Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

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Arlington County, Va.: Showcasing at SelectUSA

July 20, 2017

This post is part of SelectUSA’s EDO Spotlight series, highlighting the work of EDOs around the country recruiting foreign direct investment, how that work supports jobs and economic growth across the United States, and how SelectUSA partners with EDOs to support economic development. 

By Natalie Monkou, Business Development Manager, Arlington Economic Development.

Arlington Economic Development logoAs a region, the Greater Washington area is a prime destination for international companies that want to expand and grow in the United States. Arlington’s location, just across the Potomac River from Washington, allows companies, both regional and international, unparalleled access to the entire region and the world.

For the past three years, Arlington Economic Development (AED) has attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit (Summit), using the event as an opportunity to showcase Arlington, Va., and its community, businesses, and infrastructure. International companies interested in expanding or locating to the Washington region will find that Arlington has many tangible benefits including:

  • Strategic East Coast location within a two-hour flight time to major business centers in the United States
  • Easy access to three international airports (Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) that connect to markets representing 80 percent of the world’s economy
  • Closest proximity of any Virginia jurisdiction to U.S. federal government, international organizations, and institutions
  • Highest percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds in the country with the majority working in the professional, scientific and technical services industries

As we look to grow and expand our business community, Arlington views SelectUSA as a great convener of subject matter experts that discuss topics of interest to our mission and community. Currently, Arlington is focused on attracting companies in high technology markets such as cybersecurity, energy, health, education, and big data. The Summit provides an ideal platform to engage with compatible businesses and organizations.

This year, as a kickoff to the Summit, we co-hosted a regional dinner with the Greater Washington China Investment Center and our partner EDOs from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. During this event, AED representatives engaged with 120 Chinese delegates and investors and local companies that are currently doing business or are interested in expanding their business to the United States.

The Summit is also a great platform to attract international companies. During our first visit to SelectUSA in 2015, AED met with representatives from Arktis Detection Systems, Inc., a Zurich, Switzerland-based company that develops cutting-edge radiation detection systems. The company has received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which also happens to be headquartered in Arlington, to continue work on its advanced range of detectors. As a result of those discussions, in April 2016, Arktis opened its first U.S. subsidiary in Arlington. The Arlington location has given the company a home base in the United States to support and grow its operations. It was especially rewarding this year to see and listen to Rick Muntz, acting president of Arktis, speak on the “Preparing for and Managing Sustainable Growth: Exploring U.S. Soft Landings” panel at the Summit.

Overall, this served as a reminder of the success and the support that international companies, especially early-stage startups, receive when locating or expanding to the United States and Arlington, Va.

Interested in learning more about Arlington, Va., or how Arlington Economic Development can assist with your company’s business move? Contact us at aed@arlingtonva.us.

 

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Small Medical Technology Firm Overcomes Shipping Challenges and Succeeds in International Sales

June 30, 2017

Pompeya Lambrecht is a senior international trade specialist in the U.S. Commercial Service Northern Virginia office and a member of the Global Healthcare Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Last year I met Patrick Cheng, CEO of eKare, Inc., when he was signing a distribution agreement to sell his firm’s medical wound imaging devices in Asia and other regions throughout the world.  This is a big success for the Washington, D.C., area start-up that wasestablished in 2014.  However, without previous international shipping experience, Cheng needed help figuring out how best to ship his products. tech

eKare’s products use machine intelligence and sensor technologies to deliver wound imaging directly to a mobile device at the point of care.  While the product looks like a tablet, it’s a medical device powered by eKare’s proprietary software.

High-tech medical devices such as these make our lives better, but they present special challenges in the international trade environment.  For instance, do you ship the device as a computer tablet or a medical device?  What product registrations does eKare need to comply with foreign government regulations?  What U.S. export regulations does eKare need to observe?

With the help of the U.S. Commercial Service and introductions to private sector volunteers like Kathy O’Keefe, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Virginia/D.C. District Export Council, eKare completed its first international shipments.

“Exporting can be very complicated, and we couldn’t have done it without guidance from Pompeya and Kathy, and support from the U.S. Department of Commerce,” Cheng said.

Selling internationally can seem daunting.  Nevertheless, with management’s commitment and patience to sell overseas, even small companies like eKare can increase their international footprint.  There is a network of resources available to help small and medium-sized companies sell internationally.  These include other federal agencies like the EXIM Bank as well as local economic development partnerships, like the Virginia Small Business Development Center.  Healthcare firms can access sector-specific resources from the U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team. To learn more, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

 

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President’s “E” Awards Highlight the Importance of Exporting U.S. Goods and Services

May 24, 2017

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross kicked off World Trade Week by honoring 32 U.S companies and organizations during the President’s “E” Award. Winners of the 2017 “E” Awards represent diverse communities in 23 U.S. states and Guam. Among the honorees, 26 are small and medium-sized businesses and 11 firms are manufacturers.

This year’s recipients included Johnsonville, LLC  of Sheboygan Falls, Wisc. The company started as a small butcher shop by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer and has now expanded to become the nation’s No. 1 sausage brand.  Its products, which include bratwurst, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, meatballs, and now chicken, are sold in all 50 states and 40 countries. The company’s international business has grown 233 percent during the past 10 years, and its leadership recently set a goal of doubling international sales within the next five years. Since 2008, Johnsonville has added 400 jobs, with many of those supported by its growing export business.

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Johnsonville, LLC of Sheboygan Falls, Wisc recieved the E Star Award.

Davenport Aviation, Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, acts as an end-to-end procurement partner for each of its customers. It helps source aircraft parts, inspect for quality, consolidate orders and manage the lifecycle of their orders. Today, 95 percent of the company’s sales are outside of the United States, resulting in new jobs near its headquarters. Nineteen of their 20 employees support its export business.

Hoosier Gasket Corporation’s export growth shows how U.S. small business can win in today’s global marketplace. This Indianapolis-based company made its first export sale in 2007. Shortly after, the company began aggressively exploring other potential markets by using the U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key matchmaking service. The company’s international sales now account for 15 percent of total sales, supporting 15 percent of the 140 jobs.

The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Winners of the “E” Award are authorized to fly a blue and white banner, to display the accompanying certificate of commendation which is signed by the Secretary of Commerce in the name and by the authority of the President. Employees of the company are also encouraged to wear an “E” lapel pin as a sign of achievement for their contribution to increasing U.S. exports.

This year’s awardees helped contribute to the United States’ exporting more than $2.2 trillion of goods and services in 2016, and the estimated 11.5 million American jobs supported by exports. For a full list of the 2017 E Award winners, click here.

 

 

 

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World Trade Week: Celebrating the Achievements of American Exporters

May 22, 2017

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Sarah Kemp is the Acting Deputy Under Secretary at the International Trade Administration

This month, the International Trade Administration (ITA) joins the world in celebrating World Trade Month. In fact, this week is recognized as World Trade Week (May 21-27).

Nearly 295,000 U.S. companies exported goods in 2015. In fact, 97.6 percent of these companies were small- or medium sized businesses, with fewer than 500 employees. This is a perfect time to celebrate the achievements of American exporters, particularly small-and medium sized businesses.

Today, Secretary Wilbur Ross welcomed hundreds of U.S. company representatives to the Department of Commerce in honor of the President’s “E” award. The Award was created by Executive Order of the President in recognition of a firm or organization that has made significant contributions to the increase of American exports. For example, previous recipients have included; Chicago-based Garrett Popcorn which sells gourmet popcorn from retail shops, and has expanded to sell their products throughout Asia and the Middle East; Nanci’s Frozen Yogurt of Mesa, Arizona, which makes and sells soft serve, flavorings, and smoothie mixes to frozen yogurt chains and restaurants in dozens of countries around the world; and Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. of Sanford, Florida, which makes high-performance adhesives, sealants,  and precision processing equipment, and exports to 44 countries.

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Secretary Wilbur Ross congratulates winners of the 2017 President’s E Awards at the Department of Commerce

Whether you are a small business or a huge corporation, here at ITA, we are charged with helping U.S. exporters and workers succeed in the global marketplace. We have a number of resources to help. Throughout the month, our Industry & Analysis sector leads will be releasing new Top Markets reports, adding to a collection of sector-specific reports that are designed to help U.S. exporters compare markets across borders, using our unique combination of market analysis, data and economic modeling. Each Top Markets report includes commentary on opportunities, trends, and challenges facing U.S. exporters in the largest potential markets, allowing exporters to target their resources at the most impactful opportunities.

ITA also has resources to help current exporters challenge unfair trade practices. The agency’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance (TANC) is another great resource for U.S. exporters. They specialize in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers.

Our unique role in promoting exports, attracting investment, and leveling the playing field continues to produce results. Last year, we assisted over 28,000 U.S. companies (nearly 90% of which were small-and-medium-sized enterprises). Our efforts enabled $59 billion in U.S. exports. We also facilitated more than $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States; administered 368 Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties orders; and successfully removed, reduced, or prevented 110 foreign trade barriers. In total, our work supported more than 300,000 American jobs last year alone.

Our resources help exporters at every stage of the process, from becoming an exporter to helping your company face unfair trade barriers. Whether you are a big or small, new to exporting or have been exporting for decades- we are here to help. Every day, we strive to expand opportunities for American businesses through new markets. Our U.S.-based export assistance centers are in more than 100 cities, and our foreign commercial service offices  are in more than 75 markets around the world. Together we help U.S. businesses tap into global markets in ways they may not have been able to otherwise.

Throughout World Trade Month, events across the country are being held to recognize the importance of exporting. I encourage you to follow ITA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We will be covering a series of events throughout the month.

It is an honor to see the profound impact our agency has had on exporting and helping clients across the country. We would love to hear your story! Tell us how ITA has supported job creation at your company. Make sure to tag us on Twitter, @TradeGov,

 

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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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Putting the “Global” in Global Delaware

December 15, 2016

Emma Pautler is Marketing Director of Global Delaware 

For Global Delaware, 2016 has been an exciting and busy year. We have long known of the critical role foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in our state economy; indeed, FDI in Delaware directly supports more than 28,000 jobs. But sometimes it is just as important to pause and reflect on how it all comes about. 

The First State is known for its business friendly corporate law – and part of our work at Global Delaware is focused on showcasing this – not to mention the economic infrastructure that provides for quick and easy access to markets, our approachable local government. . . (OK, we will spare you the full pitch).

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Delegates from the Embassy of Spain meet with representatives of Global Delaware and SelectUSA Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell at SevOne Inc.’s Newark, Delaware campus.

Since January, we’ve hosted delegations from China, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. In April, we joined the largest-ever U.S. delegation in the USA Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016; President Barack Obama even stopped by our booth and posed for a picture with a cardboard cutout of a well-known Delawarean – Vice President Joe Biden. In June, the largest startup campus in Europe, Factory Berlin, opened its first U.S. location in Wilmington.  We also attended the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which led to several new leads – and we’ve been busy hosting, following up and assisting the many business owners we met there. There’s no way we are missing the 2017 Investment Summit next June!

Many people from different sectors and organizations pulled together in order to make this all happen.  Indeed, some of these successes would not have been possible without help from our friends at SelectUSA and the Department of Commerce. Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell traveled to Delaware to help us welcome delegates from the Spanish Embassy. Investment Specialist Nathan Regan helped us with market research to lock in a French IT company, slated to open their operations in January 2017. The U.S. Consul General in Munich Jennifer Gavito, together with our friend Jana Dorband, kindly supported our many trips to Berlin to finalize details for Factory Berlin’s launch.

A growing challenge (though not necessarily a bad one) for our team has been how not to become victims of our own success.  Delaware IS welcoming and business friendly – but we are also so much more than corporations.  This is why, beyond meeting with delegations and international business owners, we’ve spent a great deal of time developing innovative strategies that create value for international investors looking to bring their business to Delaware.

The most exciting endeavor in this field was the launch of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative. Governor Jack Markell announced the project in May, generating interest around the world. This technology efficiently records financial transactions between parties on a network without the costs and delays associated with intermediaries. We are already working hard with entrepreneurs around the world to develop practical applications.

In short, over the past year, we have forged international partnerships and implemented new strategies that show the world that the First State is open for investment like never before. Given the incredible successes we saw this year, we are excited to see what 2017 holds. Stay tuned by visiting our website and following us on Twitter.

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Foreign Investment Breathes New Life Into Ohio City

December 8, 2016

Guest blog post by Kristi Tanner, Automotive Senior Managing Director, JobsOhio

On October 7, Fuyao Glass America, a subsidiary of China-based Fuyao Group, celebrated the grand opening of its auto glass manufacturing facility in Moraine, a small industrial city just south of Dayton, Ohio. The company invested nearly $600 million to convert a shuttered General Motors assembly plant into the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility – the largest capital investment east of the Mississippi by a Chinese company.

Many of us involved with the Fuyao project had the good fortune to tour the facility at its various stages of life. I recall seeing the plant before it closed when GM employed nearly 2,000 people producing the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy. Its transition from a behemoth building sitting empty during the recession to the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility employing more than 2,000 workers today is how we know a long-term vision and collaborative approach are must-haves in any economic development strategy.

A coordinated effort and long-term vision to attract foreign direct investment is a must-have in any economic development strategy. Had local leadership not fought to keep the building from being demolished in the early days of the GM closure, we would never have been able to find a strong industrial developer willing to take a risk on the facility. Similarly, without the strong partnership and collaboration between SelectUSA, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County and the city of Moraine, among others, we might never have been about to attract this company that is now giving hope to a city hit hard by job losses during the Great Recession.

The story behind Fuyao’s decision to redevelop the shuttered facility in Ohio is a textbook case illustrating how local, regional, state and national economic development organizations can work together to successfully attract foreign direct investment in the United States. Here’s how the story began.

Fuyao had expressed a desire to build a manufacturing plant in the U.S. to put the company’s automotive glass production closer to its North American customers. This led JobsOhio, the state’s private, non-profit economic development corporation, to attend the grand opening of Fuyao’s plant in Russia in September 2013. At the event, I presented Fuyao Group’s Chairman Cao Dewang with a personalized letter from Governor John Kasich inviting him to visit Ohio. The exchange led to an invitation to visit Fuyao’s corporate headquarters in Fuzhou, China, where I spent a day touring the operations and meeting with Chairman Cao other company leaders.

At around the same time, Cao was invited to attend the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. He decided he would travel to the U.S. for the event to meet with – and ultimately visit – the finalist sites for Fuyao’s planned U.S. manufacturing facility. He liked what he saw in Moraine – a skilled and available workforce, an existing plant near a rail line and an interstate highway, and easy access to both suppliers and customers. He also recognized Ohio’s genuine desire to support Fuyao’s long-term success in the U.S.

Fuyao’s investment has breathed new life into the plant and the city of Moraine. Hundreds of people who had been out of work now have jobs, including some that worked in the plant for GM. Income tax revenue from the new plant already is allowing the city to make much-needed road improvements. The plant is stimulating additional growth in Dayton’s automotive industry. Local economic development leaders are eager to see if Fuyao attracts additional Chinese investment in the region.

This is how today, combined with a globally connected economy and a coordinated effort among economic development leaders at every level, a Chinese company is now helping make the American Dream come true. The proof is history-making results for communities, states and companies alike.