Posts Tagged ‘MAS’


Recent GAO Report Validates Optimization of ITA’s Manufacturing and Services Unit

October 25, 2011

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services.

In the summer of 2010, the Manufacturing and Services unit (“MAS”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (the “Department”) International Trade Administration (“ITA”) began an optimization process with the goal of leveraging our in-depth industry and analytical expertise in the development and execution of actionable, value-added trade policy and promotion strategies. Senior leadership initiated this process because of its belief that MAS’s mission and direction needed a sharper focus to more effectively serve the needs of U.S. industry, the White House and our interagency partners. This was especially critical in the context of implementing President Obama’s National Export Initiative (“NEI”) which aims to double exports by the end of 2014 to support several million jobs. As our optimization process was underway, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) began its review of MAS.

The GAO completed its review as MAS was submitting its optimization plan to the Department. We are pleased that the GAO identified many of the same opportunities and challenges that were identified by MAS senior leadership in our optimization process. Indeed, the GAO report validates the improvements that MAS is making in the focus and impact of our work. As an initial matter, the GAO report delineates the unique value add that MAS brings to trade policy and promotion as gleaned from the GAO’s review of the work in MAS’s portfolio and its interviews with MAS’s client agencies. The GAO notes that “[w]hile MAS conducts activities that have similarities to activities of other agencies, officials from MAS’s client agencies stated that MAS can provide analysis that combines industry and trade expertise that is not readily available elsewhere in government.” GAO Report 11-583 at 13. Indeed, one of the highlights of the report was the observation of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) that MAS contributes significant expertise and analysis to the U.S. trade policy process that cannot be found in other government agencies or in the private sector.

The GAO notes the value that MAS brings to the development of trade policy and promotion strategies and makes recommendations that are consistent with our current focus. MAS is providing more insightful and outcome oriented analysis of issues that impact the international competitiveness of U.S. industry for use by other U.S. government agencies and by industry. MAS is also improving our value add through the development and execution of actionable strategies to advance the global competitiveness of U.S. industry. Moreover, MAS has developed decision criteria for our employees to use as a guide to determine areas of focus and the concomitant allocation of resources. These operational changes, among others, will enable MAS to more clearly communicate our mission, priorities and activities to our constituents. Further, such changes will enable MAS to obtain feedback from our constituents and track our successes.

MAS is energized by our new orientation and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with our constituents to help U.S. industries succeed internationally.


ITA Signs Agreement to Promote U.S. Aerospace Manufacturing

September 20, 2010

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Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist within ITA’s Commercial Service currently on detail in ITA’s Office of Public Affairs.  He has helped hundreds of U.S. companies of all sizes find success in overseas markets and produced a number of instructional videos and webinars that help firms navigate the path to successful sales.

The job creation sign is illuminated

Airlines worldwide will need fleets of new airplanes, fuel-sipping jet engines, spare parts and related technology to fly all 7 billion of us around the world to meet each other.

The U.S. is a leader in all of these things but our companies often need help from the federal government winning orders in other countries and cutting red tape.  With more orders, we can put more Americans back to work in addition to preserving the jobs of folks already on the job.  This is a global industry and a fiercely competitive one.

Commerce Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus Executive Vice President Dr. John Watret

Commerce Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus Executive Vice President Dr. John Watret prepare to sign the agreement allowing their respective organizations to work together to promote aerospace manufacturing and exports

So it was good news last week when Commerce Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus Executive Vice President Dr. John Watret agreed to work together to help the U.S. aerospace manufacturing industry become even more competitive.

“The President has called on us to double U.S. exports and this agreement will help us increase the performance of U.S. aerospace companies,” said Lamb-Hale. “I am particularly pleased that we can do this during National Aerospace Week, which highlights the significant contribution of U.S. aerospace to the nation’s security and economic growth.”

As public-private cooperative efforts this should be a good one, supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and ITA’s Manufacture America Program, a series of conferences designed to help American manufacturers by exploring new products, markets, processes and sources of finance.  The agreement also supports National Aerospace Week (NAW) which takes place from September 12-18 and is being organized by the Aerospace Industries Association. ITA and ERAU will work together on a wide range of activities including industry outreach events and industry analysis.

Dr. Watret was equally enthusiastic about the agreement and need for the project: “Embry-Riddle is delighted to cooperate with the Department of Commerce to promote U.S. aerospace manufacturing, an industry that is critical to the U.S. economy.”

7 billion people: Think of all the new customers for in-flight movies produced by Hollywood film companies.  It’s time for more public-private initiatives.


Energy and Cost Savings through Green ICT

June 16, 2010

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Tim Miles is Associate Director on the IT Team in Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce and covers the U.S. software and IT services industries.  He and his colleagues work with other ITA units and U.S. Government agencies on domestic and trade policy issues that affect the U.S. IT sector and provide counseling to U.S. IT exporters, especially small and medium-sized companies.

Information and communications technology (ICT) has become a significant source of energy consumption.  ICT equipment now makes up about 5.3 percent of global electricity use and more than 9 percent of total U.S. electricity demand.  The International Energy Agency (a unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris) predicts that the energy consumed by ICT worldwide will double by 2022 and increase three-fold by 2030 to 1,700 tera (trillion) watt hours.  This will equal the current combined residential electricity use of the United States and Japan and will require the addition of nearly 280 giga (billion) watts of new generating capacity over the next twenty years, presenting a great challenge to electric utilities throughout the world.

On the other hand, ICT also enables greater energy efficiency.  It has played and will continue to play a critical role in reducing energy waste and increasing energy efficiency throughout the economy.  U.S. businesses have realized that the rising cost of energy is a pressing issue and have begun to invest in Green ICT.

 The goal of Green ICT is to increase environmental sustainability throughout the entire ICT life-cycle along the following four complimentary paths:

Green use — reducing the energy consumption of computers and other information systems as well as using them in an environmentally sound manner

Green disposal — refurbishing and reusing old computers and properly recycling unwanted computers and other electronic equipment

Green design — designing energy-efficient and environmentally sound components, computers, servers, cooling equipment, and data centers

Green manufacturing — manufacturing electronic components, computers, and other associated subsystems with minimal impact on the environment

The adoption of Green ICT principles and practices in industry can help U.S. manufacturers become more cost competitive and contribute to reducing our nation’s energy dependence.  Energy-efficiency studies show that a combination of improved operations, best practices, and state-of-the-art technologies can bring significant energy and electricity cost savings.  For example, employing simple power management techniques, by adjusting settings to “standby or sleep” mode when personal computers or printers are inactive during business hours, can achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in electricity consumption and result in average savings of $50 per year for each PC.  This means that power management of the 108 million desktop PCs in U.S. organizations could net around $5.4 billion.

More Information

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce (OTEC) participated in a session on Green IT at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s National Conference in Orlando on May 5th.  OTEC’s Green IT presentation focuses on the impact that IT has on energy consumption and the role of Green IT in energy-efficiency and carbon abatement. It also provides a review of best practices and examples of the energy and cost savings that can be achieved through Green IT.  Click here for the presentation. 


More from the Libya and Alegeria Trade Mission

February 24, 2010

Nicole Lamb-Hale is Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.

Saturday, Feb. 20th

After a string of successful meetings in Algeria, I traveled with the companies to Libya, where I was again humbled and inspired by the very warm welcome I received.  This is the first trade mission to Libya since our countries resumed diplomatic relations, and you can sense its historic nature everywhere we go.  All around us, we sense the opportunities for U.S. companies to extend their products and services here.  This emerging market has huge potential and the government has tremendous liquid capital to fund and support programs and partnerships with U.S. businesses.  The Libyan Economic Development Board offered us an overview of the commercial climate and of their interest in infrastructure programs focusing on transportation, communications, housing, utilities, health-care, education and energy/power services.  In Libya, foreign direct investment can be wholly foreign-owned or part of a shared partnership.  However, it is clear the government will support joint partnerships as well as businesses that want to create long-term investments in the country.  I am excited to dig into the details in the days ahead…

Sunday, Feb. 21st

We scheduled over 150 meetings between our companies and various public and private sector partners in the days ahead.  Kudos to the excellent local Commercial Service staff who organized so busy, useful and, ultimately, productive schedule for our trade mission participants!  Most of our meetings are “small group forums,” during which companies from a particular sector meet with local high-level decision makers and government officials who oversee the local development of that sector.  For example, we brought in our companies that build hospitals and create high-tech health-care technologies to meet with the Minister of Health and his team who are modernizing the Libyan health-care industry.   We brought in our military and defense contractors to meet with the Minister of Public Security (sort of a mix of our Interior and Homeland Security Departments) to discuss procurement processes and what our companies could offer in terms of products and training.  Our construction companies met with the Ministry of Housing and Utility Projects…I think you get the idea here, and it is inspiring to see the happy faces on our companies after we facilitate these connections!

Monday, Feb. 22nd

This is my last full day on this trade mission.  While I am excited to return to the United States, I will be missing my new Algerian and Libyan friends, as well as the wonderful people I have met from the U.S. private sector.  I look forward to follow the progress of the new partnerships and new investments we helped jumpstart in North Africa.  While formal meetings can generate many successes, the less formal dinners and receptions at times make for better networking opportunities.  Let me just share one such instance.  At a dinner sponsored by the Libyan Businessmen’s Council, I sat next to the Under Secretary for Economy and Trade, the charming Mr. Sarkez, and we were joined by the CEO of Libyan Airlines.  While discussing Boeing, one of our companies on this mission, my Libyan colleagues became so eager to learn more that they secured new meetings for Boeing with the Minister of Transportation for the following day.  The company’s representatives extended their stay!  Other companies had the same experience.  These fantastic connections that came out of this historic trade mission make me want to stay and do more to promote the development of trade and business…but tomorrow it is back to the USA for me!


Libya/Algeria Trade Mission Led by Nicole Lamb-Hale

February 19, 2010

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Nicole Lamb-Hale is Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.

Monday, February 15

It was a great honor and joy to be confirmed by the Senate late Thursday night and sworn in late Friday afternoon to serve as the United States International Trade Administration’s Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.  And I have hit the ground running!  I left on Sunday evening for my first official assignment – to lead a trade mission to Algeria and Libya.  This important trade mission is not only my first – it is the first one in history for the U.S. government to these two countries.  These exciting hallmark initiatives, as well as the fact that ITA has also placed its first permanent commercial officer in Algeria, demonstrate the importance that the United States places on the trade relationship with North Africa.  U.S. businesses can find tremendous opportunities here, and Algeria and Libya can develop their technology, infrastructure, product availabilities, employment opportunities and overall economy.  I will be joined by 24 companies representing a wide-range of industries – from construction, transportation, and telecommunications, to water purification, aerospace, and medical devices.  Some of the companies are global giants – others are small businesses.  Some are already doing business in these countries, others have never operated in the region at all.  Some are looking for local partners and distributors, others for local government contacts.  Whatever their past or current standing and experience, this diverse group of companies understands the significant potential to increase U.S. exports and investment in the region.  Ever since landing at the Algiers airport this afternoon, I have received a very warm welcome and we are all excited for this historic trade mission.

Tuesday, February 16

My first full day in Algeria has been great.  The highlight of my day was visiting a local “Access School,” a program funded by the U.S. embassy here in Algeria.  This is one of many schools in the country and region where disadvantaged youth, ages 14 – 17, have the opportunity to learn English and develop their leadership and civic skills.  I was so impressed with the students – all of them now speak at least 3 languages (French and Arabic are spoken in Algeria), and they spoke English beautifully.  Even more inspiring than their linguistic abilities were their thoughtful, engaging questions on the commercial and cultural ties between our two countries.  Ranging from questions on the economic recession to the impact of trade, the students offered smart questions and ideas – and it was great prep for the press conference tomorrow! Many of the students were involved with local service projects, and all of the students demonstrated a clear desire to serve their country.  I know the future of Algeria is in good hands with these talented, young leaders.

The remainder of the trade mission participants arrived today, and we have been discussing the various goals of each company – I am excited for our official meetings to begin tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 17

This morning I visited a Pfizer manufacturing plant here in Algiers, representing one of the largest investments made by a firm in the country outside of the hydrocarbon industry.  One of the main goals of the trade mission is to diversify our commercial relationship with Algeria, which currently is dominated by the oil and gas industries.  The plant, which produces a variety of pharmaceutical products, ranging from anti-cholesterol medication to anti-depressants, is managed entirely by Algerians, and the 47 employees generate over $100 million in revenue each year.  Everything about the operation impressed me and every member of the delegation.  In the afternoon, I was honored to meet with His Excellency, Minister of Commerce Djaaboub.  We agreed on the importance and mutual benefits of strengthening and diversifying our trade relationship and creating an environment to attract more foreign investment.  To that end, we agreed to resume the next round of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks soon, and we committed to helping them with their goal of joining the WTO.  These goals would make it easier for U.S. companies to invest in the exciting opportunities in this developing and growing market.

Thursday, February  18

Today I had more productive bilateral meetings, speaking with the Ministers of Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Finance, each in their respective ministries.  We discussed how we could strengthen the commercial ties between our countries and make the region attractive for U.S. investment.  Our participating companies are also finding great success in their meetings.  Each of the representatives of the 24 companies is operating on a schedule that we have designed for them individually to help them achieve their goals on the trade mission.  Let me share one of the many success stories that I have already enjoyed hearing: Marco Costalonga is on the trade mission representing Electrolux – the company that makes all of those wonderful washing machines, refrigerators, vacuums, and other household appliances, among many other things.  Electrolux generates about 6 BILLION in sales from U.S. offices alone, and they are here on this mission to find distributors for their products in Algeria.  We set up four meetings today for Marco to meet with local distributors.  He told me that two were very successful, and with very good potential for partnering on their products.  These new distributors would open up the potential for millions of new dollars in sales, according to Marco, while providing the Algerians with high quality, much desired products at home.  These connections and new opportunities are what this trade mission is all about.


Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit

November 2, 2009




Morgan Barr is an International Economist with the Office of Trade Policy Analysis.  She has been working on the Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative for two years and started in the office as a SCEP focusing on earning her MBA and MA in international affairs from the George Washington University.

On October 8, our Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative team hosted the Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit at the Commerce Department.  The event was a complete success.  We had more than 120 representatives from private industry, industry associations, non-governmental organizations, academia and major federal agencies in attendance.  The Summit was a follow up to a similar event we held in 2007, and we wanted to report to our stakeholders on the work we’ve done since then.  We also wanted to gain input from attendees on possible areas of future work for our initiative.

Sustainability Summit Event Poster

Sustainability Summit Event Poster

The enthusiasm from the attendees was tremendous.  We had two extended coffee breaks and a lunch session where attendees could network and meet with representatives from various government agencies to learn about the programs and resources that are available to help them.

The event began with opening remarks from Secretary Gary Locke, who stressed the importance of manufacturing as a source of well-paying jobs and emphasized the role that sustainable practices can play in lowering costs and making manufacturers more competitive.  The Secretary was followed by Gary Guzy, Deputy Director and General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who discussed the plans for the development of the “green economy”.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke speaks at the Sustainability Summit

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke speaks at the Sustainability Summit. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Then our team presented its work.  In the past two years, we’ve created an interagency group on sustainable manufacturing to coordinate action across the government, and we’ve also held a series of regional facility tours—or SMARTs—to promote the adoption of sustainable practices. Our newest deliverable is our Sustainable Business Program and Resource Clearinghouse—a searchable central database that includes numerous federal government programs and resources to support sustainable business and manufacturing practices.

We’re also working on a study being conducted in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on simplified metrics for sustainable manufacturing.  Michael Bordt of the OECD presented his work to date on the study, which will include an easy-to-use toolkit with a simplified set of metrics and guidance on how companies can use them to help make business decisions about improving their environmental performance.  You can read more about the study and our other projects on our website.

Attendees at the Sustainability Summit exchange explore the displays in the Commerce Department's lobby

Attendees at the Sustainability Summit exchange explore the displays in the Commerce Department’s lobby. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

In the afternoon, Andrew Winston, co-author of Green to Gold, and author of Green Recovery, gave an excellent keynote address on the linkages between sustainability and competitiveness.  His address really set the stage for the afternoon breakout sessions where attendees met in smaller groups to discuss the morning’s presentations, the challenges they’ve faced implementing sustainable business practices, and areas where the government can potentially aid the private sector in its endeavors. The discussion in the sessions was excellent, and we’re going to use the individual input, along with other factors, when we’re planning our future work on the initiative.


Energy Efficiency: A Key Component of U.S. Competitiveness

November 2, 2009

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Ryan Mulholland is an international trade specialist in the Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Scott Dietz, VP of Investor Relations at Owens Corning World Headquarters in Toledo, Ohio led David Kincaid and me around an impressive facility built as a model of sustainable architecture on a tiny reed and grass covered spit of land jutting into the Maumee River.  Glass artworks from a NYC artist who incorporated the legendary glass fibers Owens Corning is so famous for graced doorways, halls, and the soaring entryway to the building.  The tour reminded me that U.S. industry is a place of world class innovation—and in Toledo, Ohio, a city once devastated by economic downturns, that spirit of American innovation is alive and well, as energy efficiency has become a cornerstone for the city’s new growth and prosperity.

International Trade Specialist Ryan Mulholland speaks at the Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio

International Trade Specialist Ryan Mulholland speaks at the Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo U.S. Department of Commerce)

On September 21, 2009, the International Trade Administration (ITA) organized a Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning to help manufacturers learn about state and federal resources available to promote efficiency.  Part of an ITA Energy Efficiency Initiative aimed at promoting the development and deployment of energy efficient technologies, this one-day event attracted 86 participants. Toledo was chosen because of its efforts to reinvigorate its manufacturing industry by taking a leadership role in developing the clean and efficient industries of tomorrow.

Presenters from ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program, and the Environmental Protection Administration’s Industrial Energy Star Program spoke about their programs.  Others from the State of Ohio Energy Office, Ford Motor Company, Eaton Technologies, Rockwell Automation, North Star BlueScope Steel, and Energy Industries of Ohio shared about their experiences with and the positive benefits derived from energy efficiency improvements. Each participant gave a brief presentation on the theme of energy efficiency.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mary Saunders introduced the event and moderated both panel discussions.  Energy efficiency “represents a key component of the Obama administration’s national strategy to support job growth,” Saunders noted, adding that “with efficiency, you don’t have to depend on scientific breakthroughs or engineering miracles… (but rather)… is a way of maximizing the amount of energy you get from existing sources.”

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur addressed the group noting that energy efficiency improvements are key to Toledo’s ongoing success, and added a word of congratulations to Owens Corning for winning EPA’s Energy Star Partner Award.

Following a keynote address from Owens Corning’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Frank O’Brien-Bernini, forum participants visited the Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator at the University of Toledo.

Reactions by participants ranged from surprise at the number of available resources to gratitude, upon hearing there are individuals in government standing on behalf of American industry.  It was an effort well worth the hard work and cost.