Bringing the World to PA 2024

BTW Collage 2024

The day began with introductions from Dorte Heffernan, International Trade Manager at the Northwest Commission. Special recognition was given to those in attendance: Senator Dan Laughlin with Executive Director Sheila Sterrett; Erie County Executive Brenton Davis and his colleagues; Susan Prichard for Representative Bizzarro; Deputy Secretary of DCED's Office of International Business Development, David Briel; OIBD Program Managers: Theresa Brennan and Trung Tran; representing PA's OIBD Foreign Direct Investment team, Cindy Hostetler, Senior Manager, Business Attraction & Retention and Thomas Schmidt, Manager, Business Attraction and Retention.

Following that, Dorte introduced Dr. Alicyn Rhoades of Penn State Behrend who served as the moderator for the Northwest PA Plastics Cluster Panel. Panelists included: Tami Adams, National Tooling and Machining Association; Kurt Duska, Kurt Duska Sales and Consulting; Kelly Goodsel, Viking Plastics; and Mitch Hecht, International Recycling Group.

Pennsylvania’s Global Investment Representatives departed after the panel for a tour of Erie organized in partnership with Pennsylvania’s Office of International Business Development; Tina Mengine of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority, and Jake Rouch of Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership. The investment representatives’ tour of Erie included: Berry Plastics, Ironworks Square, the Burke Center at Penn State Behrend, and concluded at Gannon University’s I-HACK (Institute for Health & Cyber Knowledge).


After the panel concluded, Pennsylvania companies and trade representatives met to discuss export opportunities in the markets of their interest.

“Great event, keep up the good work...” – Bill Finnecy, FORVIS

We were happy to host the Mayor of the City of Erie, Joe Schember as well. After a casual networking lunch, the group gathered for the annual group photo.

First time attendee, Andrew Bell of Berner International shared his thoughts on the event, “…I look forward to participating again in the future. Very interesting event and well organized. Thank you for putting it together!”