Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Invites Brazilians to Visit Illinois, Encourages Business Partnerships During Trade Mission PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:24

State ramps up effort to attract Brazilian visitors as Illinois delegation promotes tourism

São Paulo – September 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn invited Brazilians to Illinois today during his trade mission to Brazil to increase tourism, education and business between the state and the South American country. The Governor is addressing members of the travel industry in São Paulo this afternoon to showcase Illinois and Chicago as a visitor destination. Joining Governor Quinn are a host of Illinois businesses and organizations, including Chicago-based United Airlines, to encourage travel to Illinois. The trip is part of Governor Quinn’s economic development program, which promotes Illinois’ business advantages on a global stage.

“Illinois offers Brazilians an authentic American experience,” said Governor Quinn. “Whether it is the world-class culture and scenic lakefront in Chicago, the history of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, the bluffs along the Mississippi River or the farmlands surrounding the historic Route 66 highway, Brazilian travelers will find plenty to enjoy in Illinois.”

Governor Quinn’s effort to draw more Brazilian visitors to Illinois builds on recent tourism gains. Illinois welcomed 56,000 visitors from Brazil in 2011, making Brazilians the seventh largest group of overseas travelers to Illinois. Inbound travel from Brazil to the U.S. is expected to grow 70 percent between 2011 and 2016.

The Illinois tourism industry generated a record $31.8 billion in 2011, up 8.4 percent from a year ago, fueled by a record increase in leisure travel. The robust results emphasize the critical role tourism plays in fueling Illinois’ economic growth, creating jobs and providing additional revenue to the state.

Governor Quinn’s trade mission to Brazil also coincides with increased efforts by Choose Chicago, the city’s official sales and marketing organization, to attract Brazilian visitors and promote Chicago as a business and leisure travel destination. Choose Chicago recently established a new partnership with São Paulo-based Interamerican Network to support Chicago’s tourism efforts in Brazil. Interamerican will provide support for travel trade sales and relations in this important Latin American market.

“Brazil is among Chicago’s top overseas inbound markets,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, who joined Governor Quinn in Sao Paulo. “With extensive efforts underway to ease the visa process for Brazilian travelers to the United States coupled with daily nonstop service between São Paulo and Chicago, we have a great opportunity to share compelling reasons for Brazilians to travel to Chicago, whether for the first time or as returning visitors.”

United Airlines offers a daily nonstop flight from São Paulo to Chicago. The airline also serves Rio de Janeiro with daily one-stop flights from Chicago.

“More and more Brazilians are choosing Chicago as their destination, whether for business or tourism, and United wants to support and invest in this opportunity,” said Cristiane Franck, country director for Brazil and Argentina at United Airlines. “We recently celebrated 20 years of operations in Brazil and are aligned with the development of the local market.”

More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at

Tourism Facts

·           Illinois is the 8th most visited state by international travelers. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·          Chicago is the 10th most popular destination for international travelers. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Inbound travel from Brazil to the US is expected to grow 70% from 2011 to 2016 (second highest rate of forecasted growth). (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Inbound travel from Brazil to the US grew 26% to 1,508,000 in 2011 from 2010. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Brazil ranks fifth in visitor spending in the U.S., spending a record $8.5 billion in 2011, up 36% from a year earlier. Brazil has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive years. Travel and tourism account for 39% of all U.S. services exports to Brazil. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)


Grassley, Latham Seek Answers to Concerns Over Bank Regulations Leading to Firings PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:59

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa today asked the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for details of the federal regulations that are meant to protect consumers from financial fraud but might be penalizing bank employees for old, minor infractions that are not a threat to current financial customers.


“Indications so far are that the FDIC’s guidance to banks might be problematic,” Grassley said. “We’re asking for the guidance directly to try to determine whether that’s the case.  The rules have to make sense and have their intended effect of protecting the public from bank fraud.  They can’t be so rigid that they result in the firing of workers for petty crimes that are decades-old and have nothing to do with financial fraud.  And they can’t be applied unfairly so they result in a double standard for executives and rank-and-file workers.”


“Good citizens are more than willing to follow the rules.  But in typical Washington fashion, the FDIC isn’t sharing what those rules are,” Latham said.  “This creates uncertainty, frustration, and costs everyone involved time and resources.  America’s citizens and businesses deserve better than that from Washington.”


In addition to seeking the regulatory guidance the FDIC has given to banks, Grassley and Latham also are seeking the details of the process by which individuals seek waivers from the criminal background regulations.  Grassley and Latham asked for information including the guidance given to FDIC employees on processing waivers; the number of waivers sought, granted and denied; the number of FDIC employees assigned to process waivers; and a list of the documents prospective applicants are asked to provide.


Grassley and Latham began reviewing the effects of the banking regulations meant to weed out employees with criminal histories presenting risk of financial fraud after the Des Moines Register reported that Wells Fargo has fired workers including a 68-year-old customer service representative in Des Moines for putting a cardboard dime in a washing machine 49 years ago.  Other constituents have written with similar stories.


The text of the Grassley-Latham letter is available here.



Lt. Gov. Reynolds to advance Iowa’s economic opportunity in Germany PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:56

(DES  MOINES) – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will promote economic opportunities in Germany during a mission beginning September 23, 2012.  She will meet with the German Vice Chancellor and other economic affairs leaders to discuss trade, transportation, energy, health care and education.


“Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the world’s fifth largest national economy,” said Reynolds.  “With a population of 82-million, many consider Germany the largest and most important market in Europe.  This mission will result in valuable contacts and visibility across Germany for the state and its business opportunities.”  Time magazine writes Germany has forged the most competitive industrial sector of any advanced economy.  And, the New York Times writes, "The German economy has been one of the wonders of the world over the last couple of years."


Reynolds will meet with German Vice Chancellor Dr. Philipp Rosler, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy, a federal minister to the Chancellor, a leader of the Saxon state legislature, the Saxon Minister of Economic Affairs and Transportation, and with energy researchers, university and high school teachers and administrators, business owners, and a hospital medical director.  Meetings take place in Dresden, Lommatzsch, Leipzig, and Berlin.


“We will have several discussions with business owners regarding business conditions and the German apprenticeship program,” said Reynolds.  “At one of Germany’s largest universities, we will be briefed on renewable energy projects and hear about how German universities and elected officials are working to address education funding gaps.”


Reynolds will tour the largest hospital in Dresden and have opportunities to discuss comparative health care and financing with the medical chair of that hospital and with the German Deputy Minister for Health.  She will be introduced to German approaches to immigration and other urban affairs and then visit a village of 5,000 people to hear about rural challenges and opportunities.


“I will get an underground tour of the “Big Dig” rail tunnel project in Leipzig, currently one of Europe’s largest transportation infrastructure projects,” said Reynolds. The project is considered one of the most challenging geotechnical construction projects of its time and, when complete in 2013, will create a long awaited connection to Europe’s largest rail terminal (Leipzig) resulting in greatly enhanced transportation and rail efficiency across that region of Europe.


“Lieutenant governors will also be featured at a public forum discussing the U.S. Presidential elections,” said National Lieutenant Governors Association Director Julia Hurst.  “The electoral event will be moderated by an editor of Germany’s largest business daily newspaper.”


Organized by the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA), the 7-day mission includes five U.S. lieutenant governors and is hosted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.


# # #

GOP Led 112th Congress: In Like a Lion, Out Like A Lamb PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:46

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the Republican led Congress closed up shop until November to go home and campaign. From August 3rd through November 13th, the House leadership only scheduled a total of eight days of voting, while a mountain of critical work was left on the table.  Among the issues that have not been dealt with include:

  • Farm bill,
  • Middle class tax cuts,
  • Wind energy production credit,
  • Sequestration,
  • Comprehensive jobs package,
  • Research and development credit,
  • Violence Against Women Act,
  • Postal reform,
  • Sustainable growth rate,
  • Biodiesel credit,
  • Unemployment insurance,
  • National Defense Authorization Act, and
  • Expiration of Midwestern Area Disaster Bonds, to name a few.


“When the Republicans came into Congress two years ago they made a lot of promises, but in the end, all the American people got was a lot of hot air.

“Iowa farmers are suffering from the worst drought in decades and what has the Republican Congress done? Nothing.  Middle class families are facing a tax increase and what has the Republican Congress done? Nothing.  Iowa’s wind energy economy is facing uncertainty and instability and what has the Republican Congress done? Nothing. Folks are still in need of finding work and what has the Republican Congress done? Nothing.  The list of inaction really does go on and on and on.

“The fact that Republican Leaders in Congress are putting the ‘closed’ sign on the door of the Capitol is just another one of the games they have continued to play, but frankly, it is just irresponsible.  There is too much critical work to get done before closing down.  I have been calling on Congress to remain in session since early this summer and I remain committed to getting done the work that Iowans are demanding.”


What Businesses Can Learn from the Rebranding of Batman PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:45
Exec Producer Shares How His Vision Helped
the Dark Knight Take Wing

It’s been more than two decades since Batman was resurrected – rebranded – to the mainstream world, and it’s largely due to a boy and his dream.

“I wasn’t just rejected from every studio in Hollywood; I was emphatically rejected because Batman was known only as a punch line to a joke,” says Michael Uslan, who became one of the highest-grossing movie executive producers of all time with the Batman film franchise. He writes about his personal journey in rebranding his hero to the world in his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman (

“When I watched the sitcom in 1966, I was both thrilled and horrified – the former because my idol was on TV with a cool car, and the latter because people were laughing at Batman and that just killed me. I knew then that my purpose in life was to show everyone who the Dark Knight really was.”

Uslan reviews some of the reasons the Batman franchise became one of the most successful in film history:

• A talented team: Thanks to genius filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton, super producers, daring execs, amazing casts, and incredible crews, the rebranding of the character became so strong that the word “Batman” wasn’t even included in the titles of the last two films, “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

• Branding – a built-in narrative: A cool symbol, check; tall, dark and handsome, check; a relatable origin story (no superpowers) check; great technology for the character to use against villains, check … You know a brand has hit the mark when a logo conveys all of the key points. But rebranding can be tricky. Uslan knew about the innate potential, but Hollywood couldn’t see Batman as the Dark Knight after the 1960s sitcom, which is why it took a decade after acquiring the rights to Batman to actually start production. Rebranding is often the art of uncovering a product’s past, he says.

• Branding – a safer investment: Other successful movies this year -- Marvel’s “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Hunger Games” – all carry strong brands. Most successful products, in and out of Hollywood, have successful brands behind them, Uslan notes. When a brand has been established, it becomes a safer risk for investors and opens multiple revenue streams across many platforms.

• Unwavering conviction: How does a middle-class kid in his 20s, the son of a stonemason and a bookkeeper, buy the film rights to Batman? How does that same guy create the comic-to-film craze that society has witnessed in the past two decades when no one believed in his vision? Every time his resolve was questioned, it came down to the same answer, “I had 100 percent confidence it would work,” Uslan says.

“Branding is absolutely the most important aspect to marketing any product these days,” Uslan says. “We succeeded. I believed 100 percent in a vision that involved my favorite super-hero of all time, a character the world recognized and responded to across borders and even cultures. Batman needed to be presented in a way he’d only been seen in the comic books – as the Dark Knight.”

About Michael Uslan

Michael Uslan, (, is the Originator and Executive Producer, along with his partner Benjamin Melniker, of the Batman franchise of motion pictures. In his 36 years in the film and television industry, he has been involved with such projects as “National Treasure,” “Constantine,” and countless animated projects. His projects have won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. He is the author of “The Boy Who Loved Batman,” his autobiography, now in bookstores and at

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