HOUMA, LOUISIANA – Still the only economic development authority in Louisiana to have established an accord with mainland China, the Terrebonne Parish Economic Development Authority (TEDA) will dispatch a professional developer to Weihai City, China, in early July for a three-month networking mission.
Kristen Legendre, Terrebonne-Weihai Director of Business Development, will set up a base of operations in the General Foreign Affairs Office of Weihai City—Terrebonne Parish’s sister city—and establish relationships with business interests in the area.
“Given the geographic and industrial similarities, our sister city provides endless opportunities to launch mutually beneficial economic relationships in order to enhance Terrebonne Parish’s already booming economy,” Legendre said. “TEDA’s main objective is to strengthen economic development in our parish, and this assignment in Weihai is the perfect chance to help achieve our mission as an organization. With a population of almost 1.4 billion, China is Louisiana’s biggest market. Energy, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and so many other leading industries in Louisiana exhibit the enormous potential benefit to foreign direct investment.”
Steve Vassallo, chief executive officer of TEDA, said Legendre’s assignment keeps with TEDA’s mission of being proactive and ever-focused on growth.
“This is an exciting opportunity for both Kristen and Terrebonne Parish,” Vassallo said. “It might be the very first time that a Louisiana citizen has been assigned to the mainland for exclusively economic development purposes. TEDA is a ‘cutting edge organization’ in that we’re not waiting for opportunities to come to us. We’re pursuing realistic opportunities worldwide in an attempt to bring foreign direct investment into the parish. Kristen has a tremendous responsibility, and her education and previous experience internationally make her the ideal candidate for this great assignment.”
A native of Chackbay, La., Legendre earned a Master of Business Administration in 2012 and a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2010, both from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. She also studied in Paris, France, as part of her graduate program.
“These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, not only for me, but for Terrebonne Parish and the state of Louisiana,” Legendre said. “Being a part of something so progressive is extremely rewarding, and I’m honored to be given the opportunity to work and study around the world while making lifelong professional and personal relationships.”
The General Foreign Affairs Office of Weihai City will serve as Legendre’s host, just as Terrebonne Parish served as host for Helen Yu, deputy director of the General Foreign Affairs Office, earlier this year. Yu’s mission was the same as Legendre’s—to seek out mutually beneficial economic development opportunities for Weihai City and Terrebonne Parish.
To learn more about TEDA, go to tpeda.org.