Chamber News

Five Charleston-area companies trained to enter international markets

WRITTEN BY lclark 4 years ago

Read Time
  • 3,002 VISITS

June 3, 2014

Charleston, SC – Five local companies are now poised to enter the global marketplace, having completed intensive export training provided by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and World Trade Center Charleston (WTCC). Graduates of the training program, completed May 28, 2014, are professionals of GeL Laboratories, Streit USA Armoring, Striped Pig Distillery, UEC Electronics and TIGHITCO.

The training, which is a component of the Metropolitan Charleston Export Initiative, prepares companies to enter the international market and to expand current exports. Trainers include representatives from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina District Export Council, the S.C. Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Department of Commerce/Commercial Service, along with World Trade Center Charleston.

A total of twelve companies will complete the training program in 2014.

The five graduates are:

GEL Laboratories – With more than 200 employees, Gel Laboratories is a provider of analytical laboratory services to governments, engineering firms and nuclear utilities. The company has had some export experience with markets such as France, UK, Japan and Canada, but wanted to continue to explore foreign markets where there are additional opportunities to provide similar services.

“I gained a lot from learning about the resources available for exporting and from hearing others’ presentations,” said Mac Hodgson, Vice President for The GEL Group, Inc. “This program has helped our company focus on our international efforts and the connections we made here were very helpful.”

Streit USA Armoring – The company provides a variety of protective vehicles with many functions, from law enforcement to funds transfer, to the safe transportation of VIPs and high-visibility targets moving in areas with different threat levels. Streit’s plant in North Charleston serves the federal government and private sector buyers, but now has the capacity to export part of its production to foreign. The company was seeking advice on which markets to target, as well as export compliance guidance.

“You can get out of (this training) what you want,” said Jerry Myers, Proposal Manager for Streit. “We came to find resources that we’re certainly more aware of now.” Paul Welborn, Streit’s Director of Government Contracts added: “Going forward, we know that we what we can gain from the many resources that were introduced to us – from the World Trade Center to the U.S. Commercial Service.”

Striped Pig Distillery (SPD) – SPD is a start-up distillery, producing “moonshine whiskey”, rum, and vodka made from all-natural, locally-grown ingredients. The company is interested in developing export markets even as they grow their local and domestic sales.

“For a new company looking to export, this should be mandatory,” said Casey Lilley, President. “Getting professional feedback from this team has been crucial.”

“The concentration and diversification brought to this program, from the (service providers) to the experts on the panel who offered us feedback… it’s a gift to have all these resources in one place – for free,” said James Craig, Vice President/Partner.

UEC Electronics – A contract manufacturer of electronic components and equipment for Aerospace, Defense, and Commercial customers. The company was seeking to market its equipment to private sector and foreign markets.

“This was a very good avenue to bring it all together. We now have a working document that helps us focus on exactly what we need to do. I thought it was awesome… it’s a fantastic opportunity and I recommend it to anyone,” said Tyler Bach, UEC’s Business Development Manager for Global Markets.

In addition to the three day training program, an additional training day was provided to those in need of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) training. A fifth company, TIGHITCO, joined Streit USA Armoring and UEC Electronics to participate in this training.

TIGHITCO – An industry leader in the design and fabrication of engineered components for aerospace and industrial applications.

For more information or to enroll in export training, please contact Pennie Bingham.

About World Trade Center Charleston: An initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce located in North Charleston , South Carolina and a member of the World Trade Centers Association. Businesses interested in learning more about WTCC and global commerce are encouraged to visit and for more information.

About the Chamber: With more than 1,700 member organizations representing 100,000 professionals, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce serves as the collective voice of the business community, and a catalyst for advancing the region’s economy and enhancing members’ success through Advocacy, Innovation, Talent and Business Advancement.