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2021 Governor’s Awards Highlight WTCAR Clients

LITTLE ROCK — Five of the six recipients of the 2021 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade are World Trade Center Arkansas clients, according to a news release from the Arkansas District Export Council.

Arkansas DEC’s award traditionally recognizes the exporting excellence and successes among Arkansas’ small, medium, and large enterprises. Winners of the award are Arkansas manufacturing or agriculture companies actively selling in international markets, according to the release.

“Without the STEP grant, companies would have been unable to attend trade shows,” said Tris Watkins, WTCAR’s STEP grant director. “Their attendance at these shows translated to sales.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said this year’s winners gave him “plenty to brag about” when showcasing the Natural State.

“They not only took care of business during the global health crisis, they took care of their employees,” Hutchinson said.

“The entrepreneurial and can-do spirit as well as a resolve to look out for one another is in our DNA. COVID-19 brought out the best in Arkansans and was on full display in the leadership of these six companies.”

The WTCAR clients honored include: 

Alliance Rubber, Hot Springs (category: medium company)

Alliance Rubber Company has been manufacturing some of the world’s best banding products at their manufacturing facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas since 1923. Their products are designed to be used in industrial, office, medical and agricultural applications and they sell in over 55 different countries.

ECOJOHN, North Little Rock (category: small company)

ECOJOHN is a manufacturing company that specializes in offering waste management solutions for off-grid, remote, and mobile applications. 

Their products include efficient waterless incinerating toilets and wastewater incinerators that eliminate the need for a septic tank or dumping black water tanks.

Leather Brothers Inc, Conway (category: rising star)

Leather Brothers are third generation leather workers who supply their products, bearing the OmniPet® brand name, to an ever-growing network of dealers and distributors worldwide.

Lycus Ltd., El Dorado (category: resilience in manufacturing)

Lycus Ltd. is the only domestic manufacturer of certain UV absorbers currently used on the market today. This Arkansas chemical plant is a wholesaler and contract manufacturer serving the world’s leading chemical companies with their ultraviolet (UV) light absorbers for use in plastics, coatings, and personal care applications.

Chandler Equipment Inc., Springdale (category: innovation and impact in manufacturing)

Manufacturer of truck accessories to a variety of customer groups in the agriculture, food, oil and gas, and transportation industries. The Chandler family operates within 5 specific companies that have grown into manufacturing accessories and supplies for the energy industry and providing liquid transportation parts all over the world.

The companies this year were selected on a more challenging basis than years past. In 2021, we are recognizing exporters who through the innovative and thoughtful development of the export market were able to successfully overcome the economic impacts of the 2020 pandemic and retain at least 95% of their workforce, according to the release.

Arkansas DEC is a non-profit organization composed of experienced exporters and businesspeople who regularly provide support services to exporting companies, one of over 60 DECs that exist throughout the country to support the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

To apply for funds, contact Trish Watkins, our STEP Grant director.

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