GE has 8,000 employees in Brazil, and rising. At factory rallies here Immelt-as-cheerleader - looks out at the future of the company.
Immelt: I want you to get up everyday and want to beat Caterpillar. I want you to hate the color yellow and do everything you can to make sure we're winning and beating the competition.
On top of expanding the locomotive operation here, Immelt is building a new aviation plant and a new research and development center in Rio.
Stahl: You have also made the case that by increasing investment in a place like Brazil it would allow you to bring more jobs back home. Now, that's counterintuitive.
Immelt: Look around this room. All of these components come from the U.S.
[Immelt walking in factory, saying: How are ya doin?]
But after following him around Brazil, I wondered whether GE was still an American company.
Immelt: I'm a complete globalist. I think like a global CEO. But I'm an American. I run an American company. But in order for GE to be successful in the coming years, I've gotta sell my products in every corner of the world.
Stahl: I mean, you may personally think of yourself as an American. But your customers are over there. You put your plants over there, you even put research-
Immelt: If I wasn't out chasing orders in every corner of the world, we'd have tens of thousand fewer employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas. I'm never going to apologize for that, ever, ever.
[Obama and Immelt at a GE factory.
Obama: I love coming to these plants.
Immelt: It's great.
Obama: Cause we actually see stuff getting made
Immelt: 90 percent exported from here.
Obama: That's exactly right!]
Immelt worked with the president to devise his $447 billion dollar jobs package. And now this week he and his Jobs Council - that's been holding meetings all around the country - will give Mr. Obama more proposals such as: reducing government regulations and spending more to retrain workers.
Stahl: If the Republicans say the government shouldn't spend, how the heck are we going to get ourselves out of this?
Immelt: No, no, this notion that the government has no role has never been true in the history of the United States. You know, really, all of the commercial aviation industry has grown out of defense spending. All of the health care innovation has grown out of the NIH.
In his 10 years as CEO, Immelt has remade GE, selling off half the company he inherited, including plastics, insurance and NBC.
[Sound-up from "30 Rock" episode.
Tina Fey: Oh my God.
Alec Baldwin: They're selling NBC to a company called Kabletown... With a K.]
At the same time, he has refocused the company on manufacturing, bulking up units like transportation, energy and research and development. As jobs czar he's urging his fellow CEOs to double their hiring of engineers and devote more money to R & D. At GE, he's tripled spending on everything from medical research to green technology, including the building of a solar panel factory in the U.S., even as other American solar companies are folding.