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Brian Larkin is a Presidential Management Fellow serving in the International Trade Administration.
This week, the Department of Commerce hosted the 51st Annual President’s “E” Awards. During the ceremony, 57 American companies and organizations from 22 states were honored for their contributions to increasing our nation’s exports.
One of the winners was First Priority Emergency Vehicles, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of firefighting, medical, and other emergency vehicles and equipment.
“It is quite an honor to be a recipient of a 2013 President’s ‘E’ Award,” says First Priority President Robert J. Freeman.
“Our belief is that small businesses like First Priority have an important role to play in supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, growing our economy, and creating vital manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”
First Priority’s experience demonstrates both how the International Trade Administration (ITA) supports U.S. exporters and how a small business that takes a thoughtful, customer service-oriented approach to foreign sales can thrive.
Like other “E” Award winners, First Priority has found ITA to be a valuable partner. Mr. Freeman says that dedicated trade specialists, like Thomas Mottley of the Central New Jersey U.S. Export Assistance Center, have provided useful insights into foreign markets and made him aware of the many ITA resources available to exporters. He also credits CS officers based in China with apprising him of the commercial opportunity there and helping prepare him to do business in the country. Since then, China has become an important market for First Priority.
Another key to First Priority’s success has been understanding the needs of customers across a wide array of emerging markets. With buyers in countries like Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and Mexico, First Priority must modify its vehicles and equipment to meet differing local requirements. The firm carefully considers fuel efficiency standards, design characteristics, and even the prevalence of fire hydrants in its destination markets – and adapts its products accordingly.
First Priority has also been recognized for its comprehensive training programs, which help customers to effectively utilize what can be complex emergency vehicles. By remaining mindful of the technical and instructional needs of its clients, First Priority has earned a reputation internationally for superior customer service.
Exporters like First Priority and its fellow “E” Award recipients are selling quality products and services all over the world, strengthening their bottom lines, and creating jobs here in the United States. We at ITA are proud to support their efforts and look forward to continued export successes in the future.
We would also like to help your business. Please contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about our services.