Six-day business development trip of Philadelphia business leaders promotes cycling, commerce and investment in the City of Philadelphia.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter arrived in Paris, France early this morning for a six-day business development trip with a delegation of Philadelphia business leaders focused on promoting cycling, commerce and investment in the City of Philadelphia. The majority of Mayor Nutter’s time while in France will be spent raising the City’s profile through a series of meetings with the Mayor of Paris, professional cycling executives, and chief executives of a range of French businesses, including Saint-Gobain, which has its North American headquarters located in Valley Forge, PA.
Mayor Nutter’s primary focus during the trip will be promoting Philadelphia – as a modern, global city, a world-class destination for tourism, and an excellent location for businesses to consider when planning to expand or relocate – which builds on the goals and successes of comparable trips to London, England; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Tianjin, China.
“As one of our country’s premier cities, Philadelphia also has a growing reputation on the world stage,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are one of the most visited cities in the country, supported by excellent access to air, rail and highway transportation. We have experienced huge growth in the number of young, educated people who want to live and work in our city – twice the national average of 25-34 year olds living in Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods – and that is driving more businesses to move to Philadelphia to access that talent. As Mayor, I welcome foreign investment and interest in our great city and I look forward to strengthening Philadelphia’s ties with cities and businesses in France.”
The other members of the delegation are: Patrick Cunnane, President and CEO of Advanced Sports International (ASI); PA State Representative Madeleine Dean; Karen Bliss, Vice President of Marketing, ASI; Milay Galvez, Sponsorship Manager, ASI; Stephanie Genuardi, Marketing-Communications Manager, ASI; Richard Adler, Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic promoter and local businessman; Alan Morrison, Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic promoter and local businessman, and Lisa J. Nutter, First Lady of Philadelphia and avid cyclist. ASI is a company located in Philadelphia that markets a full line of premium bicycles, parts and accessories under the Fuji, Kestrel, SE, Breezer, Terry and Oval brands.
During Mayor Nutter’s meeting with the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, topics of discussion will include climate change, urban sustainability, and other issues facing cities around the world. Mayor Hidalgo and Mayor Nutter share similar visions for their respective cities including access to early childhood education, increased availability of affordable housing and environmental sustainability. Mayor Hidalgo travelled to New York City this past May to meet with Mayor Bill de Blasio to discuss many of the same issues.
While in Paris, Mayor Nutter and Lisa Nutter will inspect Vélib’, the public bicycle sharing system in the city and surrounding municipalities. Vélib’ is operated as a concession by the French advertising corporation JCDecaux, the largest outdoor advertising company in the world. Vélib’ is the world’s third-largest bikesharing program, encompassing about 14,000 bicycles and more than 1,200 stations. Mayor Nutter will discuss best practices for hosting and operating public bike share systems in advance of Philadelphia launching its own system in 2015. Mayor Nutter and Lisa Nutter will also meet with Brian Cookson, President of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), to discuss the possibility of Philadelphia participating in a Women’s World Cup cycling event in 2015. UCI is the world governing body for sport cycling and international competitive cycling events. Lisa Nutter is a Fuji sponsored cyclist and has been leading an effort to increase awareness and enhance the promotion of women’s cycling, both amateur and professional, in Philadelphia.
The tour of Vélib’ and meeting with Mr. Cookson will complement Mayor Nutter’s opportunity to be a spectator at the internationally renowned Tour de France cycling race. Mayor Nutter and Lisa Nutter were invited to view the race because Philadelphia is recognized as a premier sports city in the U.S., especially for cycling as the city hosts one of the largest races in the nation, the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, featuring the famous ‘Manayunk Wall’.
Earlier this year, Tour de France race organizers announced that for the first time this year, the Tour will host an elite women’s competition called ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’, which will finish on the Avenue de Champs-Elysees in Paris ahead of the men’s race. The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic is notably one of the few races that offer equal prize purses to the men’s and women’s race winners, which was proposed by Lisa Nutter and other who advise the Mayor on cycling issues. Mayor Nutter and First Lady Lisa Nutter’s attendance at the Tour de France will heighten Philadelphia’s visibility among international-level athletes, especially women, as a premier venue in which to compete as Philadelphia seeks to enhance the national and international promotion of its’ bike race.
From Paris, Mayor Nutter will travel to Lyon where he will meet with a variety of French companies (and American businesses with business relationships in France) and representatives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Center for Direct Investment.
Mayor Nutter will meet with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain, Pierre-André de Chalendar, who will lead the Mayor on a tour of the Palace of Versailles along with other representatives from Saint-Gobain. The famed Hall of Mirrors (La Grande Galerie) in the palace was created with mirrors manufactured in France by Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain is the world’s largest building materials company, recording billions in annual sales and employing about 15,000 people in 265 locations across the U.S. and Canada, including 800 employees in the Greater Philadelphia region and more than 1,300 in Pennsylvania.
“As Saint-Gobain approaches its 350th anniversary, we are looking forward to Philadelphia serving as our flagship city in North America as we commemorate 15 generations of innovation,” said Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain. “There is no mistaking the architectural influence Paris has had on Philadelphia, and today I am honored to meet Mayor Michael A. Nutter and show him not only Paris’ architectural icons, but our appreciation for the equally remarkable city of Philadelphia and its influence on our company’s history and success.”
For Saint-Gobain’s 350th anniversary, the company is planning a worldwide community outreach and education program to commemorate its history, products and celebrate its spirit of innovation, with special programmatic emphasis on the Greater Philadelphia region where it has been headquartered for 45 years, and its largest subsidiary, CertainTeed, has been headquartered since 1948. The anniversary will present an opportunity to educate key stakeholders around the world about building design and materials’ impact on all aspects of the built environment. This past April, Saint-Gobain announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art North American corporate headquarters in Malvern, PA.
Mayor Nutter will seek to reinforce Saint-Gobain’s already-strong ties with Pennsylvania, and extend that connection to the City of Philadelphia and its’ re-emerging manufacturing sector. Saint-Gobain has already partnered with the City on a number of initiatives: the company is the lead partner on the City’s STEM education coalition which won the US2020 City Competition, a national competition to encourage youth mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and the company partnered with YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School to renovate the nonprofit’s first home in Philadelphia which achieved U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification. Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Philadelphia are currently rebuilding two more homes that are also expected to achieve LEED certification.
Saint-Gobain in North America:
Dina Silver Pokedoff, APR