SOPA to go on international trade mission


In April, the staff of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) will be headed in different directions of the country and the world.

In April, Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Asset Manager Adam Phillips will travel to Hannover, Germany on an international trade mission in attending Hannover Messe.

The United States Department of Commerce calls Hannover Messe, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology. The Department of Commerce also refers to the event as an unprecedented opportunity to showcase goods, services and investment opportunities.

The event is anticipated to have 200,000 attendees from more than 70 countries.

SOPA Executive Director Jason Kester said the contingent attending the event from the United States include President Barack Obama the first sitting U.S. President to ever participate in the Hannover Messe show.

“It’s a huge opportunity for our region to market our assets. We’re attending on behalf of JEDISO (Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio) and we’ve also partnered with the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). The trade mission is being sponsored by AEP Economic Development that provided JEDISO a grant to attend the event. Our group is led by SEDC,” Kester said. “Our hope is to continue to grow and establish relationships with site selectors and industry leaders. It’s all part of the approach we (SOPA) adopted last year to be proactive and go out and attract companies instead of waiting on companies to find us.”

Kester said SEDC is working on developing marketing materials highlighting the strengths of the southern part of the United States prior to Hannover Messe. SOPA is a member is the northern most member of SEDC.

While Phillips is in Hannover, a delegation from southern Ohio including Kester will be presenting at the America’s Best Communities Summit in Durham, North Carolina.

In January, it was announced the area advanced in the America’s Best Communities Competition.

The Southern Ohio Port Authority, Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Portsmouth teamed up for this competition.

When the competition was first announced there were roughly 400 communities throughout the United States involved. That pool of communities was narrowed to 50 and then it was narrowed to 15 communities.

The Portsmouth delegation will present at the Summit on Portsmouth’s Revitalization Plan.

The plan provides an innovative approach to revitalize the Portsmouth community by utilizing its most valuable asset, the Ohio River.

Its goal is to improve commercial and community access to the Portsmouth riverfront by making the port a premier regional destination for industrial development, small business development and riverfront recreation.

According to information about the competition, at the end of the summit, eight communities will be named finalists and awarded $100,000 to bring their plans to life.

They will have one year to implement their strategies, and the top three communities that make the largest impact and show the greatest potential for achieving sustainable revitalization will be selected as the grand prize winners.

The top community will receive $3 million, with second place earning $2 million and $1 million for third.

For more information about the programs and activities of SOPA, visit www.sohpa.org or find them on Facebook.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter

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