Swindon is looking into developing economic links with the US city of Mentor following a visit here by a civic delegation.
The dignitaries from the Ohio city came to Swindon on the back of the £1.2bn acquisition of Windmill Hill-based international medical sterilisation group Synergy Health by Steris, one of Mentor’s largest healthcare employers.
Once the takeover is completed Steris, which provides infection prevention to clients in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and research industries, will relocate its legal headquarters to the UK – potentially opening up economic ties between Mentor and Swindon.
Mentor was represented on the visit by city manager Kenneth J. Filipiak, its international economic development officer Kim Holizna and president of Mentor City Council Ray Kirchner.
They met representatives of Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Mentor’s population of just over 47,000 makes it less than a quarter the size of Swindon but the city, on the southern shore of Lake Erie close to Cleveland, has diversified its economy to become home to a range of businesses in the healthcare, plastics and light engineering sectors – a parallel with Swindon that has not gone unnoticed by the both sides on the visit.
LEP director Isobel Brown said: “It was wonderful to meet the delegation from Mentor and introduce them to some of the exciting developments taking place in the economy of Swindon and Wiltshire.
“But we also learned a lot from our visitors – Mentor has established a robust infrastructure that has attracted diverse industries in what was once a rural farming community. Today the city is home to a number of hi-tech firms specialising in everything from aerospace to medical device design and manufacturing.”
Swindon has developed business links with its official twin towns of Saltzgitter in Germany and Ocotal in Nicaragua. It is also looking to build economic ties with the Polish city of Torun, through a recent friendship and co-operation agreement.