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September 13, 2003
Matt Englehart
(202) 482-3809

Field Specialists to Focus on Automotive, IT and Healthcare Industries

The Department of Commerce today announced that industry experts in automotive, information technology and healthcare will be posted in Michigan, California and Maine, respectively, to more effectively focus on the specific needs of these industries.

"The best way to take the pulse of industry is to send our experts into the field where professionals encounter real-world challenges every day," said Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Al Frink. "Our field specialists will be better prepared to make recommendations regarding the issues that most impact our manufacturing competitiveness."

The following industry experts have been assigned field posts:

  • Elizabeth Couch has been based in Pontiac, Mich., to focus on the automotive sector for the Midwest region on a six-month, temporary basis since August;
  • Danielle Kriz has been based in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., to focus on the information technology industry for the Pacific states and Arizona on a three-month, temporary basis in each city since September; and
  • Marnie Morrione has been based in Portland, Maine, and to focus on healthcare industries in the New England area on a permanent basis that began in June.

The field specialists will be co-located with the Commerce Department's U.S. Export Assistance Centers offices and will focus their efforts in identifying international and domestic trade policies, regulations, standards and other related issues that affect the competitiveness of U.S. industry. The information gathered on industry trends will be used to develop recommendations on how to address and resolve these issues.

In 2004, Congress directed the new Manufacturing and Services unit to "redirect industry experts from headquarters to the field where resources may be more effectively focused on the specific needs of local industry."

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