Stoel Rives Partner Alan R. Merkle Receives French National Order of Merit

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Seattle attorney knighted by French government for role in strengthening French and American economic and cultural ties

SEATTLE - Stoel Rives LLP is pleased to announce that partner Alan R. Merkle has been made Chevalier de l’Ordre Nationale du M√©rite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) by the French government. San Francisco Consul General Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens conferred the honor on Merkle in recognition of his role in enhancing business and cultural connections between France and the American Pacific Northwest over the last 20 years.

“Each time I come here, I can see firsthand the density of the economic relations between France and Washington State,” Lebrun-Damiens said during the award presentation on Sept. 15. Merkle played “a key role in the construction of this deep and mutually beneficial relationship,” Lebrun-Damiens continued.

First established in 1963, the National Order of Merit is awarded by the president of France to French citizens or foreign nationals in recognition of at least 10 or more years of distinguished military or civic contributions to French society.

Lebrun-Damiens noted that Merkle has been involved with the French-American community for more than two decades. Merkle served as a board member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest for 12 years before becoming its president in 2009. He also serves as Executive Vice President of the U.S. French-American Chamber of Commerce, which creates strategic initiatives to enhance business and cultural connections between France and the United States.

On behalf of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Schuyler Hoss, Director of International Relations and Protocol, noted that Merkle has been a trusted advisor to several Washington governors and  has played a key role in establishing mutually beneficial economic relations with French companies in the state of Washington. Merkle has served as counsel and advisor to EDF √Čnergies Nouvelles and Air Liquide, two of the world’s largest companies in terms of investments and developments in the United States.

He also facilitated vital exchanges between European and American aeronautic and other companies. Due to Merkle’s work and that of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, France ranks fifth in job creation in the state of Washington with 7,200 jobs. The total bilateral trade in goods equals $2.4 billion annually.

In addition to fostering economic connections and trade, Merkle also has worked to build cultural and civic relationships. As mayor of Mercer Island, Washington for three terms, Merkle established a sister city relationship with Thonon-les-Bains, welcoming its city officials, citizens, and students. This enriching cultural exchange has endured for 17 years.

Merkle has been with Stoel Rives since 1983. He became a partner in 1987 and is a former chairman of the firm. His practice focuses primarily in the areas of infrastructure, energy, construction and design, and government contracts.

About Stoel Rives LLP: Stoel Rives is a leading U.S. corporate and litigation law firm. One of the largest national firms focused on energy, natural resources, climate change and the environment, Stoel Rives also serves the agribusiness, food and beverage, health care, life sciences, and technology industries. With more than 350 attorneys operating out of 10 offices in seven states and the District of Columbia, Stoel Rives is a leader in regulatory and compliance matters, and business, labor and employment, intellectual property, land use, and real estate development and construction law.

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