Grow Wabash County Goes Global
26 Oct 2022
This year Grow Wabash County (GWC) has been determined to grow relationships with international communities, companies, and programs. In an effort to revitalize these relationships and cement new ones, GWC has been participating in various trade shows that center on trending topics across the globe.
GWC Hosts Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit
The most recent trade show GWC participated in this year was the 2022 Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit at the Eagles Theatre in downtown Wabash. GWC hosted the event along with Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) in July. GWC hosts it every year in order to strengthen its bond with Japanese communities and companies, plus educational facilities and programs.
This year’s theme was the growing trend of automotive electrification. Topics revolved around both the opportunities and challenges of automotive electrification in the Wabash County area.
President and CEO of GWC Keith Gillenwater and his team were responsible for planning and implementation of the event. Gillenwater was also the moderator for a panel on workforce development, and how northeast Indiana communities can help both Japanese-owned companies in the region and companies facing labor shortage challenges.
Mayor Scott Long and JASI executive director Theresa Kulczak welcomed those involved in the event with opening remarks. They spoke on the importance of events like these to support the bonds made with Japanese businesses. The summit also featured Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima—ConsulｰGeneral of Japan in Chicago—as another speaker who emphasized the importance of these ties.
GWC Focuses on International Pursuits
Earlier this year, GWC participated in the 2022 SelectUSA Investment Summit. The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) summit in the U.S. and this year’s summit had the highest turnout in all its years thanks to attendees.
GWC participated in all four days of the conference. Staff had a booth in the exhibit hall in partnership with the NEIRP. Gillenwater was both a presenter on and moderator for a panel discussion.
Gillenwater and GWC Vice President Tenille Zartman met with dozens of potential leads for Wabash County, site selectors, and consultants. They spent a great portion of their time networking with peers from around the world.
GWC also participated in the Hannover Messe 2022 in Germany, where industry thought leaders introduced their new technologies and discussed Industrial Transformation ideas for the future. GWC and Transatlantic Business & Investment Council (TBIC) shared a tradeshow booth throughout the week. Both participated in several meetings over the duration of the conference including prospects GWC cultivated with help from TBIC.
Aside from trade shows, GWC has also seen a number of other international endeavors in 2022. For instance, Hello Nature recently announced a $50M + investment in a joint venture in Wabash County! While in Europe for Hannover Messe, GWC met with Hello Nature at their home facility in Verona, Italy. The GWC staff met the owners in order to express their gratitude and discuss ways to further secure their partnership.