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Tualatin Valley: An old favorite with new discoveries

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Located just minutes from Portland, the Tualatin Valley offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, restaurants and cafes, tax-free shopping and world-class wineries and breweries. The Tualatin Valley has gained a loyal following among travelers, local and international, all of whom are treated to new attractions while finding comfort in familiar favorites.

The Tualatin Valley has several nature parks, wildlife refuges and wetland preserves, which attract bird watchers, nature lovers and travelers.

The Tualatin Valley has built a solid reputation as an exceptional nature destination, as the area develops its natural assets into parks and trails. Opening to the public this year, the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge joins the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most popular destinations for birdwatchers.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Tualatin Valley is an ideal experience of the American way of life. Small–town main streets and its location in the fertile Willamette Valley showcase the American urban and rural lifestyle. As the gateway to Oregon’s famous wine country, the Tualatin Valley has more than 30 wineries with tasting rooms open to visitors.

It is also the perfect destination for wine lovers to explore varietals that put the region on the map.

New attractions include nine more hotels that are scheduled to open within the year, giving visitors more choices for accommodation.

The area is also to get two new state of-the-art event facilities. The Wingspan Event and Conference Center in the city of Hillsboro is due to open in July, while the Patricia Reser Performing Arts Center in Beaverton is to open in September 2021. These new venues will bring high-quality performances and events to the region and serve as spaces for corporate conferences and trade shows.

Carolyn McCormick, the president and CEO of the Washington County Visitors Association, the official tourism organization for the Tualatin Valley, believes that Japan will continue to be one of their top markets, especially after Delta Air Lines starts its daily non-stop service between Tokyo s Haneda Airport and Portland International Airport in late March.

SEDCOR: Investing in building relationships

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

As the primary agency tasked to spur economic development in the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon’s Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) is focused on attracting new Japanese investors, as well as retaining and growing existing ones in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.

Located at the Mill Creek Corporate Center in Salem, Oregon, Amazon's Fulfillment Center measures 1 million square feet and will eventually employ 1,000 people.

SEDCOR recognizes natural resources, particularly agriculture and wood products, as the historic base of the regional economy, and sees a distinct advantage in targeting the supply chain of those industries, including food and beverage production, logistics and advanced manufacturing.

In food processing, Japanese-owned Yamasa and St. Cousair have contributed significantly to making Oregon one of the country’s largest producers of food and agricultural products.

“The businesses that we have here love being here,” said SEDCOR President Erik Andersson, who believes the best way to secure and retain foreign investment is through building strong personal relationships with members of the community and reaching out to potential partners.

Andersson has a deep appreciation for Japanese companies in the region because of the clear commitment given to their local communities.

“The types of businesses that we experience coming from Japan have really become valued members of the community here. They’ve become long-standing members once they make the decision to come here. They invest not just in facilities, but also invest in their employees,” Andersson said.

Located less than an hour south of metropolitan Portland, the Mid-Willamette Valley is a strategic West Coast logistics hub in contrast to other congested areas on the coast.

“For any company that’s looking at access to markets from a distribution standpoint, we are well-situated. They are able to get down south to California or up north to Seattle and even to the East Coast and international markets due to the port facilities, which are easily accessible from this corridor,” Andersson said.

KEEN: Taking a huge stride through Japan

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Founded by the Fuerst Group in 2003, Oregon-based KEEN came into the footwear market with a single product. Called the Newport, the sandal gained popularity quickly among hikers for its durability and comfort, as well as its distinctive protective black toe bumper.

Keen to make a difference, the Oregon footwear maker donated more than 13,000 sandals to victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Seventeen years later, KEEN now offers a wide variety of footwear (sandals, shoes and boots), bags, clothing and accessories, all designed for outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. While the company has also grown into a $500 million business, it has not let go of its original values of making a difference and making the world better.

Directly or indirectly supporting various activities that clean up the environment, promote healthy lifestyles and advocate volunteerism, KEEN contributed 13,500 of its sandals to relief operations following the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan in 2011. That effort also sparked a partnership that continues to this day.

“We set up a design center in Tokyo, which creates probably 20 percent of the products for our global range. We noticed that with our Japanese range, our Asian business has grown significantly, especially in (areas) such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand,” said Rob Langstaff, vice president for international business.

“In our industry, Japan used to be the student of the U.S. Now, the student has become the master. We are always learning from them and it’s because of kaizen (continuous improvement) that they continue to innovate,” said Langstaff about why the Japanese are ideal long-term partners as the company maps out its growth strategy.

PDX: showcasing the best of the Pacific NW

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Aside from modernizing its facilities, Portland International Airport (PDX) is also expanding its network around the world. In March, Delta Air Lines will launch a nonstop flight to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in time for the Olympics.

Portland International Airport (PDX), voted America’s Best Airport seven years in a row by Travel Plus Leisure magazine readers, serves as a welcome mat for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Aside from modernizing its facilities, Portland International Airport (PDX) is also expanding its network around the world. In March, Delta Air Lines will launch a nonstop flight to Tokyo's Haneda Airport in time for the Olympics.

The airport celebrates everything that makes Portland unique — good food, great wine and beer, natural wonders and a thriving creative community. Handling nearly 20 million passengers annually, PDX is making a series of updates to accommodate the rising number of visitors and bring even more local flavors and fun for years to come.

PDX continues to expand its international connections as well, including a new nonstop route from PDX to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, where there is a shared appreciation for great food and drink. The Delta Air Lines flight launches March 28, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

Offering quick access to Asia and facilitating strong trade ties with countries like Japan, PDX is gearing up to take in more air cargo flights, including existing services by ANA Cargo.

Oregon is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with hiking, skiing and cycling all within an hour of PDX. And when Oregon hosts the World Track and Field Championships in 2021, PDX will be the gateway for the 50,000 daily visitors expected during the event, serving as a spotlight to all that Oregon has to offer.

Global Business Passport: Navigating the global marketplace

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

To thrive in today’s complex global marketplace, businesses need to quickly adapt to the market, which requires learning the nuances of differences in culture.

“I work with companies to close gaps in communication and culture and to increase productivity by building better relationships with their global partners and team members,” Global Business Passport President and Founder Sue Shinomiya said.

Global Business Passport President and Founder Sue Shinomiya

After spending 10 years in Asia as a consultant for companies such as Intel Japan, Shinomiya realized that companies must acquire a global mindset if they are to build an effective workplace and successful international business.

“The goal is to help our clients effectively lead in a global environment, to build stronger and more collaborative connections between people of different cultures, mindsets and backgrounds, and to achieve results while retaining mutual respect,” Shinomiya explained.

Catering to Fortune 500 companies, small and midsized enterprises and even individuals, Global Business Passport provides training programs, consulting, facilitation and coaching sessions. With Japan and the U.S. as its main focus, the firm works across a broad spectrum of industries, organizations and countries.

“For our Japanese clients, we can help them soft land in the United States and connect with the community here. Portland can be a testing hub for innovative products because many people here are open to trying new things and are fascinated with all things Japanese,” Shinomiya said.

At the same time, Global Business Passport can provide cultural know-how to any U.S. company wanting to succeed in Japan.

“Foreign companies need to build a reputation that they are committed to the market and are mindful of the culture. Don’t stop at the first barrier. Look for opportunities in hidden places. It’s a unique market where having the right connections is key,” she said.

U.S. Pacific Northwest 2019 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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