Commerce.gov is getting a facelift soon. See the new design.
Syndicate content

Blog Entries from April 2012

Deputy Secretary Blank Speaks on the Role of Innovation in the U.S. Economy

Deputy Secretary Blank speaks on innovation at National Press Club

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank 

This afternoon, I had the honor of addressing an annual conference on innovation, sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. Today’s event, entitled “Innovation Policy and the Economy,” provided an opportunity to discuss one of the most important contributors to America’s long-term competitiveness: innovation. 

America’s entrepreneurs, businesses, and workers are the primary source of new ideas that drive innovation. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights–the main protections in our intellectual property (IP) system–are critical tools that help commercialize game-changing ideas. By creating a better environment for our private sector to capitalize on those ideas, IP protections help foster the innovation and creativity that lead to a stronger economy and the creation of more, good-paying jobs. 

NOAA Releases New Views of Earth’s Ocean Floor

A view of Delgada Canyon offshore Northern California, as portrayed in NOAA’s new online viewer.

NOAA has made sea floor maps and other data on the world’s coasts, continental shelves and deep ocean available for easy viewing online. Anyone with Internet access can now explore undersea features and obtain detailed depictions of the sea floor and coasts, including deep canyons, ripples, landslides and likely fish habitat.

The new online data viewer compiles sea floor data from the near shore to the deep blue, including the latest high-resolution bathymetric (sea bottom) data collected by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey primarily to support nautical charting.

“NOAA’s ocean bottom data are critical to so many mission requirements, including coastal safety and resiliency, navigation, healthy oceans and more. They are also just plain beautiful,” said Susan McLean, chief of NOAA’s Marine Geology and Geophysics Division in Boulder, Colo.

McLean’s division is part of NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center, responsible for compiling, archiving and distributing Earth system data, including Earth observations from space, marine geology information and international natural hazard data and imagery. NGDC’s sea floor data have long been free and open to the public in original science formatting, but that often required the use of specialized software to convert the data into maps and other products.

Secretary Bryson Congratulates 2010 and 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Recipients

Secretary Bryson applauds the 2010 and 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients

On Sunday, Commerce Secretary John Bryson congratulated the 11 U.S. organizations who were awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for organizational performance excellence and innovation.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Eligibility for the award was expanded in 1998 to include education and health care and in 2007 to include nonprofit organizations. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. Since 1988, 90 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.

2010 Award Recipients

  • MEDRAD (a division of Bayer Healthcare), Warrendale, Pa. (manufacturing)
  • Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., St. Louis, Mo. (manufacturing)
  • Freese and Nichols Inc., Fort Worth, Texas (small business)
  • K&N Management, Austin, Texas (small business)
  • Studer Group, Gulf Breeze, Fla. (small business)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Md. (education)
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Ill. (health care)

2011 Award Recipients

  • Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo. (nonprofit)
  • Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich. (health care)
  • Schneck Medical Center, Seymour, Ind. (health care)
  • Southcentral Foundation, Anchorage, Alaska (health care)

Get additional information on the Baldrige Award, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, and profiles of the 2010 and 2011 Award recipients.

Commerce's EDA Hosts Annual University Center Showcase in Denver

UC coordinator Forlesia Willis with DRO’s UC Showcase review panelists. From the left:  Matthew Godfrey, who just completed three terms as mayor of Ogden, UT; Ms. Willis; Denise Brown, interim executive director of Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority; and Nishith Acharya, director of EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Guest blog post by Nish Acharya, Director of EDA's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Denver Regional office hosted its annual University Centers Showcase conference to spotlight and critique EDA-supported University Center economic development initiatives in the Denver Region.

EDA’s University Center Economic Development Program assists institutions of higher education and consortia of institutions of higher education in establishing and operating University Centers specifically focused on leveraging university assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support high-growth entrepreneurship.

NTIA: Putting the Administration’s Privacy Blueprint into Practice

NTIA logo

Just weeks after the Obama administration released its blueprint to improve consumer privacy and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth, Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is moving forward to put the plan into practice.
 
NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling told an audience at the Hudson Institute yesterday that the administration supports enacting the blueprint’s "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" into law, but can make progress without waiting for Congress to act. He said the agency will promptly begin convening stakeholders to develop enforceable codes of conduct that specify how the broad principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights apply in specific business contexts.

“The multistakeholder approach for privacy is viable without new legislation, and getting it up and running is an important focus for NTIA right now,” Strickling said.

Shortly after release of the administration’s privacy blueprint, NTIA invited public comment on which consumer privacy issue it should designate as the first topic for development of a code of conduct. NTIA also sought comment on the process stakeholders should use in working together to develop codes. The agency is now reviewing input from a wide range of stakeholders.

Secretary Bryson Promotes American Businesses Across the Americas at White House Conference

Earlier today, Secretary Bryson delivered welcoming remarks at the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas.” The all-day conference brings together business and community leaders from across the country with Administration officials working to expand opportunities for American businesses and people throughout the Americas.

The conference also serves as a forum for the Hispanic community, with cultural and economic ties to the rest of the Americas, to further identify ways in which they can partner up with the administration to promote economic growth and prosperity.

Secretary Bryson spoke at the conference about how the U.S. can ensure a strong economic foundation at home, while strengthening its economic ties throughout the Americas. He reinforced that the people and cultures from throughout the Western Hemisphere are all part of the story of America, and together can create a powerful force in the global economy.

The U.S. economy benefits substantially from trade in the Americas. Over 40 percent of U.S. exports go to the Americas, and those exports are growing faster than U.S. trade with the rest of the world.

Almost 84 percent of U.S. trade within the region is covered by Free Trade Agreements. The U.S. has already opened trade with Mexico, Chile, Central America, Dominican Republic, and Peru through FTAs, and continues to work toward implementation with Colombia and Panama.

In his remarks, the Secretary also pointed out how the Department is working hard to connect U.S. companies to trade opportunities throughout the Americas. Earlier this week, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff visited Washington, and Secretary Bryson led a meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. Leaders from both countries discussed how they can build on the U.S.-Brazilian record year of over $100 billion in bilateral trade.

The Department of Commerce is co-sponsoring the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas” with the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Council of the Americas, an international business organization focused on economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere. 

Intellectual Property-Intensive Industries Contribute $5 Trillion, 40 Million Jobs to U.S. Economy

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank

America’s entrepreneurs, businesses, and workers are the primary source of new ideas that drive innovation. Patents, trademarks and copyrights–the main protections in our IP system–are critical tools that help commercialize innovative, game-changing ideas, from advances in healthcare technology to improved consumer products. By creating a better environment for our private sector to capitalize those ideas, IP protections help foster the innovation and creativity that leads to a stronger economy and more jobs.

Today, the U.S. Commerce Department released a comprehensive report showing that intellectual property protections have a direct and significant impact on the U.S. economy. The report, entitled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” finds that IP-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more than $5.06 trillion dollars to, or nearly 34.8 percent of, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

While IP is used in virtually every segment of the U.S. economy, our report identifies the 75 industries that use patent, copyright or trademark protections most extensively. These “IP-intensive” industries support more than a quarter of all jobs in the United States. Twenty-seven million of those are either on payroll or under employment contracts, working directly for the IP-intensive industries, and nearly 13 million more are indirectly supported through the supply chains that service these industries. In other words, every two jobs in IP-intensive industries support an additional job elsewhere in the economy. 

In Time for Home Opener, NOAA’s National Weather Service Declares Coors Field StormReady®

Ominous Clouds Approaching Coors Field (credit: Rich Clarkson and Assoc)

Just in time for their home opener of the 2012 season, fans of Colorado Rockies baseball can feel safer when severe thunderstorms threaten Coors Field now that the park has earned designation as a National Weather Service StormReady® Supporter. Coors Field is the fourth major league baseball park to earn StormReady distinction.

To become StormReady, Rockies officials worked with local emergency management and NOAA’s National Weather Service to adopt a rigorous set of detection and warning criteria to provide protection from severe weather. Warning coordination meteorologist Robert Glancy will present a StormReady plaque and certificates to the Rockies at the April 13 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities and organizations develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides clear-cut advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast offices, state and local emergency managers and individual organizations. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla. area. There are now nearly 1,900 StormReady sites across the country. StormReady baseball fields include the Minnesota Twins' Target Field, the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark, and the St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson Visits Manufacturers in Tennessee

Secretary Bryson cuts ribbon at new Whirlpool manufacturing facility in Cleveland, TN

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson traveled to Cleveland, Tennessee, where he visited the Whirlpool Corporation for a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new, one-million square foot manufacturing facility. The $200 million factory is the largest premium cooking product manufacturing and distribution facility in the world, exemplifying the Secretary’s mission to help U.S. business build it here and sell it everywhere. The opening of the facility marked 100 years of Whirlpool manufacturing Made-in-America products.

While in Tennessee, the Secretary also made a stop in Chattanooga to visit the Volkswagen manufacturing plant, which builds the 2012 Passat. Volkswagen recently announced that they were adding a third shift to the operation at their Chattanooga plant in response to increased consumer demand, which will create over 700 additional jobs. This development is just one more example of the continued resurgence of the American manufacturing industry.

In fact, today, the Economics and Statistics Administration highlighted data showing that automakers are contributing heavily to the success of American manufacturing. The report finds that auto sales are at the highest level since the first quarter of 2008.

Census Director Robert Groves to Leave the Commerce Department This Fall

Secretary Locke, Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Census Director Groves Stand Before the Official Population of the United States (April 1, 2010)

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has been an exceptional and dedicated leader. Over the past several years, Dr. Groves has done outstanding work to transform and modernize the Census Bureau. So our announcement today is bittersweet: Dr. Groves is resigning as Director of the Census Bureau in August to become the provost of Georgetown University. This is a significant and highly deserved honor for him–and a major capstone to his notable academic career. 

Dr. Groves has led the Census Bureau for almost three years. During that time, his remarkable leadership of the 2010 Census resulted in a historic, successful operation that was completed on time and $1.9 billion under budget. Dr. Groves helped shape a strategy for planning a more cost-efficient 2020 Census and launched an employee-led operational efficiency program that saved millions of additional taxpayer dollars. He also led a formal reorganization of the Census Bureau, reestablishing the research directorate to spur technical innovation. With the implementation of a corporate hiring and job rotation program, Dr. Groves has worked to expand the breadth of skills among Census staff to effectively lead the Bureau into the 21st century.