Welspun, Alliance Rubber, Conway Machine and Tyson Winners at Global Trade Awards

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, May. 22, 2013 1:38 pm  

Accepting 2013 Arkansas global trade awards are (from left) Mark Killebrew, vice president of international sales for Tyson Foods; Rachael Cox, vice president of sales for Conway Machine; Bonnie Swayze, president, Alliance Rubber, and David Delie, president, Welspun Tubular.

Welspun Tubular of Little Rock, Alliance Rubber of Hot Springs, Tyson Foods of Springdale and Conway Machine  were the four Arkansas companies recognized Wednesday at the 2013 Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade.

Gov. Mike Beebe hosted the fourth-annual awards luncheon, which recognizes the state's top exporters in four categories -- agriculture, small manufacturer, medium manufacturer and large manufacturer.

Welspun, a welded pipe manufacturer and a division of Welspun Corp. of India, won in the large manufacturer category; Alliance won in the medium manufacturer category; Conway Machine was recognized in the small manufacturer category, and Tyson, one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef and pork, was recognized in the agriculture category.

The winners were selected by a committee of the Arkansas District Export Council, comprised of state business, education and government leaders. Judging criteria includes the most recent percentage of export sales to total sales, growth of export sales in the last three years, the company's export goals, and, when applicable, the number of jobs saved or created due to export sales.

Conway Machine, with roughly 30 employees, specializes in replacement parts for die cutters. Rachael Cox, vice president of sales, said the recession forced the company to begin focusing more on exports, which it grew by 19 percent in 2012.

Alliance Rubber, which produces rubber bands and other related products, was founded in Alliance, Ohio, in 1923. It opened a Hot Springs plant in 1944 after owner William Spencer visited the city for its hot baths.

In 1991, the company officially moved its headquarters to Hot Springs and consolidated all its operations there. Exports make up about 9 percent of its sales, according to owner Bonnie Swayze, Spencer's daughter. The company previously received an Excellence in Innovation Award from the U.S. Commercial Service.

Swayze said the company exports to 28 countries. Most of those sales are to Peru, where Alliance rubber bands are used to hold together bundles of that's country's asparagus crops.

"Arkansas has so many untold stories about jobs being created in the state through exporting," said Arkansas District Export Council vice chair William Burgess, co-owner of past global trade winner and laser manufacturer Power Technology of Alexander.

Arkansas' $7.6 billion in exports support roughly 37,438 jobs in the state, according to the International Trade Administration. Arkansas exports were up 36 percent in 2012. More than 1,600 Arkansas companies exported good or services in 2012, and Burgess said about 20 percent of his company's sales are to international buyers.

The Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade is presented by the Arkansas District Export Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Arkansas World Trade Center in Rogers and the U.S. Commercial Service.



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