Department of Commerce: Blog

The most recent 20 items in this list.
  1. Spotlight on Commerce: Melvin Tabilas Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

    Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of current and past members of the Department of Commerce during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

    Guest blog post by Melvin Tabilas Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

    As a Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce, I serve as a liaison with Congress, federal agencies, state and local government, and other stakeholders.

    I was born and raised on the island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs.

    Prior to arriving at the Department of Commerce, I served as a Senior Government Affairs Advisor for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) where I led the organization’s policy advocacy strategies. While there, I also headed the housing and economic development advocacy strategies for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of over 30 national Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations. I was also formerly a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and also worked as a Field Deputy for Congressman Xavier Becerra of California and California State Senator Debra Bowen.

    Having worked with local community organizations supporting underserved minority neighborhoods across the country over the years, I joined the MBDA family in 2016 with a clear understanding that business development is instrumental to the economic well-being of these communities. MBDA gives me an opportunity to continue serving underserved minority communities from the perspective of the federal government.

    Minority businesses are American businesses. There are 8 million minority businesses contributing $1.4 trillion to the economy and providing over 7 million jobs across the country. With MBDA being the only federal agency exclusively dedicated to supporting minority businesses, I am part of a diverse team that ensures minority businesses have the access and support necessary to contribute to the nation’s economy. Further, as a Filipino American with ties to Guam and Hawaii, I bring a unique perspective in how to implement the mission of our agency in the Asia Pacific region and a personal stake in making sure government services reach underserved areas of the country.

    Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity for me and others to recognize the achievements and contributions that AAPI communities continue to make in building an America for all. While AAPI invites all to celebrate our history and appreciate the diversity of our cultures, it is also a reminder that there is still more to do in and for our communities and that our varied experiences include struggles that must be acknowledged and addressed. To celebrate AAPI for me then is to define America within the context of my personal story and the experiences of my parents as immigrants in Guam.

    In recognition of AAPI, MBDA and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) co-hosted a National AAPI Business Summit at the Department of Commerce earlier this month. As part of the planning committee, I was excited to see that we had more than 200 AAPI business owners, leaders and partners from across the country in attendance, highlighted by Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

    I believe that where you come from shapes who you are both personally and professionally. To the younger generation of AAPIs beginning their career in government service, my advice is to never forget where you come from. I’ve always believed that I will lose who I am the minute I stop acknowledging where I come from and where I’ve been. I’ve tried to live this mantra in two ways throughout my career. I try to find opportunities to share the knowledge I’ve learned, the access and resources that I have, and the contacts that I’ve developed to the communities I call my own. I also make it a point to use my experiences to color my perspectives in how I accomplish my tasks and achieve my work goals in any role that I’m in. I’ve always said that if my communities don’t take advantage of me in my role or if I don’t take advantage of my role in serving my communities, it’s a wasted opportunity for both of us. I hope that by never forgetting where I come from, this doesn’t happen.

     My father always said, “You need to know someone’s family in order to truly know them as a person.” While he meant this to explain how he thinks I should look at and come to understand other people, it actually gave me a perspective on how I should see myself. Having this ingrained in my head as a child led me to strive to always make my family proud in all that I did and continue to do because it never was just about me. Over the years, I learned to always be part of something bigger than myself. “Family” for me then has grown to mean not just my family, but my neighborhood and the communities I serve and represent. 

  2. Spotlight on Commerce: George Mui, Senior Business Development Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

    Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of current and past members of the Department of Commerce during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

    Guest blog post by George Mui, Senior Business Development Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

    As a Senior Business Development specialist and global strategist for the Market Access team in the Minority Business Development Agency’s Office of Business Development, I’m responsible for developing market access programs for minority businesses in the area of international business development with a focus on domestic and international partnerships. I specialize in the Asia business market, but I also support our MBDA export and business centers across the nation and help ensure that all of our clients have fair and equal access to business development services, contracts, capital and markets. My role allows me to work directly with minority business enterprises (MBEs) to create more U.S. jobs across the nation that support the growth and sustainability of the American economy. It’s a role I take great pride in.    

    I joined the MBDA family in 2008 as a member of the MBDA Chicago Regional Office and came to the MBDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

    In addition to my work with MBDA, I served as the Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) in 2015 and 2016. During my time with WHIAPPI, I initiated the “Doing Business in Asia,” program that leveraged successful Asian American businesses to lead export and trade promotion to their home countries. This concept was also incorporated in the MBDA Diaspora strategy.

    Prior to joining MBDA, I served as the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center Director at the Asian American Alliance where I provided consulting services to small businesses in Chicago. I was also president of New World Connections, Inc., an independent consulting company specializing in international business development and professional training. I completed a successful career in the private sector at Lucent Technologies spanning 19 years as a software engineer, network architect, project manager, and finally as the Product Management and Marketing Director in the Data Communication Unit. While there, I grew my business unit from $120 million to $400 million in three years.

    I am originally from Hong Kong and immigrated to America during my freshman year of high school and settled with my family in the South side of Chicago. I attended the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) where I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. I currently serve on the IIT Alumni Board.

    Although I’m based in Washington, D.C., I maintain close ties with many of my friends, family and colleagues back in Chicago. Community is at the core of who I am and I’m a people person by nature (as most of my MBDA colleagues will tell you). They’ll also probably tell you that I’m MBDA’s self-proclaimed selfie king, which is true. I always have my smartphone with me to capture a quick picture. Not to mention, it makes people smile. I work hard, but I think it’s also important to make time to have fun and find ways to connect with people. 

    Throughout my career, I’ve never forgotten my Chicago roots or my upbringing and I am an advocate for the Asian-American Community wherever I go. I served on the OCA National Board from 2009 to 2012 and completed two successful years as the OCA-Chicago Chapter president in 2010 and 2011 where I initiated the OCA-Scholarship fund, OCA-Chicago Mentoring for Asian American Professionals, the Asian American Community Leadership Summit and the Asian American Business Expo, all firsts for Chicago. In 2013, I created the Asian American Executive Network – a national wide advocacy group of Asian American professionals and entrepreneurs that grew to 300 strong. In 2011, I was inducted into the Asian-American Hall of Fame in Chicago for my community service work and I also received the Asian American Coalition of Chicago Chinese American Community Service Award and Asian American community service award from the Illinois Cook County Treasurer’s office in 2016.

    I’m proud to be a member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and National Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage month is one of my favorite times of the year, because it allows the AAPI community to celebrate being part of America and showcase our contributions to American society.  One of the ways I celebrated this year was by planning the 2017 National AAPI Business Summit. MBDA and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) co-hosted this year’s event at the Department of Commerce on May 17. We had more than 200 AAPI business owners, leaders and partners from all over the U.S. attend our event, and that was a powerful moment for me. So many old friends, new friends, leaders, business owners and partners together in one place celebrating   the AAPI business community and sharing our stories.

    I was especially impressed with the young people who attended this year’s summit. They were passionate about developing their businesses, eager to learn and ready to share their ideas. If there’s one key piece of advice that I would give to young Asian-Americans, it would be to follow their passion and start their career in something they believe in and enjoy, rather than doing something that may be suggested by their parents or something that makes the most money. Discover where you can make the most positive impact and start there. Young people should also be open to trying career assignments in corporate, non-profit and government services. That’s why networking and connecting to the right mentors is so important in building a successful career. MBDA or Department of Commerce may be a good choice for someone interested in providing government services that support America’s economic development.

    I believe in the mission of MBDA and I’m proud to be a part of the team.

  3. Spotlight on Commerce: Angela Nguyen, Primary Patent Examiner, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

    Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of current and past members of the Department of Commerce during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

    Guest blog post by Angela Nguyen, Primary Patent Examiner, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

    As a Primary Patent Examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),  I am responsible for delivering high quality and timely examination of patent applications in computer networking at the USPTO, but I also promote diversity, professional development, and outreach as a board of director for various affinity groups. Currently, I serve as President of the Asian Pacific American Network (APANET) at the USPTO, and with approximately 900 members, it is the largest Asian American affinity group in the federal government.

    Reflecting back on my path to public service, I believe my parents have been my greatest influence. They fled war torn Vietnam to start a new life in the U.S. where they found freedom, safety, a better life for themselves and more opportunities for their children. They faced challenges such as learning English as a second language, overcoming cultural barriers, and facing the pain of leaving their families indefinitely. Most importantly, they instilled in me the values of hard work, ambition, commitment, family, love, respect, and empathy.

    During the last few days of the Vietnam War, my parents escaped separately and were reunited through the help of Americans at a refugee camp in Arkansas. They acquired engineering degrees in Texas, where I was born, and we later moved to Orlando, where they pursued their careers. While attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando, I found that I also had an interest in science, math, and technology, and graduated with a degree in computer engineering. During college, I worked as a computer technician for a wholesale computer retail and consultant company and a junior software developer intern for a defense contractor, which inspired me to apply and work as a computer engineer for the Navy. Upon graduation, I moved to Virginia to work for the Navy, and during that time, I earned my master’s degree in Systems Engineering at George Mason University in Fairfax.

    I’ve always been very active in extracurricular activities and affinity groups, so when I joined the USPTO, I became involved as a board member with the Patent and Trademark Office Society (PTOS) and APANET. These groups have provided a valuable way to connect with others at the agency and also give back.

    My parents instilled strong values in me from a young age. They have taught me the value of hard work and dedication, which are reflected in my work as a Federal employee. I am honored to be in public service and feel privileged to work at such a diverse agency. As a board member of both APANET and PTOS, I hope I can lead by example and encourage not only Asian American and Pacific Islanders, but also, all Federal employees to get involved and active in their agencies.

  4. U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Hosts 2017 National AAPI Business Summit

    Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) hosted the National Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Business Summit at the Department of Commerce.

    The event recognized Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, an annual observance that honors the contributions of AAPIs to our nation's history and culture.

    The business summit provided a forum to celebrate AAPI business success and address the challenges faced by AAPI business community.

    AAPI business owners are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States and nearly 2 million businesses are owned by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, employing 3.6 million workers, and generating nearly $700 billion in annual revenue, according to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

    “MBDA is honored to host today’s summit and to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month,” said MBDA Acting National Director Edith J. McCloud. “MBDA understands the value of building partnerships and creating opportunities to share our knowledge and experience and we know that entrepreneurship is a sure pathway to wealth creation and a thriving national economy. Your success means more jobs, sustainable communities, and greater prosperity for all American families.”

    The honorable Judy Chu, U.S. House of Representatives, provided keynote remarks during the afternoon portion of the program. “Today’s summit is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that our diverse businesses do for our community and our country,” said Chu.  The California congresswoman shared her grandfather’s story of opening a Chinese restaurant in Watts and the opportunities that entrepreneurship have provided to her family and so many others. “Minority businesses are the driver of our economy and that’s why I made helping businesses a priority during my time in Congress.”

    Representing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, were Senior White House Advisor Eric Branstad and White House Liaison Todd Abrajano who also provided remarks to the audience.

    During the event, attendees participated in discussions on AAPI business success, customer and supplier relationships, the state of AAPI Business and Entrepreneurship and challenges and successes for the next generation of AAPI entrepreneurs. Some of the key takeaways from the discussions included the importance of building communities and networking while growing your business, embracing innovation, and having an entrepreneurial mindset. Speakers also encouraged business owners to tell their stories and share their experiences as part of their journey.

    This was the second year in a row that MBDA and National ACE worked together to plan and host the National AAPI Business Summit.

    “The National ACE is committed to collaborating with MBDA and advancing economic growth and development of AAPI businesses and interests. The National AAPI Business Summit helps us to create more opportunities and develop mentorship for business owners, especially for the next generation of AAPI entrepreneurs,” said National ACE President and CEO, Chiling Tong.

    Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in power networking sessions with government officials and AAPI business owners, leaders and professionals. This year’s AAPI Business summit drew more than 200 people from across the U.S.

  5. FirstNet Honors Law Enforcement During Police Week

    The following is a cross-post from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) blog

    By Mike Bostic, FirstNet Senior Law Enforcement Advisor

    May 12 is the kickoff of a special week for law enforcement officers and their families. National Police Week is the time we set aside every year to honor those who put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe. We give special recognition during this week to those who died in the line of duty.

    President Kennedy created the National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962 to honor fallen officers. This day, May 15, is the only day besides Memorial Day in which U.S. flags are required to be flown at half-staff.

    Over the years, that day of remembrance has grown into a week-long event in which thousands of officers and their families, as well as the families of the fallen, gather in Washington, D.C., to meet others who protect communities and to lend their support. The week also is a time to raise awareness of law enforcement issues and to raise funds for important nonprofits, such as the Officer Down Memorial Page.

    Police Week began on May 12 with the Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony along with the U.S. Capitol Police 4th Annual Memorial Service ceremony that day. 

    On May 13, the names of 143 law enforcement officers who died in 2016, as well as 251 officers who died in prior years, were formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during the 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil.

    Here are some other events that occur during police week:

    • Sat., May 13 -- National Police Week 5K run in the morning, and the 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil in the evening;
    • Sun., May 14 – National Police Survivors Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens (Day 1);
    • Mon., May 15 -- The 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service; and
    • Tues., May 16 – Survivors’ Conference and C.O.P.S Kids/Teens (Day 2)

    FirstNet looks forward to attending the National Peace Officers Memorial Reception on Monday morning, followed by the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the Capitol at 11am.

    We look forward to highlighting law enforcement on social media throughout the week, and please visit our page dedicated to law enforcement:

    At FirstNet, we are committed to serving America's public safety personnel – our nation’s law enforcement, fire service, and emergency medical services personnel. The nationwide public safety broadband network will benefit law enforcement and the communities they serve for years to come, and I am honored to be involved in such an important undertaking. On behalf of the FirstNet team, I would like to extend our appreciation to officers nationwide for their commitment and dedication. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime if I can help answer any questions related to the FirstNet network.