09 Dec A Conversation with Vasilios Karpos, World Trade Association of Utah President.
In January 2021, the World Trade Association of Utah welcomed a new board President, Vasilios Karpos. He brings over 27 years of experience in key areas such as raw material supervision, new design prototyping, and product development. As a creative and innovative business leader, international trade and diverse relations have been instrumental in his career path.
Seeking to expand his global network and promote production abroad, Karpos joined the WTA of Utah after connecting with fellow board member Franz Kolb, the State of Utah’s director of international trade and diplomacy.
Since opening his company, MARBLECast Products, Inc., in Salt Lake City in 1993, he has been impressed with the hard-working, creative, and highly skilled workforce, which continues to be a major driver of investment and success in Utah. With more than 120 languages spoken in Utah, it is a state that values diversity and champions international experiences.
In a recent interview, Karpos discussed his early career, organizational goals, as well as the importance of a global perspective.
Q: Tell me a little about your early career
International trade and relations played a major role in my early life and continue to do so today. Growing up in Athens, Greece, my family’s businesses spanned the tourism market, from manufacturing sculptures to sales and trade in Greece.
As a young student, it was exciting to interface with new customers and longstanding clients from across Europe to identify and create sculptural products that would not only meet their expectations but also leave them awe-inspired.
Those initial experiences drove me to open my own company, Marblecast, Inc in Salt Lake City. For over 25 years, our company has brought to life the vision of our clients all over the world through custom statue sculpting, molding, and casting.
From presidents and princes to professional athletes, to historical figures, and well beyond. Through our international lens focused on relations, we strive to deliver a one-of-a-kind product, giving each custom sculptural project our personalized attention and touch.
Q: What do you believe is the importance of having a diverse global perspective?
When people from various sectors and cultures come together in conversation, there is a great opportunity to listen and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for how different cultures live, where they place their value, how they’ve overcome local challenges, how they work and support the business community, etc.
Most times, it is inevitable that one will find value and learn from any part of those conversations, and it will stick with them as a memorable experience and learning opportunity for the better.
Whether one deals with international trade or not, a diverse global perspective can definitely broaden one’s views with either how they perform, how they manage their business and employees, or how they connect and network with their audience.
I find it interesting when people from various sectors and cultures come together in conversation, resulting in learning how different cultures work, live, how they perhaps overcome local issues, what their countries do to support the business community, their local ethics, and experiences.
Q: What would you say are the results of this perspective with the WTA of Utah so far?
It’s incredible to imagine that WTA turns 50 this year. I’m proud to be part of its legacy in providing support and mentorship to thousands of seasoned entrepreneurs, new business owners, and students just beginning their journey in international trade.
For decades we have created a free and non-political platform to learn best practices, expand networks and take businesses aboard. We are also proud to have honored and celebrated the success of others by awarding the International Company of the Year and International Person of the year since our inception.
Q: What are some goals you and the board have for WTA?
The pandemic has changed how we live, earn and learn. Quoting the Ancient Greek Philosopher, Euripides; “Έστιν η λίαν δυσπραξία λίαν διδούσα μεταβολάς”, which translates to “Very difficult situations bring big changes.” For the WTA, this meant canceling luncheons, company visits, and international travel and hosting.
Our goal is to develop creative and digital ways to continue networking activities that include leading panel discussions, virtual company visits, and expanding global networking opportunities for businesses – bringing together Utah’s international professionals to promote, network, and expand international trade and commerce.
Karpos believes that whether one comes from a family business or chooses to pursue a self-developed career path, the most valuable advice is to always listen to your instincts and to know that obstacles will appear no matter the circumstance and to view those obstacles, not as negative happenings, but rather an instance to a newer and perhaps better path forward.