Tampa Bay Export Alliance To Host 2015 International Town Hall

March 17, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. / The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA), a partnership between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, today announced that it will host its 2015 International Town Hall on May 8 at the Hilton Carillon in St. Petersburg, Florida. The event, which will kick off World Trade Month, will offer an in-depth look at the people and programs driving international business growth in Tampa Bay.   “Our international efforts in Tampa Bay are succeeding like never before and the International Town Hall gives us a chance to celebrate our accomplishments and plan for the future,” said Rick Homans, President & CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “This event is a must-attend for any organization interested in expanding its international footprint."   Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development, shared the strategy for the Tampa Bay Export Alliance’s success. “This new era of partnership and collaboration between our region’s economic development and trade organizations is driven by the goals of expanding exports, growing businesses and creating jobs.” Meidel said. “We’re seeing early signs of success with increased trade, new international destinations, and more traffic through Port Tampa Bay.”   Among the accomplishments cited by Homans and Meidel: • Tampa International Airport has increased service to several global business destinations, including London, Zurich, and Panama City, and will launch direct flights to Frankfurt in September • Port Tampa Bay is enhancing its capabilities to handle increased container traffic and working to recruit new shipping lines and manufacturers • Recent trade missions to Panama and Chile have resulted in millions of dollars in new business opportunities for local companies.   The International Town Hall 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.   Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties will commemorate World Trade Month and the 2015 Tampa Bay International Town Hall with a joint proclamation emphasizing the importance of exports and trade to the region’s economy.   Agenda highlights include: • An opening keynote presentation from Lufthansa, the newest  carrier to begin service from Tampa Bay with direct flights to Frankfurt beginning Fall 2015 • A panel discussion, “State of International:  An Overview of Collaborative Efforts,” featuring: o Paul Anderson, President & CEO of Port Tampa Bay o Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit Tampa Bay o David Downing, Executive Director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater o Rick Homans, President & CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation o Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport o Mike Meidel, Director, Pinellas County Economic Development   • In “Trade Behind the Scenes: The Real Story Told By Veterans,” a panel of experienced trade mission participants will share how relationships are created and deals get done during these brief yet intense business trips.  Panelists will include representatives from Enterprise Florida, Ex-Im Bank, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), U.S. Commercial Service, Custom Manufacturing and Engineering, and SOS Technologies   • A spotlight session on Canada will feature a discussion with Roxanne Dubé, Consul General of Canada in Miami. She will provide an overview on doing business with Canada, share top growth sectors, and offer insights into Canada’s current economic and business climate.  The significance of the Tampa Bay – Canada relationship will be explored, and tips will be offered from companies already doing business there. Attendees will also learn more about the TBEA mission to Canada in October and how they can participate.   • An expert panel on Cuba will host an open, interactive and candid dialogue about the realities of Cuba from both the public and private sector point of views. From policy, treaty compliance to logistics - what does it take to get a product on the ground in Cuba and what does this all mean now for Tampa Bay. This not-to-be-missed discussion will feature: o  John Andersen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere U.S. Department Of Commerce International Trade Administration o Anthony Christino III, Director of the Foreign Policy Division, Office of Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce o Jay Brickman, Vice President of Government and Cuba Services for Crowley Liner Services o Walter P. Bastian, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere U.S. Department Of Commerce, International Trade Administration.   Tampa International Airport is the presenting sponsor for the 2015 International Town Hall. Other major sponsors include Port Tampa Bay, and Copa Airlines and the Tampa Bay Trade and Protocol Council are among the event partners.  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 tampabayexportalliance.com.   Tickets, which cost $45 per person and include breakfast, can be purchased online.  Discounts are available through promotional partners. The International Town Hall will open for registration and networking at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m.   For more information about the Tampa Bay Export Alliance and to register for the International Town Hall, visit http://tampabayexportalliance.com/.   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.