Administrator Helps Launch Border Station Exhibit
As prepared for delivery
Lurita Alexis Doan
U.S. General Services Administration
PBS Border Station Exhibit
August 3, 2006
Thank you very much David (Winstead).
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to be here with you at the opening reception for Thresholds Along the Frontier.
This is an important and inspiring exhibit...one that shows that safety, security, and efficiency can co-exist peacefully – even beautifully – with contemporary design and art that symbolize the values held dear by all Americans.
I have spent a great deal of time at our nation’s ports of entry, from Nogales to St. Aurelie, from Holton to San Vsidro and Friday Harbor. These points of entry are extraordinarily important to the nation, for at these locations our border and security personnel screen for potential threats to our national security. At the same time, our points of entry are vital trade arteries where more than $2 billion of cross-border trade flows each day.
We clearly have much work to do. With long lines of legitimate trade and travelers attempting to cross the border, wait times are often hours long. Congestion is too common.
We can do better and GSA is willing to take the lead in finding innovative design solutions to these challenges.
You have my pledge that GSA will continue to deliver superior products and service as we work on an additional 24 border stations that are currently in design or construction.
I’d like to thank the Department of Homeland Security, particularly U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for the close working relationship that exists between our agencies. Border stations are small projects measured in square feet, but surprisingly complex and sophisticated from a programming perspective.
For now, I’m pleased that this traveling exhibit will give the public an opportunity to see what others see as they enter and exit our nation – architecture that is bold and distinctive, but also secure, which pays homage to regional characteristics, which contributes to America’s cultural legacy, and at the same time, facilitates the free flow of trade across our nation’s borders.
The Thresholds Along the Frontier exhibit opened last February in at the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning and will travel to the west coast later this year.
Future stops will include more architecture schools, for these outstanding facilities – designed and built under GSA’s Design Excellence Program are certainly worth studying. They are an important element in our social, economic, and cultural history—providing a sense of who we are and what we hope to be as a people and a nation.
These are going to be exciting times. So by all means let’s enjoy this moment, but let’s also commit ourselves to the tasks ahead. We have much to do.
With that, it is now my pleasure to introduce one of our important partners in this effort.
Deborah Spero was appointed Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in April 2004.
From November 2005 until last June 2, she served as Acting Commissioner. Then and now, she focuses on what is perhaps President Bush’s top priority – preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States.
As Deputy Commissioner, she is responsible for providing leadership and executive-level direction to all day-to-day operations.
This includes oversight of agency initiatives that facilitate the international movement of legitimate, low-risk goods and travelers while promoting effective border security.
Ladies and gentlemen, it takes communication, cooperation and collaboration to produce border stations that work well and look good.
Please join me in welcoming our partner, Deputy Commissioner Deborah Spero of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.