Paper Trail: A look at who is joining Maryland’s trade mission to Asia

This week, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley embarks on what is easily the largest economic development trip of his administration, taking along 68 business leaders, educators and elected officials on a 10-day swing through China, South Korea and Vietnam.

The delegation is a diverse one: Members include executives from companies making high-tech roller coasters, pet probiotics, and islands capable of cleaning polluted waters, among others.

The team is scheduled to leave Tuesday, May 31, and return June 11.

The governor is slated to give two keynote addresses, both aimed at life sciences. One will be at the 13th Shanghai BioForum; it’s expected to draw more than 500 people. The other speech will be to the Global Bio & Medical Forum, South Korea’s largest annual biopharmaceutical conference.

The administration said members of the mission are paying their own way, except those employed by the state. There was no estimate of the cost; a spokeswoman would only say the price tag is likely to be “well north” of the $80,000 the state spent to send O’Malley and others on a mission to Israel.

Here’s a look at some who are going:

David Barbe. The director of the Mtech, the University of Maryland’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, says he plans to sign up two new Chinese companies for a College Park incubator aimed at foreign firms looking to establish a presence in the United States. One is Dalian Sunscape Bio-Tech Co., which makes feed additives, animal vaccines and other biotech products. The other is CellPath Therapeutics. The company is developing a way to help oncologists target chemotherapy at tumor cells and wants to partner with Johns Hopkins and other cancer centers.

Jim Seay. The president of Premier Rides, a privately held Baltimore company that is the nation’s largest designer and manufacturer of roller coasters and high-tech amusement rides. The 25-person company sees big expansion possibilities overseas, as emerging economies take off and the demand for amusement parks grows. “A government mission like this can be a real game-changer” in opening doors to new business opportunities, Seay said.

J.J. Lin. The chief executive of Frederick-based Imagilin is hoping to further shore up relationships with partners in China and crack open markets elsewhere. The start-up makes probiotics for pets and their human caretakers, manufacturing the supplements here and selling them through distributors in China and elsewhere.

Ted Gattino. The managing partner of BlueWing Environmental, based in Ellicott City, plans to sign a trade agreement with officials in Vietnam in hopes of partnering with companies there to address water pollution issues. BlueWing makes floating islands of wetlands designed to attract beneficial microbes that can clean the water. The company is currently seeking permits to create 18 acres of such islands in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Terry Lin. The chief executive of Planned Systems International is looking for Asian partners to sell its health care information technology services. The Columbia-based company hopes to grow quickly as the United States and other governments push for electronic health records.

Robert Struble. The president and chief executive of iBiquity Digital, which licenses HD radio technology, is planning to meet with the Columbia-based company’s radio manufacturing partners in China and automakers in South Korea as it works to make HD radio ubiquitous. Struble also hopes to find broadcasting partners overseas willing to adopt the technology, but first he needs to persuade regulators to embrace the standard. More than 50 radio stations in the Washington-Baltimore area now broadcast in HD.

Paper Trail is an occasional feature highlighting documents of interest to the local business community.

Dan Beyers is the founding editor of Capital Business, The Washington Post’s go-to source for news about the region’s business community.

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