Ivey honors Tallassee’s GKN Aerospace for trade excellence

(submitted) Gov. Kay Ivey is pictured with the 2019 Governor's Trade Excellence Awards recipients. The 2019 recipents include Tallassee's GKN Aerospace-Alabama.

Tallassee’s GKN Aerospace was among the companies recently honored by Gov. Kay Ivey with the 2019 Governor’s Trade Excellence Award.

The award recognizes companies that fuel Alabama’s export business and sell their innovative designs and products worldwide.

The Tallassee facility is part of GKN Aerospace, a global first-tier supplier of airframe and engine structures, components, assemblies and engineering services to aircraft prime contractors.

More than 800 employees produce composite aerostructures for major aerospace industry partners, including Bell Helicopter Textron, Sikorsky, HondaJet, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and GE Aviation.

This year’s eight honorees include key players in the transportation industry, which has sparked new jobs and investments in communities across the state.

“Our winners this year range in size from the small business to the large corporation, and also hail from different parts of Alabama,” Ivey said. “They each represent the type of company that makes us strong as a state. We also see a concentration of firms in the aerospace and automotive industries, which underscores the importance of these industries to our economy.”

The value of Alabama exports topped $21 billion last year as shipments reached 191 countries, according to data released by the Alabama Department of Commerce. The total, which came during a year marked by global trade tensions, is just 2 percent shy of the record $21.8 billion in exports set in 2017.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s Governor’s Trade Excellence Award winners,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “Their success comes as a result of the hard work and ingenuity of our businesspeople, as well as the commitment and cooperation that exists among our federal, state and local entities that work together to help Alabama companies increase their exports. These companies are on the cutting edge in their industries, both in the U.S. and globally.”

Hilda Lockhart, director of the International Trade Office at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the companies are linked by a common theme of growth through selling abroad, staying innovative and being able to change to meet customer needs.

Other 2019 Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards winners include:

  • Aerostar, a Mobile-based company that provides component maintenance on civilian aircraft with a customer base that covers Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Established in 2011 with two employees and a 6,000-square-foot facility, Aerostar has grown to 35 employees and more than 25,000 square feet with space to grow its workforce to 60. The company is targeting Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim to capitalize on projected air-traffic growth in those regions.
  • Help Lightning, a Birmingham company that delivers patented, mobile augmented reality and virtual interactive presence technologies. Through Help Lightning’s services, experts in the technical, healthcare, manufacturing and service fields can show a resolution, not just describe it. The company is reimagining how businesses, customers and employees give and receive help.
  • Polyvance, a Rainsville company that repairs damaged plastic automotive bumpers and also provides a range of related products. Export sales have long been a priority for Polyvance, accounting for about 10 percent of total sales, with expansions underway in both Latin America and Asia.
  • The Port of Huntsville, known officially as the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority, incorporates Huntsville International Airport, International Intermodal Center and Jetplex Industrial Park. It is an inland port facility and has the only scheduled international cargo flights in the state with round-trip cargo flights to Europe and Mexico, inbound flights from China and outbound flights to Brazil. Huntsville International Airport ranks 18thamong continental U.S. airports in international air cargo volume. The International Intermodal Center ships and receives ocean containers by rail to and from East and West Coast seaports.
  • RMCI Inc., a Huntsville-based company that has designed and created a system installed on aircraft to detect emerging faults and prevent mechanical failure. This health and usage monitoring system has the ability to track the mechanical health of the aircraft and the company has experience analyzing data from more than 3,000 helicopters. RMCI aggressively pursues global markets with travel to Colombia, New Zealand, Morocco, Spain, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands and Malaysia.
  • Trinity Highway Products has been leading the way for innovation in crash cushion impact protection for highway and work zone safety since 1969. It first began operations in California in 1969, but the manufacturing plant was relocated to Pell City in 1985. The Alabama plant manufactures and ships proprietary products to all 50 states and 70 countries.
  • Zorn Molds Inc., a Trafford company that designs and manufactures several types of high-quality CNC machined molds and parts, including fishing lure molds, soft plastic molds, blister pack molds, investment casting molds, Styrofoam molds and general CNC machined parts. The business, which started more than 25 years ago serving the fishing lure industry, has diversified to grow into other sectors.