Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The thrill of driving an electric car

I have to say that getting behind the wheel of a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox with an electric motor was a dream come true.  I've read about electric cars and how some day they will revolutionize the automobile industry, but little did I know that day would come right here in Reykjavik.  Northern Lights Energy, an innovative Icelandic firm, is working with AMP Electric Vehicles in the United States to import more than 1,000 of these electric vehicles into Iceland.  The first vehicles arrived last week and I had the opportunity to test-drive one of them.  Northern Lights Energy and AMP Electric Vehicles are doing everything in their power to put Iceland at the leading edge of countries adopting electric car technology.  I was only too happy to be a part of this effort.  Yet another example of Americans and Icelanders working together.

Friday, May 27, 2011

American and Icelandic friends join to honor sacrifice

Last week, I had the honor to hike up Fagradall Mountain to lay a memorial wreath at the site where the plane carrying Lieutenant General Frank Andrews and thirteen other American servicemen crashed during bad weather on May 3, 1943. Lt. Gen. Andrews was the Commander of U.S. Forces in the European Theater of Operations at the time of his death and is widely considered to be the father of the modern U.S. Air Force.  It was moving to stand over the wreckage of the plane that took so many young and promising lives far away from their home.  The U.S. armed forces stationed in Iceland at that time were working with our Icelandic friends to ensure that critical war materials were safely delivered to our allies in Russia.  On his final mission, General Andrews was flying to Iceland to visit his forces.   I was especially touched by the participation of several Icelandic friends who thought it was important to join us on that hike.  I will never forget their gesture as it reminded me of the deep connections between Iceland and the United States.  These connections are worth preserving.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Icelandic and American Executives Share Experiences

We had the pleasure of hosting a dozen members of the Empire State Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Chapter a few days ago.  YPO brings young Chief Executive Officers together to share experiences, network, and have a bit of fun at the same time.  The Empire State Chapter visited Iceland as part of their regular retreats.  We brought them together with a group of young Icelandic CEOs and elected official for an evening of mutual learning and networking.  I must say the energy emanating from both groups was quite contagious.  We are hopeful that the visit will serve as the foundation for more exchanges between our executives and even the founding of an Icelandic Chapter of YPO. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Congratulations on Harpa

My wife and I were among the lucky guests to hear the first concert by Iceland's symphony and opera at Harpa.  This once-in-a-lifetime experience for the senses will be forever etched in my mind as one of the high points of our time in Iceland.  It is not surprising that many world renowned magazines and newspapers like the New York Times rave about the building's architecture and design.  The performance was so uplifting that it brought many people to tears.  It was a deeply moving experience.  Iceland and Reykjavik have much to be proud of and Harpa has just joined that list.  Hearty congratulations to all involved in the project. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Samhjalp – a shining light in Iceland

I had the privilege of volunteering for a few hours at the Samhjálp soup kitchen this past Saturday and it was an inspiring experience.  It was inspiring to observe first-hand the commitment of Vilhjálmur Svan Jóhannsson whose energy and creativity sustain a network of critically important service centers that support the neediest in Iceland.  His compassion and commitment constitute an instructive lesson for those of us who are blessed with families and jobs. I was also impressed by the energy of Samhjálp’s employees and other volunteers who worked relentlessly and enthusiastically to serve Samhjálp’s clients with a smile.  Several businesses (bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets, caterers) provide support for Samhjálp, but more is needed, especially in these difficult times.  I would encourage readers to consider giving a few hours a month to help this cause:   www.samhjalp.is.