About Our Speakers
Manuel ("Manny") C. Menendez III
Manny, Co-Founder and Partner of Noble Pacific Holdings LLC, is a veteran international businessman, entrepreneur and humanitarian who has been successfully doing business in Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Central America and the USA, but his passion has been working in China and most countries in the Asia Pacific region for the past 30 years. He is the founder of MCM Group Holdings, Ltd., an organization specializing in international business development and trade, and whose activities are focused on the Asian Pacific region with special emphasis on the People's Republic of China.
Manny was instrumental in China's return to the world markets in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Manny was President and CEO of Great Eastern Development Ltd. (GED), which was credited in 1980 by the Asian Wall Street Journal with successfully completing the first United States - China equity joint venture for a major Fortune 100 company. He was also involved in the early years with establishing business activities with China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC). Manny has advised numerous U.S. and other multi-national companies, as well as small and medium-sized businesses. Manny also advises several governments in the Asia Pacific region on policies and programs related to sustainable economic and business development and tourism.
Manny, with his local partner William "Bill" Chao, established Noble Pacific Holdings LLC ("Noble Pacific") a Seattle-based organization that specializes in business development, trading, government relations and strategic advisory services throughout the Asia Pacific region with China as its crown jewel.
Derrick M. Olsen
Derrick is the International Relations Officer for Business Oregon (Oregon Business Development Department). Derrick and the state's international business team work to promote the export of Oregon products and services to strengthen the state's economy. Specifically, they help Oregon's small- and medium-sized non-agricultural businesses develop a competitive advantage in today's global marketplace through counseling, market research, due diligence in identifying and evaluating international partners, and other key services. This work benefits from Oregon's trade and investment representatives in China, Japan, Korea, and Europe. Derrick also is a liaison to foreign diplomatic missions; federal, state, and local partners working on international issues; and higher education institutions.
Derrick has worked with Business Oregon since fall 2007. He worked for the Oregon State Legislature during the 2007 legislative session as the Committee Administrator for the House Education Committee. From 1993-2006, Derrick was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, serving in Guatemala, Malaysia, Washington, DC, Bolivia, and Honduras. His last posting was as Chief of the Political Section with the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Derrick graduated from Tigard High School, has a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, and a Master's of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Wally Van Valkenburg
Wally is the Managing Partner of the Portland office of Stoel Rives LLP, a law firm of over 375 lawyers practicing in seven states. Wally practices in the firm's Technology and Intellectual Property Group, where he has represented technology companies for over 25 years in a variety of industry sectors, including electronic equipment, software, biotech, and Internet services. Wally also represents clients in a number of other industries, including footwear and apparel, sports and entertainment, health care, electric and gas utilities, metals, and wood products.
Wally's practice consists of advising clients on a wide variety of business issues, including licensing, joint ventures and strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, distribution and sales, intellectual property protection, antitrust and trade regulation, and international business. He has represented both U.S. companies doing business overseas and foreign companies doing business in the U.S, and is a member of the firm's China Initiative.
Wally was appointed by the Governor to Chair the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission (now called the Oregon Business Development Commission). In that role, in November of 2008, he accompanied the Governor and several state and business leaders on a trade mission to China and Japan.
Wally also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Portland Business Alliance, Greenlight Greater Portland, Portland Center Stage, and the Oregon Sports Authority. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA's Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in the World.