March 27, 1998

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor's International Marketing Award Presented to Four Companies
-- Students Across Virginia Gain Practical Experience Through Marketing Program - -

Richmond - Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that four Virginia companies have received the prestigious Governor's Award for Excellence for their participation in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's International Market Planning (IMP) Program. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal presented the awards to the four winning companies and their partnering students and professors today at a luncheon held in Richmond at the Downtown Club.

"Through the IMP program, students receive real-world training, while companies heighten their understanding of how to profitably access world markets," Governor Gilmore said. "I congratulate everyone involved in this year's IMP program, as Virginians continue to work together to increase export activity."

Each year, the IMP Program teams approximately 30 groups of graduate business students from Virginia's colleges and universities with companies in the state interested in expanding their exports. These students, supervised by experienced professors, assist the company in developing an international marketing plan. These teams present their plans in writing and through an oral presentation to the company's top management.

Below is a brief summary of the winning companies, their partnering schools, and a description of their accomplishments:

GE Fanuc Automation, Charlottesville, and the University of Richmond for developing an export strategy for the company's computer hardware and software systems. The project focused on servicing customers in Mexico, Venezuela and Columbia for the oil and gas industries.

Belvac Production Machinery, Inc., Lynchburg and Lynchburg College for analyzing the growth rate of the canned beverage market in China with projections through the year 2000. The company manufactures two-piece aluminum can-making machinery. An evaluation of the marketability of cans versus plastic and glass containers was also documented.

Seaward International, Inc., Clearbrook, and Shenandoah University for identifying commercial ports, operations management, modernization plans, competition and means of access for exporting product to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Columbia. The company is a manufacturer of foam-filled fenders, sea cushions and buoys and is a pioneer in developing composition marine pilings and timber.

Interflex Group, Inc., Ashland, and Virginia Commonwealth University & University of Richmond Law School for identifying major poultry processors in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Portugal by using the criteria of unit volume, market share, creativity and financial stability. Interflex produces printed food grade plastic films and trays for 50 percent of the poultry and pork branded product market. This project was handled as a joint venture with the VCU team addressing marketing aspects and the legal team from U of R Law School researching duties, regulatory issues and contract law.
According to Bob Glass, marketing specialist with Belvac Production Machinery, the IMP program has served as a valuable tool for his company as well as the knowledgeable students who worked on the plan. "The international marketing plan prepared by our team was the most in-depth analysis I have seen in our industry," said Glass. "The quality of the work we received far exceeded my expectations, especially for the minimal cost involved."

The selection of the awards was made from projects undertaken during the Fall of 1996 and Spring of 1997 semesters. The IMP program has served over 300 projects since it originated in 1988. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Virginia exports of goods, services and commodities totaled $15 billion and supported 225,000 jobs in 1996.

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