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Ogden brings Taiwan industry to Utah

Published September 11, 2013
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell and his wife Cathrina  on Tuesday. Photo: Marc Sani

OGDEN, UT (BRAIN) — City officials in this old railroad town built on the edge of the Wasatch Mountains have embarked on one of the boldest efforts in the bicycle industry to woo Taiwanese executives in hopes they would open offices in Ogden.

Late Tuesday night 25 Taiwanese arrived by bus in Ogden and were taken to the Tona restaurant, one of the best sushi eateries in the region. It’s an A-List of companies visiting here including SRAM’s general manager, Hank Kao; Velo’s Stella Yu; KMC’s vice president of global sales and marketing, Deborah Wu; Prowheel’s managing director, Stanley Kao; Kind Shock’s Martin Hsu; Topeak’s Louis Chuang; VP Component’s Victor Lin and others.

On Wednesday, most were out playing a round of golf as gray clouds and light sprinkles scudded over the course. And later that day, most planned to ride 28 miles from downtown Ogden to the lodge at Snowbasin Resort, a former Olympic site and one of Utah’s premier ski resorts. All this is a prelude to a five-day bicycle tour through Utah ending next Tuesday at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo.

Leading the tour will be Odgen’s mayor, Mike Caldwell, an avid cyclist and a leading advocate to make Ogden a business center for the sporting goods industry. Caldwell was on hand Tuesday night to host several early arrivals at dinner. Caldwell, who left a City Council meeting to meet his overseas guests, said the council is backing his efforts to introduce the city to the Taiwanese.

Overall, the program will cost about $75,000, said Steve Fishburn, the city’s business development manager. The costs are being shared by the state of Utah, the city of Ogden, and private contributions from a variety of sources, he said.

Fishburn, along with Caldwell and Todd Brightwell, attended the Taipei Cycle Show last March (see an article on that visit from BRAIN's Taipei show newsletter) and visited with a number of Taiwan companies. Helping arrange the visit to Taipei was Kevict Yen; he also is working with the city on the tour to Interbike. 

Ogden, a town of more than 90,000, already boasts a growing list of companies. Enve Composites, a homegrown enterprise, is located here. QBP opened its western regional distribution center here and will provide a van and technical support for the tour. TRP/Tektro’s Lance Larabee moved offices from Mountain View, Calif., here more than a year ago and is helping supply bicycles and other support for the tour. 

Across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn, where the group is staying, is the Salomon Center. Amer Sports, which owns Mavic, Salomon, Atomic, Arc’teryx, Precor, Wilson and Suunto, also has offices here. 

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