From Illinois Business Journal news services
For three decades, Progressive Recovery, Inc. in Dupo has been designing and manufacturing equipment to help customers recycle and process hazardous waste, but when it decided to pursue a global strategy, it turned to the International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for assistance.
The firm chose to pursue ISO certification – a seal of approval that signifies a firm’s commitment to quality and continuous improvement, PRI Director of Engineering Tim Giddens said.
“PRI is the North American leader in solvent recovery equipment and cleaning chemistries for the printing industry,” Giddens said. “In order to expand our ability to serve international printing clients, we knew that ISO certification would be extremely helpful.”
Upon contacting the ITC for assistance, Director Silvia Torres Bowman introduced PRI to the Illinois’ State Trade and Export Promotion program. The ISTEP program provides small and medium-sized businesses in Illinois with financial and technical assistance to increase their exports. ISTEP includes four options for Illinois companies to grow their export sales: group trade missions, individual foreign market sales missions, assistance to achieve product compliance certifications and international marketing support.
“To supplement our internal efforts, the ITC provided the technical and financial support necessary to achieve ISO certification,” said Giddens. “The ITC was also extremely valuable in helping our sales team plug into trade missions and international trade shows. Participation in these events helped us gain exposure to new clients and potential business partners.”
PRI also benefited from the ITC’s expertise in finding new agents in difficult-to-reach markets.
“South Korea is the most recent market example of this,” Giddens said. “When we needed a new agent in this region, staff from the Illinois Office in Hong Kong, partners of the ITC, helped identify and pre-screen potential candidates. Finally, the ITC connected our finance people with several classes to help ensure that we were up to date on the laws associated with financing international jobs.”
SIUE ITC Director Silvia Torres Bowman said PRI is an ideal client.
“The mission of the ITC Network is to help and support the Illinois business community to prosper in markets around the world,” Torres Bowman said. “It’s been my privilege to work with Tim and the PRI team in support of their exporting endeavors. I have been constantly impressed by their thorough preparation and ability to develop and implement effective strategies for international expansion.
“Success in global markets requires commitment, careful planning and much patience. PRI is certainly meeting all three of these requirements, and the ITC will always be ready to support them as they continue
moving forward with their exporting goals.”
Regionally, Giddens is a member of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois. Within this organization, he serves as vice-chairman of its manufacturing subcommittee and is a staunch advocate of strengthening Illinois’ manufacturing sector.
The International Trade Center at SIUE serves entrepreneurs and small businesses in southern Illinois by providing individualized export consultation, identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads and international market analysis. Contact the ITC at International-Trade-Center@siue.edu or (618) 650-3851.