MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday recognized seven Alabama companies for success in selling their goods and services in markets across the globe, helping to sustain robust export activities that create jobs and spark economic growth across the state.
In addition, Governor Ivey recognized William Cummins, executive state director of the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, for excellence in trade advocacy.
The homegrown companies receiving the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award reflect the dynamic range of capabilities found within Alabama’s economy, from manufacturing a unique tractor for the world’s farmers to creating biomedical testing devices that improve health care outcomes.
One of the companies, Ashford-based Eastern Technologies, produces protective clothing that has been used in China and elsewhere in efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The winners of the Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards, selected by the Alabama Department of Commerce, were honored at a special ceremony on Wednesday at the State Capitol.
“Consumers in markets across the globe are learning that ‘Made in Alabama’ is synonymous with top-level quality, and they want more of the goods produced in our state,” said Governor Ivey. “The innovation, craftsmanship and ingenuity of products created by Alabama’s talented workers really makes them second to none.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the exporting accomplishments of these companies are elevating the state’s profile on the global business stage.
“Each year, the success of the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award winners comes as a result of their vision and enterprise,” said Secretary Canfield. “These companies are on the cutting edge in their industries, and we’re committed to helping them get their products to customers around the world.”
Recipients of this year’s Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards are:
- Cherokee Fabrication Co. (Salem): Founded by Roy Owens, Paul Owens and Jerry Scarborough as a light metal fabrication shop, the Lee County company has served the cotton industry for 25 years. Its international footprint now encompasses ginning operations in North America, South America, Africa and Australia.
- CleBer LLC (Paint Rock): The Jackson County company’s open design system for its Oggún tractor makes all parts available off the shelf, empowering small farmers. Customers can purchase tractors made in Alabama or license the design.
- Continental Aerospace Technologies (Mobile): A global leader in general aviation, Continental is the only U.S. company to offer a full range of new piston aircraft engines, as well as a full-service factory Maintenance Repair and Overhaul center. In business since 1906, the company has more than 600 employees.
- Eastern Technologies Inc. (Ashford): The Houston County company provides Personal Protective Clothing to the nuclear and other industries. It is a leader in the field of radiological laundry services, protective clothing supply, and radiological laundry system design.
- iCubate Inc. (Huntsville): iCubate provides fast, accurate and affordable testing assays to laboratories, helping improve patient care outcomes. Its international activities include a licensing agreement with a Chinese oncology diagnostics firm and a joint venture with an infectious disease diagnostics company in China.
- Nelson Brothers (Birmingham): Nelson produces chemicals that are used by manufacturers of emulsions around the world for applications in mining and construction. To expand its global business footprint, it began producing specialty chemicals as additives in lubricants, metal working and oil recovery processes.
- SynVivo (Huntsville): SynVivo’s tissue/organ-on-chip platform provides a biologically realistic microenvironment to enable better prediction of human responses for drug development and personalized medicine applications.
William Cummins has directed the activities of the Alabama SBDC Network, which seeks to enhance economic growth across the state by providing management and technical assistance to small businesses, since 2011. During a 30-year career in banking, he served in international trade finance with banks in the Southeast and in other roles that advanced trade.
Christina Stimpson, director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said this year’s award winners can serve as role models for other Alabama companies that may be looking to follow a similar path in exporting their goods and services overseas.
“We are proud to have worked with all the companies represented today and to have assisted them in identifying international opportunities,” said Stimpson. “The communities where they are located are fortunate to have them because, through exporting, they’re diversifying the economy, growing their production and creating and sustaining jobs.”
Alabama exports totaled nearly $20.9 billion in 2021, an increase of more than 21.8% from the 2020 figure. Alabama’s goods and services were purchased in 189 countries last year, with Germany, Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea the leading destinations.