Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

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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.

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El Paso plastic molding company grows international sales by $8 million, exports 85 percent of product

December 8, 2016

After years of working with the U.S. Commercial Service, a plastics molding company here has expanded its profit margin by more than $8 million and created more than 100 jobs through cross-border sales into Mexico.

Plastic Molding Technology, Inc., a manufacturer of injection-molded plastic components that produces more than 150 million parts per year, has worked with the U.S. Commercial Service in El Paso and New Mexico since 2011. During that time, Robert Queen, Director of U.S. Commercial Service-El Paso, worked with PMT to lock in several new customers across the border in Ciudad Juarez.

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Congressman Beto O’Rourke (center, left) and PMT owner and CEO Charles A. Sholtis joins PMT employees honor of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award.

This is something PMT CEO Charles A. Sholtis said directly attributed to their company’s success today.

“PMT regards Robert Queen and the El Paso Commercial Service as excellent partners for our company, as well as strong advocates for American manufacturing,” said Sholtis. “The organization is professional and supportive of our needs as a plastic components manufacturer on the US-Mexico border. From helping us link with new opportunities, to connecting us in B2B meetings, to recognizing our achievements as an exporter, we value our partnership and appreciate the support.”

Together with its El Paso operations, the U.S. Commercial Service is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses successfully enter global markets.

Through the assistance provided by CS El Paso, Robert Queen said PMT has had its visibility enhanced within the borderplex community. Additionally, the U.S. Commercial Service’s relationships and resources provided for important connections through business-to-business matchmaking and trades shows as well as up-to-date market intelligence, trade analysis data and industry reports that lead to a number of trade leads.

“The work we have done with PMT has been much more than just finding them opportunities overseas for export,” Queen said. “We’ve also helped to strengthen their position locally through networking, consulting, and talking about projects taking place both in El Paso and Cuidad Juarez.”

The increased demand for PMT’s products has also had an effect on their workforce. With the increased need for plastic molding injection with businesses on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, PMT has increased their workforce to 100 employees. These employees are broken down into four shifts that keep the plant running 24 hours, seven days a week.

“For companies like PMT, it’s more than just exporting; companies along the U.S.-Mexico border are taking part in product sharing, which requires more back-and-forth coordination and consulting,” Queen said. “This can take multiple years to complete. Because we are very much engaged in the local manufacturing environment due to its exports across the border, it’s easy for the U.S. Commercial Service to stay on the cusp of the manufacturing supply chain locally.”

According to their website, for five decades, PMT has serviced a wide array of industries Including automotive, appliance, electrical, medical, agricultural, marine, and consumer products. Strategically located in El Paso, Queen said PMT is well-positioned to serve the maquiladora plants in Mexico, and continue to seek out other opportunities in the United States’ southern neighbor.

Interested in connecting with the U.S. Commercial Service? Visit us on the web to find an office near you.

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day in Pella, Iowa

October 12, 2016
Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Guest blog post by Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Throughout the year nearly 3,000 Vermeer team members work diligently to build impressive equipment that serves ten different markets. Our engineering team works hard to concept and design equipment; our manufacturing team machines, welds, paints and assembles the tough equipment we sell. Our support teams procure parts, integrate technology solutions, market the equipment and build relationships with customers and dealers on six continents. In order to experience ongoing success as a growing global company, we must continue to recruit, develop and build teams that can keep pace with our customer needs.

Numbers prove that a STEM-skilled workforce is essential to the future of manufacturing and our world. Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility create an additional 250 jobs in other sectors. Yet 80 percent of manufacturers report difficulty in finding skilled workers. Manufacturing clearly has an impact on the nation’s economy. So the skills gap we are facing in our industry has to be addressed in order to achieve a healthy workforce, and is sure to be reflective of the significant need throughout the nation.

Our annual Manufacturing Day event at the Vermeer headquarters in Pella, Iowa has proven to have some of the most positive, immediate results in shifting the manufacturing perception. We invite local middle and high school students inside our doors and break down the myth that manufacturing means a dirty job.

Through hands-on activities and plant tours, students get to dig into all the facets of manufacturing. Paint and weld simulators offer an opportunity to try it out. 3D printing, digital assembly and robotics activities show students manufacturing isn’t an outdated assembly line, but rather a smartly progressive field maximizing science and technology. Finance and marketing activities have students calculate exchange rates and see that manufacturing isn’t limited to a factory, but instead is connected around the globe.

We’re once again preparing to give students an up-close look at what manufacturing is all about. Why? Students, and their influencers, want it. An Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council survey shows that 94 percent of Iowans think STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts. Our Manufacturing Day experience reflects that. Attendance jumped from 100 students to 700+ in just three years.

We also make it a point to survey the students before and after their visit, and are very motivated by the results: The percentage of students who felt they understood what manufacturing is, jumped from 57 percent before Manufacturing Day to 97 percent after, and those who want to work in manufacturing someday jumped from 34 percent to 69 percent. With the majority of students saying that personal experience directs them down a particular career path, we want Manufacturing Day to be one experience that launches them on a STEM journey toward manufacturing!

The future is bright for Vermeer, and when we open on our doors on October 14 for Manufacturing Day, we stand with pride to be a manufacturer and future employer to some of these students who will leave inspired to pursue a career in manufacturing.