Glenn Williamson, the founder/CEO of Canada Arizona Business Council --- a private sector group sanctioned by the Canadian Government and Arizona to increase bilateral trade and foreign direct investment efforts between Canada and Arizona --- was a recent keynote speaker at a luncheon meeting hosted by the Rotary Club of Scottsdale.
Mr. Williamson, a venture capitalist and private equity investor, has been named Honorary Counsel of Canada in Arizona and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, according to a press release, describing how he specializes in accessing the Canadian capital markets for global investments.
Mr. Williamson has more than 30-years of executive experience as a entrepreneur in finance and operations of "high-level" companies; and has strengths extending to advanced capital formation, marketing, turnarounds, and company positioning, the release detailed.
Currently CEO of Nest Ventures L.L.C., with offices in Montreal and Phoenix, he is chairman of EPCOR Water USA, which is noted as the largest private water utility in Arizona , and subsidiary of EPCOR Utilities, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, with operations in Canada and the U.S.
According to Mr. Williamson, “Canada’s roots are starting to take hold and run deep here in Arizona.”
There are more than 450 Canadian-owned businesses operating out of Arizona with nearly 160,000 Arizona jobs dependent on trade and investment with Canada, noted the release.
Also, about 150 Arizona-based companies have expanded its international operations in Canada as about 1 million Canadian tourists visit Arizona annually with a significant number as “snowbirds.”
Business between Arizona and Canada comes in at around $4.4 billion in bilateral trade, said Mr. Williamson, adding that he wants that number to increase to $8 billion within the next three years, with a focus on opportunities in the services and aerospace sectors.
Regarding discussions surrounding international business with North American neighbors, “most of the news is geared toward Mexico, especially with the wait-and-see scenario with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - a very important piece of legislation to update the NAFTA,” Mr. Williamson stated.
Other topics discussed by Mr. Williamson included: pending Snowbird Visa Act to allow Canadians an extra two months beyond the current allowable 182 maximum days; 210 non-stop flights a week are flown between Arizona and Canada (WestJet is running at 80% load factor and Air Canada flights between Phoenix and Toronto carry on average 400 passengers a day); EPCOR’s five year water management plan and new technologies; trade between other states and Canada; and more.
Preceding Mr. Williamson’s talk, Club President Don Loose welcomed new members Thomas Mayer Jr (sponsored by Rotarians Joe Cusack and Craig Miller) and Mike Wolff (sponsored by Rotarian Jay Franz) to Rotary International.
Rotarian Cary Silverstein provided details and cost of the Club’s annual spring baseball training game (Arizona Diamondbacks vs San Francisco Giants) and luncheon scheduled for March 2 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
In other club news, the upcoming community service project will support Arizona Helping Hands foster care program. The club will donate $3,000 to provide, assemble on Feb. 22 and present gift bags as birthday gifts to 40 children in the state’s foster care system.
Also, several members are planning a Top Golf fundraiser to be held April 13.
See: scottsdalerotary.org or call 480-945-6158 for more information.