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Blog Category: Infrastructure

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Discusses "Open for Business Agenda" at Lake Shore Cryotronics in Ohio

Pritzker touring plant with Lakeshore Cryotronics officials

Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Westerville, Ohio yesterday to deliver a speech highlighting the Obama Administration’s economic growth agenda and the Department of Commerce’s priorities. Secretary Pritzker announced a new strategic vision for the Department, the “Open for Business Agenda,” November 14.  In Ohio, Secretary Pritzker toured and delivered remarks at Lake Shore Cryotronics, an international leader in the development of cryogenic temperature sensors and instrumentation.

Promoting trade and investment is a major part of Secretary Pritzker’s “Open for Business Agenda.” Nationwide, America’s businesses are exporting: the United States hit a record $2.2 trillion dollars in exports last year, up $600 billion dollars from 2009 when President Obama launched his National Export Initiative. Lake Shore Cryotronics, for example, generates 60 percent of sales from exports. Nearly 10 million U.S. jobs are now supported by exports, up 1.3 million since 2009. But the United States still under-exports, which is why the Secretary is gearing up to launch NEI 2.0, which will aim to help more U.S. companies sell their goods and services to more markets around the world.

In order to achieve greater economic growth and create more good jobs, Secretary Pritzker talked about the need to attract more foreign investment to the United States. According to Columbus 2020, an economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, about 39,000 people in Central Ohio are employed by foreign-owned companies. But as of 2011, 5.6 million jobs nationwide million jobs are supported by foreign direct investment, supporting $437.8 billion in wages to U.S. employees. Global businesses want to be here in the United States because of our stable rule of law, intellectual property protections, solid financial markets, world-class universities, strong consumer base, and our low-cost and abundant energy. That is why President Obama launched SelectUSA at the Commerce Department in 2011. SelectUSA has been working with foreign CEOs and economic development groups across the country to put even more deals in the pipeline.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Returns to Chicago for First Official Visit

Secretary Penny Pritzker Returns to Chicago for First Official Visit

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker returned to Chicago yesterday, making her first visit to her hometown in her official capacity as head of the Department.
 
Speaking at an event hosted by Google and World Business Chicago, a public-private partnership that seeks to foster private sector growth and jobs through the advancement of a business-friendly environment, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks and participated in a “fireside chat” with Chicago Tribune reporter Melissa Harris.

She focused on the Obama administration’s efforts to grow the economy and create jobs, as well as some of her top priorities going forward: the need to invest in infrastructure, help workers develop skills for 21st century jobs, reform the immigration system and support R&D and innovation.
 
As Secretary Pritzker noted, infrastructure is critical to the economy. Unfortunately, the United States has deferred trillions of dollars in infrastructure investment over the years. Under President Obama’s leadership, however, the United States has improved 350,000 miles of roads, 6,000 miles of rail, and 20,000 bridges. The Commerce Department has deployed more than 100,000 miles of broadband since 2009.

How EDA is Supporting Critical Infrastructure in a Missouri City

Perryville Industrial Park sign

One of the ways to ensure that America creates an economy that supports good middle-class jobs is by building critical infrastructure that businesses need to thrive and grow. Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been at the forefront of such efforts, most recently in Perryville, Missouri, where it is joining with the state of Missouri and local authorities to help pay for improved road access to the Perryville Industrial Park.

Industrial parks are the economic lifeblood of many communities, particularly smaller ones. The Perryville Industrial Park is an excellent example of this, being home to an impressive roster of companies that provide good jobs for residents of Perryville and its surrounding Perry County. These include TG Missouri, a manufacturer of automotive components and a supplier to such companies as Toyota, and Robinson Construction, a specialized builder of industrial and manufacturing facilities.

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.

Creating High-Quality Jobs in Growing Industries through Public-Private Partnerships

Sandia Science and Technology Park

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Matt Erskine

There are dynamic collaborations and initiatives supporting regional growth strategies across the country. Today, I addressed a group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and technology commercialization leaders brought together by Technology Ventures Corporation during their Deal Stream Summit. This premier conference seeks to facilitate investment partnerships between federal labs, start-ups, innovators, and the venture community to bolster commercialization of technology and increase competitiveness. I discussed the Obama administration’s commitment to advancing innovation and accelerating the commercialization of new technologies to the marketplace.

Earlier in the day, I visited the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With their focus on advanced technologies, technology parks such as this are vital to America’s economic future. These public-private ventures bring together innovators with entrepreneurs and transform theoretical ideas for the marketplace. It’s quite a dynamic environment for the businesses located there, such as ATA Aerospace, Emcore Photovoltaics, and Nanogenesis. And the end results? They include the development of new and unique products, the creation of high-quality jobs, the growth of vibrant communities, and an improvement in the quality of life—both in the immediate region and well beyond.

USTDA Awards Two Clean Energy Grants During India Trade Mission

Henry Steingass (far right), USTDA Regional Director, and Mark Dunn (far left), USTDA Regional Manager, pose for a photo with Commerce Secretary John Bryson during a luncheon in Mumbai Mar. 26, 2012

Guest blog post by U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

To support India’s plans to improve energy efficiency throughout the country while opening India’s market for increased U.S. exports of clean energy technologies, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) concluded two grant agreements during Secretary Bryson’s five-day infrastructure trade mission to India. The delegation included 16 U.S. companies and three U.S. agencies, including USTDA.

"India has ambitious energy infrastructure development goals," stated USTDA Regional Director Henry Steingass. "We are pleased to join this trade mission to support those goals, and to help open the market for U.S. clean energy technologies, which are among the best in the world."

India's growing population and rapid economic expansion are placing a strain on the country’s energy infrastructure. Approximately 400 million people do not have grid connectivity, while many households in electrified villages do not have access to grid supply. Growing demand is increasing the frequency of power outages in urban areas as well. In response to these challenges, Indian utility companies are making heavy investments in clean energy infrastructure, and these grants will support those investments while opening the market up for the cutting edge technologies of U.S. clean energy businesses.

The first grant will support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer that will assess the development of a rural micro-grid solar power project.  Azure aims to set up over 100 micro-grid solar systems, with each system covering an average of 2-3 acres of rural land with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids.  The second grant will support a feasibility study for CESC Limited for the implementation of smart grid technologies across their electricity distribution networks in Kolkata, India.  The study will develop a smart grid pilot project as well as the requirements for broad implementation.

These projects respond to the joint commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in late 2009 to greatly expand energy efficiency and clean energy cooperation and to form a Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). In addition to substantial improvements to India’s clean energy infrastructure, successful implementation of these two projects could generate more than $250 million of exports for U.S. companies.

India Trade Mission: Day 2 - Promoting U.S.-India Business Partnerships

Secretary Bryson rides New Delhi's new Metro Airport Express line

Secretary John Bryson promoted partnerships between U.S. and Indian businesses as he discussed the U.S.-India trade relationship during meetings with several Indian government officials in New Delhi today, the second day of his five-day trade mission to India.

“It’s clear that if American and Indian businesses work together, we can build India’s infrastructure in a way that brings inclusive growth, greater prosperity, and job creation in both countries,” Bryson said. “U.S. companies stand ready to help meet India’s infrastructure development objectives, provided our firms have market access for both goods and services.”

In the morning, Secretary Bryson gave remarks at a breakfast sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-India Business Council. Bryson reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to working with the Indian government to level the playing field for U.S. firms, thereby helping to pave the way for more commercial collaborations.

Bryson and the delegation participated in a GEMS/infrastructure-focused GEMS hosted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. The discussion focused on infrastructure procurement and investment opportunities in states and GEMS cities involved in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. He said one of his most important goals this week is to gain a better understanding of the full commercial potential of India’s many regions. Bryson traveled to the airport on the new Metro Airport Express Line (photo)–an example of New Delhi's growing infrastructure sector–to fly to Jaipur, where he will see DMIC projects first hand.  Full release

Commerce’s EDA Investing to Strengthen Tennessee Businesses and Grow Nashville’s Hospitality Industry

Workers prepare to reconstruct flooded road (File photo: National Park Service)

Guest blog post by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez

Between March and May of 2010, severe storms and floods devastated many parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska and Rhode Island. While Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is not a first responder to such disasters, the agency quickly got to work assessing the damage and connecting with local leaders regarding their needs as they began to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Recognizing the critical role that EDA can play for these communities, Congress provided $49 million in supplemental funding for EDA to award to these states to help them in their recovery efforts.

Last week, businesses in Tennessee got some good holiday news, when EDA announced its investment of $5.8 million to help build critical infrastructure to support Tennessee businesses and jobs and to develop a strategic marketing strategy to grow the Nashville hospitality sector following the floods of 2010.

These grants will assist in Tennessee’s recovery and redevelopment efforts by funding the necessary improvements that will ensure the resilience of physical and economic infrastructure and include:

  • $2 million to the Jackson Energy Authority to build core sewer infrastructure to protect major regional employers, including the Jackson-Madison Hospital and numerous industrial and manufacturing businesses, from flooding. The project is expected to result in the retention of 9,690 jobs, according to grantee estimates;
  • $1.49 million to the city of Dyersburg to help build an elevated water storage tank that will improve water capacity for manufacturing and industrial businesses and will serve new tracts of land being developed outside of the flood plain to accommodate business needs. The project is expected to save 433 jobs, create 200 jobs and generate $4 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates;
  • $1.3 million to Conexion Americas of Nashville to help build the Casa Azafran Community Center, which will provide expanded business startup or expansion assistance to Latino small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs;
  • $1 million to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to implement a regional marketing strategy that will support the city’s economic recovery by promoting the hospitality industry, which lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the wake of the flooding that impacted the city in 2010.

In announcing the grant, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson said “The Obama administration is committed to helping communities impacted by natural disasters rebuild stronger and smarter to protect businesses and jobs. These critical EDA investments will provide the infrastructure needed to help keep businesses running and workers productive in the event of future floods, expand vital business assistance to Nashville’s Latino community and help Nashville revitalize its critical hospitality sector to create new jobs.”

In May 2010, President Obama signed the Tennessee Disaster Declaration and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes beginning on April 30, 2010, and continuing. The president's action made Federal funding available to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Make It and Move It

steel girder rails

Cross-posted on the NIST MEP blog

Without manufacturing, transportation would mean walking barefoot. Without transportation (and manufacturing), there would be no global economy. Fortunately for us, there are trains, trucks, planes, bikes and cars (and shoes!), all of which need to be made. So do bridges, roads, terminals, safety signs and tracks. All these seemingly disparate things work in concert to create the economic systems that keep America buying and selling and building and moving.

And, fortunately for our country, most, if not all, of the transportation infrastructure and supporting transportation equipment can and perhaps should be manufactured here. Transportation is not an end in itself. It’s a means to achieving American manufacturing and economic prosperity — a very big and very important means.

I know that American manufacturers can make anything and everything. The problem is matching manufacturing capability with long-term, predictable business opportunities that make sense.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) teamed up to address some of the issues that have hampered the matching of opportunity with ability. The partnership was set up to find domestic manufacturing capacity for steel girder rails. Yes, steel girder rails. There are 60 cities in the United States that are planning, designing or constructing systems for street cars.  Yes, street cars. (If your mind just wandered off to the scene in Meet Me in St. Louis when Judy Garland sang, “the Trolley Song,” you’ve got the picture.)