The leader of a European renewable energy trade association will be in Wichita in mid-September to meet with community and business leaders.
Jens Eckhoff, chief executive of the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, will be in Wichita Sept. 12 and 13 to continue contacts made by local officials and private developers last year.
"The purpose of this visit is to evaluate opportunities for more European companies utilizing Kansas resources and to offer advice as to how we can grow the (wind) industry in our region," said Marlin Penner, a local commercial real estate broker and developer who helped organize the visit, along with local developer Stan Brodhagen.
The visit comes a year after a local delegation led by Penner and Brodhagen attended the Husum WindEnergy 2010 trade show in Germany last September.
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That delegation included Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Skelton and David Bossemeyer and Debra Teufel, representing the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.
Another of the participants in last year's Germany trip, Patty Koehler of JR Custom Metal Products in Wichita, said she's encouraged by the return visit.
"I think it's a great opportunity for them to see the vast resources we have in our community and state," Koehler said, "for them to see the type of industry that can support wind energy — manufacturers, machine shops and the trained workforce."
JR Custom Metal already has landed work building equipment for Siemens, which is manufacturing wind turbine nacelles at a plant in Hutchinson.
There are many similar opportunities throughout the wind power industry, Koehler said.
"I know there's been numerous companies following the wind power industry to our state and the U.S.," she said. "It's great. It creates jobs and opportunities. Siemens has been a great company to work with."
"That's great," he said about the visit. "Everything I do in business and politics is based on some sort of relationships, and these are the things that drive business expansion. There's a lot of possibility for additional manufacturing here. I really support looking into wind power."