Coming to America: David Camerlengo, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner, USA, Canada and Mexico

David Camerlengo is Queensland’s man in North America and Mexico. He’s based in Houston, Texas — a state with an economy equal to Australia’s. David tells us what kind of Australian companies should get in touch with him and who we should follow on Twitter, stat.

Jim Murphy (Queensland Treasury Corporation), David Camerlengo (Trade and Investment Queensland), Phillip Noble (Queensland Treasury Corporation), Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt, Damien Frawley (Queensland Investment Corporation)

You have a huge remit — North America and Mexico. We saw you were in Toronto for BIO2017, earlier over in San Diego and then in New York City with the Treasurer and you’re based in Houston. What’s your favourite place to do business in your region?

It’s tough to pick a top place to do business in such a huge region of North America. Given Queensland’s economy is so diverse, we find ourselves doing business in many parts of the country for different reasons.

More recently we’ve been working with the state of Nevada given the similarities between the economies and equally importantly the commonalities between the people. Our team spends a lot of time in California given the alignment with the Advance Queensland agenda to support innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation.

Having now lived in Texas for three years, I’m regularly amazed by the scale and diversity of this state, which is equivalent in size to the Australian economy. Texas has more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the US after New York. It’s home to global energy hub Houston, capital markets in Dallas, innovation hub Austin, and is home to the world’s largest medical center, the Texas Medical Center.

I also enjoy any opportunity to travel to Canada and Mexico, where we’ve been welcomed and had the pleasure of working on some very interesting initiatives with inspiring people.

David, where are you from?

I’m from Brisbane, where I lived until after I finished my undergraduate studies in Engineering at QUT.

How did you end up working for Trade and Investment Queensland?

After completing my undergraduate degree at QUT, I worked for Queensland-based, global manufacturer EGR Group. I was offered (and jumped at) the opportunity to transfer to EGR’s subsidiary in southern California to help grow and scale their US operations. I’m proud to say that I played a role in helping EGR become a case-study of a successful Australian company in the USA, growing to employ over 120 employees in California.

Given my commercial experience with EGR spanning 10 years in the USA, it was suggested that I consider a role with TIQ in the USA to help other Queensland companies enter and succeed in North America.

What have you learnt about your home state in your time with Trade and Investment Queensland?

Although I consider myself a proud Queenslander, I never realized the diversity and breadth of capabilities that drive the Queensland economy. I’m constantly surprised by the level of world-class innovation that occurs in Queensland across many sectors including mining, agriculture, energy, water, biotech and digital technologies. Small or large, Queensland companies are competing with any company anywhere in the world.

What would you like to achieve in the North American TIQ office?

My goals are two-fold. My first goal is to create pathways for Queensland exporters across the USA, Canada and Mexico. Rather than trying to help each exporter individually, we aim to create avenues and partnerships in the market to help Queensland companies across key industries succeed in the USA.

Secondly, I aim to raise the awareness of Queensland capabilities and opportunities to domestic organisations across North America so that they consider doing business with or in Queensland.

What sort of Queensland businesses should get in touch with you?

Companies with niche, unique or differentiated value propositions, offerings and technologies across key sectors where Queensland has a strong reputation. These include agriculture, mining, energy and food/beverage but also extend to the numerous early-stage digital technology companies that are thinking global from day one.

What should Queensland businesses do before launching in the States?

The US market is incredibly competitive and saturated so only companies with a clear differentiation strategy can compete with local incumbents. Queensland companies must first understand the competitive landscape in the market, assess the appropriate channel or distribution strategy to go-to-market and plan to fund the approach to create demand in the market, including marketing and sales.

In addition, companies should consider their entry to the US market as a long-term investment, so only companies that are ready and willing to commit appropriate funding and resources should consider this market.

What Queensland businesses are in high demand in the US right now?

Technologies and software solutions that improve productivity across applications in mining, agriculture, energy, oil and gas and healthcare.

You’re on Twitter. Tell us some handles we should follow on Twitter for trade and investment news.

@AustradeUSA, @AmChamAU (American Chamber of Commerce) @Aussieexport (Export Council of Australia) Brookings Institution

Thanks David. Go Longhorns! Go Broncos!

If you’d like to find out more about trade between Queensland and North America — contact the team or follow David on Twitter @dfcamerlengo

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Trade and Investment Queensland is the Queensland government’s global business agency, helping Queensland exporters take their products to world markets, and promoting Queensland as the perfect place for investment.

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