Posts Tagged ‘MAS’

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Big Business at Big Iron

November 2, 2009

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Heather Ranck is Director of the Fargo, North Dakota US Export Assistance Center. She is also active on the Agribusiness Team, and in that capacity she promotes the export of US-made agricultural machinery throughout the world.

So Much to Do, So Little Time

I keep telling myself: sleep is overrated! Somewhere between the 1 a.m. airport pickup for my colleague arriving from China; and the 7:30 a.m. Ex-Im Bank finance meeting sleep tends to take a back seat to all the organizing, facilitating, entertaining and crisis management that is inherent in putting on any large event. The Big Iron Farm Machinery Show is the biggest agricultural machinery show in the Upper Midwest, and in 2007 we decided to make it a global event when the former Soviet countries began showing very high interest in our large scale farm machinery built in North Dakota. This, our third year, is once again packed with activity and opportunities for the 150+ foreign buyers who are descending on Fargo to learn about American large scale crop farming.

This year I focused my recruiting efforts on Africa, a new frontier for large scale farm equipment. Having lived in Mozambique and Congo, I wanted to scope out the prospects, so in May 2009 I took a 3-week trip to South Africa, Angola and Mozambique. After 144 meetings I learned a lot about the needs and opportunities for farm equipment in Africa. We had a delegation of 25 Africans at Big Iron this year, and I would like to see American technology helping increase food production in Africa.

The Big Iron International Visitors Program is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Commercial Service (the primary federal government export assistance agency) and the North Dakota Trade Office (a state of North Dakota trade promotion organization); and our combined team of 10 people coordinates very closely on all recruiting, events planning, logistics, interpreting, transportation and programming.

During the show, the hub of all the activity is the International Visitors Pavilion, for which the International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) provided substantial funding for the meeting rooms this year. This is Grand Central Station for buyers and sellers, with meeting rooms, food and COFFEE!

We are always coming up with new elements to the program, and one of my new ideas this year was to hold an international soccer match. We had a beautiful, sunny day in Fargo and Fargo Parks let us use the best fields in Fargo. The game ended in a 4-4 tie, further ensuring international harmony.

I also have taken on the activity of ensuring adequate language assistance for buyers and sellers. I speak Portuguese, and therefore did quite a bit of interpreting for the Angolan delegation this year. We are fortunate to have 3 universities in the Fargo-Moorhead area, so we recruit student volunteers to facilitate business meetings throughout the week.

Big Iron 2009 was as exciting as ever this year with representation from 12 different countries, many of them new to Big Iron. It is thrilling to watch the years of effort leading to deals being negotiated before our eyes; and millions of dollars of US agricultural machinery being shipped all over the world.

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Sustainable Manufacturing Tour

July 15, 2009

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Acting U.S. Commerce Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Mary Saunders is leading a tour of four Seattle-area manufacturing facilities as part of the department’s Sustainability 360 initiative. The tour, Sustainability 360: An Aerospace Supply Chain Event, is designed to showcase the benefits of sustainable manufacturing throughout an aerospace manufacturing supply chain.

Sustainability 360

We just concluded our first Sustainability 360 event here in Seattle and the experience was outstanding – lots of good practical examples of how implementing sustainable manufacturing practices can reduce environmental impact and improve the bottom line for businesses.  Sustainability 360 is what we are calling our regional tours of manufacturing facilities operating at various points in the supply chain, in this case the aerospace supply chain.  Our sustainable manufacturing and aerospace teams in Manufacturing and Services worked with the U.S.  Export Assistance Center and Washington Manufacturing Services, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center in the area, to put together a tour of four companies who are at various stages in their sustainability journey, to share their lessons learned and best practices with other local companies.

Participants visiting the new facility of Tyee Aircraft, a producer of aerospace components.  Tyee has incorporated sustainable principles into its lean manufacturing practices with zero waste water release, energy efficient lighting, and recycling programs.

Participants visiting the new facility of Tyee Aircraft, a producer of aerospace components. Tyee has incorporated sustainable principles into its lean manufacturing practices with zero waste water release, energy efficient lighting, and recycling programs. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo.)

We toured Puget Sound Energy, Tyee Aircraft, Goodrich Aerostructures and The Boeing Company, along with 24 local company representatives.  And we learned a tremendous amount.  For instances, successful companies are those that are “purpose driven”, with management and employees working toward a common goal.  Sustainability takes into account the interest of the company itself in becoming more competitive; as well as the interests of investors, suppliers, customers and the community in which it operates.  Ideas for improving sustainability can come from anyone in the company and even from suppliers and customers.  There are no bad ideas.  Sustainable Manufacturing practices save money and help grow business.

I have toured factory floors before, but I have never seen this much energy and enthusiasm, in companies ranging in size from a little more than a 100 employees to several thousand.  Today’s program reinforced the practical value of the departments’ Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative and the value of public-private partnership in advancing the competitiveness of U. S. industry.  What a hands on- way to spread the message to U.S. manufactures nationwide that sustainable manufacturing practices can deliver triple-win solutions that benefit U. S. firms, the communities in which they operate and the environment.

Mary Saunders giving her opening remarks for the Sustainability 360 event at utility Puget Sound Energy. PSE's 2008 energy efficiency work will result in annual savings for its customers of $30 million a year.

Mary Saunders giving her opening remarks for the Sustainability 360 event at utility Puget Sound Energy. PSE’s 2008 energy efficiency work will result in annual savings for its customers of $30 million a year. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo.)

Sustainable manufacturing is an area where the U.S. maintains a global competitive advantage.  Not only are we the largest producer of clean technologies globally, we are also a leader in creating cutting edge, lean and clean manufacturing practices throughout industry  supply chains.  I am looking forward to our continued work in helping to spread the sustainable manufacturing message nationwide.  For information on this initiative and its three components, take a look at http://www.manufacturing.gov/sustainability.  Let us know what you think.

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Paris Air Show

June 19, 2009

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Daniel Harris is Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy, Paris.

If you enjoy the thrill of a heart-stopping experience, you should have been with me at the Paris Air Show this past week.  The jet fighter screamed past the spectators, then stood on its tail and then shot straight up, engines roaring as if it were a rocket rather than an airplane.  After gaining altitude, the fighter rolled over on its back in a long arc until the plane pointed straight down, accelerating rapidly towards the earth.  As my heart rate started rising, the pilot pulled the fighter onto a smooth, level course in front of the crowd, which included six United States Senators and a host of other dignitaries from around the world.

Welcome to the Paris Air Show!

A highlight for me was the opening of the U.S. Pavilion, where I had the honor to introduce several distinguished Americans, especially Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the President’s Representative to the Paris Air Show, holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor and a much respected figure in and out of the U.S. Senate.  Other speakers included the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Michael Donley and the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs, Mark Pekala.

Commercial Service Paris also escorted the members of the U.S. Congressional delegation from the Senate Appropriations Committee to their meetings at show. The delegation was led by its Chairman, Senator Inouye, accompanied by Senator Thad Cochran (Mississippi), Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa), Senator Richard Shelby (Alabama), Senator Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) and Senator Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma). The final highlight of the day was the opening night gala Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) reception for 1100 American exhibitors and guests at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador.

The Paris Air Show, Europe’s largest aerospace exhibition, takes place every two years at the Le Bourget exposition site and airport. Over 300 U.S. exhibitors, including 162 companies and American states exhibited inside the U.S. Pavilion (organized by Kallman Worldwide) – the largest national delegation at the show.  The Commerce Department’s acting Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services, Mary Saunders, was also on site to meet with her counterparts from governments around the world who send representatives to this huge biennial event.

The activity was non-stop as business deals were discussed in the corporate “chalets” that line the flight line at the airfield, while enjoying great views of the flight demos. The CS team at the U.S. Commercial Service Paris (CS Paris) office within the U.S. Embassy Paris, together with the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), jointly support the commercial and military aspects of the show, with assistance from several other U.S. government agencies, including the FAA and NASA.

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Waste Expo Highlight the Latest Waste Management and Recyling Technologies

June 18, 2009

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Vidya Kori has been with the International Trade Administration for 5 years.  She currently serves as a Project Officer in the United States and Foreign Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program.

I am writing from the bustling International Business Center located at Waste Expo 2009, North America’s largest trade show serving the solid waste and recycling industries.  Here in Las Vegas Nevada, over 500 exhibitors are showcasing the latest equipment and technologies the industry has to offer.  There are also 40 conference sessions and training workshops led by industry experts on current topics such as Green Management and Technology, Recycling, Energy, and Landfill Operations.  The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) own Marc Lemmond (a trade specialist from ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, a part of the Manufacturing and Services unit) was one of the speakers at a seminar titled E-Waste:  New Laws, New Programs.  Although this seminar took place on the pre-exhibition day, well over 100 people were in attendance at this seminar, even with 3 other concurrent sessions going on!  Marc enlightened the audience on the international drivers for electronics recycling.  The seminar focused on the fact that discarded electronics should be considered a recyclable commodity, not waste – for this reason, the recycling community prefers the term “e-scrap” to e-waste.  The falling cost of electronics, transition to digital TV, and new technologies such as LED are making discarded electronics the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream.  U.S. and international regulations are reinforcing market opportunities for shredding, sorting, and treatment technologies for electronics recycling.  The session was very popular and well-received!

As a participant in the International Buyer Program (IBP), Waste Expo was promoted by United States and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) around the world resulting in USFCS Specialists recruiting and leading buyer delegations here to meet U.S. exhibitors from Vietnam, Romania, Japan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.  It’s been great to see so many international buyer delegates meeting with U.S. companies here in the International Business Center!  The show also features a U.S. Export Pavilion with representatives from within the Department of Commerce (Census and Commercial Service) and Export Import Bank.  “I’ve been to several trade shows over the past few years and there seems to be a higher percentage of U.S. manufactured goods and services in this industry than in the other shows,” stated Kelly Kemp from Export Import Bank.

It is only the first day of the 2.5 half day exhibition and so many important introductions and meetings have taken place.  I’m excited to see what the next two days have to offer and commend all the Commerce and government representatives at the show for all their hard work on making this show a great success!  For other shows participating in the IBP, you should check out www.export.gov/IBP.

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Pow Wow Kicks Off in Miami

June 2, 2009

Helen Marano is the Director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries which serves as the National Tourism Office for the United States.  She has worked in the travel and tourism industry for 18 years.

I am writing you from Pow Wow in sunny Miami. Pow Wow is the travel and tourism industry’s premier international sales and marketing event. It’s great to be here with a strong federal presence from the Departments of State and Homeland Security, as well as our Travel & Tourism Team from the U.S. Commercial Service. Part of our mission at Pow Wow is to educate international travel leaders about new entry and exit programs and provide the latest information about U.S. travel destinations programs, and inbound visitation statistics.

International Trade Administration Travel and Tourism Team

International Trade Administration Travel and Tourism Team. Department of Commerce photo.

It’s exciting to see over 4,000 attendees here from all over the world. They’re folks from State Tourism offices, cities, attractions, hotels, travel journalists and foreign buyers of U.S. travel and tourism products and services. It is great to see commerce at work with more than 50,000 appointments between buyers and sellers taking place this week. These negotiations typically generate over $3 billion in future travel to the United States.

Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at Pow Wow’s closing luncheon.  He said, “I am especially pleased to note that travel and tourism is responsible for over one-fourth of all services exports for the United States. And for the 20th consecutive year, travel and tourism produced a travel trade surplus for the U.S. – a record $29.7 billion.” He went on to say, “What is impossible to count are the friendships that were formed, the perspectives that were broadened, or the discoveries that were made about a new culture and country as a result of traveling to the United States.”

Events like Pow Wow are an excellent opportunity for individual destinations like Miami to showcase their attractions and venues to international buyers. Pow Wow shows how resilient the travel and tourism industry is and what an engine it is for economic growth. Events such as Pow Wow help generate more visitors to the U.S., more dollars spent, and more jobs created.

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U.S. Travel and Tourism: The Little Engine that Could

May 14, 2009

Sean Timmins is an International Trade Specialist on the Trade Missions Team in the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service. He is currently on rotation in the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries which serves as the National Tourism Office for the United States.

I am writing you today from the steps of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in downtown Washington, D.C. where members of Congress and tourism leaders from the public and private sector are participating in the first ever U.S. Travel Rally Day. We are partnering with Destination DC (the local convention and visitors bureau) and the U.S. Travel Association to celebrate the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the United States’ economy. Similar rallies are taking place in 36 cities across the country, from Seattle to Orlando and Albuquerque to Cincinnati.

Helen Marano (right), Director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, with Washington Capitals mascot "Slapshot" on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery while participating in U.S. Travel Rally Day. (U.S. Department of Commerce photograph.)

Helen Marano (right), Director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, with Washington Capitals mascot “Slapshot” on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery while participating in U.S. Travel Rally Day. (U.S. Department of Commerce photograph.)

Did you know that the U.S. travel and tourism industry accounts for 2.6% of total U.S. GDP? Over 8 million American jobs are supported by the travel and tourism industry and almost a million of those jobs are supported by international travelers coming to the U.S. It’s important to remember that travel and tourism not only creates and supports jobs in hotels, airlines, and car rental companies, but also in restaurants, movie theaters, bars, malls, gas stations, coffee shops, amusement parks and just about anywhere else that provides a service. In 2008, a record 58 million international visitors came to the United States. The largest number came from Canada, followed by Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.

My boss, Helen Marano (Director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries), said “Travel is the ultimate freedom. Peoples from every nation can get away from their daily lives to experience new destinations, ‘walk in different shoes,’ meet people from different cultures, and learn to appreciate both their differences and their similarities.” She went on to say, “Travel builds bridges between peoples and cultures. Travel builds understanding between peoples and cultures. Travel builds diplomacy.”

May is a big month for U.S. travel and tourism. Next week, the travel and tourism industry’s premier international sales and marketing event,

Pow Wow, will take place in Miami. More than 4,200 attendees have registered, including more than 1,600 international travel buyers and nearly 400 journalists from over 70 countries. Helen will be blogging from Miami, so check back next week to hear what she’s got to say about this event!

So get out there and do your part – become a traveler. You can start by logging onto www.DiscoverAmerica.com, a promotional website that was developed through a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association.

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DOC and DOT Connected to Address Supply Chain Issues

May 13, 2009

Bruce Harsh is responsible for Commerce’s Distribution and Supply Chain unit and has been with the Department about 24 years.

America’s economy depends on the health of our country’s supply chain infrastructure. Problems with the supply chain are not readily noticeable until you don’t get the part you need to keep your supply chain in operation, or the gift you were looking for at a store during the holiday season. Not only do supply chain problems make America’s producers and consumers mad, they are clearly linked to our economic recovery and long-term economic growth.

Supply chains don’t just move products and goods, they also support jobs. One recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests that approximately 110 million U.S. jobs or nearly 80 percent of the entire workforce is critically dependent on our supply chain and transportation infrastructure.

This past Monday, leading supply chain stakeholders met in Washington, DC at the joint Department of Commerce-Department of Transportation conference titled, “Game Changers in the Supply Chain Infrastructure: Are We Ready to Play?” to hold a frank discussion with decision-makers on how to deal with current problems that minimize their ability get those products and services to consumers in a timely, safe, and environmentally-friendly manner and to develop a world-class network to reduce the chance of “game changers” thwarting these goals in the future.

The discussion stirred up lots of suggestions and comments. Panelists and audience participants emphasized that restoring America’s manufacturing jobs depends on not just fixing one part of the supply chain infrastructure but to look at these issues from the start at the manufacturer’s factory floor , or field, to the consumer’s house or company facility. They encouraged governmental agencies to come together to develop a holistic, comprehensive national freight policy that promotes the supply chains and assures America’s competitive advantage in the 21st century.

These suggestions were heard and many participants appreciated seeing two secretaries, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, stand together to say they were going to have their agencies work together to meet these goals. Many participants also appreciated hearing leading experts share how they would minimize those “game changers” that produce constraints and chokepoints, and offer ways for the government to encourage innovative information technologies, improve security and resilience, and do all of this in an environmentally sound manner to restore America’s world-class transportation network.

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