Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Names Green Valley Network #2 Top Achievement

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Green Valley Network's partnership with the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce was listed last week by exiting U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Michael M. Wood as a top accomplishment, signaling that the sustainability technology initiative has gained international prominence, officials said.

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Green Valley Network's partnership with the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce was listed last week by exiting U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Michael M. Wood as a top accomplishment, signaling that the sustainability technology initiative has gained international prominence, officials said.

Wood, who listed his top 12 accomplishments in conjunction with his retirement effective January 20th, said the visits and relocation discussions between several Swedish companies and the Arkansas-based sustainability technology initiative are a direct result of the close relationship his office has with Green Valley Network.

The former Ambassador began working with Green Valley Network in late summer 2008, after one of the Network's founding entities, the Fayetteville Economic Development Council (FEDC), joined the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce (SACC).

Shortly thereafter, the city of Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the FEDC came together to hire Per-Erik Persson as the FEDC's economic development liaison to connect Fayetteville and the Green Valley Network with Swedish businesses rooted in sustainability technology.

Since the beginning of the collaboration, Persson, Wood and Green Valley Network have successfully hosted more than one dozen companies looking to move to Green Valley, including Ageratec, Picoterm, StoraEnso, Acticut and 3nine.

Steve Rust, Green Valley Network and FEDC president, praised the City of Fayetteville and Ambassador Wood for their dedication to making the partnership successful.

"This initiative took some forward-thinking and a leap of faith," Rust said. "I commend the City Council, former Mayor Dan Coody, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the FEDC Executive Board for supporting this out-of-the-box approach to economic development."

Green Valley Network Executive Director Dan Sanker agreed, calling the discussions between Green Valley Network and sustainable technology companies in Sweden, "Another sign that Arkansas will become the epicenter for sustainability technology."

Sanker, the founder and CEO of CaseStack, a sustainable supply chain innovator, established a regional headquarters for the logistics company in Northwest Arkansas in 2007. Sanker has said the reason for the new office in Fayetteville was to be located near the sustainable technology companies in the area, including Wal-Mart Stores, Tyson Foods, Strateline/Circle, Wind Water Technology, BioBased Systems, BlueInGreen and Coenco.

"This is a great example of Green Valley's core mission: connecting the world's best sustainability innovators," Sanker said. "Between the companies pursuing a move to Green Valley and those that are already here, this region is poised as a major player for the next technology cluster."

Through the partnership between the Swedish Ambassador and Green Valley Network, Arkansas will not only become the site for sustainability technology, but will reap the benefits of thousands of new jobs, an increase in median income and will help revolutionize the state's economy, said U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., a Green Valley Network supporter.

"The world is changing and Northwest Arkansas needs to change with it. The Green Valley Network has solidified Northwest Arkansas as the place for sustainability technology through its relationship with Ambassador Wood," he said. "Ambassador Wood's collaboration with Green Valley Network has been very successful and we look forward to continuing this great relationship with Sweden."

Bob Davis, FEDC chairman, said he envisions substantial economic development in Northwest Arkansas as a result of Green Valley Network.

"I'm really excited about the local economic opportunities we have on the table as part of this initiative," Davis said. "We will continue working with the new Swedish Ambassador and stay in contact with Ambassador Wood as we move forward."

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission praised Green Valley Network for its extensive list of accomplishments.

"Sharing information is a key part to successful economic development," said Maria Haley, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. "The Green Valley Network seamlessly connects people and institutions that move economic development forward. I applaud the leadership of Northwest Arkansas for aggressively taking advantage of this unique opportunity."

About Green Valley
Green Valley, the swath of land between Tulsa and Memphis and Southwest Missouri and the Arkansas Delta, is the center for the sustainability technology revolution. Green Valley is home to the highest concentration of plant scientists in the world, Wal-Mart, the largest funnel for global consumer demand and the largest proponent of sustainability on Earth, the largest pre-existing supplier cluster with 1,300 consumer goods companies, one of America's largest oil and gas energy centers, the world's busiest cargo airport and one of America's largest agri-business centers with biofuel and eco-tourism opportunities.

About Green Valley Network
Green Valley Network is the communication tool for the universities, companies and governmental organizations within Green Valley. The Network fosters the collaboration and commercialization of sustainability technology. The non-profit organization, located in Northwest Arkansas, launched in May 2008 and has consistently doubled its membership each quarter. Many governmental offices, universities and businesses have rallied behind the initiative, including Nabholz Construction, NorthWest Arkansas Community College and Winrock International. Founding directors include Dan Sanker, president and CEO of CaseStack; Steve Rust, executive director of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council and Jon Johnson, executive director of the University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center.

Media Contact:
Liz Boch
Green Valley Network
O: 479.856.6140, ext. 2112
http://www.greenvalleynetwork.org

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