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3rd Annual Lorain County Chamber of Commerce Expo; Our Immigrant Communities: Refugees Welcome


On Thursday, November 3rd, we tabled for "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" at the 3rd Annual Lorain County Chamber of Commerce Expo which was held at Tom's Country Place on Stoney Ridge Road in Avon. Our office was one of the "Silver Sponsors" for the event that featured 105 businesses/organizations up from about 88 in 2015. We were told that between 450 to 500 people attended.

We set up our table close to the entrance/exit so people could see us as they arrived and left. We were able to leave it alone for short periods so we could pass out "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" pens to the other vendors and made about 50 new contacts there.

Among the people that we talked to between 4pm and 7pm included:

****A man whose wife is a college professor and just might know an international student who would want us to review his/her immigration status.

****Mr. Martin DeVries, Assistant Vice President from "Dollar Bank" who told us about a couple of new programs that "Dollar Bank" is initiating that might be of use to people who have immigrated here from other countries in terms of purchasing their first homes.

****Mr. Will Spiegelberg who is a candidate for a judgeship with Lorain County Court who said to say "hello" to Ms. Wong.

****An international business person named Bill who may eventually need our help in terms of helping some people he knows in the Middle East immigrate to the United States.


****A person named Lisa who helps new mothers manage their affairs after their babies are born. Lisa told us that she has worked with women who have immigrated to the United States from such countries as South Korea, Italy, Nigeria, Spain, China, France and Mexico. She explained that these foreign-born people are in need of her services because their families, who would have otherwise helped them, are still in their native lands.

****Mr. Robert Graham stopped off to talk about the need to promote the foreign trade zone in Lorain County.

****Mr. Allen Labrozzi who starting a second career as a locksmith. Mr. Labrozzi told us about how his grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Italy many years ago and helped build a local railroad. Working with locks seems like a fascinating profession to us so we extended to Mr. Labrozzi our best wishes.

We also talked to a man who told us that he had a friend who once applied for a job at our office at a time when one of our requirements was that a math test be taken. As this man remembered it, his friend did not get the job but still admires Ms. Margaret W. Wong.


Since the Expo didn't wrap until 7pm, we had to race back to Cleveland from Avon to catch the last few minutes of a program that we were very sorry that we couldn't attend for its entirety titled "Our Immigrant Communities: Refugees Welcome" that was a product of a collaboration between Global Cleveland and the Maltz Museum. We are very happy to report that "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" was a presenting sponsor.

Fortunately, our colleague Mr. George Koussa was there for the whole thing we look forward to reading his concise report.

Mr. Jeffrey Allen, the Maltz Museum's Director of Education and Public Programs,  moderated a discussion in which the panelists were Isam Zaiem (from CAIR), Ms. Leen Midani (CSU student and Syrian refugee), Ms Veronica Dahlberg (Executive Director of HOLA) and Mr. Joe Cimperman (President of Global Cleveland).

As the description on the Maltz Museum website read, "refugees and immigration reform are at the forefront of the 2016 election. From the undocumented immigrant population of 11 million in the U.S. to the Syrian refugee crisis, to uses of the H1-B visa system for high-skilled workers, the immigration debate puts our economy, our borders and our communities under the microscope."


We arrived just before the program ended as Ms. Dahlberg was responding to a question about the importance of voting. She said that voting and community involvement were among our foremost responsibilities as U.S. citizens. Ms. Dahlberg admitted that immigrants often keep to themselves too much preferring to stay in their own clusters and thus she challenges them to step out of their comfort zone and become more involved in what is happening around them.

She said it was very rewarding to work with young people who are either the children of immigrants or naturalized citizens themselves who are anxious to vote on their parents' behalf when they turn eighteen.

Ms. Dahlberg went on to say that we should not fear immigrants particularly those from Mexico because the U.S. and Mexico have usually worked well together and have an ongoing relationship. She pointed out that some people contend that they are descended from the original Americans because their families came here on the "Mayflower" but the Hispanic people were living here long before that.

As we were getting ready to leave, we spoke for a moment with Mr. David Schafer, Director of Development for the Maltz Museum, who believed that comprehensive immigration was imperative because, as he aptly stated, "immigrants are the life blood of this country."


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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