EDASC hosts Norwegian business leaders for tour of maritime industry

Thursday, February 28, 2019

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ANACORTES -- EDASC on Jan. 30 and 31 hosted a group of Norwegian business leaders for an in-depth look at Anacortes’ maritime industry, including its boat builders, clean technologies, training opportunities and more.

The Anacortes tour was planned by EDASC and a Norwegian-funded organization called Innovation Norway, which seeks business opportunities for its companies overseas. The delegation travelled from Vancouver to Anacortes before leaving for Seattle on a three-city tour.

The fact Innovation Norway visited Anacortes along with the two internationally prominent destinations speaks volumes to the city’s strong maritime industry and its attractive expansion opportunities. It was the first stop for Innovation Norway in Anacortes, serving as an important building block in a long-term relationship, EDASC CEO John Sternlicht said. Patience, he said, is important.

“If you are looking for immediate deals, it’s unlikely,” Sternlicht said. “Those don’t happen overnight. These international projects take some time to cultivate but we are absolutely on the right track.”

The delegation arrived Jan. 30 in the evening at the Majestic Inn, where they received an unexpected greeting in Norwegian by EDASC board member and former chair Lennart Bentsen. Mayor Laurie Gere welcomed the delegation to Anacortes, and other officials and business leaders from across the county enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the Norwegian delegates and their businesses.

The following morning, the group had breakfast and heard a presentation from Sean Connell, VP of government relations at LAVLE. Representatives from the seven Norwegian businesses then had the opportunity to present information on their products.

Afterward, the group walked to the Port of Anacortes to learn about its projects, including cleanup efforts and its clean practices, before again pitching their businesses to the group. The group also heard from county officials on its plan to purchase an electric ferry based on Norwegian technology for its Guemes Island route, and from Dakota Creek Industries.

The next stops included a tour of Dakota Creek Industries and the Marine Tech Center.

Some of those in attendance during the evening reception included Sternlicht, Gere, County Commissioner Ron Wesen, EDASC Board Chair Heather Hernandez, Skagit Valley College’s Darren Greeno, the governor’s maritime lead Joshua Berger and Port of Anacortes Executive Director Dan Worra along with port commissioners Kathy Pittis, Joe Verdoes and John Pope.

Another Innovation Norway delegation is expected to visit the region this spring, although an exact date is not yet set.

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