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Foreign-owned companies honored in Charlotte

Three foreign-owned companies with operations in Charlotte were honored Wednesday at the 16th annual Mayor’s International Community Awards, an event designed to shine a spotlight on the local philanthropic efforts of international businesses.

Three individuals were also given awards at the luncheon, which was held at the Westin hotel and drew an estimated 350 attendees -- including Gov. Pat McCrory, who made a surprise appearance halfway through.

The program honors small, medium and large companies. BridgehouseLaw, which is German-owned, won the small-company award. SGL Carbon, also headquartered in Germany, won the award for medium-size companies. Ingersoll Rand, based in Ireland, won in the category for large companies.

The Charlotte International Cabinet, a nonprofit, organizes the awards event, which was launched in 1998. Nominations for companies and individuals are submitted to the cabinet, and Charlotte’s mayor picks the winners.

Stephanie Ansaldo, president of The Echo Foundation, won the Richard Vinroot International Achievement Award, named after the former Charlotte mayor. Nini Bautista, a board member of the Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, won the Global Leader Award.

Augusto Conte, a native of Italy who has opened Italian restaurants in Charlotte, was given the Patrick McCrory International Entrepreneur Award. McCrory, who showed up in the middle of the awards event, made the presentation to Conte.

“I’m on my way to Greensboro, then Raleigh, and I said, ‘I’ve got to drop by the international awards,’” McCrory said.

McCrory gave credit to Vinroot, who was not at the event, saying he “really understood the aspect of this being an international city and becoming an international city.”

McCrory also praised entrepreneurs.

“They’re the ones that take risks,” he said. “They’re the ones who never know when they put their own capital, or someone else’s capital, up front whether they’re going to make it or not.”

Not in attendance: Mayor Anthony Foxx, who was in Washington, D.C., for the confirmation process related to his nomination as U.S. transportation secretary. Foxx was supposed to help present the awards, but City Councilman David Howard presented them instead.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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