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Blog Entries from 2010

Secretary Locke Hosts First Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Secretary Locke Seated at Table Addressing Members of CouncilSecretary Gary Locke today hosted the first meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Commerce Department. The Council advises Locke and the administration on key innovation and entrepreneurship issues and supports President Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identify new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and job creation.

Council members include successful entrepreneurs, investors, and university and non-profit leaders. Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution and co-founder of AOL; Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan; and Desh Deshpande, chairman of Sparta Group, A123 Systems and Sycamore Networks, among others, serve as the advisory council’s co-chairs. To see the full agenda from today's meeting, please click on the following link. Agenda (PDF)

To share ideas on how to spark innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and hear from Steve Case, co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, on the topic and the council’s first meeting, click here.

Secretary Locke Announces Opening of Permanent CommerceConnect Office in Michigan

Secretary Locke Speaks

Secretary Gary Locke today announced the opening of a permanent CommerceConnect office in Pontiac, Mich., during his visit to ALTe, a southeastern Michigan technology company that offers electric and hybrid propulsion system alternatives for the vehicle transportation industry and is experiencing substantial growth through innovation in the alternative energy industry. Locke spoke with local businesses about the new office and the Commerce Department’s collaboration with state and local partners to continue the one-stop initiative he first unveiled in June 2009 that brings department and other federal, state and local programs under one roof in an effort to help businesses at every point of their life cycle. U.S. Rep. Gary Peters joined Locke for the announcement.

Locke also announced an official partnership between the department and Michigan-based non-profit The MORE Program, bringing state and local government, business organizations, educational institutions and private foundations together to connect innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses with the resources needed to grow and flourish.

“When we launched the pilot phase of CommerceConnect last year, we had one goal in mind: to streamline government bureaucracy and bring services and solutions directly to the businesses and entrepreneurs who are creating and sustaining jobs,” Locke said. “With today’s announcement, we are giving CommerceConnect a permanent home in the Detroit area because we know that Main Street business owners should be spending their time working to grow their businesses, meet payroll, and keep their customers happy, not trying to navigate federal bureaucracies.”

Locke opened the CommerceConnect pilot office in Plymouth last October. Since opening its doors, the pilot has served over 90 companies, providing 199 referrals to 10 different Commerce bureaus and an additional 111 referrals to 13 other Federal, state, local and non-profit partners throughout the region.

Following his visit to ALTe, Locke and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow met with Michigan businesses at Automation Alley, the state’s largest technology business association that has helped Michigan dramatically increase its exports. Release  |  Remarks  | CommerceConnect

Secretary Locke Discusses Export Control Reform at 23rd Annual Bureau of Industry and Security Update Conference

Locke on podiumSecretary Gary Locke addressed the annual conference to discuss reforms to the U.S. export control system that will strengthen national security and improve the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors. In addition, President Barack Obama delivered a recorded statement about the administration’s efforts to reform the export control system.  Remarks  |  BIS 2010 Update website

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry Representatives in Nashville to Discuss Piracy and Global Intellectual Property Protection

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry

Locke emphasizes protection of creativity and innovation as vital to jobs and the economy

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with artists and representatives from the music industry today to discuss the administration’s commitment to global enforcement of laws against intellectual property piracy. Locke was joined by Congressman Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for a tour of “Music Row.” After the tour, Governor Phil Bredesen joined the group for a discussion with musicians, including Big Kenny from Big & Rich, songwriters, students and other industry representatives at Belmont University.

“This administration is committed to tackling the challenges facing the music industry, because it is a fundamental issue of economic security and jobs,” Locke said. “We are continually looking for new ways to protect the creativity that is the lifeblood of Nashville and America’s economy.”

As “America’s Music City,” Nashville is an important hub in the U.S. music industry and has been impacted by the recent rise in online intellectual property piracy. With the advent of the Internet and file-sharing technologies, consumers are spending less on recorded music in all formats, and total revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $7.7 billion in 2008. This has affected the local economy, which supports thousands of jobs and a $4 billion industry annually.  |  More  |  Remarks  |  More photos 

Secretary Locke Addresses Exports, Economic Growth and Job Creation with Minority Businesses

Secretary Locke talks at MED Week

On the final day of the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference hosted by the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives and officially opened a Business-to-Business Expo Hall.

Locke discussed President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how minority businesses can become more competitive and increase job creation and economic growth by participating in the global marketplace. Minority businesses already export twice as much as the average business, as they often have existing cultural, family or business ties to foreign countries. The NEI seeks to build on that, with a goal of increasing the number of small-, medium- and minority-owned businesses exporting to more than one market by 50 percent over the next five years.

Following his remarks, Locke officially opened and toured the Business-to-Business Expo Hall, which includes exhibit booths and one-on-one matching services with more than $20 billion in opportunities for minority businesses. The expo also offers 20-minute power-learning sessions conducted by public- and private-sector partners.

The MED Week Conference wraps up Friday night with the Awards Gala. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower will highlight the impact of minority-owned firms on the global economy and thank the MED Week award winners for their hard work.   Remarks

Minority Business Development Agency Kicks Off National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference

Conference to help expand global reach for minority-owned firms

Alternate TextToday Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) kicked off the 28th annual National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, D.C.  The week-long conference focuses on “Strategies for Growth and Competitiveness in the Global Economy.”

The MED Week conference helps minority-owned firms grow domestically and globally through a series of educational, training and business-to-business networking events. Throughout MED Week, nearly 1,500 minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives will hear about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and develop the skills to become export-ready. They will also have the chance to participate in sessions on opportunities for minority-owned firms in federal contracting and Haiti reconstruction, among others. The week will wrap up with an awards gala to honor excellence in minority-owned firms.

MBDA and National Director David Hinson will welcome several speakers to this week’s conference, including: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Karen G. Mills, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez.

MBDA is focused on helping minority-owned firms grow their businesses domestically and globally to foster job creation and economic growth. For more information about the conference and a video of National Director Hinson at MED Week, visit http://www.medweek.gov.  |  Conference details and more  | USPTO Kappos's remarks

Scientists Release the First Rescued, Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Back into the Gulf

Photo of Kemp’s ridley sea turtleCommerce's NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Adm. Thad Allen joined state, federal, and partner biologists today as they released 23 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles back into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Fla., after the turtles were successfully rescued and rehabilitated from the effects of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

“I'm pleased that Admiral Allen and I were able to assist with the release of these turtles. And we thank all of our partners in this rescue and rehabilitation effort,” said Dr. Lubchenco. “This is a wonderful day for all involved--but especially for the turtles.”

“This area near Cedar Key provides excellent habitat for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and has long been known as an important habitat area for this species,” said Barbara Schroeder, NOAA’s national sea turtle coordinator. “Thanks to the efforts of our rescue teams and rehabilitation facility partners all of the turtles we released today have an excellent chance of surviving in the wild and contributing to the recovery of this species.”  Read full NOAA release

Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke and Senior Administration Officials Announce $1.8 Billion in Recovery Act Broadband Projects

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today joined Reps. Jay Inslee and Brian Baird at the Seattle Central Library in announcing a $54.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare in difficult terrain both east and west of the Cascade mountain range in Washington state.

“This critical investment will lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth by connecting difficult terrain both east and west of the Cascades that have been without the full economic, educational and social benefits of high-speed Internet,” Locke said.

Following the announcement in Seattle, Secretary Locke joined Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa in a news conference call to announce six grants totalling more $200 million to expand high-speed Internet access and adoption in California. In addition, U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Wade joined U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, and U.S. Reps. Mike Ross and Vic Snyder in Little Rock in announcing a $102 million Recovery Act investment that will help improve economic opportunity and support job creation in Arkansas.

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden announced approximately $1.8 billion in new projects that will create jobs and expand economic opportunities within 37 states across America.  Remarks  |  Read more  |  White House release

NIST to Frame 1297 Magna Carta

Image of historic Magna Carta, courtesy David M. Rubenstein and NARAFabrication specialists at Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are joining forces with conservators at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to protect and display a document that influenced our nation’s foundation, the 1297 Magna Carta. Only four originals of the 1297 Magna Carta survive, and the one at the Archives is the only original on display in the United States.

The famous charter is on exhibit in the West Rotunda Gallery in the National Archives Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

The Magna Carta harkens back to 1215 when King John of England was forced by an assembly of barons to write down the traditional rights of the country’s free persons. By so doing, he bound himself and his heirs to grant “to all freemen of our kingdom” the rights and liberties described in the great charter, or Magna Carta. Each subsequent ruler did the same. The 1297 Magna Carta represents the transition from a brokered agreement to the foundation of English law, upon which U.S. law is based.  Read more  |  NARA release

Space Coast Task Force Delivers Economic Strategies Report to President Barack Obama

Secretary Locke and NASA Administrator Bolden provide blueprint for job creation and innovation to propel regional economy

Obama at NASA giving remarks; NASA photoThe President's Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, co-chaired by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., today released its report to the president with recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast. The Task Force was charged with developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region as the Space Shuttle program winds down.

Locke, Bolden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and several other senior administration officials have visited the region multiple times since the creation of the Task Force to meet with area workers and experts.

“Over the past few months, we have worked diligently with local government officials, economic development agencies, and affected corporations and employees to develop a comprehensive plan that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs and a strong economic base in the Space Coast,” Locke said. “Space is a key driver of the 21st century American economy and that’s why the president believes so strongly in empowering NASA to pursue new avenues of discovery.”  Release  |  Report  |  NASA Space Coast Task Force