What do aerospace, peanut butter and elite athletic conditioning have in common? They are thriving businesses in our region that are exporting products and services all over the world. The Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program is celebrating the exporting successes of 17 businesses in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties, and honoring four of them with onsite visits by local mayors, who will present a certificate acknowledging these achievements. On April 28, 2017, Able Aerospace Services Inc. and company CEO Lee Benson will be recognized by City of Mesa Mayor John Giles as the top scoring export business in Maricopa County, during a ceremony being held at 10:00 a.m. at the Able Aerospace headquarters, 7706 E. Velocity Way, Mesa, Arizona 85212.

The Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program was launched by the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC), led by elected officials and business leaders in the Sun Corridor. City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton championed the development of the export recognition program when he became chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council. He says, “We have great products and services to offer the world, and the vast majority of the marketplace is outside of our borders, so we have to think and act in a more concerted way toward exporting. The better we do, the better off our economy is going to be.”

When Able started exporting repaired and overhauled replacement parts for aircraft in 1994, exporting represented approximately $100,000 of their revenue. Now, 23 years later, exporting represents almost half of all parts and services activity. “We are bringing the benefit of that success home. We have turned our global export achievements into approximately 500 well-paying local jobs, and we are supporting hundreds of vendors,” says Able Aerospace Services Inc. CEO Lee Benson.

All applications from businesses that applied for the program were evaluated by an independent panel of experts. Based on this assessment, the businesses were placed in categories of emerging, proficient or expert. Able is being recognized as an expert exporter for overall achievement. Examples of other businesses being recognized through the program include Peanut Butter Americano, a small, family-owned business and an emerging exporter, and ALTIS, the world’s leading private training company of Olympic athletes and a proficient exporter.

Research demonstrates that only one percent of businesses export goods or services. Those that do export are more recession-proof and successful. Mayor Giles notes the impact exporting has on the economy and the region. “This program was launched to recognize businesses that are exporting and to encourage others to do the same, whether they are small or large. Businesses of any size can successfully export,” he says.

All 17 businesses will be recognized at the upcoming JPAC Economic Development for the Global Economy (EDGE) event. The event will be held on May 19, 2017, at the Wild Horse Pass. Event and registration details are available at www.jpacaz.org.