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Snyder heads to Twin Cities for U.S.-Japan trade conference

Friday, September 14, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder will participate in the 44th annual Midwest-U.S. Japan Association Conference in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sept. 16 and 17, which will focus on strategies for foreign trade and investment between the U.S. and Japan. Snyder, who visited Japan last year during his Asian trade mission, travels to China on Sept. 18 to enhance economic and cultural ties.   

Snyder also announced the reappointments of Bruce Brownlee, of Northville, and Doug Smith, of Bloomfield Hills, to the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association board.

Formed in 1967, the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association is comprised of 10 member states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. Business leaders and government representatives from these states and Japan gather each year to advance the region's relationship with Japan, and to showcase the Midwest as the nation's most dynamic business environment.


"Bruce and Doug are outstanding choices for this board," said Snyder. "They bring years of valuable experiences, and I am confident they will do great work to continue building the strong business and cultural relationship between the Midwest and Japan."  


Brownlee is senior executive administrator for external affairs at York Township's Toyota Technical Center, Toyota's North American R&D center. In this role, he oversees corporate communications, media and community and government relations. Brownlee joined Toyota Technical Center in 1993, previously serving as general manager of corporate planning and external affairs and general manager of administration. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations from the University of California - Los Angeles. 


Smith is senior vice president of business and community development for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., where he collaborates with a statewide network of local and regional economic development leaders, and integrates economic gardening, international trade and entrepreneurship efforts. Previously, he served as Oakland County's deputy county executive and director of Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in economics and government from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.


Appointees will serve one-year terms, and are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.