Celeste Drake will lead the Biden administration's efforts to promote American manufacturing.

Celeste Drake will lead the Biden administration's efforts to promote American manufacturing. UCLA

Biden Names First ‘Made in America’ Office Director

Celeste Drake, a trade expert with ties to organized labor, was hailed as an “outstanding” choice, said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

President Biden on Tuesday afternoon announced his hire for the first director of the new Made in America office at the White House.

Biden established the office in an executive order issued on January 25. The new organization, part of the Office of Management and Budget, is to push federal agencies to buy more products made in the United States. It builds on current laws—the Buy American and Buy America statutes, passed in 1933 and 1982, respectively. The hire, Celeste Drake, was most recently the executive in charge of government affairs at the Directors Guild of America. Before that she was a trade and globalization policy specialist for the AFL-CIO. 

“As the nation’s first Made in America director, Celeste Drake will shape and implement federal procurement and financial management policy to help carry out the president’s vision of a future made in all of America by all of America’s workers — including minority entrepreneurs and small businesses in every region in our country,” said a statement from the White House. 

“Drake has led efforts to reform the labor rules in the NAFTA/USMCA, to convince the U.S. government to address labor rights violations in Bangladesh, Thailand, Fiji, and Georgia, and to reform the process by which Congress oversees and approves trade agreements to protect American jobs,” the White House said. 

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said in a statement Drake was an “outstanding” pick for the new role. “She is an effective life-long advocate for working families, American manufacturing, and worker-centered policies,” he said. “We look forward to supporting her efforts to ensure the nation’s diverse workforce benefits from federal investments, including rebuilding American infrastructure.” 

Experts previously told Government Executive how the “Made in America” executive order could impact federal contractors. 

The new office will review waivers to purchase goods from outside the United States. It could lead to “significant ramifications with respect to the impact on government contractors to the extent that there will be fewer waivers in the future,” said Robert Burton, partner with Crowell & Moring and former deputy administrator and acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. “I think that’s where we’re headed.”

The executive order outlines a series of actions the director must take 45 days after his or her appointment. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Jason Miller to be OMB deputy director for management.