TROY — Mayor Michael Beamish, Troy Development Director Jim Dando, Public Service and Safety Director Patrick Titterington and Troy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joseph Graves and Alex Hara, a consultant and interpreter, recently traveled to Tokyo, Japan, and Troy’s sister city Takahashi City, on an economic development mission trip.
“The whole idea of our mission is to build on our economy, but also protecting our investments in to the future,” Mayor Beamish said on Friday. “We have so many parent companies who have their interest based in Troy.”
It was Mayor Beamish’s 10th trip to Japan. The delegation left May 17 and returned May 25.
“Over the 10 experiences we’ve had there, I’ve developed great relationships,” Beamish said.
The Troy delegation met with top management of Honda Logistics, Honda Motor, Seg Inc. (Seg N.A.), F-Tech (R&D and F&P America), Jobs Ohio office in Tokyo.
“When we sat down with those businesses, as well our sister city, it’s to build relationships. In my 10 years of travels to Japan, they’ve gotten to know me, they know I care, they know the community cares and everybody will say, one of the strengths of Troy, other than location, is the welcoming population of their population, families come to Troy and they don’t want to leave,” Beamish said.
Dando said F&P has 1,000 employees and Honda America employs 600 in Troy.
Graves said he was honored to go his first economic trip to Japan with city leaders.
“I was honored to be able to go with Mayor Beamish and the Troy delegation to Japan to visit with our industrial home headquarters and make those relationships which are very import in Japanese culture,” Graves said. “I think only good things can happen from those visits.”
The team also met with the former president of Panasonic’s Matsushita Electric Industrial, who was part of the Troy plant operations. The former president has many memories of Troy, Beamish said, and he’s been a cheerleader for Troy in Japan since they closed the plant that now houses Clopay.
The delegation asked each corporate leader what Troy could do to help their business interests.
“They all said workforce, retention of workforce and education,” Beamish said. “They are saying we need people, and we are doing everything we can to bring people to Troy, because we have jobs. Their worry is not having enough people.”
Graves said he’s working on a social media campaign to attract displaced workers in the region to come to Troy and fill the jobs throughout the city’s industrial workforce.
“Making those connections with those industries in Japan is very important and with respect being so important to the Japanese culture and us traveling to Japan to say thank you and what can we do to help you and your industry grow and be successful, that means a lot,” Graves said.
“We were so well received, there was consistency, both in the things they like about our community and things that we think we can help them with,” Beamish said. “They all said what they like about a little town like Troy is the quality of life we offer, everyone talks about the amenities of Troy that attract their people.”
Graves said one area of concern was the aging facilities of the Japanese culture school located in the former Miami East Junior High in Staunton Township. Graves said they’ll be addressing that need in the future.
The team also met with Mayor Kondo from Takahashi City. The team surveyed the damage from the city’s floods that were two stories high in some places of the city. The July 2018 floods displaced dozens of people in the sister city.
Graves said he enjoyed meeting Takahashi City’s chamber president and found they had a lot in common, from height, physical features and both enjoyed being a former member of a rock band.
“We got along fantastic. I could not have asked for a better trip both personally and professional,” Graves said. “Visiting Takahashi City was a highlight personally. The people there were so welcoming and we talked about the student exchange and how important it is to both communities.”
A student delegation from Takahashi City plans to come to Troy this summer. The mayor’s delegation will visit Troy in 2020, marking the 30th anniversary of the city’s sister city relationship. The distance between the two cities is approximately 9,000 miles. The team traveled another 1,500 miles visiting business partners and the sister city.
Expenses for the trip were not available as of press time.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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