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August 16, 2001

Governor Announces 2001 Governor's Export Award Winners

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today congratulated 12 Illinois companies, institutions and organizations that were chosen to receive the 2001 Governor's Export Awards for outstanding accomplishments in the export of Illinois goods and services around the globe.

"Illinois exports totaled nearly $34.5 billion last year and generated $1.5 billion in state tax revenue," Governor Ryan said. "It's important for us to recognize the contribution these companies and organizations make to the overall health of our state economy. Small, mid-size, and large companies alike are all contributing to this success."

Winners of the Governor's Export Awards were selected by representatives of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The awards were presented during "International Night" in the Illinois Wine Garden tent at the Illinois State Fair.

"Roughly 600,000 Illinois jobs are supported by exports," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "Governor Ryan has intensified Illinois' presence around the globe by expanding the number of trade offices from six to eight, and making trade missions to South Africa and Mexico, as well as a humanitarian mission to Cuba. These efforts not only support Illinois jobs, but also open up new avenues for Illinois companies to sell their products overseas."

Among this year's honorees is Elmhurst-based Cardinal Cartridge Inc. The company participated in the Illinois Trade Office's Target China program and has worked with DCCA's Bureau of Energy and Recycling.

A complete list of Export Award winners is attached:

Heartland Packaging, Inc. - Pinckneyville Heartland Packaging is a manufacturer of custom plastic packaging, shaped servicing food packaging, gift, medical, and non-food packaging. This company has increased its market share through combined efforts with Small Business Development Centers and Illinois Trade Centers. The company's exports to Canada generated $150,000 in sales, creating seven new full-time positions for residents of Pinckneyville.

Artex International, Inc. - Highland Artex International manufactures cotton linen products. Since 1933, Artex has been considered a leader in the hospitality industry because of their steady international growth. Artex is involved in the European, Latin American, and Asian markets and attributes 20% of total sales to their international markets.

Pro Mark - Evanston Pro Mark produces small filtration pellets that are used in refrigerators. Pro Mark is very active in exporting to Mexico and has worked closely with the State of Illinois Mexico City office to help the company reach a more competitive advantage in the Hispanic market. Pro Mark is a growing company, whose products are identified throughout the world.

Rockford Constant Velocity - Rockford Rockford Constant Velocity manufactures automotive drive-train components for light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks and provides technical training and support for all of their products. Rockford Constant Velocity is involved in several international markets and recently completed a $1 million sale to Canadian Tire. The company is planning to expand to other international markets as well.

Unitronex - St. Charles Unitronex was established in 1974 to provide trade services to American companies in Central Europe and Asia. Unitronex has obtained substantial contracts in the areas of manufacturing, research and development, government procurement, and distribution. The compnay is highly regarded in the Polish market and is expected to expand their market to other Eastern European markets.

Cardinal Cartridge - Elmhurst Cardinal Cartridge has been a leader in the toner recycling business for the last 15 years. Cardinal Cartridge has a staff of 66 who repair and recycle over 100,000 cartridges annually. The company has an international sale office in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. Cardinal Cartridge is also in the top 3% of re-manufacturers in Illinois and the top 20% in the nation.

4B Components, Ltd. - East Peoria 4B Components was founded in 1984 and has been an industry leader in developing high quality, innovative and dependable material handling components for the agricultural and industrial sectors. 4B Components is highly regarded in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela and has averaged a 25% sales increase each year for the past 5 years.

Mid-America International Agri-trade Council - Chicago MIATCO is a non-profit organization that promotes the export of food and agricultural products. MIATCO was created in 1969 and has developed an internationally acclaimed Branded Program that raised $530,868 in matching funds for Illinois agriculture companies. MIATCO works closely with 12 Midwestern state agriculture promotion agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state regional trade groups, and international organizations to help benefit the agricultural sector of the Midwest. Due to MIATCO's efforts, 32 new jobs were created in Illinois and the company has realized a return-on-investment of $146 for each promotional dollar it spent.

Luster Products - Chicago Luster Products produces hair care products for special niche markets. Luster Products currently exports to 46 different countries and has worked extensively with the United States Department of Commerce, Foreign Commercial Services and the Illinois Trade Office to increase international awareness of their products. The product lines offered by Luster Products have been a tremendous success in South Africa.

The Middleby Corporation - Elgin The Middleby Corporation designs, manufactures, and sells commercial and institutional food service equipment. This equipment is manufactured and assembled in two U.S. based factories and one factory in the Philippines. The Middleby Corporation has served restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Red Lobster, Wendy's, McDonalds, Telepizza, and Domino's. The Middleby Corporation has been increasing international market awareness through product literature in 15 different languages and international sales account for one-third of their total sales.

Excel Rail Car Corporation - Naperville Excel Rail Car Corporation is a rapidly growing Mexican-American owned company that leases private railroad freight cars. Established in 1980, Excel Rail Car, has grown to become a multi-million dollar operation due primarily to their creative international leasing services. The success in both Mexican and American markets enabled Excel Rail Car to create a new company, Excel Rail Car Services, Inc., which offers track rehabilitation, track relocation, realignment, and reconstruction services. Excel had exported over 1,500 railcars to Mexico since it was established.

U.S. Soy - Mattoon U.S. Soy produces traditional soybean products that are grown by Illinois farmers. U.S. Soy focuses on exporting to the Pacific Rim and Europe. U.S. Soy has been in business for three years. U.S. Soy, which attributes two-thirds of the company's sales to exports, works closely with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Crop Improvement Association, the University of Illinois, and the International Soy Program to help increase the production and exportation non-GMO soybeans.


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