The Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of The Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase, launched in Atlanta last week and Suniva had the honor of being the only business selected to host a visit for the distinguished group of regional, national and international leaders, which included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francesco Sanchez. It was the Undersecretary’s second visit to Suniva’s headquarters and plant. Suniva provided the visitors with an insider’s tour of its solar cell manufacturing plant, including the company’s pioneering PV cell technology and low-cost proprietary processes that drive Suniva’s global success.
Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings said, “In every market we visit, we seek out firms that exemplify the Next Economy — driven by exports, fueled by clean energy and powered by innovation; Suniva is clearly best in class.”
Combining Brookings’ deep expertise in fact-based, metropolitan-focused research with funding from JP Morgan Chase, the five-year, $10 million Global Cities Initiative provides major metropolitan leaders with the information, actionable policy ideas and global connections they need to improve trade relationships and enhance their ability to compete in a global economy. Four to five U.S. forums and one global forum will be conducted each year. The first global forum was held in late 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
One of the main events was the standing-room-only public presentation, Going Global: Boosting Atlanta’s Economic Future, presented by Bruce Katz. Suniva’s CEO, John Baumstark, spoke on the three-person response panel along with Mayors Reed and Daley. Baumstark was also invited to serve on the steering committee for the Atlanta Regional Export plan, which was announced at the forum.
“Suniva’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative is an ideal partnership because of the international nature of our industry and our leadership in exports and global trade,” said Baumstark, who in 2010 accepted the award from President Obama for Renewable Exporter of the Year (2009), awarded by the Export-Import Bank of the United States. “It is critical for American companies to develop a focused strategy for increasing global trade, and that becomes easier with the first-class strategists and researchers at Brookings working to help major metropolitan areas develop export plans.”
Atlanta ranks 13th among metro areas in the U.S., with $20 billion in export value, according to a 2012 Brookings study. “Suniva is proud to be doing our part to strengthen the U.S. global economy, as well as demonstrating American innovation and competitiveness,” added Baumstark.