Deal to embark on business mission to Europe: Governor will explore international business opportunities for Georgia

May 12, 2011

Gov. Nathan Deal will lead a state of Georgia mission to Europe May 15-24 to seek opportunities for job expansion and investment in the state. The international mission, Deal’s first since assuming office in January, will take him to the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. Deal will meet with both business prospects and companies with existing operations in the state. He will also participate in several business roundtables and meet with high-level government officials and business leaders.

“This mission is a great opportunity to develop the relationships needed to help these companies understand how Georgia can fulfill their needs, whether it’s for expansion or a new location,” said Deal. “Competition for business is stiff. Looking at what other parts of the world are doing and learning from their best practices will help us hone our competitive edge and keep jobs flowing to Georgia.”

Deal will be accompanied by a small delegation that includes Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal; Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD); Gretchen Corbin, the department’s Deputy Commissioner for Global Commerce; and Chris Young, the state’s Chief of Protocol. In the U.K. he will be joined by Annabelle Malins, Britain’s Consul General for Atlanta. Stops include Liverpool and London in the United Kingdom; Munich and Berlin in Germany; and the Upper Austria region of Austria. The mission was arranged with the assistance of Georgia’s international offices in the United Kingdom and Germany, whose directors will join the delegation in their respective countries.

The governor will be hosted in Liverpool by the city’s economic development organization and the operator of the city’s ports, and meet with the Mersey Partnership, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Meetings in London include the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise as well as the British Nuclear Industry Association. Deal will also participate in roundtable discussions in Liverpool and London on topics such as the knowledge economy, global entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships.

While in the U.K., Deal will call on JCB and the Bibby Group, companies who have existing operations in Georgia. JCB, one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment, located its North American headquarters in Savannah in 2000. Bibby is a business-to-business services group involved in ship-owning and operation, and has facilities in Kennesaw and Norcross.

The governor’s delegation will intersect with a group of business and academic leaders from metro Atlanta, whose visit to London will coincide with the governor’s time there. The group includes representatives of Delta, Kennesaw State University, Comcast, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and McKenna Long & Aldridge.

In Germany, Deal will meet with executives from Munich Re, one of Europe’s largest insurance companies; Siemans AG, which has seven operations in Georgia; MAGE SOLAR, which has just opened a $30 million, 350-worker solar panel manufacturing operation in Dublin, Ga.; and a number of companies considering capital investments in the United States. He will also take part in two business roundtable discussions, one hosted by Atlantik-Brücke, a nonprofit organization focused on developing bridges between Germany and the United States, and one by the State Secretary of the German Foreign Office.

Deal will meet with the minister-president of Bavaria and the governor of Upper Austria, which, like Georgia, are part of the invitation-only seven-member Regional Leadership Partnership, formed in 2002 to exchange best practices in topics of mutual strategic interest. Other diplomatic calls on this leg of the trip include the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Bavaria’s Minister of State.

Mrs. Deal will accompany the governor on many of these visits, but will also include stops to see international educational programs in action. She will kick off a Savannah-Liverpool school match-up program as well as ones with elementary schools in Atlanta and London. She will also visit the University of Georgia’s study-abroad program and the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, the Bavarian American Center at Amerika Haus Munich, Georgia Tech’s programs with the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig Maximilian’s University. In Berlin, she will visit the German-American Fulbright Commission, the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace and Kulturweit, an international volunteer service.

“Experience has shown us that these missions pay off. When you bring your top state official thousands of miles to a company’s headquarters, they realize you are serious about wanting their business and are more open to the discussion,” said GDEcD’s commissioner, Chris Cummiskey. “Kia is a prime example of the results these trans-ocean relationships can bring, and there are many others. We are very strategic about these visits and making the best use of everyone’s time, and we anticipate very positive things will come out of this mission for Georgia.”