Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and former Delmenhorst mayor and councilman Anke von Wittke-Grothenn speak during Mayor Bell's final presentation in Delmenhorst, Germany, today.
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DELMENHORST, Germany -- Arne Tscherwitschke, a partner of the German firm Clostermann & Jasper, which does tax consulting and accounting, had never heard of Toledo until today.
"It was really interesting and I am very impressed with the deep relationship between the cities and the deep foundation," Mr. Tscherwitschke said as a Toledo delegation including Mayor Mike Bell wrapped up its visit to Germany. "Especially when you are doing business internationally, you must have trust."
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After hearing a presentation on Toledo by Paul Zito, vice president for international development of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo, Mr. Tscherwitschke said the two cities seemed very similar.
"Toledo is larger than Delmenhorst but we are a part of Bremen, Germany, which is much larger, and the automotive industry and suppliers are all very important here," he said.
Mr. Zito, who speaks fluent German he learned in public school in Hudson, Ohio, pitched Toledo as a great place to do business for a small gathering of businessmen in Delmenhorst's city hall.
He listed some of the city's major employers, including Fiat SpA, the Italian car maker that controls Chrysler Group LLC; Dana Holding Corp.; Johnson Controls, and others. He also boasted about Toledo logistical location near the intersection of I-75 and I-80 and its connection to high-tech industries like solar and other renewable energies.
"Crossroads of America" in English was peppered throughout his brief speech that was otherwise in German.
He also listed some of the amenities in Toledo like the Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Museum, and Fifth Third Field.
Many people speak English in Delmenhorst and other German cities, but speaking German is an advantage, Mr. Zito said.
Mayor Bell is traveling home today and said he plans to be at work Tuesday.