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Morton continues striving for globalization

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The Village of Morton isn't content to rest on its laurels. It wants to keep growing and becoming a global village, so to speak.

That's why Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger will be joining Gov. Pat Quinn on a trade mission to China in September, a trip the village hopes will enable it to capitalize on business it already has landed from the Asian giant.

You may recall that the Morton Economic Development Council announced earlier this year that Yinlun Machinery Co., which it said is China's leading manufacturer of heart exchanger products, will establish its U.S. operations in Morton. Yinlun, which counts Caterpillar Inc. among its customers in the United States, is expected to create about 100 jobs when it opens a plant later this year on Commerce Drive.

Durflinger will spend some time during the trade mission in Tiantai, where Yinlun Machinery is based, and will meet with other companies there to tell them of Morton and gauge their interest in the village just east of Peoria. While there he also will participate in a Sister City celebration that will solidify the relationship between Morton and Tiantai. Morton Village trustees had earlier sign a proclamation establishing the Sister City relationship.

The trade mission leaves for Tiantai on Sept. 16 and returns Sept. 24. No village funds will be used to pay Durflinger's way on the trip; rather he will pay for some of it himself and the Morton EDC the rest.

"I am honored to have been invited by Gov. Quinn on this important trade mission," Durflinger said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a state delegation led by the governor. I'm very proud to represent Morton."

Jennifer Daly, CEO of the Morton Economic Development Council, said the announcement by Yinlun back in February set off plans to recruit more companies from China to Morton. This trip will work well with those plans, she added.

"When the governor invited Mayor Durflinger to join him for this trade mission, it worked out well for our plans," she said. It will, she added, help pave the way for a business recruitment trip the EDC is planning for April.

"Our goal for that trip is to meet with companies that are interested in establishing some operations here. Unfortunately we still have much to do to prepare for that trip so we would not have been ready for the September trade mission to do it then," Daly said.

The governor's mission was not on the village's radar until it was contacted by the governor's office recently, Daly said. "The governor's office approached us. Ever since we announced Yinlun we have been talking with people who work closely with companies in China and through that process we seemed to get on the governor's radar screen," she said.

The itinerary of the governor's trade mission includes stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, the governor's office said earlier this summer. Quinn said the trade mission is intended to help a broad spectrum of Illinois businesses.

The only other elected official who will be on the trip is Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.

Quinn is not the first Illinois governor to travel to Asia on trade missions. Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar both took such trips when they were in office.


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).