What is the ETTAC?

We are very excited that our very own Sean Wihera, Vice President, Business Development and Partnerships, has been appointed to the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC) by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo as a representative of the air pollution monitoring and control segment of the U.S. environmental technology industry.

The ETTAC is a federally established committee that advises the Environmental Trade Working Group of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee on the policies and procedures of the U.S. government that affect exports of U.S. environmental technology and goods and services. 

Sean is part of the 2022-2024 ETTAC Charter, which includes over two dozen other members from esteemed companies like The DOW Chemical Company and Black & Veatch whose purpose is to advise the Secretary of Commerce on the development and administration of programs to expand U.S. exports of environmental technologies, goods, and services to other countries.

Q&A with Sean

Q: What are the benefits of you participating in the ETTAC? 

A: The ETTAC addresses a very broad range of issues related to the export of American environmental technologies - everything from providing input on trade agreements, supply chain considerations and technology standards. It's exciting to help represent the air monitoring industry - including emerging air monitoring technologies, such as air sensors, that are less well-defined than current regulatory-focused monitors.

Given the tremendous influence of the U.S. on the global adoption of environmental solutions, the ETTAC provides an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of many environmental solutions around the world. I see the reality of this as a huge responsibility for both the U.S. and ETTAC given the enormity of our environmental and climate challenges.

At a personal level, this is also an especially fulfilling public service opportunity for me that uniquely leverages both my passion for advancing environmental solutions and experience exporting innovative environmental solutions around the world. 

Finally, while I’ve worked with many of our Federal agencies (particularly the Department of Energy, State Department and Environmental Protection Agency) it’s been a wonderful chance to learn more about the great programs run by the Department of Commerce as well!

Q: You had your first meeting as a group in late April 2023, if you can please share some of your highlights?

A: The first ETTAC meeting (in D.C.) was an exceptional experience, particularly as the Advisory Committee process was entirely new to me. Prior to the meeting, I was paired with mentors from prior ETTAC Charters who provided valuable guidance on how the overall process works. 

I’ve been impressed with the overall coordination of the ETTAC agendas and processes, including the development of our Subcommittees for the current Charter and interagency briefings. Kudos to the great work of our colleagues at the Department of Commerce! 

Frankly, it’s humbling to have been included with such a diverse and knowledgeable group of experts in this space. As much as I hope to contribute, I am looking forward to learning a lot from my amazing colleagues as well.

Q: The purpose of the group is to help U.S. companies export environmental technologies, which foreign countries can benefit the most from the work being done by the ETTAC?

A: While there’s no shortage of environmental challenges around the world, I am of the opinion that Low-Middle Income Countries (LMICs) can particularly benefit from the work of the ETTAC. LMICs are (by definition) resource constrained and can’t afford to procure the wrong solution for their challenges. With contracts in over 70 countries, it’s depressing how often my LMIC-based partners share their experiences with various environmental solutions that have failed to perform as promised. 

I look forward to working through the ETTAC to help catalyze alignment on standards and designations between various U.S. agencies and stakeholders to the benefit of both our LMIC partners around the world and the goal of increasing American exports.