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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 1999

RYAN ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 1999 GOVERNOR'S EXPORT AWARDS

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that eight Illinois companies, a college and a Chamber of Commerce were honored with 1999 Governor's Export Awards for outstanding accomplishments in the export of Illinois goods and services around the globe.

"As the nation's sixth largest exporting state, we can't overemphasize the importance of exports to the Illinois economy. Direct exports sustain nearly 700,000 Illinois jobs, and one in four manufacturing jobs is dependent on exports," Ryan said. "As we recognize these award-winners for their exporting successes, let us encourage more Illinois companies to compete in the world marketplace."

The awards were presented at the fifth annual Crossing International Borders Conference in Chicago, co-sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) and Arthur Andersen.

Illinois exports topped $36.5 billion in 1998, generating $1.5 billion in state tax revenue. Ryan has called for a $1 million increase for DCCA's International Business Division, and the opening of two new foreign trade offices to join the six already in operation in Brussels, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Budapest, Mexico City and Warsaw.

"Illinois' reputation for high-quality products and services is known throughout the world," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "In addition to international powerhouses such as Caterpillar, Deere & Co., ADM and Motorola, many medium and smaller-sized companies such as those we are honoring today are also highly competitive in the export arena."

Illinois' top trading partner is Canada, with $8.74 billion in exports last year, followed by Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany. Illinois' top exports include industrial machinery, computer equipment, electronic equipment, transportation equipment and chemicals.

Three companies were presented with New to Exporting awards, designated for Illinois companies that have successfully exported for one to five years:

  • Ferris Mfg. Corp., Burr Ridge: Ferris, a leading manufacturer of disposable medical devices, has seen tremendous growth in its international distribution network. In addition, a commitment to exporting and a high level of training and support given to distributors has resulted in a foreign sales increase of more than 70 percent this year. Ferris is the only Governor's Export Award recipient to win in three consecutive years.

  • GEMCO, Danville: By stressing participation in the global marketplace, GEMCO has doubled its employment and sales since 1990 and has reached an annual payroll in excess of $1 million. An employee-owned company, this manufacturer of insulation fasteners is expected to continue to grow because of a fast and efficient distribution network and high level of customer service.

  • Lone Willow/United Swine Genetics, Roanoke: Lone Willow/United Swine began exporting in 1994 through initiatives put forth by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Partner Bruce Leman made personal contact a vital part of the company's export strategy, learning the Spanish language and attending several trade seminars in Mexico. Now, 25 percent of Lone Willow/United Swine's total revenue is expected to come from overseas sales, and the company will soon add more export-oriented employees. Bruce's Spanish teacher is now one of the company's most successful Mexican distributors.

    Five companies won Continuing Export Excellence awards, presented to companies that have successfully exported for more than five years:

  • Crownline Boats, Inc., West Frankfort: This manufacturer of small and medium-sized powerboats has been exporting only since 1992, but has already established 53 dealers in 26 countries. An aggressive marketing strategy and quality products contribute to Crownline's success in the international marketplace.

  • Excel Foundry and Machine, Inc., Pekin: Excel has combined high-tech communications, an outstanding customer service network and an innovative distribution system to achieve excellence in exporting. This allows Excel, a global leader in the manufacture of replacement parts for the surface mining and rock crushing industries, to get clients the parts they need in the shortest time possible.

  • The Fitzpatrick Company, Elmhurst: This designer and manufacturer of equipment used in the production of food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals first began exporting in 1957, and opened its first overseas branch in Brussels in 1989. It has continued to expand, adding area managers in various countries throughout Latin America and the Asian/Pacific Region.

  • Miner Enterprises, Inc., Geneva: Founded in 1894, Miner manufactures railroad car components. The company made its first foreign sale to Japan in the mid 1920's. Through continued perseverance, and despite a downturn in the domestic market, Miner has expanded around the world by adding permanent representatives in Europe, Canada and South America. Exports now stand at more than $11 million.

  • T. J. Gundlach Machine Company, Belleville: Representatives of T. J. Gundlach have maintained excellent standards of customer service, often traveling overseas to maintain personal contact. A manufacturer of rock-crushing and sizing equipment, the company has a clear commitment to exporting. Nearly half of total sales are export-related.

    Two companies won Export Awareness and Development awards, recognizing organizations and institutions involved in the promotion of exporting and raising export awareness:

  • McHenry County College, Crystal Lake: McHenry County College's Center of Commerce and Economic Development is committed to providing a complete package of college-based export services to the county's 8,000 businesses. The college offers the advice, facilities and support that many new exporters need to be successful. The college has also developed a close working relationship with the College of DuPage's International Trade Center.

  • Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce: The Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce is an outstanding example of a community organization that recognizes the importance of exporting to the local economy. In November of 1998, an International Business Council was formed, with 200 members joining in only three weeks. The council provided long-term assistance to 33 companies and short-term assistance to more than 100 firms. In addition, the Chamber sponsored a trade mission to Rockford's Sister City, Changzhou, China.

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