Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gov. Perdue Announces Record Level of Exports from North Carolina
(Courtesy of N.C. Department of Commerce )

                                                   Pictured: Governor Perdue and Owen George
                                                   during the South East U.S. Canada Alliance conference
                                                   at Myrtle Beach  -- May 21st, 2012.

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue has announced that exports in 2011 surged to a record high with increased global demand supporting job growth in the state. North Carolina’s merchandise exports grew 8% (or $2.1 billion) to $27 billion, surpassing the peak of $25 billion in 2008.

“North Carolina’s record level of exports in 2011 is a clear indicator that our efforts to stimulate the economy by seeking out new markets and new opportunities for trade and investment are paying off,” said Gov. Perdue. “My top priority of creating jobs is supported by our focus on making North Carolina globally competitive.”

North Carolina saw growth in most of its export sectors with manufacturing continuing to dominate.
The largest exports for North Carolina are chemicals, machinery equipment, transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and textiles and fabrics. North Carolina’s top five trading partners are Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

North Carolina has been highlighted in national press for its NC Passport to Export initiative which is a collaboration of local, state, and federal export partners focused on helping small and medium size businesses find overseas markets for their products and services. Last September, the Small Business Administration made its national announcement of State Trade and Export Promotion Grants (STEP) in North Carolina.

As part of Gov. Perdue’s budget announced last week, she is recommending $500,000 in additional funding to the N.C. Department of Commerce International Trade Division to support the activities of small manufacturing companies seeking to expand jobs by selling products in the global marketplace. The funds will be used to assist these companies with marketing products and accessing customers in key international markets.

Top 5 N.C. Merchandise Exports

Chemicals $4.8 billion

Machinery Equipment $3.9 billion

Transportation Equipment $2.6 billion

Computers & Electronics $2.4 billion

Textiles & Fabrics $2.0 billion
Top 5 Trading Partners

Canada $6.3 billion

China $2.6 billion

Mexico $2.0 billion

Japan $1.6 billion

Germany $1.1 billion

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

House Bill Re-Authorizes Export-Import Bank

Post courtesy of: 

Office of Communications, Washington, D.C.
Media Contact: Maura Policelli or Phil Cogan: (202) 565-3200




May 9, 2012
“After months of rigorous debate, the compromise bill to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank (H.R. 2072) overwhelming passed by the House today will allow the Bank to continue supporting U.S. jobs through exports at no cost to the taxpayers. The Bank will continue financing U.S. exports to meet increasing foreign competition and fill the void when commercial financial support is unavailable. This is a no cost jobs bill. Ex-Im Bank export financing currently supports over 1,000 American jobs every working day.

“The passage of this bipartisan legislation provides much-needed certainty and predictability to U.S. exporters and their workers by extending the Bank’s authority through Fiscal Year 2014 and increasing its portfolio cap to $140 billion. It will provide resources to help meet the President's objective for the Bank's re-authorization which is a key component of his National Export Initiative aimed at doubling exports. We are hopeful that the Senate will expeditiously consider and pass the bill and send it to the President for his signature.
“H.R. 2072 provides American manufacturers, small businesses, and suppliers continued access to the financing they need to sell their goods and services around the world. As a result, hundreds of thousands of American jobs will be created or sustained.
“During my tenure Ex-Im Bank has focused on improving customer service and reducing processing times in order to increase U.S. exports and create and sustain more jobs. And as Ex-Im Bank’s chairman and president, I am proud to have seen the Bank’s authorizations increase from $14.4 billion to $32.7 billion. Each of the past three years we have set records in export financing. In fiscal year 2011 Ex-Im transactions supported $40 billion in exports from over 3,600 companies --- over 85% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses --- and an estimated 290,000 American jobs. Ex-Im continues to be a fiscally responsible agency and contributes to reducing our nation’s deficit by generating revenue through fees and interest
“The Administration's support for U.S. exporters has contributed to record export levels, totaling over $2.1 trillion in 2011, 33.5% above the level of exports in 2009 -- representing almost 10 million U.S. jobs. Ex-Im Bank will continue to play a role in supporting the Administration’s export initiative to keep America working.”

Friday, September 30, 2011

NC DOC Receives Grant to Help Exporters

On September 27, N.C. Governor Bev Perdue announced that the North Carolina Department of Commerce has received a $603,442 grant from the Small Business Administration that will help increase exporting by the state's small businesses over the next year.

The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion program.

A total of $30 million is being awarded across the country by the SBA.

For more information on this program, contact the North Carolina Department of Commerce's International Trade Division.

Post content courtesy of SYNC - weekly enews from the North Carolina Department of Commerce

Monday, April 18, 2011

BRIC Nations at the Forefront of Global Economy

Economic leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China met last week in Sanya, the southernmost city in China's Hainan Province to call for changes that would better reflect their voices in the future global economic structure.

(Pictured: Owen George in Sao Paulo, Brazil with leaders of Brazil's Green Building Council.

Touted as the key drivers of the global economic boom, the BRIC nations continue to show economic growth far beyond that seen in the USA and Europe. They blame the current economic order, dominated by the USA and the EU, as a flawed system - and the cause of the meltdown that put the breaks on the boom they have been experiencing for the last several years. The BRIC leaders are seeking unity, and developing a strategy for an increasingly important role in the world order. The one day meeting in Sanya will not bring immediate change to the status quo of post World War II economic leadership, but it does serve as a powerful sign of things to come. BRIC nations make up some of the fasting growing markets for USA and EU goods and services - they will continue to fight for more control of setting the rules of the game.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Building a Bridge to India

A team of business and education leaders from North Carolina was in India last week on a mission to build a bridge.

Led by North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco, the team conducted high level meetings with government officials and titans of business in the emerging global superpower.

(pictured: Owen George with North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco in Bangalore India )

"The magic and wonder of India is legendary," said delegation member Owen George. "The enormous amount of change we have seen during this trip - and the positive spirit of India's people indicates that the best is yet to come."

For more on US / India business and the recent North Carolina Business Development Mission, click the following link:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crisco Leads Commerce Department Trade Mission to India

Courtesy of SYNC - Weekly Highlights of the North Carolina Department of Commerce

N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco will lead a delegation of 20 business and education leaders on a business development trip to India beginning this week. This will be the first N.C. Commerce-led mission to India. The delegation will make business stops and talk with government leaders in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

Since 2008 a number of Indian companies have announced investment and job creation plans in North Carolina including HCL America, Infocrossing – a Wipro Company, Sona Auto Corporation, and Advinus Therapeutics – Tata Group. The projects represent a commitment of more than 550 jobs.

North Carolina exports to India have tripled from 2002 to 2008. In 2009, North Carolina exported more than $186 million in goods and services to India.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke also announced he is leading a business development mission to India this month. This follows President Obama's trip to India late last year.

Note: Owen George will represent Thermaco, Inc. on the upcoming trade mission. During the mission, George will meet with representatives of the Indian government regarding plans for development of water infrastructure and policy for the nation's fast growing urban population.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Local company tackles oil and grease

(Courtesy of the Courier-Tribune )

Mike Bullins finishes the assembly of a Big Dipper model W-250-IS at Thermaco, a manufacturer of grease and oil removal units in Asheboro. Thermaco delivers its environmentally friendly devices to restaurants and businesses worldwide.

J.D. Walker
January 7, 2011

ASHEBORO — A small industry in Asheboro is taking global steps to help combat pollution.

Thermaco, makers of the Big Dipper and Trapzilla automatic grease and oil removal units, has a presence around the globe including Mexico, England, Ireland and Kurdistan, not to mention hundreds of restaurants and industries across the U.S.

Later in February, Owen George, global marketing analyst, will journey with a team of representatives from the state Department of Commerce and North Carolina business leaders to India. Others on the team will be there to promote both the state and North Carolina business products.

George will be there on behalf of Thermaco.

“I expect to meet with people in charge of water works departments in large cities and representatives of industries that relate to our products,” he said.

George said Thermaco machines filter organic oils from water in restaurant, educational, business and industrial applications. These innovative products have always been a good idea from an environmental standpoint, he said.

“Now, local and state governments are realizing they make sense from a cost-saving standpoint, too,” he said.

In a recent report, the City of San Francisco estimated it spent $3.5 million to unclog city water/sewer pipes. The biggest culprit was grease from homes and restaurants, George said. On the Thermaco website, George said Wichita, Kan., a city of 350,000 population, found 85 percent of their sewer line problems were caused by grease accumulation in the piping.

It’s not just a problem in the U.S. George said Mexico City recently underwent a major infrastructure improvement, removing the old city’s antique water and sewer lines. After fixing the infrastructure problem, George said officials realized they had not fixed the source of the problem — the many restaurants in the old city, flushing greasy water into the new system.

George said a major push is under way now to require all restaurants in that city to have some type of active filtering system to stop the problem before it starts.

The technology that goes into making Thermaco’s grease and oil removal units is constantly evolving. David Lillard, Thermaco marketing manager, said the company employs 10 workers to assemble and test the Big Dippers and Trapzillas it sells. The company’s lead engineer, Bruce Kyles, works constantly to improve on the technology.

The Big Dipper works in a wide range of venues from small “Mom and Pop” restaurants to large operations like the multiple restaurants at Brown University in Rhode Island. It is a replacement for the grease trap technology that George said is more than 100 years old.

As many people who have worked in the restaurant industry know, the dreaded grease trap is a device installed between the kitchen drain and the building sewer to trap and retain fats and grease from kitchen waste lines.

It is frequently installed in the floor under a wash sink or dishwasher. George said the grease trap is only 25 percent effective at removing grease from waste water. Periodically, it has to be manually cleaned — a dirty, smelly job.

George said the Big Dipper sits on top of the floor under the wash sink or dishwasher. It can be installed at any practical spot between the point of origin for waste water and public water/sewer lines.

Waste water flows through a containment unit. An automated wheel periodically skims grease from the water and discards it into a grease collection container.

This container can be emptied as needed into the restaurant’s main grease collection bin to be picked up by a waste byproducts company for recycling into a variety of useful products from biodiesel to cosmetic additives.

The Trapzilla works in a similar manner on a much larger scale.

Thermaco isn’t new to the business scene. Owners Bill and Susan Batten founded the company in 1983. As an entrepreneur with an MBA from Duke University, Batten saw the potential in a little-known wastewater treatment product which led to his purchasing the Big Dipper technology in 1985. Since then it has sold 22,000 units globally.

Back in the day, the Thermaco solution to FOG (fats, oil and grease) management was seen mainly as a way to avoid large plumbing costs and prevent pollution. It still does that, George said.

But in today’s fuel-hungry world, collecting FOG from wastewater has another money-making appeal. FOG can be filtered and turned into biofuel. George said San Francisco has already made major strides in this area.

Launched in 2007, the city’s SFGreasecycle is a citywide effort that diverts FOG away from the sewers and turns it into biofuel. The city’s fleet of 1,500 diesel vehicles was converted to run on B20 biodiesel the same year. The city government is collecting used cooking oil from city restaurants for free and recycling it into biodiesel, an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum diesel.

FOG continues to be a resource in the production of some lubricants, soaps, animal feed and cosmetics.

Lillard said Thermaco’s product lines continue to evolve. The R&D department works on a low-cost and unique separator, adapted to the need of emerging markets.

The importance of this technology cannot be understated. George said clean water issues can only be expected to grow in importance as the world’s population grows.