08 Sep Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s half-day in Portland: Nike, bikes and business
U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker was in Portland Friday, with Nike, bikes and Voodoo Donuts on the agenda.
The newly appointed Commerce chief met with local business owners and corporate executives during her half-day visit, making trips to Nike headquarters and a North Portland bike repair school.
Pritzker, who took office in June, has traveled to a dozen cities on a nationwide tour this summer. The conversations with business leaders will guide the department’s strategy, she said.
The need for skilled workers is a concern she hears from city to city. She said trade schools like the United Bicycle Institute on North Williams Avenue play an important role in filling that demand.
“We really have a need to realign training to match the needs of businesses in our country,” she said.
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She said trade and immigration reform are also chief concerns. All of the concerns stem back to ways to grow the economy, she said.
While at Nike, Pritzker met with company execs, plus others from Columbia Sportswear and Schnitzer Steel.
Later, she and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., met with about 30 bicycle-industry business owners and community leaders.
Both events were closed to the press, as well as a mid-morning session where she sampled Voodoo Donuts.
Portland has become a bit of a hotbed for federal agency leaders. Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner visited the city in April 2012, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewel announced a new conservation program while in Portland in May.