Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

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Helping Feed the World Through Exports

September 13, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center. 

Zeigler Bros, Inc. (Zeigler), founded by brothers Ty and Leroy Zeigler, started as a local producer of poultry and livestock feed for farmers in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, area in 1935. Leroy’s son, Tom, took over and changed the company’s direction to focus on research and development of specialty animal foods and aquatic diets. Today, the company continues to develop new and innovative technologies and manufactures more than 300 products, including at two facilities in Pennsylvania, and exports their goods to between 40 and 50 countries each year.

Zeigler has worked closely with the International Trade Administration (ITA) to support its export growth, and is a 2013 recipient of the Presidential E-Award for Export Excellence, the highest government honor for increasing exports. Doug Barry, a Senior International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Global Knowledge Center, spoke with Zeigler’s international sales manager Chris Stock about the business and its exporting success.

Barry: Tell us about the business and what you produce.

Stock: We’re a manufacturer of specialty animal feeds. Our focus is aquaculture feeds, specifically for fish shrimp farms. We also do feeds for pet exotic animals. And we’re also involved with the biomedical research industry, helping provide specialty diets for the animals that serve as health models in research.

Barry: You’re not a Zeigler Brother. What’s your position with the company?

Stock: I manage the sales of the company in Asia. But I strictly focus on the aquaculture area, which is where a lot of our attention and efforts are involved. I’m only involved with export; I don’t do any domestic business. My eyes are overseas.

Barry: How long have you been exporting?

Stock: Zeigler’s been exporting for quite a while. It’s very ingrained in the company culture, which is a great reason for our success. In the mid ’80s is probably about the time it started. And our involvement with the aquaculture industry really helped pull us and propel us into export, because aquaculture is a very international business, and it happens more outside the U.S. than inside the U.S.

Barry: Tell us about the extent of your exports and how they contribute to the company’s success?

Stock: Exports have expanded rapidly, especially in the last handful of years. They now encompass a majority of our business, slightly over 50 percent. We’re exporting to between 40 and 50 different countries every year. Last count was 43; some come and go. But it’s a huge part of our business and it’s where we see the most growth opportunity. If we want to grow our business, it’s going to be through overseas markets.

We certainly have business in the U.S. and that’s important to us, but the U.S. market won’t be growing at the rate that the international markets are.

Barry: What markets are you focusing on, going forward?

Stock: Areas of interest most specifically are Africa and Southeast Asia. There are a number of countries in these areas – West Africa is a hotspot for us, specifically Nigeria and Ghana. Then in Southeast Asia, we look at Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, China, Philippines, Thailand, some of these countries.

Barry: What is attractive to you about Africa?

Stock: Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power. They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the U.S. can offer.

And there’s reason to take it slow when entering Africa and be cautious, but the opportunity outweighs the risk, there’s no doubt about that.

Barry: And do you think that Zeigler is a better company because of exporting, and if so, in what ways?

Stock: Absolutely. It diversifies the company, allows us to be insulated from issues in one market or another. Our business is subject to seasonality as well, and it has reduced the impact of seasonality on our manufacturing. And it just connects us throughout the world. The Zeigler brand is known in our industry throughout the world, and that’s a tremendous privilege.

And it challenges us. We are able to take opportunities and things we learn in one country and apply them elsewhere. So we’re always learning and one of the great parts about our job is we’re connecting people throughout the world and bringing ideas from one place to the other, whether or not they directly impact our product.

Barry: And what about the U.S. government? What has it done for you?

Stock: The Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce is kind of a go-to for us when we run into issues. There’s always something popping up. When you export to 40 to 50 countries a year, there’s going to be something at any given point on your plate. And so it’s a common go-to kind of hub for us.

In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us. That’s a big thing about exporting is knowing that you don’t know it all and you’re always going to need support. The government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.

Barry: Advice for other U.S. exporters or for companies considering it?

Stock: It’s a no-brainer. You should be exporting. If you’re not, start learning about it, talk to other exporters and just go for it. I think the key things to exporting are persistence and patience.

You have to realize that when you get in this, it may not be immediate sales, it may take years, but you have to have the long-term vision. If you’re willing to go through a couple of ups and downs, it can pay off in dividends. If you don’t enter the export market, you’re limiting your sales in a big way, no doubt about it.

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Congressional Hearing in Pennsylvania Links Government Trade Resources to Small Business

April 10, 2012

Tipten Troidl has been working with the International Trade Administration for thirteen years. Currently, she is serving as the Acting Director for the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and we need them exporting in order to reach the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) of doubling exports by the end of 2014.

On Monday, Joseph Hanley, the Regional Director for the U.S and Foreign Commercial Service testified in Pittsburgh [before the House Small Business Committee] on the “Impact of U.S. Trade Policies on Small Businesses and Manufacturing.”  Joe represented the International Trade Administration before the House Small Business Committee’s Chairman Tipton (CO) and Ranking Member Critz (PA).

Hanley noted that ITA’s main objectives are to expand U.S. exports and to create jobs.  The Commercial Service has 108 domestic offices around the country with three in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania U.S. Export Assistance Centers have provided 4,000 individual trade counseling sessions to over 1,000  Pennsylvania business in the past 1 ½ years.  We are pleased to announce that because of these services 257 Pennsylvania companies have reported 688 export successes valued at more than $500 million to 91 different countries. More importantly, 62% of these companies have fewer than 100 employees.

Pennsylvania has a plethora of success stories.

Hanley told the Congressmen about RPM industries, a small business that manufactures pre-lubrication and fluid evacuation for diesel and gasoline engines. His team helped RPM Industries expand its export development strategy by having RPM participate in an overseas trade mission event, Trade Winds, to Brazil.  Hanley happily reported that RPM Industries expects to have sold almost $1 million of its products to Brazil by the end of this year.

Joe also touched on other services that ITA provides to small businesses. ITA’s Petition Counseling and Analysis Unit  provides antidumping/countervailing duty counseling. Their objective is to help U.S businesses understand U.S unfair trade laws in relation to dumping and foreign government subsidies. The work of this office not only levels the playing field for small U.S businesses but helps companies with the process of filing a petition for an investigation.

If you are a small or medium size business and you are interested in giving exporting a try, please reach out to any one of our U.S. Export Assistance Centers because someone like Joe is waiting to help you.

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ITA Joins with Small Business Development Centers to Help U.S. Exporters

October 4, 2011

By Philippa Olsen, a marketing and communications specialist with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

In their business counseling efforts, the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) often work closely with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) through the network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). There are more than 100 USEACs located across the country that are staffed by trade specialists who can provide market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy support. The USEACs can also call on the knowledge and expertise of the USFCS’s overseas staff members, who are located in more than 75 U.S. embassies and consulates.

Lyn Doverspike, director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USEAC noted, “SBDCs are a perfect partner for us because they provide trade counseling for new exporters, as our complementary focus is on companies already exporting.” She added that “companies exporting for the first time have a longer timeline before they begin, and SBDCs offer foundational counseling for them before the U.S. Commercial Service steps in and offers them specific exporting assistance.”

This collaboration is especially beneficial in rural areas, commented Vickie Gyenes, a global trade manager who assists small businesses in the Appalachian region of western Pennsylvania through the St. Vincent College SBDC in Latrobe and the St. Francis University SBDC in Ebensburg. “Our clients are all small to medium-sized enterprises and may have experimented with exports in the past, but now see exporting as a vital part of their business,” she said. “SBDCs provide secondary market research; organize educational seminars—from basic training to more complicated topics, such as export controls; and work with the USEACs who have overseas presence and expertise. It’s a joint effort and a great relationship.”

In 2010, the St. Vincent College SBDC’s Center for Global Competitiveness received the President’s E Award for Export Service. This annual award recognizes U.S. companies and organizations that facilitate export trade and contribute to U.S. job growth and competitiveness. From late 2009 through 2010, the center’s efforts directly generated more than $8.9 million in increased export sales for Pennsylvania companies, accounting for more than 150 new or retained jobs

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Bringing the Russian Market to America Part 2

May 3, 2011

John McCaslin is Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service in Moscow, Russia.

Leaving Cincinnati on a Sunday  I would start the toughest part of my journey, four cities in five days.  Arrived very late Sunday night in Baltimore via Minneapolis due to cancellation of the original direct flight.  The BRIC program started first thing Monday morning at a downtown hotel and featured an excellent keynote address by our Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion, Suresh Kumar, followed by individual country plenary presentations on each of the four markets, and then concurrent breakout sessions on more specific aspects of doing business in these markets by successful US companies; a great program all in all, with over 100 business participants.

As noted earlier, these types of business outreach programs are put together by our outstanding domestic field and their local partners, in this case the Baltimore U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) and the state of Maryland.  Again,  all I had to do was show up.  Baltimore is a great venue for these types of programs because of its proximity to Washington, which makes it easy to bring in senior U.S. Department of Commerce management, our Market Access and Compliance country desk officers and Commerical Service Regional Directors; quite a formidable array of U.S. government resources all brought together to support our US business clients in a very practical and informative format.

As usual, the local USEAC set up meetings for me at the hotel with individual local companies interested in the Russian market, so after my presentation to the larger group and before hopping on a plane for my next city, I met with two local firms.  One company, an experienced manufacturer and distributor of dental products with lots of international sales, was already established in Russia and was coming to me for advice on a problem with their exclusive Russian distributor.  This is a pretty typical case for many US firms that come our way and we always try to do our best to help them out.  The issue involved counterfeit products of the US company showing up in Russia, which was hurting legitimate sales.  Intellectual property rights (IPR) is a big issue in Russia and one in which we are well equipped to assist, since we have a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Attache that sits in our FCS office in Moscow and a Russian IP attorney on staff.  I put the US firm in touch with our IPR staff in Moscow along with our Commercial Specialist who covers the medical sector, so they will be in good hands.

The second company was a well established manufacturer from Pennsylvania that sold duct work accessories into the HVAC sector in a number of foreign markets.  They have had some passive export sales to Russia, but really wanted to do much more.  I had a feeling we could really help this company so that day I put them in touch with our Moscow Commercial Specialist who covers this sector in order to start a dialogue and also looped in our Pittsburgh USEAC, which has worked with this company in the past.  Looking ahead to possible trade promotion opportunities, I let this firm know about a proposed energy efficiency trade mission to Russia later this year that the US Dept of Energy is planning with support from our agency.  This could be an interesting market entry vehicle for the company since the mission would be designed to bring Russian firms to the US and then take US firms to Russia in order consummate in-depth, long lasting business relationships.

Next stop Cleveland.

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Congresswoman Schwartz Presents Export Achievement Certificate to Woman-Owned-Business

April 20, 2010

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Tony Ceballos is the Director of the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service.

On Monday April 19th, I had the pleasure of joining Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA13) and Trade Specialist Cerrato in commending ISG Office Concepts for their successes in exporting.  ISG’s subsidiary Ancillare who manufactures and distributes pharmaceutical trial materials has recently completed successful trade campaigns to Singapore, Romania, South Korea, Germany, and Columbia.  In recognition of their exemplary success it was with great honor, to present President and CEO of ISG Joanne Santomauro with the Export Achievement Certificate (EAC).  The EAC is a form of accommodation reserved only select companies who embody a strong dedication to American ingenuity and export.  In addition, Bradley Schlegel of the online reporter was on hand to cover the event.  In his article “ISG Office Concepts Inc. honored for large number of exports”, President Santomauro commented “Small business is the engine of growth…It’s wonderful to recognize companies who help the economy grow.”  The event was a success which echoed the growing response of the Commercial Service to the President’s National Export Initiative.

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Majority Leader Joins Congressman Murphy’s International Forum in Pennsylvania

April 14, 2010

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Tony Ceballos is the Director of the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service.

Congressman Patrick Murphy and House Majority Leader Representative Steny Hoyer headlined what proved to be one of the most engaging events of the season.  With the USEAC’s support, Congressman Murphy (PA08), hosted the International Trade Forum to support the President’s economic priority to create jobs through exports and brought together the federal resources to make that a reality. Congressmen Murphy and Hoyer reaffirmed the importance of the work we are doing at the U.S. Commercial Service in facilitating President Obama’s mission to decrease the American trade deficit.  The event featured a panel of speakers, from CS, Ex-Im Bank, and SBA, presenting on federal export resources to help SMEs enter new markets. Congressmen Murphy and Hoyer remarked on the important role exports play in the nation’s economic recovery and encouraged companies to take advantage of the export assistance provided by federal trade agencies.   The Bucks County Courier Times noted: “The two congressmen stressed the importance of providing businesses with the tools they need to tap global markets because giving those businesses a boost creates jobs and helps the economy grow and prosper. Plus, Murphy added, President Obama wants to double U.S. exports in five years”.

Following the panel, companies had the ability to discuss potential plans of action with several trade specialists who were on hand.  Those who attended left with a clear idea of how to continue to grow their companies.

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Senator Casey Presents EAC to Pennsylvania Exporter

April 14, 2010

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Tony Ceballos is the Director of the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of heading a collaborative event between the U.S. Commercial Service and Senator Bob Casey.  We gathered at the headquarters of ABEC Inc., and for good reason.  ABEC Inc. is a biotechnology company that has grown their business with the help of the Commercial Service and expanded into several new markets through a handful of well orchestrated export campaigns. Most recently, ABEC has been preparing to sell their cutting edge bioreactors in China, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.   Senator Casey made the journey to Hanover, PA to recognize and commend the great accomplishments of ABEC Inc. in their continuing success in the field of export.  As an acknowledgment of ABEC Inc.’s success they were honored with the Export Achievement Award, a rare honor which has only been presented to five companies in Pennsylvania this year. Moreover, this recognition identifies ABEC Inc. as a model for companies seeking opportunities in global markets. The company’s achievements and the Senator’s support of U.S. exports were prominently noted in Lehigh Valley’s  Express-Times article.

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