New commerce secretary seeks to tap Colorado’s export potential

Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker kicked off her nationwide listening tour with business leaders and Department of Commerce employees with a series of stops in Colorado. Over a two-day period in July, she met with employees of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder.

In Denver, Pritzker met with Mayor Michael Hancock to discuss his vision to concentrate aviation-intensive businesses around DIA. She also spoke with Gov. John Hickenlooper and hosted a roundtable with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and several local business leaders to discuss ways to build on the momentum of Colorado’s improving economy.

Bennet then joined the Secretary for a tour of Denver’s Intertech Plastics Inc., a supplier to the medical and specialty plastics markets. Intertech has recently benefitted from the trend of “reshoring” – moving production back to the U.S. from overseas – and was able to invest $2 million in new equipment, resulting in more than 75 percent revenue growth.

“Colorado currently exports over $8.2 billion in goods and services, and one of the things we want to do is work with all businesses to help increase those opportunities,” Pritzker said. “We’ve experienced enormous receptivity here and we want to help these companies meet the appropriate distributors and suppliers around the world. If there is a way to advocate for them, that is the Department’s mission.” Ball Aerospace recently won a contract in Korea that the Dept. of Commerce worked with the company  on. “We’re anxious to help other businesses as well, not only in Colorado, but across the U.S. to expand further.”

–photo and story by Lee Buchsbaum