Fred Hochberg, the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, visited Zero Motorcycles this week to promote domestic job creation and clean energy creation by the Scotts Valley-based company.
Hochberg, who previously spent stints in the business world, both as an academic dean as a business owner and as the administrator of the Small Business Administration, works to promote export-related jobs within the United States — such as those created at Zero Motorcycles' Scotts Valley headquarters.
Hochberg said he visited Zero Motorcycles because it promotes clean energy with its electric motorcycle — a significant percentage of which are exported overseas. He said he believes Zero will create more jobs within the near future.
Hochberg’s goal is to expand the global footprint of key domestic industries, like clean energy, medical technology, and avionics while he maintains his goal of creating more jobs for the American people.
“We have a commitment to work on renewable energy and reusable products,” Hochberg said. “If you really want to grow you business, you have to do it overseas.”
While there are consumers are in North America, he said, the vast bulk of the world’s consumers — some 90 percent — are overseas.
Zero sells its motorcycles all over the world and Ex-Im Bank provides finance and credit insurance for the company.
According to Jay Friedland, Zero's vice-president of strategy and sustainability, partnering with Ex-Im Bank saves approximately 8 weeks worth of red tape for foreign customers, as it enables transactions to be streamlined due to pre-established international credit.
Since its inception, Zero has expanded in the private sector and the public sector alike.
Police departments have started to use Zero Motorcycles, including departments in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Scotts Valley, among others.
The quietness and low energy consumption are both pluses for the agencies.
“The Scotts Valley Police Department was the first police agency to have a Zero,” said City Councilmember Donna Lind, a retired Scotts Valley police sergeant. “We were working with them on a trial basis in 2008; they’ve been such a wonderful tool for us in so many ways.”
While visiting Zero, Hochberg took a ride on one of the Zero Motorcycles and came back with a smile on his face.
“I’m getting my motorcycle license,” Hochberg said.
Zero’s CEO Richard Walker is proud of the job creation in the area.
“It’s about protecting the jobs of the people,” Walker said.
Scotts Valley officials are pleased that Zero is a member of the business community.
“This puts Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley on the map,” Scotts Valley Community Development Director Corrie Kates said. “It’s a way to lower the green house gas emission while not using fossil fuels.”