Shell pleased with Korean reception
By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Mayor Howard Shell has returned from his industrial recruitment trip to Korea.
Although he did not come home with any commitments for businesses to locate in Atmore, he was pleased with the contacts made during the trip.
"It was a very interesting experience," Shell said Monday. "We had the opportunity to interact with the major suppliers of Hyundai, primarily tier two and three, that will locate (in Alabama) after the plant is in production."
Shell said the suppliers will ship from Korea for a few years, but will want to locate near the Hyundai plant in about two years.
"We met a lot of CEOs of these companies," Shell said. "We also got to tour the main production plant of Hyundai."
In addition to meeting with the leaders of companies that may be interested in locating in Atmore, Shell also had the chance to interact with the leaders of other areas and cities inside the state, and familiarize them with what this area has to offer to industries.
"These are all the people doing industrial recruitment in the state. They are all aware of what we have in the way of the property on the interstate."
Shell said he learned a lot from these other leaders, mayors who had been doing industrial recruitment for many years. He said that now Atmore is competing in a worldwide market.
"We are now presenting our case on an international scale. We didn't expect any commitments, but we were very well received by a lot of different companies," he said. "In that we considered this very much a success."
Shell said he went prepared to deal with the language barrier, even having cards printed in Korean so that the company leaders could contact the city by e-mail.
Upon his return, he contacted the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, so it would be prepared to send packets about the city to any prospective businesses interested in locating here.
"The mayor felt we would be getting a lot of responses," said Marshall Rogers, executive director of the board.
"So we are prepared to develop custom packets for each client as the requests come in. We will gather the research or data the interested party requires," she said.
Again, the language differences are no real obstacle.
"The language the package is prepared in depends on the prospect," Rogers said. "There are translators, companies that do that kind of thing, and the charges are minimal."
Shell said that all the company representatives he spoke with are aware of where the town is in relation to where the Hyundai plant is locating.
"They were all very gracious, and very aware that Hyundai was coming (to Alabama). That made our job a lot easier."