Morrissey Sweden trip aims to foster relationships

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115644040029925.jpg’, ‘Map courtesy of’, ‘Lidköping is a Swedish city in Västra Götaland County, in western Sweden. It is on the southern shore of Lake Vänern. The county seat is in the town Lidköping with 25,000 inhabitants (Source: Wikipedia).’);

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said the city has the fourth-largest concentration of Swedish-Americans in the nation. Morrissey said a weeklong trip to Sweden aims to establish ties and develop relationships between Rockford and the Nordic nation.

According to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the trade mission’s goal is to help Rockford businesses increase their opportunities in Sweden and Europe as well as bringing new businesses to Rockford.

Sweden-owned Rapid Granulator and Seivert Industries have enjoyed success in Rockford, while area companies Bergstrom Inc., a semi-truck cab climate system manufacturer, and Haldex Hydraulics Corp. have good relationships with counterparts in Sweden.

According to Morrissey, it’ll be the first time a Rockford mayor has made a trip abroad since former Rockford Mayor Charles Box. Morrissey, and a more than 20-person contingent including no aldermen, left Aug. 19 for a weeklong trip he said aimed to “make connections” to increase trade and jobs.

“It’s incumbent upon us to take the bull by the horns,” he said.

The group will have a booth at Swedish-American Entrepreneurial Days Aug. 21-23 in Lidköping, Sweden. The Rockford Area Economic Development Council is the event’s main sponsor. Morrissey noted that the contingent will host a reception for Michael Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Sweden.

He said some relationships with Sweden-based companies have faltered. “We lost some of that connection over the years,” he said. Morrissey stressed Rockford taxpayers aren’t financing the trip directly. A grant from U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) is paying for the diplomatic excursion.

He said Borgholm Mayor Lisbeth Lennartsson’s February visit to Rockford helped initiate a connection. In addition to Brovary, Ukraine; Changzhou, China; and Ferentino, Italy, Borgholm is among Rockford’s sister cities.

Morrissey said because only the ground work is being laid, the connection may not bear any fruit for two or three years.

From the Aug. 23-29, 2006, issue

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