In Oct. 14 Issue
Superior Battery has been awarded this year's Kentucky World Trade Center's Governor's Award for International Trade Excellence, according to Ray Goodearl, the company's vice president of international sales and marketing.
This prestigious award recognizes Kentucky companies successfully engaged in international trade.
"First of all it is a testament to the company's stability and advanced product line," said Goodearl, who has been with the company for four years. "We've been in business 27 years … but as far as exporting around the globe we've only started that in the last three years."
He said the award also speaks highly of Superior's products, specifically the consistency and service levels the company offers which separates them from much of their competition.
"We develop relationships with people around the globe and once the relationship is going it is not necessarily predicated on price, it's based on the fact that they can buy product that's made in the U.S.A. and that they buy a very high quality and reliable product."
Goodearl said Superior, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kentucky World Trade Center all work together to develop new export markets.
Announced during the trade center's annual World Trade Day earlier this fall, winners are selected on the uniqueness of the company's international business strategy, management's commitment to an organization-wide effort to achieving export success and the company's overall contribution to the local community through its efforts in world trade.
"This type of success is achievable by anybody," Goodearl said. "We're a relatively small company with 165 people … I think for the governor to choose Superior Battery reinforces the fact that the system they are using is not biased and is legitimate."
Goodearl said that Superior's business model is recognized as a benchmark in the battery industry.
"We set precedence for the industry," he said. "Our management team is stronger than ever. The level of commitment our employees have taken to embrace the success of Superior Battery has been significant since I started here but we've been very good for many years."
Goodearl, who is originally from Wisconsin, said he has been in the battery industry for 20 years and was a large customer of Superior's before being hired in what he called his "dream job."
"We're evolving into the next level of company, not only from the business standpoint but from a personnel standpoint as well," he said. "Our personnel are working extremely well together as a team."
Goodearl went on to say it was great timing for Superior Battery to penetrate the overseas markets as America's economy slipped into a recession.
"We extend our heartiest congratulations (Superior Battery)," said Ying Juan Rogers, executive vice president with the Kentucky World Trade Center. "Superior's outstanding achievements in export markets represent one of Kentucky's very best international trade success stories."
With an emphasis on excellence in customer service, Superior has penetrated foreign markets by offering U.S. made, high quality products backed by ongoing product innovation.
"Our exports have grown from 3 percent to nearly 30 percent of our overall sales in little more than three years," Superior CEO and President Randy Hart said. "While a large portion of the U.S. manufacturing market has been unstable since the inception of the recession, our growth in export markets has allowed Superior Battery to support and maintain our employee base."
Hart said the company has established business contacts and relationships with Canada, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Columbia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, El Salvador, Chile, Japan, Ghana and Kuwait. Hart added that exporting has enabled Superior Battery to move forward despite the economic slowdown.
He said the exporting business allowed Superior to keep a full workforce as many places laid off numerous workers.
"We had to make some adjustments but, nonetheless, we were able to keep everybody employed," he said.
While there is much demand for its batteries for automotive needs, Hart went on to say that many of its customers rely on Superior's quality-made deep cycle batteries to supply power through inverters for homes and businesses due to daily power outages. J. Edwin Webb, president of the Kentucky World Trade Center, said Hart and his team understand the power of international trade. "Superior Battery's partnership with the Kentucky World Trade Center and the U.S. Commercial Service offices allows the company to successfully compete in numerous international markets," Webb said. "For Kentucky manufacturers, one of every five jobs depends on exports and jobs supported by exports equates to higher wages. Exporting is a win/win/win for companies like Superior Battery, for Kentucky's manufacturing workforce and for our state."
Sara Melton Moreno, international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service in Lexington, commended Superior for taking advantage of export counseling and other programs to find additional foreign markets.
"Ninety-five percent of the world's potential consumers are outside of the United States, and Superior Battery is an excellent example of how Kentucky exporters are using international diversification to help weather economic slowdowns and sustain growth and employee levels," Moreno said.
Superior was one of only two companies that received the award at the Kentucky World Trade Center's World Trade Day 2010.
Suresh Kumar, assistant secretary for trade promotion and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in the U.S. Commerce Department, was the keynote speaker with his presentation on "National Export Initiatives: Opportunities for the Bluegrass State."
Past recipients of the award include United Parcel Service (UPS), Link Belt and Zoeller Pump.
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, the company and its 165 team members serve distributors and suppliers across the United States and a growing number of foreign markets.