Curated Session

Grow Your Business, Reach New Markets: U.S. Government Value-Add Services for U.S. Exporters (2.5 CEUs)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
8:00 – 9:30
Room 314

Moderator: Amy Kreps, Environmental Technologies Trade Specialist, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

This session will highlight the resources that the U.S. Government offers for U.S. industry exporters to enter or increase their presence in international markets. Participants will learn about:

  1. U.S. government export assistance resources and programs
  2. Payment methods in international trade
  3. How to export and get paid in foreign currencies
  4. How to finance international trade transactions
  5. How to access and utilize government-backed trade finance solutions when commercial financing is not available for export sales


Craig O’Connor, Director of Business Development, Environmental & Sustainable Technology Exports, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Washington, D.C.

Craig OConnor

Craig O’Connor currently serves as Director of Business Development, Environmental & Sustainable Technology Exports within the Project and Structured Finance Division of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Mr. O’Connor works closely with environmental exporters, international customers and project developers to create “bankable” project structures. Mr. O’Connor began his career at the bank in January 1993, as the loan officer for the Middle East and North Africa. He was appointed as the bank’s environmental liaison officer in 1994, and also served as a director for international business development from 1998–2008, where he covered the Asia Pacific and Latin America Regions. In 2008, he created the bank’s Renewable Energy Business Development Initiative. In the five years since this initiative was launched, the bank has authorized more than $2 billion in support of renewable energy exports. In addition to his position at the bank, Mr. O’Connor has served as an adjunct professor of international business and international project finance at Georgetown University since 1997.

Robert Sexton, Director, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Washington, D.C.

Robert Sexton

Robert Sexton is currently a director at Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) in Washington DC. At OPIC, Mr. Sexton has worked on structuring and providing financing for a variety of renewable energy technologies including geothermal, wind, solar and biomass. Immediately prior to his position at OPIC, Mr. Sexton was a Senior Investment Manager with the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program. His private industry project finance experience spans over 25 years with commercial banking and institutional investors including Prudential Finance, JP Morgan Chase, Newcourt Capital and CIT Group.

David Vidal, International Trade Finance Policy Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

David Vidal

David J. Vidal holds the position of international trade finance policy specialist of the Office of International Trade at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA. Mr. Vidal serves as chief of international trade finance policy and strategy, which includes the responsibilities of managing trade finance policy development and implementation, lender and agency export promotion training, and credit risk management of the trade finance programs He joined the Office of International Trade in November 2015 and brings years of experience in trade finance and banking. Prior to his role at SBA, Mr. Vidal was a relationship manager and director at U.S. Export-Import Bank’s (Ex-Im Bank) Business Credit Division. He was responsible for managing and administering a credit guarantee portfolio more than $470 million as part of the Ex-Im Bank’s Working Capital Guarantee Program. He was nominated by Ex-Im Bank and completed the Excellence of Government Fellows Program. Before joining the Ex-Im Bank, Mr. Vidal was a bank officer for BB&T Bank in various business lines, where he served the interests of SMEs to middle market companies. He is a graduate from BB&T’s Leadership Development Program and BB&T’s Leadership Institute. He is an alumnus of the University of Florida, where he earned a degree in finance with minors in economics and Spanish.