Menu

Kentucky Export Initiative luncheon highlights resources available

KEI Russell Chamber

Representatives of the Kentucky Export Initiative team spoke at during a Russell County Tourism and Chamber of Commerce luncheon Feb. 18 at Superior Battery Manufacturing to encourage businesses to explore taking their business overseas. Pictured, from left, Ray Goodearl, vice president of sales and marketing at Superior Battery; Sherry Mulkins, business and marketing manager for World Trade Center Kentucky; Lindsey Westerfield, vice president of the Russell County Chamber of Commerce; Sara Moreno, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center, Lexington; Gov. Martha Layne Collins, ambassador at-large of international trade for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Morgan Pierstorff, project manager for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; Lisa Gosser, president of the Russell County Chamber; Randy Hart, CEO of Superior Battery; and Ed Webb, president of the World Trade Center Kentucky.

RUSSELL SPRINGS, Ky. (February 24, 2014) — In an effort to educate Russell County companies about opportunities to expand their business abroad, Superior Battery Manufacturing partnered with Russell County Tourism and Chamber of Commerce Feb. 18 to host a Kentucky Export Initiative luncheon at Superior’s manufacturing facility.

The program, “Exporting from Russell County Kentucky: Let’s Get Started” featured former Gov. Martha Layne Collins and representatives from the Kentucky World Trade Center, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The program was designed to inform local organizations and business leaders about the Kentucky Export Initiative and the opportunities and benefits of promoting and developing exporting opportunities.

Gov. Steve Beshear introduced the Kentucky Export Initiative in 2010 to help streamline resources available so companies have easier access to information as they explore taking their business overseas. Through a central website, kyexports.com, business owners can find information about resources available, including counseling, training, business matchmaking and financial assistance. 

Superior Battery has become a model for export success, having utilized Kentucky Export Initiative resources such as the U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key matching program and State Trade and Export Promotion grants to grow international sales from 3 percent six years ago to more than 30 percent today.

“Superior Battery’s story is a really special export story, and for that reason it’s one that when we go around the state and talk to different communities, we’re constantly sharing that story,” said Morgan Pierstorff, project manager for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

It was in 2007 that Superior CEO Randy Hart began to notice indicators of an economic downturn. Because Superior’s business was primarily domestic, Hart and his management team were concerned about the potential effects of a recession, and decided to explore exporting and how it could help sustain and grow the business.

What they learned was invaluable, said Ray Goodearl, vice president of sales and marketing. Becoming an exporter not only meant opening the door to financial opportunities in a variety of new markets, but it also meant learning how to change the company’s entire business model and how goods are packaged and transported.

“It involved a lot of things we really didn’t know much about, and this is where the folks inside this room really came to the aid of Superior Battery on educating us about what we needed to do,” Goodearl said.

As a result, Superior increased export sales from 3 to 18 percent in its first year of selling abroad. In the seven years since the company embraced exporting, it now exports batteries to 29 countries around the world and has increased the share of export sales to 30 percent of total revenue. Superior has also been honored with three prestigious export awards — the Kentucky World Trade Center Governor’s Award for International Trade Excellence in 2010, 2011 Exporter of the Year by Commercial News USA and an Export Achievement Certificate from Undersecretary for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez in 2013.

Kentucky has had similar success. Collins noted that Kentucky set an export record in 2013 for the third consecutive year with $25.3 billion in sales. That’s an increase of 14.3 percent over 2012, making the state second in the nation in export growth. But even with these impressive figures, still only about 3 percent of Kentucky businesses are selling goods or services overseas.

“The potential is fantastic,” said Collins, who now serves as ambassador at-large of international trade for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “The future of Kentucky can be even brighter than it is today because the potential is there. … What we’ve got to do as Kentuckians, because we’re still competing with all those other states, we’ve got to be looking for new markets for our products.”

Unfortunately, Pierstorff said, the idea of international trade can be a scary prospect for many companies.

“There’s a lot of fear and hesitation about exporting, whether it be uncertainty about product markets or anticipated barriers to trade, whether they be language or regulatory,” she said. “But the good news is that these are obstacles that can be overcome through our Kentucky Export Initiative partners.”

Sara Moreno, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center with the U.S. Commercial Service, explained her role in helping businesses find the right market for their products and determine target priorities. But possibly the center’s most valuable resource, she said, is matching businesses with potential foreign buyers — a service that also helped Superior Battery find clients overseas.

Kentucky World Trade Center President Ed Webb emphasized that any business with a marketable product or service can benefit from resources offered by Kentucky Export Initiative partners.

“Ninety-eight percent of the companies trading internationally are small to mid-size companies,” Webb said. “Trade is not a big-business requirement.”

Goodearl recognized that exporting can be intimidating for small businesses, but encouraged those in attendance to embrace the resources available and spread the word.

“We need to talk to the community here and we need to encourage them that there’s huge opportunity out there,” Goodearl said. “There are all these tools that can help us fine tune the engines of our businesses. We need to encourage our people to reach into the toolbox and start seeing what they can do.”

For more information about the Kentucky Export Initiative and the resources available to businesses, visit kyexports.com.

About Superior Battery

Founded in 1983, Superior Battery Manufacturing Company Inc. is a recognized leader in providing reliable power sources for automotive, commercial, marine, lawn and garden and deep cycle applications. The company manufactures a diverse product line, including its highly acclaimed Superlex® brand. Headquartered in Russell Springs, Ky., the company and its 165 team members serve distributors and suppliers across the United States and a growing number of foreign markets. For more information, visit www.superlex.com.

News & Events

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Guidance

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Guidance

More details
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Commissioner Taylor Makes Russell County His First Visit

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Commissioner Taylor Makes Russell County His First Visit

More details
2019 was a Great Year for Russell County

2019 was a Great Year for Russell County

More details
Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex Unveiled in Russell County

Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex Unveiled in Russell County

More details
Russell County Welcomes Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary

Russell County Welcomes Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary

More details
Russell County Native Rodney Hitch Named One of Top Economic Developers in North America

Russell County Native Rodney Hitch Named One of Top Economic Developers in North America

More details
Gene Royalty, Former RCIDA Director Leaves Lasting Legacy

Gene Royalty, Former RCIDA Director Leaves Lasting Legacy

More details
KCED European Office Executive Director Visits Russell County

KCED European Office Executive Director Visits Russell County

More details
Russell County's First Business and Industry Symposium Well Attended

Russell County's First Business and Industry Symposium Well Attended

More details
Business & Industry Symposium to be Held May 14

Business & Industry Symposium to be Held May 14

More details
Eligible Small Businesses Should Apply Before Nov. 1 for Growth Incentives

Eligible Small Businesses Should Apply Before Nov. 1 for Growth Incentives

More details
Ground is broken for the Lake Cumberland Regional College & Workforce Center

Ground is broken for the Lake Cumberland Regional College & Workforce Center

More details
Jamestown Municipal Water Works recognized for outstanding water quality

Jamestown Municipal Water Works recognized for outstanding water quality

More details
RCIDA announces ‘Build-Ready’ site development

RCIDA announces ‘Build-Ready’ site development

More details
Board Chairman Clint Voils participates in Kentucky Association of Manufacturers LAND Forum

Board Chairman Clint Voils participates in Kentucky Association of Manufacturers LAND Forum

More details
RCIDA has a powerful new recruitment tool

RCIDA has a powerful new recruitment tool

More details
JOMEL opening manufacturing location in Russell County

JOMEL opening manufacturing location in Russell County

More details
RCIDA recognizes founding organizations

RCIDA recognizes founding organizations

More details

News & Events Archives

RCIDA receives grant to fund retail study and workforce analysis

RCIDA receives grant to fund retail study and workforce analysis

More details
New marina on Lake Cumberland will have economic impact

New marina on Lake Cumberland will have economic impact

More details
RCIDA partners with Russell County Schools on college and workforce training center project

RCIDA partners with Russell County Schools on college and workforce training center project

More details
Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex Site 1 receives food and beverage processing shovel-ready site designation

Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex Site 1 receives food and beverage processing shovel-ready site designation

More details
RCIDA hosts energy grants workshop

RCIDA hosts energy grants workshop

More details
Jamestown, Russell Springs among first in Kentucky to be gigabit Internet communities

Jamestown, Russell Springs among first in Kentucky to be gigabit Internet communities

More details
Dr. Schneider Outstanding Business of the Year

Dr. Schneider Outstanding Business of the Year

More details
Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems Opens in Russell County

Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems Opens in Russell County

More details
Superior Battery Encourages Local Businesses to Export

Superior Battery Encourages Local Businesses to Export

More details
Dr. Schneider to Create 155 Jobs

Dr. Schneider to Create 155 Jobs

More details
Superior Battery Hosts Innovation in Exporting Event

Superior Battery Hosts Innovation in Exporting Event

More details
Officials Say Lake Cumberland on the Rise with Barrier Wall Complete

Officials Say Lake Cumberland on the Rise with Barrier Wall Complete

More details
U.S. Trade Undersecretary Touts Superior’s Exporting Success

U.S. Trade Undersecretary Touts Superior’s Exporting Success

More details
Bruss Expansion Adds 100 Jobs

Bruss Expansion Adds 100 Jobs

More details
Duo County Telecom Completes Fiber Optic Loop

Duo County Telecom Completes Fiber Optic Loop

More details