Media Contact
November 16, 2011

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Governor Deval Patrick today announced that Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey would join him as a part of a select coalition of leaders from business, academia and government for the Massachusetts-Brazil Innovation Economy Mission 2011.

The goal of the mission is to expand export markets and investment for Massachusetts' innovation industries, focusing on key areas of information technology, clean energy, life sciences and education. The mission will also solidify an already strong Massachusetts-Brazil connection through exploring economic development partnerships and job growth. The trip will take place from December 4-9, and the contingency will make stops in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, visiting Brazilian companies, universities and government leaders.

"It is an honor and a privilege to have been invited by Governor Patrick to join such a distinguished group for this important mission," said Berkey. "Brazil is a nation on the rise, and it carries tremendous strength in technology. As president of one of the oldest and most innovative technological universities in the United States, I am eager to forge relationships with some of Brazil's excellent universities and businesses."

Brazil is currently the seventh largest economy in the world, and is expected to rise to fifth in the near future. Like Massachusetts, Brazil's focus on innovation is driving job growth and catalyzing international investment. As an emerging global player and economic powerhouse, Brazil could quickly become one of the most important international economic partners for Massachusetts. In 2010, bilateral trade between Massachusetts and Brazil topped $475 million – representing more than $396 million in exports to Brazil and more than $80 million in imports to Massachusetts. In 2011, the Bay State’s exports to Brazil are already up 31 percent. As the Brazilian economy continues to grow, governors and senior officials from more than 15 states have visited the country over the past three years, establishing new economic partnerships and ties.

"We are committed to competing for every job in every corner of the Commonwealth and the world," said Governor Patrick. "To continue our recovery, we need to position Massachusetts for success in growing markets like Brazil, to drive job growth and catalyze international investment."

This is the second time in two years that President Berkey has been tapped by Governor Patrick; in 2010, Berkey was appointed to the Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council. That council is comprised Massachusetts' public and private sector stakeholders involved with STEM career and education planning and programming, and their goal to boost student interest in and preparation for employment in the STEM fields.