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EXIM Recognizes Small Business Exporting Success at 2024 Annual Conference
June 12, 2024 Jane Lemons, Business Development Specialist

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) honored eight U.S. businesses from a range of industry sectors and geographic regions as Exporters of the Year during its 2024 Annual Conference. In addition, two other small businesses were honored for their export projects as Deal of the Year and  Make More in America Initiative (MMIA) Deal of the Year.

These successful exporters represent a cross section of American innovation and ingenuity, and they illustrate how EXIM’s trade finance tools, including Export Credit Insurance and Working Capital Loan Guarantees, can help U.S. companies expand their international sales as they compete in the global marketplace. Nearly 90 percent of EXIM's transactions directly support small businesses.

With EXIM celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, it's notable that most of the winning exporters are longtime customers — including some who have relied on EXIM support for more than three decades.

“The eight exporters receiving awards this year are direct representations of the diversity and excellence of American exporting,” said EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis. “EXIM remains committed to the ongoing success of U.S. small businesses and bolstering domestic exporting. This year’s recipients further highlight the effectiveness of EXIM financing while allowing us to continue our work in supporting American jobs by facilitating U.S. exports.”

2024 Exporters of the Year: Highlighting Small Business Success Stories

Advanced Probing Systems, Inc.: Headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, Advanced Probing is a leading manufacturer of probe needles used for semiconductor wafer testing. Established in 1990, it's one of only a handful of such manufacturers worldwide — and one of only two in the United States. Using EXIM's Export Credit Insurance since 2012 allowed the company to insure its receivables at a competitive price and offer payment terms to its customers. In addition, the company was able to use its receivables as collateral in its borrowing base for working capital. About 75 percent of its sales are international.

"The combination of credit insurance and a quality made U.S. product were the keys to helping us remain competitive in regions where we were competing against local companies," said Edward Johnson, President & CEO.

Aquafauna Bio-Marine, Inc.: Located in Hawthorne, California, Aquafauna serves a niche industry and specializes in shrimp production. The minority-owned company has been supplying feeds and equipment to aquaculture companies worldwide since 1977. Aquafuna realized it could expand its business by offering extended credit to its customers, so it turned to EXIM's Export Credit Insurance in 2009. The partnership allowed the company to double sales to its EXIM insured customers. The company exports to more than 20 countries, and 95 percent of its sales are international.

"We knew we could expand business by offering extended credit. Our buyers (distributors) must offer longer terms to the ultimate buyers (end users) of these products, so additional protected credit to our buyers was a workable solution. For customers we offer EXIM insurance to, it has likely doubled our sales," said Bud Insalata, Owner & Director.

Delkor Systems: Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Delkor is a leading manufacturer of robotic packaging machinery, primarily for the food and beverage industry. Founded in 1973, the company has a nationwide reputation for offering innovative and versatile solutions from individual packaging machines to complete line integration for product distribution. Delkor has relied on EXIM's Export Credit Insurance since 2009. Currently about 10 percent of its sales are international, primarily to Mexico and South America, and it's on track to double that next year.

"Delkor has developed some world-class packaging machinery technology that has value in many markets internationally. It is time now for Delkor to bring this technology to the international market, and EXIM provides the type of financial assistance for our company to expand the level of international sales that we can properly manage," said Dale Anderson, President & CEO.

Green Mountain International: Based in rural Waynesville, North Carolina, Green Mountain has supplied materials, equipment, and support for concrete repair and water control projects in more than 40 countries since 1987, including projects at the White House and the Kennedy Space Center. The veteran-owned company has utilized EXIM's Export Credit Insurance since 2019. Between 15 and 30 percent of sales annually are international, and exporting has allowed the company to diversify its revenue sources for a more steady income stream.

"Working with EXIM has allowed us to make sales that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to close. Credit can be the key to getting the sale, and EXIM helps us offer that to new customers," said John L. Ammons, President.

Putnam Lumber & Export Company: Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, with facilities in several additional states, Putnam has been exporting lumber, plywood, and other construction products worldwide since 1945. More than 90 percent of the company's revenues come from export sales. Putnam has used a combination of EXIM's Export Credit Insurance and Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program since 2010, and revenue has more than doubled in that time.

“The stability of both the EXIM Working Capital Guarantee Program credit line and the export credit insurance provided the working capital needed for growth," said Michael Loveland, Chief Financial Officer.

Ramsey Popcorn Co., Inc.: The family-owned and operated company located in rural Ramsey, Indiana, is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2024. The family's grandfather planted and harvested the first 10 acres of corn in 1944. Ramsey's products are grown by local farmers and sold in dozens of retail stores nationwide. In addition, about 20 percent of its sales are to international customers. To support those sales, the company began using EXIM's Export Credit Insurance in 1990 — making it an EXIM client for 34 years.

"As a small business, working with EXIM has enabled us to be able to insure our shipments at a good rate," said Heather Koranchan, Export Coordinator.

Rastelli Brothers, Inc.: The family-owned and operated company based in Swedesboro, New Jersey, was founded as a butcher shop in 1975. It has since grown into a vertically integrated processor, distributor, and exporter of meat and other food products to retail and commercial customers worldwide. Rastelli has used EXIM's Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program since 2009. Approximately 30 percent of its sales are international, and it exports to 80 countries.

"Exporting has had a huge impact on our revenue. It is a significant market with significant potential. Working with EXIM has helped provide more liquidity, which is hugely important for growing business," said Todd Perry, Chief Financial Officer.

Transcon Trading Co., Inc.: The woman-owned company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, was founded in 1979. As an export management company, it represents U.S. manufacturers of pet and equine products as well as human health and beauty products. To provide its customers with favrorable credit terms, Transcon began using EXIM's Export Credit Insurance in 1992 — making it an EXIM client for 32 years. Its business is 100 percent international, and it exports to more than 100 countries.

"All our sales are international. EXIM helped double and triple our export sales throughout the years. We certainly would not be here today if it were not for EXIM support throughout the years. EXIM helped provide a level playing field for us in the global marketplace. Many countries have robust policies supporting their exporters, and without EXIM’s support mitigating the financial risks for us, we’d be in a very disadvantageous position," said Sonya Kosta Di Nova, President.

Exporters of the Year 2024 - Twitter image

Deal of the Year: Supporting Clean Energy Jobs

BETA Technologies, an electric aviation company based in Burlington, Vermont, was presented with the Deal of the Year Award, in recognition of its efforts to build a strong domestic workforce and change the future of aviation.

BETA manufactures electric aircraft and charging infrastructure. Under the Make More in America (MMIA) Initiative, the small business received a $170 million loan for construction of a production facility, which will support an estimated 400 jobs. It was the second transaction approved under the MMIA Initiative.

“The financing EXIM provided with its Make More in America program was instrumental in enabling BETA to move into scaled production,” said Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO of Beta Technologies. “EXIM and the programs they offer are essential to supporting the growth of small and midsize businesses like BETA, stimulating economies across the world, and ensuring America maintains its positions as a global leader, both here in aerospace and elsewhere.”

MMIA Deal of the Year: Increasing Export Volume

Packwell Inc., a certified plastics bagging and logistics company based in Houston, Texas, was honored with the Make More in America Deal of the Year Award. Established in 1986, it's one of the largest resin bagging companies in North America, with more than 160,000 square meters of warehouse facilities.

Under the MMIA Initiative, the small business received a $51 million direct loan to support the construction of a packaging and warehousing facility that will increase its capacity and efficiency while also supporting an estimated 300 jobs. It was the third transaction approved under the MMIA Initiative.

“By providing an innovation solution, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has facilitated Packwell’s investment in the Port of Houston, representing an expected 30 percent increase in export volume,” said Al Duran, Chairman of Packwell.

EXIM Board Members at Awards Ceremony - resized

Members of EXIM's Board of Directors presented awards during the 2024 Annual Conference. From left are Director and former Congressman Spencer Bachus III, Director Owen Herrnstadt, President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis, and First Vice President and Vice Chair Judith Pryor.

EXIM's Annual Conference was held June 6-7, 2024, in Washington, D.C. With the theme,  “Honoring Legacy, Charting Tomorrow," the event showcased the critical role EXIM plays in strengthening international trade. During panel discussions and presentations, attendees heard from leaders in business, finance, government, and policy as well as learned about the resources EXIM offers to support global export development.

You can see additional highlights from the event under #EXIM24 on EXIM’s social media channels @EximBankUS and @EXIMChair on LinkedIn, Instagram, X/Twitter, and Facebook.

To learn how EXIM can assist your business in starting or expanding your export journey, schedule a free consultation with a trade finance specialist today.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.