County heads to White House for economic forum

Oakland County will be among the presenters at the upcoming Fourth Annual Economic Development Forum at the White House on Thursday, July 30, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Monday. Irene Spanos, Patterson’s director of Economic Development & Community Affairs, will take part in a panel discussion on “Targeting and Landing Prospects: Best Practices in International Attraction.”

“Policymakers in Washington, D.C. are taking notice of Oakland County’s ability to attract companies from all over the globe,” Patterson said. “We recently were invited to take part in the exclusive SelectUSA program and now at the White House Economic Development Forum. That’s indicative of the excellence of our staff and initiatives.”

Spanos will join a panel of distinguished speakers from the International Economic Development Council. Peggy Philbin, deputy executive director of SelectUSA, will be the moderator. Spanos will share Oakland County’s best practices for landing foreign investment.

“It’s a great way to put Brooks Patterson’s programs on the national stage,” Spanos said. “Oakland County continues to be seen as a leader in economic development.”

This past May, Oakland County took part in the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. SelectUSA is a program housed in the U.S. Department of Commerce and encourages international investment in the United States. More than 70 countries attended the two-day event.

The county has long prided itself on the international diversity of its business community, with more than 1,000 international firms from 39 countries having business locations here. In 2014, foreign direct investment totaled over $171 million – more than a quarter of the $658 million total business investment in the county. The investment created 1,941 jobs. In 2014, more than two international businesses a month either expanded or located in Oakland County.

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