Friday, October 7, 2022

Minnesota Expo 2027 organizers make their case

Interviews by Jim Ogul

Minnesota USA Expo is a non-profit entity dedicated to securing a Specialized Expo in the summer of 2027. The organization represents the official bid of the United States government to host a Specialized world’s fair per the regulations of the The Bureau International des Exhibitions (BIE). The Minnesota group, which officially announced its bid in June 2021, claims strong bipartisan support at national, state, and local levels and to have sufficient financial and local support to assure the successful development of the exposition.

If successful, Minnesota 2027 would be the first world’s fair hosted on North American soil in several decades. The US is one of five countries competing to host in 2027-28; the others are Thailand (in Phuket), Serbia (in Belgrade), Spain (in Malaga), and Argentina (in San Carlos de Bariloche).

According to the BIE, the project examination phase for Specialized Expo 2027/28 is currently underway, with each candidate having submitted a detailed candidature dossier to the BIE. The BIE will organize Enquiry Missions to all candidate countries between July and October 2022 to assess feasibility and viability. The host country of Specialized Expo 2027/28 will then be elected by BIE Member States, gathered in a General Assembly set to take place in June 2023, on the principle of one country, one vote.

The time has come for the return of a World Exposition to the United States.

John Stanoch, President, Minnesota Expo 2027

InPark’s world’s fair specialist Jim Ogul spent the chief of his career with the US State Department overseeing US participation in world expos, and now consults in the field and writes extensively on the topic. He interviewed several members of the Minnesota 2027 team: President and CEO John M. Stanoch, and Board Co-chairs Bob Clark and Marc Lore. Stanoch is a retired Hennepin County District Court Judge; Lore is a limited partner of the Minnesota Timberwolves; Bob Clark recently served as Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

RELATED: Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota, has been a key driving force behind this expo bid from the start; see our most recent interview with him.

What motivated you to get involved in the Minnesota USA Expo 2027 effort? Tell us about your role and responsibilities?

Bob Clark: While serving as Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, I was more proud and grateful to be an American than ever before. I had never been to a World’s Fair before Dubai, but growing up in St. Louis and living in Chicago the last 15 years, I certainly understood the historical significance and lasting impact on American society. The tremendous opportunities for public diplomacy, business engagement, and political discourse that an Expo provides are unparalleled. 

I will forever be an advocate for the United States’ participation in World Expos. However, I believe that we not only need to participate, but we need to be a leader in the Expo community. I am excited to serve as Co-Chair for Minnesota’s bid to host the 2027 Specialized Expo. As a businessman, I look forward to educating my colleagues about the immense opportunities for American and global commerce that exist at Expos, and how we will only further benefit as the host country. As former Commissioner General, I am eager to expound upon the relationships I built in Dubai and highlight Minnesota’s unique position to serve as a gathering place to establish the partnerships we all need to achieve the world’s ambitious health, wellness, and sustainability goals. The road to a healthy people and a healthy planet will be found at Specialized Expo 2027 Minnesota. 

Robert Clark, commissioner general of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Bob Clark

Marc Lore: After meeting Bob and spending time with him at the USA Pavilion at the Dubai Expo, I was interested in working together to bring the next Expo back to the United States — especially given the Minnesota connection. As my relationship with Minnesota continues to deepen, so does my desire to support this great state any way I can. 

I look forward to working closely with Bob and the Expo community as the Co-Chair for Minnesota’s bid to host the 2027 Specialized Expo. As a serial entrepreneur and moonshot seeker, I am fueled by taking big ideas from conception to end-result. This is no different. 

Marc Lore
Q&A WITH JOHN STANOCH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MINNESOTA 2027

I’m a lifelong resident of Minnesota and have been active in the community during my careers in public service as a District Court Judge and Minnesota’s Chief Deputy Attorney General and as CEO of business and civic organizations.  I’m proud of my State and community and when the board of Minnesota USA Expo asked me to take on this role, I embraced the opportunity to work with a talented group of board members and local community and national leaders to support the Expo 2027 effort.

I work with our Board leadership and Board members to advance our bid to host the 2027 Specialized Expo and direct the day-to-day activities of the rest of our management team. I also serve as a liaison with our partners, including the US Department of State and US Commerce Department, local, state, and federal elected officials, and supporters in the business and civic communities.

With BIE Secretary Dimitri Kerkentzes (third from left) at BIE headquarters in Paris are Jim Core with the U.S. Department of State and Expo 2027 President John Stanoch and Senior Advisor Ted Johnson.
What organizational structure are you assembling to take on the development and operation of a World’s Fair?

Our Minnesota USA Expo committee is comprised of a diverse group of local and national leaders to support our bid efforts. We have prepared a model for a future Organizing Committee that will operate Expo 2027. We are ready to make the immediate pivot to that new, robust host organization following the BIE vote in June of 2023.


What kinds of opportunities are there for individuals and contractors in connection with Minnesota USA Expo 2027?

We anticipate a wide range of opportunities for individuals and contractors, including site preparation and construction, build out of areas for participating nations, visitors and vendors, involvement as attendees or presenters in connection with  robust programming related to the theme “Healthy People, Healthy Planet-Wellness and Well-Being for All,” providing a diverse range of entertainment at Expo 2027  and we also anticipate strong participation as event volunteers from Minnesotans who look forward to providing a warm welcome and a great experience for our visitors from across the globe.

We anticipate a wide range of opportunities for individuals and contractors, including site preparation and construction, build out of areas for participating nations, visitors and vendors, involvement as attendees or presenters in connection with  robust programming related to the theme “Healthy People, Healthy Planet-Wellness and Well-Being for All.”

John Stanoch, President, Minnesota Expo 2027
How will Minnesota USA Expo 2027 be funded?

Expo 2027 will be funded through a variety of revenue sources, including ticket    sales, sponsorships, licensing, and digital and streaming services.

What are your attendance goals and what are the demographics that will achieve that?

A study commissioned by Minnesota USA Expo projects 14.3 million attendees at Expo 2027 with 7.6 million unique visitors. About half of the projected visitors will come from the local and regional markets, followed by US attendees and international visitors. We project international visitors will spend more days visiting Expo 2027 than other types of Expo visitors.

As a serial entrepreneur and moonshot seeker, I am fueled by taking big ideas from conception to end-result.

Marc Lore, Expo 2027 Board Co-chair
The 170 BIE member counties will vote in June 2023 to pick a winner. How will you campaign to win that vote?

We look forward to presenting details of our dossier to the BIE General Assembly in June 2023, building on our previous presentation to the General Assembly in December of 2021. We will also host a BIE delegation reception in Paris prior to the presentation. Both events will give us an opportunity to advance our bid and answer questions from BIE delegates and member nations.

We also present to the November meeting of the General Assembly and all future BIE meetings.

We will also work with the US Department of State and US Commerce Department to advance our candidature in discussions with BIE member nations through the June 2023 BIE vote.

What sets the US. bid apart from others?

There are four main reasons to support the US candidature to host the 2027 Specialized Exposition:

  1. The United States is Expo ready. We have a compact, sustainable, modern site with existing transportation and other infrastructure that is built to handle guests from around the world.The United States has a relevant theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet – Wellness and Well-Being for All.”
  2. Our theme is even more compelling in the aftermath of the COVID global pandemic.The US Expo 2027 event will provide a Gateway to the United States.
  3. Though a cooperative effort from US local, state, and federal governments working with participating nations, we will open the doors for commerce to the United States and America’s heartland.
  4. The US has a strong public-private model. We have a long history of successful ventures that rely more heavily on the private sector.

I will forever be an advocate for the United States’ participation in World Expos. However, I believe that we not only need to participate, but we need to be a leader in the Expo community.

Bob Clark, Expo 2027 Board Co-chair and past Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Why is NOW the right time for a world expo to be hosted in the US?

The time has come for the return of a World Exposition to the United States. It has been 38 years since an Expo has been held in the US. The United States has hosted more Expositions than any country other than France since 1851 and thanks to the determined effort of a committed group of local Minnesota and national leaders, and the support of the three most recent US Presidents, we are ready to welcome the world to the United States for Expo 2027.

Jim Ogul
Jim Ogulhttps://www.inparkmagazine.com/talesfromtheexpo/
Since retiring from the US State Department in 2011 after a 30+ year career in world expos, James Ogul ([email protected]) has remained on the scene in an advisory and consulting role. He writes regularly for InPark Magazine about world’s fairs. See his free online book, Tales From the Expo.

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