Gator Guards Wins Governor’s New Exporter Award for Manufacturing

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Company cited for 21% growth in International sales

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Since we began focusing on exporting in 2013 we have seen international sales grow annually and believe they could meet or exceed our domestic sales in the next 5 years.

Gator Guards of Farmington, IL on Tuesday was awarded the 2016 New Exporter Award, presented by Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Trade and Investment. The Governor’s Export Awards are Illinois’ highest recognition of export achievement, honoring Illinois companies that have achieved excellence in exporting, as well as organizations that provide export assistance.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” says Sue Smith, President & CEO of Gator Guards. "When we first started our business in 1994 we concentrated on the U.S. market. However, we began to get very strong indications around 2012 that we needed to take a serious look at our overall international strategy. With the assistance of a number of organizations, including the teams at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) International Trade Center, the IL Dept. of Economic Commerce & Economic Opportunity, US Commercial Service and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), we have been able to find new opportunities for growth abroad. Since we began focusing on exporting in 2013 we have seen international sales grow annually and believe they could meet or exceed our domestic sales in the next 5 years. Because we think it is important, all of our products are sourced and made in the USA."

Gator Guards is a manufacturer of premier marine protection products featuring KeelShield brand keel protectors and a number of other products including GatorSkinz traction mats, SkegShield protectors, BowShield protectors and Gator Patch UV cure repair patch. The company recently launched a new division that features Gator Shield polyurea coatings for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications. These new coatings will lead the company into industrial and commercial applications as well as marine. Gator Guards ships to retailers throughout the United States and abroad to France, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Greece, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Sweden. "Thanks to our fortunate participation in Bradley University’s International Senior Consulting project they helped us identify China, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, and Mexico as potential areas to export," said Smith.

The award was voted on by a panel of experts and presented by the lieutenant governor at the Union League of Chicago. The New Exporter Award is one of several awards honoring export leaders in Illinois. Other awards given included: Exporter of the Year, Agricultural Business Exporter, Service Exporter and Export Awareness and Development.

Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest, and the fifth largest exporting state in the nation. Exports by Illinois companies totaled over $63.4 billion in 2015.

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Sue Smith
Gator Guards
+1 309.245.2343
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