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UT Dallas President, Alumna Join European DFW Trade Delegation

DFW Delegates

UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson (back row, second from the left) and Mitzi Chollampel MBA’04 (middle row, seconnd from the right) visited London during a June trade mission featuring political and business representatives from the DFW region.

The University of Texas at Dallas was well represented on a recent trip to Europe by Dallas-Fort Worth business leaders and politicians. University President Richard C. Benson joined Mitzi Chollampel MBA’04, the trip’s organizer, and more than 40 representatives from the DFW region in an effort to strengthen economic ties between Europe and North Texas.

Led by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, the delegation visited London, Paris and Brussels from June 17-22. Delegates held over 50 meetings with European government officials and business executives, as well as representatives of NATO, to promote the benefits of partnership with DFW institutions and explore new avenues of promoting tourism.

“Innovation is in our DNA at UT Dallas,” Benson said. “This trip offered a unique opportunity to forge new connections with potential University partners, to visit with entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of their fields and to share the resources that UT Dallas can bring to bear in making their ventures in our region successful.”

More than 200 British-owned companies and over 120 French companies operate in North Texas, which has become a destination in recent years for corporations looking to establish operations in the United States. Since the beginning of 2017, 10 European companies have established new facilities in DFW.

One of the driving factors in this development is the presence of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. As a major hub of connection for both commerce and tourism, DFW Airport has taken a leading role in establishing trade missions to partner cities abroad.

Richard Benson and Mitzi

President Benson and Mitzi Chollampel show their Comet pride with a mini Whoosh at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

Chollampel, an alumna of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, is the senior manager of international marketing and public relations for DFW Airport. She oversees all airport promotions abroad, works to bring new airlines and destinations to the DFW area, and heads up regional efforts such as the DFW-Europe delegation.

“A few years ago my responsibilities expanded to include leading the planning and execution of two international trade missions,” Chollampel said. “We have partnered with the City of Fort Worth, City of Dallas, Dallas Regional Chamber, Fort Worth Chamber, Visit Fort Worth, Visit Dallas and other relevant businesses to help tell our regional story on an international scale.”

One of the highlights for the Comets abroad was a visit to Station F in Paris, the world’s largest innovation incubator. Boasting 34,000 square meters of space, Station F is home to 26 international startup programs which are designed to help startups expand internationally.

“I enjoyed touring Station F with Dr. Benson and learning how the facility supports entrepreneurs,” Chollampel said. “It was a pleasure to discuss how UT Dallas could participate with this institution and learn from its concept, generating ideas that could benefit both regions.”

Beyond the synergy between UT Dallas and such creative institutions like Station F, Chollampel spoke about the importance of including a higher education institution like UT Dallas in such trade missions.

“Having UT Dallas as a regional representative really strengthened this delegation as we come together across different industries and types of organizations to exchange ideas,” she said. “The contributions of educational institutions only ensure success through an educated workforce which can solve problems and better prepare for the future.”

Chollampel also credits her time at UT Dallas with empowering her vision for the development of the DFW Airport and North Texas region.

“My education in UTD’s MBA program gave me the skills to think strategically about how to balance the goals and needs of these various organizations and appeal to our audience,” she said. “Working in groups on a business case, we are constantly juggling obstacles both big and small. Some members are in different places in their careers and lives, which leads to a lot of give-and-take for a successful end.”

— Daniel Steele

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