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TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today the City of Tallahassee, in partnership with the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Tallahassee/Leon County, announced a trade mission of Tallahassee business, academic and government leaders to Rugao, China. The delegation, led by Mayor John Marks and consisting of representatives from the Tallahassee business community, Florida State University and Florida A&M University, will explore business and academic partnership opportunities and take part in an official Sister City signing ceremony.
http://bingenergyinc.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/more_bug.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-position: 100% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; ">“Rugao and the Yangtze River Delta are particularly interested in green technology and sustainable business practices,” Mayor Marks said. “Tallahassee, with its innovative business climate, commitment to sustainability and world-renowned research in renewable energy, is uniquely positioned for a mutually beneficial partnership with one of China’s fastest growing economic regions.”
“The EDC is encouraged by the synergies between the targeted sectors in our region and Rugao,” said Beth Kirkland, Executive Director of the EDC of Tallahassee/Leon County. “The shared emphasis on renewable energy and the environment, from both a technology and workforce training standpoint, will help create jobs in this industry that is poised for growth.”
“Last May, Bing Energy International had the honor of hosting a trade delegation from Rugao here in Tallahassee, and I am excited my fellow Floridians will now have the opportunity to see firsthand Rugao’s education system, economic development efforts and culture,” said Dean Minardi, CFO of Bing Energy International. “Bing Energy has had the privilege of working with industry leaders in Rugao for the last year, and this visit is a step in building and expanding ongoing relations between Rugao and Tallahassee.”
The delegation will leave from the Tallahassee Regional Airport on Oct. 25, arrive in Rugao on Oct. 26, and meet with business leaders and education officials. Tola Thompson of FAMU’s Office of the President; Dr. John Collier, Interim Dean of the FSU-FAMU College of Engineering; and Dr. Dena Hurst of FSU’s Institute of Government will be meeting with leaders of Rugao’s educational institutions to discuss potential partnerships in joint study and faculty/student exchange programs. Beth Kirkland, Executive Director of the EDC; Dean Minardi, CFO of Bing Energy International; and JT Burnett, a Tallahassee-based business/technology investor, will meet with Chinese entrepreneurs and business leaders to explore economic development opportunities.
On Oct. 27, Mayor Marks will join Rugao Mayor Yonghua Jiang in an official Sister City signing ceremony between the two cities. The next day, Mayor Marks will address businesses throughout the Yangtze River Delta at the opening ceremonies of the ninth Rugao Yangtze River Economic Trade Fair.
Periodically during the trip, the delegates will post event information and photos on the Tallahassee-Rugao Sister City Facebook page atFacebook.com/trsistercity. The trade mission will conclude on Oct. 30.
The trip stems from Bing Energy’s relocation of its world headquarters to Tallahassee in February, Bing's manufacturing facility in Rugao, and the Tallahassee City Commission’s approval of a Sister City relationship between Tallahassee and Rugao.
The trip delegation consists of:
- Tallahassee Mayor John Marks
- Dr. John Collier, Interim Dean and Professor, Florida A&M University - Florida State University College of Engineering
- Dr. Dena Hurst, Deputy Director, John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University
- Tola Thompson, Director of Governmental Relations, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
- Beth Kirkland, Executive Director, Tallahassee / Leon County Economic Development Council
- Dean Minardi, Chief Financial Officer, Bing Energy International Inc.
- John Thomas “J.T.” Burnette, a technology / business investor
- Rick Minor, Chief of Staff to Mayor Marks and the City’s Intergovernmental Liaison
- Ying Wang, President of the Tallahassee-Rugao Sister City Committee
The City of Tallahassee is not incurring any travel expenses for this trip. The City of Rugao, in conjunction with the Tallahassee-Rugao Sister City program, has paid for the officials' airfares and hotel expenses.
About Rugao and the Yangtze River Delta
Rugao is a Chinese city located in the eastern part of the Jiangsu Province near Shanghai and on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. It is slightly larger in land area than Los Angeles with a land area of 531 square miles. Rugao has nearly one and a half-million residents. It is under the jurisdiction of Nantong and is made up of 23 towns, one provincial economic development zone and one city’s port economic zone.
The Yangtze River Delta, also known as the “Golden Triangle,” has experienced unprecedented rapid economic growth and development over the last 10 years, occupying more than 21 percent of China’s total gross domestic product since 2004. The area’s fertile land and dedicated labor force make it an ideal economic hub in the Pacific Rim.
What others are saying about the Tallahassee Trade Mission to Rugao:
“The economic relationship between the United States and China will define the global economy throughout the 21st century. The cities that understand this and work to build business and academic partnerships with China will be making important strategic investments in their economic development.”
Sue Dick, President of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce
“During the past few months, nearly 20 Tallahassee residents have come together to form a sister city relationship between Tallahassee and Rugao, China. I am honored to have the opportunity to travel to Rugao on behalf of the Tallahassee-Rugao Sister City Committee to make the relationship official. The Tallahassee-Rugao sister city will enrich the cultural, education and economic resources of both cities.”
Ying Wang, President of the Tallahassee-Rugao Sister City Committee