FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2007



Christie Miller
VEDP
(804) 545-5805
State Programs Prepare 13 Virginia Companies for Export
-AIM program graduates nine companies; VALET program graduates four companies-


RICHMOND - A combined 14 companies from across the Commonwealth will graduate Thursday from two state export programs, touting impressive results from their newly acquired tools to successfully export products and services overseas. The graduating companies will be recognized during a noon luncheon Thursday at the Richmond Crowne Plaza Hotel. Michael Newman, Vice President, International Sales, Optical Cable Corporation, will serve as the keynote speaker. Optical Cable Corporation was the inaugural recipient of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Compass Award for Excellence in International Trade in 2006.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Accessing International Markets (AIM) program will honor nine graduates. The four companies who entered the AIM program in December 2005 were previously honored at a January luncheon. The graduates by class are:

March 2006: Metal Products Specialists of Norfolk, Koger Air of Martinsville, EMI Recycling of Stuart and Turman Lumber of Hillsville.

June 2006: Darco Southern of Independence, Evergreen Enterprises of Midlothian, Tactical & Survival Specialists Inc. of Harrisonburg, Milhous Company of Amherst and Hilden America of South Boston.

“With all of AIM’s FY 06 graduating companies reporting, the results are promising,” said AIM Program manager, Elizabeth Morgan-Brown. “The new public-private export activation program seems to be working. In addition to tripling sales in their AIM target markets, the graduates also reported doubling their total export sales between 2005 and 2007.”

All of AIM’s graduates made a total of 19 trips to their AIM target markets. Ten reported earning new sales, four reported signing new representatives in their target markets and four reported adding new jobs as a result of increased sales. The companies reported a 52 percent growth in collective expo rts to AIM Target Markets from 2005 to 2006 and expected additional growth of 105 percent in 2007, for a total two-year AIM target market growth of 212 percent.

The AIM program, now entering its third fiscal year, will accept 20 new companies, and graduate 20 others between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.

Four companies also will graduate from VEDP’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program, including Earthwalk Communications, Inc. of Manassas, Hawkeye Manufacturing, Inc of Richmond, Rowe Furniture, Inc. of McLean, and Taylor-Ramsey Corporation of Lynchburg. These companies have all increased their international sales during their two years in the program and have solidified or grown their Virginia operations.

Launched in January 2002, the VALET program assists exporters in the Commonwealth that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as an expansion strategy. Participating firms are chosen based on their dedication to growth through export. Currently, more than 100 Virginia companies have been accepted to participate in the VALET program.

“The VALET Program accelerates the development of international business by connecting companies with the practical tools needed for successful export sales,” said Leslie Parpart, VALET Program Manager. “Each of these graduating companies has done something specific and strategic to increase their international sales, and they will see the return on their investment for years to come.”

Both export programs provide participating companies with assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help them meet their international goals. Service providers such as attorneys, Web designers, bankers, translators and freight forwarders contribute essential expertise for expansion into international markets.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.

To learn more about the AIM and VALET programs, visit www.ExportVirginia.org. To attend Thursday’s noon luncheon, please contact Christie Miller at (804) 545-5805.

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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