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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 5/10/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

Toledo to host Italian firm reps

38 companies register for 3-day business summit to start Monday

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Representatives of Italian companies will arrive in Toledo this weekend for a three-day business summit that begins Monday evening, and it appears there will be nearly double the number of visitors originally expected.

Scott Prephan, a key organizer of the 2014 Italian Business Forum scheduled for the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Conference Center downtown, said enthusiasm for the Toledo event has taken root in Italy and prompted even more participants to reserve spots.

Originally, 20 Italian-based companies signed up to attend the event. But as word spread over the last month that a forum designed to highlight business opportunities in Toledo and Ohio was being organized, the number of companies grew to 38, Mr. Prephan said.

“I didn’t anticipate it being this significant, but it just sort of happened,” said Mr. Prephan, who organized the forum with Gionata Lazzaretti, an Italian business consultant based in Correggio, Italy.

“Gionata had a lot of success based on the information about the area I gave him. He’s been able to sell the Toledo area to a lot of companies and had a lot of success convincing them to become involved,” Mr. Prephan added.

The list of participants now includes eight manufacturers, 17 wine and food companies, three biomedical firms, two automotive firms, a law firm, a construction firm, a consulting firm, an import-export firm, a toy distributor, and an English language school.

Mr. Prephan said there will be 36 company representatives, with one person representing several wineries.

The program for the event has been finalized beginning with a Monday night reception featuring foods from two of the visiting companies, Reggiana Gourmet, a large Italian pasta maker, and Fa.Lu.Cioli, a leading producer of pork roast and other pork products in Italy.

On Tuesday the forum will have presentations by Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins; Dean Monske of the Regional Growth Partnership, Mr. Lazzaretti, Paul Toth of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and Bart Pascoli of the Italian Trade Commission, which is based in Chicago. Also on Tuesday, some participants will tour the campus of the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, while others will tour the port authority’s facilities.

A dinner reception is set for Tuesday evening with a presentation by Mauro Pino, NAFTA Manufacturing/​World Class Manufacturing director for Chrysler Group LLC.

On Wednesday, participants will have presentations on financial, tax, legal, distribution, and supply chain issues. In the afternoon, participants will tour either the Chrysler Assembly Complex to see how Jeep vehicles are made, or tour The Andersons’ Toledo-area facilities.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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