A country at a time | SteamboatToday.com

A country at a time

Henri Stetter travels the globe to help industries get on their feet

Zach Fridell

Henri Stetter, center back, is pictured outside New Delhi, India, during a business development mission in India and Bhutan.

— Henri Stetter is a fixer.

As an employee of the European Union and the United Nations Development Program, Steamboat Springs-based Stetter travels around the world to hotspots that require business and economic expertise to turn flagging industries – such as the oil and gas conglomerate in the country of Georgia – into profitable, socially responsible entities.

Following an armed conflict with Russia, Georgia’s nationalized oil and gas industry was in disarray, a problem when the entire country is relying on oil and gas for warmth during the coming winter.

Stetter agreed to visit the region and has since created a strategic framework to put the country back on track.

High on the list of priorities is creating access to oil and gas, but Stetter sees bigger implications of the work, as well, as he wrote in his report to the UNDP.

“Overall, this project is one of the most ambitious of the Georgian government. It is part of a larger intention of the government of Georgia and the UNDP to improve access to sustainable energy to the nation and all its citizens,” Stetter’s report states. “Moreover, this outcome is connected to even broader intention : (and) eradication of extreme poverty and ensuring of long-term, social, environmental sustainability.”

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Stetter was asked to attend several year-end board meetings of the Georgian Prime Minister’s Office, along with energy and trade ministries.

“This project here is terribly important since it has a direct impact on energy supply to all citizens of the country,” he wrote in an e-mail.

World traveler

Stetter’s work also has sent him to Fiji and Bhutan in recent months, helping create or stabilize economies in both places.

In Fiji, Stetter worked with the textile, clothing and footwear industries, which have been hard-hit in recent years. In 2004, exports totaled $85 million, and by the end of 2008 it will be less than $500,000.

Stetter’s team held meetings and workshops with the major players on the group of islands to create a sustainable plan to bring the nation back to sustainability.

After returning to Steamboat on Wednesday, Stetter will travel to Fiji for another two weeks in December for a second phase of the project.

He also has been asked to return to Bhutan, where he has helped increase the marketability of traditional medicine, an industry in decline in Bhutan.

In the meantime, Stetter will keep an eye out for new challenges across the globe and ways to promote, in the way he signs his e-mails, happiness.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com