Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.
Kevin Kurland is Acting Chief of Staff for Export Administration and Director, Office of Technology Evlauation at the Bureau of Industry and Security
As a member of the White House Task Force on Export Control Reform (ECR), I have been fortunate to play an integral role in helping further the president’s vision for “Winning the Future.” The interagency Task Force was directed by the president to build and help implement a blueprint for a new system that addresses current national security and economic challenges. In April 2010, Secretary Gates announced the results of the Task Force efforts – a single control list, single licensing agency, single information technology platform and single primary export enforcement coordination agency – which agencies and the Task Force have been busily working toward for the past 15 months.
My role on the Task Force stems from my current positions of Acting Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration and Director of the Office of Technology Evaluation in the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). These positions have exposed me to national security and economic issues across the Bureau and Department-wide.
After growing up near Harrisburg, Penn., I earned a B.A. and M.A. in International Relations from Syracuse University and American University, respectively. My biggest inspiration has always been my mother. She is the quintessential “only in America” story, where a secretary with no formal college education, raising four kids with government assistance became the owner and president of a multi-million dollar small business. Today, she employs more than 20 people and spends time volunteering for the U.S. Park Service at Ford's Theater. My mother instilled in me, my two brothers and sister an ethic for hard work, love of family and appreciation for how the government and community organizations can assist those in need to become successful and upstanding citizens. My wife of 15 years and I raise our two children with those core beliefs.
Today, I take as much pride in my community work as I do with my work at BIS. For five years, I have taught religious education to 2nd graders at my church. I also hold an executive board position with West Springfield Little League where I am responsible for player issues. These activities allow me to give back to my community as my community gave to me growing up.
Working for the Department of Commerce allows me to influence both national security and economic policy. When combined with the motivation that comes from working with dedicated civil servants and political appointees within BIS, the Department, and across the U.S. Government on a daily basis, I am proud to have the opportunity to work on behalf of a government that truly works on behalf of its citizens.