Bank Helping Veteran-run Business Create Jobs
FirmGreen – Newport Beach, California
Based in an unobtrusive building in Newport Beach, California, one might never know that the small company, FirmGreen, is becoming a worldwide leader in alternative energy. Converting renewable resources such as landfill gas into renewable electricity and clean fuel, FirmGreen is one of the over 2,000 small businesses that relied on the Ex-Im Bank’s financing in 2013 to continue its growth.
A former Marine and decorated Vietnam War Veteran, Steve Wilburn has never considered accepting a government hand-out and points to the fact that financing from the Ex-Im Bank is not only proving to be a revenue builder for the U.S., but is also helping to generate critical U.S. jobs that simply wouldn’t exist without these projects. Case in point, a recent project led by FirmGreen to develop clean fuel from landfills in Brazil generated 165 new manufacturing jobs across seven states and is helping to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Wilburn, FirmGreen’s CEO and Chairman says one of the main reasons his company sought financing for his clients through the Bank was due to the high demand for his services overseas. “While some American companies are interested in utilizing clean energy, it is a higher priority for many International companies and we wanted access to that demand,” said Wilburn.
Unfortunately, recent Congressional debate over the Bank’s future has already taken its toll on companies like FirmGreen. Wilburn cites a recent contract worth $57 million and countless U.S. jobs that his firm lost because the uncertainty surrounding the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank was not deemed worth the risk of working with a U.S. based firm. FirmGreen is still fighting for the project, but in the meantime any plans to ramp up operations and increase their skilled manufacturing labor force have been halted. “For Congress to create a partisan issue out of a bipartisan entity that is supporting U.S. business and growing jobs simply for the debate is just wrong,” added Wilburn.
Despite the ongoing debate in Washington, FirmGreen continues to follow its vision of expanding the use of cleaner and more innovative energy options. The company recently developed and patented a lighting solution to significantly reduce overall energy costs, something the international community is highly interested in. However, unless Congress takes steps soon to reauthorize the Bank, companies like FirmGreen, and the innovative advancements they are leading, will be in serious jeopardy.