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Governor honors eight winners with 2019 Trade Excellence Awards

Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature in the Old House Chambers of the Alabama State Capitol on March 5, 2019. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Gov. Kay Ivey has announced the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards.

The awards, announced Wednesday, recognize companies that fuel Alabama’s export business, which sends innovative designs and products worldwide.

“Our winners this year range in size from the small business to the large corporation and also hail from different parts of Alabama,” Ivey said. “They each represent the type of company that makes us strong as a state. We also see a concentration of firms in the aerospace and automotive industries, which underscores the importance of these industries to our economy.”

The 2019 winners of the Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards are:

  • Aerostar: The Mobile-based company provides component maintenance on civilian aircraft, with a customer base that covers Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Established in 2011 with two employees and a 6,000-square-foot facility, Aerostar has grown to 35 employees and more than 25,000 square feet, with space to grow its workforce to 60. The company is targeting Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim to capitalize on projected air traffic growth in those regions.
  • GKN Aerospace–Alabama: The Tallassee facility is part of GKN Aerospace, a global first-tier supplier of airframe and engine structures, components, assemblies and engineering services to aircraft prime contractors. More than 800 employees produce composite aerostructures for major aerospace industry partners, including Bell Helicopter Textron, Sikorsky, HondaJet, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and GE Aviation.
  • Help Lightning: The Birmingham company delivers patented, mobile-augmented reality and virtual interactive presence technologies. Through Help Lightning’s services, experts in the technical, health care, manufacturing and service fields can show a resolution, not just describe it. The company is reimagining how businesses, customers and employees give and receive help.
  • Polyvance: Rainsville’s Polyvance repairs damaged plastic automotive bumpers and also provides a range of related products. In 2006, the company was the first in the industry to commercialize nitrogen plastic welding for the repair of thermoplastic parts, and the technology is now a recognized standard for the sector. Export sales have long been a priority for Polyvance, accounting for about 10 percent of total sales, with expansions under way in both Latin America and Asia.
  • Port of Huntsville: Known officially as the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority, the Port of Huntsville incorporates Huntsville International Airport, International Intermodal Center and Jetplex Industrial Park. It is an inland port facility and has the only scheduled international cargo flights in the state, with roundtrip cargo flights to Europe and Mexico, inbound flights from China and outbound flights to Brazil. HSV ranks 18th among continental U.S. airports in international air cargo volume. The International Intermodal Center ships and receives ocean containers, by rail, to and from both East and West Coast seaports.
  • RMCI Inc.: RMCI of Huntsville designed and created a system that is installed on aircraft to detect emerging faults and prevent mechanical failure. This health and usage monitoring system has the ability to track the mechanical health of the aircraft, and the company has experience analyzing data from more than 3,000 helicopters. RMCI aggressively pursues global markets with travel to Colombia, New Zealand, Morocco, Spain, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands and Malaysia.
  • Trinity Highway Products: This company has been leading the way for innovation in crash cushion impact protection for highway and work zone safety since 1969. It first began operations in California in 1969, but the manufacturing plant was relocated to Pell City in 1985. The Alabama plant manufactures and ships proprietary products to all 50 states and 70 countries. Trinity’s international business is directed by sales offices in the U.S., Colombia, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom. With a network of distributors spanning over 70 countries, Trinity’s footprint reaches markets in every corner of the world.
  • Zorn Molds Inc.: This Trafford company designs and manufactures several types of high-quality CNC machined molds and parts, including fishing lure molds, soft plastic molds, blister pack molds, investment casting molds, Styrofoam molds and general CNC machined parts. The business, which started more than 25 years ago serving the fishing lure industry, has diversified to grow into other sectors.

Export values topped $21 billion last year. Shipments reached 191 countries, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce earlier this month. 

The total came during a year marked by global trade tensions, but it is still just 2 percent shy of the record $21.8 billion in exports set in 2017.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s Governor’s Trade Excellence Award winners,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “Their success comes as a result of the hard work and ingenuity of our businesspeople, as well as the commitment and cooperation that exist among our federal, state and local entities that work together to help Alabama companies increase their exports.

Canfield said the companies are on the cutting edge in their industries, both in the U.S. and globally.

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Hilda Lockhart, director of the International Trade Office at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the Trade Excellence Award honorees have shown a commitment to be the best in their field.

“The eight companies range from large to small, but the common theme is the growth they have shown by selling abroad, the tenacity to stay innovative and the agility to incorporate whatever changes are necessary to deliver a first-class product to the buyer,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart said the department is especially pleased to recognize the Port of Huntsville this year.

“Without this first-class, multi-modal transportation operation, many of Alabama’s products would not be shipped from our state,” Lockhart said. “This facility is certainly a critical part of our state’s international infrastructure.”


Written By

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.



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