The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Our team recently attended the Food Process Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. The Expo—one of the largest global food processing exhibitions—is a biannual tradeshow promoting innovation in the food processing industry and runs concurrent with the combined InterBev (International Beverage) and International Dairy Processing tradeshows, which offered us the opportunity to meet with companies supplying the food processing industry and allowed us to pursue economic expansion prospects via a horizontal integration of relevant industry clusters.
New Vision partnered with the Gary Ballew from the Port of Pasco in Tri-Cities and Stephen McFadden from Adams County, together forming the Eastern Washington Economic Development Alliance. We hired a consultant to evaluate companies and set up meetings with interested decision makers during the event to talk about our multi-county area. Our objective was to reach out to companies who expressed an interest in our region to determine their needs and business objectives in order to provide relevant information about our local industry clusters and identify a potential customer base for their products or services.
Our informal meetings with prospective companies went extremely well and we have several solid leads from firms that see real potential to grow their business here. Two businesses have already committed to making the trip to Eastern Washington early 2016 to visit sites, talk with producers and learn more about our area first hand. A few companies we met with have a longer term, yet legitimate interest in the region. “Given that we are currently arranging site visits with two companies and may potentially set up a few more, I’d say without a doubt this has been a very successful recruitment trip,” said Ballew.
Marketing and targeted recruitment trips such as the Food Process Expo enable us to bring our message directly to the companies and executive decision makers that could most benefit from expanding to Eastern Washington. It is rewarding to see our message positively received, confirming our marketing efforts continue to prove a wise investment.