By Kevin Madigan | firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are the recipients of the 2015 Eagle Star Community Partner Award, which recognizes their work with Israel through knowledge exchange, missions to Israel and the inclusion of Israeli technology within city works.
The announcement came from Conexx, the Atlanta-based agency that facilitates trade between the Southeastern United States and Israel and bestows the annual honor.
Conexx indicated that the two organizations serve as exemplary strategic partners and have demonstrated strong leadership to further the cause of U.S.-Israel business.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has explored Israeli advances in water technology, cybersecurity and alternative energy, and the mayor, senior staff and Atlanta business leaders undertook the Georgia Cyber Security Mission to Israel in March.
“This mission provided our 33-person delegation with an incredible opportunity to learn about Israel’s cybersecurity environment, which has clearly become a hotbed for cutting-edge innovation in the global market,” said Claire Angelle, the international affairs director for the city of Atlanta.
The goal for the leaders of local companies was to promote Atlanta to attract Israeli investment. Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola and NCR were among the companies that participated.
“It also enabled us to establish Atlanta as a top destination for Israel-based companies that are innovating in the technology industry,” Angelle said. “In this regard, Atlanta is hosting on Aug. 20-21, 2015, a return cybersecurity conference at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with the law firm of Baker Donelson.”
Angelle said that Israeli cybersecurity companies will be selected for the forum and will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to local investors. The Baker Donelson Innovation Incubator will help launch selected Israeli companies to enter the U.S. market through Atlanta.
Angelle cited another example of Atlanta’s connection with Israel: Atlanta’s sister city relationship with Ra’anana, dating to 2000.
Reed met with his Ra’anana counterpart, Mayor Ze’ev Bielski, during the cybersecurity mission in March.
“Cities are increasingly important as economic, cultural and technological global hubs of activity,” Reed said. “As such, I have made global engagement and intercultural exchanges a focus of my second term as mayor of Atlanta. As part of our sister cities partnership with Ra’anana, I would like to see our trade, academic and cultural links continue to prosper and grow.”
For their part, the leaders of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport visited Israel for the Airports Council International — North America Mission to Israel and Homeland Security Conference, at which Hartsfield-Jackson’s former deputy general manager, Balram Bheodari, spoke as a distinguished panelist in 2014.
Aviation General Manager Miguel Southwell, former Aviation General Manager Louis Miller and Bheodari have all engaged in discussions with Israelis about physical security, advanced runway sensing, logistics, solar energy and, of course, cybersecurity.
The airport has hosted the Israeli logistics delegation to Georgia, organized by the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, the Israel Economic Mission to the South and Conexx.
Reese McCranie, the airport’s director of policy and communications, said the airport also renders more basic assistance. “To facilitate the speedy arrival and departure of Israeli ministers and Israel’s ambassador to the United States on many occasions, our team provides continued service to the Consulate of Israel to the United States,” she said. “For many years, we have enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial relationship, and we believe this will continue well into the future.”