A delegation of government and business officials from Bavaria, Germany, came to Long Island Thursday to see if the region would be a good place for German companies to locate. What they saw at first wasn't pretty, but it was vintage Long Island: lots of traffic.
The delegation came to visit Edgewood-based SRI North America Corp., a unit of SRI Holding AG in Durach, Germany. First they were delayed nearly an hour by tie-ups on the Long Island Expressway at the Queens-Nassau border. But they quickly settled down to business.
"We are trying to find networks" linking German and U.S. companies, said Dieter Daminger, vice mayor of the Bavarian city of Regensburg. "Our companies ask us, 'Are there only finance companies in the U.S.?' We're trying to find the right place for our companies" on the Island and in the United States.
Jurgen Helmes, chief executive of IHK Regensburg, the city's chamber of commerce, said the automaker BMW has a major facility in Bavaria and biotechnology and aerospace also play a role in the state's economy. Helmes and Jan Danisman, director of the Bavarian U.S. Offices for Economic Development, in Manhattan, said the Island's range of companies may make good fits for future business arrangements.
The delegation had been to a bio-tech fair in Washington, D.C., earlier in the week, and had visited San Antonio, Texas. They were invited to SRI by Ray Donnelly, SRI's communications director. He had met Danisman in Manhattan on Oct. 1. The date was poignant, Donnelly said. It was the day that Donnelly's longtime friend and president of the Long Island Forum for Technology, Kenneth Morrelly, unexpectedly died of a heart attack at age 64. "There was a little bit of Ken in this meeting" with the German officials, Donnelly said.