Events, Press Releases

SOM To Join U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker’s Middle East Trade Mission

New York, NY: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been selected as one of 21 U.S. businesses to join Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on her Middle East Trade Mission from March 8 – 14, 2014. SOM Director Thomas Behr and Associate Director Brett Taylor will represent the firm and participate in a series of meetings on business opportunities with regional government and industry leaders.

The trade mission is specifically focused on promoting development within the infrastructure sector. The week-long trip is a chance to establish relationships in industries including project management and architecture/engineering, renewable energy, smart grid and energy efficiency, and environmental technologies. The delegation will visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Thomas Behr noted, “For more than fifty years, SOM has sought to capture the spirit and sophistication of Middle Eastern culture through its striking design. We are eager to bring our experience and expertise to the trade mission and we welcome this extraordinary opportunity to strengthen partnerships with local clients, architects, and consultants.”

As a director in SOM's New York office, Behr oversees and coordinates SOM’s overall efforts in the Middle East and is the general manager of the Abu Dhabi office. Brett Taylor is an associate director in the London office whose portfolio includes numerous projects in the Middle East including the Hyatt hotels and King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia and the Cayan Tower in Dubai. 

“As the country’s Chief Commercial Advocate, a key part of my job is to promote trade and investment and connect U.S. businesses with potential customers across the globe. The fact is that 95 percent of customers worldwide live outside U.S. borders, and that is why promoting exports is essential to our economic growth and job creation,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritkzer. “The three countries we are visiting on our trade mission to the Gulf Region are among the top 50 export markets for the United States. Since the launch of the National Export Initiative in 2010, exports have increased 111 percent to the United Arab Emirates, 65 percent to Saudi Arabia, and 57 percent to Qatar. Clearly, the Gulf region is a critical area of focus for our nation and its businesses.” 

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm's longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award-in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.