Exports seen as key to Will County economic growth
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain Sun-Times Media September 18, 2012 4:48PM
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:21AM
The annual Will County Global Logistics Summit usually focuses on the increasing flow of foreign imports into transportation hubs in Elwood and Joliet.
This year, summit presenters instead talked about ways to increase exports, which is a push federal, state and local officials believe will help the U.S. economy recover more quickly and add more jobs all along the supply chain.
“The lesson is simple — exporting to emerging markets is a powerful catalyst for growth,” said Todd Wandtke, regional vice president of marketing for UPS.
During the summit at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, Wandtke said the global middle class will swell by an estimated 500 million in the next two decades in countries around the world.
“If you want to grow your business in the future, you need to reach out and convert some of these consumers,” he said.
Many of those people will want U.S. products that say “Made in the USA,’” Wandtke said.
While Will County officials have been thrilled with the amount of grain being exported from the area in recent years, the hope is that more and more companies will locate in the region to export a wider variety of products, said John Greuling, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, which organized the summit.
“We’ve learned a valuable lesson with ag and recycled paper, that we can actually have a bona fide export center of commerce here,” he said. “But I think now it’s time to move it to the next level. The growth markets now are not just in the United States.”