“I need help now and I look forward to having conversations with all of you throughout the day,” said Blair Decker, Vice President of Materials and Quality at Electric Boat.
Decker sat on one of the panels where more than 150 companies from Connecticut and Australia joined forces for the first-ever Mateship Defense Trade Summit. The goal was to build on existing relationships and forge new ones.
“You’ve got to be face to face and it also shows a commitment,” said Marc Nemeth, President of Jonal Laboratories in Meriden.
He is hoping to help solve any problems Australia has as it increases its underwater and submarine capabilities. While Alpha Q, Inc. in Colchester has been making flight safety critical components since 1964.
“We work with alloys that a lot of other companies don’t work with so it would be interesting to see if any of those alloys are alloys Australia works with,” said Kasey Plante, National Sales Manager with Alpha Q.
“95 percent of the consumers are outside the United States so it’s our job everyday to say to them we want you to be sustainable,” said Anne Evans, Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.
The Department of Commerce connected the Connecticut companies with their counterparts down under like AW Bell a casting company in Victoria.
“The open conversations we can have has been really conducive and the partnerships I think we will form here will really aid in our helping us to understand how we work better with the teams over here,” said Vinesh Karan, Commercial Director for AW Bell Pty Ltd.
“It’s nice to see a lot of small businesses from the district to see opportunities in Australia that will grow jobs here,” said Congressmen Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut.
This may be the first-ever Defense Trade Summit but it comes on the 100th anniversary of Mateship. The U.S. and Australia have had a long standing relationship which began on the battlefield and continues with their industrial base.
“Anything we do to protect our country requires a partnership across a wide swath,” said James Geurts, Asst. Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisitions.
Global connections made close to home.