Woody Allen once said: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Denis Hanks and 21 elected officials, business leaders and tourism executives showed up last month on the shores of Plymouth, England – Plymouth’s sister city across the pond.
And the success of the trip is already starting to show, Hanks said, as relationships forged between the two Plymouths deepen and grow.
“They have a 400th committee as well,” Hanks said. “They’re going to celebrate the departure of the Mayflower, while we celebrate the arrival.”
The recent trip included visits to local universities, industries and businesses, fostering a sharing of information, ideas and programs that have the potential to boost the economy in both ports.
Connections in marine sciences and research will enhance cultural and educational awareness between the countries, Hanks said. And that could lead to employment opportunities and transatlantic initiatives that spur economic growth. There is talk of launching a cruise from Plymouth, England, to America’s Hometown, and there’s a plan to host a 400th anniversary artwork competition in both cities in the works, Hanks added.
“We may have a competition between us and the U.K. for 400th-sanctioned artwork,” Hanks said.
As a result of the trip, partnerships between American and English universities are already developing to help foster state-of-the-art training programs geared toward today’s jobs. High-tech and biomedical employment is out there, Hanks said, but these companies are struggling to find trained workers.
Meanwhile, the simple handshake between America’s Hometown and Plymouth, England, has created connections between town officials on both sides of the Atlantic – connections that could lead to events, programs and business relationships that boost both economies.
The trip included visits to the Plymouth/Devon Tourism Bureau, the Downtown Plymouth Devon Business Improvement Districts, the Plymouth Devon Waterfront Partnerships, Growth Accelerator Investment Network, or GAIN, and other economic development and tourism groups.
Face-to-face contact is a proven way of boosting business, Hanks said. Phone calls and e-mails just don’t cut it when it comes to fostering long-term connections between towns eager to enhance their economic clout. These connections are fostered one person at a time, whether it’s a dignitary, official, business partner or industry representative, because business is all about building relationships.
The handshake really does make a difference, he added, and showing up can be everything.
Business relationships, marketing campaigns, cruises, art programs and a looming 400th Anniversary Celebration are reaching across the Atlantic Ocean these days, Hanks added, and that can only spell good news for America’s Hometown.
Plymouth 400 Inc. President Kevin O’Reilly, third from right, chats with officials from Plymouth, England, during his visit there in October.
Plymouth Schools Superintendent Gary Maestas poses in front of a poster for Plymouth University during his visit to Plymouth’s sister city, Plymouth, England.
By Emily Clark
Wicked Local Plymouth