Lafayette International Center Director's Biography

Robert Melanson, Director of International Trade and Development
Lafayette International Center
735 Jefferson Street
Lafayette, LA 70501

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Lafayette native Robert Melanson is the Director of International Trade and Development within the International Trade Division of Lafayette Consolidated Government and as such heads up the Lafayette International Center (LIC).

Following graduation from Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, he went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree (BSFS) at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In addition to graduating cum laude, he earned a Certificate in Africa Studies, a certificate of business-level proficiency in French from the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris and passed the SFS Proficiency Exam in French, a requisite for graduation.

Melanson served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Khamtaleso, Thailand and in addition to his role as a teacher of English as a foreign language at a rural high school, he worked on several community development projects to promote small business, HIV prevention and teacher training. Upon close of service, he passed the Princeton ETS Language exam in Thai. Melanson subsequently accepted employment in Moscow, Russia, first with Omnia Trading and Engineering, SpA and later with Spedition Froesch. 
After working in Moscow for more than three years, he returned to Washington, D.C. and completed coursework in advanced grammar and conversation in Russian. While in the D.C. area, Melanson worked as a medical interpreter and as an interpreter trainer and collaborated on the establishment of an interpreter bank for clinics and hospitals.

Melanson then joined one of the world’s largest international freight forwarders and enjoyed a career spanning nearly 12 years dealing with U.S./Mexico trans-border traffic, and later handling implementation and training related to CRM, and various software related to freight forwarding operations and customs brokerage. From there, he was transferred to the Russian Far East to head up a businsess unit and before heading to Angola, Africa designing, implementing and training others on an events management tool.
Melanson has earned a certificate of intermediate level Portuguese language proficiency from CIAL Centro de Línguas of Lisbon, Portugal; holds a Customs Brokers license; and has achieved the professional designation of Global Logistics Specialist from the Center for International Trade and Transportation at the California State University, Long Beach.
Prior to accepting the position at the Lafayette International Center, Melanson dedicated himself to volunteer work serving the south Louisiana area, including tutoring mathematics for Volunteer Instructors Teaching Adults (VITA); interpreting English/Spanish for AcadianaCares, an organization devoted to assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness; and participating in retreats held within the Louisiana State Penitentiary with Kairos Angola, an international prison ministry.

In his capacity as Director of International Trade and Development, he enhances Lafayette’s international standing by hosting visiting delegations, leading trade missions abroad, overseeing the facilitation of interpretation and translation services for organizations within the community and the promotion of export-driven economic growth for Lafayette and the surrounding area.