Governor Bentley honors Alabama companies for exporting success

A Mitternight pressure vessel is loaded on a truck for shipment.
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MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Governor Robert Bentley today honored eight Alabama companies for success in exporting goods ranging from advanced audio/video equipment and aviation sensing devices to giant steel pressure vessels and waterworks system products.

The companies, which reflect a mix of different industries from across the state, each received a Governor’s Trade Excellence Award at a ceremony at the State Capitol today. The program was established in 2005 to recognize Alabama manufacturers and service companies for expanding their business activities on the global stage.

“Alabama products are among the best in the country, and the companies recognized today show how successful Alabama products are reaching the global marketplace,” Governor Bentley said. “In 2013 Alabama exports total $19.3 billion, which represents a 57 percent increase since 2009. The Export Alabama Alliance is connecting Alabama companies with exciting new opportunities, and that’s good business for this state.”

The eight companies honored today were:

  • Aladdin Light Lift Inc.: This Huntsville company, which produces a motorized winch system to raise and lower chandeliers or decorative lighting from high ceilings, now exports to 11 countries. One of the company’s most notable projects has been the Sheikh Abdullah Palace in Dohar, Qatar, where eight Aladdin light lifts were installed.
  • Archangel Systems: The Auburn firm makes mission-critical sensing systems for customers such as Boeing, Marenco Swisshelicopter, the Australian Ministry of Defense and branches of the U.S. military. Export sales have risen from 1 percent of revenue in 2010 to 66 percent today. France, Spain and South Korea are being eyed as new export markets.
  • ES Robbins Corp.: Edward Stanley Robbins, a product inventor with more than 150 patents, founded the Muscle Shoals company in 1967. The company now operates five divisions, selling office products, horse fencing, consumer products and more. The firm employs 175 bilingual workers and exports to five continents.
  • Fagerman Technologies Inc.: The Morgan County firm is an innovator in LiDAR, a remote sensing technology used to create maps. CEO Jeff Fagerman has targeted customers outside mapping and engineering to include law enforcement agencies and Hollywood special effects artists. The technology could be useful in unmanned aerial systems, which can be flown legally in many countries outside the U.S.
  • Hornsby Steel Inc.: The family owned firm in the Blount County community of Cleveland specializes in the curving and bending of steel and other metals for architectural, industrial, shipbuilding and other applications. It has developed a market for curved or spiraled monumental staircases. Hornsby Steel is actively pursuing contracts in South and Central America and the Caribbean.
  • McWane Inc.: With 25 foundries and manufacturing facilities in North America, the Birmingham industrial giant is the nation’s largest maker of waterworks products such as ductile iron pipe, valves, fittings and hydrants. McWane has international operations around the globe and has exported to 135 countries
  • Mitternight Inc: The company was founded in 1927 as a boiler repair shop in Mobile. Today, the Satsuma-based firm makes heat exchangers, chemical reactors, distillation columns and other pressure vessels for major companies around the world. Top export markets are Canada, China, Europe, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
  • PESA Switching Systems Inc.: PESA’s advanced audio/video digital routing switcher products are made in Alabama and sold around the world. Clients include international broadcasters, NASA, the Defense Department and Fortune 500 companies. PESA equipment has been used to support space launches, the Weather Channel and broadcasts of sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

“Exports are an accelerator for Alabama’s economy,” Governor Bentley said at today’s event.

EXPANDING INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Exports from Alabama last year approached a record level and have been on a steep upward trajectory in recent years.  Last year, Alabama companies shipped a broad range of products from different industry sectors to nearly 200 countries worldwide.

PESA places "Made in Alabama" stickers on its product packaging.
PESA places “Made in Alabama” stickers on its product packaging.

The top five export markets for Alabama companies in 2013 were Canada, China, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

“The companies honored here today make up an important component of the state’s engine for growth, retention and job creation,” Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said.  “A sustained increase in exports plays a key role in Accelerate Alabama, the state’s strategic plan for economic development.”

The Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards program is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance, a network of international trade agencies that help Alabama companies expand their business activities to points around the globe. Objectives of the program include identifying successful Alabama exporters, promoting them as role models to the state business community, and increasing awareness of exporting’s economic benefits.

PESA XSTREAM, a multi-channel high definition (HD) IP streaming device, is one of several PESA products that are made in Alabama.
PESA XSTREAM, a multi-channel high definition (HD) IP streaming device, is
one of several PESA products that are made in Alabama.

“Exporting is one way of increasing a company’s sales potential; it expands the ‘pie’ that you earn money from, which can make a major difference during an economic downturn,” said Hilda Lockhart, director of the Department of Commerce’s International Division. “Increasing sales impacts the company’s profitability, increases the productivity and thus lowers unit costs. All in all, companies that export are more competitive and sustainable.”

Previous winners of the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award can be found here.

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