Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Five companies receive Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade Award

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 19, 2015) - Five Arkansas companies received the 2015 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade during an awards luncheon held today at the Governor’s Mansion. The award honors companies for their leadership in exporting goods and services throughout the world.

This year’s winners are:

  • Georg Fischer Harvel LLC (Little Rock) – Large Manufacturer Exporter

  • Knesek Guns Inc. (Van Buren) – Medium Service Provider

  • Galley Support Innovations Inc. (Sherwood) – Small Manufacturer

  • Jobco Inc. (Fort Smith) – Small Service Provider

  • Collective Bias Inc. (Bentonville) – Rising Star

“Our businesses must compete in the global market if our state is to reach its economic potential,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade recognizes those businesses that are forging the way and finding success. They are great examples of how businesses must continue to evolve in the 21st century.”

This is the sixth year for the program which is co-sponsored by the Arkansas District Export Council, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, U. S. Commercial Service, and the Arkansas World Trade Center. 

Judging criteria was based on factors such as most recent percentage of export sales to total sales, growth of export sales over the past three years, the company's goals and commitments internationally and the number of jobs saved or created due to the company's export performance if applicable.

The Governor’s Awards highlight the importance of international trade on the state’s economic stability and growth. According to Census Bureau data, Arkansas’s export shipments of merchandise in 2014 totaled $6.9 billion. There were 2,242 Arkansas companies exporting goods from Arkansas in 2014. Arkansas’s largest trade partners in 2014 were Canada ($1.4 billion), Mexico ($738 million), France ($440 million), and China ($437 million).

The Arkansas District Export Council is composed of business leaders appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. District Export Councils contribute leadership and international trade expertise to complement the U.S. Commercial Service's export promotion efforts through counseling businesses on the exporting process and conducting trade education and community outreach.



Georg Fischer Harvel LLC

Georg Fischer Harvel LLC is a producer of plastic pipe and fittings used for the transportation of water, gases and aggressive media. Five years ago, Georg Fisher Harvel LLC found the local market highly saturated and worked to expand into the international market. To date, 20 percent of their gross revenue is derived from international sales. They have focused on emergent international markets in which an increase in local and foreign investment is leading an increase in infrastructure improvements. They are currently exporting to more than 50 countries. The innovative approach to expanding their market and the dedication to developing international relationships to ensure their supply lines remain open and active are why Georg Fischer Harvel LLC was selected as this year’s Large Manufacturer Exporter.


Knesek Guns Inc.

Knesek Guns Inc. (KGI) saw an international need for advanced firearms and equipment and has grown to meet that need. Based out of Van Buren, Arkansas, this company exports to 76 international markets. They first envisioned international expansion after attending the IWA trade show in Germany. Through discussions in Germany with potential customers they saw that there was an international need for specialized firearms, modified to meet individual country regulations that no other American company was filling. They took this idea and have worked with foreign governments and defense companies to expand their global reach. KGI has also expanded into several offshoot businesses to enhance their manufacturing enterprise. The way that KGI stepped up to meet a global need and the focus of the business on export markets is why Knesek Guns Inc. is this year’s Medium Service Provider.


Galley Support Innovations Inc.

Galley Support Innovations (GSI) based out of Sherwood, Arkansas, designs and manufactures interior hardware for planes, trains, yachts and more. They work with customers to custom design hardware for their transportation systems. While GSI focuses primarily on planes at this time, they are reaching out to international markets in rail, marine, and automotive industries as well. Currently more than 20 percent of their annual sales is derived from their exporting business. They are exporting to eight foreign markets currently and have started working directly with end users overseas to increase this market share. GSI’s willingness to change and expand to meet the diverse international demand is why they are this year’s Small Manufacturer Exporter.


Jobco Inc.

Jobco Incorporated started in 1981 as a wholesale distributor for manufacturing companies within the Fort Smith area. Over the last 30 years, they have expanded their reach and now serve as a wholesale distributor for international markets. They have embraced technology and utilized a web based sales approach to market to internationally based companies. They have retained these customers and increased their exporting markets by providing custom products to countries that are unable to locally produce products to meet their manufacturing needs. Through their web-based approach, they have doubled their international sales in the last year and hope to further increase their reach in the year to come. This focus on customer satisfaction and embracing technology is why Jobco Inc. is this year’s Small Service Provider. 


Collective Bias Inc.

Collective Bias, based in Rogers, Arkansas, uses the power of storytelling to influence market demand and branding for companies around the world. They focus on utilizing social influencers to tell their stories about different brands and products and their experiences using these products. In this way companies can use real life examples to shape their image and to encourage new markets. People in general are engaged in the act of reading about other people’s impressions of different products as they are mentioned in the process of storytelling, in this way potential customers do not even realize they are being influenced to look for those products the while they are shopping. These authentic stories are shared across social media platforms, thus expanding the reach of the story. Collective Bias took this idea global. They have worked with major companies to increase markets for lessor utilized products. They have found social influencers who were using these products in new and exciting ways and started Twitter campaigns to highlight the reach of these ideas. This creative and innovative approach is allowing Collective Bias to influence shopping decisions worldwide, while increasing Arkansas based jobs. This is why Collective Bias is this year’s Arkansas Rising Star.