WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced that Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Al Frink, the first to hold that position, has resigned his office effective January 31.

“I’ve been honored to serve President Bush and to work with two great Secretaries of Commerce, helping to advance America’s manufacturing and services competitiveness. As a public servant, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to try to give back to my country,” says Frink. “I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve made and where we’re headed. American manufacturing is strong, competitive and driven to succeed.”

Frink noted that American manufacturing employment has been relatively stable since mid-2003, while productivity and exports continue to expand; real hourly compensation in the manufacturing sector grew by 9.6% since 2001-faster than in the business sector as a whole; and since the President took office, the services sector has powered U.S. job growth, having produced more than 5 million jobs.

Gutierrez noted the following accomplishments during Frink’s 27-month tenure: establishing the Office of Industry Analysis which promotes domestic competitiveness and addresses the burdens of regulatory costs; an advisory manufacturing council Frink set up provided key recommendations that contributed to passage of recent tort reforms; Frink helped to reorient the traditional trade development function within the International Trade Administration toward not only boosting American competitiveness internationally, but also domestically; and he led the production of an award-winning study on the negative impact of sugar subsidies.

“After two years of dedicated service to the manufacturing community, I am saddened to hear of the resignation of Assistant Secretary of Manufacturing and Services Al Frink,” says John Engler, the National Association of Manufacturers’ president and CEO. “As our ‘manufacturing czar’ he was a stalwart advocate for the industry.”

Frink oversaw the implementation of 35 of the 57 recommendations from the Manufacturing in America Report in April 2004. This includes the creation of the Manufacturing Council to foster communication between the industry and the federal government.

“As a former manufacturer and the point-person for this powerful industry, Frink brought an ‘outside the Beltway’ focus to Washington,” Engler says. “He tapped the pulse of manufacturers by logging many miles and hours to reach our members’ plants and hear their stories.

“Frink played an instrumental role in putting manufacturing issues at the forefront of the nation’s policy debate,” Engler says. “All manufacturers owe him a debt of gratitude for his service.”