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Fort Bend County


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We all know great design has a critical role to play in building a great brand.

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At American Turkic Business Council (ATBC) & Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, it is our mission to promote social and economic relations between Turkic countries and the United States... BY ORHAN KUCUKOSMAN

14 Turkic World Re-opening of The SILK ROAD Historical Trade routes & Opportunities

There is a global saying “Early bird gets the worm” well, is it true or not? In these modern days we adjusted and modified this type of sayings as “Proactive management, precise market intelligence and fact based analysis that lead to success”…..but there is another saying…. “SUCCESS is a Journey not the destination” and this is true as well… BY UMIT BAYULKEN

The Great Wall of China (picture). The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

18 Fort Bend County

Welcome to the Modern American County. Part of the Houston - The Woodlands - Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area, Fort Bend County (FB County) is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. PRINTED IN THE USA. COPYRIGHT © 2015 BY AMERICAN TURKIC BUSINESS COUNCIL, INC. All right reserved. American Turkic Business Journal is published by American Turkic Business Council, Inc. 2700 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 1750 Houston TX 77056. Phone : (713)-960-0845,,,



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Strategy A plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.

Businesses from all over the world have taken notice of the staggering growth US and European (EU) Oil and Gas companies have experienced as of late and naturally are wanting to tap into some of that potential revenue stream...




In August 2013, a unique liner completion operation under complicated geological and technical conditions was carried out by the specialists of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Drilling Trust and NewTech Services in the offshore well No. 12 at UMID field...

Imagination Think to form new images and sensations in the mind that are not perceived through senses such as sight, hearing, or other senses.



Mr. Deniz Cevik possesses an extensive amount of experience in the real estate and construction business in Turkey as well as in the United States...





A robust workforce, customized incentive packages, close proximity to navigable waterways, stable infrastructure and affordable operating costs in a centralized location—just some of the many reasons to set up business in Mississippi.

Work done with each d subordinat prominenc the whole



Something that is used or done to deal with and end a problem.



You have an idea and you believe it will make a great business… or a very innovative product that will drastically improve people’s lives…

Leadership Process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task



Oklahoma is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products. Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology...


e by several associates doing a part but all ting personal ce to the efficiency of



Investors and their key workers traveling to the United States for business or investment need a visa authorizing those activities.



Turkey has experienced incredible economic growth over the past decade, thus becoming one of the most important emerging economies in the world...









The year 2012 proved to be propitious for Houston’s current housing boom. A staggering 32,923 single-family home building permits were issued...



“Everything is bigger in Texas”. This is certainly true of the state’s economic growth and its increasing number of created jobs.



If a transition period is one of the most painful time-spans for a developing economy...



The Turkish economy has experienced remarkable progress since the 2000-2001 Turkish economic crisis. 10

















On behalf of our team, I would like to welcome you to the second issue of American Turkic Business Journal. t American Turkic Business Council (ATBC) & Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, it is our mission to promote social and economic relations between Turkic countries and the United States, as well as to provide members with a broad spectrum of services while facilitating new opportunities for Turkic and American businesses. Moreover, we do networking and business development events such as workshops, business forums, luncheons, roundtables, and congressional talk series. ATBC initiated the process of advertising its success stories and the literature related with the business world with a journal named American Turkic Business Journal, which was published last July. We are very proud to receive all the positive feedback from our friends in the business world. We strive each and every moment to do a better job with our journal.

I hope you will take the time to explore the second issue of our journal and see some of the wonderful articles written by influential individuals on many important topics. The leading article is about the Turkic world, historical trade routes and opportunities. An article on crowdfunding informs us about the most innovative way to fund your business. Another article is from a neighboring state, Oklahoma and its booming aerospace industry. Fort Bend County’s piece is another valuable article that is written about Fort Bend being the fastest growing county and the reasons behind that. We are also honored to have an article contribution from the Mississippi’s Secretary of State, which calls for businessmen to come and explore business opportunities in the state of Mississippi. It was almost impossible not to include an article on the booming real estate business in Houston, Texas so we did.

Another important article is about a Turkic Country; Azerbaijan and its developing economy. Last but not least, the journal will provide you with a chance to find information about ATBC’s past events in the activity section of the journal. As a tradition, we’ve included two success stories in this issue. The first one belonging to a businessman that incorporated many experiences in one sector: the hospitality business. The other one is in oil and gas sector. Both Turkish origin investors share their success stories to motivate prospective investors from Turkey to invest into these sectors in the US. I would like to personally thank Hon. Judge Robert Hebert, Fort Bend County Judge, Hon. Jeffrey Baldwin, former Executive Director/Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mr. Chris Siebenaler, Regional Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Texas State Representative and Managing Director of Civitas Capital Group and Dr. Remzi Oten, Chairman for Sena Case for sharing their priceless business experiences at our luncheon forums. These significant milestones would have been impossible to achieve without the cooperation and support of our team. I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Umit Bayulken; Chief Advisor and Managing Editor, Editorial Assistants; Alva Robinson, Benjamin Zwirek, Eileashia Aktepe, Daynna Carbello, Linh Dieu Che, Allen A. Aydogdu; Executive Director, Marketing /Creative Services and our design team ZNA DESIGN. Once again, thank you for your continuous support in helping us to reach excellence as the American Turkic Business Council & Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce. All the best,

Orhan Kucukosman President, American Turkic Business Council



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Turkic World - Re-opening of The SILK ROAD Historical

Trade routes & Opportunities There is a global saying “Early bird gets the worm” well, is it true or not? In these modern days we adjusted and modified this type of sayings as “Proactive management, precise market intelligence and fact based analysis that lead to success”…..but there is another saying…. “SUCCESS is a Journey not the destination” and this is true as well… One day I woke-up in my hotel room in Ashgabat where I stayed as a resident-long term guest (in compliance with the Turkmen law). When I got down to the lobby I saw, to my delight, old antique vehicles in the parking lot of the Hotel. There were Rolls Royce’s, Bugatti’s, Bentleys, Mercedes’s, Fiats, Citroens and few more in route from Paris, France to Beijing. They had banners on the service cars that read “PARIS-BEIJING RALLY”. That day was the day I began imagining 14


the day when I could rent a car in France or Germany or Turkey and drive all the way to Peoples Republic of China or take a train from London, United Kingdom to Beijing, P.R.C without going through difficult visa procedures and border crossings. Such day is just around the corner. Let’s look at the real issues of the global economy and assess’ important focus market’s full integration to global economy …central Asian Turkic nations’ or in short “Turkic World. “ There are daily new economic developments in and around Turkic Nations. There are fantastic long term business opportunities created daily as well…. At the same time there are possible fear factors that may hinder success in these new focus markets

if best practices of due diligence are not applied and short cuts are not avoided. These natural resource rich Central Asian Turkic nations have many needs and have a burning desire to integrate themselves into global economy and the global markets. This also creates great opportunities for many companies in the good old USA, and the rest of the world. Having spent 20 years of my professional life residing and working in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan plus travelling extensivly within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for business, armed me with a real unique and sober point of view not tainted or influenced by politics but the reality of the individual markets in real terms.

In early 90’s there were many man-made huge obstacles created and left by the past administration of USSR based thousands of miles away from these countries. Since 1990 very slowly but surely these manmade obstacles and hurdles are being taken down and eliminated. Yet in some cases new obstacles are erected by the governments of Newly Independent States (NIS). Reasons are obvious; between 1820 until 1990 these now new independent states lost their freedom and ability to retain their historical experiences of governing themselves by applying their own norms and traditions. Even though they are now free, it is not an easy journey back. They are also trying to protect their own societies from the hands and influences of the past masters or possible new negatives alike. There are other common factors as well, namely: • Being geographically land locked • Lack of understanding of international Finance and Banking laws • Trust issues created by anti-western propaganda of the past administration • Old school & old party line educated local politicians • Fear factor of losing control of the natural resources • Russian insistence and desire to control the economies and markets by forcing strategic goods to be transported in/ out via Russian Ports and/or Russian distribution systems • Efforts of certain midsize foreign corporations to take advantage of the non-existence of the local legislations or legal manipulation on the main production and investment contracts • These factors and few other so called board games that people play left a very bad taste with all parties involved.

Beyond aforementioned reasons there were other major local problems such as Transport systems, Airports, Sea Ports, Communication equipment, infrastructure and lack of coordination between the government agencies to name a few. Presently, all TURKIC nations are in much better shape than they were in 1990’s. Strong efforts of the Russian policies to re-create economical dependency and control over all CIS nations via legislations and agreements where CIS nations are signatory to this type of documents is not making much of a headway. The reason is that there are many alternatives to reaching the global markets that have been established now and are successfully used (with some restrictions established by the United Nations.) Even the UN and EU enforced restrictions or any other restrictions are not considered as a hurdle anymore due to the fact that SEA, RAIL, and SURFACE transport to central Asian Turkic nations from the West is as easy as shipping goods from Houston to Anchorage, Alaska (in a manner of speaking). Rail and surface transport from the East is going to get easier as well. There are some problems with the Chinese transports to central Asia. Chinese trains and surface vehicles are controlled by Russian transit rules and customs. If the destination country is not a member of the “Customs Union of the CIS”, then difficulties may arise due to lack of “CORRECT” documentation or language problems, etc. etc.” Since 1991 major Black sea ports of UKRAINE, TURKEY, GEORGIA and RUSSIA (Liquids only) were used as intermediary hubs for cargoes going to central Asian Turkic countries. However when oversized and very heavy cargoes had to be transported, carrying it via surface through Turkey and Georgia, about 2600 km, became cost prohibitive.

COVER STORY In the summer time Transport companies had a chance to utilize VOLGA-DON channel to reach Caspian Sea ports of KAZAKHSTAN, AZERBAIJAN and TURKMENISTAN. Further surface transport ex Caspian ports to inner central Asia like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan or beyond was used. Even this route had restrictions due to road conditions and the highway authority rules of KAZAKH, TURKMEN and UZBEK nations based on leftover legislations from the USSR era. Lack of safe bridges over rivers and irrigation channels created major problem for safe & economical transportation. Main reason was that all roads, sea ports or airports within these central Asian countries were classified as secondary systems according to Soviet norms. This meant that any heavy/wide and over dimensional cargoes had to travel according to basic Soviet rule of 9.5 Tons per line axle weight limit and 3.5 meters width limit. This caused tremendous difficulties yet certain companies were able to overcome such limits and transport heavy materials with much success. Actually, until 2012 there were only very few companies able to organize and execute successful transport of heavy and oversized cargoes to final destinations. Turkey & Georgia were used as the hub for ocean & surface transportation. Despite higher charges Georgia was used as Transit Bridge for Ocean+ Rail or Truck transport combinations for further transport to inner central Asia. Another sad fact, up till 2012, there was only one rail- Bridge over the AMUDARIA River connecting Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan with a 125 ton weight restriction. Surface bridge between Turkmenabad and FARAB (The northern shore of the Amu Darya River) was a pontoon bridge with a limit of maximum 15 tons in a “calm water” days.



NOTE (Routing 1): Please keep in mind that Republic of Kazakhstan is a signatory to CIS Customs Union Agreement. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are not signatories to the Customs Union of CIS. Turkmenistan is not a member of CIS & Customs Union, but attends most meetings as an observer. NOTE (Routing 2): Cargoes destined to Khairaton, Afghanistan is transferred either in Toshkent or in Bishkek. As of 2013 most of the highway infrastructures were upgraded by the Turkmens, Uzbeks and Azeri’s. Georgians were working diligently to improve their highways leading to Azerbaijan which is their trade route to central Asia.


is as of 2015 the RAIL connection between Turkey and Georgia will be in service through the rail head in the ancient city of KARS. It is called KARS-TBILISI-BAKU line. According to Mr. Ziya Mammadov, Minister of Transport of Azerbaijan, this connection will have passenger and cargo carriage. In one of the recent meetings He also stated that luxury sleeper car service will commence in 2016. There is additional good news for central Asian Turkic nations just announced by the prime minister of People’s Republic of China. Mr. XI JINPING announced that he has asked his government agencies to set-up a $40.0 Billion “SILK- ROAD” infrastructure fund to modernize and rebuild the road and rail transport system between P.R.C. and central Asian countries. Considering that most of the consumer goods and 60-70 % of heavy machinery presently comes from west, the move of the PRC’s prime minister is a major step to strengthen the status of Chinese businesses in central Asia. Chinese companies are heavily involved in oil and gas projects, mining sector, power generation projects and consumer goods. Now let’s do a 3 different routing comparison studies before we start using Europe - KARS-TBILISI-BAKU (E.K.T.B) and beyond routes versus ex Ventspils, Latvia or RIGA, Latvia via Kazakhstan and ex St. Petersburg through Russia to central Asian Turkic countries. 16


Routing 1 Transit time between Ventspils or Riga, Latvia to Central Asian


*** All cargoes consigned to central Asian destinations are subject to customs procedures and restriction of the Russian Federation. Countries that are not signatory to this agreement will have surmountable documentation hurdles.

Routing 3 Transit time Munich, Germany – Kars, Turkey – Tbilisi, Georgia – Baku, Azerbaijan and destinations beyond (E.K.T.B Rail line)

Ventspils, Latvia - Almaty Kazakhstan 12 Days

Ventspils, Latvia – Toshkent, Uzbekistan 13 Days

Ventspils, Latvia – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 13 Days

Ventspils, Latvia – Khairaton, Afghanistan 16 Days


Ventspils, Latvia - Dushanbe, Tajikistan 18 Days

Munich, Germany to Tbilisi, Georgia 7 days

Ventspils, Latvia – Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 18 days

Munich, Germany to Baku, Azerbaijan, 8 days

Munich, Germany to Turkmenbashy, Turkmenistan (Via Rail RO-RO) 9 Days

Munich Germany to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 10 days

Munich Germany, to Toshkent, Uzbekistan 12 days (Passage on new bridge on Amu Darya River)

Munich, Germany to Termez, Uzbekistan (for Afghan Cargoes) 14 days

Routing 2 Transit time between St. Petersburg, Russia to central Asian destinations;

Destinations; •

St. Petersburg, Russia to Almaty, Kazakhstan 17Days***

St. Petersburg, Russia to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 18 Days***

St, Petersburg, Russia to Toshkent, Uzbekistan 20 -21 days***

St. Petersburg, Russian to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 21-22 days***

St. Petersburg, Russia to Dushanbe, Tajikistan 21- 22 days ***

Result of the comparison reflects that delivery times to central Asian destination by E.K.B.T rail line is 45 to 50 % faster and cargoes are not subject to painstakingly detailed RUSSIAN controls. Shipments are not subjected to manmade hurdles which are created by political games in and around CIS & FSU. Most importantly international laws & rules will be applicable and there will not be security problems in route. Additionally, I am sure that rate packages will be more attractive and steady due to the fact that Railroad Administrations or Transport Ministries of Turkey, Georgia,

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and others in route will comply and respect the terms & conditions of the “RAIL BILL of LADING” and international insurance policies will be accepted. Therefore, the consignee and the consignor can feel safe and protected under the global regulations. There are other side benefits to this new E.K.T.B rail line. Turkish government did reserve large sections of land for Duty Free Zone development in the City of KARS with rail head access. Russian, Turkish, European and other nation’s companies build warehousing facilities in the allocated land. Projected transport volumes on EuropeKars-Tbilisi-Baku rail line is estimated to reach 7 Million tons for the first year of operation (2015-2016) and it is expected to exceed 22 million tons per year by 2017. Best part of the realization of this project is creation of alternatives and opportunity for the peoples of inner central Asia and the Caspian Region. Additionally, positive economic impact it will have on the individual states & citizens of the Turkic World cannot be disputed.

In addition to above mentioned, E.K.T.B Rail line also creates a safe transport corridor that has not placed restrictive criteria’s on the transit countries by any international body, group of governments or US government. I am excited to actually be able see that. It is going to be so easy for the companies to load your containers or crates at your factory or warehouses, lock/seal them and load them on to a vessel from any port in North America sailing to Europe and transferring your containers on to a rail wagon for the final destination which happens to be in the Caspian shores of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan or in inner central Asia lands such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, western Afghanistan and beyond. As I think and write about the past, present and the future opportunities in central Asian countries based on economics in relation to geography as well as related sectors such as logistics and distribution to and from central Asia, I am filled with hope. I recall my own beginning in that region while

representing American interests. I remember my involvement in building Trans Caspian Pipeline, new power stations, huge cement factories and major fertilizer plants. We were responsible for building first bridges and overpasses to be able to transport heavy and oversized turbines, generators, drilling rigs through the cities like Baku, Almaty, Aktau, Atyrau, Turkmenbashy, Ashgabat and Tejen, Mari, Turkmenabad, Farab. I remember re- building and resurfacing of the roads to make it strong enough to sustain the weight of passing very heavy equipment’s. I recall the difficulties of logistics; extend of diplomacy I had to learn to obtain ”impossible” permits, convince and explain to authorities’ details of the execution plans that at the time seemed impossible to achieve. Serving all industrial sectors, we were the pioneers of the strategic physical distribution in central Asia paving the road to today’s modern growing transportation system.

This is another opportunity for US based corporations who are dealing in energy, oil & gas; mining; automotive and food industries to establish a FTZ facility in Kars, Turkey, Baku, Azerbaijan or Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (Area 95 rail head) designed to serve the focus markets of Turkic nations of central Asia away from the prying eyes of competitors. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC





elcome to the Modern American County. Part of the Houston - The Woodlands Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area, Fort Bend County (FB County) is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. The population of Fort Bend County jumped an astronomical 89 percent from 2000 to 2014 (2000: 354,452 vs 2014 estimated: 670,000). This continues a long term trend of rapid population expansion. For example, the county population grew by more than 57 percent between 1990 and 2000. Economic growth has always accompanied population expansion. One of the reasons: forty percent of county residents 25 years and older have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, well above the state average of 25 percent and the Houston MSA average of 27 percent. This highly skilled labor force fuels high-value added industries in the county, such as professional business services, energy and manufacturing, education and health services and



If you build it, they will come.

finance activities. As a result, the county sports a four-point-five percent unemployment rate (September 2014), per-capita income of $51,000, and a mean household income of $112,893.

Master Planned Communities (MPCs) are one of the key growth engines in Fort Bend County.

MPCs enable development to occur in a manner similar to cities with zoning powers helping to maintain quality commercial development and attractive communities. From 2011-2012, Fort Bend County had five of the top 20 best-selling MPCs in the nation. Another key asset in Fort Bend County is its overwhelming demographic diversity. In fact, according to the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, Fort Bend County is the most ethnically diverse county in the country. The demographic statistics back this up. As of 2013, Fort Bend County was 50 percent White and/or Hispanic, 18 percent Asian, 21 percent Black, eight percent Middle Eastern, and three percent mixed race. The county boasts a strong educational system with some of the best schools in the region. FB County School Districts include Fort Bend ISD, Katy ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD, and Needville ISD. FB County has consistently ranked as the regional leader in high school graduation rates. Fort Bend County officials believe that quality of life is the number one business incentive they can offer to businesses. Factors include the strategic development and management of master-planned communities, celebrating it’s cultural and economic diversity, award-winning school districts, higher than average education



levels and median incomes, low crime rates, high percentage of families, responsive infrastructure development, and the low cost of living through low taxes and affordable housing. One of Fort Bend County’s logistical assets is its close proximity to Downtown Houston, the Houston Ship Channel, both major airports and the Galleria. Another asset is the Sugar Land Regional Airport. The airport focuses solely on corporate aviation with more than 100 of Fortune 500 companies using the airport annually for domestic and international travel. One of the key demand drivers is its 8,000foot runway and the presence of US Customs and Border Protection. This essentially means that someone flying into Sugar Land can clear customs without having to go through Houston or another international airport.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT The higher-education industry in Fort Bend County is booming as well. The county is home to two Houston Community College (HCC) campuses, two University of Houston campuses and a Texas State Technical location. HCC recently announced the construction of two new workforce-centered buildings to deliver technical training, certificates and associate degrees at their two Fort Bend County locations: Sienna Plantation/Missouri City and Stafford. New programs will include energy, allied health, and entrepreneurship. Texas State Technical College Fort Bend County and Wharton County Junior College are in the midst of expanding their technical education program to offer a wide range of new technical certifications. The University Of Houston Board Of Regents, furthermore, recently designated the new Sugar Land Campus as a branch campus of the Tier One University of Houston. The Sugar Land Campus will have a strong focus on nursing, education, and technology programs.

FORT BEND’S GLOBAL INITIATIVES In 2009 County Judge Bob Hebert formed the Fort Bend Global Initiative. The Initiative’s mission is to enhance the quality life in Greater Fort Bend County by creating, fostering and promoting opportunities for international commerce, economic growth and cultural exchange. In November 2011, the Committee traveled to the Chancheng District of Foshan, China. There the delegation met with large groups of business executives about foreign trade zones in the United States and their availability in Fort Bend County. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Judge and Liu Donghau, CEO of the Chancheng District. Four years later, in September 2013, the Global Initiatives delegation traveled to the Republic of Turkey. The delegation included the Global Initiatives board, representatives from Houston Community College, the University of Houston, and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce (FBCC). While there, the FBCC signed agreements with the Ankara Chamber of Industry, the Adana Chamber of Commerce, the Kocaeli Chamber of Industry, and the Kahramanmaras Chamber of Commerce. The agreements were signed for friendly cooperation relating to economy and trade, education and training, environmental protection and cultural exchange.

Q&A WITH FORT BEND COUNTY JUDGE ROBERT HEBERT I sat down with Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert to find out his thoughts about the opportunities and challenges facing Fort Bend County. Judge Hebert is a former business owner and a U.S. Navy Veteran. Before taking office as County Judge in 2003, he served on several boards, including Alief ISD, the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council, and as director and president for the Brazos River Authority. What are some of the challenges Fort Bend faces? Staying on top of the massive growth the county has experienced so the quality of life does not deteriorate. Keeping the cost of living and tax rates low all while building the necessary infrastructure. How should Fort Bend County manage its growth? Fort Bend County can manage growth by working with the different department heads and city leaders within the county. Also, working alongside the Texas Legislature to undertake the studies necessary to solve the problems of maintaining our infrastructure. Where do you see economic growth opportunities in the county? I see a bright future for Rosenberg and Richmond. For example in

Rosenberg, you have strategic access to three major railroads: Union Pacific, BNSF, and Kansas City Southern. I see opportunities with the Panama Canal expansion and the growing Port of Freeport.

FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES With Fort Bend County’s population set to reach 1 million by 20282030, infrastructure and increased employment cores are needed to sustain the high-quality of life residents currently enjoy. According to the Census Bureau, 20% of Fort Bend County residents work in FB County with 65% commuting to Harris County. One of the possible solutions to this dilemma is the State Highway 36A Development Corridor Business Plan. This plan calls for the expansion of State Highway 36 and additional rail infrastructure between Port Freeport and Rosenberg, Texas.

THE PORT OF FREEPORT AND GULF COAST PETROCHEMICAL BOOM According to the Journal of Commerce Magazine, the U.S shale drilling boom has produced a whopping $120 billion of announced petrochemical and manufacturing investment and construction projects along the Texas and Louisiana Coast. The Port of Freeport, located approximately 60 miles south/

southeast of Fort Bend County, is set to see well over $30 billion of industrial investment. Comprising some of this $30 billion are projects like the Quintana Island Freeport Liquid Nitrogen Gas (LNG) Export Terminal, Phillips 66 LPG Export Terminal, Bay City Tenaris Pipe Manufacturing Plant, and two ethylene export plants from DOW Chemical and ChevronPhillips. Another wildcard is the 2016 expected completion date for the Panama Canal Expansion. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, currently only 8.8% of the world’s LNG carriers can travel through the Panama Canal. After the expansion, that number is set to rise to 88%. To prepare for the expected increase in activity, the Port of Freeport is deepening its main channel from 45 to 55 feet, widening its channel bend to accommodate Panamex ships up to 965 feet, developing a 240-acre site for warehousing and packing petrochemical projects into bags to be palletized onto container ships, and the installation of two post-Panamex gantry cranes that can span 18 rows of containers.

WHAT IS A FREE TRADE ZONE AND WHAT IS FREE TRADE ZONE #49? A U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ or Zone) is a designated area which, for Customs purposes, is considered outside the United States. FTZ #49 exists within the borders of Port Freeport, Brazoria County, and Fort Bend County. Nearly any imported merchandise can be brought into a Zone for almost any kind of manipulation, duty-free. Through utilization of an FTZ, imported material avoids any Customs duties if any previously-imported material is re-exported or if the goods are sold to companies operating in other U.S. FTZs. There are nearly 3,200 companies utilizing Zones and over 400 manufacturing Subzones exist in the United States. The FTZ program was designed to help level the playing field between American manufacturing companies in competition with global markets. Working in FTZs allows for increased distribution and value added supply chain activities by providing tax benefits and allowing for the retention and creation of additional jobs in the United States.

CONCLUSION Fort Bend County has many promising advantages for investors and entrepreneurs alike. The county boasts a highly skilled labor force, demographic diversity and a strong educational system, which points to the county’s ability to maintain its economic and population growth well into the future. FB County is a key location with ease of accessibility to many important areas including the major metropolitan area of Houston. Not only are there local incentives for investing in the county, there are also initiatives to link the county with the global market. Fort Bend County has built it, is your business ready to join them? 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC


From Fort Bend County Business delegation trip to Turkey

FORT BEND COUNTY BUSINESS INCENTIVES FREEPORT TAX EXEMPTION An exemption on goods in transit (or “Freeport goods”) from ad valorem taxation. Freeport goods are inventories acquired or brought into the state by businesses and held for no more than 175 days before being shipped out of state. Any business or industry that assembles, manufactures, processes, stores, maintains, fabricates or distributes their products in Texas and ships them out of state within a 175-day cycle are eligible. The Freeport Exemption will apply to the percentage of raw materials, goods-inprocess and finished products that meet this requirement.

THE SMART JOBS FUND A fund administered through the Texas Department of Economic Development and Tourism which and provides funds for training. The program gives priority to the creation and retention of family wage jobs and focus on employers in industries that promote high-skill, high-wage jobs in high-technology areas and on-demand occupations that provide those jobs. 22


TEXAS MANUFACTURING ASSISTANCE CENTER (TMAC) TMAC provides assistance to small Texas manufacturers seeking to upgrade their operations to become more globally competitive. TMAC field engineers operate out of offices located around the state and provide hands-on assistance to companies. After initial contact, a TMAC field engineer performs an assessment and makes confidential recommendations to company management. This assessment results in the development of an assistance plan designed to improve the manufacturer’s bottom line. The field engineer then draws from a number of public and private resources to implement the changes.

TEXAS ENTERPRISE FUND Projects that are considered for the Texas Enterprise Fund support must demonstrate a project’s worthiness, maximize the benefit to the State of Texas and realize a significant rate of return of the public dollars being used for economic development in Texas. Capital investment, job creation, wages generated, financial strength of the applicant, applicant’s business history, analysis of the relevant business sector, and federal and local government and private sector financial support of a project will all be

significant factors in approving the use of the Enterprise Fund. DIRECT INCENTIVES Cash grants from a city available for qualified relocations or expansions based on their total overall economic impact within the city. SALES TAX REBATES A city can elect to refund a portion of its sales taxes to a sales tax generating company based on certain performance standards and the overall economic impact of the company’s operations within the city. VALUE ADDED TAX ABATEMENTS Available for New Building expenditures and other new Personal Property on qualified projects up to 100% for 10 years. TAX INCREMENT FINANCING Cities and the county have the ability to create a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. Tax increment financing is a tool that local governments can use to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area. The cost of improvements to the area is repaid by the contribution of future tax revenues by each taxing unit that levies taxes against the property.





Full renovations planned for Fall 2014.

Complete renovations are underway.





Building signage available.

Complete renovations are underway. Top of building signage available.


MARCI PHILLIPS 281.444.6434




8 US & EU


OIL & GAS COMPANIES Businesses from all over the world have taken notice of the staggering growth US and European (EU) Oil and Gas companies have experienced as of late and naturally are wanting to tap into some of that potential revenue stream. On-shore projects alone are expected to be worth over $11 billion in 2015. But doing business within the US and EU O&G industry is different that it is in most of the world. Eight things you need to know to sell your product or service to the US and EU O&G companies.




It doesn’t matter who you know. In many parts of the world, knowing the right person, especially in national oil companies, will help get products or services listed on approved vendor lists. And then they will make internal “suggestions” and bingo, you’re in business selling your product or service to that O & G company. Well it doesn’t work that way in the US and EU, although it did work that way in the distant past. Now because of ethics, compliance, procurement and shareholder value consideration, US oil and gas companies buy the best solution to a given problem, factoring in many elements, none of which is who knows whom. Foreign companies struggle with this one difference more than any other, often hiring salespeople solely on the basis of available lists of contacts. Well, that’s a certain recipe for failure. So when selling to these companies it’s more important that a product or solution solve a real business problem in a way that provides value to the business more than whom a sales team knows.


It’s a waste of time and resources to try and get on the “Approved Vendor” list. Supply chain is a critical business driver across the oil and gas industry. Upstream, midstream, downstream and other services are all revamping their supply chain. And they are all moving away from the concept of letting just any company be added to the approved vendor lists solely on the basis of meeting a certain criteria. Instead, they are strictly vetting vendors with real benefit to the company before placing them on any list. This makes it near impossible to get supply chain to add contractors to approved vendor lists. And even if somehow a contractor makes it on the list, there is no guarantee that company will win that bid.

Showing solutions to relevant problems and a strong ROI, will ensure approval on any vendors list. And you will be guaranteed sales. This approach has been proven successful over and over again with our clients.

change, (we love Proof of Concept), but you must understand that your going to run into this when trying to sell your product or service to this industry.



It’s old-fashioned. This industry still gives out real turkeys for Thanksgiving and real hams for Christmas. Almost no US or EU O&G company engage clients on Facebook or Twitter, and much of the business processes are still done on paper. Magazines, catalogs and tradeshows drive way more sales than social media (we know because we measure this every year). And phone calls are still the preferred method of communication. This industry tends to run about ten years behind other verticals, so thinking about sales along the line of the early 2000s is a wise move. Sounds strange, but that’s just how the industry is and adapting to traditional models of business will safeguard any sell.


The industry does not like change. And what do I mean by that? The O&G industry is risk adverse, which naturally makes them resistant to change. If you’re bringing something new to the industry, instead of thinking what is the benefit of your new product or service the first thing the industry thinks of is what is the risk of switching from what I am doing now. Even if what they are doing now is nothing.

The industry is global. So lets say you’ve done your market research and due diligence and your in the door at Chevron upstream. You need to remember that when your talking to that decision making team, two of those guys will be in California, three or four will be here in Houston, two will be in Rio, and one will be in London, and one will be in Norway. Well the guys in Rio are Brazilian, they’re not Americans. The guys in Norway are Norwegian, the guys in London are from the UK and you have to understand that these geographic regions have different business cultures. So when talking to the Norwegian Chevron guy, if you’re a minute late he is going to take that as an insult. And he will not want to get to know you socially, that’s just how business is done in that part of the world. As opposed to the Brazilian Chevron guy, who will not let you even talk business until you’ve went out to dinner at least 4 times. And you can expect him to be an hour late for his own meetings. Being able to understand and adapt to these different business cultures within the same organization is crucial to your sales success.

Of course there is a reason for this. If you think about what the makes up the core of the business, it’s a bunch of engineers that travel to other countries, drill through 5000 feet of water, 2000 feet of rock, to capture something that is explosive and environmentally harmful. So naturally they think about risk first, benefit second. There are many ways to get around this resistance to 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC



This industry is complex. Because it’s so profitable, this industry has a large and complicated organizational structure with multiple layers of management, many of whom are ”retired in place”. Often with both geographic and product line reporting, this makes it almost impossible for someone outside the industry to navigate through.Combine that with all the different business units (Chevron has 25), each one with its own budget, president, CIO, supply chain and goals, and all the different segments (upstream, midstream, downstream & service), in all the different countries that they operate in. And the complexity becomes apparent.Meeting with people in the O&G industry that have budget is easy. But 99.5% of them will never buy from you. You could spend your entire career meeting with industry business leaders and never sell a damn thing. You need to be able to quickly eliminate those of whom will never buy from you, so you can focus 100% of your efforts on those that will. This one tactic alone usually increases sales for our clients exponentially.


It’s relationship based. This is not a contradiction to Number 1, but a subtle difference. This industry is still people doing business with people. And the business leaders want a high trust, mutually beneficial relationship with their vendors.Who you know will not secure you business. But having the right relationships in place will speed up the process, and also give you much greater insight to the problems that the business is struggling with. This is why we always advise our clients to have a presence in Houston, TX (the global epicenter of the O&G industry). Even if its just one person working from home. It’s almost impossible to start forming these high value relationships without having feet on the street. 26


Its unreasonable to think you can build these relationships over night, but if you do the wrong thing its very easy to lose these relationships over night. Deliver what you promise, have fair pricing & terms, be honest and ethical in your business dealing, and don’t be afraid to say “sorry, we don’t do that”. Combine that with networking within the O&G industry

and you will be well on your way to having the right relationships in place to be successful.

8 Only the business has money. Most of the functions in the US and EU O&G companies use a charge back model. This means that IT, HR, Legal etc… don’t necessarily have budget for new investments. They have just enough to keep things running status quo. So, if they want to purchase or invest in something new they must go to the business and ask for the money. And unfortunately they are horrible at explaining to the business what the benefits are of spending this money. So most of the time the request is denied. This means that if you wanted to sell some IT solution to ExxonMobil, you would be foolish to go talk to the IT people at Exxon. It would have much lower chance for success and the sales cycle would be incredibly long and painful. What you want to do is figure out what business problem this IT solution fixes, then go talk to the business about fixing the problem. If they see the benefit the sale will happen, and the sales cycle will be much faster and easier. IT will be brought in by the business to help you, instead of them controlling the sale. So hopefully this helps you understand the differences in doing business with the US & EU O&G companies. It’s a great industry full of really great people, and there is a lot of revenue potential for companies that can solve crucial problems.





UMID FIELD, OFFSHORE AZERBAIJAN In August 2013, a unique liner completion operation under complicated geological and technical conditions was carried out by the specialists of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Drilling Trust and NewTech Services in the offshore well No. 12 at UMID field. The liner runs a depth of 5805 m into the lateral borehole through the “window” cut in the intermediate casing. No. 12 marks a transition for natural gas extraction in Azerbaijan, a first for meeting Azeri demand for the valuable resource. “UMID is the second largest gas field discovery after SHAHDENIZ in as many years since Azerbaijan’s independence,” - says the President of SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic), Mr. Rovnag Abdullayev. Umid offshore field is located 75 kilometers south of Baku, the capital of the southern Caucasian country, and 40 kilometers from the Caspian shore line. The first geophysical work in the area was carried out in 1953. Later, between 1977 and 1992, nine exploration wells were drilled at the expanding field, but none of them were productive. 28


In August 2009, the 10th exploration well was spud in, and at the depth of over 6,500 meters the gas field, with reserves of 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 30-40 million tons of condensate, was discovered

inclination of the lateral hole was 20-23 degrees, and dog-leg severity was equal to 2.3 deg/30 m.

• COT Landing Collar, Model PHP;



The 7-5/8” OD, 39 ppf weight, P-110 grade, with VAM FJL connections (flush joint liner) was set into 10” OD, 68.7 ppf weight, P-110 grade casing. The liner assembly comprised Davis-Lynch (DL) and Chancellor Oil Tools (COT) elements – from bottom to top, see fig. 1:

• DL Down-Jet Auto Fill Float Shoe, Model 505-AD activated by 1.5” weighted drop ball.

While drilling the 8-1/2” hole section, the pipes became stuck. Neither remedial measures nor fishing operations were successful in freeing the drilling pipes. Sidetracking operations, however, a “window” was cut in the 10” intermediate casing between depths of 4872 m and 4877 m. The lateral hole was drilled to a depth of 5805 m using an 8-1/2” drill bit and oil based mud with a mud weight of 2.12-2.18 g/sm3. After reaching TD the borehole was underreamed to the diameter of 9.84”. The

• DL Auto Fill Float Collar, Model 705-AF activated by 1.5” weighted drop ball;

• COT Tie Back Receptacle; • COT Liner Top Packer, Model D with MS molded seal element; • COT Hydraulic Dual Cone Liner Hanger, Model HDC activated by 1.75” drop ball;



LINER RUN The 7-5/8” liner was run through the “window” cut in 10” casing on 5.5” x 5.0” drill pipe (1129 m x 3399 m). The total length of liner was 1183 m, which was set in the interval 4622 m to 5805 m. The liner run was associated with the following complicated conditions: • Run through the “window”; • Big liner set depth; • Run in the deviated hole, inclination at liner top, “window” and TD was 20, 21, and 23 degrees, respectively; • Small clearances between 10” casing ID and liner hanger OD, which at a standard liner hanger design is equal to 0.248” • High mud weight; • Presence of intake horizons and additional surge pressures. To avoid borehole problems while running the liner it was suggested that Davis-Lynch Auto Fill float equipment be used, as well as some changes to the liner hanger design (these changes were made in cooperation with Chancellor Oil Tools), including reducing top packer and hanger cones’ ODs. These changes allowed for the increase of borehole clearance up to 0.394”. To decrease the negative impact of surge effect and possibility of mud losses, a special operations procedure was developed. According to the calculations of surge pressure, the recommended liner lowering speed was not to exceed 0.200.25 m/s, allowing a problemfree running of the liner and with minimum losses of mud or productive time. Setting the Hanger and Cementing the Liner After the liner was successfully run to TD, the following operations were provided for setting the hanger, and for cementing the liner. 30


• Float equipment (collar and shoe) were activated by dropping the 1.5” brass ball, circulating it down at a slow pump rate, and increasing pressure up to 30 bars over circulation pressure; • Liner hanger was set by dropping the 1.75” brass ball, circulating it down at a slow pump rate until it seated in ball seat of landing collar, and increasing pressure up to 160 bars; • Cement ports of landing collar were open by shearing off ball seat at the pressure of 280 bars; • Setting tool was released by setting the running nut in neutral position and rotating 15 turns to the right; • The required volume of spacer and cement were pumped; pump down dart was dropped; displacement was pumped; liner wiper plug was sheared off; displacement was continued until plugs were bumped at landing collar; • Liner top packer was set by slacking down 50,000-60,000 lbs of drill pipe weight; • After the packer was set, setting tool was picked up from the top of tie-back receptacle; excess cement was circulated out, and the setting tool was pulled out of the hole.

CONCLUSIONS A unique liner completion operation under complicated geological and technical conditions was carried out in the well No. 12 at UMID field, offshore Azerbaijan. The 7-5/8” liner with a total length of 1183 m was run through the “window” cut in 10” casing to the depth of 5805 m. Due to the changes to liner hanger design, and utilization of the developed operations procedure for reducing negative impact of surge pressure, the liner was run successfully, and with minimum loss of productive time.

for healthier generations Gluten-Free








INTERVIEW Mr. Deniz Cevik is the first Turkish investor Hospitality business in Houston


Mr. Deniz Cevik possesses

an extensive amount of experience in the real estate and construction business in Turkey as well as in the United States. Among many of his accomplishments, the one that stands out the most is a construction of a 13 story, 40 unit condominium building with retail stores located on the ground floor in Istanbul, Turkey. Apart from real estate and construction, Mr. Cevik is a successful investor in import and wholesale of electronics and vending machines internationally. Drawing on his broad understanding in construction and real estate business, Mr. Cevik began investing in certain areas in the United States. In 2013, Mr. Cevik acquired Solidarity Contracting LLC and is currently the owner and CEO, focusing on general contracting. Mr. Cevik, a devoted businessman, is the owner of multiple buildings nationally and internationally. Upon his many successful investments, Mr. Cevik decided to diversify his investments by branching out to the hospitality business. In 2014, Mr. Cevik purchased a Sleep Inn hotel by the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and began transforming the hotel into an elite enterprise. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC



HOSPITALITY INVESTMENTS The United States is a nation with unlimited opportunities and opens its door for anyone and everyone to invest. Namely Texas, which is considered as the number one state for hospitality growth, has huge investment potential; but deciding where to invest is critical. With approximately 900 hotels and 84,000 hotel rooms, Houston is the tenth-largest hotel market in the nation. In the last ten years, the Houston hotel market has realized a compounded annual rate of growth in supply of approximately 2%. Mr. Deniz Cevik is the first Turkish investor in the hotel industry. With a background in the real estate business, trade, and construction from Turkey, Mr. Cevik talks about the four major criteria to be considered when looking to invest from Turkey into the United States hotel and lodging industry.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! One of the most important criteria is the location. When he first arrived, Cevik spent an entire year researching different areas. A high scale flag hotel in a low area would not be successful. 34


The standards of both must match. Mr. Cevik further concluded that it’s in the best interest of the hotel to be located in densely populated areas and in close proximity to other facilities such as airports, restaurants, and tourist spots etc. The next step is to do a cost-benefit analysis of the hotel in interest. The selection process is complicated when it comes to choosing a franchise. It is therefore important to understand the brand image, the total cost of affiliation, and research the operational history of the hotel as well as the condition of the existing building so that it may pass inspection. Mr. Cevik seized the opportunity to invest in Sleep Inn & Suites. The three-story, 54 room hotel is located near the Houston International Airport and popular restaurants. Houston is one of the fastest growing cities and the lodging market has rebounded after recession, which is evident from the fact that in 2013 Houston’s occupancy rate was the highest. The future in the hotel industry is surely promising.

Houston is rapidly growing with no signs of slowing down, especially in the hospitality business. It does not matter if you are from Turkey, The United States or any other part of the world because with proper research and planning, appropriate documentations as well as dedication, investment is possible.

BUSINESS EXPANSION The second major point is business expansion. After investing in his first hotel, Mr. Cevik is looking to explore and develop in the area, such as investing in other hotel brands. It is much easier to simply buy an existing hotel than building one from the ground up. Nevertheless, in the long run, constructing a hotel from the ground up pays off and it is more lucrative. Mr. Cevik pointed out that by being the owner of one franchise already, it was much easier for him to invest in another since owning one franchise facility expanded his network and it helped him gain the recognition as an investor. His plan of adding a fourth story and an estimated 25 more rooms is facilitated because he has already met the requirements needed, has obtained the land, as well as a plan of action.

PLANNING AHEAD AND FINANCING Obviously, after the groundwork, businesses face operational and start up challenges and this leads to the third and fourth major points. Mr. Deniz Cevik came to the United States with a green card; therefore he was spared from any issues regarding visa, unlike most foreigners who struggle with cumbersome visa process. However,

there are plenty of opportunities for investors without a green card. Investor visas are available which offer practically the same benefits as a resident or citizen of the US. He also faced challenges of deciding who the Stakeholders would be; choosing a Certified Public Accountant, Financial Advisors and Consultants, as well as knowing and understanding how financing works in the United States: how to finance from a bank or other financial institutions. With any good project, if you pay enough of a down payment, you can always finance something much more easily. Planning ahead is very important. Mr. Cevik says that he plans about three years in advance. He emphasizes that those looking to invest must estimate how much you will need for your project and who will finance. That is why it is very important to work with third parties so that they may offer their support for your investment. Cevik purchased existing hotels because it was important for him to learn the different strategies and observe how the business in the industry worked. However, strategies may also be altered and tweaked to better fit individual needs. Not only the investment, but also the results of those investments, should be focused on as well. Government regulations and taxes play an important role in every business and differ from one country to the other. It becomes extremely important to know the regulations and abide by them. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC


A robust workforce, customized incentive packages, close proximity to navigable waterways, stable infrastructure and affordable operating costs in a centralized location—just some of the many reasons to set up business in Mississippi. 36





Having garnered national attention for its favorable business climate, Mississippi continues its competitive trend towards a globally competitive and world-renowned, businessattractive State. Companies across the globe are taking note of Mississippi’s abundant resources. Nissan, Toyota and Yokohama Tire Corporation are a few of the foreign global conglomerates that have recently begun to tap into the potential found within the State. Nissan broke ground in Canton, Mississippi more than a decade ago and continues to flourish and expand. The plant is home to almost 6000 employees and has produced over 2.6 million vehicles. With Nissan thriving in the State, the company recently added its first supplier park in Canton. This newly added park is projected to add eight hundred (800) jobs. In 2011 Toyota also opened a plant in Mississippi, in Blue Springs. By the end of 2014, the plant is expected to export more than 7500 Corollas from the Bayou State—the world’s bestselling vehicle of all time—to eighteen countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Toyota Mississippi directly employs 2000 people.

The Magnolia State was recently awarded the coveted 2013 Silver Shovel by Area Development Magazine, and a year later is still being recognized as one of the top 10 states for doing business and one of the top five states in terms of competitive labor costs. Mississippi also ranks high at number two among all states for both critical competitive utility costs and permitting speed, an accomplishment Governor Phil Bryant highlighted at his 2014 State of the State Speech this past January. 38


More recently, in September 2013, Yokohoma Tire Corporation announced they would locate their first US-built commercial tire truck plant in West Point, Mississippi. The company’s initial investment of $300 million will create 500 jobs. Anticipated expansions will potentially create approximately 2000 more jobs and $1.2 billion dollars in company investments. Mississippi’s success story is not based solely on foreign investment. A large part of the state’s economic and business accomplishments come from its many local companies’ ventures abroad. As a worldwide leader in the cotton industry, for example, Mississippi continues its competitive edge to promote economic development and growth. Staplcotn, headquartered in Greenwood, produces between 2-3 million cotton bales annually and exports to over 20 countries. Staplcotn maintains a successful working relationship with Turkey, historically the second largest importer of US cotton. With Turkey as one of their largest export markets, Staplcotn has been able to make a significant contribution to cotton sales in the United States.

Why do so many companies choose the Magnolia State to open their doors? Mississippi is located in the fastest growing region of the US and is strategically located in a prime location for international trade. Mississippi is one-day accessible to 55 percent of US businesses, offering itself as a gateway to Central, Latin America and other trade destinations. Its extensive infrastructure and transportation system of 2500 miles of mainline railroad track, 14 federal highways, six interstate highways, 80 airports and two deep water ports provide easy access to a wide variety of foreign and domestic trade opportunities. At the center of its robust, interconnected economy is its strong workforce. As one of only 24 right-to-work states, Mississippi is proactive in creating resources available for workforce training. The state is home to 15 outstanding community colleges and eight public universities, four of which are research universities. Access to these research facilities, as well as their collaborative efforts with industries ensure specialized workforce-training, making Mississippi a prime location for economic development. Natural resources are in no short supply, either. Mississippi is home to three oil refineries: Ergon Refining in Pascagoula, Hunt Refining Company in Sandersville and Chevron

Pascagoula Refinery. These three refineries account for about two percent of the nation’s total capacity, producing about 364,000 barrels of oil per day. The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery is the ninth largest refinery in the United States, producing 330,000 barrels of oil each day. Mississippi appeals to foreign and national investment by providing catered incentive packages which rival other states. These tailored incentive packages identify the unique needs of each business looking to locate to Mississippi and offers a combination of tax incentives, loan programs, grant programs, business incentives and credits. Tax credits such as our Rural Economic Development Tax Credit, our sales and use tax exemption for construction or expansion, and our Research and Development Skills Tax Credit provide customized incentives to encourage expansion and growth. Mississippi is an aggressive competitor in the global marketplace. Its businessfriendly climate continues to attract outstanding international companies from around the globe. With its abundant natural resources, strong workforce and competitive incentives, Mississippi is prime for further expansion and is actively seeking additional foreign trade and investment. Mississippi is open for business.




Gemini Enterprises, Inc:



Turkey has experienced incredible economic growth over the past decade, thus becoming one of the most important emerging economies in the world. With a rapidly growing economy Turkey has also become one of the fastest growing energy markets in the world. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy consumption is expected to grow at an annual clip of around 4.5 percent from 2015 to 2030, essentially doubling over the next fifteen years. The Turkish government has made it a priority to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the country’s total installed power to a remarkable 30 percent by 2023. 40


Capitalizing on the massive investment opportunities in Turkey’s renewable energy sector is Houston-based Gemini Enterprises, Inc. Gemini Enterprises specializes in providing international procurement services to oilfield, pipeline, petrochemical, and geothermal companies. Leading Gemini Enterprises is Mr. Nezih Zeren. Mr. Zeren was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey, and attended the Middle East Technical University graduating with a degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1971. After working as a field supervisor and engineering section manager for Mobil’s Turkish Exploration Unit for thirteen years, Mr. Zeren immigrated to the United States in 1984. Two years later, in 1986, Gemini Enterprises was born. To learn more about his successful company and his journey I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Zeren. Q: Why did you choose Houston, Texas, as the place to start your business? A: As a petroleum engineer in Turkey I always knew that Houston was a major global oil and gas hub. Houston had easy access to exporting facilities such as the Port of Houston and Bush Intercontinental Airport, which made it a very attractive location for an export business. Houston was and still is a very welcoming and friendly city to me with a tremendous amount of diversity and opportunity. Q: Why and how did you start Gemini Enterprises? A: In the mid 1980’s, there was a demand for oilfield equipment in Turkey. However, sourcing the equipment was a problem. I was in the U. S. and was asked to locate this equipment but in order to

AMERICAN DREAM fulfill all of the requests I was receiving, I had to form a business entity to better serve this growing market. Also remember that during this time here was no Internet or E-mail. Technology was limited, to say the least, and the business was started using telephones, telex, and facsimile transmissions. Based on my experience as a field engineer and talking to various oil and gas professionals, I saw a niche market not being served so I seized the opportunity. The niche market was development of business-to-business communication in the international oil

and gas supply chain. Since I have always had a keen interest in technology, I knew there was a more efficient way to bridge the communication gap in international business relationships. Q: How was Gemini’s first couple of years? A: Starting your own business is never easy and 1986 was a very tough year for the oil and gas industry. Oil prices plummeted to $10 per barrel and the Houston economy was not in great shape. Business was definitely very slow for the

first few years. During those early years I worked on building relationships with various oil and gas equipment suppliers, producers, and service companies. Around 1991-1992, business began to stabilize and in the mid- to late 90’s business took off. Q: So what exactly does Gemini do? A: Gemini is involved in all activities related to obtaining materials from outside suppliers to the ultimate delivery of these products to its clients. These



Q: What would you say to investors seeking to invest in Turkey’s energy sector? A: Geographically, Turkey is a great asset for its allies, especially for the EU, in securing energy distribution and minimizing energy dependence. In addition to this, with its strong growth potential, young workforce, and a rapid urbanization and industrialization, Turkey is a profitable investment destination in the energy sector for global capital. Q: What are some of the benefits that Gemini Enterprises provides to its clients?

activities include supply sourcing, negotiation, order placement, transportation, storage, handling, and quality assurance. Gemini’s scope of supply includes but is not limited to oilfield, pipeline, petrochemical, geothermal, mining, and construction companies. Q: What is Gemini’s target market and who are your clients? A: We sell to several different oilfield, pipeline, petrochemical, geothermal, mining, and construction companies overseas. Specifically, most of our international business is in Turkey. Some of our clients include local and regional Turkish government institutions and smaller independent private energy companies. Q: How has Turkey contributed to Gemini’s success? A: Turkey has been aggressively growing and developing. This has led to very high energy demands and, therefore, greater equipment requirements. This growth and demand has provided Gemini with an ever-developing market that we, because of our experience and expertise, can serve by supplying various equipment and services. Likewise, as a result of Turkey’s growing presence in the development of geothermal energy, this market has become a sizeable part of our business.



Q: Why are you so bullish on Turkey’s renewable energy sector, specifically geothermal energy? A: Turkey is rich in geothermal reservoirs and is very ambitious to utilize its renewable energy sources. Being able to utilize its existing renewable energy potential is crucial to Turkey for solving its energy dependency. We at Gemini Enterprises recognize this potential and future business opportunities that exist.

A: We have over 29 years of in-house experience and we are capable of sourcing even the most difficult to find equipment. Our pricing is highly competitive because of our strong vendor relations. Furthermore, it is our mission and policy to provide top-notch customer service to every client. We accomplish this through prompt response and turn-around time, a dedication to satisfying our clients’ needs to the best of our abilities, and by acting as a single source for order consolidation, shipping and bottom-line savings. In summary, Gemini Enterprises is a singlesource solution for our clients’ equipment and service needs. Q: How can we learn more about Gemini Enterprises? A: Please visit our website at or feel free to call us anytime at +1 281-583-2900 or E-mail us at

The most innovative way to fund your business


You have an idea and you believe it will make a great business…or a very innovative product that will drastically improve people’s lives…But you don’t have the money to fund your business or to create and market the inventory of the products to launch the business. You are not alone and that is good news. In other words, there is a new and very effective solution: crowdfunding. Until recently, as an entrepreneur and/or small business owner, your options were limited to either getting a small business loan from a financial institution or asking for money from people you know: both stressful and time-consuming. Internet and related technologies have forever changed the way we do business in many aspects, and the waves of changes are far from over. One of the most recent waves that opened new possibilities to solve the initial funding problem for small businesses is the revolutionary idea of crowdfunding. The crowdfunding industry has grown exponentially over the last five years, helping people raise billions of dollars for everything from donations for personal art projects to equity financing for businesses. The crowdfunding industry has been growing exponentially and it reached $5.1 billion in 2013 (See figure below). 44



The idea is very simple; as illustrated in the image below. You present your idea, product or project on a crowdfunding website, most likely with a creative and eye-catching video (see the coolest cooler example below) and create your crowdfunding campaign with incentives and rewards for people who would make contributions. Now you sit tight and watch the campaign dollars soar! Of course it is not always that simple and easy but for the successful ones it is almost that easy. At this point an example of such campaigns will illustrate how the system works. We provide the best example there is; the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever in the next section.

A Crowdfunding Success Story:

COOLEST COOLER The most successful crowdfunding project to this date is the “Coolest Cooler” with the contribution of more than 60,000 people. You might ask what is special about this cooler? Well, this cooler includes a blender, a USB charger, waterproof Bluetooth speaker, cutting board, trays and bottle opener as shown in image below. To appreciate the innovation of this product you must really watch the video either using the QR reader to watch using your smart phone or simply search coolest cooler on YouTube. You can also visit the crowdfunding page for the project at coolest-cooler-21st-century-cooler-thatsactually?ref=discovery The project was launched with a goal to raise $50,000, but it amazingly raised a little over $13 Million. The reward incentives for contributors of this project ranged from five-dollar “thank you” pledges to “10 coolest cooler” for those who pledge $1,750. Those who pledged enough ($165 or more) will save at least $130 on the cooler, which will retail for $299. Below is a screenshot from the campaign page that shows two incentives. In a nutshell, crowdfunding sites allow for people with no funds to develop a good idea and generate the funding they need to take their business to the next level. The next issue we will cover are the tips and tricks of running a successful crowdfunding campaign for your small business. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC




phone: 281-495-2004 | fax: 281-495-2006









Oklahoma is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products. Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, ranking among the top states in per capita income and gross domestic growth. Once called Indian Territory because it was home to the five “civilized” tribes, Oklahoma was one of the last states to join the United States. Before the whites

settled the area in the late 19th century, Oklahoma was the home of various Native American tribes, such as the Commanche and Osage. The “five civilized tribes” (Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) moved in to the region from 1828 to 1848 after they were forced to leave the eastern United States. Many of the American Indians living in Oklahoma today are descendents from the original 67 tribes inhabiting Indian Territory. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, second only to California.



Language: English, Cherokee Demonym: Oklahoman; Okie Capital: Oklahoma City Largest Metro: Oklahoma City-Shawnee Area: 181,195 km square Population: 3,850,568 (2013 est) Governor: Mary Fallin (R) Lieutenant Governor: Todd Lamb (R) Website:

aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) operations in the United States. The American Airlines maintenance center in Tulsa is the largest commercial MRO in the world. Oklahoma`s Spaceport is one of only a few in the country and with a 13,500-ft main runway, has one of the largest runways in North America. With nearly 5 million square feet of aviation-suited commercial space within a 4-mile radius of two international airports and the Air Force Base, the state fully supports local and international aerospace companies. The economic forecast for the growth of global aerospace industry is expected to increase rapidly in a decade. Already recognized as the “global aerospace hub�, Oklahoma is leading the way and promising great opportunities for businesses and investors. There are more than 500 aerospace companies contributing over $12.5 billion to the state`s economy such as Boeing, American Airlines, NORDAM and Spirit AeroSystems. According to Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma`s parts and component industry exports to more than 170 countries around the world which brings $4.4 billion to the state. Oklahoma`s aerospace industry is supported by comprehensive training infrastructures. The Federal Aviation Administration Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is the central training and support facility in the U.S. for the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. This center trains more than 20,000 students each year. 12 Oklahoma colleges and universities have undergraduate and graduate level programs and six centers dedicated to training for the aerospace industry. With an existing pool of skilled labor and a system that delivers a pipeline of well-trained workers, Oklahoma`s reputation as the MRO hub of the United States, continues to gain momentum.

The story of aviation often begins with Leonardo Da Vinci`s design for flying machines which would later inspire the Wright brothers and the famous sustainer Kitty Hawk in 1903. Even the most enthusiastic aviators in early 1900s would have struggled to believe the way in which the powered flight evolved during the first 100 years of aviation industry. Starting from Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903 with a basic wind tunnel to the latest technology of TRI model wind tunnels, the first hundred years of flight was just fascinating. Predicting what advancements we may witness over the course of the next 100 years of aviation is just as challenging.

Many people who come from outside the state of Oklahoma have no idea of the role the state has played in the history of the aerospace industry. Oklahoma has been one of the world`s major aerospace industry centers since World War II. Clyde Cessna began testing aircrafts in the state during the early decades of the 20th century. While other states struggling to recover after World War II, Oklahoma already had two airlines founded; Tulsa-Oklahoma City Airways and Southwest Air Fast Express. The Sooner State is one of only seven global aerospace hubs and home to the largest military

Oklahoma is one of the few states to provide a variety of Business Incentive Packages for the aerospace industry such as: Quality Jobs Program, Investment or New Jobs Tax Credit, 21st Century Quality Jobs Programs, Aerospace Industry Engineer Tax Credit, Small Employer Quality Jobs Program and Economic Development Pooled Finance Program.


6.3% of the entire state`s economy

Total Employment


Number of Companies

Over 500


170 countries

Industrial Output

$12.5 billion

Source: Oklahoma Department of Commerce.




Disaster effects management

Rescue and clear up effort supervision

Disaster damage estimation

Crop Management

Disaster Management

Over the past few years, UASs have undergone a radical transformation. Although commercial drones are not legal yet, reports show that companies are already willing to pay high salaries. According to Al Palmer, director of the center for UAS at University of North Dakota, drone pilots are paid about $50 an hour. It is expected that the commercial use of UAS will have a big impact across a wide variety of industries. BI Intelligence predicts that 12% of an estimated $98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes. Currently, only UAS used for recreational and filmmaking purposes are allowed with FAA approval. •

Countryside and Agriculture

Agricultural Activities

Crop Dusting

Commercial Applications of UAS Source: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association Economic forecasts for the growth of the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry, both worldwide and in the U.S., indicate a burgeoning industry set to grow rapidly. For the United States Defense Department alone, expenditures on UAS 50


will rise from its current $3.9 billion per year to over $5.5 billion by 2025. The world market will also triple over the next decade from the current $5.9 billion annually to a projected $15.1 billion. It is estimated that seventy percent of the world Research and Design (R&D) and procurement market in UAS will belong to the U.S. by the year 2020. AUVSI estimates almost 50,000 jobs will be created in the primary UAS market by the year 2015, with $106.6 million in annual wages. With its central location, ideal terrain, research and development capabilities, training programs, business incentives, comprehensive UAS infrastructure, Oklahoma is expected to lead the industry. Oklahoma`s rich history in aerospace has added to the sheer volume of unmanned

Communications and Survey

An Unmanned Aerial System is a reconnaissance vehicle; an aerial vehicle capable of operating without an internal pilot; are tethered by a radio control link; and can be programmed for both flight and payload operations prior to launch. Today, unmanned aircraft are flying in the National Aerospace System (NAS) under very controlled conditions, performing border and port surveillance by the Department of Homeland Security, helping with scientific research and environmental monitoring by NASA and NOAA, supporting public safety by law enforcement agencies, helping state universities conduct research, firefighting, border patrol, disaster relief, search and rescue, military training and other operational missions.


Telecom relay and signal coverage survey

Oil and Gas Exploration and Production

Mineral exploration

Geophysical surveys

aircraft development. The state is leading the on Unmanned Aerial Systems development efforts on all fronts. The state has established the world`s first university graduate degree in UAS at Oklahoma State University (OSU). “I would like Oklahoma to be the Silicon Valley of UAS!” said OSU President Burn Hargis during an open innovation forum on UAS hosted by the university. Sources: Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Aeronautics and Space Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association.


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A staggering 32,923 single-family home building permits were issued for the year a figure, as John Burns Real Estate notes, comparable to the entire state of California. By the fourth quarter of 2013, The Texas Quarterly Housing Report proclaimed that Houston-area home sales not only outpaced other Texas cities, but experienced a higher increase than the whole state combined. Houston’s housing market, no doubt, has since been riding a continuous growth streak, making it difficult for contractors to keep pace.


can be imagined Houston is garnering worldwide attention as a result of its soaring housing numbers, with even declaring, “International real estate investors are falling in love with Houston… that’s luring buyers from Toronto to Tel Aviv seeking properties with lower costs and higher returns than buildings in the priciest US cities.” Contributing to this ongoing upswing is Houston’s population growth and strong economy. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC


BLOOMBERG ISN’T THE ONLY FINANCIAL MEDIA GIANT GUSHING OVER SPACE CITY. CNN MONEY RECENTLY RANKED HOUSTON THE 2ND FASTEST GROWING CITY IN THE US. This surge is not exclusive only to Houston; similar trends in economic and population growth have also been observed across the state, albeit with more subdued momenta. Since 2008 Texas has repeatedly ranked second in the US in terms of population and gross domestic product growth. Houston’s own economic prosperity is primarily attributed to Texas’s low taxes, and oil and gas boom. As it stands Texas has no corporate income tax, making it more attractive for businesses to relocate to. The incentive is clear, considering that 52 Fortune-500 companies are based here in Texas. Aside from being a safe-haven for those seeking tax-relief, Texas is seen as the bedrock of oil and natural-gas exploration and extraction in the US. The Energy Information Administration calculates 47 percent of all active oil rigs in the US are located in the Lone Star State. Along with Texas’s other energy markets, the oil and gas industry has for the most part remained resilient and robust. The industry continues to pull in professional job-seekers from outside the city interested in stable employment and career advancement opportunities.





Both incentives combined have spurred economic and population growth, with more families committed to buying homes. A total of 60,988 single-family homes were sold in the Houston area in the fourth quarter of 2013; that’s a 6.78 percent increase from 2012. The average price of homes in Houston during the same period, meanwhile, is reported by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) to have increased by a reasonable 8.4 percent to $245,707 in 2013, bucking the national trend, which stood at nearly eleven during the same period. It is estimated that around 50,000 new single-family homes would have been built and sold in Houston by the end of 2014. The numbers are very well likely to be close to this estimation considering the celerity in which houses are being built. ”Builders started construction on 7146 new homes during the first quarter (2014), the fastest pace since the third quarter of last year…” claims Davud Jarvus, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Houston Market. The low mortgage interest rates in Houston are also appealing to families looking to



Houston to build their nests. In July of 2014, the number of single-family homes sold in Houston was 7769 that’s the largest monthly sales volume, ever. Meanwhile, days on market, the average number of days it takes an agent to sell listings within the last month to six months, fell to an all time low of 45 in July. At the same time, the average price of single-family homes rose 6.4 percent to $277,000 where the strongest sales were between homes priced at $250,000 and $1 million according to data from HAR monthly report. In its monthly report, HAR also found that total property sales rose 6.7 percent year-over-year, reaching the second highest level of all time. With more businesses having relocated to Texas in recent years, furthermore, it is of little surprise that commercial real estate has also become a real boon. Real Capital, a New York based research firm, stated that office sales in Houston rose by a staggering 32 percent to $3.89 billion in 2012 the sharpest increase in the past five years. The highest profile move occurred a year previous in 2011 when H&R REIT, a Torontobased company, paid $442.5 million for Hess Tower in downtown Houston. A more recent headlining investment was made by Invesco in 2013 for the purchase Williams Tower for $412 million.

looks bright, a premonition also shared by the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). Houston’s gross regional product will double by 2023 while the city adds nearly 1.2million residents and 700,000 new jobs according GHP analysis. Just recently The Atlantic published an article referring to Houston, saying Houston is “… the first major city to regain all the jobs lost in the downturn, has now added more than two jobs for every one it lost after the crash.” The Texas Workforce Commission stated that Houston accounted for 32.3 percent of the state’s job growth from July 2012 to July of 2013. In fact, Houston’s job growth is twice that of the nation according to the US Department of Labor Statistics, adding to Houston’s auspicious housing boom. With Houston being home to 23.7 percent of the state’s population and with such great economic projections for the future, it is guaranteed that the housing market in Houston will continue to grow exponentially in the foreseeable future.

Given that the economy of Houston continues to grow, the future of real estate for the city



$3,89 billion



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Visa Options for


Investors and their key workers traveling to the United States for business or investment need a visa authorizing those activities. U.S. immigration law provides a wide variety of visas that authorize individuals to enter the U.S. to conduct business or manage investments. Selecting the right visa can save both time and money. Each visa category has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, evaluating all U.S. visa options will help investors and their workers identify which is the best option for them. 60


Selecting the best visa category requires analysis of the proposed business, investment, or employment activities as well as the employment history, education and nationality of the individual who will apply for a visa. Foreign investors or their workers requiring temporary employment authorization in the U.S. commonly utilize nonimmigrant visa categories such as the L-1, E-1, E-2 or H-1B visa. These temporary visas normally may be obtained in a relatively short period of time ranging from a few days to several weeks. The alternative immigration option, obtaining permanent resident status (commonly referred to as “green card� status), typically is more costly and may take from six months to well over a year to complete. Accordingly, most foreign investors and their key workers seeking to begin operations in the U.S. initially enter with a temporary visa.

BUSINESS VISITORS Any foreign person may apply for admission to the United States to engage in activities associated with international business with a B-1 visitor visa. Business visitors may engage in a wide range of activities including, for example: negotiating or signing contracts,

consulting with business associates, developing sales, procuring goods, setting up a new business or opening an office. Guidelines used by immigration authorities to distinguish between such permissible business activities and unauthorized local employment are vague and are often restrictively interpreted. Accordingly, if an individual will manage or perform services on behalf of a U.S. company it may be necessary to obtain a visa that authorizes employment in the United States. TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES The L-1 intercompany transferee visa category may be available to owners or employees of foreign companies that establish an affiliated entity in the U.S. Usually, the U.S. entity must have at least 50% common ownership with the related entity outside the U.S., but this is not an absolute rule. Individuals eligible for an L-1 visa must have worked for a foreign affiliate outside the U.S. as an executive, manager or employee utilizing specialized knowledge for at least 12 months and must be coming to the U.S. to work in one of these capacities. A group of affiliated companies may qualify for “blanket L” classification. Companies with blanket L approval may have workers apply for the visa directly to a U.S. consulate, bypassing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”). This allows the transfer of qualified employees to the U.S. while saving both immigration service adjudication time and some of the costs associated with the immigration process. An alternative visa category is available based on a bi-lateral treaty between Turkey and the United States. The treaty supports use of the E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty

investor visa categories. These visas may be available if a U.S. company is owned at least 50% by Turkish citizens. A trader enterprise is one that conducts more than half its business between the U.S. and Turkey. An investor enterprise is one that has made a “substantial” investment in the U.S. There is no minimum amount for an investment to be considered “substantial” for purposes of the E-2 treaty investor visa category. Instead, the investment must be substantial relative to the type of company being established. In addition to the individual investor, key employees performing managerial, executive or essential skill jobs may qualify for E visas. Each employee who will apply for an E visa must have the same nationality as the owners of the treaty enterprise. Another visa category, for H-1B specialty workers, may be available for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent knowledge, coming to the U.S. to perform a job that normally requires a university degree. The worker is not required to have been employed abroad by an affiliate of the U.S. company and is not required to have Turkish citizenship. The employer must pay the worker at least the “prevailing wage” in the region where he will be employed and comply with other regulatory requirements. There is an annual quota of up to 85,000 H-1B visas that may be issued each year. Due to the demand for H-1B visas, the quota usually is exhausted early in the year. Accordingly, advance planning is essential to capture an available H-1B visa. A company seeking H-1B classification for a foreign worker must file a petition with USCIS. Once the USCIS approves the petition, the worker may apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate.

Companies frequently encounter delays in the adjudication of applications by USCIS or a U.S. consulate abroad. USCIS takes from 2 to 6 months to adjudicate L-1 and H-1B petitions. An expedited, 15 day service is available from the USCIS in exchange for payment of a $1,225.00 filing fee. Treaty enterprises or those with blanket L approvals can avoid these costs and delays with E or L visas since the visa applications are filed directly with a U.S. consulate without the need to first obtain USCIS approval. There are a variety of other visas that authorize temporary employment. These include the TN, H-1B1, E-3, O-1, J-1, H-3 and H-2B visa categories. Each of these, however, may have limited applicability for Turkish investors or their workers coming to perform a local assignment in the U.S. PERMANENT RESIDENT IMMIGRATION CATEGORIES Foreign investors or their workers may seek U.S. permanent resident alien status for a variety of reasons. An individual may be motivated to seek resident status by a desire to permanently relocate to the U.S., to maintain a stable legal status in the U.S. while managing investments, to

send children to U.S. universities or merely because temporary visa categories may limit the total amount of time that may be spent in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant. Whatever the reason, as with nonimmigrant visas, selecting the best visa category may save significant time and money in the U.S. immigration process. Employment-based immigrants normally must have a U.S. employer file a petition on their behalf with USCIS. Before filing the petition, the employer usually must obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) confirming that there are no qualified U.S. workers available and willing to accept the job opportunity. This “labor certification” process is extremely complex but functions reasonably well as a process for obtaining permanent resident status for key workers.



Paradoxically, the labor certification process is unavailable to foreign investors who may be able to use the process for their workers. This restriction is based on DOL’s reasoning that investors, as owners of a business, would never replace themselves by agreeing that an available U.S. worker is qualified to fill the job they currently are performing. Several immigrant visa options allow foreign investors to bypass the labor certification process and obtain U.S. permanent resident status based on their business activities. The immigrant investor visa category, commonly referred to as the EB5 program, and the multinational manager category are two viable visa options for many foreign investors and business executives. IMMIGRANT INVESTORS THE EB5 PROGRAM The immigrant investor EB5 visa category has two distinct procedures available for individuals to obtain resident alien status based on an investment in the U.S. The first involves direct investment in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that the individual will actively manage and direct. The second involves investment in a Regional Center which contemplates less active participation in the management of the enterprise. Both procedures involve extraordinarily complex rules which are briefly summarized below. DIRECT INVESTMENT An entrepreneur may petition for EB5 immigrant investor classification if investing $1 million or more in a new commercial enterprise, to be managed by the investor that will create 10 or more full-time jobs. This simple sentence includes many concepts that require clarification. The usual amount necessary to make a qualifying EB5 investment is $1 million. Investments made in a “targeted employment area,” however, require commitment of only $500,000. Targeted employment areas are rural areas or areas with high unemployment. Investors are required to present detailed documentation demonstrating the investment funds were derived from a lawful source. The investment may be in the form of cash, equipment, or inventory. A loan secured by the investor’s assets, other than the investment enterprise itself, also may constitute qualifying funds. An exchange of capital for a debt from the investment enterprise may not be a qualifying direct investment for EB5 purposes. A commercial enterprise can be virtually any for-profit business activity but does not include noncommercial activity such as owning a personal residence. Only an investment in a new commercial enterprise may be used to acquire an EB5 immigrant visa. This requirement can be satisfied by creating an original business, restructuring an existing business or expanding an existing business by increasing its 62


net worth or number of employees by at least 140 percent.


A foreign entrepreneur must be able to demonstrate he has invested or is in the process of investing the required capital. Accordingly, it is not necessary to commit the entire amount of qualifying funds or to employ 10 U.S. workers at the time an EB5 petition is filed. It is necessary, however, to demonstrate more than a mere intention to invest. This can be established by documenting that investment capital has been placed at risk through acquisition of assets, transfer of property, etc.

Individuals wishing to obtain U.S. resident alien status through investment activity but who are not interested in establishing or running a new commercial enterprise may obtain EB5 classification through a Regional Center. Any public or private entity involved in activities such as development of economic growth, increased exports, improved productivity and job creation may apply to USCIS to be recognized as a Regional Center. Regional Centers aggregate funds from multiple investors in order to pursue an economic objective such as building a hotel, research center, entertainment complex or any other lawful business activity. A foreign investor can provide funds to a Regional Center that will invest the funds in a manner that will support an EB5 visa petition.

Multiple investors can qualify for EB5 resident status based on investment in a single commercial enterprise. Each investor must be able to demonstrate a commitment of the required investment amount and creation of at least 10 qualifying jobs. Furthermore, entrepreneurs may qualify for EB5 classification in projects aggregating funds from other investors who are not applying for an immigrant investor visa.

Investment in a Regional Center has some advantages over making an individual direct investment. For example, most Regional Centers

are established in targeted employment areas allowing foreign investors to obtain permanent resident status based on a commitment of only $500,000 rather than $1 million. In addition, satisfaction of the job creation requirement may be demonstrated through economic models that take into account both direct and indirect employment as a result of the investment activity. Also, the investor is not required to actively manage a commercial enterprise. As of November 3, 2014, USCIS had approved approximately 596 Regional Centers operating around the U.S. This is an extraordinary increase in the number of such centers operating in just the last three or four years. Before investing with a Regional Center it is essential that individuals consider two issues. First, determine the likelihood that the Regional Center will ultimately be able to return the capital invested. Second, evaluate the center’s business plan and record to determine the probability it will support a successful EB5 petition.

MULTINATIONAL MANAGERS AND EXECUTIVES Business owners establishing or acquiring a company in the U.S. may be able to qualify for U.S. permanent resident status as a multinational manager or executive. Eligibility for permanent resident status

under this immigration category does not require a minimum investment amount or employment of a certain number of workers in the U.S. Instead, the individual must demonstrate that he was employed outside the U.S. for at least one year as a manager or executive by a company that has at least 50% common ownership with the U.S. company and that he will be performing similar responsibilities in the U.S. The requirements of this immigrant visa category are very similar, but not identical, to those of the nonimmigrant L-1 visa category. Previous L-1 classification is not required. The multinational manager or executive immigrant visa category presents certain challenges. In the recent past, USCIS restrictively reinterpreted the law to impose a requirement that an owner/ investor seeking multinational manager or executive classification for himself must be able to demonstrate the existence of a governing board of the company that employs him in order to qualify for this immigration category. In addition, the company must maintain an operating affiliate abroad and must be doing business in the U.S. for at least one year before filing a petition. Also, the applicant must intend to be employed as a manager or executive of the company in the U.S. There are many advantages of the multinational manager or executive immigrant visa category for investors

wishing to establish or acquire and run a business in the U.S. As noted above, there is no required minimum investment amount or number of workers. Key employees of an investor enterprise can qualify for permanent resident status as well as the investor. The immigration process has fewer steps and is much faster than the EB5 category. For example, an EB5 investor receives conditional resident status and must file a second application after two years to complete the immigration process. In contrast, a multinational manager or executive may receive unconditional resident status in approximately six months upon approval of a petition combined with an application to adjust within the U.S. from nonimmigrant status. Also, there is significantly less documentation to assemble to support a multinational manager or executive petition compared to an EB5 petition. Due to the fewer steps and less complicated documentation requirements, the cost of the immigration process is often significantly less than the EB5 process.

CONCLUSION Investors and their key workers should carefully evaluate all available options before obtaining a U.S. visa and traveling to the U.S. Selecting the best visa option for a given business or investment activity may save considerable time and cost associated with the immigration process. Entrepreneurs should be aware that there are two distinct investor visas. Treaty-based nonimmigrant E-2 visas do not require a minimum investment amount, whereas the EB5 immigrant visa category requires at least a $500,000 commitment. The EB5 program permitting investment in a Regional Center may be most appropriate for individuals wishing to obtain U.S. permanent resident status but not willing or able to manage the daily operations of a commercial enterprise. Investors or their key employees planning to take an active role in running a U.S. business while maintaining an operating company abroad may have a faster, less costly path to resident alien status as managers or executives of their business.



Introducing a Global Mindset

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The legacy of leadership

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TRAVEL combines natural beauty and history in one place. Just 20 km away from City of Denizli, The Unesco World Heritage Site is not just an attraction for beautiful travertines but many come for wellness and also for beautifying effects of Pamukkale as well. Because Pamukkale has a warm climate throughout the year, visitors come to this land pretty much anytime they want.

Your Visit You can reach Pamukkale by car, bus, train or airplane. It makes a great overnight stop as you travel between İzmir, Selçuk, Ephesus, Kuşadası or Marmaris and Antalya or Konya and Cappadocia. It’s possible to visit Pamukkale on a day-trip excursion by train from Selçuk (Ephesus) or İzmir.

Pamukkale Pamukkale is Turkey’s one of the most visited tourist attractions.



Every year, over a million tourists visit this paradise. Pamukkale, literally meaning “Cotton Castle”, was once home to ancient Rome city Hierapolis. Pamukkale

You can spend a pleasant day at Pamukkale, exploring the extensive Roman ruins of Hierapolis, climbing the ranks of seats in the great Roman theater, touring the exhibits in the Archeological Museum, splashing along the travertines (where permitted) and even soaking in the Antique Pool littered with fluted marble columns. Coming from, or going to the Aegean coast, you may be able to combine a visit to Pamukkale and Laodicea with a visit to Aphrodisias, the ancient City of Aphrodite, goddess of love.

Opportunities & Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs in Texas


“Everything is bigger in Texas”.

This is certainly true of the state’s economic growth and its increasing number of created jobs. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, a total of 371,000 jobs we created throughout the course of this year, with the greatest changes in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

industries, followed by the Education and Health Services and Professional and Business Services areas. Poised for strong economic gains, Texas is a state full of opportunities, particularly for women, who represent about 50.3 percent of the population. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC


The Lone Star State has always had a large amount of businesses, but according to the Census Bureau, only 20 percent of them are women-owned. Beverly Denver, publisher of Houston Woman Magazine opened her first journal in 1986, when conditions for women in Texas and in general were not what they are today. A lot of the women were (and some still are) scared to get out there and open their own business. Ms. Denver explains that she did not open her business with the thought of being a woman and the dread of having to face all the obstacles, but with the idea that she loved what she did and wanted to keep doing it. Fortunately, Houston is now a lot more favorable to women striving for career development changes have become more salient as more women have decided to become entrepreneurs. In fact many organizations like the Greater Houston Women Chamber of Commerce, the Women Chamber of Commerce of Texas, the FWA, and the Women Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA), etc. help women with starting and growing their businesses. Even with growing support groups, women’s entrance into entrepreneurial roles have not been without obstacles. April Day, President of the Women Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA), shares that one of the biggest challenges women face when starting a business is the access to funding and corporate procurement. In fact, women often don’t seek the funding they need from lenders.


This is where organizations like the WBEA help. WBEA provides certification for federal and corporate procurement and provides linkages to funding opportunities. Through the support of their Women Business Center, they provide the necessary push to crafting scalable businesses and help women get the contracts needed to make their business become sustainable. Another challenge that women usually face is that male-dominated industries can be difficult to penetrate and many women AMERICANTURKIC 2ND ISSUE

juggle finding their place while still keeping their standards as women. This is why it is critical for women to connect and find mentors to help create strong businesses with the necessary support systems. Luckily, there is still room for innovation, especially given the varied industries women have taken pertinent roles in. According to Ms. Day, industries that have a high need for women right now are construction, technology and manufacturing. It’s easy to open a business if there’s a passion for it, and an understanding of the need that will be provided for. It is also advised that women business owners develop a comprehensive marketing plan, and strengthen their back office (accounting, human resources, IT, etc.) The young graduates and aspiring business women should therefore get out there, be bold and motivated, get the experience needed with the help of a mentor, and as Ms. Denver advised, “work on their business instead of in their business”.




a transition period is one of the most painful time-spans for a developing economy, Azerbaijani policymakers and people know it much better than other societies. The collapse of the Soviet Union was not only a huge fortune for this nation, but also it was a tremendous gain in terms of economic welfare. The latter has two directions. Firstly, the Soviet Union possessed outdated technology which was not sophisticated enough to allow the Big Brother to take all the oil from the relatively unfavorable geographical environment, which mainly exists on the Caspian Sea. The primary extraction plants of the Union were on the onshore fields. The demise of the seventy-year-old regime allowed Azerbaijan to extract its own natural resources. Secondly, even though there was a strong petrochemical industry in Azerbaijan, while it was the member of the communist club, in terms of a



settled manufacturing base, Azerbaijan almost inherited nothing from the Union.Furthermore, highways, heating systems, water supply facilities, and many other public utilities were required to be renewed. Extremely underdeveloped technology and low capacity utilization rates made all the plants non-viable in the new world, in which Azerbaijan was to exist as an independent state. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) provides a real gross industrial output index, which depicts the severity of the transition period for Azerbaijan. This data, shown in Exhibit 1, includes oil and gas production, as well. Note, production dropped much more than this kind of index illustrates. Fortunately, Azerbaijan policymakers chose to adopt to the new environment swiftly.

The “Contract of the Century�, signed in 1994 with well-known multi-national companies, generated a striking magnitude of windfall gains during ten years to follow. The oil boom started in Azerbaijan by 2004. After completing crucial and urgent infrastructure in the next decade, Azerbaijan seeked to establish a national settled manufacturing industry. As Arif Aliyev, Head of the

Exhibit 1. Real gross Industrial Production Index in Azerbaijan Economy

An outstanding student is admitted to a prestigious American university, all financial expenses including tuition, fees and scholarships are covered by state funding. So, American universities may grab the attention of the outstanding Azerbaijani students.



State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan announced recorded data in late 2013, the total investments that took place in social and infrastructure projects in this country equaled 132 billion dollars during the last decade. 51% of the financial sources for these investments are domestic. Furthermore, soon, the 2015 - 2020 State Program on Industrial Development will be publicized. Details of this program are quite important for both domestic and international investors. This state program implies that Azerbaijan intends to bring back the settled manufacturing industry and this step is fertile enough to generate collaborative business opportunities. We need to mention the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), which are successfully applied to the contracts in the oil sector. Azerbaijani-style Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) are unique in that they provide a secure environment for foreign investors. Once PSAs are ratified by the National Assembly (Milli Majlis) of Azerbaijan, the main legislative state body of lawmaking in the country, they are guaranteed against the amendments in the incumbent legislation. This means, there does not exist economic and political risks such as inconvertibility, nationalization and so on. Multi-national enterprises that sign the PSAs are only obliged to pay Corporate Income Tax (CIT). They all are appointed to a special status; exemptions on paying sales and value-added tax (VAT) and etc. Multi-national companies can easily repatriate their profits in Azerbaijan. PSAs created an environment for Azerbaijan to transfer modern technology in a very short time period for the oil industry. As the oil sector is not labor intensive; only 1 percent of its total labor force is employed there. Because of this reason, on the other crucial document, Azerbaijan - 2020 Development Concept, Azerbaijan 72


policymakers set the goal of expanding the middle class. After a sustainable decrease in absolute poverty since 2001, it is now time to adopt policies for achieving the expansion of the middle class. This is why Azerbaijan intends to revitalize the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector generates the multiplier effect on job creation and builds up middle class. Moreover, for Azerbaijan, expanding the manufacturing sector means diversifying economy and exports. In tandem with industrial diversification, one of the policy goals is to

increase per-capita non-oil exports. This topic is a crucial detail because of the following reasons: around 60% of the state budget is financed directly and indirectly via oil revenues; 90% of the total exports are attributed to the hydrocarbon production; and the share of the oil sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is somewhere between 40% - 50%. Generally, in developing countries, the public sector is the primary source of macroeconomic stability. Twin deficits are troublemakers for stable

business environment. Budget deficits bring about strong crowding-out effects on private investment opportunities. Current account deficits generate volatility on exchange rates and negatively effect transactions of private firms. Thanks to windfall gains, both constraints do not exist for the economy itself and firms operating in Azerbaijan. By October 1, 2014, the total assets of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) equaled to $37 billion U.S. dollars. Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBAR) has $15 billion USD strategic reserves.

SOFAZ functions as a cushion on mitigating rapidly increasing oil revenues. SOFAZ assets are allocated on the international financial markets for avoiding negative outcomes stemming from the abrupt increase of windfall gains. Furthermore, oil revenues accrued to the Fund so far has been put aside for future generations. To name some of the collaboration from the American firms, I can mention the following. Currently, the Azerbaijan government applies a Study Abroad program. This program works likes this: An outstanding student is admitted to a prestigious American university, all financial expenses including tuition, fees and scholarships are covered by state funding. So, American universities may grab the attention of the outstanding Azerbaijani students. Science and technology fields are of a priority. There are ongoing state investments on petro-chemical and refining industries. This field is a pretty profitable sector for the international investors. The defense industry has positive spillover effects on innovation and R&D. American firms may seek to collaborate on this

sector. Recently an exhibition took place in Baku, related to this crucial sector: http://www. Favorable geographical environments allow Azerbaijan to accommodate a huge potential for agricultural production. Agricultural innovation and technology transfers could boost profits for the incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). PSA-like agreements can be applied to other sectors of the economy. Last but not least, within the US - Azerbaijan Convention framework, a business forum could be held for the business leaders to discussing more opportunities in person. As President Obama pointed out in Tallinn, about Baltic countries, they are not PostSoviet countries, but rather, they are independent states. This idea holds pretty well for Azerbaijan too. With its friendly business environment, unique PSAs, reinforced energy, security for itself and expanding Europe, Azerbaijan cannot be considered, as a post-Soviet country, but a plausible expression would be an Independent Azerbaijan.

United Nations, one of the policy goals is to increase per-capita non-oil exports. This topic is a crucial detail because of the following reasons: around 60% of the state budget is financed directly and indirectly via oil revenues; 90% of the total exports are attributed to the hydrocarbon production; and the share of the oil sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is somewhere between 40% - 50%.









In banking technical jargon, the gap (or spread) between the interest banks must pay to depositors and the rate that banks charge when they lend money to consumer borrowers is referred to as the “intermediation premium” or “consumer loan premium.” A bank may offer depositors 3% interest on the money in their savings accounts, but borrowers must pay the bank 5%, which creates a premium for the bank of 2%. This premium not only provides interest income to banks but it also influences a country’s level of consumption of goods and services. This consumer loan premium also reveals how commercial banks respond to their government’s efforts to control the ups and downs of the economic cycle (called countercyclical policy), and, therefore, hints at the effectiveness of the central bank’s policymaking. Consequently, analysis of this consumer loan premium illuminates and provides insights into banking behavior. In light of this, this article aims to discuss the behavior of Turkish banks with a focus on their consumer lending and deposit rate setting and the behavior of the consumer loan premium, and in turn, the dynamic interrelationship of the elements that determine them. Worldwide, the various banking deregulations and liberalizations in the 1980s and 1990s were the accumulated offspring of the “neoliberal paradigm”, a so-called “third way” that sought a middle ground between the more extreme economic philosophies of classical liberalism the notion that the best economic decisions possible are the individual decisions of the layperson and central planning the notion that the best economic decision are those made from a central perspective, where more information and a collectivist perspective can be brought to bear. These neoliberal actions took much of the blame for financial crises, not only in Turkey, but all around the world in the 80s and 90s. However, the neoliberal deregulation represented important changes considering the earlier constraints on Turkish financial markets. Interest rates had been strictly controlled since the 1940s and had been changed only five or six times by 1978. These policies led banks already in the system to non-price competition through the opening of new branches. Directed credit programs, established

by the government to encourage loans and investments in particular sectors of the economy, absorbed almost 75% of loanable funds. This situation, together with high barriers to entry and the exit of a large number of banks during the 19601980 period, resulted in a concentrated banking sector dominated by large private and public banks with extensive branch networks. Of the 42 banks in 1980, only four were foreign. Accordingly, the bank-dominated financial sector was uncompetitive and inefficient prior to 1980, with a limited range of products. As a result, these oligopolistic banks were highly profitable, which may have caused overconfidence and a lack of careful analysis of bank performance and managerial oversight. As a response to these problems, the Turkish government had tried since the 1980s to liberalize its banking sector to increase banking efficiency and improve its economy. The liberalization reforms either abolished or relaxed regulations, and the sector responded quickly to these developments. These reforms had two key banking elements: 1. The elimination of interest rate controls and a significant reduction in directed credit programs. 2. The relaxation of entry barriers into the banking system in order to promote competition and to increase efficiency. There were also measures to develop equity and bond markets. In 1984, Turkish residents were allowed to open foreign currency accounts in banks, leading to increased product variety and services. Financial liberalization in Turkey caused the entry of a remarkable number of new banks, both domestic and foreign. By 1990 there were 19 new foreign banks in the system, which equaled the number of new Turkish banks. This, along with allowing banks to competitively price interest rates, caused improved competition in the sector. Increased competition naturally forced banks to reduce their costs, which resulted in the closure of unprofitable branches and the reduction of staff. This eventually increased the overall profitability

and efficiency of the banking system. By the late 1990s, Turkey found itself in the midst of a problematic pattern of domestic fiscal policy. This pattern was established because the Turkish government had fallen into a habit of enormous deficit spending financed by the sale of high-yield bonds. Banks could use deposits and borrowed money to buy these bonds, which funded the government’s deficit spending, which in turn led to the sale of more high-yield bonds. High inflation, public expenditures and continued public sector borrowing in this era led most Turkish banks to leave their traditional banking intermediary roles to instead borrow funds from abroad and

invest those funds in these profitable highyield Turkish treasury bonds. This feedback mechanism led the banking sector to an increase in open positions (outstanding trade risks/opportunities) and exchange rate risk. Government banks endured interest rate risk as a result of short-term, expensive financing policies, and suffered from excessive taxation losses. The government granted new banking licenses in order to minimize their borrowing costs, which naturally increased the number of banks in the sector, but many of these new banks suffered from inefficiency. Decreasing confidence in the financial sector, increasing demand for foreign currency (along with decreasing confidence in the Turkish lira), and the resulting outflows of money from Turkey led to the collapse of the International Monetary Fund-supported exchange rate program of 1999. Banks with high exchange-rate risk were devastated by the drastic loss in purchasing power of the Turkish lira. Many of these banks went bankrupt, though some of them were acquired by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey and some went through a private merger or acquisition process. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC


The banking sector consolidated considerably during the subsequent restructuring of the Turkish banking sector (which cost roughly 36% of gross domestic product and lasted until 2004). After this period, there were intensive foreign entries into the banking sector, and the number of branches and employees of the banks started to rise again. Surprisingly, by the time the global financial crisis struck in October 2008 (affecting even some giant banking groups in highly-developed economies), the Turkish banking sector managed to remain healthy. 76


Thanks in large part to the significant reforms in Turkish banking regulations resulting from the 2000-2001 crisis, 2009 was the most profitable year ever for the five biggest Turkish banks, and all Turkish banks but one were profitable that year. Since central bank policy tends to manipulate banking excess reserve to carry out its monetary policy, we can examine the behavior of Turkish banks to see how effective these policies were, and what the impact were on Turkish depositors and borrowers. We

can do this by looking at the “intermediation premium” described above and understanding the dynamics that cause that gap to widen and narrow in response to changes in the economy and in monetary policy. Economic theory (and banking experience) suggests that monopolies and oligopolies (such as you find in the Turkish banking sector) lead inevitably to predatory pricing behavior. Predatory pricing behavior would be indicated by a consumer loan premium that is out of sync with economic reality. For example, if the

central bank lowers its base lending rate (known as the discount rate), meaning that banks can acquire money more cheaply, the lending rate charged by the banks should drop as well. On the other hand, if the central bank increases its base lending rate, the commercial bank lending rate should increase. If banks adjust their lending rates at different speeds when the central bank increases than when it lowers its base lending rate which mathematically alters their intermediation premium, then the adjustment process is said to be “asymmetric”. If banks adjust their lending rates at faster speeds when the central bank increases than when it lowers its base lending rate, then the banks are said to exhibit predatory pricing behavior.

Using the aforementioned economic theory, Dr. G. Yu, Chancellor M. Ali, and the author conducted an empirical analysis on how Turkish banks set their consumer loans rates using monthly data from 2001 to 2013. As to the long-run relationship, the results suggest that the Turkish consumer loan rate and the 1-month deposit rate are directly proportional; if one goes up or down the other one will follow suit. Their spread, or the consumer loan premium, narrowed continuously from 2001 until 2005, and possibly due to the Turkish government’s restructure of the banking sector (costing about 36% of the nation’s GDP) causing the premium to spike before resuming its prior narrowing trend. The results also indicate that the Turkish consumer loan premium tends to rise faster when the deposit rates increase and fall slower when the deposit rate is declining. This means that when a bank’s income stream is threatened by rising deposit rates, it reacts quickly to raise lending rates and protect its income. It also means that when a bank’s income stream is improved by deposit rates dropping, it reacts much more slowly in dropping lending rates, and thereby

slowly shrinking its profit margin back to the level the market ostensibly dictates. In short, the highlyconcentrated conditions of the Turkish banking sector result in predatory pricing behavior. It is worth noting that this behavior is virtually identical to the behavior of oligopolistic banks in more highly developed economies. As to the short-run dynamic relationship between these rates, the study found no short-term causality between the Turkish consumer rates and the 1-month deposit rates. This is important because it reveals that Turkish banks do not respond to countercyclical monetary policy by changing the 1-month deposit rates, even though that is precisely what the monetary policy is intended to do. This finding is surprising given the Turkish banking reforms were designed to increase competition in the banking sector, so one would expect monetary policy to cause a swift adjustment in deposit rates.

In conclusion, historically, the Turkish economy has pursued the state-led development strategy based on importsubstitution development ideology. This development strategy led to a bankdominated financial sector that was uncompetitive and inefficient prior to 1980. The ensuing economic reforms led to economic and financial liberalization, including banking deregulations and capital account liberalizations in Turkey. Changes in economic conditions in the country led to decreasing confidence in the financial sector, which led to collapse of the International Monetary Fund-supported exchange rate program of 1999, a severe consolidation, and reforms in the banking sector. As of today, Turkish banks behave much like their counterparts in emerging and advanced economies in the long term. However, unlike their peers in developed and emerging economies, Turkish banks do not respond to shortterm countercyclical monetary policy measures by the central bank. This, in turn, renders the monetary policy ineffective in the short term. Therefore, further reforms are necessary to the banking system in Turkey in order to make their interest rate setting behavior mimic that of their peers in developed and emerging economies in the short run.




Strategies for Navigating the Customs Clearance Process


urkic American Business Chamber and Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce hosted a Luncheon Forum “Strategies for Navigating the Customs Clearance Process” in its headquarters in Houston, TX this past Thursday, August 28th, 2014. Hon. Jeffrey Baldwin, former Executive Director/Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection was one of the keynote speakers along with Mr. Orhan Osman, President & CEO of TTACC. Mr. Baldwin has served as a main adviser to the border management and port clients who are actively pursuing to expand in the border marketplace.

According to Mr. Baldwin “people want to feel secured, but at the same time they don’t want to feel as if they are being impeded” with over 34 years of experience with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Mr. Baldwin, now retired, has made it his mission to help “small medium-sized companies, people who are starting up to do importing and exporting type of businesses. Who just can use some consulting, in terms of how [do they] navigate this process”. He also gave our guests an insight to what a typical day at customs and border protection. “On a typical day there are over a million people that get processed, on one particular day.” It is estimated that about seventy thousand trucks and sea containers enter this country every single day. Almost three hundred thousand privately owned vehicles entering the country as well. About 440 discoveries of various different pests, insects, and diseases that cross the border, almost twelve hundred pounds of drugs, “seized about a quarter of million of dollars of illegal currency being smuggled” into the country every single day. It is without a doubt a “tough task to do” claims Mr. Baldwin. The whole purpose of customs according to Mr. Baldwin is to “find the needle in the hay” by the use of “non-intrusive equipment to conduct inspections” in order to narrow the investigation down. CBP has become the second largest source of revenue for the U.S. government, after the IRS.

Mr. Baldwin pointed out to our guests “the strategies to navigate this process” and summarized them into three steps. First, “know before you import, and do your research.” Know what you are importing. Foresee “what kind of issues” your company might be facing by importing certain products into the country. Second, “taking advantage of the programs that CBP has” such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism or C-TPAT, where you can register your company to become a C-TPAT company. An analyst is later sent to take a look at your company’s supply chain to make sure is in clear compliance with all the CBP respective rules. Third, “when in doubt, ASK” promptly set an appointment with CBP, reach out to someone to get a binding ruling on the product that your firm is about to import/export into the country. After the forum, guests had the chance to query and network with our speaker.






The Impact of Local and Global Economy Boosting Healthcare Expansion in Houston


merican Turkic Business Council and Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce hosted a Luncheon Forum “The Impact of Local and Global Economy Boosting Healthcare Expansion in Houston” in its headquarters in Houston, TX. Mr. Chris Siebenaler, Regional Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, was the keynote speakers. Mr. Siebenaler is the former President of the United Way of Baytown Area Board of Directors and since joining Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital in 2006, has served as board member for several community organizations, including the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, First Colony Property Owner’s Association, First Colony Management District and the Fort Bend Economic Development Council.

According to Mr. Siebenaler “the amount of money we are spending is too much” he provided national data that showed how much we are spending on healthcare. The data goes as follows “18% of our gross domestic product is health care, 23% from Federal Budget, 26% from average state budget and 19% from household discretionary spending.” Mr. Siebenaler pointed out that nationally “46 million are uninsured, 16 million are underinsured and that Texas has some of the largest uninsured population in the States.” Mr. Siebenaler pointed out three main components that health care reform is trying to address “access, quality and cost.” He stated that “people need better access, access to the right people at the right time, and that health care is spending too much money”. Lastly he also pointed out that in terms of quality we are not necessarily getting the value out of the equation.” Some of the other highlights from Mr. Siebenaler Talk; • When people want the best healthcare they travel to the United States. The United States is the “magnet” for foreigners. • “It should not be that difficult to find care that we need particularly someone who has complications.” • “Just because you have coverage does not mean you have the right physicians in your network.” • “Health care is here and we do need to change as an industry” is the way he thought about spending too much money on health care. How we as consumers, employees, providers, and insures have to change our behavior about how we think about healthcare.



As of October 2012, hospitals have started to get paid based on how well they perform under a new regulation referred as “Pay for Performance.” 30% of the payment depends on the patients’ perception of the hospital experience and 70% depends on the clinical process measures hospitals take. As Mr. Siebenaler stated it is a “zero sum

game” and the hospitals have to score their best, if not they do not get paid. During his talk Mr. Siebenaler also touched on how media is blowing Ebola out of proportion. However, regardless of the created paranoia Methodist Hospital is doing all they can to provide a safe

environment, high quality care, and an outstanding experience to their patients. The renowned CEO refers this as the “Methodist Experience” widespread globally in every Methodist hospital around the world.




What are the National Economic Impact of EB-5 visa investments?


merican Turkic Business Council and Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce hosted a Luncheon Forum “What are the National Economic Impact of EB-5 visa investments?” in its headquarters in Houston, TX. Hon. Rafael Anchia, Texas State Representative and Managing Director of Civitas Capital Group was the keynote speakers.

According to Civitas Capital Group “Civitas sponsors private investment funds structured to meet the requirements of the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, through which qualified foreign investors can receive permanent residency in the United States in return for investing a minimum of $500,000 into an American business that creates new jobs. Civitas manages “regional centers” under the EB-5 Program, including the City of Dallas Regional Center, a true public-private partnership with the City of Dallas, Texas, one of the most business-friendly and dynamic growth areas in the United States. The CDRC takes full advantage of the pro-business culture, steady growth and job creation that have made the city and the surrounding region a magnet for corporate headquarters, business expansion and foreign trade.”



Civitas Texas Regional Center serves the major Texas market of Dallas, Forth Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. According to Mr. Anchia said “Texas has created more jobs in the last ten years than California, New York and Florida combined.” He also said “Houston, Austin and Dallas are attracting foreign investors as well Fortune 500 companies are setting their operations in Texas” giving many foreign investors more confidence to invest in Texas. Mr. Anchia said that EB-5 program “can be a powerful tool for the family at the same time present an investment opportunity.” Every investment takes their risk and “it is not without risk that even the Federal guidelines require that people’s money be at risk so the key is to invest with someone who is going to mitigate that risk significantly” according to Mr. Anchia. Another important point by Mr. Anchia is that they are Regional center operator not developers and they operate as a capital provider and their fiduciary duty is to the investor and not to the project sponsor. Invest with someone who is sophisticated and trustworthy because there is fraud and unfortunately investors lose money. They are competitive program across the world for example Mr. Anchia gave Korea as an example there is not risk to invest, guarantees the investment and there is a seven day wait for a Korean green card. They compete for transnational capital flows and foreign investment. Mr. Anchia refer that “It is more about helping families have a successful transition to the USA” and help the investor’s family.






US Kazakh Convention:

“Working Together For a Secure Future”


n December 10, 2014, the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the United States, with the support of the Council for Turkic American Associations (CTAA) held its 2nd U.S.-Kazakhstan Convention, at the Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C. to strengthen bilateral ties and assist in fostering strategic regional and global partnerships.

This year’s convention theme was “Working Together For a Secure Future” brought together over prominent political leaders, ministers, policy experts, and individuals from government and private sector organizations in U.S. and Kazakhstan. the Breakfast and Opening Ceremony was attended by Hon. Kairat Umarov, Kazakhstan Ambassador to the U.S and U.S. Members of Congress. The breakfast was moderated by Former U.S. Congressman Don Bonker. The first session, titled “Turning Great Games into Great Gains”, deliberated on the challenges and opportunities in global and regional security. The keynote Speaker was His Excellency Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kazakhstan and Madeline Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State. The panelists included Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State, Anne Harrington; Deputy Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration; Daniel Poneman, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy and Andrew Kuchins, Senior Fellow and Director, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program. 86


The second session titled, “KazakhstanGateway to Central Asia”, focused on new investment opportunities and the Future Energy and Climate EXPO 2017 in Cairo, Egypt. The event was moderated by William Courtney. President of U.S. Kazakhstan Business Association (USKBA) based in Washington D.C. The keynote speakers were Zhanar Aitzhanova, Minister of Economic Integration of Kazakhstan and Catherine Novelli, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Panel speakers included Ainur Kuatova, Deputy Chair of the Astana EXPO-2017; Assel Yergaziyeva, Deputy Chair of KAZNEX INVEST, a national export and

investment agency based in Kazakhstan; Robert Hormats, Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment; Steven Green, President of Guggenheim International and Sabr Essimbekov, Executive Secretary of National Chamber of Entrepreneurs. The convention concluded with a National Day Reception in celebration of the 23rd Anniversary

Kazakhstan’s National Independence. The evening showcased the country’s traditions, heritage and future prospects of the country’s development. Among the distinguished guests was Hon. Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the U.S.; Hon Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Richard Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC




merican Turkic Business Council hosted California Turkish American Chamber of commerce members at the business forum. CATA chamber president and members joined the forum at the ATBC to gained new insights in the field of real estate and construction in general; business office, strip mall, apartment complex, single housing and hotel business investments in particular.

The forum started with introductory speech by ATBC president Orhan K. Osman and followed by businessmen who are successful in these particular sectors. Dr. Engin Kalkan, Dr. Umit Pecen, Mr. Yalcin Demirbas and Mr. Yalcin Karadag shared their best practices and encourage CATA members to consider to invest in these sectors in Texas. The Forum ended Q/A session which provided an opportunity to exchange experience and know-how.




Turkey Meets New Mexican Business Delegation


Thirty members of business leaders from Albuquerque- New Mexico paid a visit to Turkey between September 15th, 2014 and September 25st, 2014 to discuss business opportunities with their Turkish counterparts on an economic fact-finding mission. The organizer, American Turkic Business Council in conjunction with the TUSKON (Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrials in Istanbul) and GESIAD (Developing Industrials and Businessmen Association in Kayseri) used the trip to identify opportunities to increase trade and investment between the U.S. and Turkey.

They started in Istanbul where they got a great historical taste for RomanByzantine and Ottoman Empires remaining’s. They were hosted and briefed by the representatives of TUSKON (the biggest business organization in Turkey with more than 55.000 members) in Istanbul. The group had an overview of why Turkey is such a dynamic place for doing business. Meeting with the members of GESIAD in Kayseri was also very productive. They met with Kayserian business leaders to gather insight on opportunities and challenges facing companies in each respective market. The delegation also had an opportunity to visit the headquarters of one of the leading furniture companies in Turkey, Boydak Holding in Kayseri.





merican Turkic Business Council members were honored to host Hakeem Olajuwon President and CEO of Hakeem Group and Bjay Dawodu, Chief Operating Officer for the company at the chamber’s office. Hakeem Olajuwon, also known as “Hakeem the Dream”, this Nigerian born athlete repeatedly guided the Houston Rockets to NBA championships throughout his 18-year marvelous career as a professional basketball player. Olajuwon is also the CEO/President of Hakeem Group, LLC a company whose expertise in oil and gas and vast knowledge in quality control offers only the most qualified partnerships

Mr. Olajuwon and Mr. Dawodu shared some insights about their company with chamber members. Various business opportunities that are available here in greater Houston area and the rest of the Turkic countries across the world were discussed at the meeting. They hope that this new liaison proves to be fruitful for all the parties involved by creating mutually beneficial business opportunities in the future.

Hakeem Olajuwon



“Hakeem the Dream” 92




akeem Olajuwon President and CEO of Hakeem Group, LLC, Bjay Dawodu, Chief Operating Officer and Orhan K. Osman President and CEO of Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce paid a visit to the Borusan Mannesmann Plant, the first U.S. facility located in Baytown. Borusan Mannesmann, a Turkish pipe plant, strategically located in Houston because of its remarkable access to most of the key oilfields. Houston being “the hub� of the global pipe business offers a strategic access to an ample reserve of natural gas and electricity. Mr. Erol Akgullu; Borusan Mannesmann board member and chief investment officer and Mr. Buddy Brewer, CEO for Borusan Mannesmann pipe U.S gave a facility tour to the guests and gave briefing about the investment.

American Turkic Borusan Visit 2ND ISSUE AMERICANTURKIC






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American Turkic Magazine Second Issue  

American Turkic Business Council (ATBC) & Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, it is our mission to promote social and economic relat...

American Turkic Magazine Second Issue  

American Turkic Business Council (ATBC) & Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, it is our mission to promote social and economic relat...