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Foster, Aurora Manufacturer Discuss Exports At White House Roundtable

Sep 22, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Bill Foster and Steve Kase, President of ASK Power, participated in a roundtable discussion on exports at the White House.  The roundtable, in the Roosevelt Room of the West Wing, was hosted by United States Trade Representative Mike Froman and Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council Jeff Zients. The event focused on exports for small businesses. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so I am pleased that the White House is working to support small and medium business exports,” said Foster. “Small and medium businesses have great potential to play a bigger role in exports, but we need to do more to support them and navigate an extremely complex process.  Additionally, we need to provide stability by passing a long-term extension of the Export-Import Bank, an essential service for export businesses of all sizes.”

“Job creation disproportionately comes from small to medium manufacturing entities; but, they are disproportionally under-represented in export activities,” said Kase. “I was particularly encouraged by the Trade and Economic wings of our executive branch's intention to coordinate best practices across exporting states. Their leadership and employer organization’s cooperation can support SME’s efforts to navigate the complexity and risk of export toward more profitable sales and job creation.”

At the meeting the group discussed efforts to get more small and medium businesses involved in exports. In 2013, Illinois exported $66.1 billion in merchandise, supporting 339,421 Illinois jobs.

ASK Power is an Aurora, IL based manufacturer of electrical connectors for the Truck, Automotive, Telcom, Utility, and Military marketplaces. In 2012, Kase was Chairman of the Board of the TMA, Illinois’ Largest Full Service Manufacturing Association.

Foster is a scientist and businessman who worked at Fermi National Laboratory for over 20 years.  Foster’s business career began at age 19 when he and his brother co-founded Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc., a company that now manufactures over half of the theater lighting equipment in the United States.

Foster’s scientific career was as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermi Lab. Foster was a member of the team that discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter. He also led the teams that designed and built several scientific facilities and detectors still in use today, including the Recycler Ring, the latest of Fermi Lab's giant particle accelerators.