International and national leaders visit the Valley during Americas Competitiveness Exchange program

Several national and international leaders, from 24 nations, spent Wednesday in the valley touring Fresno State University, Bitwise Industries and learning more about the High Speed Rail.

Dennis Alvord, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, said Fresno is one of the many stops during the 10th Americas Competitiveness Exchange program.

Americas Competitiveness Exchange brings together decision-makers to explore global and regional partnerships and establish new global commercial relationships.

Alvord mentioned they already toured sites in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Salinas, and Monterey.

The program aims to bring together businesses, innovations leaders, and key officials to network and learn about different approaches to economic development.

"California of course has been a hot bed of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. So it gives us a chance to specifically highlight some of the things that have been going on in this region," Alvord explained.

Fresno State's Water energy Technology Incubator Center was the first stop during the visit to valley.

Ismael Herrera, who is the Interim Director Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State, said the center is a place for businesses to start and many of them have reached success.

"Our hope is that after today they (the group) will come back in some shape or form to engage the campus and university and either research and venture capitol and sending us their entrepreneurs and having us incubate them on campus," Herrera said.

Virginia Avila, who is the Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Government of Tucuman in Argentina, said California is a prime example of what she would like to see in her province when it comes to managing energy, water issues, and research from the

"You are all already working together in an ecosystem that I want to create," she said.

Avila adds they have a few universities where they are developing new research that eventually they want to apply to the farming and metal mechanic industries.

"You already have the knowledge how to articulate the academia with the private-sector plus the public-sector. So to transfer the technology it is an issue for us. So we want to learn from California how you did it," Avila mentioned.

After visiting Fresno State the group went to checkout Bitwise Industries. There they were able to network with valley leaders spearheading the technology charge in the valley.

They also were able to learn more about the High Speed Rail project.

Their valley tour ended with a dinner at Artes Americas in Downtown Fresno to show Fresno's strong cultural ties to Latin America.
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