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.

ASA vice president Dan Haygood said the ties are about 18 inches in length and 9 inches in width, and one can find 6,032 tie plates per linear mile on a railway line.

ASA exports primarily to Canada and Mexico but is making strides in the Sudan, Malaysia, the Middle East, Europe and South America.

Harris International manufactures Evapo-Rust, a non-toxic, biodegradable rust remover originally created for military tanks. Company founder and product inventor David Harris applied a little innovation to his exports by creating a way to ship a dehydrated form of his product.

According to AEDC, this allows customers to mix water with the dehydrated products in the shipping container itself, which then becomes the actual distribution device to other retail customers.

This innovation won Harris the Global Sustainability Award.

"We wouldn't be where we are today if we hadn't pushed our product into an international market," Harris said.

POM -- Park-O-Meter -- was recognized with the Rising Star award as an up-and-comer in Arkansas exports. Recognized as producing the first parking meters, POM now manufactures meters able to accept digital and credit card payments.



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