Hannover Messe Exhibitor Spotlight: Pittsburgh Regional AllianceApril 15, 2016
This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
Ed. note: This post is part of a series highlighting the upcoming Hannover Messe Trade Show April 25—29, 2016. This series will highlight U.S. exhibitors that will participate in the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology.
Guest blog post by Suzi Pegg, Vice President at Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
This is your first time at Hannover Messe. What factors influenced your decision to participate this year?
The Pittsburgh region is an amalgam of brawn and brains: We’ve kept the best of our past – strong work ethic, an industrial heritage and resiliency – but have harnessed innovation, R&D and technology to accelerate our legacy industries, including manufacturing, to new dimensions.
The opportunities to promote this Pittsburgh story (and much more) to prospective companies and show off the Pittsburgh region as a perfect soft landing for business investment at Hanover Messe 2016 influenced our decision to participate. It’s the world’s most important trade fair for industrial technology. It maps so well to a number of sectors our region is famous for – such as manufacturing and information technology. And with the U.S. as the fair’s partner country, as well as us sharing a booth with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Core PA and Select Philadelphia, we are represented across the map, providing us with strength in numbers to show the world that the U.S., Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh region are open for business and are great places to live, work and invest.
Why is the Investment pavilion a natural home for you?
A main factor in our decision to participate in Hanover Messe 2016 was the opportunity to share a booth (Select USA Pavilion – Hall 3, Floor 6, Stand 22) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Core PA and Select Philadelphia. Together, we have an opportunity to shine as a state. When Pennsylvania thrives, the Pittsburgh region thrives. Our partnerships in the region and across the state are unique, and these partnerships benefit all of the participants.
What do you hope to accomplish at Hannover Messe?
We hope to accomplish a lot at the trade show. The first thing that caught our attention was the term “Industry 4.0,” which was born out of Germany. “Industry 4.0” has been cited as the fourth Industrial Revolution, and it will be a large focus at the fair. Our own regional advances – “Pittsburgh 4.0,” as we call them – are contributing to this revolution and can be assets to other countries. From the Pittsburgh region, long-standing companies and visionary startups are delivering novel, disruptive and often globally impactful developments. These are already touching industries and individuals worldwide and have the potential to be even more disruptive.
At Hannover Messe, the Pittsburgh region has an opportunity to show the world that these companies in the region are melding dramatic advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing – many of which are tied to Pittsburgh’s robust academic and corporate R&D – with their typical operations. As such, they are enabling the production of an array of materials, products and services made faster, better and at less expense. This is a critical part of Industry 4.0, and it’s coming straight out of Pittsburgh.
Our region has an established manufacturing supply chain; innovation from research and development at Carnegie Mellon University – which will be represented at Hannover Messe – and the University of Pittsburgh; and support from regional and state economic development organizations. Altogether, these assets play favorably to companies looking to establish a presence or do business in southwestern Pennsylvania. Bottom line: Pittsburgh is profitable for companies; that’s the message we want people to understand.
Another common thread is talent attraction and retention, which is the very backbone of a successful region. Attracting global talent to our region – and keeping the international students with amazing minds who come to study at our world-renowned universities – to work and live will diversify our population and increase our pool of future citizens. Having such diversity creates a nexus to attract the next wave of corporate investment to southwestern Pennsylvania. It will secure the region’s place as a truly international destination and soft landing for people and businesses alike.
When and how did your organization enter the global marketplace? With what countries or markets are you currently engaged?
The Pittsburgh region has a rich history in the global marketplace. The steel made in our mills was exported to “built the world” in the 20th century. Those business and trade connections remain but are now expanded into other sectors such as healthcare and life sciences and information technology.
Currently, we’re engaged with Germany, France, the U.K., Japan, Canada and Australia.
Germany is a key target market for us this year. It’s an outstanding example of the role foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in advancing economic opportunities in the Pittsburgh region. Germany is a leader (second only to the U.K.), when considering quantity of investment, among the 33 countries with investment ties to the region.
The article, “Why German Companies Feel at Home in Pittsburgh,” published in IndustryWeek in July 2014, sums up the attraction nicely:
“When half of the 20 largest German-owned companies have a presence in one city, you have to ask why. Pittsburgh home to 170 German companies, 75 of which are manufacturers. With numbers that large, including a workforce of 11,000, it can safely be said that it’s not a coincidence.
There are a number of factors: a strong workforce with a history of skills in specific areas in which German companies excel, a landscape that looks like home to German ex-pats and similar cultural values. But the one that stands out is the ability to combine the reputations of the two countries into a strong product offering.”
In addition, because of our strengths in cybersecurity, the region outbid other U.S. regions to host a German Cyber Security mission coming to Pittsburgh in the fall. This initiative will be in conjunction with our partner, the Pittsburgh chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce.
What impact has this had on your organization or region? What advice do you have for other American organizations looking at the global market?
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and our region have benefited from the diverse companies entering our market. The creation of jobs and the access to other potential investments in other countries have successfully reinforced our pipeline and broadened our outreach.
In terms of advice, I’d relay lessons I’ve taken from my personal experience of recently becoming a United States citizen last December. It was a long journey which took time and investment, but citizenship was worth all the hoops I had to go through, and I could not be prouder to officially be a part of this incredible nation. I tell the international companies that I work with that while they can perceive the USA as a hurdle too tall to jump, there is real opportunity here that will make it worth their while. I am frank in telling them that they have to be serious about entering the market, do the necessary leg work and be in it for the long haul – all of much is not very different from becoming a citizen, in my mind. The same goes for American organizations looking at the global market. There is effort, but it’s not without reward.