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Governor honors Tuskegee University, Alabama exporters with “Trade Excellence Awards”

The winners were honored at a special ceremony Wednesday at the State Capitol.

Governor Kay Ivey gave remarks and presented awards at the Governor's Trade Excellence Awards Ceremony in the Alabama State Capitol Old House Chamber Friday May 3, 2023 in Montgomery, Ala. Governor’s Office /Hal Yeager
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Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday recognized six Alabama companies for success in selling their goods and services in markets across the globe, helping to sustain robust export activities that create jobs and spark economic growth across the state.

In addition, Governor Ivey presented Tuskegee University with a 2023 Governor’s Trade Excellence Award for extraordinary results in international initiatives that include partnerships with dozens of overseas universities and hosting students from more than 20 countries in recent years.

The winners, selected by the Alabama Department of Commerce, were honored at a special ceremony Wednesday at the State Capitol.

The recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards represent a broad swath of activities within the state’s economy, ranging from aerospace/defense, industrial consultancy, food production, forestry, automotive manufacturing and medical devices.

“Thanks to tremendous levels of innovation, craftsmanship and ingenuity, Alabama’s talented workers turn out products that are in-demand around the world,” said Governor Ivey. “These products elevate the ‘Made in Alabama’ brand and transmit the message internationally that top-quality goods come from our state.” 

During the ceremony, Governor Ivey signed a proclamation designating May as World Trade Month, recognizing Alabama’s international trade excellence and dedication to recruiting home-grown and foreign-based investments to use Alabama as an export platform.

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the exporting accomplishments of these six companies demonstrate an enterprising spirit. He added that Commerce is committed to helping export-minded Alabama companies get their products to customers around the world.

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“Exporting is a driving force in Alabama’s economy, providing benefits here at home that include new jobs and investments,” said Secretary Canfield. “The vision of our companies to be international leaders in their respective fields is most impressive, and we look forward to seeing their continued success in overseas markets.”

Companies claiming 2023 Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards are:

•Adah International – an industrial engineering and project management services firm based in Birmingham

•Bud’s Best Cookies – a regional baker with 150 employees and a state-of-the-art facility in Hoover

•Canfor Southern Pine – a manufacturer of renewable wood products that is investing $210 million to build a new sawmill complex near Mobile 

•Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama – one of the Southeast’s largest automotive assembly plants, which counts Canada, Mexico and El Salvador as the top export markets for its Montgomery-built vehicles 

•ICONN Orthopedics – a Birmingham medical device maker with FDA clearance for five products and others in the approval pipeline

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•Pinnacle Solutions – a Huntsville-based developer and provider of defense and aerospace products and services with domestic and international operations.

Also, Hilda Lockhart, who headed Commerce’s Office of International Trade for 24 years, was honored as Trade Advocate of the Year. During her tenure, Lockhart led Alabama trade missions to 51 different countries and served a tireless champion of exporting.

Christina Stimpson, Director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said this year’s award winners represent solid role models for other Alabama companies that may be looking to follow a similar path in exporting their goods and services overseas.

“We are proud to have worked with all the companies represented today and to have assisted them in identifying international opportunities,” said Stimpson. “The communities where they are located are fortunate to have them because, through exporting, they’re diversifying the economy, growing their production and creating and sustaining jobs.”

Commerce’s Office of International Trade offers resources to help Alabama companies enter profitable new overseas markets through frequent trade and business development missions, training, foreign-market information and international contacts. 

The office is a partner in Export Alabama, a seamless network of international trade agencies that share the fundamental objective of helping Alabama companies expand their business internationally.

The value of Alabama exports surged to over $25.5 billion in 2022, setting a new annual record on rising overseas shipments of motor vehicles, aerospace parts, chemicals, minerals and paper products. With around 3,000 Alabama companies exporting today, the state’s exports have soared almost 47 percent in value since 2020.

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“Exporting is a fundamental economic pillar that supports growth in Alabama, contributing economic vitality and spurring job creation across the state,” said Secretary Canfield.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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