Economics / International / Municipal government

City Hall heads to Europe to lure business to Philly

A key part of the pitch: the region's bustling biotech sector.

A snapshot from a similar mission to Israel in 2013, under the Nutter administration. (Photo by Kait Privitera for the City of Philadelphia)

The City of Philadelphia is taking its show on the road again.
Or rather, it’s headed across the pond over to Europe, where a delegation of 18 people from both the private and public sectors will brag about Philly in hopes of attracting international investment from France, Germany and Portugal.
On Sept. 24, the weeklong mission — led by Commerce Director Harold Epps — heads overseas. The trip is being billed as an opportunity to attract foreign business and investment (not unlike then-Mayor Michael Nutter’s widely publicized 2013 trek through the U.K. and Israel).
While in Germany, the delegation will hit the Organization of World Heritage Cities’ 2016 Conference, visit business leads in Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Berlin, and take in the zeitgeist of the country’s “renowned workforce development model.”
Sylvie Gallier Howard, Chief of Staff for the Department of Commerce, will break out her fluent French on the final day of the trip (Sept. 30) alongside Philadelphia’s French-American Chamber of Commerce for a presentation on Philly’s biotech and IT industries in Lyon, France. Gallier Howard will be making the case for partnership and business opportunities before a group of French companies.
“The upcoming trade and investment mission to Europe will give Department of Commerce staff the chance to pitch our city to international businesses and to bring back key strategies from Germany’s renowned workforce development model,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
Here’s the full list of the delegation members:
City of Philadelphia

  • Harold T. Epps, Commerce Director
  • Sylvie Gallier Howard, Chief of Staff for the Department of Commerce
  • Lauren Swartz, Director of International Business Investment
  • Jonathan Todd, Manager of Talent Development
  • Al Taubenberger, Philadelphia City Council


  • Jeanne Nevelos, VP of Business Expansion Services, Select Greater Philadelphia
  • Siobhan Lyons, Citizen Diplomacy International
  • Susan Kohler Reed, Citizen Diplomacy International
  • Lydia Sarson, Executive Director, German-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
  • Chris Erb, Partner, Erb Law Firm; Vice Chairman, German-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
  • Uva Coles, VP of Institutional Advancement & Strategic Partnerships, Peirce College
  • Jessica Sandberg, Director of International Admissions, Temple University
  • Dave Kipphut, Education Consultant
  • Ralf Wiedemann, Immigration & Nationality Attorney, Green Spiegel U.S. LLC; Honorary Consul to Germany
  • Steven Bradley, Bradley & Bradley Associates, Inc.
  • Gaston Mbonglou, Partner, UASG Advisors
  • Mark Vogelbacker, Associate, Reed Smith
  • One representative from consulting firm CH2M
Companies: City of Philadelphia
People: Sylvie Gallier Howard / Uva Coles / Harold Epps / Lauren Schwartz

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