Chinese delegation to visit area, Cates Landing project on agenda

Chinese delegation to visit area, Cates Landing project on agenda
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A pair of significant opportunities to promote the Cates Landing project in Lake County dominated a half-hour meeting of the port’s marketing committee Wednesday.
A planned visit by a delegation of economic development officials from China and a planned feature section on the Mississippi River in a national magazine were discussed at length during the committee’s meeting at the Obion County Public Library.
The marketing committee met immediately following a half-hour meeting of the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority board.
The planned visit by the Chinese delegation is being coordinated by Li Weaver with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, according to Mike Philpot. He is the executive director of the West Tennessee Industrial Association and served as chairman of Wednesday’s marketing committee meeting.
Acting chairman Kerry Brannon was unable to attend the meeting.
In Brannon’s absence, Philpot told the committee, “This could be a great opportunity for us.”
Even though the Lake County riverport isn’t expected to be completed until the end of the year, Philpot said the Chinese delegation’s visit would be a positive boost for the port’s overall marketing efforts.
The Lake County port is beginning to generate international interest, in part due to the efforts by port officials to secure Foreign Trade Zone status for West Tennessee.
Philpot also informed the marketing committee that he has been contacted by Site Selection magazine about a planned special issue focusing on the Mississippi River. That issue is scheduled to come out in March.
“I think it could be an excellent opportunity for us to get some good exposure for the port,” Philpot said.
The marketing committee decided to move forward with having an ad in the magazine’s March edition, but will run its plan by port authority chairman Jimmy Williamson of Dyersburg before buying an ad.
“I think we need to explore it (an ad in the magazine),” Lindsay Frilling said.
She is the economic development director for the Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation and was one of about a dozen key economic development officials at Wednesday’s marketing committee meeting.
“I think the timing would be good to do some kind of placement,” Philpot said. “I think this would be good use of the money.”
The “money” he referred to was a recent grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture earmarked for marketing the port.
Also during Wednesday’s half-hour marketing committee meeting, there was some discussion of upcoming opportunities to promote the port project to area legislators.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 1.13.12

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