Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.
U.S. exports of services topped $682 billion in 2013, up $50 billion from 2012. As we explained in a recent blog post, service exports come from a number of industries, from medicine to law.
One other important contributor is transportation services, like those provided by Virginia-based MV Global Transport, which organizes bus and other kinds of transportation for some of the most exciting events you’ve seen around the world.
The company got into global business with help from the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service, and now relies on international sales for 100 percent of its revenue.
Brad Kurtz, the company’s president, recently shared his company’s story with Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center.
Barry: You have some pretty impressive clients.
Kurtz: We provide special event transportation for large events all around the world. We have been fortunate enough to support the Olympics – in Salt Lake, Vancouver, as well as in London.
Barry: How did you get into international business?
Kurtz: We got in through the U.S. Commercial Service. They assisted us with work in Doha (Qatar) for the Asian games in 2006 and then also down in South Africa for the World Cup with introductions through their office there.
Barry: How did they do the introduction?
Kurtz: We were invited to a number of networking functions. They brought in the South African Football Delegation into Washington, D.C., and we had the opportunity to meet with them. From there they helped us further along our negotiations and assisted us while we were in South Africa.
Barry: How important has exporting been to your bottom line?
Kurtz: It’s the only way we have survived. Being a service industry, it’s difficult. You have the emerging markets, you have new markets. How do you know where to find the business? With the expertise and industry knowledge of the U.S. government, it’s been instrumental in helping us.
Barry: What percentage of your revenues is international now?
Kurtz: Currently, it’s 100 percent. I would have to say that the U.S. Commercial Service has helped us with about 80-plus percent of that.
Barry: Any new projects coming up?
Kurtz: We just opened up an office in Brazil, as well as in Qatar. So we are working already on the World Cup coming up in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
Barry: Any advice for U.S. companies that are thinking about exporting or expanding their international markets?
Kurtz: Enjoy the Gold Key program offered by the Department of Commerce. It’s very beneficial and definitely will help curb any concerns you may have in entering an international market.