MORGANTOWN – President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Kimberly A. Reed today returned to her alma mater to deliver the Inaugural West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law and John Chambers College of Business and Economics Distinguished Lecture.
Chairman Reed, a native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, and a 1996 graduate of WVU College of Law, told the audience comprised of law and business students, faculty, and guests how her West Virginia upbringing and drive to enter public service influenced her legal career. She was introduced by Gregory Bowman, William J. Maier Jr. Dean of the WVU College of Law, for what will become a pre-eminent lecture at the university.
“My experience at WVU Law set me on this path,” said Chairman Reed. “Going to law school does not confine you to become a so-called ‘traditional lawyer,’ but rather opens many doors to be able do great things for West Virginia and our nation. In many ways, the lessons I learned at law school and early in my career have guided my path in public service as well as the work I have done at EXIM.”
Chairman Reed – who has held positions in the legislative and executive branches of government as well as the private sector – discussed her role at EXIM, where she has pledged to implement reforms at the agency founded in 1934. She also reviewed EXIM’s historic seven-year reauthorization, which was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019, and directs the agency to advance the United States’ comparative leadership around the world by competing with China and by supporting transformational exports.
“EXIM’s new vision is to ‘Keep America Strong: Empowering U.S. Businesses and Workers to Compete Globally.’ We are committed to supporting our U.S. workers and businesses, and I am honored to be the first woman and first West Virginian to take steps to deliver on this vision,” said Chairman Reed.
In her remarks, Chairman Reed underscored EXIM’s commitment to supporting small businesses. Since she took office in May 2019, EXIM has completed 1,497 transactions benefiting small business, totaling nearly $1.6 billion in authorizations, which supported more than $3.4 billion in exports and an estimated 8,000 U.S. jobs in FY 2019 and 4,000 U.S. jobs in FY 2020.
In the speech, Chairman Reed underscored how EXIM’s financial products and services can support West Virginia companies and other U.S. businesses. In West Virginia, EXIM has supported exports valued at $19 million since 2014 from 15 exporters, including eight small businesses.
“Coming from rural West Virginia, small business is very important to me. I grew up in a family and community where small business was our backbone,” said Chairman Reed. “That instilled in me a dedication to small businesses, and I am committed to working with WVU President Gordon Gee, Dean Bowman, and Dean Reyes to prepare West Virginia’s future legal and business leaders and help today’s businesses across the Mountain State to better compete and win in the global marketplace.”
“Kimberly Reed’s leadership is vital to the economic growth of the United States and the world,” said Dean Bowman. “We are proud of her many accomplishments and honored that she took the time to visit WVU and her home state. This was an exceptional opportunity to hear from a WVU Law graduate who is making a difference on the global economic stage.”
“Chairman Reed has blazed a trail of success in both the public and private sectors over the past 20 years,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. “Her tremendous record of success in job creation, trade, economic development, food, and agriculture sets an example for all WVU students to aspire to as they take their first steps toward changing the world.”
Currently, there are 333 law students and 3,200 undergraduate and graduate business school students enrolled at WVU.