TROY — Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, received the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service in Washington, D.C. The “E” Awards are the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Automation Alley is the only nonprofit organization in the Midwest to receive the “E-Star” Award since the program’s inception more than 50 years ago.
To date, Automation Alley has led 18 trade missions to locations around the world, resulting in more than $282 million in export sales for local companies. 124 companies have participated in Automation Alley trade missions. Automation Alley staff recently returned from a trade mission to Mexico with nine local companies, and a trade mission to Indonesia and Singapore is planned for the fall. Automation Alley’s international trade missions yield a high return on investment for small to medium-sized companies and allow them to explore opportunities to expand and diversify into high-growth markets.
“Automation Alley is honored to be the recipient of this prestigious level of recognition for our exporting assistance. The result — more than $282 million in export sales for local companies — speaks for itself,” Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers, said. “Exporting is crucial to the success of the businesses we work with. Every day we see the growth of our clients’ businesses, due in large part to exporting. The ‘E Star’ Award exemplifies our continued efforts to create business development opportunities for companies in Southeast Michigan.”
Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank presented Automation Alley with the award at a ceremony held in the auditorium of the Herbert C. Hoover Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“It is organizations like Automation Alley that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services,” Blank said.
This isn’t the first time Automation Alley has been recognized for its achievements in exporting assistance. In his 2011 State of the State Address, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder referred to Automation Alley as “best in class for international trade.” In 2008, the association was honored with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service, which was created by Executive Order of the President to afford suitable recognition to persons, firms or organizations that contribute significantly in the effort to increase U.S. exports. This year’s honor, the President’s “E Star” Award, was authorized by the Secretary of Commerce and recognized continuing efforts of noteworthy export promotion.
U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Award for Export Service through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which has offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries to help U.S. exporters. Criteria for the award is based on four years of successive export growth and case studies that demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.
A key component of Automation Alley’s trade missions is the matchmaking meetings. Automation Alley arranges meetings for participating companies with potential clients, customers and partners in advance of the trade mission through the U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key Matching Service, maximizing the time participants spend abroad.
“This award is largely attributed to our extremely important partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and their Gold Key Matching Service, which effectively links U.S. companies to buyers and end users of their products, services and technologies worldwide,” Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley director of international business services, said.
In addition to matchmaking abroad, Automation Alley hosts pre-mission workshops to educate participants on international business culture and the opportunities and challenges of doing business internationally.