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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Secretary Bryson Travels to Pittsburgh to Tour Energy Company and Meet with Business Leaders

Secretary Bryson Travels to Pittsburgh to Tour Energy Company and Meet with Business Leaders

Secretary Bryson is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today, where he has a busy day. He started his day meeting the Western Pennsylvania District Export Council (DEC) over breakfast. He shared the President’s outline for ensuring more items are made in America. The President has proposed an end to tax breaks for businesses that outsource, additional tax relief for those that bring jobs back, and lowering the tax rates for manufacturers, especially high-tech manufacturers. DEC members shared with him what they are hearing from their fellow business leaders about the challenges and successes of exporting into new and expanding markets.

After thanking DEC members for their hard work, Bryson toured Aquion Energy, a Carnegie Mellon University spin off and battery technology company. Bryson was joined by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Aquion CEO Scott Pearson. They toured the development lab, the manufacturing floor, and battery assembly room. Aquion Energy is working on bringing new battery technology to market. This technology is a sodium-ion battery optimized for stationary storage applications with a targeted commercial release of 2012 in applications such as micro-grid support, off-grid generator optimization, and grid-level energy services.

Bryson and Mayor Ravenstahl then headed over to Carnegie Mellon University to participate in a discussion with business leaders and Carnegie Mellon Vice President of Research Rick McCullough. Bryson highlighted the President’s call for new energy economy and the Department of Commerce’s support for manufacturers. To compete in a global economy, U.S. businesses need to build it here and sell it everywhere, which is why Secretary Bryson has agreed to co-chair the national office for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. He is also relentlessly advocating for increasing America’s exports and investment in America’s companies, workers and ideas.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson Visits Manufacturing Facility in Columbus, Ohio

Secretary Bryson learning about the newest line of Entrotech lacrosse handles

Today, three days after attending the president’s State of the Union address, Commerce Secretary and former CEO John Bryson traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where he toured Entrotech, a manufacturing facility, and met with local business leaders. The Secretary also toured EWI before giving brief remarks about the Department of Commerce’s focus on supporting American manufacturers so they are able to build their products in America and sell them everywhere around the globe.

Following his remarks, the Secretary participated in a White House Business Council Roundtable discussion with business leaders. The final stop was at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, directly adjacent to Ohio States campus, where the Secretary saw old innovations, such as one of the first Xerox copiers, to the latest technologies in development.

The Commerce Department’s SelectUSA program is helping ensure that more domestic and foreign firms are investing here in the U.S. We want to build on the momentum that we see in bringing jobs back. That’s exactly what companies like Entrotech are poised to do. They are generating innovative ideas on product design and development that can change entire industries, making them more globally competitive.

Secretary Bryson Meets with Business Leaders in Virginia, Highlighting Manufacturing Priorities

Secretary Bryson tours Paramount Sleep in Norfolk, VA with Richard Diamonstein, President of their Commercial Division

Today, a day after attending the president’s State of the Union address, Secretary Bryson had the opportunity to tour Paramount Sleep, a family-owned mattress factory, and meet with local business leaders in Norfolk, Virginia to talk about manufacturing and how the Commerce Department can help businesses build products here and sell them everywhere.

Like many other businesses across the country, Paramount Sleep was hit by the recent recession–but they pressed on. Today, they manufacture high-end products using about 90% U.S. content. They have been an anchor in the community for three generations.

Many of the businesses in Norfolk have followed a similar path, and people throughout America have created companies like this that are “built to last.” As the president said last night, it’s now time for us to ensure that the American economy as a whole is also “built to last.”

The question now is: How do we keep moving forward to build an economy that creates jobs and supports a strong middle class–both in the short and long term? As the president said last night, “our blueprint begins with American manufacturing.” Today, over 11 million Americans have manufacturing jobs. Over the last two years, manufacturing has added more than 330,000 jobs, the strongest jump since the 1990s.

Commerce is building on that momentum by focusing its efforts specifically on advanced manufacturing, recently creating a national office to coordinate government-wide efforts with private sector and university partners. And companies like Paramount are poised to become powerhouses of American manufacturing. Paramount mattresses are Made in America, using domestic suppliers almost exclusively. Recently, they have been working with our Commercial Service officers to sell their products in China.

Secretary Bryson meets with India’s Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao

Secretary Bryson meets with India’s Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson met with India’s Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao to discuss U.S.-India relations and Secretary Bryson’s upcoming trade mission to India in March.    

This was the first meeting between Secretary Bryson and Ambassador Rao, who assumed her current responsibilities in September 2011.  Secretary Bryson and Ambassador Rao also discussed the Department of Commerce’s extensive partnerships with the Government of India through the Bureau of Industry and Security, the International Trade Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Bryson plans to lead a delegation of up to 25 U.S. senior executives on an infrastructure trade mission to New Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai in March, which will focus on project management and engineering services, transportation, and energy. India is seeking to invest $1 trillion in its infrastructure over the next five years and is looking for private sector participation to fund half of this expansion through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) have been invited to join the mission. 

U.S. exports to India through November 2011 totaled $19.7 billion, an increase of 11.5 percent year to date from 2010. India ranks as the United States’ 17th largest export market.

Secretary Bryson Hosts Meeting with Manufacturing Council

Secretary Bryson shakes hands with Joseph Anderson, Jr. Chairman and CEO, TAG Holdings, LLC and Chair of the Manufacturing Council

The Department of Commerce has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to working with the private sector to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing industry and create jobs. Today, Secretary Bryson took another opportunity to do so as host of his first meeting of the Manufacturing Council, a committee that advises the Department on programs impacting U.S. manufacturers.

Along with Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez, Bryson reiterated the Administration’s priorities for helping American businesses “build it here and sell it everywhere,” which means doing more to support manufacturing; helping more business export to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders; and encouraging more foreign and domestic firms to invest in the U.S. and build or expand their operations here.

During the meeting, Bryson thanked members for their service on the council and explained how crucial it is for policymakers in Washington to hear directly from businesses to understand what they are going through, especially during these challenging economic times. He also elaborated on the responsibility that both businesses and government leaders have to focus on practical and achievable results in Washington to boost the vital manufacturing sector.

Secretary Bryson Welcomes New Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Members

Secretary Bryson Swearing in the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

As our economy continues to recover from the worst recession in memory, families in communities across America remain focused on what else can be done to spur job creation. Today was an important day for them.

This afternoon, President Obama announced a task force to develop a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, which will be co-chaired by Secretary Bryson, and he signed a corresponding Executive Order that will make it easier for international visitors to travel to America. That’s important because those visitors help create jobs by spending money in our stores, eating in our restaurants and visiting U.S. tourist destinations that are famous all around the world.

Following this announcement, Secretary Bryson met with and conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 32 newly appointed members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, an advisory body of industry executives that provides vital input on government policies and programs affecting the travel and tourism industry.

Secretary Bryson Participates in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Los Angeles with Mayor Villaraigosa

Secretary Bryson helping to start a community garden. He's holding a rake.

This morning, Secretary Bryson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa worked alongside hundreds of volunteers revitalizing and installing a garden at Los Feliz Elementary School in Los Angeles. The event, which was organized by the non-profit action center LA Works, was focused on using community service as a way of commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was one of many activities across the country that are part of the annual MLK Day of Service.

Secretary Bryson reminded everyone that the legacy of Dr. King is tethered to his core principles of character and service, so the best way to honor his legacy is through service and volunteering in our communities. Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all. 

During these challenging times when many Americans are hurting, Dr. King’s vision of service and volunteering are more critical than ever.  Secretary Bryson called on Americans to work together to strengthen their own and each other’s economic security. Service is a powerful force for progress, and an important tool in helping us advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for everyone.

While remembering and celebrating Dr. King’s legacy, Secretary Bryson echoed the call that President Obama has made to carry Dr. King's spirit of service beyond today and through the year. In fact, as part of his United We Serve initiative, President Obama is calling on all Americans to take action to help others and make an ongoing commitment to serve throughout the year.

Secretary Bryson on Making it Easier to Do Business in America

Infographic on Various Ways a Business Can Contact the Federal Government for Services

Guest blog post by John Bryson, Secretary of Commerce. Cross-posted at Chamber Post.

Today, the President announced his plan to ask Congress for the authority to reorganize and consolidate the government so we can provide more effective, efficient services to the American people.  He wants this authority, which Presidents had until it lapsed in 1984, so that we can modernize our structure to better compete in the global economy and maximize services for the American people.  And the first priority would be to strengthen the ways that American businesses – large and small – can work with the government to compete, export, and grow.

There is not a federal agency that can't be better or smarter in accomplishing its mission.  That's why this consolidation authority is so critical.  Many of the structures in place right now are outmoded and outdated. 

More specifically, today the President also announced that he would use such authority to organize all of the business and trade related functions into a new department, including many functions of the Commerce Department.

Currently, there are six major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade in the federal government, including: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency.

Consolidating these agencies will create one new Department with one mission: to spur job creation and expand the U.S. economy.

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank Tours CES Promoting American Innovation and Competitiveness

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Dean Kamen Listen on a Panel

On Thursday, Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank visited the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where she delivered opening remarks and participated in a panel discussion. The panel, titled “Getting Us Back on Track: How Technology and Innovation Can Save America” focused on the integral role innovation and technology play to the U.S. economy.

Blank said, “Innovation is crucial to the economy.  And while private citizens and private businesses are the primary source of new ideas—from concept to commercialization—the government plays a key role in this effort. The returns in new jobs and new technologies have traditionally far exceeded the money invested on the front end by the federal government.”

Referencing the recently released COMPETES report, Blank stated, “Only with a laser-sharp focus on education, innovation and infrastructure, will we build the basis for a 21st century economy that allows American businesses to flourish in an increasingly competitive global market. And only when American businesses flourish will we see the sort of job growth and income growth that assures economic opportunity to middle class Americans.”

Also while at the show, Blank toured the International Trade Agency’s International Buyer Program’s International Commerce Center and met domestic and foreign commercial service officers who assist American businesses in exporting. Afterwards, she presented an Export Achievement Award to Meridrew Enterprises. Meridrew Enterprises is a small, woman-owned company that is an industry leader in high performance screen cleaning technology. Their products have been used on the windows of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

Secretary Bryson Stops by the Motor City

Bryson and Ford chat

Earlier this week, Secretary and former CEO John Bryson made his first trip to Detroit, as Commerce Secretary, where he met with representatives from nearly every major auto maker that produces cars in the United States. In addition, Bryson met with United Auto Workers (UAW) President Bob King, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, as well as members of the Michigan Congressional delegation. The trip came on the heels of President Obama’s announcement late last year naming Secretary Bryson as co-chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy.

Secretary Bryson’s day-long trip began with a breakfast meeting with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation including Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representatives John Dingell, John Conyers and Hansen Clarke. The group discussed a wide variety of topics including what the Federal government can do to further support the Nation’s manufacturing sector and automotive industry.

Secretary Bryson reiterated that the Department of Commerce is focused on doing everything possible to help support manufacturers. He also talked about the various services at the Commerce Department that are available everyday to manufacturers large and small. For example, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration helps promote the U.S. auto industry through trade missions, trade shows and buying missions in addition to conducting market research and business matchmaking to U.S. exporters, particularly to new-to-export and new-to-market automotive suppliers.

Following the breakfast meeting, Secretary Bryson hit the auto show floor and first met with GM CEO Dan Akerson at the Cadillac exhibit.  Mr. Akerson showed Secretary Bryson and members of the Michigan Congressional delegation the newest Cadillac CTS.  After that, the group walked over to the 2013 Chevy Malibu exhibit where Mr. Akerson showed the group Chevy’s newest midsized sedan.  They also ran into Detroit Mayor Dave Bing who was also checking out the latest GM vehicles.

Secretary Bryson then visited with Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and saw the new Dodge Dart.  Both Secretary Bryson and Senator Stabenow took turns in the driver’s seat while Mr. Marchionne pointed out the features of the Chrysler’s newest compact sedan.

Secretary Bryson’s final stop on the floor was with Ford Chairman Bill Ford, where he saw the new 2013 Ford Fusion, which will include three engine options, including a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version.  The Ford Chairman also showed the Secretary the new Lincoln MKS, before the pair ran into Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who was also checking out the newest Fusion.  The three briefly chatted about the importance of manufacturing and the auto industry to the state.

The Secretary then left the show floor to meet with UAW President Bob King.  The two discussed how the Commerce Department can ensure that they are doing everything they can to support American manufacturing so that companies build their products here and sell them everywhere.

The Secretary’s final meeting was with the Global Automakers, a group that represents members of the international automakers community, including companies from Japan, Germany, and other countries around the world.  Secretary Bryson talked about how foreign direct investment in the United States is one of his top priorities, and members of the group discussed the investments they had made to create jobs here at home.

Overall it was a quick, but productive trip to Michigan, where the Secretary met with business, and political leaders, and discussed what more the Department of Commerce can do to support job creation here at home – and saw some great cars.