Colorado congressman recognizes CS Denver client as state’s 2016 Exporter of the Year

May 19, 2017

Stephen J. Collier is a Communications Specialist in the Southwest Network for the U.S. Commercial Service

U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) joined leaders from the City of Aurora earlier this month to recognize a U.S. Commercial Service-Denver client as the state’s 2016 Exporter of the Year.

Representative Coffman, the Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, city council leadership and leaders from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognized AvTech International, LLC Owner and CEO Yonas Solomon for his exporting achievement.

“It’s very exciting to have the state’s 2016 Exporter of the Year come out of this the 6th Congressional District,” said Coffman. “To have this relatively young business with this very, exciting business model win this award is just outstanding. A special thanks goes out to all the partners for their help in making this all possible.”

Coffman referenced several agencies that worked with AvTech to ensure proper market research as well as business and export financing were made available to them. These include the SBA, U.S. Commercial Service-Denver, Commerce Bank and other entities.

AvTech, which focuses on exporting aircraft parts and other aviation-related items to markets throughout the Middle East as well as East Africa, set a record in 2016, surpassing $1 million in sales for the first time.

“I want to thank Bryson Patterson and Commerce Bank for helping me get the money,” said Solomon after receiving the exporter of the year award. “Thank you everybody, we appreciate this recognition, and hopefully we’ll work hard to be better.”

Patterson is an export finance specialist with the Region VIII SBA office.

Early on in AvTech’s existence, Solomon said one of the toughest challenges was gaining access to capital to ensure they could purchase aircraft parts for further overseas sales. As a young business, Solomon lamented how challenging it was for larger banks to get interested in very small aviation markets half a world away.

But all that changed in 2015 when Solomon met with SBA officials. The SBA was able to introduce Solomon to strategic partnering banks within the Denver area, and eventually connected Solomon with Commerce Bank. In turn, Solomon secured the financing he needed for parts purchases to ensure exporting product in a timely manner could take place.

And now, the U.S. Commercial Service in Denver is working to place AvTech in more African markets, working hand-in-hand with Solomon to identify potential buyers as well as identify key markets that are in demand of AvTech’s unique, tailored aviation parts distribution.

“Yonas Solomon and AvTech is the perfect example of taking an idea in this country and turning it into a livelihood,” said Paul Bergman, U.S. Commercial Service-Denver director. “He and his family have worked very hard to build this company to where it is, and we look forward to finding new opportunities for AvTech in the coming months and years.”

Solomon, who emigrated from African nation of Eritrea, attended the University of Denver in the early 1990s where he earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical engineering. Coffman recognized that immigrants like Solomon and thousands of others who live within Colorado’s 6th Congressional District have a true entrepreneurial spirit.

“We have a large African immigrant community, as well as other immigrant communities, in this congressional district, particularly in Aurora, and they tend to be very entrepreneurial.” Coffman said. “Their vision of the American dream often includes starting their own small business. So, this partnership is so crucial to making that American dream possible and duplicating it across this country.”

To learn more about how our Commercial Service Offices can help your business reach new and emerging markets, visit us on the web.

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