Columbus, Indiana (May 9, 2016) – Two Columbus, Indiana, leaders are fresh back from an economic development mission to Germany, and they were not alone in seeking European investment. Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Jason Hester, executive director of the Columbus Economic Development Board, recently traveled to the Hannover Messe trade fair in Hannover, Germany, where the USA was this year’s partner country at the April 25-29 event that is billed as the world’s largest annual industrial trade show. President Barrack Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the show, and the State of Indiana was one of several states to participate in the USA pavilion. For Columbus, Indiana’s part, Lienhoop and Hester called on companies exhibiting at the show to sell the benefits of locating in the prosperous Midwestern community.
“There seemed to be a lot of interest in the U.S. and what’s happening here, both economically and with national politics,” said Lienhoop. “The U.S. is globally respected for the size and strength of our markets, and our task was to help companies first understand why they might want to locate in Indiana, then South Central Indiana, then specifically Columbus and Bartholomew County.”
The two-person Columbus team was joined by 20 fellow Hoosiers, including State officials, company representatives, and five representatives from neighboring communities in the South Central Indiana Economic Development region. Columbus partnered with its regional neighbors to schedule and conduct company meetings at the show, plus they participated on appointments arranged by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
“Our partnership with South Central Indiana and the State of Indiana allowed us to focus on companies who had expressed some level of interest in investing in the U.S.,” said Hester. “In between those scheduled meetings, we conducted ‘cold calls’ which also led to some interesting conversations.”
While conversations held at the Hannover Messe will take time to develop into future projects, Hester indicated the trip also provided Columbus officials with an opportunity to strengthen local business expansion opportunities by visiting with corporate officials at two of Columbus’ German owned enterprises – CLAAS and LINDAL. CLAAS operates a parts distribution center from its I-65 location in the Woodside Industrial Park, and LINDAL North America is a developer and manufacturer of nozzles and valves that are utilized in pharmaceutical and consumer product applications, with its US operations located on Progress Drive in Columbus.
“While attracting investment from companies not yet located here was the focus our time spent in Hannover, it was equally important to us to dedicate time to meet with officials of our existing businesses,” said Hester.
Adding to the full week of events, Mayor Lienhoop and Hester also spent one day in Löhne, Germany, to demonstrate the city’s support of the Sister City relationship formed in 1994. While in Löhne, Lienhoop and Hester toured the city with Mayor Bernd Poggemöller and other officials, and they were given a tour of one of Löhne’s largest employers, SieMatic, a designer and producer of award-winning kitchens sold around the world.
“It had been several years since a Columbus mayor had visited Löhne, and I was interested to note the similarities and differences of our communities,” said Lienhoop. “Continuing to have educational, cultural, and economic exchanges between our cities will help us glean from each other’s experiences.”
About Hannover Messe
HANNOVER MESSE is the world’s most important industrial show, welcoming approximately 200,000 attendees and 5,000 exhibitors each year from more than 70 countries. Hannover Messe 2016 featured the U.S.A. as the official partner country, and President Barrack Obama became the first sitting United States President to attend the show. More information is available at http://www.hannovermesse.de/home.
About the Columbus Economic Development Board
The Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation, d/b/a “Columbus Economic Development Board” (EDB), is an independent non-profit local economic development office serving Columbus and all of Bartholomew County, Indiana. The organization’s strategic goal is to grow & attract well-paying, high value-added, community-minded base/primary businesses by influencing and leveraging the area’s distinct capabilities in advanced manufacturing, design, and Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) education resources. Current industry recruitment targets include Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Engineering/R&D Services, and Office Administrative Services. The EDB’s approach is three-fold: (1) work with existing primary employers to help them grow, (2) attract and recruit new companies to locate here, and (3) work with fellow community leaders to build upon and continuously improve the area’s desirability to businesses and residents. Since the EDB’s founding in 1976, recruited companies today employ more than 7,400 persons locally and those jobs on average generate an annual economic output of approximately $1 billion, including $282 million in annual household spending. These companies contribute to the local tax base (helping to keep residents’ taxes lower), and suppliers, service providers, & retail businesses benefit from increased spending. More than 350 local expansions have also been supported, with $2.8 billion in recorded direct investment. For more information, please visit www.ColumbusIN.org.