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Snyder leads 8-day trade mission in Europe

April 20, 2018

Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Kurt Nagl

Gov. Rick Snyder is in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday for the first part of an eight-day trade mission in Europe focused on spurring investment in manufacturing, mobility and tourism.

The governor will attend a large technology trade fair in Germany and meet with dozens of business owners and government leaders in Austria, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The mission trip began Wednesday and runs through next Wednesday, according to a news release from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

From Vienna, Snyder will travel to the U.K., where he will visit mobility plants and attend the British Motor Museum to tout Michigan’s automobile culture and build awareness of the state as a travel destination. The museum will feature an exhibit on the life of auto pioneer Henry Ford.

Snyder will travel from Britain to Germany for the Hannover Messe — the world’s largest technology trade fair — where he will meet executives from global auto suppliers and manufacturers. The mission to Hannover starts Saturday and continues through April 27. It is sponsored by Automation Alley, a nonprofit tech and manufacturing association based in Troy.

During the Hannover Messe floor walk, the governor will visit about 30 companies’ booths, including KUKA, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, ABB Group, Faurecia, Andritz AG and Dassault Systems. “He will also meet with the 2018 partner country of Hannover Messe, Mexico, to solidify our relationship,” MEDC spokeswoman Kathleen Achtenberg said in an email.

Other company meetings and tours will be with Millbrook Group, Aston Martin and Austrian companies with a Michigan presence at a networking event in Austria, she said.

During the Germany leg of the trip, Snyder is joined by executives of companies including Duggan Manufacturing LLC, based in Shelby Township; LHP Engineering Studios, based in Pontiac; OPS Systems, based in Wixom; Managed Programs LLC, based in Auburn Hills; Material Handling Systems Inc., based in Rochester Hills; and Zero Gravity Filters Inc., based in Brighton. They will take part in the MEDC’s booth at the Hannover trade fair.

Business partners pay their own way for the trip and it is arranged by Automation Alley, said Lisa Lasser, international business services manager at the nonprofit.

OPS Systems is participating in the German trade fair for the first time since opening an office in Prague earlier this month, Bill Coe, vice president of regional sales for OPS Systems, said in an email.

“(OPS) will introduce our expanded presence while developing deeper relationships with our growing European customer base and look to develop additional opportunities,” he said.

The following MEDC officials are also participating in the trip: CEO Jeff Mason, auto sector Senior Vice President Kevin Kerrigan and Travel Michigan Vice President Dave Lorenz.

Others joining include Alan Weber, economic development director for the city of Novi; Rochelle Freeman, business and economic development director for the city of Southfield; Will Butler, business development representative of the Detroit Regional Chamber; Jack Johns, project coordinator for the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development department; and John Wolf-Meyer, business development manager for the Oakland County Economic Development department.

The local partners pay their own way, and their trip is not arranged by the MEDC or Automation Alley, Lasser said.

The MEDC news release cited four recent investments in Michigan from European companies as an example of the trade mission’s purpose: Infineon Technologies Americas Corp., NAVYA Inc., Siliconature Corp. and HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc.

Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have traveled to France, Ireland, Italy, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Israel, Switzerland and India on trade missions.


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