Granholm to Lead Jobs Mission to Middle East

Contact: Megan Brown 517-335-6397

November 13, 2008

Will meet with leaders in alternative energy, homeland security, and advanced automotive sectors

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm will embark on her seventh overseas jobs and investment mission when she travels to Israel and Jordan November 14-21.  During the seven-day trip, her first to the Middle East, the governor and her delegation will meet with company executives considering investment in Michigan or that are ripe for international investment. 

The governor will be joined by James C. Epolito, MEDC president and CEO, for the mission.  Epolito will join Granholm in Israel after first traveling to Jordan to meet with His Royal Highness Prince Hamzah, who serves as energy advisor to His Majesty King Abdullah II, and to Dubai where he met with venture capital firms and other business leaders.

"We continue to go anywhere and do anything to bring jobs to Michigan, and this investment mission will target company and industry leaders in the cutting-edge fields of alternative energy, water re-use, homeland security and defense, and advanced manufacturing," Granholm said.  "Bringing more international investment to Michigan from these kinds of companies helps diversify our economy and solidifies our standing as the nation's leader in alternative energy and high-tech automotive research and development."

While in the Middle East, Granholm and her delegation will meet with alternative energy companies,   including Project Better Place in Israel, a company developing a country-wide infrastructure for electric cars; Powermat, a high-tech Israeli company bringing efficient wireless electricity to surfaces like walls, tables and floors; and Millennium Solar, a company in Jordan using solar energy to power all kinds of devices.  They also will meet with senior representatives from companies such as Perrigo, the world's largest manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and nutritional products; Inspire Invest, a venture capital company whose portfolio includes Michigan defense firm Burtek Inc.; Senso Optics, a high-tech, electro-optics company that develops and manufactures products for the homeland security, defense and medical device industries; and Multi Gene Vascular Systems, a clinical-stage biotech company.

"We are accelerating our efforts throughout the world to pitch Michigan as the best place in North America for companies to invest, expand or start operations," Epolito said.  "These face-to-face meetings help build strong connections to CEOs and decision-makers and provide the perfect setting to show them all that Michigan has to offer."

Additionally, Granholm will meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and other government officials in both Jordan and Israel.  The governor is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on water re-use technology with Israeli government officials on Monday.  She will also deliver remarks at the second annual Michigan-Israel Business Bridge Automotive Partnership event, where Israeli automotive suppliers and technology companies, including those in the renewable energy sector, will come together to discuss possibilities for expansion in collaboration with Michigan.

In addition to Epolito, accompanying Governor Granholm to Israel, as members of the official delegation, will be Gary Torgow, president of The Sterling Group; Mark Davidoff, partner with Deloitte; and Charles Newman, CEO of ReCellular and chair of The Michigan Israel Business Bridge.  In Jordan, the governor will be joined by Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, president and CEO of the Arab American and Chaldean Council.

The trip will be the governor's seventh overseas investment mission since 2004.  Her previous missions to Germany, Austria, Japan, and Sweden have resulted in 42 companies announcing over $944 million in new investment and more than 10,600 jobs created and retained.   

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