Mesa economic development officials hope to establish a bridge to Ireland through an international exchange that will bring an Irish trade and investment group to the East Valley this month.
Brian Garvan, executive director of Atlantic Corridor Ireland, will visit Mesa today to meet with the city's economic development staff and tour Falcon Field Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and the surrounding Gateway area.
Atlantic Corridor chief executive Jackie Gorman will follow with a visit on June 21 to meet with Mayor Scott Smith.
The partnership is expected to spark new international investment opportunities for Mesa, and both Garvan and Gorman will bring clients who may be interested in doing business in Mesa, said city officials.
Atlantic Corridor is an economic development organization founded in 1999 to attract investment to central Ireland and stimulate two-way business and educational cooperation.
In the past 20 years Ireland has benefited from a boom that has turned its once-sluggish economy into one of the most dynamic in Europe.
The Mesa partnership is the first in the western United States for Atlantic Corridor, city officials said. In the U.S., the organization has been interested in education, health care, pharmaceuticals, financial services, software and tourism links.
The Irish group already has established a relationship between Mesa Community College and Athlone Institute of Technology in the Irish midlands for student and faculty exchanges, said Bill Jabjiniak, Mesa's economic development director.
"This partnership should continue to develop a number of valuable opportunities for both Atlantic Corridor and the city of Mesa," he said. "The vitality of our airports in particular has put Mesa on the map internationally."