LA Times Features FirmGreen in Ex-Im Bank Story

Steve Wilburn is the chairman and CEO of FirmGreen, Inc., a renewable energy company in Newport Beach that is having trouble
getting funding from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for a project in the Philippines. Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Businesses say they need the Export-Import Bank to sell goods abroad. Will Trump fix it?

by Jim Puzzanghera

FirmGreen Inc., a Newport Beach renewable energy company, is preparing to start construction on a solar project in the Philippines. The job could have yielded about $180 million in contracts to U.S. manufacturers to supply most of the equipment — but the work most likely will be done in China instead.

When FirmGreen was unable to get the necessary loan guarantees from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, it had to seek them from China’s version of the federal export-credit agency, Chief Executive Steve Wilburn said. And that financial assistance is available only if FirmGreen promises to manufacture the project’s equipment in China.

“I’m a patriot. I’m a former Marine, a 100% disabled Vietnam vet, and for me to have to go to China and other overseas sources for manufacturing goes against my grain,” Wilburn said. “But I have to survive as a businessman.”

Now exporters such as Wilburn, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, are urging President Trump to help fix the Ex-Im Bank — a move they said would boost the White House’s efforts to increase U.S. manufacturing jobs and reduce the nation’s trade deficit.

Two administration Cabinet secretaries have indicated they support the bank. But it’s unclear whether Trump will take action, adding to the uncertainty that has plagued the controversial agency in recent years.

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Photo credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Wilburn Discusses ExIm Bank Lapse

FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn discusses the recent decision of Congress to allow the lapse of U.S. ExIm Bank. Congressional members on both sides of the aisle believe that businesses both small and large now operate at a disadvantage to international competitors with the lapse of the U.S. export credit authority.

FirmGreen CEO Invited to Testify Before U.S. House Committee on Financial Services

FirmGreen’s CEO, Steve Wilburn, was invited to testify at U.S. House Committee on Financial Services to discusses how Ex-Im Bank reauthorization uncertainty is affecting FirmGreen’s ability to do business around the world. Click here for video of U.S. House Committee hearing on C-SPAN (Note: offsite link opens in new tab or window. FGI is providing this link for your reference, without endorsement.) Read more

FirmGreen Inc. Hosts Ex-Im Bank Chairman to Discuss Green-Tech Jobs and Trade

FirmGreen Inc. (FirmGreen), a small renewable-energy company based in Newport Beach, Calif., hosted Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg at its headquarters this week to discuss green-tech jobs and trade: FirmGreen’s growing portfolio of patented green technology is positioned to lead an expanding global market for “green-tech” products being manufactured in the U.S. Read more

FirmGreen Featured in Annual Report of USTDA

FirmGreen Recognized for Leadership in Brazil Waste-to-Energy Reverse Trade Mission

FirmGreen Inc. (FirmGreen), a small renewable-energy company based in Orange County, Calif., is featured in the recently published 2013 Annual Report of United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). USTDA recognized FirmGreen for its expertise to lead development of successful waste-to-energy projects.

Last June, FirmGreen hosted a Brazilian trade delegation at its Newport Beach headquarters as part of an USTDA Waste-to-Energy and Landfill Gas-to-Energy Reverse Trade Mission:

“Following a meeting with FirmGreen Inc., a small renewable energy company, the Agency recognized the value the firm would bring to an upcoming Brazil waste-to-energy reverse trade mission and quickly arranged for the Brazilian delegation to visit the company’s facilities in Orange County, CA. Drawing from its experience designing, integrating and financing the world’s largest biogas-to-energy facility at the Jardim Gramacho landfill near Rio de Janeiro, FirmGreen was able to share its lessons learned with the delegates and to discuss new renewable energy projects in Brazil. Since the visit, FirmGreen has helped ensure the successful commissioning of the facility in Brazil, even providing site tours to some of the Brazilian delegates.”

“FirmGreen is honored to be recognized by USTDA as a leader in the renewable energy sector,” said FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn

FirmGreen supplies proprietary ‘green’ technology that enables economical processing of biogas to produce clean alternative fuels such as biomethane. Its patented VerdeControls™ plant control software and proprietary VerdeWatts™ system maximizes the efficiency of renewable energy facilities. The company also provides turnkey project development with planning and permitting, construction supervision, plant start-up and commissioning, and operational support services.

“FirmGreen is very pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency,” said FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn. “As we expand our operations from the domestic market to a global market with the export of equipment and services, deepening our international business and trade relationships has never been more important. We look forward to exploring the opportunities for developing clean, renewable energy projects around the world.”

About FirmGreen:
FirmGreen Inc. is a privately held, integrated energy company that participates in virtually all aspects of the global green-energy business.  FirmGreen identifies, develops and commercializes new and emerging technologies and alternative fuels.  The company has 37 employees at its headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., its lab and manufacturing plant in Kokomo, Ind., and its green-energy project-financing operations in New York City.  The company also has U.S.-based employees in Brazil.  For more information on this privately held, entrepreneurial organization, please visit, Facebook and Twitter.

For interviews requests with FirmGreen’s CEO Steve Wilburn, please contact Corporate Office Manager, Margaret von Tiesenhausen, at 949.270.2941,

About USTDA:

USTDA helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. The agency links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries. To view the USTDA annual report, please visit

FirmGreen CEO Named to 2014 ExIm Bank Advisory Committee

FirmGreen’s CEO Steve Wilburn (above, left) is honored to join the ExIm Bank Advisory Committee for 2014. In this role, he joins other business and industry leaders to work on ways to increase US exports and support US manufacturing jobs. Specifically Mr. WIlburn will represent businesses that address environmental issues.

The Ex-Im Bank Board of Directors appointed the Advisory Committee after an open nomination process that considered the candidates’ business experiences and qualifications, and created a balance in perspectives. The Advisory Committee represents an array of business sectors and stakeholder groups, including small business, manufacturing, labor, services, finance and environmental organizations.

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ExIm Bank Chairman, Fred Hochberg is shown above, at right

Brasil Biogas Plant is Now Selling Biogas!

It’s a big day at Gás Verde’s biogas purification plant as the first batch of biogas is sold! View our slideshow to see the story.

FirmGreen Hosts Brazilian Trade Delegation

FirmGreen Inc. (FirmGreen), a small renewable-energy company based in Orange County, Calif., hosted a Brazilian trade delegation at its Newport Beach headquarters this week as part of an United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Waste-to-Energy and Landfill Gas-to-Energy Reverse Trade Mission. Read more

Novo Gramacho Biogas Plant Opens: from Trash City to Green Energy Center

The Novo Gramacho biogas plant officially opened June this year, transforming a former environmental wasteland into a green energy center that purifies the gases that accumulate as waste decomposes. The cleaned biogas will be delivered to a nearby customer via pipeline, fueling a portion of its energy needs with renewable natural gas. The use of this cleaned biogas will displace the use of natural gas from fossil fuels. A portion of the cleaned biogas will power the operations of the Novo Gramacho facility.

In 2012, FirmGreen and other U.S. green-technology suppliers benefited from a $48.6 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) supporting exports of equipment and services for the development of the Novo Gramacho biogas project in Brazil — the world’s largest biogas project of its type. Read more

FirmGreen Named ExIm Bank Renewable-Energy Exporter of the Year

FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn (center) accepts the Renewable Energy Exporter of the Year award
from Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg (right) and Craig O’Connor (left). Photo credit: Ex-Im Bank

FirmGreen’s green technology exports create jobs and serve the world’s largest biogas project of its type

FirmGreen Inc. (FirmGreen), a small renewable-energy company based in Newport Beach, Calif., announces that it received the Renewable-Energy Exporter of the Year award from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). The award was presented today at the Bank’s 38th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Read more