Bradley Professor receives lifetime achievement award

It’s baklava, moussaka and philosophy for Turner Center for Entrepreneurship’s Director of Operations James Foley this week as he travels across the country to Thessaloniki, Greece. But the language of travel in Foley’s world is anything but Greek to the international business professor. 

Foley is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Trade Training Organizations (IATTO), an entity that helps small businesses succeed globally, on Wednesday for his work in the professional trade-training world.

Foley said his first trip to Greece when he was younger inspired him to approach the world from an international viewpoint, but at that time, earning an award for his work was unforeseeable.

“If I thought when I was in Greece that I would be back some years to accept a lifetime achievement award in international trade, I would’ve thought ‘You’re just dreaming,’” Foley said.

Foley, who came to Bradley in 1994, worked with IATTO for many years. In 2001, he served as a voluntary president and later board member of the American organization that belongs to IATTO, National American Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE).

During his time as a board member, Foley advanced the trade-training profession by helping create the Certified Global Business Professional, a qualification test for global commerce like the certified public accountant exam.

“People in international trade, both students as well as people who work for companies, if they really know international trade, should be able to have the letters [CGBP] after their name,” Foley said.

The test is 150 questions, and 70 percent of prospective professionals pass. The test, according to Foley, provides a sense of security for trade professionals as well as the small businesses they work for.

“[Being a certified professional makes it easier to know] when to recognize a real opportunity and when to act on it, but [professionals] also know that there are risks associated with any kind of business,” Foley said. “By using the right resources, [professionals] are going to know how to remove those risks.”

In addition to the certification test, Foley also wrote two books on international trade.

Less than five years after he came to Bradley, Foley pitched the idea for his first book, “The Global Entrepreneur,” with the help of some Bradley faculty members.

The book combines knowledge Foley gained while teaching at Bradley and while working in international marketing in London. The third edition of the book was recently published.

Foley’s other book, the revision of the ninth edition of Terpstra’s “International Business,” came out in 1998. Foley taught from the sixth edition of the book during his first few years at Bradley, and he said the revision process took two years.

“I like writing,” Foley said. “I like trying to explain things and helping both students and companies be better.”

Foley said he wanted to use books to help students and small business owners understand the importance of international trade education, regardless of major or product.

“Plus,” Foley said. “[International business] is fun.”

As for what’s next, Foley said he plans to expand of the international business study abroad programs in addition to the creation of a new certification test in the area of trade compliance.