For Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and his entourage, the first big challenge this weekend was to adjust to a 13-hour time zone difference.
On his first working day back, the mayor lost no time calling his trip a success because it continued the G-20 public relations blitz of last year and even garnered some leads for possible new business here in Pittsburgh.
“It’s clear that last year’s G-20 Summit put Pittsburgh back in the global game, and the trip that we were just on has convinced me how intense that game is going to be,” says Ravenstahl.
Pittsburgh has not been on the radar screen for Asian companies, but Ravenstahl says his keynote address to the world’s top 40 CEOs in Shanghai was successful.
“Pittsburgh was on the global stage once again and we like to think that we performed in a way that would make our city proud,” says Ravenstahl.
Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky who accompanied the mayor said their pitches to companies yielded dividends.
“These are business leaders who said, ‘We’ve been thinking about either expanding in North America or coming to North America, we want to come to Pittsburgh and talk seriously about Pittsburgh as a location,’ so we have five new leads, specific leads that we’re working,” says Yablonsky.
Getting Chinese to visit Pittsburgh just for pleasure was the goal of Visit Pittsburgh CEO Joe McGrath who also went on the trip.
“There are 48 million Chinese traveling internationally at the current time. It’s projected by the year 2020 to be 100 million of which approximately 10 percent of those will be coming to the United States,” says McGrath.
McGrath has a regional itinerary.
“Fallingwater, the Andy Warhol Museum, Cleveland and The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls and Toronto,” says McGrath.
And in Asia that venerates the wisdom of old age, Ravenstahl tried to turn his youth to advantage.
“I think it also encouraged, as we talked to some young entrepreneurs and potential investors, that this is a cool place to be,” says Ravenstahl.