Sat Oct 25 05:41:23 PDT 2014
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Mayor Mike Schmitz Returns Home From China Economic Development Trip

It's Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz’s sixth trip to china for economic development but he says this one was by far the most productive of them all. Schmitz was joined by some local businesses this time around. "We went to help promote local businesses and see if we can help them expand into china or have china businesses come do business with them and I think we had some great meetings,” Schmitz said. A representative from Wallace Community College attended those meetings to talk about workforce development and skilled labor with the companies. "They were very impressed that we understand we've got to provide the best workers and skilled workers and that we're willing to find out what they need,” Schmitz said. A big thing any investment needs is trust, that's why building relationships with these entrepreneurs is key. "We’re looking for a major investment in our community. They've never heard of Dothan, they've never heard of Alabama so it takes time to gain credibility and improve the relationship so they believe we can provide what they need. I know we can, we just need to help them understand and these meetings are doing that,” Schmitz said. Since the U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium, those relationships have been blossoming. "The meetings were incredibly productive, they had more face since some of them had been here, and they know who we are. I believe at some point we're going to be able to create jobs from Dothan, whether it's a local business expanding or manufacturing coming to Dothan which I will believe will happen,” Schmitz said. Schmitz says several of the entrepreneurs they met with are coming back to visit Dothan in the next few months.

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