Wiregrass Prepares for US/China Manufacturing Symposium

By: Multiple (See Below)
By: Multiple (See Below)

The City of Dothan and the SoZo Group Gears up for U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium
By Jessica Leicht

With the U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium just days away, the Dothan Civic Center is buzzing with energy.

“It's been almost nonstop. It's going to be great to see it all come together,” SoZo Group Communications Director Ken Tuck said.

City of Dothan crews spent their weekend at the Dothan Civic Center setting up for this week's U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium.

On Monday, 300 tables and 900 chairs later - They were two days away from the big event.

"Here in the offices, we're working on the whole program. There's a lot of video, graphics, polishing up the agenda, moving speakers from one time to the next to line it up just right. So a lot of polishing work," Tuck said.

"We're picking up people who are flying into Atlanta from India and China and all over the world, where they're going to stay. Just getting ready, getting the tents set up, getting the food vendors ready," Mayor Mike Schmitz said.

Hundreds of manufacturing leaders from around the world will be in circle city.

Another hundred volunteers from the wiregrass will work to ensure everything goes smoothly.

"That's another reason that makes Dothan such a great place, people are willing to help and they want to help. That attitude is going to show all of our visitors and throughout the U.S., we have people coming from six different states as well as china. It's going to show them that our community is excited about the symposium," Tuck said.

Leaders say the community will play a big part in making the guests feel at home.

"Just be yourself, that's going to make them feel welcome and happy to be here. If you meet one of our visitors, reach out and shake their hand. Don't worry about bowing, that's not as much part of their culture there as it used to be. They'll shake your hand and if you'd like to say a word in their language, if you say "Ni Hao" that's hello and that would put a smile on their face," Tuck said.

Preparations are also underway for Thursday's International Foster Fest.

The International Foster Fest is this Thursday at 6 p.m.

Event organizers expect more than 3,000 people to attend.

Ozark Prepares for U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium
By Courtney Crown

OZARK -- City leaders and economic developers in Ozark have a positive outlook for what Chinese manufacturers could bring to the Wiregrass.

Ozark plans on sending representatives to this weeks U.S. China Manufacturing Symposium to support not only Dale County, but the Wiregrass as a whole.

They said there are no concrete plans for what changes could come to Ozark, but they are looking forward to having some of their questions answered during this week's gathering.

"This will be a learning experience for us and I'm sure it will be a learning experience for them," Mayor Blackwell said. "So we want to get to know each other and establish those relationships so we can take the next step and begin doing business together."

Mayor Blackwell said he know the diverse and supportive Ozark community will adapt to any future changes that may come from the China symposium.

Bottles of Syrup Donated to Businessmen of the Symposium
By Cynthia Washington

Henry County hopes to welcome guests for the symposium with a little sweet southern hospitality.

Todd's Syrup in Headland donated 300 bottles of syrup to the cause.

Today, employees at the courthouse tied yellow ribbons around the bottles.

They'll be given as gifts to symposium guests.

Henry County commission chairman, David Money, says he's glad the county has been working together to participate in the event.

"I think it is good that the whole Wiregreass area is coming together and I thank Mayor Mike Schmitz for inviting us and I think it is going to be a great week for the Wiregrass and I think in the months to come we will realize something very positive from this," said Money.

Henry County officials hope this symposium brings jobs to the county.

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