Cross-border expo highlights business on both sides of the border

The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) will sponsor a special exhibition of local and international business on Wednesday, October 28.

The WBA’s Northwest Business and Cross-Border Expo, returning for its 30th year, will be held at the exhibition hall at the Silver Reef Hotel and Casino from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The expo is the largest event of its kind north of King County.

The program will provide businesses the opportunity to network with other businesses from the U.S. and Canada, as well as provide resources and experts to help navigate the tricky world of international commerce. More than 75 exhibitors have signed up for the event, and many have offered items for prize giveaways.

The expo will feature two keynote speakers at the theater at Silver Reef. At 2 p.m., Bruce MacCormack, a renowned principal consultant on Canadian commerce with Cascadia Consulting and Opportunity Northwest, will give a presentation on building business relationships between the U.S. and Canada. At 4 p.m., Ben Kinney, owner of Keller Williams Real Estate in Bellingham and other locations and WBA’s 2015 businessperson of the year, will speak on promoting excellence in the workplace.

Two other conferences will address hot topics among Northwest Washington businesses.

At 10 a.m., Port of Bellingham’s John Michener will moderate the panel “Import/export between Whatcom County and the Lower Mainland, B.C.” The panel will feature a discussion between three local business leaders: Lydia Ahn from VSH CPAs in Bellingham, Dawn Deans of Kickstart Bellingham and Jim Pettinger from UCanTrade in Ferndale.

At noon, the WBA Health Care Forum will tackle the challenges and benefits of providing health insurance to employees. Sibyl Bogardus, a health insurance compliance expert from HUB International, and Tricia Hecht-Glad, president of the Hecht Group, will be on hand to discuss the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Lunch will also be provided during this forum.

The expo will close with a special reception for the WBA President’s Club from 5 to 7 p.m. The reception will offer free food and beverages for attendees.

To reserve tickets, visit

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