Governor Mike Pence will lead a group of dozens of Indiana business and community leaders to the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference beginning Sunday in Iowa. The event is expected to draw hundreds of executives from Japanese companies as well as government officials.

September 5, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Governor Mike Pence will lead a delegation of more than 30 Hoosier business and community officials to reaffirm and strengthen economic ties between Indiana and Japan at the 46th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA) Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Through a friendship that spans nearly a century, Indiana’s bond with Japan shines brightly, crossing cultures and connecting economies,” said Pence. “That friendship is putting more than 44,000 Hoosiers to work in all corners of our state and was on full display last year when 40 Hoosiers and I boarded a plane to Japan, meeting with companies and attending last year’s conference in Tokyo. I am excited that a strong delegation will again be joining me at this year’s conference in Iowa to continue to expand a nearly century-old bond, extending a connection that keeps our Hoosier economy driving forward.”

The 34-person Hoosier delegation, the largest out-of-state delegation attending this year’s conference, includes one mayor, 17 business leaders and five local economic development and utility officials. In addition to Pence, the state will be represented by Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith.

The MWJA conference is held annually and draws hundreds of corporate executives from Japanese companies and government officials to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations between the American Midwest and Japan. Executives from Toyota, Bridgestone Company, Rockwell Collins and Toshiba Corporation are scheduled to speak, as well as six U.S. governors, including Pence.

Indiana counts Japan as its largest Asian trading partner and the Hoosier State's fifth-largest export country in the world. Nearly 44,000 Hoosiers are employed by more than 240 Japanese companies located in the state. In addition, Indiana is the only U.S. state that is home to three Japanese original equipment manufacturer automotive companies, Subaru, Toyota and Honda.

Last year, Pence led his first gubernatorial overseas jobs and economic development mission to Japan, where he attended the 45th annual MWJA conference in Tokyo. During the 10-day job hunting trip, he also had more than 20 meetings with Japanese company executives, including the presidents and chief executive officers of Toyota Motor Corp., Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries.

The Governor will depart for Iowa on Sunday and return to Indiana on Monday. Below is his daily itinerary for the trip:

Sunday, September 7

The Governor will attend the MWJA Conference Executive Meeting and welcome reception in Des Moines. He will also meet individually with executives from the Japan External Trade Organization and Toyota. He will also hold meetings with Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan to the U.S., and Masaharu Yoshida, Consul General of Japan at Chicago. The Governor will also host a dinner for Hoosiers attending the conference.

Monday, September 8

The Governor will address attendees at the opening ceremony of the MWJA Conference. He will also meet with representatives from GECOM, a Japan-based automotive supplier operating in Greensburg, Indiana, and a Japanese company considering investing in the Hoosier State.

Members of the delegation include:

Governor Mike Pence

Victor Smith, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

Steve Akard, IEDC

Kumiko Brunson, Pioneer Realty, LLC

Ronald Christian, Vectren Corporation

Kai Chuck, IEDC

Tom Easterday, Subaru Automotive of Indiana

Pawel Fludzinski, Eli Lilly

Ted Franklin, Mayor of Logansport

Jeffrey Gaither, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Katelyn Hancock, IEDC

Larry Ingraham, Ingraham & Associates, Inc.

Robert Jones, Old National Bancorp

Mike Kern, Gaylor Electric

Theresa Kulczak, Japan-America Society of Indiana

Cindy Madrick, Cornerstone Environmental, Health and Safety

Joshua Malancuk, JM Tax Advocates, LLC

Wayne Manwaring, Gaylor Electric

David Mazanowski, Mainscape, Inc.

Charlie McCord, Mainscape, Inc.

Mark Miller, Cornerstone Environmental, Health and Safety

Garry Peterson, William-Lynn-James, Inc.

Bill Petranoff, Duke Energy

Rick Pease, IEDC

Jeff Pipkin, Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership

Tom Prather, Deem

Raymond Robin, Mainscape, Inc.

Paul Roland, IEDC

Dan Rooney, Mainscape, Inc.

John Sampson, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

Sue Smith, Ivy Tech

Toshikazu Suzuki, IEDC

Greg Wathen, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

Tom Zupancic, Deem

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

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