An NIABT delegation including six MLAs and nine business representatives took part in a week long educational programme during the first week of June this year. The programme started off in Washington DC where Norman Houston, Director at the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, D.C. had arranged two days of intensive meetings and presentations. The first meeting was with David Slack, Vice President, Government Affairs Bombardier and Ashleigh de la Torre, Principal at The Bockorny Group and during the stay in Washington D.C., the group also met with Ambassador David O’Sullivan, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Congressman Richard Neal and Gerri Fiala: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor.
The group then moved on to Baltimore for meetings with members of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Mike Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and Mark Montgomery, President and CEO of Ports America.
The week ended with attendance at the two day New York New Belfast Conference where NIABT members were directly involved with a number of break out sessions on a variety of topics such as Transformational Projects in Cities on the Rise and How can Belfast make itself a must-visit destination for Irish Americans?
Ambassador of the United States of America to the Court of St James, Matthew W. Barzun, provided the keynote address at the annual President’s Dinner. Local journalist Colletta Smith interviewed the Ambassador on a number of business issues of interest to the special bond between Northern Ireland and America.
On Friday 16th January, Joe McDonald, Corporate Affairs Manager, Asda NI welcomed Pam Cameron MLA, Trevor Clarke MLA, Paul Girvan MLA and Danny Kinahan MLA to the Antrim Asda store.
During the educational visit, the MLAs learned about the work done by Asda with the local community, their support for local businesses and producers and also the development opportunities for Asda staff.
Shane Logan, CEO of Ulster Rugby delivered a presentation to the NIABT on the development of Ulster Rugby over the past number of years. Shane talked about how Ulster Rugby took a business approach to the development of the new stadium, ensuring they created an excellent venue which would appeal to and be accessible to a diverse audience.
Shane then gave the NIABT delegation a behind the scenes tour of the stadium. The tour gave an excellent opportunity to hear about the technologies that have been embraced during this process.