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Governor honors eight winners with 2019 Trade Excellence Awards

Chip Brownlee

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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.”

 

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Business Council of Alabama Small Business Exchange on APT tonight

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The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) will present the Small Business Exchange on Alabama Public Television (APT) tonight, Thursday, April 9. This event is designed to help small businesses applying for federal stimulus funding under the new CARES Act.

In partnership with APT, BCA will bring together experts in business, banking, accounting, and law to answer phone calls from Alabama business owners and employers as they grapple with the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s economy. New federal loans are now available for small businesses, but funding is limited in some cases and quick action is required.

The Small Business Exchange program airs tonight on APT from 7-8 p.m. BCA experts will be available to answer questions from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. tonight. In addition, experts will be available for consultation from 9.a.m. to noon tomorrow, Friday, April 10.


To ask a question or consult with our BCA experts during these times, the phone number is 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249).

 

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Manufacture Alabama launches “Ask the Experts” webinar

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Ask the Experts: Employment Law Questions Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic is a new webinar being offered by Manufacture Alabama.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, disrupting the lives of everyone around our state, country, and the globe, employers are left with many questions and Manufacture Alabama wants to answer them.

Manufacture Alabama is the only trade association in the state dedicated exclusively to the competitive, legislative, regulatory, and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses.

Manufacture Alabama has enlisted some of the top labor and employment attorneys in Alabama to bring you the first installment of a web series, ‘Ask the Experts.’ In the first installment, their experts will be answering your questions about implementing the new CARES Act Leave guidelines, and best practices for what to do if you have an employee test positive for COVID-19.

The attorneys will also be covering questions whether they are questions related to OSHA standards, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the impact of the CARES Act, or anything else labor or employment-related.

Manufacture Alabama also wants to hear stories of the changes manufacturers have experienced in the workplace as a result of the pandemic, and how businesses have changed day to day operations.

Send your questions and responses regarding these topics to [email protected] and stay tuned.

The webinar will be published Tuesday, April 14.

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Ainsworth unveils website for small businesses seeking information during pandemic

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth unveiled a new web page Monday designed to provide small business owners with a one-stop information hub during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and forced economic shutdown.

The website is www.atlasalabama.gov.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is already providing small business owners with unprecedented challenges and frustrations, so they should not have to struggle to find the information necessary to survive in the current economic climate,” Ainsworth said. “As new small business programs are announced and revised health orders go into effect, the website will be updated in order to provide the most timely and accurate information possible.”

The website was created by the Alabama Small Business Commission, which Ainsworth chairs. The site provides information related to Small Business Administration loans and assistance, unemployment claims, tax relief programs, and other timely initiatives.

The website is intended to help small businesses remain in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The website also provides links to every state, county, and municipal health order currently being enforced in Alabama.

The Legislature placed the Alabama Small Business Commission under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2019.

The 22-member commission is tasked with formulating “policies encouraging innovation of small businesses in the state” and advising the Department of Commerce in promoting small businesses within Alabama.

On March 12, the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, led President Donald J. Trump (R) to order a forced economic shutdown on March 12. Those original orders have subsequently been strengthened by Gov. Kay Ivey (R), culminating in a statewide shelter in place order on Friday.

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Realizing that with most of their businesses shut down through at least April 30, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, which provides low interest loans to hundreds of thousands of struggling small businesses. If the businesses use the money to make payroll and to pay other business overhead costs the loans will be forgiven.

Currently, there are 2,113 Alabamians with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 64 Alabamians have died and 271 are currently in the hospital. 20 Alabamians have recovered from their illness and been cleared by their doctors. The global pandemic has infected more than 1,441,589 people globally and killed 82,933, including 7,380 people just on Tuesday (1,970 of them were Americans). Gov. Ivey’s shelter in place order is in effect through April 30, but that is likely to be extended.

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Businesses applying for aid can receive proof of existence from secretary of state’s office

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that federal resources have been made available to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to assist with tax relief, employee protection and benefits, loans and grants, and many other challenges that business owners may encounter during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Merrill’s office explained that in order to be eligible for this federal aid, some corporations and businesses may be required to prove their existence as part of their application. Certificates of Existence can be obtained through visiting the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.

Business owners can apply online to receive their Certificate of Existence electronically for immediate processing. The non-subscriber fee is $28 and will allow a user to download their copy for up to 15 days.

If you are completing the request for a Certificate of Existence by paper, you may access the application here.

The form must be typed and will not be accepted via email.

Once completed, mail the application, along with the $25 filing fee, to:

Secretary of State’s Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616,
Montgomery, Alabama 36103

Those who apply online will not receive a mailed copy. Rather, a copy can be downloaded online and then printed out.

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Certificates of Existence are only available for businesses who have previously filed for formation with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you have not yet filed, you are still able to do so through the Secretary of State’s website

This documentation may also be required to process loan applications by lending institutions, banks, credit unions, farm credit, or public accountants.

For questions or more information, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division at (334) 242-7221 or (334) 242-5324.

Thousands of Alabama businesses have been forced to close by orders from the state as well as local health departments. Many businessmen and women are having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to continue to make payroll. The aid under the CARES Act is a lifeline to businesses that the federal government is offering during this unprecedented period of economic crisis.

The forced economic shutdown was deemed necessary by state and federal government authorities in consultation with public health experts in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 global pandemic has already killed 12,857 Americans and 82,993 people globally. 1,050,077 people around the globe are still struggling through active cases of the illness, including 395,981 Americans.

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