Ethanol Europe’s Grand Opening In Hungary

  • 31 May 2012 9:00 AM
Ethanol Europe’s Grand Opening In Hungary
Remarks by Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis at the opening ceremony in Dunaföldvár on May 25, 2012

Good morning! It is a pleasure to be here on this very special occasion. It was less than two years ago, in August 2010 that I participated in the groundbreaking event for this very impressive facility, and it is great to be back in Dunafoldvar to celebrate its opening.

Just shortly after I arrived in Budapest two and a half years ago, I had the chance to meet Mark Turley, the visionary entrepreneur behind this project, in my office. I remember Mark’s enthusiasm, and I remember how enthusiastic my Commercial Counselor, Rob Peaslee, was when he brought Mark in for the visit. Rob clearly saw the potential of this project for enhancing US exports and for the Hungarian economy as well.

Of course, even then we saw the challenges ahead. How would this project get financed in the tough economic climate of early 2010? But we remained optimistic that with support in the form of loan guarantees from the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and from the Export Import Bank of the United States (Eximbank), that Mark’s vision would be realized.

Financing a project of this size is just one element of course. Mark set the project up for success by partnering with the premier and most experienced fabricator of ethanol plants in the United States, Fagen Inc, and hired top experts in finance, operations and marketing.

Mark, however, still needed something more than the best partners, finance, technical know-how and entrepreneurial drive. He needed a supportive local community. A community that welcomed the investment, jobs, and stimulation to the local economy. And he found that support from the Mayor of Dunafoldvar, and the citizens of this wonderful town.

I would also like to acknowledge Gene Megyesey, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Orban, who has joined us today. Thank you for your support as well Gene.

What has been accomplished at this site in twenty months is truly remarkable, and this project establishes Hungary as a major producer of ethanol in Europe. Many of you know that ground was broken on a sister site to this one two days ago in Mohacs, and we look forward to supporting that project as well over the months to come.

I sincerely believe that you all will look back on this day with pride in knowing that you have done a great thing for your families and community by welcoming and supporting this investment.

I congratulate Mark, Ron, Diane, and the entire Ethanol Europe and Pannonia Ethanol teams on this outstanding accomplishment, and I look forward to touring the facility after this ceremony.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this celebration!

U.S. Embassy Budapest
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