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Do You Know the Way…to San Jose’s “Green Hub”?

November 10, 2009

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Federico Bevini is the Commercial Specialist responsible for the building products, construction equipment and architectural, construction and engineering services sectors for the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Consulate in Milan, Italy. Federico has been a part of the U.S. Commercial Service since 2003.

After the excellent programs in the green cities of Pittsburgh and Denver, the participants in the Green Build Road Show found their way to San Jose and discovered that Silicon Valley has a green heart. Mayor Chuck Reed, who opened the day’s program in  the San Jose City Hall (a LEED Platinum – certified building), actually described San Jose as an “ecosystem” of entities, among them the City government, that are cooperating in making San Jose the world center of clean technology innovation.  It is very well known that the high technology industries have been bringing talent and jobs to the San Jose area over the years but, in the Mayor’s words, the challenge is now to capture the next wave of innovations in clean technology and facilitate the exporting of those technologies to the rest of the world.  To be sure, many local companies already derive most of their revenues from foreign markets, but many more can benefit from exports and Mayor Reed stressed how important it will be to inform the 6,000+ hi-tech companies in the area about the opportunities highlighted by the Green Build Road Show.

The U.S. Commercial Service Green Build Road Show crew with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

The U.S. Commercial Service Green Build Road Show crew with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Many of those local companies actually attended the day’s program and from the Q&A sessions it became clear that quite a few had not been involved in exports but were now considering exporting as a result of the very effective (as usual) presentations delivered by the Commercial Service and its partners in the Road Show, as well as by Knauf Insulation, which was part of the panel and was very persuasive in demonstrating that driving energy efficiency in buildings is good for climate, energy, economy, jobs (a “win win win win” situation).   During the Q&A session, members of the Small Business Administration and the Exim Bank had an opportunity to highlight their organizations’ financing programs aimed at increasing local companies’ participation in foreign trade shows and at furthering developments in renewable energies.  The audience’s interest in the day’s program was exemplified by the eagerness of representatives from the Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to be involved in the FedEx Green Trade Mission and in the Hannover Fair.

On a personal note, the afternoon meetings with local companies interested in starting or expanding their presence in Europe confirmed my initial impression that San Jose and Silicon Valley are home to innovative, open minded and ambitious entrepreneurs who are not looking to make a quick profit but, at least in the area of green building, really want to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint in the USA and abroad.    Excellent!

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