MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Governor Robert Bentley today honored eight homegrown companies with Trade Excellence Awards for their accomplishments in exporting Alabama-made products and services to customers around the globe, reflecting a key priority of his administration’s economic growth strategy.
The companies receiving the award at a ceremony this morning in the Old House Chamber at the state Capitol demonstrate capabilities in a wide range of activities. One enterprise develops software that controls factories, while another has created technologies that turn waste into energy. The group includes a maker of railway maintenance and a manufacturer of street sweeping machines. One is a coal producer that competes with global energy giants.
The companies are helping to fuel a surge in Alabama exports. Last year, overseas shipments of Alabama-made goods topped $19.5 billion, just short of an annual record. Since 2009, Alabama exports have risen 57 percent. Over the past decade, the gain is 115 percent.
“Exports are an accelerator for Alabama’s economy and are one of the ‘drivers’ included in Accelerate Alabama, the state’s long-term economic development strategy,” Governor Bentley said. He added: “Alabama firms selling overseas have a better success rate of survival during economic downturns.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Alabama companies exported products to 194 countries in 2014, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs at home.
“Exporting has proved to be a smart move for many Alabama companies, enabling them to reach new customers in overseas markets while expanding their operations back at home,” Secretary Canfield said. “More of our companies should explore the opportunities they can discover through international trade.”
Companies that received the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award today are:
- Applied Chemical Technology Inc.: This Florence firm specializes in the design and fabrication of commercial production plans and equipment for a wide range of industries, including fertilizer makers. It has worked with an international clientele to design new equipment designs and processes for more than 32 years.
- Drummond Co.: Now based in Vestavia Hills, the privately owned family firm has a long history of exporting. The company, which has annual revenue topping $3.5 billion, is primarily in the coal business, with operations in Colombia and Alabama, where it produces metallurgical coal. Drummond is also a major producer of foundry coke.
- Gulf Trading LLC: The Mobile import/export company grew from the operations of Gulf Lumber and deals in lumber products and building materials. It has offices in Montreal, Canada, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as Tampa and Augusta, Georgia.
- Knox Kershaw Inc.: The Montgomery company, founded in 1924, manufactures railway maintenance equipment that increasingly is being sold overseas. International sales from expanded from $2 million per year to $10 million as the company has expanded its sales and service team to targeted regions and invested in attending international trade shows and trade missions. (A Knox Kershaw team was included on a Commerce-led trade and business development mission to Singapore and Thailand in 2014.)
- Masada Resource Group: The Birmingham-based company has project development activities related to converting municipal solid waste to ethanol and diesel fuel in 47 international markets. It’s a leading U.S. exporter of waste-to-energy technologies.
- Prism Systems Inc.: The Mobile company provides systems integration and software development for the operations of Fortune 500 companies across the world. Global customers come from a range of industries, including manufacturing, chemicals, food and beverage, oil and gas, telecommunications, and entertainment. Prism developed the software to control the world’s largest candy bar production line and the most complex and expensive amusement park ride ever built.
- Schwarze Industries Inc.: The Huntsville firm produces a full line of parking lot and street sweeper machines, as well road-patching and asphalt-repair units. It exports to 38 countries and has an assembly operation and a company-owned dealership in Australia.
- SEPCO: Sealing Equipment Products Co. in Alabaster designs, manufactures and distributes mechanical sealing devices for industrial pumps, valves and other rotating equipment; it also produces thermal and abrasion management products in the aerospace industry. SEPCO has a network of authorized distributors in more than 30 countries.
“Each of the companies being recognized today has a unique story to tell on just how they are being successful in capturing overseas sales and sustaining their companies,” said Hilda Lockhart, director of Commerce’s International Trade Division. “Sharing these examples can only encourage other Alabama companies to go global.”
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.
18 March 2015