Article Source: CBS Detroit Website


Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced Monday that executive director Ken Rogers has been appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk.

The committee provides detailed policy and technical advice, information and recommendations to Secretary Locke and the USTR regarding trade barriers, negotiations of trade agreements, and implementation of existing trade agreements affecting its sectors; and performs such other advisory functions relevant to U.S. trade policy as may be requested by the Secretary and the USTR.

In a letter to Rogers, Secretary Locke and Ambassador Kirk said: “Your industry knowledge is critical to the Department of Commerce and Office of the United States Trade Representative in pursuing trade objectives that reflect the concerns and interests of the private sector.”

In accepting the appointment, Rogers pointed out that 11.8 million U.S. jobs and 239,910 local jobs were directly tied to exporting in 2008, and those jobs pay higher than the national average salary.  Rogers cited recent Brookings Institution report findings illustrating that one out of eight jobs in Southeast Michigan are tied to exports and average wages in the largest export industry, the transportation equipment manufacturing sector, were $76,706.

Said Rogers: “It is my hope that by serving on the Committee, I can offer my thoughts and suggestions on encouraging and increasing exporting, both in Michigan and in the United States. An increased focus on exporting will spur future economic growth and support jobs here at home. Today, Southeast Michigan exports $26.9 billion annually, ranking us ninth among all U.S. metropolitan areas.”

Rogers was nominated to serve on the Committee by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Sen. Stabenow is a member of the Senate Finance Committee on International Trade and Global Competitiveness and was appointed to the President’s Export Council in March of 2010.

“I have worked closely with Ken for many years, as Automation Alley grew into one of Michigan’s leading business associations committed to economic development and job creation,” Stabenow said. “Under Ken’s leadership, Automation Alley partnered with the Department of Commerce to help Michigan companies grow their business by increasing exports of their products. With his vast experience, Ken is, hands-down, the right choice to serve on the International Trade Advisory Committee.”

Rogers’ term of service extends until Feb. 17, 2014. He will serve as a representative from Automation Alley and for the U.S. information and communications technologies industry sector. The committee consists of 14 members from the information and communications technologies, services and electronic commerce industry sectors. Members include representatives from Fortune 500 information technology and telecommunications stalwarts: Verizon Communications, Inc., Intel Corporation, IBM, AT&T and Cisco Systems.

“I am honored to represent Automation Alley in serving alongside these 13 respected companies and organizations as we inform U.S. trade policy impacting this vital technology sector,” Rogers said.

Serving as Automation Alley’s Executive Director since the association’s inception in 1999, Rogers has extensive knowledge in trade. He has overseen 13 Automation Alley trade missions to countries around the world, including Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico and many countries in Central and Eastern Europe. These trade missions have resulted in the creation of more than 730 jobs and $151 million in new contracts and sales for participating companies. Additionally, Automation Alley was awarded the Presidential “E” Award for Exporting in 2008, the highest honor the federal government can give to an American exporting company or organization for its successful trade mission program.

Rogers was also invited by President Barack Obama to participate in the 2009 Presidential Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth. He focused on encouraging and growing entrepreneurship and international trade; and increasing investment in innovation and infrastructure preparing Americans for 21st century jobs.