Chris Runckel is president and principal of Runckel & Associates, a Portland, Ore.-based international business consulting firm. The company specializes in guiding small, medium and family-owned businesses to establish or expand their operations in Asia.
Runckel joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1975 and has had a long association over his career with Asia and particularly Vietnam. He currently serves as chairman of the U.S.-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1969-70, and then worked in President Ford's White House as Deputy General Counsel of the Presidential Clemency Board, which recommended clemency for Vietnam-era draft deserters and evaders. In 1994, Runckel became U.S. Special Negotiator for Vietnam and was assigned to Hanoi as the first permanently assigned U.S. diplomat since the Vietnam War. From June-December 1995, Runckel headed up the U.S. Department of State office in Vietnam. In January 1996 he assumed duties as deputy chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Hanoi. The following year, he was recognized for the breadth of his contribution to U.S.-Vietnam relations by being awarded the U.S. Distinguished Honor Award, the highest U.S. Award for diplomatic service. He has won numerous other awards for his various foreign-service efforts.
Runckel — who speaks Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German and Spanish — also has served in foreign assignments in Hong Kong, Fiji, Thailand, London and China. He was the primary organizer of President Clinton's and President Bush's trips to China and still works for the White House helping to prepare overseas trip for the president.
He also is active in Portland civic and education affairs, is an adviser to the Shanghai Discovery Children's Museum and honorary chairman of the U.S.-Vietnam Business Council. A is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School (with honors), Runckel practiced law in Washington State. He also is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. War College.