Mayor’s first meetings under way at Hannover FairWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
HANNOVER, GERMANY — Toledo Mayor Mike Bell missed the first of eight scheduled business meetings April 11 because of heavier than expected traffic and construction.
The expected 90-minute bus ride from his hotel in Delmenhorst took more than two hours.
Instead, D. Paul Zito, vice president of international development with the Regional Growth Partnership, attended the meeting with New Jersey-based Radwell International alone. The industrial overstock inventory company is looking to expand in the United States and worldwide, Zito said.
The mayor arrived at the Hannover Messes, one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, in time for the second meeting. The meeting, with Korean company KTurbo, was attended by Bell, Zito and Deputy Mayor of External Affairs and Economic Development Paul Syring.
“Our objective this week is to shake hands, to put names and faces in the eyes and minds of companies that are at the Hannover fair that express an interest in expanding operations in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest,” Syring said. “We want to put a name and a face on the city of Toledo in their minds, to make them feel welcome and that we are a phone call or an email away and to further their decision and analysis to expand their company and their market in the Midwest.”
Each of the day’s meetings were expected to last about 45 minutes, said City of Toledo Public Information Officer Jen Sorgenfrei.
Typically, Bell will share what makes Toledo a great place to live and do business, Sorgenfrei said, while Zito’s presence assures companies understand Toledo has a strong public-private partnership and that all entities are in agreement for wanting and supporting new business.
“Most don’t know where Toledo is,” Bell said. “I don’t want [a company] to ever say, ‘If only I would have known about Toledo I would have come here.’”
Syring and City Finance Director Patrick McLean are on hand to answer any other specific questions about Toledo’s utilities, tax structure or other areas, Sorgenfrei said.
Bell said he would be pleased if a company decided to invest anywhere in Northwest Ohio, not just Toledo.
“As long as it stays in Northwest Ohio, why not?” Bell said, noting that people are willing to drive long distances to work and jobs in the surrounding areas could employ Toledoans.
Also on April 11, the group plans to meet with Maumee-based Dana Holding Corporation to learn more about the company’s advances in fuel-cell work. The group will also attend the fair April 12.
Zito, who has been at the fair all week, said many people view the Hannover Messe as an economic indicator. This year’s fair features 6,500 exhibitors, the most in 10 years.
“What is good for the fair is good for the economy in general,” Zito said. “The buzz so far has been very good.”