ProStuff LLC owner awarded for growing U.S. exports
From press release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) congratulated a small business owner from Rockford who was one of just 22 employers nationwide to receive the country’s highest award for exporting at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
ProStuff LLC, a Rockford manufacturer of starting gates for BMX and Mountain Bike racing, received the 2010 Presidential “E” Award and “E” Star Award for outstanding contributions to growing U.S. exports, strengthening the economy, and creating American jobs. Owner Pierce Barker III employs nine workers at his Rockford business, half of whom were hired because of the company’s ability to sell their starting gates in other countries.
Barker’s team launched a new product for the BMX industry several years ago and worked with Patrick Hope at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Rockford to market it and sell it overseas. Hope provided the company with assistance on export finance, translation of company documents, standards and regulatory assistance, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) information and shipping and logistics assistance.
After getting his starting gates sanctioned by the international racing body in Switzerland, Barker successfully won a major contract as the sole provider of BMX starting gates for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In addition to the $49,000 China sale, ProStuff reported export sales to 17 other countries totaling more than $296,000 in 2008.
ProStuff is just one of many companies in the Rockford region that combined to export $1.51 billion worth of goods in 2008, a three-fold increase over 1993 levels.
Barker said his firm now has new quotations of more than $1 million for purchase orders to be fulfilled in the next year. He anticipates adding a new hire very soon and expects to increase manufacturing production by another 50 percent within the year, requiring him to hire three to four more employees to support the increase in his business.
“ProStuff of Rockford is a great example of how small employers can expand their business and create American jobs by looking for new markets overseas, and I congratulate Pierce Barker III and his employees on receiving this significant award,” Manzullo said. “More than 96 percent of the world’s consumers, controlling 70 percent of global purchasing power, live outside of the United States and offer significant growth opportunities for America’s small employers. Americans desperately need jobs right now, and I urge other employers in northern Illinois to follow ProStuff’s lead and look overseas for new markets with the help of our Export Assistance Centers so we can put more Americans back to work.”
In remarks before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last March, Manzullo called for supporting aggressive export promotion programs that help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like ProStuff LLC identify exporting opportunities overseas and secure trade financing.
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