(July 15) Celebrating its 10th anniversary by announcing plans to open an office in Sacramento, Calif., Seattle-based international affairs management company Bryant Christie Inc. has come a long way since it was little more than a telephone and desk in the basement of founder and chairman Bill Bryant.

The firm, then called W.L. Bryant Co., took on a new direction when James Christie joined Bryant in 1993 as managing director of BCI.

“When I joined a year later, I found an empty office with a phone on the floor,” Christie said.

Christie figures prominently in the opening of the Sacramento office and will be moving his family to Sacramento to open the office later this summer. He has roots in the area, including a family fruit farm in Walnut Grove.

“The fact they are moving to Sacramento is good for us. It’s a natural fit of Christie to be in California,” said Richard Matoian, president of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, Fresno. Matoian attended an anniversary reception for the firm in Sacramento July 9.

Bryant and Christie said their company will be in a good position to serve its clients in California.

“We are pleased to make a home in Sacramento. It is something we have been planning the last couple of years,” Christie said.

Christie will continue to serve as managing director for the 10-person firm from the Sacramento office, which is expected to formally open in September. Bryant will continue as chairman from Seattle. The firm consists of a trade and market access group, an international marketing group, an Internet services group and a research group.

Bryant indicated that Internet videoconferencing will make communicating easy, in addition to the fact that the offices are a short plane trip away.

The firm is most noted for its work on trade issues. In its first decade, the firm helped open the California grape and cherry industries to the Australian, Chinese and Mexican markets, Bryant said. BCI also has worked on apple industry barriers in India, Israel, Japan and Mexico, in addition to work on expanding potato trade.

Ten years later, the U.S. is working to expand both agreements, even though he noted increasing imports have caused some to question the benefits of free trade.

In addition to the move to Sacramento, the 10-year anniversary of BCI was marked by an announcement the firm will support 10 development projects around the world in the next year. The first project, Bryant said, is a microlending program in Guatemala that provides small loans to aspiring business owners.