Export Awards Honor Arkansas Steel, Triangle Engineering, SweepScrub, Harris International, POM

by Mark Carter  on Thursday, May. 22, 2014 2:11 pm  

Gov. Mike Beebe (left) and ADEC chair William Burgess (right) present a 2014 global trade award to Scott Allmendinger of SweepScrub.com. (Photo by Melissa Kordsmeier/AEDC)

Five Arkansas companies that do business overseas were honored Thursday at the fifth-annual Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade awards luncheon.

The export awards, presided over by Gov. Mike Beebe at the Governor's Mansion, honor Arkansas companies that take a leading role in global trade.

This year's winners:

The export awards are sponsored by the Arkansas District Export Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the U.S. Commercial Service and the Arkansas World Trade Center.

ADEC chair William Burgess told Arkansas Business that the unsung heroes of the state's business world are those Arkansas companies engaging the global market.

Burgess co-owns Power Technology Inc. of Alexander, a major exporter of laser products and past Governor's Award winner, with his brother Walter. 

"One in five jobs in the state is related to international trade," he said. "That's 327,000 jobs. With a slow recovering economy, Arkansas companies and manufacturers have started looking outside our borders."

Award winners are selected by ADEC members, who represent state business leaders and are appointed to the council by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Judging criteria for the awards includes most recent percentage of export sales to total sales, growth of export sales over the past three years, the company's international goals and commitments, and the number of jobs saved or created through a company's export performance, where applicable.

Scott Allmendinger, who co-owns SweepScrub with his brother Kyle, said the company "backed in" to the export game in 2009 after figuring out how it lost a sale to a rival firm. Now an e-commerce business selling used and refurbished commercial cleaning equipment, SweepScrub ships to more than 30 countries on six continents.

Last year, exports accounted for 22 percent of its total annual sales, which Allmendinger said is about $2 million. The company's primary international markets are Canada, Mexico and Australia.

Triangle makes high-end, heavy-duty fans. Its exports have increased three-fold in three years, and by selling to countries in the Southern hemisphere the company has been able to keep its employees busy during what used to be slow winter months.

Arkansas Steel Associates (ASA) was founded in 1989 when two Japanese firms jointly purchased an old steel mill in Newport. It manufactures tie plates, which connect rails to the wood ties, for the railroad industry.



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