A. Lee Graham
Fort Worth will serve as the North American headquarters for NGC Transmission, just one of several announcements made when a Fort Worth-Dallas delegation visited Beijing and Shanghai this month.
“The meetings and initiatives we discussed with our global partners in China and Japan far exceeded our expectations,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in a news release.
“It’s all about making real real and personal connections with our international trade partners,” Price said.
Price and 27 other elected officials and business leaders returned to Texas this week. Price and Dr. Gou Jianhui, president of China-based NGC, signed an agreement pledging to work together in exploring future business opportunities.
But an actual deal was confirmed when Gou confirmed that the NGC Transmission plant, set to open later this year, will serve as its North American headquarters. That’s expected to add 20 to 30 new jobs to the Fort Worth economy, according to David Berzina, executive vice president with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Only three to five of those are already filled, with the balance open to local hiring.
About 150 employees already have been confirmed to work at NGC Renewables LLC’s turbine transmission equipment plant in north Fort Worth. NGC Renewables, a subsidiary of NGC Transmission, is constructing that facility at the Alliance development and is expected to open before December, Berzina said.
NGC Renewables LLC, a subsidiary of NGC Transmission, is constructing a turbine transmission equipment plant in Fort Worth.
The delegation also met with partner Civitas Capital Group, which helps secure foreign investment for local economic development opportunities. The capital funds play a role in fostering economic development within municipalities in Texas and throughout the U.S.
Additionally, several meetings were brokered with local AmCham groups, at which Berzina and Dallas Regional Chamber President Dale Petroskey discussed ongoing business-related initiatives expected to support the new non-stop flights from D/FW Airport to Shanghai and Hong Kong.
During the delegation’s trip, officials confirmed that American Airlines has sought approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch new international service between DFW and Beijing, China, beginning in the summer of 2015. The new route is expected to connect one of the world’s most populous metropolitan regions with one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions. Airport CEO Sean Donohue and Beijing Capital International Airport President Shi Boli signed a memorandum of understanding on September 26.
Meanwhile, former Texas Transportation Commissioner Bill Meadows, currently spearheading the high-speed rail initiative in Texas, joined the Fort Worth delegation in Tokyo, where the Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman emeritus of Central Japan Railways Co., gave them an overview of its renowned high-speed rail system.
The delegation, led by Price, Meadows and Berzina, expressed its desire to pursue a partnership that extends the high-speed rail connection from Dallas to Fort Worth.
All parties involved deemed the trade mission a tremendous success and model for future international outreach. “We had strong regional collaboration from our counterparts in Dallas, along with excellent representation from the Fort Worth business community,” said Berzina.
“This significantly elevated both the level of discussions and positive outcomes with our newest corporate client NGC and the other government representatives with whom we met. Every aspect of this international trip was a home run for our region and our city,” Berzina said.
Price said such air service and business development mission trips are priceless, allowing an international city like Fort Worth to build stronger relationships that support local trade, travel and jobs.
In addition to Price, Rawlings, Meadows and Donohoe, the delegation included Bob Jameson, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau; D/FW International Airport Board Chair Lillie Biggins; and board member William Tsao, as well as Fort Worth and Dallas Chamber executives, and representatives from Pier 1 Imports, Red Productions and Tarrant County College.