CACC’s New Coordinator- Caroline Bullock

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Dear CACC Members and Friends,

 

My name is Caroline Bullock and I am the new Coordinator for the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. I am a graduate of Boston University’s Class of 2020, with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the College of Communication, with a focus in Public Relations.

It is my honor to work with all of you and represent Chile in the Greater Philadelphia region. I am excited for all of the great things to come and cannot thank my predecessor, Christina Lisa, more for all of the hard work she has done for the Chamber and the assistance she has given me since beginning here.

I am thrilled to begin this next chapter of my life with the CACC, and have the privilege of working with our Board of Director’s and Membership to expand the Chamber’s network and overall scope of reach. Chile has held a special place in my heart ever since I visited the country several years ago. The people, food, and culture left a lasting impression that has remained with me all these years and is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced before. It with this true admiration for the country that I will base my work ethic on and all of my relationships with you.

Thank you all and with my best regards,

Caroline Bullock
Coordinator
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

“Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World”

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia is delighted to partner with the World Affairs Council of Greater Philadelphia and the Honorary Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia to bring to you the first installment of “Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World”- a 6 month long series of programming aimed at highlighting our region’s robust international connections. The first 6-month installment of this series will focus on Chile with a diverse set of programs across the Council’s three main programmatic pillars (adult speaker events, student programs, and travel) to provide the Greater Philadelphia community with a deeper understanding of Chilean culture, politics, cuisine, and its role in the world at large.

We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this series highlighting Chile. Sponsorship Opportunities are available for this series and we are pleased to share that a portion of sponsorship will go directly to the CACC for our partnership. For more information regarding Sponsorship, please contact Maggie Hasani, Vice President of Development at [email protected].

Stay tuned for a full agenda of programming and events!

Event Partners:

   

Spotlight Series: Kurt Reichert of Western Fumigation

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Kurt Reichert
Fumigation Director, Western Fumigation

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CACC: How did your experiences lead you to your role at Western Fumigation? 

Kurt Reichert (K.R.): I was originally hired over 30 years ago as a Fumigation Service Technician for the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut areas, handling sales and service. We had mostly food service companies back then- spice companies, pasta and baking ingredients, pet food, warehouses- that was all commercial work. This was before the days of cell phones, so I was pretty autonomous, which I liked. I didn’t work all that much with Chilean fruit back then, but I did make it down to Philadelphia on occasion.

Over the years, I worked myself up to the position of Master Technician through our in-house training program and the broad fumigation experience that I picked up along the way. We used to regularly fumigate large structures throughout the country, such as the old Philadelphia Nabisco plant. These were very complex jobs that required comprehensive planning, so I really enjoyed the challenges of these large scale fumigations.

In the fall of 2000, I was promoted to Service Supervisor. This began the phase of my career which really brought me into the Chilean fruit side of Western’s business. It also kicked off my involvement in the various regulatory issues that govern the fumigation industry. This involvement grew as I was promoted to Service Manager in the spring of 2010. It was here that I became more involved in the Chilean fruit sector of Western’s business. Operationally, this was probably my favorite point in my career at Western. I had the most exposure to our customers, particularly our Chilean fruit customers. In January of 2015, I was promoted to Fumigation Director after Mike O’Connor’s retirement.

Each of the early stages of my career helped to prepare me for the next stage. The operational knowledge and the business contacts gained along the way made it possible for me to lead the Fumigation Division in my current role.

CACC: How is your work at Western Fumigation connected to Chile?

K.R.: From the beginning of the Chilean fruit importation to the United States, Western was instrumental in working with the Chilean exporters, importers and the United States Department of Agriculture to get the program started. Through its humble beginnings, as the program grew, the Fumigation Director’s position was the primary contact point between Western and our customers. Fumigation is so fundamentally different than Western’s core pest control operations, that thankfully, early on, Western leadership saw the value of having an autonomous division with its own administrative staff. This allowed our division to concentrate on our Chilean fruit customers with a business plan that was unencumbered by the constraints of Western’s traditional pest control operations. It allows us to focus our customer service efforts on the Chilean trade- not just the importers and terminal operators in the U.S., but also with the growers, exporters and shipping lines which we regularly visit in Chile. Personal relationships are key in the Chilean trade.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry? Also, at Western Fumigation?

K.R.: I really appreciate everything about the maritime trade industry! The relationships that I have made over the years, the number of family businesses involved in the Philly maritime trade, the long hard hours that maritime workers put in that make this trade possible and even the physical machinery necessary to move products to, and through the port. It is all very interesting to me, and I really enjoy seeing the dedication in this field, whether it is from a warehouse worker up to a terminal operator- everybody seems to really enjoy what they do. This is evident by the longevity that we see in the maritime related businesses. People here rarely leave this field. They may work for a different company than they did last year, but they rarely leave the maritime trade. The same is true for Western Fumigation employees. Our employee retention is head and shoulders above the usual retention rates in pest control operations. Some of our techs working for us today, started before, or shortly after I started with Western.

Within Western, I am most proud of the work that I have done, often behind the scenes, to protect and strengthen the Chilean trade. I have long worked on the methyl bromide re-registration front, serving on several committees defending methyl bromide and its availability and use in the U.S.. I have worked on the US Coast Guard Area Maritime Security Committee to help keep the Port of Philadelphia secure. I have worked with regulators in NJ, PA and other states to keep the practice of fumigation available so that the Chilean trade can operate as freely as possible under growing regulatory pressures which our industry faces. In short, doing everything that time allows me to do to in order to keep the Chilean fruit flowing through our port.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

K.R.: I think what makes the CACC so special is the genuine way that it links Chile and the U.S.. So often trade groups ultimately operate to the benefit of specific parties in the organization, but over the years I have seen firsthand how the Chamber truly benefits both parties.

The events which the CACC hosts each year are always the highlight events of the year. They are well attended, professionally presented, and raise money for a host of initiatives which again, benefit both parties. They are always presented with entertaining guest speakers of a broad spectrum of businesses. They are held to benefit causes in Chile as well as the U.S. The greater Philadelphia area is very supportive of issues in Chile, as was seen during the relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Two of my most memorable events involved the visit by Chilean President Bachelet, as well as the visit by rescued miner Mario Sepulveda.

The CACC continues to work to improve and expand business relationships between Chile and the U.S. This expands well beyond the importation of Chilean wines, fish and fruit. Technology has been enjoying the benefit of the strong relationship between our two countries as well. As a leader in South American business and investment, Chile is a strong and stable trade partner to the U.S.

CACC: As you come upon retirement, what is one thing you will take away from your time at Western?

K.R.: In a word, pride. I am happy that I had a small part in the continued success of the Chilean trade in the port. Though I am beyond excited to move on to the next phase of my life, I am beginning to realize the hole that will be left in my life due to leaving Western. But I can leave knowing that I did my best.

I have always told myself that at the end of the day, the only person who needs to be satisfied with my work is me. I can honestly say that for most of my 11,183 days working for Western, I have met that threshold.

We send our thanks and heartfelt wishes for a wonderful retirement to Kurt!