Fifty years of building relationships continues to evolve into building more business relationships.
About 60 local business and political leaders joined the delegation from the twin city of Belleville, Lahr, Germany.
Thursday for a budget business lunch at the Link Lounge at Loyalist College. The Lahr group had previously visited the facilities, classrooms and laboratories of Loyalist College.
And Loyalist College was at the center of the presentations with Loyalist Emcee Chair Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan telling the gathering that since the start of the pandemic, 25 new academic programs have been created at the college and that continues to evolve to meet the needs of the region. depending on demographic changes and market demands.
She thanked Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk for making Loyalist College an even more integral part of the community than it had been and, for his part, the Mayor said the esteem of the town and region for the college was a “society of mutual admiration”.
Panciuk said Loyalist contributes immensely to the local economy, providing skilled workers in a myriad of sectors and supporting more than 6,000 jobs in the area.
Loyalist now offers more degree programs and has climbed 11 notches on the list of the top 50 research-intensive colleges in Canada. Ann Marie Vaughan told the rally there were 500 applications for just 100 openings in Loyalist’s new nursing degree program.
Economy was a priority for Oberburgermeister Markus Ibert de Lahr in his brief notes. “Without a strong economy, we cannot have schools and health care. It’s schools like Loyalist that train people ready to build a modern, strong economy.
Lahr and regional business leader Dr. Steffen Auer said Lahr and Belleville and the region are similar in important ways. Both had vibrant and growing manufacturing sectors and offered natural beauty, attracted tourists and provided an excellent quality of life for residents.
Lahr and its region in southern Germany near the Black Forest attracts around 350,000 visitors a year to enjoy the scenery, some of the best restaurants, museums and galleries in Europe.
Lahr’s industrial base is diverse and primarily technology-based, with an industry focused on medical equipment and mechanical and electrical engineering. It has thousands of medium-sized family businesses, businesses that Auer said it would be wise to focus on the Quinte area to try to get them to expand into that area.
“These companies typically think of the United States when making expansion plans, but this region would be a perfect fit for many of them.”
Lahr has a growing industrial park and an airport that once served as a Canadian military base.
Lahr is part of an economic region with six million densely populated parts of Germany, France and Switzerland and the transport links are excellent.
Auer said Lahr and the region had optimistic economic prospects for the future, but added that until Russian President Vladimir Putin was prevented from ordering “horrific” attacks on Ukrainian economies almost everywhere, they would would suffer a “hit” for some time. “Democracies must work together and do whatever it takes to stop this tragedy.”
Quinte Economic Development Commission executive director Chris King told the forum that his group looked forward to continuing discussions with business people in Lahr and the region for mutual benefit in the form of new locations. industry, trade and foreign investment.
King pointed to manufacturing as central to the CQED, pointing out that the sector was responsible for half of the region’s economic output, or about $13 billion.
Kim Egan of the Quinte Manufacturers Association highlighted how crucial the manufacturing sector is.
“The manufacturing sector is the backbone of our economies. You have to do things, innovate. We won’t get anywhere if we just use each other to make a living.
Egan won acclaim when she said, “Governments don’t manufacture anything. Printing money is not manufacturing and is not productive. It is harmful. »
Egan highlighted the strengths of the location in the Quinte area. “Our cost of living is lower, our people are friendly, and we’re only two to three hours away from major markets in the GTA, Montreal, and the United States”
Egan is executive vice president and chief financial officer of GH Manufacturing in Belleville, a packaging manufacturer.
She praised company founder Gunther Huettlin, who moved to Belleville from Germany several years ago.
The visit of the Lahr delegation ends on Sunday evening and an invitation has already been issued for a delegation from Belleville to visit Germany in the spring of next year.