Exporting makes for more growth'
State's international sales up 10 percent last year
From wire baskets to mineral fuel, Maryland's exports grew 10 percent last year, to $10.1 billion, with the largest growth in goods sold to Korea, the Netherlands and Chile.
Among the exporting companies is Marlin Steel Wire Products of Baltimore, which sells its wire and sheet metal products to 35 countries, including Germany, Canada, Holland, Japan and Sweden.
"The domestic market is good but exporting makes for more growth," said Drew Greenblatt, president and CEO of the 30-employee company.
Greenblatt was one of several Maryland executives honored at the 2011 Maryland International Business Leadership Awards on Thursday in Baltimore.
Greenblatt said he expects Marlin's export business which accounts for 20 percent of its sales to grow in the next few years.
It is "very exciting to get orders from all over the world," Greenblatt said, and he was "very proud" to receive the award.
Among the state's top trade partners, exports to Korea grew year-over-year by 133 percent in 2010 and nearly doubled to the Netherlands and Chile, according to state figures.
Gov. Martin O' Malley (D) launched the Maryland Export Initiative last year to expand assistance to small businesses through the state's ExportMD program, which offers $5,000 grants to small businesses in Maryland to market their products and services abroad.
More than two dozen small businesses received the grants in fiscal 2011, state officials said. More than 100 businesses have received the grants since 2007.
Exporting worldwide means bringing jobs to areas such as Baltimore, Greenblatt said, calling exporting a "critical industry."
"Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers are global clients," he said. "That's where the clients are. ... A lot of Maryland employers don't see that but they should."
Another award-winner Thursday was global biotech company Qiagen of the Netherlands, whose U.S. headquarters are in Germantown.
The awards "recognize companies that reach out to Maryland ... and expand worldwide," company spokeswoman Shelly Ducker.
With 30 locations worldwide, including a new office in India, "we see ourselves as very much a global company," Ducker said.
Qiagen has about 800 employees in Maryland, she said, including locations in Frederick and Gaithersburg.
The company recently expanded into clinical diagnostics and manufactures test kits for diseases such as the human papillomavirus at its Gaithersburg and Germantown locations.
Many Maryland companies are realizing they need to diversify and look overseas to sustain their growth, said Signe Pringle, program director for the Office of International Investment and Trade with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
The state has opened offices in several countries, Pringle said, including one recently in Russia. State officials also participate in international trade shows and often invite certain Maryland executives along to establish partnerships abroad.
"There's a lot going on," Pringle said, including state officials' partnership with federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration. "We want our companies to do well and introduce the 95 percent of the world's buyers to them."
While some Maryland companies already act as suppliers to international companies, Pringle said, the state is trying to promote Maryland "as a gateway to the U.S. market."
"We want to welcome international companies," she said.
Other award winners Thursday were Stephen B. Phillips, president and CEO of Phillips Foods of Baltimore, who won the Governor's International Award. Other winners: Tamara C. Darvish, executive vice president of Darcars Automotive Group of Silver Spring; Steve Martin, president of Firaxis; Mark Montgomery, president and CEO of Ports America Chesapeake of Baltimore; Marc-Oliver Stulz, president of Stulz ATS in Frederick; and Martine Rothblatt, chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics of Silver Spring.