Export Assistance Center moves to MSOE

The U.S. Commercial Service – Milwaukee Export Assistance Center, a division of the Department of Commerce, recently relocated to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus.

The U.S. Commercial Service – Milwaukee Export Assistance Center, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently relocated to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus.The center’s offices were formerly located in Milwaukee’s Federal Courthouse for more than 20 years, said Paul Churchill, director of the agency.

"Our objective was to get into an environment that was more accessible to the business community and to partner with an organization that would give us greater outreach to the community as a whole," Churchill said. "MSOE turned out to be the most applicable and advantageous for both of us. It’s a private school, so this created a public-private (sector) partnership."

The Milwaukee Export Assistance Center’s mission is to advise, counsel and provide information to area companies who want to export their products to new or emerging markets. "We work one on one with companies," Churchill said. "We want to get them access to new markets to increase their sales and create jobs here."

By moving into space in MSOE’s Rosenberg Hall, 1235 N. Milwaukee St., the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center has been able to take advantage of the university’s experience and expertise in planning and staging seminars, classes and events, Churchill said. "This partnership has allowed me an avenue to put on programs that was not easy to do before," he said.

The school and the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center started holding joint events last fall, before the agency’s move to MSOE was finalized. Last fall, the agency held a program on the Iraqi reconstruction process on campus. It also held roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in Asia in May. The Milwaukee Export Assistance Center and MSOE are planning a seminar for October that will focus on financing programs through the federal government, Churchill said. Details have not yet been finalized.

Steven Bialek, interim department chair of MSOE’s Rader School of Business, said the school has already gained much since the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center moved onto campus. "We provide them with additional capacity with the ability to plan, and they’re giving us more content (in exporting)," he said. "We now have experts in the building. I probably couldn’t find them if I needed them (at the school before) and I probably couldn’t afford them if I could find them. But now they’re here."

The school is also being exposed to more businesses because of the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center’s move, Bialek said. "Paul takes the message of MSOE and the (Rader) school of business into circles that we didn’t travel in before," he said. The presence of the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center dovetails with the Rader School of Business’ evolution. Last fall, the school introduced a new Master’s Degree in export management, Bialek said.

"It’s a degree program that serves an MBA type of audience in the manufacturing sector predominantly," he said. "It’s product focused – (for companies) that are looking to identify, locate and gain access to global markets and get their product into those markets. Half of the degree parallels an MBA. The other half is in designing and testing products to global specifications, IP control laws, international cultures and law."

For information, visit the U.S. Commercial Service Midwest web site at www.buyusa.gov/midwest or www.export.gov.

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