Iván Völgyes Award
In memoriam of Dr. Iván Völgyes, the American Chamber of Commerce launched the Dr. Iván Völgyes Award for
AmCham would like to thank
This annual award is aimed to recognize those individuals who have played an outstanding and exemplary role in developing Hungarian-American business relations over the past years.
Those persons can be nominated who have contributed significantly to the development of the Hungarian-American business relations in the following, but not exclusive, areas of US investment such as through FDI or technology or knowledge or charity.
Dr. Iván Völgyes was a man credited by many as being the father of modern lobbying in Hungary. Born in Hungary, he moved to the United States in 1956, where, he acquired a BA and
As the chief advisor to General Electric in Hungary, Völgyes also assisted in bringing six of GE's 10 global core businesses, along with more than $1 billion in investment. Dr. Iván Völgyes lost his life in an airplane crash in June 2001.
Eszter Szabó, GE’s corporate communications and public affairs regional leader for CEE and AmCham board member between 2010-2014, knew him – she recalls their meeting in 1996 on her first day at GE. “He was the highly influential national advisor of GE in Hungary, and I was the freshly appointed communications leader, Central Europe at GE Lighting […]. After
In 2019, the winner of the Iván Völgyes Award for outstanding contributions to improving the US-Hungary business relations is
previous Recipients of this prestigious award are
(For detailed information on the recipients please scroll down)
2005 - Péter Hegedűs
2006 - Lajos Sápi
2007 - Ambassador András Simonyi
2008 - Thomas Ramsey, Consul General
2009 - László Czirják
2010 - István Gyarmati
2011 - Marcel Szabó
2012 - Charles Huebner
2013 - Robert Peaslee
2014 - Gábor Garai
2015 - László Metzing (
2016 - Ambassadors Colleen Bell and Réka Szemerkényi
2017 - Joerg Bauer
2018 - Dr. László Ábrahám & Dr. Gábor Orosz
2019 - Péter Fáth
Nomination and voting process
Only AmCham members in good standing can nominate an individual for this award. Each candidate should have at least three supporters from the AmCham membership in order to qualify. Each nomination should be accompanied by a maximum
Applications will be reviewed individually and voted on by the AmCham Board through a secret ballot.
1., Péter Hegedűs
Mr. Hegedüs was the ABB Group Representative for Hungary and President of ABB Kft. Before joining ABB Mr. Hegedüs was Chief Operating officer of Gilbert Commonwealth International Incorporated, one of the largest Engineer / Architect Consulting firms in the United States.
Mr. Hegedüs has contributed in several ways to the American-Hungarian business relationship. As President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary between
Mr. Hegedus, as an American businessman with a first-generation Hungarian background, has always been an
2., Lajos Sápi
In the middle of the 1980’s the
The negotiations resulted in signing the Joint Venture Agreement in July 1988 and the same year the parties
Lajos Sápi and Guardian got acquainted in the course of the joint venture negotiations. At the time of establishing the
Guardian started its new float investment in 1995 in Thalheim, Germany. Lajos Sápi was charged with the management of the project and the initial operation of the plant. As Guardian’s glass plant investment began in Czestochowa, Poland, Lajos Sápi became Director of Central and East European
In 1998 he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Republic.
He graduated from the
In 1989, Joined the Foreign Ministry to work with the so-called Central European Initiative aka Pentagonale as a personal assistant to the Foreign Minister László Kovács. He also headed the Nordic department of the Ministry.
He was also Hungary’s representative to the Western European Union Council for five years. He is vice-president of the Hungarian Atlantic Council,
He is talented enough to achieve great respect not only in the White
4., Thomas Ramsey, Consul General
After his arrival to Hungary in the summer of 2006 as Head of the Consular Section at the US Embassy Budapest, he has coordinated all matters relating to immigrant and non-immigrant visas, antifraud measures, as well as American Citizen Services.
He joined the US Department of State in 1991 and has focused on Consular issues throughout his career. His foreign posting prior to Hungary
He headed up bilateral negotiation efforts on the Visa Waiver Program Memorandum of Understanding with the Hungarian Government, as well as on the three major agreements required for Hungarian citizens to able to travel visa-free to the U.S.: information sharing agreements regarding terrorist activity, lost and stolen passports, and criminal activity. He was responsible for organizing the visits of several American delegations from the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department culminating with the recent visit of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who announced the November 17th start date for Hungarians to be able to travel to the U.S. without a visa for business and tourism. It has been just over a year since the U.S. Congress passed legislation making expansion of the Visa Waiver Program possible and it is no understatement to say that it is partially thanks to his tireless efforts and coordination that Hungary has so quickly negotiated and met all necessary requirements to be among the first countries to enter the new expanded Visa Waiver Program.
5., László Czirják
A long-time AmCham supporter, who is playing an outstanding and exemplary role in developing and furthering Hungarian-American business relations. He is a U.S.-born citizen holding dual U.S. and Hungarian citizenship and has resided in Hungary since 1992. He received a
He is a former President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, a former Vice President, a
6., István Gyarmati
A devoted supporter of Hungarian-American relations since the early 80s. It brought him a lot of trouble for many years. First in the early 80s, when he supported the double track decision of NATO – a rather unusual position form a Hungarian diplomat those days. He was under police investigation for many years, his house and office were bugged (he found the bug in his house and framed it, It can be now seen in his office).
After the political changes in
In the early
He worked in the US between 2000-2003. After his
He is frequently called the “most pro-American Hungarian”, which never prevented him to be a strong critic of American policies. The best example of these positive critics was the famous open letter to President Obama by a number of Central and Eastern-European leaders, which expressed their concern that the
7., Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó is an enthusiastic promoter of the Hungarian-American dialogue and cooperation.
He was teaching European Law at the San Francisco University and at Marymount College and was also the initiator and one of the founders of the Central-European Studies Program designed by the University of San Francisco and Pázmány University to introduce our region to American students.
While teaching international law in California in 2010, during a visit to the Ronald Reagan Museum and Library, he realized that the Centennial of President Reagan would be in the next year. After his return to Hungary, he suggested that a statute should be raised in Budapest to commemorate the achievements of President Reagan. As a result, a non-governmental Memorial Committee was set up and he was commissioned to organize the creation of the statute and all events related to it. He pursued a primordial organizational role in the fundraising, selection of the architect and the location, getting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation involved with the event and arranging many details for the ceremonial parliamentary session and the unveiling of the statute.
Charles Huebner, as an investment adviser, investment banker and the first representative of The American Hungarian Enterprise Fund has done
Earlier in his
9., Robert Peaslee
Mr. Peaslee is the Senior Commercial Officer at the American Embassy in Budapest and held this position since August 2009, and has had regional oversight over the Commercial Section in Zagreb, Croatia since July 2011. Since June 2013, Mr. Peaslee has also had responsibility for the Partner Post of Slovenia.
Mr. Peaslee was previously the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the American Embassy in Doha, Qatar, where he established the office and directed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service programs in Qatar and in Pakistan.
He has also served as the Regional Senior Commercial Officer in Helsinki, Finland and the Principal Commercial Officer at the American Consulate General in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Peaslee was simultaneously the Senior Commercial Officer for Pakistan (resident in Dhahran), with responsibility for overseeing Commercial Service operations in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Mr. Peaslee’s first diplomatic posting was as Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Rob earned a BA in Political Science (May 1989) from Colorado State University and earned an MBA in International Management and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. He is fluent in
10., Gábor Garai
Gabor Garai is a partner and business lawyer at Foley & Lardner LLP. He is chair of the firm’s Private Equity & Venture Capital Practice and co-chair of the Life Sciences Team.
Mr. Garai’s private equity and venture capital practice encompasses all legal and business aspects of structuring, financing and managing various types of investment funds; negotiating mergers, acquisitions and dispositions of portfolio companies; structuring investments in emerging
Mr. Garai lectures and writes frequently to business-people and professionals on venture capital, private equity and
He graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School in
Mr. Garai is the Hungarian Consul General for New England and founder of the Hungarian-American Chamber of Commerce of New England. He received the Hungarian Civilian Cross, the highest recognition to non-residents awarded by the Hungarian president. During his work as Honorary Consul, Mr. Garai was awarded the Hungarian Order of Merit in 2005 and an award pro
11., László Metzing
Laci was called the “Rock” by many, as he was the foundation of what AmCham is today. In the 17
He studied Foreign Trade at the University of Economics where he met his future wife. At the beginning of his
László Metzing passed away on October 23,
His son, Árpád Metzing (picture on the left) accepted the award and said in his speech that "we are thankful to you, the AmCham community, for making AmCham a place, where my father truly loved to work, each day, every day."
12., Ambassadors Colleen Bell and Réka Szemerkényi
For the first time in the history of the award, the Board of Directors unanimously decided to award not one, but two great female leaders, Her Excellency Colleen Bell, United States Ambassador to Hungary and Her Excellency Réka Szemerkényi, Hungarian Ambassador to the United States.
13., Joerg Bauer
Joerg Bauer, President of GE Hungary is a respected leader and the currently the most senior GE representative in Hungary. Over many years he has contributed to AmCham through his vision and insight. Joerg himself is co-head of the Innovation Policy Task Force now since its formation. He shows his leadership by physically participating actively and doesn’t simply delegate duties. He has often led discussions in various events and forums representing the interests of AmCham as a whole.
Upon receiving the Award Mr. Bauer said: “This is a really great honor. I remember I was at Audi, working towards my pilot’s
14. Dr. László Ábrahám & Dr. Gábor Orosz
In 2018, the award was shared by two stalwarts of AmCham: Dr. László Ábraham, head of the Electronic Manufacturers’ Committee, and Dr. Gábor Orosz, who chairs the Regulatory Committee. Both are from National Instruments Hungary, and Lippai-Nagy said the company, too, deserved thanks for supporting the two men in dedicating so much time to AmCham. “I know whenever I call either of them I can be assured I will have the most professional, proactive and helpful assistance,” she said.
“I did nothing else, I did just my job,” said a surprised Ábraham, the firm’s managing director. “When I finished university, my professor said to me: ‘László, it is not enough to lay the egg, you also have to make some noise around it.’ I think it is different today. I hear a lot of clucking, but I see very few eggs.”
Orosz, Associate General Counsel and Legal Director of EMEIA for National Instruments, said he was “humbled”. “If you are a lawyer, and you do not want to be in politics, how can you do your best for your country? That’s how we came together eight years ago to form the regulatory committee.”
15. Péter Fáth
In 2019, the Iván Völgyes award was presented to Péter Fáth, the first CEO of AmCham Hungary, one of the most respected and valuable member of our community since 1989.