This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today honored 123 U.S. companies and organizations that export goods and services overseas during the 2016 President’s “E” Awards ceremony. For the first time in the award’s 54-year history, winners represent every state and the District of Columbia. Of this year’s 123 honorees, 105 are small and medium-sized businesses, and 64 firms are manufacturers.
Did you know that the United States exported $2.23 trillion worth of goods and services in 2015? This high number would be nearly impossible without the hard work and dedication of our companies, here at home. It’s no secret that there is a continued demand for the world class goods and service that American businesses have to offer. By selling Made-in-America products internationally, 11.5 million Americans can wake up and go to jobs, thanks to the support of exports.
Have you ever seen a company display a huge blue and white banner with a large “E”? During World War II, more than 4,000 “E” pennants were presented to war plants in recognition of production excellence. The famous flag with the big “E” emblazoned on it became a badge of patriotism in action. President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Thus, the “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961. Today, companies that have been recognized continue this tradition.
This year, 73 companies and organizations were honored with the “E” Award for Exports for demonstrating a sustained increase in export sales over a four-year period. There were 28 companies and organizations that assisted and facilitated export activities and received the “E” Award for Export Service. The “E” Star Award for Exports, which recognizes previous “E” Awardees who have reported four years of additional export growth, was awarded to 17 firms. And, five companies were awarded the “E” Star Award for Export Service, which recognizes previous “E” Awardees that have shown four years of continued support of exporters since first winning the “E” Award.
One of this year’s awardees, The Fairfax Christian School is a kindergarten through 12th grade university-prep school located in Northern Virginia. For more than 50 years it has served the international community. The school enrolled its first international student in 1963; introduced its English as a Second Language program in the 1970s; began taking F-1 visa students in the 1980s; and, began opening schools overseas in 2010, including China.
The Fairfax Christian School currently has 42 employees and has added jobs as the international program expanded. In 2017, the school will open a new campus and plans to double the size of its international program and staff over the next three years.
Another example of one of this year’s winners is the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)—the State of Hawaii’s tourism agency. Its offices are located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. HTA’s mission is to increase tourism to markets in North America and internationally to support the ongoing, sustainable growth of Hawaii’s economy. The organization has been exporting for 18 years. It currently has 23 employees, and jobs have been added to accommodate business resulting from exporting.
American companies are nominated for “E” Awards through the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. To learn more about the “E” Awards and the benefits of exporting, visit www.export.gov.