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And So It Begins: Day One of the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit

June 18, 2017

By Fred Volcansek, Executive Director, SelectUSA

Today, we kicked off the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit with the SelectUSA Investment Academy, a half-day, 25-session program designed to offer a deeper dive into the U.S. investment process. Economic developers and international business investors converged on the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center with one goal: to make the most of their time at the Summit.

The “Make It in Rural America” Academy session. From left to right: Heather Ranck, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brett Doney, CEO, Great Falls Development Authority, State of Montana; Scott Hercik, Transportation and International Trade Advisor, Appalachian Regional Commission; and Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor, State of Idaho

The “Make It in Rural America” Academy session. From left to right: Heather Ranck, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brett Doney, CEO, Great Falls Development Authority, State of Montana; Scott Hercik, Transportation and International Trade Advisor, Appalachian Regional Commission; and Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor, State of Idaho

It all began with early registration and one of many Summit firsts – an opportunity for individuals eligible for the U.S. Global Entry program to participate in pre-arranged interviews with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) on site! Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States – in other words, more valuable time to get straight to business.

Today’s main order of business was the SelectUSA Investment Academy. With short sessions and a highly interactive format, the Investment Academy is essentially a crash course, or, depending on attendee experience, a refresher. Panels are made up of leading business and economic experts and government leaders, each providing the audience with actionable information on how to make the most of their next investment deal.

This year’s Investment Academy was brimming with interest. In one session, attendees were shown a demo of the U.S. Cluster Mapping Open Data Tool by SelectUSA’s Director of Investment Analysis, Elizabeth Shaefer. At another, a panel of experts explained why and how international investors should “Make It in Rural America.” Still others explored a myriad of topics – from taxes and visas to site selection and economic development lead and pipeline management. Also making its debut at the Investment Academy were special sessions by eight federal agencies/bureaus, sharing valuable information and providing participants with a unique opportunity to engage with some of the U.S. government’s most experienced practitioners. These agencies will also be represented in full force at the U.S. Government Pavilion in the Exhibition Hall throughout the three-day Summit, offering additional valuable face-to-face time.

One of the day’s many highlights was the opening of the Exhibition Hall. Here, the sheer diversity and economic strength of the United States was on full display. Now through Tuesday afternoon, economic development organizations (EDOs) from 50 states and territories are displaying what their states, territories, regions, and cities have to offer the world. If you’re attending the Summit, I encourage you to take this unique opportunity to stroll across the entire United States – in a single 79,000-sq.-ft. room. State and Local Night, which begins on Monday at 5:00, is an especially lively time!

Tomorrow’s Agenda

The Summit continues tomorrow. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will open the proceedings, welcoming more than 2,800 participants from across the United States and 64 international markets to the largest-yet SelectUSA Investment Summit.

The mainstage panels and breakout sessions will cover a broad range of topics affecting investment in the United States. Senior government officials will be joined by top-level executives from companies like GE, General Motors, Siemens USA, and Oracle. At 12:00 p.m., Secretary Ross will join UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Liam Fox for an armchair discussion on the strength of the bilateral trade relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster will take the stage, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the Department of Commerce’s Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Commerce performing the duties of the Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez.

I am also looking forward to two specific events: an exciting announcement from Secretary Ross regarding a new investment in New York by an award-winning French startup (in Chesapeake D-F), and a workforce development recognition ceremony with Secretary Ross and Governor McMaster in the Exhibition Hall. Both events are firsts of their kind for SelectUSA, and we are proud to have been part of the teams that made it happen.

If you were not able to join us this year, I invite you to watch the main plenary sessions via livestream and follow live coverage on Twitter.

I know this will be the best SelectUSA Investment Summit yet, and I look forward to hearing about how your company or EDO found its next investment deal.

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