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Governor O’Malley Kicks Off Brazil Trade Mission; Meets with Environmental, Security Tech Companies

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Joined by more than 30 Maryland businesses, higher education leaders and government officials, Governor Martin O’Malley today kicked off an economic development mission to Brazil, which has one of the fastest growing major economies in the world and the largest economy of Latin American nations. After arriving in Brazil’s capital of Sao Paulo yesterday, Governor O’Malley and the delegation were briefed earlier today on Brazil’s history, economy and culture by U.S. Consul General Dennis Hankins. The Governor then met with and addressed a dozen Brazilian companies in the environmental and security technology industries, promoting Maryland as the ideal gateway to the U.S. marketplace.

“While Maryland and Brazil have a long history of trade dating back 50 years, this mission will help open new doors for investment, for both Maryland businesses looking to enter or expand in the Latin American markets, and for Brazilian companies looking to enter U.S. markets by locating in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. ‘We look forward to working with our partners in Brazil to build on our shared strengths in biotechnology, information security and protecting our environment for future generations.”

Governor O’Malley also announced that two Maryland businesses are expanding in Brazil. Cambridge International, the world’s leading manufacturer of metal belting based in Cambridge, Md., is expanding its manufacturing facility in Sao Paulo with additional product lines and plans to add a dozen employees by 2016. The company will also be launching the Cambridge Architectural Division in Brazil over the next year.

And, Baltimore, Md.-based COLUMBIA Technologies, a global contractor that provides data collection, analyses, visualization, mapping and tracking tools for subsurface soil and groundwater contamination, is establishing a subsidiary in Brazil called COLUMBIA Technologies Brazil. The new company will provide high-tech direct sensing services for complex site investigations where underground contamination of Volatile Organic Compounds and/or petroleum products is present. The company also inked a partnership with Brazil’s ARAGON to provide drill rigs and equipment to COLUMBIA’s Brazil projects, and signed a teaming agreement with CH2M Hill Brazil to provide direct sensing and data management services.

“Brazil is a proven significant opportunity for COLUMBIA Technologies and its advanced environmental site characterization services,” said COLUMBIA CEO John Sohl. “Our strong partnership with ARAGON Perfuracoes e Sondagens Ltda and a teaming relationship CH2M HILL Brazil for key clients enables us to support global manufacturers when and where they need it.  Governor O’Malley’s trade mission is another important element of support of many that the State of Maryland has provided to us, a small business. COLUMBIA started in the UMBC incubator, developed new technologies under the Maryland Industrial Partnership Program, and initiated its business development efforts in Brazil through the states Maryland Export Grant Program.  These efforts have resulted in $7.5M in new payroll alone over the past 10 years for the Baltimore region.”

At a reception on Sunday, the University of Maryland College Park signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SUPERA in Sao Paulo, a nonprofit technology incubator that is a collaboration of the University of Sao Paulo, FIPASE, the City of Ribeirao Preto and SEBRAE. As part of the agreement, UMD’s Maryland International Incubator and SUPERA will share information, collaborate on tech transfer, venture incubation and investment and encourage tech-based industries in both regions through joint ventures.

“The University of Maryland is committed to promoting economic development in Maryland,” said Dr. Patrick O’Shea, Vice President and Chief Research officer of the University. “Our Maryland International Incubator, located adjacent to our College Park campus, supports international companies for successful joint ventures through a targeted array of business services, state-of-the-art facilities, and world-class resources.”

Throughout the mission, Governor O’Malley and the delegation will promote Maryland’s key assets that benefit foreign-owned companies – proximity to federal facilities, outstanding workforce and diverse business and cultural community. The Governor is scheduled to address a number of regional business organizations including the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo, which represents more than 30,000 industrial companies. Later, in Rio de Janeiro, Governor O’Malley will meet with Governor Sergio Cabral, as well as with members of Brazil’s biotechnology industry, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Maryland-Rio partnership.

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