Jun 09, 2022

Brazos Valley Representatives Help Welcome Princess Astrid, Belgian Companies for U.S. Mission

Steve Fullhart

Representatives from the Brazos Valley traveled to Atlanta, Georgia at the invitation of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium as a business delegation from that nation returned to the United States.

Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation President/CEO Matt Prochaska, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Executive Director for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Saurabh Biswas, Dickinson Wright Patent Attorney Stephen Mason, and Advent GX President Jose Quintana and Managing Partner Joan Quintana spent June 5-7 at events with representatives of nearly 300 Belgian companies, universities and other entities.

The invitation to join this delegation on the east coast stems from a long relationship between the Brazos Valley and Belgium. Since 2009, the Walloon Export & Investment Agency has brought Belgian technology company representatives to our community to explore entry into the U.S. marketplace from here. More than 300 companies have taken part in that span. The latest technology mission was earlier this year.

"The relationship between the Brazos Valley and the Kingdom of Belgium continues to grow and produce beneficial results for all of our many stakeholders," Prochaska said. "It is an honor to support the companies and representatives from the various regions of Belgium seeking to enhance foreign direct investment opportunities and economic development in the Brazos Valley and Texas as a whole."

Princess Astrid, the sister of Belgium's King Phillippe and the second child of King Albert II and Queen Paola, regularly leads international business missions. In 2016, she and Belgian business officials traveled to Texas for eight days, including a stop in the Brazos Valley to meet with Texas A&M University System and community leaders (pictured; photo by Texas A&M Marketing & Communications).

For 2022, Georgia was the first leg of a three-stop U.S. mission which continued on to New York City and Boston. It is the first princess-led mission outside Belgium since the start of the pandemic. Belgian officials generally seek to visit different regions each year, and near the end of the Atlanta stop, Princess Astrid credited Brazos Valley and Texas officials with suggesting a future delegation should visit Georgia.