A group of Korean visitors on Tuesday got a sweet taste of Ashland.

Participants in the Rotary Group Study Exchange, the five visitors from Gwangju, South Korea, began their day Tuesday with a tour of the Lance bakery. They learned of the company's process for mixing, baking, sorting and packaging cookies -- and were able to taste a few in the process.



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Lance safety manager Bob Remington, left, and plant manager Jeremy Bowen, right, explain the packaging process as the cookies come off the line to Korean Rotary members Dong-phil Yang, Jae-yoon Shim, Ju-hyun Bae, and Han-jin im. Photo by Tom E. Puskar
Rotary Club president Madeline Finnerty introduces the Rotary Group Study Exchange Team from Rotary District 3710 South Korea. From left are: Juhyun Bae, Jongmi Kim, Jaeyoon Shim, Dongphil Yang and Hanjin Im. They were announced during the United Way's annual Ring in Spring at the Ashland County Fairgrounds Saturday, May 7, 2011. Photo by Liz A. Hosfeld

"Excellent," said Jae-yoon Shim after trying a cookie from the company's Stella Doro line.

The group has been touring Ohio since April 16, starting in Maumee and Toledo, then to Swanson, Findlay and Lorain. The Rotarians arrived in Ashland on Saturday and Tuesday afternoon traveled to Sandusky. They'll begin their return trip to South Korea on May 14.

The purpose of the exchange is to provide cultural and vocational experiences for the business people and professionals. Participants spend close to a month visiting various businesses and events and live with local families during their stay.

Since arriving in Ashland, the group from South Korea has, among other things, visited United Way's Ring in Spring, toured farms, looked in on Ashland High School's spring art show and met with various local leaders to learn about Ashland business and culture. On Tuesday, they presented some information about their own culture at Ashland's Rotary meeting.

Ashland Rotary president Madeline Finnerty said the exchange program is a great opportunity for young professionals and business leaders to learn from other cultures.

"It's really a great program. They learn about our culture and we learn about theirs as well," Finnerty said.

Shim, team leader and from a logistics and real estate business in Gwangju, said he has enjoyed Ashland's food, its rural landscape and, most of all, its people.

"These are great people," he said.

Members of the group come from various backgrounds. Dong-phil Yang is a public servant, Jong-mi Kim is a freelance English teacher and coordinator for arts and culture projects, Han-jin Im works for an agriculture cooperative and Ju-hyun Bae is a physical trainer at a community center.

Yang said he thinks the group's experience -- in Ashland and throughout Ohio -- has given them a new perspective on their own careers.


This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 11, 2011 edition of the Ashland Times Gazette