A Japanese delegation led by Consul-General Naoki ITO, Chief Executive Director Ralph Inforzato of the Japan’s External Trade Organization (JETRO) and CEO for Intersect Illinois, Mark Peterson toured Rochelle today as they kicked off the Japanese Grass Roots Initiative to Rochelle. The visit to the Hub City came about as a result of Governor Rauner’s recent Trade Mission to Japan. Rochelle’s Economic Development Director, Jason Anderson was part of the Governor’s delegation and during his visit to Japan invited Ito and Inforzato to tour Rochelle. Naoki ITO and Mark Peterson began the day viewing the City of Rochelle by helicopter. Following the aerial tour ITO said, “Rochelle has all of the infrastructure businesses need. We believe there are many Japanese companies who would benefit from what Rochelle has to offer”. Peterson, stated: “Rochelle is an example of the best of what Illinois has to offer: a location with great rail and highway access, expansive utility infrastructure, a ready to go workforce and a business friendly approach”.
As part of the day’s events the delegation toured Silgan Container, MightyVine’s Hydroponic Greenhouse and the Rochelle Business and Technology Center. Over the noon hour the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation hosted a Business Roundtable luncheon where 30 business leaders from across the region exchanged ideas on how to build a stronger relationship between Northern Illinois and Japan. JETRO’s Chief Executive Director Ralph Inforzato made an observation: “It is obvious the City of Rochelle has passionate leaders who understand economic development. We see many opportunities to partner with Rochelle in bringing new businesses here”.
Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson remarked as the delegation prepared to depart: “This is a historic day in the City of Rochelle. Today we made some new friends with whom we will work alongside to bring new jobs and many opportunities to the Hub City for many years to come”.
NOTE: Consul-General Naoki ITO has been a distinguished member of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1984. Japanese External Trade Organization Chief Executive Director, Ralph Inforzato represents a Global Business Network that has offices in 60 cities around the world. Mark Peterson is CEO of Intersect Illinois which is a privately funded organization who promotes Illinois to businesses both domestically and internationally.