By Godson Umejiego, Correspondent USA
Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed, a native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, today delivered prerecorded remarks honoring winners of the West Virginia Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry Award. The annual award recognizes a company’s first sale to a new country in the previous calendar year.
The virtual awards ceremony also included remarks by Governor Jim Justice, US Senator Joe Manchin, and US Senator Shelley Moore Capito, all of West Virginia. Chairman Reed underscored how West Virginia businesses, particularly small businesses, can use EXIM’s financing tools and resources to increase their international sales growth, showcase their “Made in the USA” products, and support West Virginia jobs.
“As the first woman and West Virginian to head the Export-Import Bank, it was an honor to take part in recognizing the state’s leading exporters today,” said Chairman Reed. “West Virginia’s highly skilled workforce and low cost of doing business make exports an obvious avenue for businesses looking to increase sales. Congratulations to all the West Virginia businesses that were honored today as part of this wonderful tradition. When companies of any size export, it supports existing jobs and brings new jobs to Americans.”
“The Export-Import Bank is a critical federal credit agency that helps our West Virginia business community grow and prosper overseas. Since 2002, the Governor’s Exports Awards have recognized 169 companies for export sales to 188 countries all over the world. I am beyond proud of the 30 West Virginia businesses honored today and I truly appreciate the work of West Virginia native Kim Reed, the President of the Export Import Bank, for serving as a wonderful friend and resource to me and other West Virginia business owners,” Senator Manchin said.
“The West Virginia businesses we celebrated today demonstrate how we are working to diversify our economy,” Senator Capito said. “These West Virginians are further proof that our businesses here at home can compete on the world stage. This success could not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the men and women behind these companies. Thanks to their efforts, West Virginia goods and services are being shared with the world, and that’s something to celebrate. I congratulate these hardworking individuals and thank them for all they do and continue to do for our state.”
The commendation, sponsored by the West Virginia Development Office and West Virginia District Export Council, began in 2020 and is informally referred to as the Governor’s Export Award. Since then, 169 West Virginia companies have been recognized for export sales to 188 countries. Inspired by the tradition of a small business framing its first dollar, the award plaque features a framed certificate showcasing the currency of the country to which the business exported. During the 2020 awards ceremony, 30 small and medium-sized businesses were recognized for sales to 66 countries.
Among this year’s winners was Legacy Truck Centers in Wheeling, West Virginia, a family-owned business that began using EXIM’s export credit insurance in 2011. Since then, EXIM has helped support more than US$2 million in exports to 10 countries for the company, formerly known as Wheeling Truck Center.
“Legacy Truck Centers Inc. is honored to receive the 2020 West Virginia Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry with sales into four new countries,” said International and eCommerce Sales Director for Legacy Truck Centers, Chad Remp. “Our company has expanded operations into over 100 countries worldwide with assistance from organizations such as the US Commercial Service, the West Virginia Development Office, and EXIM. Our partnership with these organizations has helped our small business find success all around the world.”
Not even a month on the job, Chairman Reed hosted Mr. Remp at EXIM’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 31, 2019, where he participated in a Small Business Roundtable.
Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports valued at more than US$19 million from 15 companies, including eight small businesses, in West Virginia that use the agency’s export financing tools to increase their international sales or expand into new markets.
“Exports are essential to West Virginia’s economy, and we are pleased to be recognizing 30 small and medium-sized businesses today for their success in new international markets,” said Mike Graney, Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office. “We are proud to partner with the US Commercial Service, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration to support our exporters as they expand into new markets.”
The West Virginia Development Office is a member of EXIM’s Regional Export Promotion Programme (REPP), a cooperative arrangement between EXIM, cities, counties, states, and local nonprofit economic development entities. With 56 members in 35 states and two US territories, it has yielded more than US$25 million in new authorizations though direct referrals, connecting small businesses to the global economy.