(Posted Oct. 12, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Two local leaders have seized a unique opportunity to strengthen and expand business ties overseas.
Patrick Closser, mayor of London, and David Kell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Madison County Future Inc., are spending Oct. 15-22 in Japan.
Both are active in the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange (MODE) and Columbus 2020, regional economic development organizations. The two groups work together to promote the area, locally and abroad, and offer members funding to offset business travel.
“After a lot of consideration, David and I thought it would be a great move for he and I to travel to Japan to visit the headquarters of local businesses and work on business development,” Closser said.
MODE, Columbus 2020, and Madison County Future Inc., the local community improvement corporation, are covering the trip expenses. The only cost to the city of London, Closser said, is for printing materials to take to meetings, which comes out of his mayor’s budget.
Closser and Kell are visiting the headquarters of Stanley Electric, Nissen Chemitech, G-TEKT and Toagesei, businesses based in Japan that have manufacturing facilities in London and West Jefferson.
“Each of the organizations’ business leaders are very excited for our visit,” Closser said. “Nissen was so excited that they have set aside a full day for us. We will be meeting with their top leaders then attend a meet-and-greet with their chamber of commerce and the mayor of Niihama.”
Closser and Kell are spending most of their time in Tokyo with the exception of a day-and-a-half in Niihama, an island southeast of Tokyo. They are traveling with two other members of Columbus 2020 and one representative of the city of Dublin.
“This is an opportunity to meet with headquarters and say thank you for being here (in Madison County), and that we will continue working to make Madison County the best business environment we can,” Kell said.
Closser added, “This is a great opportunity to show our commitment to the large businesses we currently have…and let them know that Madison County and the city of London do not take them, their company and employees for granted. We will also be working hard to develop new business ties to entice new industries to London.”
To prepare for their trip, Closser and Kell took global fluency training to learn about the culture and etiquette of Japan. They also met with local executives representing the companies they are visiting.