Governor Cooper, EDPNC Recognizes Seven Companies for Export Excellence

February 15, 2024

Seven North Carolina companies were recognized at the 2023 Governor’s Export Awards for their growing sales success in international markets. These companies range from tactical components to bicycle wheel manufacturing and textile machinery.

Seven North Carolina companies today were recognized at the 2023 Governor’s Export Awards for their growing sales success in international markets. These companies range from tactical components to bicycle wheel manufacturing and textile machinery.

“North Carolina is a leader on the global stage, thanks in part to the thousands of North Carolina companies exporting their goods and services,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “In 2023, those companies, including the ones we are recognizing today, exported more than $40 billion in goods and services to 206 countries, bringing money to North Carolina. We are thankful for their large contribution to our state’s economy.”

The Governor’s Office partnered with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) to develop this awards program, now in its seventh year. The EDPNC and its International Trade division work with companies all over the state to navigate trade agreements, language barriers and other obstacles when it comes to exporting goods.

The winners of the 2023 Governor’s Export Awards are:

  • Governor’s Award for Excellence – Sciencix, Inc., in Wake County
  • Small Business – Apex Instruments Inc., in Wake County
  • Large Business – Hooker Furnishings in Catawba County
  • Rural – Tidewater Grain Company in Pamlico County
  • Global Reach – IOMAX USA, Inc., in Iredell County
  • Export Partner – North Carolina District Export Council, Inc., in Mecklenburg County
  • New to Export – Linor Technology, Inc., in Forsyth County

“The International Trade division assisted 577 companies in 2023 and these seven companies rose to the top for their success in exporting and international sales,” said Michael Hubbard, director of International Trade for the EDPNC. “We are very proud we were able to work with these companies to achieve success for them and for the state of North Carolina.”

The EDPNC’s International Trade division includes five North Carolina-based trade managers who specialize in specific industry sectors, and trade representatives from Mexico, Canada, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Germany and Belgium, who work primarily with small and medium-sized businesses free of charge.

More information on the 2023 recipients:

Governor’s Award for Excellence – Sciencix, Inc. in Wake County

The Governor’s Award for Excellence is given each year to recognize one North Carolina company that has made significant contributions in the effort to increase North Carolina exports. Sciencix manufacturers, services and replaces High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) instrumentation parts. In 2023, Sciencix traveled to several countries and collaborated with many export partners to promote the company and the state. Sciencix was also named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2023 National Exporter of the Year.

“We chose North Carolina as our business headquarters location in 2019 for a reason, and it has exceeded our expectations with the support we have received from the EDPNC. The resources they provide, including the STEP Grant, have made a direct and tremendous impact on our business growth during years when many businesses have struggled coming out of the pandemic,” said Raj Bhandari, president of Sciencix. “Our international sales have grown every year with the EDPNC’s support, and we are honored to be part of North Carolina’s thriving international business community.”

Small Business – Apex Instruments Inc. in Wake County

Apex Instruments, Inc., designs, manufactures and distributes emission measurement sampling equipment. The company supplies equipment to government agencies, consulting firms and private businesses throughout North America and over 50 countries across the world.

“Apex Instruments highly regards the EDPNC as a key ally in our export endeavors. They are more than just a helpful resource; they are an essential partner for us,” said Miles Wright, CEO of Apex Instruments Inc. “Everyone in the organization is knowledgeable and professional, and their organizational expertise, coupled with the insightful research they offer, is both impressive and invaluable for our operations. For any export-related issues, EDPNC is always our first point of contact.”

Large Business – Hooker Furnishings in Catawba County

Since its founding in 1925, Hooker Furnishings has been producing stylish, well-made furniture for customers across the United States and world. The company has over 800 employees in Virginia and North Carolina, and its upscale leather upholstery line is manufactured in Hickory under Hooker Furnishing’s subsidiary Bradington-Young.

“The EDPNC has been a tremendous resource for us as we continue to expand our international business,” said Brad Miller, vice president of International Sales for Hooker Furnishings. “Through our partnership, we have been able to conduct research in target growth areas including Europe and Southeast Asia, resulting in relationships with new customers. As we enter our 100th year in business, this award is a great example of how we have continually grown over the years to become a diverse, international company that can successfully service the needs of a variety of customers across the globe.”

Rural – Tidewater Grain Co. in Pamlico County

Located in Oriental, Tidewater Grain Co. grows, harvests, mills and sells Carolina Gold Rice, a grain that has roots dating back to the 1600s. Tidewater Grain Company brought this crop back to rural Eastern North Carolina after a more than 120-year hiatus and now sells the grain internationally.

“Working with the EDPNC has allowed Tidewater Grain to not only increase our marketing efforts but also expand our business horizon beyond domestic limitations,” said Tommy Wheeler, founder of Tidewater Grain Company. “In areas of comfort, they provide assistance, and in areas unknown they provide leadership and encouragement. This is all you could ask from any partner.”

Global Reach – IOMAX USA, Inc. in Iredell County

IOMAX USA, Inc., designs, tests, and installs new state-of-the-art airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions for aircraft. The Mooresville-based company has customers across the Middle East and North Africa.

“Enough cannot be said about the support EDPNC has provided IOMAX in providing assistance with expanding our reach in the international market,” said Seamus Flatley, vice president of Business Development. “From trade shows to online marketing they have been a tremendous partner in helping IOMAX increase its visibility around the world.”

Sharyn Koenig Export Partner Award – North Carolina District Export Council, Inc., in Mecklenburg County

The North Carolina District Export Council was established through the U.S. Department of Commerce and serves to mentor new exporters and provides export education to build a pipeline for future exporters. The council has been a long-time partner of the EDPNC and has helped the International Trade division prepare North Carolina companies for success in the international market.

“The EDPNC provides critical assistance to the small and medium size enterprise community in the form of deep exporting knowledge and experience, export resources, export grants and educational opportunities,” said Bill Harazin chair of the North Carolina District Export Council. “As one of our primary partners, the EDPNC compliments our activities and the activities of the U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC) located in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro.”

New to Export – Linor Technology, Inc., in Forsyth County

Linor Technology is a research and development company that designs and builds controllers for the Internet of Things (IoTs) market. As a small business and beginner in the export market, Linor Technology continually participates in new-to-export trainings and has explored international markets to find the best fit for the company. Linor Technology is showing promise in exporting due to the company’s dedication to learning the ins and outs of exporting.

“On behalf of Linor Technology, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the EDPNC for the invaluable assistance we have received over the years. The expertise and funding we accessed through the EDPNC STEP program gave us the confidence and capability to aggressively pursue exports,” said Liyu Nalven, president and founder of Linor Technology, Inc. “In just four short years, exporting has grown from zero to 18% of our total revenue.”