MONTGOMERY, Alabama – An Alabama delegation on a Southeast Asia trade mission headed home today after meetings in Singapore, capping a coordinated, 13-day overseas visit that also allowed the group to make business connections in Indonesia and Thailand.
While in Singapore, one of the world’s major commercial hubs, the Alabama team received a briefing from U.S. Embassy officials and held meetings with local business contacts. Similar matchmaking appointments also were held in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Bangkok, Thailand.
Courtney Kershaw of Montgomery’s Knox Kershaw, a maker of railway maintenance equipment, said the business meetings on the Southeast Asia trade mission were productive. She was joined on the mission by Jaky Felix, sales manager at the company, which has customers all over the globe.
“We were able to meet key customers in our industry that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see without a long period of cultivation,” Kershaw said in an email message. “Furthermore, we are already seeing results from those meetings in the form of requests for bid proposals.”
SEEKING BUSINESS LEADS
Eric Baptiste, a business development manager for Enterprise Electronics Corp. (EEC), participated in the trade mission with the aim of developing new business leads and partners for the export-minded company. EEC produces affordable, high-quality meteorological radar systems for the world market.
The Enterprise-based firm last year acquired the satellite ground station business of Australia’s Environmental Systems and Services (ES&S) and set up a business unit called EEC TeleSpace, whose systems are used to receive, analyze and distribute data from meteorological, environmental and military satellites.
“We have installed more than 100 radars within Southeast Asia, but we want to market our new satellite systems division to both existing and new customers,” Baptiste said via email. “Ultimately, we want to be the premiere supplier of integrated environmental sensing systems in the region.”
Baptiste, who has been on two previous trade missions, said the business matching sessions in Southeast Asia have yielded promising results.
“This has been a well organized and executed trade mission that has exceeded my expectations in terms of the unprecedented access to decision makers in our target organizations, the quality of the business matching and the knowledge of in-country U.S. Commercial Service staff and the Alabama Commerce Department,” Baptiste said.
Also on the trade mission are representatives of MapuSoft Technologies and Quality Valve Inc., both of Mobile, and Motion Industries, based in Birmingham. The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce also was represented.
While in Singapore, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield met with Patrick Santillo, a senior officer with the U.S. Commercial Service, and with U.S. Ambassador Kirk Wagar. He later had meetings at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Singapore and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
Additional talks had an aerospace connection. Canfield met with officials of Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing, the Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd. ST Aerospace operates a major maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Mobile Aeroplex.
Aerospace is a key target in the Accelerate Alabama strategic economic development growth plan for the state.
The Southeast Asia trade mission was coordinated by the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance, a group of organizations that share the goal of boosting international trade.