This past week our extended family in the Offset and Countertrade world suffered a profound loss. Dan West passed away while on another one of his wild adventures - this time swimming with the humped backed whales off the coast of the Dominican Republic. For those of you who may not have had the pleasure to meet Dan, he was the founder of the American Countertrade Association (ACA) - which over the past 32+ years evolved into the Global Offset Countertrade Association (GOCA).
It was 1986, while Dan was working at Monsanto, where Dan brought together a group of some 12, then 20, then 30, industry professionals involved in global trade who would meet to exchange ideas as to how to create solutions on facilitating trade and investments into countries that had limited hard currency. Their initial focus was on "countertrade", and these people became known as countertrade specialists. Dan was both the inspiration and perspiration that created and nurtured the growth of that group that became known as the "ACA".
Dan was one of those special and rare people whose life was a gift to others, as he proved how one candle can light the lives of thousands of others. Thru the work and vision that Dan West shared by creating the ACA, the GOCA now provides forums for education and networking that have enriched the lives of many thousands of professional involved in international business, and the focus on countertrade shifted towards creating opportunities for global industrial partnerships and offsets.
After Dan retired from Monsanto and the ACA, he continued to travel the world and to make a positive and sustained impact on the lives of people that he met. Go see the play "Come from Away", and you will think of Dan West as he and his wife Sylvia were amongst those 6700 passengers who landed in Gander Newfoundland right after the 9/ 11 attacks, and who received acts of kindness from the Lewisporte community. Dan led many efforts to pay those acts of kindness forward and Dan helped to create scholarship funds for the children in Gander to get university educations thru what is known as the Lewisporte Area Flight 15 Scholarship.
It was Dan's humanistic concern and caring that distinguished him as a great person. Just as importantly, Dan made us laugh with his sense of humor and his own infectious laughter. Dan will continue to live inside of the hearts of his large extended family as well as the hearts of all of the people whose lives he touched through his love, his caring for people, his values and the good deeds that he shared with all of us.
With heartfelt condolences, we ask that Dan's memory be a blessing.
Dov Hyman & Cary Viktor, on behalf of the GOCA Executive Committee