Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy: Strategies for establishing and managing your overseas office

Tuesday, February 8

11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Marriott Madison West

1313 John Q Hammons Drive

Registration Required by February 4.

Mark Blume, President of Hankscraft Inc.

Mike Celichowski, Vice President- International Product & Governance, CUNA Mutual Group

Overview: Wondering how to open and manage an office overseas? What should your company consider when establishing a physical presence in a foreign market? From a representative’s office, to a sales- branch to a wholly-owned subsidiary, U.S. companies are exploring ways to set up shop overseas. MITA’s February program will cover the factors that business executives and managers must consider when setting up and managing an overseas office. Learn from experienced leaders who have been there!

Learn about establishing a strategy for opening an overseas office. Review the pros and cons of various legal structures; explore challenges and opportunities of managing human resources abroad; learn from the success achieved and challenges experienced by companies already operating overseas.

Attendees will receive a “tips sheet,” developed by the presenters exclusively for this MITA event, that outlines steps for developing a foreign office strategy.

Speaker Biographies:

Mike Celichowski is Vice President- International Division at CUNA Mutual Group, which provides financial services to Credit Unions, Cooperatives and Affinities worldwide. Mike provides oversight to the Home Office operations of the International Division, and he works closely with the local leadership teams within CUNA Mutual’s overseas operations. He has a governance role with respect to the Boards of Directors for international subsidiary operations, serving as a director on numerous subsidiary Boards.

He has previously served as the Compliance Officer for the International Division, and he also has been accountable for the product and risk functions across the international businesses. Prior to his functional leadership roles, Mike served in various other capacities within the International Division, including time as Regional Manager for the Caribbean and as Home Office Liaison to the Australian operations. Mike began his career at CUNA Mutual in the Lending Actuarial area, providing pricing, financial reporting and reserving support for the Credit Disability and Credit Life product lines. Mike holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Actuarial Science, Risk Management & Insurance, and Finance. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and also a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).

Mark Blume is the President of Hankscraft Inc., a diverse manufacturer of electro-mechanical, electronic and plastic components sold to a wide variety of original equipment manufacturers, the point-of-purchase advertising industry, and beer brewing companies. Mark was born and raised in Wausau, WI and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Mark is also a certified public accountant.

Hankscraft began sourcing from China in the early 1990’s. After considering joint ventures and acquisitions of Chinese companies, Mark led Hankscraft in forming its own wholly-owned subsidiary in Suzhou, China in March 2003. Since then, Hankscraft has opened two joint ventures in China by partnering with two other US companies. Hankscraft has 100 employees in Wisconsin and 250 in China.


11:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m. –Registration and networking

12:00 p.m. –12:30 p.m. –Lunch

12:30 p.m. –2:00 p.m. –Program and audience Q&A

Registration: To register, please email Jill Carmichael at or register here by Friday, February 4th.


$30 for MITA members

$40 for non-MITA members

Sponsors: Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), Madison International Trade Association (MITA), Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER)

For more information, contact WAGE at or visit our website at