Lufthansa Executive to Deliver Keynote at 2015 International Town Hall

May 4, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. / Mr. Don Bunkenburg, one of Lufthansa’s top North American executives, will deliver the keynote presentation at the 2015 International Town Hall, May 8 at the Hilton Carillon in St. Petersburg.  Mr. Bunkenburg, Managing Director of Lufthansa’s Corporate Sales and Regions for North America, will share why Lufthansa, the world’s most financially successful airline, chose to begin offering nonstop flights from Tampa International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany beginning in September, and how the new service will enhance global business opportunities for Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA), a partnership between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development launched in May 2014, is hosting the annual event.
“This year’s International Town Hall will offer a very rich and diverse agenda for businesses that are looking to expand global trade opportunities and those interested in learning more about our region’s international initiatives,” said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “The event marks the one year anniversary of our regional alliance and gives us the opportunity to celebrate a long list of successes.”
The International Town Hall, from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., will begin with breakfast and feature an expo for guests to visit before and after the program. The expo will offer attendees the chance to mingle with experts who provide services and support to exporters including training, counseling, grants, financing, and logistics. The program will begin with the presentation of a joint proclamation from Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties commemorating World Trade Month and emphasizing the importance of exports and trade to the region’s economy. Following the keynote, three panels will take place.  The panels will feature Tampa Bay leaders discussing the state of our region’s international business initiatives, local business executives sharing tips for how to succeed in the international marketplace, and government and industry experts on doing business in Cuba offering their insights on how to prepare for commercial engagement with the island nation.
“The goal of this partnership is to assist local companies to increase their exports to grow their businesses and create new jobs. Local companies such a Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Hydro Dyne, and SOS Technologies have fascinating stories to tell about their experiences on our first TBEA trade mission to Chile and the results of their first foray into the Chilean market,” said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “Hearing them speak about what they learned, the relationships they created, and the results they achieved will show just how much opportunity there is for Tampa Bay companies interested in pursuing trade in foreign markets.”
Following the International Town Hall, attendees are invited to stay for a luncheon honoring the visiting Panama delegation.  The luncheon, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Panama in partnership with local organizations, will offer attendees the opportunity to hear from Panama’s top trade and investment officials, get an overview of specific business opportunities between Tampa Bay and Panama, and meet and network with all members the Panama trade delegation.  His Excellency, Mr. Jesus Sierra, Panama’s Minister of Tourism, will provide an overview of tourism opportunities in Panama. Mrs. Essie Mastellari, National Director of Investment Promotion for Panama’s Ministry of Commerce, will deliver a commercial and economic outlook for the country.  The luncheon program will wrap up with a panel of leaders from Panama’s special economic zones, and share how attendees can engage in specific import and export opportunities within them.
“We are honored to welcome His Excellency Mr. Jesus Sierra, Mrs. Mastellari, the American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama, and the entire Panama delegation to Tampa Bay,” continued Mr. Homans. “Our business and tourism activity with Panama grows more robust each year, and we look forward to strengthening our commercial ties with the delegation’s visit here.”
The luncheon is sponsored by the Panama Tourism Authority and Parque Logistico (Toyota Group) and is complimentary for everyone registered for the International Town Hall.
View the full event agenda and list of speakers here.
Media will have the opportunity to interview International Town Hall speakers and members of the Panama delegation by request during the event and are invited to contact Michelle Bauer or Stacey Swank (listed above) with any questions.
Tampa International Airport is the presenting sponsor for the 2015 International Town Hall. Other major sponsors include Port Tampa Bay, Copa Airlines, the Tampa Bay Trade and Protocol Council, BBVA Compass, SunTrust, Tampa Electric Peoples Gas, and USF World. Expo participants include Enterprise Florida, Ex Im Bank, Small Business Development Center, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  For a full list of expo participants, visit
Tickets, which cost $45 per person and include breakfast and the opportunity to attend the luncheon at no cost, can be purchased online.  Discounts are available through promotional partners.
For more information about the Tampa Bay Export Alliance and to register for the International Town Hall, visit
About The Tampa Bay Export Alliance:
The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA) is a partnership between Pinellas County Economic Development and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, formed in 2014 to grow jobs and capital investment by increasing the international export of products and services within the bi-county area.  The TBEA conducts joint export activities, such as seminars, trade events and trade missions, and supports the export-related growth initiatives of regional economic partners, including Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.
About The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation:
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation is the lead economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention, and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment within targeted industry sectors. Working with C-level executives, site selection consultants, commercial real estate professionals and other influential decision makers, the EDC provides customized, confidential relocation services to domestic and international companies interested in growing within Hillsborough County.
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation exists because of the generous support of nearly 100 corporations, Hillsborough County, and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.
About Pinellas County Economic Development:
Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) works with existing businesses to encourage expansion and seeks to attract new companies with high-wage careers to our community. Through investment tools, business classes, professional consulting services, trade missions to open new markets, and strategic partnerships, PCED fosters a pro-business environment and promotes the Ideal Business Climate of Pinellas County, Florida.