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Ft. Lauderdale Delegation For Israel Trade Mission Including Allied President Bill Feinberg

Ft. Lauderdale Delegation for Israel Trade Mission including Allied President Bill Feinberg

Last week our President, Bill Feinberg traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel for 8 full days of meetings with a Ft Lauderdale delegation that included Mayor Dean Trantalis and his Chief of Staff, Scott Wyman, City Manager Chris Lagerbloom, Anthony Fajardo, Head of Sustainabile Development, Ft Lauderdale Police Captain Bill Schultz, Broward County Vice Mayor Dale Holness, and from the Dept of Business & Economic Development, Paola Isaacs. The delegation also included the Broward College President, Greg Haile, and investors & local businessmen from Israel and Ft Lauderdale, Eyal Peretz and Jonathan Fish.

They met with innovative businesses, government representatives in security and economic development, educational institutions and forward thinking individuals as well as some of the largest and most successful Start Up companies in Israel. All these could strengthen Florida’s relationship with Israel, bring investment opportunities and could be a game changer for South Florida. Bill Feinberg is  proud to represent the Ft Lauderdale Chamber and be a part of this group, all who give of themselves to make our community a better place.














Below is an in depth report written by Mayor Dean Trantalis on his experiences and the great relationships made on the trip with the team that was assembled.

Trade mission opens doors for city
Business growth, infrastructure discussed during Israel visit
When I was sworn into office just over a year ago, I pledged to take our city in a new direction. This included more attention to smart growth and reducing traffic, more humane treatment of our homeless, and a focus on a more family-friendly city by increasing our parks and recreation areas.
In addition, I pledged to augment our economic base so that we were not entirely reliant on tourism, the marine industry and real estate investment. In doing that, I wanted to ensure a more sustainable future for the next generations.
This past week, I returned from a trip to Israel accompanied by a delegation of business executives and government officials as part of a trade and cultural mission. We made great progress on areas of key importance to the greater Fort Lauderdale community including infrastructure planning, business development, and security matters.
In addition to myself, the delegation was comprised of City Manager Chris Lagerbloom; Scott Wyman, my chief of staff; Broward County Vice Mayor Dale Holness; Greg Haile, president of Broward College; Anthony Fajardo, director of the Department of Sustainable Development; Capt. Bill Schultz of the Police Department; Paola Isaac Baraya, economic development specialist for Broward County; and Bill Feinberg, incoming chairman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Local businessman Eyal Peretz and Jonathon Fish joined us part of the time and helped arrange some key meetings.
One of the most exciting parts of the trip were our discussions with Israeli groups that invest in high-tech startups on how Fort Lauderdale could expand as a hub for the industry. County, city and college leaders on the trip came away convinced that we can work together to create an entrepreneurial incubator that could be a center for tech startups and 21st century job creation.
We all know it is critical that we diversify our economic base and expand the number of higher-paying jobs available to our residents. Fort Lauderdale has much to offer the tech community, including our position as gateway to Latin America, our diverse and multilingual population, and our wealth of higher education institutions willing to participate in translational research and partner in economic development initiatives.
Israel was an ideal place to look for partners in this endeavor as it leads the world in tech startups per capita and venture capital investments as a percent of gross domestic product. Our visit provided us with workable strategies and important connections, and I look forward to taking the lead on bringing the discussions started in Israel to reality.
“We have the new leadership and intellectual resources required to transform our local and regional economy,” City Manager Lagerbloom said. “Our Israel initiative provided critical information, guidance and potential partners to bring our ideas to reality.”
A potential part of this incubation center could be the new collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy, Fort Lauderdale, and Florida International University to prepare small business start-ups to be successful in the high-tech field. Through a series of agreements being signed, the DOE and FIU have created a mission-to-market program to leverage underutilized patented technology developed by the DOE with Fort Lauderdale serving as the project’s location for a global entrepreneurial resources center.
The DOE-FIU project intends to foster economic development in greater Fort Lauderdale by producing high-tech ventures using the DOE technology with training provided by FIU in the incubation and acceleration of the start-ups.
In addition, with Fort Lauderdale at the point of needing to chart our future regarding drinking water supply, a critical aspect of the trip was our visit to the Hadera water desalination plant. The builder/operator of the plant has been pursuing public-private partnerships around the globe and provided insights about long-term water solutions.
We soon must determine whether to rehabilitate the Fiveash Water Treatment Plant or replace it. If we replace it, the next question is the best method of generating clean drinking water for the coming decades given the region’s population growth and the impact of climate change on our current water sources. As a major supplier of drinking water not only to our own residents but surrounding cities, we need to strategically address this matter.
With rising sea levels lapping at our shores, our drinking wells that tap the Biscayne Aquifer are at increased risk of saltwater contamination, and reaching the deeper Floridan Aquifer is both expensive and requires additional cleaning procedures because of its brackishness. Our visit gave us first-hand insight into desalination operations and made important connections as IDE Technologies, a leader in this field, is interested in further discussions about partnering with us.
A third major benefit of our trip were discussions we had with Israeli officials about security preparations and event management. Next spring, Fort Lauderdale will host Pride of Americas, expected to draw at least 100,000 people from around the world. Each year, the city also features other large events and festivals, such as Tortuga Music Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and the Air Show.
The number of attendees and today’s global security climate mean we need to be as innovative as possible to be as prepared as possible. Israel’s experience in security and event management is without parallel and was a good place for us to learn how to improve.
In fact, as we were there, Tel Aviv’s annual LGBT Pride parade drew more than 250,000 to the city’s busy streets and beachfront without incident. We met with the deputy mayor, the commander of the police district, the city’s top security official and the city’s event management director to learn about how they prepare for such events, what procedures they follow during them, and how they would respond to a crisis. It was eye-opening.
Capt. Schultz described it as “a rare and in-depth meeting” in which “a vast amount of information was compiled and knowledge was gained.”
“Israel’s advanced operations in the area of public safety is impressive, viewed worldwide as groundbreaking and ever-evolving in the safety and security field,” he said.
Before leaving, we met with Harel Insurance Investments, an international player in capital project financing. We discussed major upcoming projects that the county, city and Broward College have, and Harel provided insight and expressed interest in making good deals better for our taxpayers and residents. Their investments have already begun to materialize in our city. Our goal is to keep them coming.
Of course, we met with officials in our sister city of Haifa and discussed furthering our ties, particularly connections between our ports and universities. Both Broward County and Broward College officials on the trip saw a lot of potential here.

Bill Feinberg, the incoming chair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and president of Allied Kitchen & Bath, described the trip as something that “could be a game changer for South Florida.”
“We accomplished and learned so much in this last week and were very fortunate to have had these high-level meetings to learn how we can be an even better city and do more to benefit and create opportunities for our citizens,” he said.
Broward Vice Mayor Holness stressed the business ties made.
“It was an extremely powerful trade mission where we made a tremendous amount of contact with entities that we will build future relationships with,” he said. “I’m sure these relationships will help build a better Broward and benefit the people of Israel and Broward equally.”
I agree with them.
Our delegation gained valuable connections and information during this trip that will help improve Fort Lauderdale’s economy, maintain our quality of life and ensure our safety. I appreciate the support of my colleagues for this trip. Indeed, with the continuous rounds of meetings, it was exhausting. Nonetheless, it was time well spent, and a smart investment in our future. And once again, another step forward in fulfilling my pledge for a better Fort Lauderdale.
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