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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Locke Honors Pennsylvania Company for Life-Saving Efforts in Chilean Mine Rescue

Secretary Locke presented a Certificate of Appreciation today to Vice President of Schramm, Inc. Fred Slack, whose Philadelphia company’s products were instrumental in rescuing the 33 miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground after the collapse of the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile.

“The entire world watched on Oct. 13 as the 33 trapped miners were rescued in less than 22 hours,” Locke said. “Thanks in large part to Schramm’s T-130 rig – now dubbed ‘the rig heard ‘round the world’ – the miners were rescued two months earlier than originally planned.”

Locke was in Detroit speaking at the International District Export Council Conference about the administration’s efforts to grow jobs, the economy and U.S. exports through the National Export Initiative.

He also participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Gary Peters and local business owners, where he heard how the recently passed Small Business Jobs Act is improving the outlook for small businesses throughout Michigan. The passage of the bill – long-encouraged by President Obama – was the most significant step on behalf of U.S. small businesses in more than a decade and accelerates more than $55 billion in tax relief to businesses over the next year.  Press release  | Remarks

Secretary Locke and U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy Highlight New York Project Bringing Jobs and Economic Development to the Region

Secretary Locke listens to Rep. Scott Murphy speak about the importance of the GlobalFoundries new facilityCommerce Secretary Gary Locke joined U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy today in Malta, New York to hear from executives at GlobalFoundries, one of the world's largest independent semiconductor foundries. Locke and Murphy highlighted the impact GlobalFoundries has had on economic development in New York’s Tech Valley and heard firsthand about the company’s progress on the development of its new factory – the largest project of its kind in the United States.

The Fab 8 project is the result of a public-private partnership and will create thousands of jobs in the local community and throughout New York state. The factory will be the most advanced semiconductor fabrication plant in the world, helping to position the United States as a leader in the technology-based economy.

Founded in 2009, GlobalFoundries is creating good-paying jobs in New York through the construction and development of its new facility. The company is also committed to growing U.S. exports, a key component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs.

White House Council Launches Interagency Subcommittee on Privacy & Internet Policy

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to promoting the vast economic opportunity of the Internet and protecting individual privacy, the National Science and Technology Council has launched a new Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy. Populated by representatives from more than a dozen Departments, agencies and Federal offices, and co-chaired by the two of us, the subcommittee will develop principles and strategic directions with the goal of fostering consensus in legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms.

In this digital age, a thriving and dynamic economy requires Internet policies that promote innovation domestically and globally while ensuring strong and sensible protections of individuals’ private information and the ability of governments to meet their obligations to protect public safety.   

Recognizing the global nature of the digital economy and society, the Subcommittee will monitor and address global privacy policy challenges and develop approaches to meeting those challenges through coordinated U.S. government action.  The Subcommittee is committed to fostering dialogue and cooperation between our Nation and its key trading partners in support of flexible and robust privacy and innovation policies. Such policies are essential to the health of competitive marketplaces for online goods and services.

Secretary Locke Meets with Manufacturing Council and One Member Announces 600 New Jobs in the U.S.

Secretary Locke swears in the Manufacturing CouncilThis morning, Secretary Gary Locke met with the 24 members of the recently-appointed Manufacturing Council.

“Today’s meeting is an example of the public-private partnership needed to restore our manufacturing sector in the United States,” said Locke. “I look forward to working with the members of the Council to present President Obama with solutions to revitalize this critical sector, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and government policies and programs that affect U.S. manufacturers. The Council’s new charter increased membership from 15 to 25 members and now includes more diverse and expansive industry representation in the manufacturing sector.  The appointees represent a broad cross section of the industry and include steel, supercomputer, solar panel, medical device and superconductor manufacturers, both large and small. Their products support a diverse range of industries such as the auto, aerospace, apparel and energy efficiency sectors.

Commerce Department Reopens Tuesday After Building Closure Due to Fire

Commerce Herbert C. Hoover Building headquarters with U.S. flagA fire occurred in the Department of Commerce's Herbert Clark Hoover Building headquarters, in the 3rd floor 8th corridor between corridors 1 and 2, at approximately 8:15 pm, Thursday, October 8th.  This area is in the section of the building being renovated.

The building was safely evacuated with everyone accounted for, with no complaints of injury or ill-effect reported. Air sampling was conducted throughout the building, and all areas of the building have been cleared for occupancy.  The building can be accessed by employees and contractors with PIV badges over the weekend, and will officially reopen Tuesday morning, October 12, 2010.  Update release

Secretary Locke to Appoint Special Master to Review NOAA Law Enforcement Cases, Restricts Use of the Asset Forfeiture Fund

On September 23, 2010, U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke announced sweeping reforms to increase accountability and transparency and strengthen the public’s trust in NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and the General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation. Locke, invoking his authority under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, announced he will appoint the Honorable Charles B. Swartwood, III (Ret.) to serve as Special Master to review enforcement cases the Commerce Department’s Inspector General identified in its most recent report as problematic, some dating as far back as 2001. Locke will also ask the Special Master to review the complaints that the IG received that were not discussed in the September Report to see if review of those complaints is also warranted.  Judge Swartwood will make recommendations to Locke on whether to take action to modify or remit the penalties.

Judge Swartwood formerly served as Chief Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts and currently serves as the Chairman of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

Winners of i6 Challenge Announced

Secretary Locke gesturing from the podiumU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the winners of the i6 Challenge, a new $12 million innovation competition led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The i6 Challenge seeks to identify and support the nation’s best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in six different regions of the country. The winning team from each region will receive $1 million from EDA to support their project and may be eligible for additional awards from NIH and NSF.   

“I applaud the winners of the i6 Challenge on their tremendous achievement,” Locke said. “Each of the winners exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation and will help move America forward by increasing our competitiveness around the world. The i6 Challenge represents a key component of President Obama’s innovation strategy - to move great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to create jobs and economic growth.”  

Remarks | Release

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 Statement on the Death of Former Commerce Secretary Juanita M. Kreps

Former Secretary Juanita M. KrepsOn Monday, July 5, the Commerce Department lost a member of its extended family with the passing of former Secretary Juanita M. Kreps. After growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining town, she went on to a distinguished career as a professor, author and public servant. When President Carter appointed her Commerce Secretary, Kreps became the first woman to serve in the position and just the fourth female Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Her leadership under difficult economic conditions and her intelligence and devotion to family are remembered by many. I extend my sincere condolences to her family.

Dr. Kreps was the first woman and the only economist to serve as secretary; she was vice president of Duke University and a labor demographics specialist.  She served as Secretary of Commerce from January 23, 1977 - October 31, 1979.

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T. Neil Sroka is the Director of New Media for the U.S. Department of Commerce