Delegation to focus on infrastructure, security, environment, and business investment
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis will lead a delegation of community leaders on a trade and cultural mission to Israel from June 8-17. The group will focus on investigating infrastructure, security, and environmental issues that could benefit our community and establishing connections with potential business investors. Another aspect will be strengthening relationships with officials in the Israeli government, business, and education sectors.
The delegation will be comprised of City Manager Chris Lagerbloom; Scott Wyman, chief of staff to Mayor Trantalis; Broward County Vice Mayor Dale Holness; Greg Haile, president of Broward College; Anthony Fajardo, director of the Department of Sustainable Development; Capt. Bill Schultz of the Police Department; Paola Isaac Baraya, economic development specialist for Broward County; and Bill Fein-berg, incoming chairman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Local businessmen Eyal Peretz and Jonathon Fish will also join the group.
The delegation will meet with five major Israeli investment groups — OurCrowd, SOSA, Start-Up Nation Central, Harel Insurance Co., and El-Ad National Properties. There are two goals of these meetings: discussions involving partnerships for major infrastructure and public works projects in Fort Lauderdale and investment in start-up and high-tech businesses in Fort Lauderdale.
A key component of the trip will be promoting a new collaboration be-tween the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Fort Lauderdale, and Florida International University (FIU) to prepare small business start-ups to be successful in the high-tech field.
Through a series of agreements being signed, the DOE and FIU have created a mission-to-market program to leverage underutilized patented technology developed by the DOE with Fort Lauderdale serving as the project’s location for a global entrepreneurial resources center. Broward County and Broward College are looking to partner in this initiative as well.
The DOE-FIU project intends to foster economic development in greater Fort Lauderdale by producing high-tech ventures using the DOE technology with training provided by FIU in the incubation and acceleration of the start-ups. The Israel trip plays a role in these plans because investment by firms specializing in high-tech startups will be critical to the project’s success.
Mayor Trantalis’ delegation will also visit the Hadera desalination plant, which uses cutting-edge technology in the production of drinking water. City officials want to learn more about the facility because Fort Lauderdale’s Fiveash Water Treatment Plant is at the end of its life expectancy. It soon must be replaced or substantially renovated, but at the same time, the future supply of water in the region faces challenges due to continued population growth and climate change.
The group will also visit Ben-Gurion University and its Advanced Technologies Park. Discussions will be held there focusing both on high-tech industrial development as well as water resource management.
Security at major events is also a focus of the trip.
Fort Lauderdale hosts many major events each year, including the Tortuga Music Festival, Pride Fort Lauderdale, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and the Air Show. Next year, the city will be the location for the Pride of Americas festival. This is expected to draw large crowds from around the Western Hemisphere. Security at major events is paramount, and Israel has much to offer in the way of security expertise. The delegation will meet with Tel Aviv security officials, including the police chief, as well as the city’s event coordination director.
Cultural exchanges will occur with Tel Aviv and Fort Lauderdale’s sister city of Haifa as the delegation meets with leaders of both cities. Finally, the delegation will help market Fort Lauderdale as a tourist destination.
Fort Lauderdale is among the world’s top LGBTQ tourist destinations, and the delegation will promote the city during Tel Aviv’s annual pride festival. Meetings will occur with the LGBTQ advocacy group A Wider Bridge; Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Chen Arieli, who has served as the chair of the Aguda Israel’s LGBTQ Task Force; and Tel Aviv City Council Member Yaniv Weizman, who is the founder and chair of Israeli Gay Youth.
Mayor Trantalis looks forward to a productive and successful trip. He envisions the City of Fort Lauderdale deriving important benefits from the visit in terms of business development, water resources, security understanding, event planning, and tourism.