Katharina Brekke Powers


vvbVandeventer Black was established in 1883 and is now an international business law firm that covers all sectors, some of which include regular business transaction, government contracts, labor, immigration, and tax. The firm employs 75 attorneys, and Katharina Brekke Powers is one of them. Many of Mrs. Powers’s clients are Scandinavian or northern European, which is a specialty of Vandeventer Black. They have 5 office locations in the United States and a satellite office in Hamburg, GA.

532514_324145290983127_1484127238_nThe Chamber interviewed Katharina, a native Norwegian, for our January 2014 member spotlight. It is an honor to share with our members a little more about Katharina as she has been a dedicated member of the NACC and our board. She was founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter in 2002 and has been a member ever since. She has been on the NACC MA board for about 8 years and the NACC MA Secretary for about 4. Below you will find an interview with Katharina about her involvement with the Chamber and how she supports many of its initiatives

How did you become involved with the NACC MA?

Northern Europe is my specialty as an attorney. I grew up in Norway and went to law school in Norway. After law school I was looking to get some international experience. I did an internship at International Business Government Counselors, which allowed me to learn more about the U.S. government and how it works. It was during this time that I was introduced to the NACC through a friend and colleague who was also Norwegian.

As a member of the Chamber you have helped put on many events over the years, more recently you along with your firm Vandeventer Black, and one of our corporate members Bay Diesel, hosted a very successful Nordic networking event in Norfolk, VA. How do you think it turned out? What had you been hoping to accomplish?

I think it turned out well.  We had about 75 people in attendance!  Our goal was to gather individuals and companies that were truly interested in the Nordic market.  We also had organizations such as the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance in attendance which is important when you are working on business development issues.  Although, NACC was clearly in the forefront on this event, we also had the full support of the other Nordic chambers.  For some reason, it seems the Nordic market is overseen by many American companies which is too bad since we have a lot to offer – whether within the offshore/energy/alternative energy/technology and maritime/maritime related sector.  We were lucky to have Va. Senator Frank Wagner as our speaker and he talked about the great relationship between the US and the Nordic countries.  Senator Wagner mentioned renewable energy source and spoke particularly about bio energy.

The Chamber appreciates your support on hosting so many events. What drives your passion to help the NACC?

I am passionate about the Nordic market.  All the Nordic countries have a lot to offer.  However, I also work closely with Nordic companies looking to enter the US market.  The US market is a large market and for many companies it is part of their long term plan to succeed in the US.  It is not always easy for small companies to establish themselves on the US market.  Although we have many similarities (between the US and the Nordic countries), there are differences which sometimes make it hard for smaller companies to succeed.

What are your plans and hopes for the Chamber in the next year?

I would like the Chamber to be part of a trade mission to Scandinavia.  Virginia (particularly Hampton Roads/Northern Virginia) and Scandinavia have many industries which would do well in cooperating – just look at sectors such as offshore/alternative energy/technology/defense and shipping/shipping related industries.
In September of 2014 we are hoping to host another event aboard a Norwegian Navy vessel visiting the port of Norfolk.  Our goal is to plan an alternative energy event.  We would like to invite companies, not only from the Hampton Roads Region but from all over Virginia!
The Chamber would like to extend a big thank you to Katharina for taking time for this interview and for being a continuous support to the organization. We look forward to a great new year in 2014!

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