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Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit to Boulder, Colorado

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Andrea Chavez, Director of Manufacturing, Ball Aerospace; Rob Strain, President, Ball Aerospace; Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce visit during a tour of Ball’s Boulder manufacturing facility on Thursday.

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Boulder, Colorado, to kick off her nationwide listening tour. Upon her swearing in, Secretary Pritzker announced that she would travel the country to meet with, and hear from, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and Commerce Department employees to discuss how public-private partnerships can strengthen the economy and create jobs.

Secretary Pritzker met with Boulder Mayor Matthew Appelbaum to thank him and the city council for their long-standing support of Commerce’s three Boulder laboratories, which are run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The two talked about CO-LABS (Colorado Leveraging Assets for Better Science), a consortium of the 24 labs, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders organized to establish Colorado as a global leader in research, technology, and their commercialization, as well as other initiatives to fuel economic growth in the region through increased promotion and investment in innovation.

Next, Secretary Pritzer toured Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., a company that produces spacecraft instruments and sensors, radio frequency and microwave technologies, and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products. In addition to Mayor Appelbaum, she was joined by several Ball Aerospace executives, including president Rob Strain, North America metal packaging president Mike Hranicka, and chief financial officer Scott Morrison.  

During the tour, Secretary Pritzker had the opportunity to thank Ball Aerospace for their strategic partnership in the development of NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), the next generation of NOAA’s polar-orbiting environmental satellites. JPSS will ensure continuity of vital climate and weather data records. Ball is also an active member of the Enviro Satellite Industry Group, an advocacy group that brings together members of the aerospace community in support of NOAA’s satellite programs.

After the tour, Secretary Pritzker held a roundtable discussion with Ball Aerospace executives and other local business leaders to hear about the opportunities they are seeing for growth and the challenges they are encountering in markets here and around the world. She also received input from participants on issues affecting their companies and discussed ways the Commerce Department can collaborate with the private sector to help stimulate economic growth and job creation.

As part of those efforts, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the department has been helping businesses increase exports, which currently support nearly 10 million American jobs and contributed a record $2.2 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2012. The Commerce Department helps businesses expand overseas in a number of ways, including by providing market research on a product’s potential in a given market, taking U.S. company representatives on trade missions to connect them with potential partners, and leveling the playing field for American companies competing for business abroad, including through negotiating free trade agreements and advocating on businesses’ behalf to help them secure foreign contracts.

Secretary Pritzker was excited to hear firsthand about the region’s forward-leaning approach to economic growth and stability, and looks forward to future collaboration that will support businesses and increase innovation in Boulder.

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