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Fort Smith: Raising its profile with Japanese businesses

Mar 17, 2023

Many people may not know that Fort Smith, Arkansas, is the state’s third-largest city. Situated near major highways, railways and in close proximity to the Arkansas River, Fort Smith has attracted a lot of businesses over the years, giving it the highest concentration of manufacturers in the state.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill

It is this logistical advantage that City Administrator Carl Geffken wants to promote to Japanese investors looking for the ideal location to base a company in the United States.

“The city of Fort Smith, the businesses that located here, the chamber of commerce, the school district have all been working together to make sure that we have highly qualified and motivated employees in the pipeline for whomever would like to locate here in Fort Smith,” he said.

Heartened by the presence of multinationals like ABB, Walmart, Glatfelter, Gerber Products, Rheem Manufacturing and Mars Petcare, Mayor George McGill is committed to bringing more growth to the city by bringing in even more foreign investment, particularly from Japan.

“My top priority is to continue to make Fort Smith the lifeblood of this region. We want to see the growth plan continue and make sure we can handle the infrastructure issues that come about as you grow,” said McGill, who is confident the city can easily meet the demand for skilled, highly educated workers trained in manufacturing and the burgeoning sectors of logistics and health care.

“We have a local university that works very closely with the manufacturing sector. Our business is to make sure they are turning out the skill sets that are needed to fill the jobs and careers at these companies. We have very close relationships with business and with the state capital with regards to economic development. We braid all of that together and make an irresistible offering,” McGill stressed.

Southern USA 2023 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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