I'd Rather Be Lucky than Smart
In the summer of 2017 a friend of mine, who had moved to Eastern Europe, reached out and asked something like "I know that you know a lot of lawyers. I have a young lawyer friend who wants to get an internship in the U.S. Can you help him?" So I agree, because I am nice, and want to think of myself as a helpful person. Unfortunately for many around me, I often don't do my homework; and this was one of those times, so I didn’t help a bit. A couple months later, after working myself nearly to death for the entire year to that point, I realized I needed a vacation so I put a message out on Facebook: "I desperately need a vacation. Where should I go?" Well that same friend makes a pretty good argument to me that I should visit him in Latvia. So off I go!
In September of 2017 I visited Latvia and met Helmuts and Anete. Helmuts is the young, Latvian lawyer that my friend asked me to help. So I begged forgiveness for agreeing to be helpful, and then doing nothing; they were gracious. They went on to explain to me that they had been honored to win the Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) Spring 2017 Professional Internship Program. This is a prestigious internship program that pays for the living expenses AND salaries (seriously, this is amazing) of young professionals from the Baltic states. They were looking for positions in U.S. companies in engineering, construction and/or law. I sat in my hotel and wrote a summary of the program that I was going to put out to a bunch of my contacts, because this is such an amazing deal for both the interns AND the companies. I wrote "If you could be interested in a FREE intern for a year from approximately 11/2017 to 10/2018, read on. Both of these professionals have masters degrees, and both are fluent in multiple languages including English and Russian. I know these people. I've spent time with them in their hometown of Riga, Latvia. They are wonderful. I am only sending this to you so that they might have a wide world of opportunities because if they don't find better positions, I will be offering them positions with my company."
After a wonderful week in Latvia I returned home to the U.S., and immediately upon my return Helmuts let me know that he and Anete need to make a final decision about where they will be accepting positions. He had been offered a position in Denver, and she in Boston, but they were hoping to be in the same town. So I made my pitch! They could both work for my company, either in Portland or San Clemente. Lucky me: They accepted.
Anete Kalnina is a Civil Engineer with a degree from Riga Technical University. She holds a Professional Engineer Certification in Road Construction management and recently graduated from Riga Business School with an MBA degree in Finance, with distinction. She has 8-years of work experience in construction project management in the Baltic States for medium and large-scale infrastructure development projects. Anete is interested in construction project management and risk management. Anete was awarded the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) scholarship for young professionals. In 2018 she joined Pete Fowler Construction Services, Inc. to gain international experience and work on construction management and construction claims in the U.S.
Helmuts Kleins holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and Business and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Law and Finance from Riga Graduate School of Law. His experience includes litigation, commercial and civil law, and international arbitration. Helmuts has worked in various law offices and was a Legal Adviser for a group of construction-related companies. Helmuts was granted a scholarship by the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation to live and work in the U.S. and gain international experience. Currently Helmuts is a Legal Intern and Project Coordinator at Pete Fowler Construction Services, Inc. His passion is mergers and acquisitions, international arbitration and business law.