ExPat Brit and Global Marketer Suzi Pegg Touches Down in Britannia; Readies to Sell Pittsburgh Region

by on September 20, 2013
Suzi Pegg, VP of Global Marketing, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Suzi Pegg, VP of Global Marketing, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Although Pittsburgh has endeared itself to me as my adopted American home, England – my native land – will always have my heart.  I am thrilled to now be home in the U.K., having arrived on Wednesday, and am at work at putting the final touches on an exciting global marketing mission in U.K. and in Ireland for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) through the end of September.  I manage the PRA’s global marketing – engaging with companies abroad that want to grow beyond their borders.  My product is the 10-county Pittsburgh region of southwestern Pennsylvania.  For many international companies, the Pittsburgh region can be a perfect location for a North American operation.

Pittsburgh:  Decided Advantages with a Dash of Quirk

Authentic, friendly, quirky at times and full of what I’ll call Midwestern sensibility, Pittsburgh offers real advantages. These include strategic location; an educated, skilled workforce; competitive cost of doing business; access to innovation; and quality of place. You can read more about each of these here. Already, 385 foreign-owned firms have made the Pittsburgh region their choice – operating 977 establishments and employing more than 53,000 people across 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania.

With its affinity for the Pittsburgh region, Germany leads the pack for investment in southwestern Pennsylvania, but my native land is not far behind – number two, in fact.  To date, 100-plus U.K.-owned firms operate some 300 establishments, employing 10,000-plus people in the region.  These include BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Goodfellow Corporation and Steelite International – the latter two having both relocated their North American headquarters to the Pittsburgh region.

You Can’t Replace Face-to-Face

It’s strategic for the PRA to pay personal visits to a place, like the UK, that’s keen on Pittsburgh.  We pave the way for potential new investment, but we also hone existing business relationships on these international marketing excursions.  While our economic development marketing operations are absolutely 21st century – utilizing social media to stay connected even if we’re oceans apart – it’s still impossible to replace face-to-face and the value of a handshake, sitting down together, talking, listening and really getting to know and trust each other.  Not unlike succeeding in marriage, succeeding in business has – at its core – people who understand and appreciate each other.

Bring on the Black and Gold!

Helping the PRA sell the Pittsburgh region on this trip will be the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It’s our first such venture with this NFL team , which will be building buzz for Pittsburgh, particularly in London where they will play their first game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 29.  Already sold-out, the game will be huge.  Fans of the Steelers are global – we call them the “Steelers Nation” – and many will be flocking to the stadium for the game – making it a sea of black and gold.  We’ll be leveraging the iconic Steelers brand, synonymous with the region, as we promote investment opportunities here for global companies and to help alumni of Pittsburgh universities living or working abroad gain fresh perspective on what Pittsburgh has going for it:  great jobs and a great life. And the game itself gives us a VIP opportunity to court some key investment prospects.  It should be a memorable and productive all around.

Top o’ the Mornin’ Next Monday in Dublin

But first, we launch our Pittsburgh promo tour on Ireland’s emerald shores on Monday.  There are life sciences, medical device and technology synergies between Pittsburgh and Ireland, and we’ll be leveraging these as we meet with companies there.  And next Monday evening the PRA will host a special “Pittsburgh Gathering” at Google’s European headquarters in Dublin.  We’ve put this event under the banner of the “Gathering” celebrations happening all over Ireland this year.  At ours, we’ll be celebrating existing Pittsburgh-Ireland ties and fostering new ones as we gather at a hub of one of planet’s best known and most influential tech companies, which also has a significant and growing R&D center in Pittsburgh.

I’ll blog about the Ireland leg of the trip, as well as our visit to Manchester – a UK city that has a lot in common with Pittsburgh – early next week here and on Facebook and Twitter.  And I’ll be sharing photos, too. The trip will be hard work, but a lot of fun, too.    Follow us at @pghregion or @PeggSuzi.