BILL ABNETT, who had the unenviable job defending Washington’s China trade in the aftermath of Tiananmen: Senior advisor, National Bureau of Asian Research; executive director, Washington State China Relations Council (1987-1992); director for Chinese Affairs, United States Trade Representative Office; chief of the Economic Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Beijing (1982–1985).
ROBERT ANDERSON, who met Deng Xiaoping in Beijing with Gov. Dixy Lee Ray in 1979: Founding president of the Washington State China Relations Council (1979) and serving on the board since; former director of the Washington State Department of Commerce and Economic Development; long-time senior advisor to Snohomish County; mayor of Everett (1968-1977).
DAVID BACHMAN, who knows a lot about the theory of China's "bird-cage economy:" Professor, graduate advisor, China Studies Program, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington; published extensive studies on Chinese politics, including Chen Yun, Great Leap Forward; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (2005).
CONNIE BACON, who initiated the Tacoma-Fuzhou sister city relations and signed the agreement in Fuzhou with Xi Jinping as a witness in 1994: Port of Tacoma commissioner since 1997, including as president; executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma (1992-1997); served on Governor Gregoire’s Economic Development Commission and as Special Assistant to Governor Gardner.
TIM BANKS, one of the first Americans working for China's state-owned-enterprises, starting as early as 1989: Long-time regional executive vice president of COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) Container Lines Americas, Inc., Port of Seattle’s largest customer; Liu Lin Hai the first Chinese cargo ship to dock at the Port of Seattle in 1979 was a COSCO vessel.
STAN BARER, whose appointment made through a chandelier in 1975 led to the resumption of U.S.-China shipping and Liu Lin Hai’s voyage to Seattle in 1979: Chairman emeritus, Saltchuk Resources, Inc., of counsel of Garvey, Schubert & Barer; co-founder (1979) and president (1983), Washington State China Relations Council; administrative assistant to Sen. Warren Magnuson (1969-1974).
JOE BORICH, who broke the record previously held by Robert Kapp as the longest-serving executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council (1997-2014): Senior advisor at Nyhus Communications; U.S. consul general in Shanghai (1994-1997); represented America on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in his 25-year Foreign Service career.
DENNIS BRACY, very possibly the most-frequent-China-traveler in this Washington, with 150 trips in 20 years: CEO of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum; chairman of the Washington State China Relations Council (2008-2010); chairman of Avatar Studios, the first foreign co-producer of award-winning prime-time television programs in China in the 1990s.
MARGARET BRITTON, who made too many trips to China to remember which impressions were her first: Former senior program officer at PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) and as its chief liaison and managed projects in more than 20 sites in China; served on the board of the Washington State China Relations Council; director at the Seattle Chinese Garden.
LINDA CHEEVER, to whom China, her father’s birth place, was homecoming: Principal, Cheever Emerging Market Consulting, LLC; Retired president, Asia Pacific, Danaher; president, China Management Board, Danaher (2003-2006); VP, Intercontinental Operations, Asia/Americas, Fluke (1997-2003); served on the executive committee of the Washington State China Relations Council.
JOEL CHUSID, a rare senior American executive at a Chinese company whose first China experience was buying a "Little Red Book" in Paris in 1967: executive director-US, Hainan Airlines; formerly the only non-Chinese executive at China Eastern Airlines; former vice president of American Airlines; executive committee member of the Washington State China Relations Council.
LARRY CLARKSON, known as Boeing’s “secretary of state:” Retired president of Boeing Enterprise; former senior vice president of Boeing Planning and International Development; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (1992-1993); lobbied for China’s MFN trade status in the 1990s, believing that economic growth would improve China’s human rights.
MICHAEL CRAIG, who stayed in Mao's summer home in Dalian while lecturing in China in 1980: A founder and its president of eight years from 1984 of the Seattle-Chongqing Sister City Association, and still serving on its board; retired with more than thirty years of experience of China and international business in pollution control and hazardous waste management.
PAT DAVIS, who got "carved up" by a magician in Shanghai in 1987 while visiting clients there: First female Port of Seattle commissioner and served five terms from 1985 and as president of the commission from 2005, worked with and visited customers in China regularly during those years and retired in 2010; president of the Washington Council on International Trade (1994-2001).
JIM DAWSON, easily the person most identified with the Seattle Chinese Garden who fell in love with Chinese gardens on a visit to China in 1985: Architect and principal of Dawson Associates; founding president of the Seattle Chinese Garden Society; long-time vice president of the Seattle Chinese Garden and board member of the Seattle-Chongqing Sister City Association.
MIC DINSMORE, who recruited Joe Borich to be the executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council in 1997: Longest-serving CEO of the Port of Seattle (1992-2007); advised Greenspan on China as chairman of the Seattle Branch Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (1995-96).
NELSON DONG, who is perhaps the only former White House Fellow around here: A partner in Dorsey's Corporate group, specializing in venture capital. technology transfer, international technology and intellectual property transactions, particularly in Greater China; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (2006-2007); member of the Committee of 100.
JIM DWYER, who took the whole 40+ member crew of the Liu Lin Hai to his home and played a major role in establishing friendship port relations between Port of Seattle and Port of Shanghai in 1979: President and CEO, Delta Dental; CEO, Port of Seattle (1985-88) with 17 years at the port; a founder (1979) and president (1982) of the Washington State China Relations Council.
BART FITE, who learned to trade Foreign Exchange Certificate for RMB in China in 1982: Director of Mandarin Associates, a manufacturer in Hong Kong with markets in the United States; president since 2006 of China Club of Seattle, the region’s oldest and the most persevering non-profit organization on China; attorney in Hong Kong and Seattle.
JOHN FLUKE JR., who struck up an endearing dinner conversation with a communist party member vice mayor of Chengdu in 1985: Chairman of Fluke Capital Management; hosted China’s Vice Premier Yao Yilin in Seattle in 1986 as president of the Washington State China Relations Council and chairman of John Fluke Manufacturing Co., which began operation in China in 1979.
MICHAEL FOWLER, equally fluent in Chinese and Japanese: Director of the World Trade Center Tacoma’s Fuzhou Trade Project; member on the City of Tacoma’s Commission on International Relations; president of Asia Access, Inc., consulting for U.S. businesses with Chinese and Japanese firms; chair of the Pacific Northwest International Trade Alliance (2005-06).
WILLIAM FRANKLIN, who along with Robert Anderson witnessed Deng Xiaoping blowing cigarette smoke in the face of Governor Dixy Lee Ray in Beijing in 1979: Former president, Weyerhaeuser Asia and chairman, Weyerhaeuser China Ltd.; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (1985); penned an op-ed for permanent MFN for China in 1997.
LARRY FUELL, who said to have accidentally gone into international agricultural affairs or China's grain policy: Founding director of the Global Affairs Center and adjunct professor of political science at the Shoreline Community College; served more than 20 years in the U.S. government, including as Foreign Agricultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (1995-1999).
MIMI GATES, who started in Dante but ended up finding her passion in China: Asian art scholar with a strong interest in Chinese painting; director, Seattle Art Museum (1994-2009); founding director, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas; chairman, Dunhuang Foundation, which promotes preservation of the Buddhist grottoes near Dunhuang on China's ancient Silk Road.
JON GEIGER, perhaps known more for his eight-year (2007-2015) volunteer position as the president of the Seattle Chinese Garden, or in his words its “head motivator, cheerleader, and business manager,” than his real job: Director, Business Integration/Business Operations, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; continuing to serve on the board of the Seattle Chinese Garden.
WILLIAM GLASSFORD, who in 1983 thought Maotai a horrible wine compared to Shaoxing in Taiwan: Relationship manager, Commerce Bank of Washington; country manager for Rainier Bank in Taipei and Hong Kong, including Guangzhou (1980s); chairman, Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle; president, Washington State China Relations Council (1991).
STEVE HARRELL, who as a student taught English to refugees from "Red China" in Hong Kong in 1965: Professor, anthropologist on China and Taiwan, UW; published studies of Liangshan Yi of Sichuan, “Ways of Being Ethnic in Southwest China;” head of UW Worldwide Program; co-founder of Yangjuan Primary School in Sichuan; founder of Cool Mountain Education Fund.
DAN HARRIS, co-author of the head-turning China Law Blog, named by The ABA Journal to its Blawg Hall of Fame: A founding member of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with offices in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Beijing, China; a leading authority on legal matters related to doing business in China, with a focus on protecting foreign businesses in their China operations.
KRISTI HEIM, first female executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council: Asst. dir., Confucius Institute of WA (2011-13); founder, contextChina.com; business reporter at The Seattle Times (2004-07), especially on Washington companies' business with China; staff writer, Asian Wall Street Journal (1996-98); taught English in Wuhan, China in the early 1990s.
DAVID HUGHES, perhaps the only China hand who once ran for office as a Democratic candidate against U.S. Congressman, Republican, Thomas Pelly and “Nixonomics:” Retired Foreign Service Officer; first U.S. Commercial Consul in Guangzhou, China (1981-1983); served 25 years in nine different countries, including a decade in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
DARRYL JOHNSON, definitely the most senior U.S. diplomat from Washington state: U.S. ambassador to Thailand (2001-04); deputy assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs; director, American Institute in Taiwan (1996-1999); China Desk officer at the State Department; served in Hong Kong and Beijing; taught Jackson School at the University of Washington.
ROBERT KAPP, easily the most prominent China expert in both this and the other Washington: Principal of Robert A. Kapp Associates; president of the U.S.-China Business Council (1994-2004); president of the Washington Council on International Trade (1987-94); founding executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council (1979-1987, 1992-1994).
NICK LARDY, leading expert on China’s economy and “everyone’s guru on China” according to National Journal: Anthony M. Solomon Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics; chair of the China Program (1984–89) and director of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington (1991–1995).
RICK LARSEN, to whom "U.S. and China are too big and impact to global economy too much not to get this relationship right:" U.S. Congressman, WA-02 since 2000; co-founder (2005) and co-chair, U.S.-China Working Group, educating members of Congress on U.S.-China issues through meetings with academic, business and political leaders from both countries.
SANDY MARVINNEY, forever busy with Seattle Chinese Garden projects: Senior communications specialist, Office of Development and External Relations, UW College of Engineering; former president, current vice president of the Seattle-Chongqing Sister City Association; director of the Seattle Chinese Garden; served on the board the Washington State China Relations Council.
PAIGE MILLER, perhaps the only Port of Seattle Commissioner to have a baby, nicknamed "Little Liu Lin Hai," on the job: Executive director at the Arboretum Foundation; built a lot of customer relations in China in her 18 years at the Commission including as president; led major fund-raising for the Seattle Chinese Garden; active with the Washington State China Relations Council.
TESE NEIGHBOR, who got bitten by the “China bug” in 1979 on a tour there: Senior director, Professional Development Global Classroom Program, World Affairs Council (1999-2014); National Consortium for Teaching about Asia Seminar Leader, UW since 1999; China lecturer, writer since 1983; China tour guide since 1984; English editor at China Pictorial, Beijing (1981-1983).
ED NIXON, who made 40 trips to China and celebrated the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China with Mao's daughter Li Min at a dinner in Beijing: President of Nixon World Enterprises, Inc.; founder of Nixon World Forum; retired U.S. Navy Reserve captain; former Technical Employment Supervisor for Project Apollo, NASA; serving on the Richard Nixon Foundation.
WAYNE PROCHASKA, who peeked at China through a barbed wire fence in Hong Kong in 1961 as a marine stationed in Japan: Retired vice president of sales and marketing of the Weyerhaeuser subsidiary Westwood Shipping Lines; worked as China country manager and from various Asian capitals including Taiwan and Hong Kong; long-time officer of the China Club of Seattle.
MICHAEL RAWDING, a rare combination of IT and China expertise, who knows a lot about the Ministry of Information Industry and "guanxi" in China: Current chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington State China Relations Council; executive recruiter at Spencer Stuart; former CEO of Microsoft Asia, Microsoft Japan and Microsoft Greater China.
DAVID REID, perhaps the only one who has interviewed 180 CEOs operating in China: Professor of Global Business Strategy, Seattle University, teaching Competing With and Within China and leading China Clinic for CEOs; principal of McHardy Reid and Associates LLC, advising foreign invested enterprises in China; board member of the Seattle Chongqing Sister City Association.
SIDNEY RITTENBERG, hands-down the most senior China watcher in America today: First American to join the Chinese Communist Party, which also imprisoned him for 16 years; worked along with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in Yan'an, participated in the Cultural Revolution and lived in China for 35 years (1944-1979); Principal, Rittenberg & Associates; author and lecturer on China.
GREGG RODGERS, whose pro bono work on visas brought the Chinese artisans to Seattle to build the Knowing the Spring Courtyard at the Seattle Chinese Garden: Immigration lawyer/an owner at Garvey Schubert Barer; chair of the Board of Directors (2011-2012) and continuing executive committee member of the Washington State China Relations Council.
JAMES SIMPSON, a China and Japan hand in one: senior fellow, Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy & Public Service at WSU, studying China’s agriculture since 1985, including China’s food security, livestock and grassland; consulted with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank; studied China’s hog production in 2012 at the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture.
BILL STAFFORD, an establishment at the City and dubbed "Seattle's top trade rep:" Senior advisor at Nyus Communications; founder (1990) of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and served as its president till 2011; travelled to more than 50 countries, with many trips to China, including as an economic adviser to the mayor of Chongqing, Seattle’s sister city.
STARR TAVENNER, perhaps the only business executive/pilot, recognized as having begun Boeing's China strategy in 1993: Retired after 37 years at the Boeing as Director of Global Strategy and Alliances, China Programs, Program Manager for the 737 airplane, Marketing Director, Public Relations Director, and more; president of the Washington State China Relations Council (2004).
LORRAINE TOLY, whom the press once looked to for U.S. policy on issues such as Chinese prison-made goods or dissident Wei Jingsheng’s fate: Retired Foreign Service Officer; press advisor to Winston Lord, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (1992-1995); docent/volunteer at the Seattle Chinese Garden.
EDEN WOON, who more than anyone brings “versatility” to mind: Vice president, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; former VP of Starbucks in China; CEO of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (1997 to 2006); executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council (1994-97); China advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense (1989 to 1994).
DORI JONES YANG, who bravely went back to Tiananmen Square on the morning of June 4, 1989: Author with works including historical novels, biographies, oral histories and children's books, often with a Chinese American theme; former journalist for Business Week for fifteen years, based in Hong Kong and Seattle, and covered China from 1982 to 1990.
GREG YOUTZ, who can write and recite poems in English in classical Chinese style: Composer, professor of music, Pacific Lutheran University, drawing from artistic traditions from around the world, particularly China, in his work; director, China Study Abroad Program in Sichuan; chair, Fuzhou Sister City Committee of Tacoma; taught at Zhongshan University in China (1991-92).