farewell

Farewell Wim | 9/5/2017


Wim Van Cauteren and his lovely wife Luciana have been beATLe fans as soon as beATL started its journey in June 2014.  For sure we will miss seeing them around!

Wim has been appointed as Trade Commissioner for Flanders & Brussels in Mexico-City where he will work at the Belgian Embassy.  There are a lot of economic links between the US and Mexico which has adopted a lot of American business practices while keeping its Latin flavor.   Also Mexico has, apart from Brazil, the largest economy in Latin-America offering many unexplored opportunities that Wim is excited about.

Luciana and Wim are fluent in Spanish, making the move to such a beautiful country even more attractive; they are both really looking forward to live there.

Wim started working for Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) in June 1998.   His first posting was Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; that was followed by a 7-year stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After Argentina, he went back to Brussels for 2 1/2 years – at FIT’s headquarters, and since 2012, Atlanta became their new home.

His main activities is to give support to Flemish & Brussels export companies, that want to expand into the (Southern) USA.  On the other hand, he also detects US companies that want to cross the Atlantic and invest in Europe which explains why you could see him at numerous conferences, events and exhibitions.

He was also the co-organizer of three large trade missions in his jurisdiction: two Flemish-Dutch trade missions (one to Houston, TX and one to Atlanta, GA) and one Belgian Economic Mission to Texas.

What he loves about his job is getting positive feedback from Belgian and local companies, industry associations and government representatives but the icing on the cake is when a company secures a contract thanks to his introduction!

Wim will never forget the day and night of January 28 in 2014 when a snow and ice storm hit Atlanta!  Here is his story: ‘that night we were organizing a reception for Belgian businessmen that participated at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, so we could not leave the office early.  We left the office at 11 PM thinking that by that time the highways would be clear. Wrong ! I-75 north was still clogged with cars and there was a complete stand still. We got off the freeway, but we got lost somewhere in midtown and we feared we would have to overnight in our car with freezing temperatures outside. Luckily a Good Samaritan found us and was so nice to give us a ride back to my office in downtown Atlanta. At the office, we had to make a makeshift bed, made of tapestries and old carpets, but we were so happy that we didn’t have to sleep in the car.’

He will always enjoy and feel proud with the headline on the VRT (Flemish Public Television) news that stated that the first joint Flemish-Dutch economic mission in Houston, TX was a success. After several months of preparation, it was very rewarding.

If you ask Wim about his personal best moments in Atlanta, he will tell you about the Sun Dial restaurant in the Westin-hotel downtown where he had a birthday dinner with Luciana … but what made it very special is that on that rainy day, the view was nonexistent giving them the impression of having dinner in the clouds.   And the Belgian beers at the Brick Store Pub will remain a very good souvenir.

His last day in Atlanta is on September 15 … and no, the name of his successor is not known yet.   Check the blog again soon.

Join Flanders Investment & Trade and the Belgian American Chamber of the South on Tuesday, September 5th, so you too can thank Wim for all the great work he has done in the Southeast, wish him all the best on his new mission in Mexico and say goodbye to this super nice couple.

Logistics

  • When: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 from 6.30 – 8.30 pm
  • Where: Burr & Forman LLP171 17th Street Northwest – 11th floor, Atlanta, GA 30363
  • RSVP by Sept 1st, 2017

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