Russian Finds Team Spirit In U.s.

June 02, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

Sviatoslav V. Sedov, a Russian learning the ways of American business, has seen some unusual things during his stay at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, especially the time an America West Airlines employee fixed a competitor's luggage conveyor belt.

Such an act would have been unlikely in Russia, said Mr. Sedov, financial director of Intekap, a small production firm of Venetian blinds in St. Petersburg.

"We in Russia think to destroy, to butcher, to conflict with another company," said Mr. Sedov, 25.

The act of an America West employee freeing a competitor's conveyor belt was "a real example of cooperation. Cooperation we now need in Russia," he said.

Mr. Sedov is one of 23 Russian business people interning for four weeks at businesses in Maryland. They are part of the United States Information Agency's "Business for Russia" program, which is exposing Russian business professionals to the ways of America's businesses and economy.

The interns in Maryland are working in Baltimore City, and Howard and Baltimore counties. The state is one of 11 participating in the program. Other communities are in San Jose, Calif., Houston, and Cincinnati. Each community has about 23 interns working at local businesses. The internships end June 15.

Mr. Sedov, who interned with America West for one week, will spend the rest of his internship studying accounting and financial systems at BWI under David W. Baldwin, manager of financial analysis for the Maryland Aviation Administration.

Mr. Sedov said the program will allow him to "take the sense, the fundamentals of a business system back to Russia." Once back home, he hopes to pass on tips to improve the organization and operation of Russian businesses.

This is Mr. Sedov's first trip to America. He said he found that despite their egotism and individualism, Americans work well as a team in corporations.

The "Business for Russia" program is a partnership between government agencies, nonprofit organizations and business communities both here and in Russia. The University of Maryland University College and the Maryland International Trade Association are the sponsors here. It is funded by a $52,000 grant from the United States Information Agency.

This is the program's second year. Richard Schreck, director of international programs at the university, said he hopes the program fosters close working relationships between Maryland and Russian businesses.

With Russia's private business sector emerging, what is needed is an opportunity to "relate how things work in the U.S. with how things work in Russia," he said.

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