Trip to focus on attracting investment, developing partnerships in water technology sector
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Mark R. Hogan will leave Wisconsin on Friday for a weeklong trade mission to Israel aimed at increasing exports, encouraging continued foreign investment in Wisconsin and developing partnerships in the water technology sector.
“Israel has a growing and highly developed economy with a focus on innovation and technology, which presents great opportunities for potential partnerships with Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “This trip in particular will focus on how Wisconsin’s strength as a global leader in water technology can help Israeli businesses and government address their water challenges. We also will pursue ways to expand and strengthen our state’s water cluster by attracting Israeli companies to Wisconsin.”
Governor Walker will lead a 15-member delegation to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that includes First Lady Tonette Walker; Secretary Hogan; Katy Sinnott, vice president of International Business Development for WEDC; Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council, Brett Peters, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; and executives from five Wisconsin companies.
“Over decades of technology advancement and international business development, Wisconsin and Israel are acknowledged as two of the leading water technology hubs in the world,” said Mr. Amhaus. “This trade mission presents a unique opportunity to shorten the distance between these two global hubs and promote Wisconsin as the ideal business location for the Israeli water technology businesses entering the U.S. market.”
“With the only graduate school in the U.S. dedicated solely to the study of freshwater, coupled with strong programs in engineering, computing, and the natural sciences, UW-Milwaukee is uniquely positioned to contribute significantly to potential partnerships developed on the Israeli trade mission,” said Dr. Peters, of UWM. “We look forward to working with The Water Council to pursue collaborations related to water and technology with industry, higher education and government.”
Governor Walker also will engage with executives of companies interested in establishing or expanding operations in the U.S. and will meet with key Israeli government leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet, and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.
“The opportunities for valuable partnerships between Wisconsin and Israel are endless,” said Aviv Ezra, Israel’s Consul General to the Midwest, who will join the governor at several meetings with government officials. “We look forward to sharing our expertise as a global leader in water research and as a pioneer in agricultural technology with the great state of Wisconsin. This trip will enhance the relationship between the state of Wisconsin and Israel to cultivate an innovative win-win environment.”
At the same time, the five executives of Wisconsin companies that are part of the delegation will take part in personalized, one-on-one meetings with potential business partners coordinated by WEDC’s authorized trade representative network.
Highlights of the trade mission, which runs through Nov. 2, include:
- Governor Walker will have a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday in Jerusalem. The governor also is scheduled to meet with other top Israeli officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Michael Oren; Yuval Steinitz, minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, Water; and Avi Dichter, chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
- While in Jerusalem, Governor and Mrs. Walker will lead the delegation in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, followed by a tree-planting ceremony at the Kennedy Peace Forest.
- Governor Walker will lead an “Opportunity in Wisconsin” networking event with a dozen executives of Israeli companies interested in establishing or expanding operations in the U.S. The companies will learn about opportunities to expand their businesses in Wisconsin and the benefits of investing in the state.
- Governor Walker will take part in a “Reverse Pitch for Innovation” networking event led by The Water Council, UWM and the MMSD that will showcase how Wisconsin’s water technology resources could be of benefit to Israeli companies.
- The governor and Amhaus of The Water Council will meet with leaders of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, one of Israel’s leading research universities, to discuss ways the two institutions can work together.
- Governor Walker will meet with leaders of Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Israel’s innovation ecosystem, to discuss potential collaboration and partnerships with Wisconsin entities.
- The governor will visit the Israeli operations of Astronautics Corporation of America, which is headquartered in Milwaukee.
- Governor Walker will meet with the Israel Innovation Authority, a public organization responsible for the country's innovation policy, to discuss possible collaborations and partnerships.
The trade mission to Israel comes just six weeks after Governor Walker completed a successful mission to South Korea and Japan in which he met with more than 200 business leaders and oversaw the signing of two agreements that will help Wisconsin companies reach new markets in South Korea.
WEDC, which organizes the governor’s trade missions, is also hosting four upcoming trade ventures through mid-2018 to Mexico, Canada, China and Germany. Wisconsin companies interested in learning more about those trips can visit inwisconsin.com/export/goglobal.