Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh’

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ITA Joins with Small Business Development Centers to Help U.S. Exporters

October 4, 2011

By Philippa Olsen, a marketing and communications specialist with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

In their business counseling efforts, the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) often work closely with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) through the network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). There are more than 100 USEACs located across the country that are staffed by trade specialists who can provide market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy support. The USEACs can also call on the knowledge and expertise of the USFCS’s overseas staff members, who are located in more than 75 U.S. embassies and consulates.

Lyn Doverspike, director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USEAC noted, “SBDCs are a perfect partner for us because they provide trade counseling for new exporters, as our complementary focus is on companies already exporting.” She added that “companies exporting for the first time have a longer timeline before they begin, and SBDCs offer foundational counseling for them before the U.S. Commercial Service steps in and offers them specific exporting assistance.”

This collaboration is especially beneficial in rural areas, commented Vickie Gyenes, a global trade manager who assists small businesses in the Appalachian region of western Pennsylvania through the St. Vincent College SBDC in Latrobe and the St. Francis University SBDC in Ebensburg. “Our clients are all small to medium-sized enterprises and may have experimented with exports in the past, but now see exporting as a vital part of their business,” she said. “SBDCs provide secondary market research; organize educational seminars—from basic training to more complicated topics, such as export controls; and work with the USEACs who have overseas presence and expertise. It’s a joint effort and a great relationship.”

In 2010, the St. Vincent College SBDC’s Center for Global Competitiveness received the President’s E Award for Export Service. This annual award recognizes U.S. companies and organizations that facilitate export trade and contribute to U.S. job growth and competitiveness. From late 2009 through 2010, the center’s efforts directly generated more than $8.9 million in increased export sales for Pennsylvania companies, accounting for more than 150 new or retained jobs

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Bringing the Russian Market to America Part 2

May 3, 2011

John McCaslin is Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service in Moscow, Russia.

Leaving Cincinnati on a Sunday  I would start the toughest part of my journey, four cities in five days.  Arrived very late Sunday night in Baltimore via Minneapolis due to cancellation of the original direct flight.  The BRIC program started first thing Monday morning at a downtown hotel and featured an excellent keynote address by our Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion, Suresh Kumar, followed by individual country plenary presentations on each of the four markets, and then concurrent breakout sessions on more specific aspects of doing business in these markets by successful US companies; a great program all in all, with over 100 business participants.

As noted earlier, these types of business outreach programs are put together by our outstanding domestic field and their local partners, in this case the Baltimore U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) and the state of Maryland.  Again,  all I had to do was show up.  Baltimore is a great venue for these types of programs because of its proximity to Washington, which makes it easy to bring in senior U.S. Department of Commerce management, our Market Access and Compliance country desk officers and Commerical Service Regional Directors; quite a formidable array of U.S. government resources all brought together to support our US business clients in a very practical and informative format.

As usual, the local USEAC set up meetings for me at the hotel with individual local companies interested in the Russian market, so after my presentation to the larger group and before hopping on a plane for my next city, I met with two local firms.  One company, an experienced manufacturer and distributor of dental products with lots of international sales, was already established in Russia and was coming to me for advice on a problem with their exclusive Russian distributor.  This is a pretty typical case for many US firms that come our way and we always try to do our best to help them out.  The issue involved counterfeit products of the US company showing up in Russia, which was hurting legitimate sales.  Intellectual property rights (IPR) is a big issue in Russia and one in which we are well equipped to assist, since we have a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Attache that sits in our FCS office in Moscow and a Russian IP attorney on staff.  I put the US firm in touch with our IPR staff in Moscow along with our Commercial Specialist who covers the medical sector, so they will be in good hands.

The second company was a well established manufacturer from Pennsylvania that sold duct work accessories into the HVAC sector in a number of foreign markets.  They have had some passive export sales to Russia, but really wanted to do much more.  I had a feeling we could really help this company so that day I put them in touch with our Moscow Commercial Specialist who covers this sector in order to start a dialogue and also looped in our Pittsburgh USEAC, which has worked with this company in the past.  Looking ahead to possible trade promotion opportunities, I let this firm know about a proposed energy efficiency trade mission to Russia later this year that the US Dept of Energy is planning with support from our agency.  This could be an interesting market entry vehicle for the company since the mission would be designed to bring Russian firms to the US and then take US firms to Russia in order consummate in-depth, long lasting business relationships.

Next stop Cleveland.

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From Inside a Greenbuild Enivronment, Day Two of the Greenbuild Road Show!

November 4, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Slyvia Mohr is the Standards Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.  She has been with the Mission since 1986 and been a part of the U.S. Commercial Service since 1991.

Day Two of the Greenbuild roadshow:  another sunny day in Pittsburgh, which we were able to appreciate from inside a perfect greenbuild environment – Carnegie Mellon’s Intelligent Workspace – the greenbuild state-of-the-art home of the Faculty of Architecture, with special shading, ventilation system and lighting.  At the invitation of Professor Volker Hartkopf, Director of the Center, the Commercial Service team participated in a greenbuilding conference attended by approximately 35 representatives from government, academia, industry, and service providers.

A series of presentations from selected speakers, among others, Kevin Kampschroer from the General Services Administration, and William Sanders from the Environmental Protection Agency, set the scene for a lively discussion on how the U.S. and EU can work together to speed up the process in addressing climate change.   It was interesting to hear that participants felt a need for government to set green building target – it struck as me as so European!

We heard that promoting awareness of the benefits of green building to the general public – especially the incentives to stimulate going green and enabling green technologies – is key to making the program a success.    While ambitious energy performance targets now have to be met, and preferably exceeded, for public buildings, it is often a challenge to balance budget realities and green build opportunities. 

Our own mission – to reach out to U.S. greenbuild firms who are new to exporting – was expressed most eloquently by George Ruffner, the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Germany: “Where are you?!” asked George, adding, “We in the Commercial Service are ready to help American companies succeed in European markets, but we need your help to find those companies and encourage them to export.”    After highlighting the individual markets in Europe, we left the participants with some food for thought for future projects, outreach, and more…  Hopefully, it is the beginning of more to come!

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A Great Start to the Green Build Road Show!

November 3, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Daniel Harris has been a Foreign Service Officer for over 25 years serving at posts in Europe, South America, Africa, and Washington, DC, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Operations, U.S. Commercial Service.  He currently serves as the chief of the Commercial Section and the senior representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce in the U.S. Mission to France.

What a great start to a two-week Road Show!  The U.S. Commercial Service has kicked off its “Green Build Road Show” on the 31st Floor of a Pittsburgh skyscraper.  Thanks to the beautiful fall weather my colleagues and I have been treated to an expansive view over a city that has become famous for re-inventing itself from a gritty rust-belt town to a leader in green technology.  We’re here because the Commercial Service office in Pittsburgh has recruited an audience of 40 people from 35 companies plus four Pittsburgh associations to hear about the European sustainable construction sector. 

Senior Commercial Officers from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Nordics presented market research that outlined market drivers, best prospects and key issues in each of these five big markets.   Recognizing that regulatory requirements can scare off American companies, a Commercial Specialist from the U.S. Mission to the European Union outlined the EU system and explained how the Commercial Service can help companies navigate their products through the regulatory process.  

Why bring such a high powered team across the Atlantic for two weeks to talk about green building?  Because sustainable construction in Europe is one of the best growth markets to come along for years!  With strong public support, EU governments have committed to ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions – even putting money behind this campaign in the form of tax credits, subsidies and other incentives.  Changes in building codes, taxes on carbon and other measures will change behavior and building practices.  American companies with competitive services, technologies and products are well-positioned to successfully export to this sophisticated market.

What I liked best about the day:  Most of the companies we met were new to the Commercial Service, which is just what I’d hoped – we want to reach beyond our existing clients and describe the huge opportunities in Europe to green companies who have not yet tried exporting.   I loved watching my CS colleagues bound up to the podium like race horses from the starting gate, happy to offer new opportunities and fresh perspectives on their markets.  An added bonus for our audience was the presentation by Professor Volker Hartkopf, who wowed us with his hard-hitting analysis of energy use in the United States.  The bad news is that we waste a huge amount of energy; the good news is that we can dramatically reduce energy consumption and expand renewables through technologies that already exist.  We’ll learn more about that on Tuesday when we visit his institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

It was a great start to a two-week trip that will take us to five cities and introduce us to dozens, maybe hundreds, of new clients in the green space.  Stay tuned as we share insights along the way – or join us if we’ll stop at a city near you, or perhaps at our final stop at the Green Build Conference and Expo in Phoenix.  We hope we’ll meet you along the way!

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