Kenneth Haynes, a Senior International Trade Specialist who works closely with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce on trade matters that affect the community, has been with the U.S. Department of Commerce for the past 28 years. This month, he talks about Arlington’s growing impact on the world market.
Arlington Today: In a nutshell, what does your job entail?
Kenneth Haynes: With direct access to U.S. Embassies and Consulates across the globe, my day-to-day activities include providing top-notch international business solutions, as well as advocating for the interest of U.S. businesses abroad. We work to promote U.S. goods and service overseas while protecting your business interests. Under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Commerce, you will find the U.S. Commercial Service/International Trade Administration. Our goal is to help U.S. companies export their products and services via customized solutions to assist your business enterprise and succeed in markets worldwide. U.S. Commercial Service International Trade Specialists are in more than 100 U.S. cities and in more than 70 countries world-wide. Our office can also provide resources for export finance through the Small Business administration and the Export-Import Bank. We seek to be the best source of customized solutions for the area businesses to compete and win in the global marketplace.
AT: What previous positions did you hold that helped prepare you for your current role?
KH: I served as the National Team Leader for the U.S. Department of Commerce Global Diversity Initiative. This initiative was implemented by former Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, to assist minority and women owned companies to become more successful in the international market place. Prior to arriving in Texas, I was posted in Oklahoma and Mississippi.
AT: How are you involved with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce?
KH: We currently have a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce that provides our office with an excellent opportunity to be engaged with the Arlington business community. This relationship dates as far back as 2005 with then Arlington Chamber President and CEO, Mr. David Sampson. Mr. Sampson later joined the U.S. Department of Commerce as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce. As we fast forward, the relationship has only grown and matured under the leadership of the current President and CEO Mr. Michael Jacobson. With the Arlington Chamber serving as one of the pillars of the city, having the opportunity to partner with such a dynamic group of business professionals has only made my job easier. The partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce brings together a unique working relationship of private-public teamwork that will reward the business community of Arlington and the United States as a whole. Also taking into account, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce provides work space for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). That partnership provides my office with another direct encounter to be of assistance to the Arlington business community.
AT: What are some of the specific tasks you perform on a regular basis?
KH: Depending on the day, I can find myself involved with assisting a U.S. company with locating a distributor/sales agent in a foreign country to working with my overseas colleagues to perform a background check on a foreign company. I can spend my day doing market research or hosting a series of conference calls with a U.S. company and my colleagues within a U.S. Embassy. I will spend my day or week attending foreign/domestic tradeshows or speaking with industry groups/associations/chambers of commerce about the assistance we provide to U.S. companies.
AT: What is your take on the region’s current status as an economic center, and where do you see it going?
KH: As a resident of Arlington, I am truly excited about all of the opportunities that the city and the city’s leadership has provided. As someone who works with a number of Arlington-based companies and partner groups, I am once again truly excited about all of the opportunities that the city and the city’s leadership is providing. With the city championing economic development and global expansion I see continued “green shoots.” The City of Arlington hosts five major industries of prosperity: Aerospace, Automotive, Business Services, Medical Devices and Industrial Machinery. These industries allow companies to develop/grow locally and sell globally. As you know, Money Magazine recognized Arlington, Texas, as the “Best Big City in the South.” That type of recognition doesn’t happen by accident. It takes quality city leadership and most importantly outstanding diverse companies and citizens. I agree with our Mayor, Jeff Williams … Arlington is the American Dream City!
AT: What do you love most about your job/career?
KH: Assisting a small/medium sized company reach their global business goals. Having the opportunity to witness a company take its first steps onto the international trade stage or receive that first international sale due to the assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce and my overseas colleagues provides me with a sense of fulfillment and patriotism to the country.