Troy, Mich. – Nov. 5, 2021 – Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center and a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America, has been selected to receive the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service in recognition of its achievement in making continuing, significant contributions to increase U.S. exports through its trade mission program. The award, which is presented by the United States Department of Commerce, is the highest honor given to providers of services to U.S. exporters. Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly accepted the award today in Washington D.C. from U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Gina Raimondo, on behalf of Automation Alley and its International Business Services team, which includes Noel Nevshehir, Director, International Business Services and Global Strategic Partnerships, and Lisa Lasser, Manager, International Business Services.
“An award of this stature requires an extremely cohesive unit of international business experts. In receiving the President’s ‘E Star’ award, I thank not only the U.S. Department of Commerce, but the International Business Services Team at Automation Alley for their coordinated efforts to always plan our trade missions to achieve bottom line results for participating members,” Kelly said.
The goal of Automation Alley’s trade mission program, which is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), is to help Michigan companies expand their products, services and technologies globally into new, high-growth markets. Automation Alley has organized over 40 trade missions with over 400 participating companies and organizations, as well as offering virtual missions during the pandemic.
In third quarter 2021, according to metrics tracked for its role as a regional export network (REN) for the MEDC, Automation Alley’s export sales were nearly $58 million, with 269 new jobs created. The total amount of export sales made by Michigan companies as a result of their participation in Automation Alley’s trade mission program and other trade-related activities has reached $1.6 billion since the program began in 2001. In addition, a total of 8,609 high-paying, high-valued added jobs have been directly and indirectly created as a result of these trade mission efforts.
“Trade missions open doors for Michigan companies by helping them identify and enter into new relationships, ultimately growing their businesses and bringing more and better jobs to our residents,” Josh Hundt, Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President at the MEDC, said. “Automation Alley’s world-class trade mission program has delivered results for companies across Michigan, and we congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”
Automation Alley’s International Services Team handles all mission-related planning and details before, during and after the mission, which includes hotel accommodations, internal transportation, matchmaking meetings, business briefings, welcome receptions and cultural tours. The organization works with entities, including the U.S. Commercial Service and the MEDC, to arrange in-country matchmaking meetings with potential business partners, buyers and end users of the participating companies’ products, services and technologies. Prior to each mission, Automation Alley holds country-specific workshops to inform interested companies about the challenges and opportunities of doing business abroad. Nevshehir says the missions always attracts motivated, business-opportunity creators.
“Each trade mission has its own unique energy, but all of them are comprised of individuals with an ambitious entrepreneurial spirit who are eager to bring American manufactured goods and breakthrough technologies to high potential countries,” Nevshehir said.
Joe Gibbs, President of Gibbs Machinery Company, an industrial equipment supplier based in Warren, Michigan, participated in the 2020 trade mission to India with Automation Alley.
“The mission was outstanding on every level and helped us to significantly grow our business in India,” Gibbs said.
William Andre, Vice President of Hydra-Lock, agrees. His company, a hydraulic equipment supplier based in Mount Clemens, Michigan, has attended many trade missions with Automation Alley throughout the years, most recently the Paris Air show and Mexico in 2017 and the Paris Air Show in 2019.
“We would have never achieved this level of success without the wonderful support of the U.S. export assistance center, U.S. Commercial Service and Automation Alley,” he said.
This is the third time Automation Alley has been honored by the White House for its significant contributions to increasing American exports; it also received the “E Star” Award for Export Service in 2013 and 2008.
About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. We facilitate public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education and government to fuel Michigan’s economy. We give businesses a competitive advantage by equipping them with the knowledge and tools to develop a software-first mindset that leverages the intersections of advanced technologies, systems and people to jumpstart or accelerate a digital path to strategic success.