April 16, 2008

Christie Miller
(804) 545-5805
State export activation program accepts Tazewell County company into March 2008 class

RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) Division of International Trade announced today that Consolidated Steel, Inc. of Tazewell County was accepted into the March 2008 class of the Accessing International Markets (AIM) program. The year-long export development program helps Virginia companies pursue new business opportunities overseas. The March 2008 class will target countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Consolidated Steel, Inc. was founded in 2003 as a woman-owned small business to address the urgent need and lack of availability of Computer Aided Design (CAD)-specific forged steel framework in the local mining equipment industry. Today the company not only provides the mining equipment industry with the immediate response they require, they also service assembly plants in the armored vehicle, construction and signage industries. Consolidated Steel’s "small company, big performance" motto and more than 35 years experience ensures that the company consistently outperforms the competition in lead times and price. They carry a large inventory of plates, beams, channels, tubes, angles, bars, sheets and coils and use in-house processing equipment to burn, shear, saw and form to any CAD-specific drawing sent electronically.

"When Consolidated Steel began researching the possibility of creating international sales, we were immediately aware of what we needed most," stated Brenda Justus, Consolidated Steel, Inc. President. "We had so many questions that we needed a wealth of upfront information regarding a series of different topics without having to over commit ourselves to a foreign client or sales partner, and with the AIM program that is exactly what we have gotten. Extensive research by the AIM team confirmed our own target market inclinations and weekly assistance with market preparation, translation and pricing information has us well on our way to our first trade mission. In short, the AIM program seems custom-tailored to Consolidated Steel's idea of how to prepare for success in the International arena."

AIM jump-starts exports by encouraging a proactive, systematic approach to exporting in order to minimize risks and maximize returns. Participants learn the basics of export while they simultaneously explore sales in a new market overseas. Companies do not need prior export experience, but must agree to visit their target export market prior to graduation, and must attend quarterly seminars covering the basic steps of exporting.

“To support their efforts, AIM connects participants to the tools and resources needed for successful export sales,” said Elizabeth Morgan-Brown, AIM Program Manager. “The VEDP looks forward to supporting Consolidated Steel as they develop and implement their international business strategy.”

Participants have access to $5,000 that will be refunded to offset approved export-related expenses. They also receive pro-bono counseling from six private-sector export specialists including an attorney, a Web designer, a banker, a translator, a freight forwarder and a U.S. export compliance specialist.

AIM draws upon public-and private-sector resources to help participants develop and implement a custom Market Access Plan (MAP) for their target market that incorporates the 10 basic steps of export. The AIM “MAP” approach can be replicated to target new markets in the future. Participants are also encouraged to initiate projects to support their overall exports such as conducting a compliance audit, translating marketing materials, updating Web sites or purchasing export software.

Based on a competitive quarterly application process, 20 companies will be accepted into the AIM program each year.

To learn more about the AIM Program visit

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, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.


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