Chair's Message

Dear Colleagues,

For more than 30 years, District Export Councils across America have been recognized leaders in support of the international business community and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s mission to increase export competitiveness and competence. The District Export Council of Southern California (DECSC), covering the region of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, is a leader in this select group of organizations and is uniquely positioned to serve our region, which boasted a regional gross product of over $1.4 trillion in 2016. To put this into perspective, the gross product of LA and Orange counties alone, only part of the DECSC region, exceeded the economies of 47 of our states; only California, Texas and New York have larger economies than this area. The region would represent the 19th largest economy in the world.

The DECSC region contains hundreds of thousands of businesses, representing the finest firms in the aerospace, health sciences, IT, energy, electronics, apparel, entertainment and advanced manufacturing sectors. It is uniquely positioned to serve as the gateway to Asia and is home to the bustling Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which celebrated record cargo handling milestones in 2017. Further up the coast it includes the Port of Hueneme as well.

With this as a backdrop, I am honored to assume the role of Chair for DECSC for this term. The previous Chairs of the DECSC including Guy Fox, Su Ross and our immediate Past Chair, Don Sovie, set a very high standard for leadership, organization and planning. They brought together this dynamic organization with tremendous experience and zeal to help the business community. I thank them for their accomplishments and their leadership. They taught us all many valuable lessons about how this Council should interact with the trade community and how to focus the unique resource that DECSC represents. I will work hard to keep up the tradition of outstanding leadership and service.

The mission of the U.S. Commercial Service is changing, or more accurately stated, is being focused in a way not seen before. A private sector mentality has been installed with the new Administration that is keen to align the international resources for maximum gain in targeted sectors and a narrower client set. Recognizing this environment, the DECSC will sharpen its focus and the application of our resources as well. We are working closely with the U.S. Commercial Service team to identify specific initiatives, sectors, client needs and solutions to maximize the benefit we can collectively provide to the international business community.

Our members represent a wealth of real world international business and trade experience that is not found in any other trade-focused organization in the region. While export education will always be part of the DECSC mission, our focus will sharpen to a more senior advisory function for companies facing the challenges of foreign market entry and the execution of export strategies. Our greatest value is applying the expertise we gained from decades in international markets to companies that are facing the challenges of implementing an export strategy. We organized our Council with vertical committees focused on key agenda items and we are empowering our Leadership Task Force (LTF) members to create even greater value as they work alongside the Commercial Service Trade Specialists to define solutions for client needs.

We will continue our outreach and collaboration with other public and private organizations to promote trade-related agendas and we will advocate for policies, laws and regulations that encourage exports, reduce trade barriers, and promote fair and open global trade.

There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to working with each of our members and partner organizations to make a significant impact on the international business community we serve.


Marvin Sepe
District Export Council of Southern California
“By Appointment of the Secretary of Commerce”


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