Beebe recognizes Arkansas businesses | Business
Governor presents four Arkansas companies Excellence in Global Trade Award
Award recognizes Arkansas’s leaders in international trade
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (May 23, 2012) – Four Arkansas companies were honored today for leading the way in exporting goods and services throughout the world.
Governor Mike Beebe presented the companies with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade during an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion.
This year’s winners are:
- Large Agribusiness – Riceland Foods, Inc. (Stuttgart)
- Small/Medium Manufacturer Exporter – Coleman Dairy (Little Rock)
- Small/Medium Services Exporter – Trump Tours, Inc. (Bentonville)
- Small/Medium Agribusiness & Governor’s E Star Award – Keith Smith Company (Hot Springs)
“The success of these four companies shows that using innovation in reaching international markets can build your overall success,” Beebe said. “Whether large or small, Arkansas businesses have tools available to take their entrepreneurship onto the global stage.”
This is the third year for the program which is co-sponsored by the Arkansas District Export Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, U. S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center Arkansas, and the Arkansas World Trade Center.
Judging criteria was based on factors such as most recent percentage of export sales to total sales, growth of export sales over the past three years, the company's goals and commitments internationally and the number of jobs saved or created due to the company's export performance if applicable.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Arkansas’s export shipments of merchandise in 2011 totaled more than $5.6 billion. The state’s largest trade partners in 2011 were Canada ($1.3 billion), Mexico ($679 million), China ($413 million) and Japan ($213 million).
The Arkansas District Export Council is composed of business leaders appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. District Export Councils contribute leadership and international trade expertise to complement the U.S. Commercial Service’s export promotion efforts through counseling businesses on the exporting process and conducting trade education and community outreach.
"The Arkansas District Export Council can show small and medium size businesses how to increase sales through exporting using proven techniques without huge risk and uncertainty,” said S. Graham Catlett, chair of the Arkansas District Export Council.
Keith Smith Company
Hot Springs, AR
The Keith Smith Company was among the first Arkansas companies to be recognized by the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Global Trade in 2010. Although a SME operation, the Keith Smith Company had identified international markets and exporting as an important growth strategy. Three years later, Keith Smith Company’s exports have grown to an impressive 45 percent of sales. Keith Smith, grandson of the company’s founder and son of company president, James K. Smith II, aggressively focused on developing markets in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to Keith’s fluent Spanish, they expanded their bilingual sales staff, who handle customer service as well as sales. They upgraded their export documentation expertise and improved their export transport strategies to include overland trucking, air, and maritime transport. The success of Keith Smith Company continues to be based on strict adherence to an excellent export strategy with keen market analysis, strong customer service, and an uncompromised dedication to quality and efficiency, based on company values of integrity and trust. With a time-sensitive product and complex customer demand, Keith Smith Company excels in solving problems, meeting complex challenges and serving clients to create mutual success.