Windsor Open for Business, Pupatello says

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Windsor Star/Dave Hall

Bragging about Windsor-Essex has become a common theme for Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation chief executive officer Sandra Pupatello.

The former Liberal cabinet minister delivered the keynote address Monday morning as the Canadian Manufacturers Technology Show in Mississauga and Pupatello acknowledged that “Windsor’s name came up quite often.

“I love seeing the reaction in a business audience when I tell them that Windsor has managed to reduce its industrial tax rate for six consecutive years,” said Pupatello. “I don’t know of any jurisdiction which has done that and made itself so welcoming to industrial investment.”

In a presentation outlining the importance of manufacturing, Pupatello compared it to Wayne Gretzky, saying “manufacturing is Ontario’s strongest player and it needs protecting by both the public and private sectors.

“It plays the strongest role and it’s painfully obvious that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that it remains our most important player,” said Pupatello. “It’s important to get this message across to decision-makers across the manufacturing and technology sector.”

Pupatello illustrated her presentation with photos of the Herb Gray Parkway construction project to highlight what can happen when the public and private sectors collaborate on in important project.

“While it’s the private sector that largely makes the financial investments in industry, it’s public policy which can go a long way in setting the agenda,” said Pupatello. “It’s important to have both  on the same page if we’re to maintain a strong manufacturing presence in this region and across this province.”

This year’s four-day show has attracted more than 600 exhibitors, including 150 new products along with hundreds of industry professionals and manufacturing executives.

The show will also feature the Canadian debut of the Festo SmartBird, an intelligent robot designed and built by Germany-based Festo. It’s considered a major breakthrough in automation technology and will be used in future applications such as hybrid drive technology and next-generation robotic aircraft.

There will also be a panel discussion Tuesday about Ontario’s skills gap and a presentation by Jerry Chenkin, president and CEO of Honda Canada, during the Automotive Parts Manufacturers automotive outlook conference on Wednesday.