MADISONVILLE, KY (1/3/13) –“Inviting,” “educational,” “entertaining,” “honorable,” and “promising”—all phrases, among others, that were recently used by Madisonville officials and Sister Cities Commission members to describe their recent visit to China.
Developed over many months of communication both in-person and through long distance correspondence, such as phone calls and emails, Madisonville’s enduring rapport with manufacturers and investors in the densely populated, industrialized city of Dongying in China’s Shandong Province is poised to create new economic opportunities for our community, region, and state, say officials.
But what’s the rationale for this assertion?
A large reason, which was reported in a previous release, is that members of the Madisonville Sister Cities delegation were able to slate an official agreement with China’s largest distributive energy service provider and keynote engine manufacturer, the Shendong Group (Shengli Oilfield Shengli Power Machinery Group Company, Ltd.).
As outlined in the agreement, an assembly representing the Shendong Group will be arriving in Madisonville later this year—possibly during February or March—to discuss local investment opportunities with members of the Sister Cities Commission and other area dignitaries.
Touted as a multi-faceted company with over 30 years of international experience, the Shendong Group holds more than 85% of the domestic market share and has exported their cutting edge, high-efficiency engines and generator sets to over 40 countries, including Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.
What’s more, the Madisonville delegation was also able to foster investment interest from a total of five additional businesses and groups, including affiliates of Dongying’s globally-recognized Tire Manufacturer’s Association.
Specifically, Madisonville Mayor David Jackson noted that the distinguished Highland Petroleum Company, which manufactures a variety of cutting-edge oilfield equipment, may be interested in bringing aspects of their innovative metal manufacturing process to our region.
“The Highland Production facility expressed interest in moving some of their manufacturing here to Madisonville,” said Mayor Jackson. “Specifically, they thought that aspects of their metal working operations might be something we could help them collaborate with.”
Beyond making viable economic contacts, members of Madisonville’s Sister Cities delegation were also treated to several cultural experiences, including traditional ballet, opera, dancing, and native cuisine; were invited to take guided, walk-through-style tours of the Winda Group’s world-renowned tire manufacturing facility, two technical schools, a mushroom production plant, a high-tech LED factory, and an expansive aquaculture operation that harvests customary Chinese delicacies, such as sea cucumbers; were presented with an ornamental, hand-painted vase representing aspects of life in Dongying; and were even featured on local television stations during a formal reception held in honor of the delegation’s arrival and presence in China.
“I felt like we were respected and honored in many ways during our visit,” said Madisonville Community College's Chief Academic Officer and professor, Dr. Debra Cox. “They really wanted us to have a feel for their culture and an appreciation of their rich, historic traditions...They have a population of 23 million in Dongying, while we have 20,000, but size did not matter to them. We were on equal terms in every single way, and it really seemed like they wanted to be a part of our community.”
“The people of China are not at all like the image many of us who grew up during the Cold War era had of them—being very harsh, unfriendly people. In fact, just the opposite was true,” said former Madisonville councilman and Sister Cities Commission member, Bob Simmons. “They were very outgoing and friendly, and they made us feel very welcome while we were there.”
With the hope of offering this same respect to members of the Shendong Group, as well as each additional business that stated interest in working with Madisonville, members of the Sister Cities Commission discussed ways in which we could present investors with our own community’s culture. In particular, Mayor Jackson stated that Madisonville may work with the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts in some capacity during the group’s visit.
“We compete in a global economy now; it’s not a local economy, a state economy, or even a national economy anymore,” said Mayor Jackson. “To have the opportunity to go and present Madisonville on a ‘world stage’ was a great honor, and I believe our community will see some great benefits as a result.”
Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short