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Frank Carrico is the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served the U.S. Commercial Service in Iraq, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, and Germany.
Following Secretary Gary Locke’s whirlwind schedule on December 11th – featuring a breakfast for Bright Green companies hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark; a bilat with Sweden’s Trade Minister Ewa Björling to discuss the EU Presidency and cleantech cooperation; and a long evening with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – the “Bright Green” program began very early Saturday morning long before the trade show doors opened. The Commercial Service’s (CS) Bright Green team helped the Secretary meet U.S. exhibitors, give remarks at a morning reception hosted by GE, visit with CS staff at the “Commerce/FedEx Meeting Place”, and formally open Bright Green with remarks focused squarely on the value of U.S. technology for mitigating climate change and for increasing jobs in the cleantech sector.
After the morning departure of the Secretary and his team, CS personnel turned full attention to the business of helping U.S. firms make the most of their time in Copenhagen, spending two hectic days coordinating matchmaking for our 40 U.S participants and partner companies with visiting Governors, foreign companies, officials, and royalty. CS staff based in Copenhagen and colleagues from Stockholm, San Francisco, Lisbon, Oslo, the Hague, Helsinki, and Washington, DC, worked together to provide dynamic networking for all participants. A detailed Cleantech Program Guide was widely circulated to COP15 delegates and the press to highlight the many exciting U.S. companies offering cleantech solutions. The Governor of Washington, Chris Gregoire, was introduced to her State’s companies and updated on a May 2010 Swedish trade mission which will visit her State. U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Laurie Fulton, followed with a reception on Saturday evening for U.S. firms participating in Bright Green and their special guests. Networking continued in full force throughout Sunday on the event floor at Bright Green, featuring special visits by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco; Director of White House Science and Technology Office, John Holdren; and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Throughout the event, FedEx and CS personnel worked with U.S. companies and visitors to explore additional ways these companies could succeed in the European market, especially by participating in a planned April cleantech trade mission. U.S. Ambassadors Matthew Barzun (Sweden) and Bruce Oreck (Finland) were also able to meet with the U.S. Green Building Council and GE executives to explore expanding cleantech programs for U.S. companies active in the European Union.
Finally, it was Sunday evening – at last the Bright Green team relaxed for a late meal together. The mood was positive and the conversation still focused on how to help the companies who had participated at Bright Green; we all agreed to correspond at length on contacts and results. Our hope is that many of these firms had concrete results, and we certainly intend to stay in touch and follow up.