Two Beaufort County companies were recognized last month for their achievements in global exportation and international business on both state and federal levels, and the owners of both companies happen to reside in Bluffton.
On Nov. 14, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, in conjunction with the South Carolina District Export Council recognized Dust Solutions Inc. (DSI) and Global Infection Control Consultants with the Export Achievement Award, a global honor of high distinction.
They were the only two businesses to be selected in South Carolina.
DSI manufactures dust suppression systems for a wide array of industries including power generation, mining, mineral processing, aggregate, pulp and paper, wood products, hazardous waste, marine and bulk handling.
The company does all of its manufacturing in Beaufort with offices on the West Coast and elsewhere, but owners Richard and Aura Posner live in Bluffton. Richard is president, while his wife, Aura, serves as vice president.
Environmental and mechanical engineer Art Martin is president and principal research scientist at Global Infection Control Consultants, which is based in Bluffton, where Martin also lives. They have a branch in Charlotte as well. The company has expanded internationally to more than 21 countries today and has become known for its Path-Away product.
Path-Away is an EPA-approved plant-based, certified organic and non-GMO solution, with no alcohol, drugs or added chemicals. It is soluble and environmentally friendly to aquatics, birds, bees and soil with extremely low toxicity.
Path-Away has been tested successfully for safety in many applications, including agriculture, poultry, equine, textile, medical marijuana and virtually all indoor environments.
GICC uses Path-Away to tackle a wide variety of issues including infection control; crop control; textile contamination control; poultry, livestock and equine contamination control. The product is used also to keep commercial, residential, industrial and institutional occupied structures pathogen free for safe habitation through clean air control.
The award is designated for companies and entrepreneurs who are producing “innovative technology and products that have a significant impact on global trade related to health.”
Phil Minard, director of commercial service for the U.S. Department of Commerce office in Charleston, presented the Export Achievement Award to the Posners and Martin.
“Art Martin was able to secure a significant sale in Nigeria and develop prospects in many parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” he explained. “And with DSI, we wanted to recognize their recent success in a major sale and contract through Latvia.”
There are plenty of statistics to highlight the magnitude of this distinction, according to Minard.
Of nearly 30 million companies in the United States, less than one percent sells their goods and services abroad – a far lower share than any other advanced country, he noted. Of those U.S. companies that do export, the majority (nearly 60 percent) sells to just one country and accounts for only five percent of U.S. export value.
To give an idea of the effect those exports have on the economy at home, 11.5 million U.S. jobs were supported by exports in the 2015 fiscal year.
“These folks are great people to work with,” Minard said. “They are focused, goal-oriented and determined to grow and develop business. It’s great to work with people who are creating jobs and helping to grow the economy in general.”
“They’re here to help businesses like ours, and it seems like they actually care. It’s nice to see government working the way it should,” Richard Posner said of Minard and his associates in the Department of Commerce. “The key is making contacts and getting to know people. When we took over DSI, about 10 to 20 percent of the business was export, and now about 60 percent of our business is export.”
“It’s so much fun working internationally,” Martin said. “There is so much you can learn from other cultures, so many different customs.”
Martin and the Posners did not realize they were neighbors until receiving the award. They’ve since discovered that their companies might have some synergy together.
Some of the technology DSI uses for dust suppression coincides with distribution methods for Path-Away, and Martin was planning a tour of DSI’s facilities at the time of this interview.
Shae Dalrymple is the assistant editor of the Bluffton Sun.