Atlanta Business Execs ‘Rescued’ in Search for New Companies
by Hana Levi Julian
A group of Atlanta business executives was “rescued’ from a high-rise building on Sunday as part of their week-long itinerary of meetings with counterparts in the fields of energy, biotechnology, water technology and communications to discuss joint economic development opportunities — despite the recent fiscal downturn.
Tom Glaser, president of the Atlanta-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region (AICC) said in a statement to the media that his group also planned to focus on picking up ties with new Israeli start-ups.”Israeli companies have a strong record of success in Georgia,” he said. The delegation is holding seminars and meetings in Raanana – Atlanta’s official Sister City, and in Yokneam, Atlanta’s Jewish Partnership community, as well as in Herzliya.
The group is checking out business opportunities with Shai Agassi’s “Project Better Place”, among others. They are also meeting with telemedicine companies throughout the country, including at the Galil Center for Telemedicine at the Technion, in order to promote the US-Israel TeleHealth Business Exchange that will be held in Atlanta in February.
Preparing for the Next 9/11
One particular focus of interest by the group has been a Ramat Gan-based company that specializes in getting people out of high buildings in as little time as possible. The “Escape Rescue System” carried out a simulation on Sunday that “stranded” the delegation on the 14th floor of a high-rise building. Within eight minutes, emergency rescue personnel had safely evacuated the entire group. According to company CEO Yoni Shimshoni, the multi-tiered, external evacuation platform system has been designated by the United States Department of Homeland Security as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology. It provides unprecedented fight and flight capabilities in the event of an emergency in a high-rise building and in a full, 5-cabin configuration, the system can deliver up to 25 SWAT personnel and rescue 150 people every 8 minutes.Shimshoni said Atlanta officials have been interested in his system for some time. “We are pleased to have had this opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system to the Georgia delegation,” he said.
“The tragic events in Mumbai and the changed skyline of New York are reminders of the pride we have in our cities and of the necessity to prepare for another 9/11, a fire or a terrorist hostage-taking situation,” said John Oxendine, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner of Georgia, who was present for the simulation. “With more than 200 tall buildings in Atlanta, we need to consider revolutionary rescue and evacuation solutions,” he said.
Home to more than 50 Israeli companies, the state of Georgia is a leading center in the US for Israeli company activity. It has become a popular strategic business destination due primarily to its strong business environment, logistics, human capital and low cost of doing business. The delegation’s visit to Israel, facilitated by the AICC, is part of the state’s effort to entice Israeli businesses to open their U.S. offices in Atlanta and elsewhere throughout the state.