Georgia Berner, President of Berner International, New Castle, PA, has been named the 2006 United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Exporter of the Year for Western Pennsylvania.
The award recognizes long-term commitment to the development of international markets and a company’s understanding of the value of exporting and international investment.
Berner International Corporation is the country’s second largest manufacturer of air doors and air curtains.
Under Ms. Berner’s leadership, sales have climbed by more than 600%, and export sales went from 2.7% in 2002 to 2.8% of total annual sales in 2004.
“We believe in developing key partnerships to help us respond to the needs of a global economy,” says Ms. Berner. “I believe a smart business strategy is to recognize the opportunities that exporting can bring to support our local economy. It takes patience and persistence as well as risky investments to engage in export activities.”
Ms. Berner participates in many overseas trade missions to meet foreign companies and attend trade shows. “Growth in international markets has resulted in employee increases for our plant,” says Berner. “We added 20 new jobs in two years; that’s good news for the local economy.”
All Berner employees receive substantial benefit packages, including 401(k) contributions and full health care coverage.
“I’m more than willing to help other companies establish foreign distribution channels, Berner says. “Small businesses should realize that the ‘flattening of the world’ means companies must adapt.”
Berner will be honored as SBA’s Annual Awards Luncheon on May 17 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.