What drew you to be a part of the OKGIT?
- I’m pleased to be an ex officio member as a representative of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Tulsa office. I had the pleasure of being an ex officio member when I was the director of ODOC’s International Division 1993-2003 before I joined the U.S. Foreign Service.
Tell us about your international experiences and how that is reflected in your life/work in Oklahoma?
- I caught the “international bug” when I was trained by the US Army to be a Chinese translator and was subsequently stationed in South Korea in the 1980s. After I finished my military service I went back to school to get a Masters in International Management and have been in international business, teaching and writing since. I lived and worked in Taiwan and South Korea before I joined the US Foreign Service which posted me to our embassies and consulates in Japan, China and Sweden. I returned to Oklahoma in 2018 to help Oklahoma companies tap into the resources of the U.S. Commercial Service’s offices around the world.
Why is it important for you that Oklahoma has strong international ties?
- One of the best ways to grow an economy such as Oklahoma’s is through exporting – bringing new money into the local economy. In order to export, Oklahomans must understand the world outside of our national borders. Understanding the wider world also enriches the lives of our people.
Kevin Chambers is the Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service in Tulsa. He recently retired from the U.S. Foreign Service where he served as a Commercial Officer in the U.S. Embassies in Sweden, Japan and the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai. Kevin joined the Commercial Service in 2005. Prior to joining the Foreign Service Kevin was the managing director of Tulsa-based Access China Trade Service Company and an adjunct professor of international marketing and business for Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa.
Kevin has over 30 years of experience in international business and economic development. He was formerly the Director of the International Trade and Investment Division of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (1993-2003) and the Missouri Department of Economic Development (1991-93). Kevin established the State of Oklahoma’s first trade office in China in 1989 and opened a showroom for Oklahoma products in Shanghai in 1990 and a trade office in Vietnam in 1993.
Prior to his work in economic development, Kevin was the International Programming Director for the Satellite Program Network where he pioneered the broadcast of NHK and Japanese programming on American cable television in 1985. Kevin also served as an adjunct professor of international marketing at Tunghai University in Taiwan. Kevin began his Asia experience as a Chinese translator for the U.S. Army.
He is a frequent lecturer, teacher, and an author of seven books on international business and Asian culture, including “Succeed in Business: Vietnam” (published in Chinese in 2004), “Succeed in Business: Taiwan”, “Traveler’s Guide to Asian Customs and Manners” and “Traveler’s Guide to Asian Culture and History”.
Kevin earned a Masters in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), Oklahoma State University (BS in wildlife ecology) and was certified in Mandarin at the Defense Language Institute. He previously served on the Boards of Directors of the State International Director’s Organization (SIDO), the District Export Council and the Southern Growth Policy Board. Kevin was a founding member of the Oklahoma International Congress and served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma City Foreign Trade Zone.