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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trip to San Antonio, Texas Update

I have just returned from a petrochemical conference in San Antonio, Texas. What a busy week filled with great opportunities for potential business for the Alberta's Industrial Heartland and for Strathcona County!

Upon our arrival to this beautiful city, the AIHA board and Economic Development officers from each municipality met to go over the itinerary and names of the various companies we were going to be meeting with. Then it was of to two networking events where we introduced ourselves and took the opportunity to invite company representatives and CEOs to the AIHA luncheon we were holding the following day.

The next morning, we all gathered for breakfast at 7:30 at the Conference Centre and hear the opening session. Three panelists addressed the present and future climate surrounding the petrochemical industry. Canada was referenced a couple of times but it was obvious that many conference attendees were unaware of our (AIHA's & Alberta's) huge resource base. It made our presence here even more important and it is one of the reasons why we must attend these conferences.

Our team later split into two groups so that we would be able to attend two meetings before our luncheon. I was part of the group who met with Platts, a major company who we want to connect with.

At our luncheon, I had the pleasure, as AIHA chair, to provide welcoming greetings to close to 50 guests from various companies coming from all over the world: Russia, Japan, Brazil, and the U.S., just to name a few. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Alberta Industrial Heartland and all it has to offer. Later on that afternoon, we once again went in two groups to meet with various company representatives. My group met with Williams, an amazing company already present in the Heartland.

Afterwards we were invited to the San Antonio City Hall to meet with their elected officials, their economic development representatives, and the Canadian Consulate.  What a great visit! I will be bringing back some good ideas that we could possibly look at for Strathcona County, such as their Alamo Academy, a concept for job creation and training.

That night we met Barbara Korol, the Director of Hydrocarbon Processing from Alberta Energy, Barbara also happens to live in Sherwood Park!

On Tuesday morning, we had meetings with three companies who have a presence in the Heartland: Air Products, Air Liquide, and CBI. This was followed by a very interesting lunch presentation by Dr. Bates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense. He spoke on Country Security when oil and gas are at stake.

In the afternoon we met with the Port of Antwerp, Belgium to compare chemical cluster comparisons. Tuesday evening  the AIHA and EDO had dinner together to discuss this conference and future strategic plans for the Heartland.

Attending this conference was an important opportunity that allowed us to present the Alberta's Industrial Heartland to the world. We need to let others know what we do, what we offer and how we are the best.

Mayor Linda

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