2023 Governor’s Award

We are delighted to announce the upcoming 2023 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade, which recognizes exporting excellence among manufacturers and serves to inspire the exporting community. The awards will be presented during a gala dinner banquet on Friday, October 6, 2023, starting at 5:30PM at the DoubleTree Hotel, 424 W. Markham, in Little Rock. Many Arkansas exporters and export service providers will be there to celebrate our state’s business success, along with state and federal government officials. Tickets are complimentary for Members and Associates and Sponsor Companies. Individual tickets cost $150 each and may be purchased at this link until Friday, September 29.


Scott Hardin, Arkansas Department of Finance Administration

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

Award ceremony to take place October 6 in Little Rock 

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (September 27, 2023) – The Arkansas District Export Council (DEC) will present the leaders of five Arkansas companies with the 2023 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade on October 6 in Little Rock.    

The Arkansas DEC established the annual award in 2009, in collaboration with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the US Commercial Service and the Arkansas World Trade Center.  The award honors small, medium and large companies for excellence in actively selling products in international markets. The Arkansas DEC is a non-profit organization composed of experienced exporters and businesspeople who regularly provide support services to exporting companies. Each member has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce as a result of expertise in international trade matters and a commitment to volunteerism.  

“Arkansas businesses help power our global economy. From multinational aerospace contractors to small family farmers, Arkansans are connected to a web of commerce that stretches all across the world,” said Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “In my administration, we’re working to make our state an even better place to do business, but we need our business leaders’ help to get that done. That’s why it’s an honor to congratulate these export leaders and thank them for their contributions to our state.”

The following companies will receive the 2023 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade: 

Rising Star in Global Servicing AwardProgressive Trail Design (Bentonville) 

Progressive Trail Design is a full-service planning, design, and build firm, focusing on trails such as mountain biking trails, multi-use trails, pump tracks, skills courses, and more. Founded in 2007, Progressive Trail Design (PTD) played an integral part in the trail boom that Arkansas has experienced over the last 15 years. You can find their trails in northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and all the way to countries like Portugal, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. The Arkansas DEC will honor Progressive Trail Design for its successful emergence into international markets over the years. 
Aerospace Exporter Award  – Cobalt Aero Services (Hot Springs) 

Cobalt Aero Services, an FCAH Aerospace brand, specializes in maintaining, repairing, and overhauling nacelle components, thrust (fan) reversers, and other aircraft structural components for the commercial and military sectors. As they began doing business internationally, they were met with a variety of challenges and were able to overcome them by expanding their business model and approach with customers. This awarded them business in countries such as Iceland, the United Kingdom, and Jordan, as well as many others. The Arkansas DEC will honor Cobalt Aero Services for its successful penetration within international markets.  

Innovation & Impact in Manufacturing Exporter Award – Amfuel (Magnolia) 

American Fuel Cell & Coated Fabrics, or Amfuel, is a market leading manufacturer and fabricator of self-sealing, crash-resistant aviation fuel cells and liquid logistic tank solutions for both military and civil, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. The company’s fuel bladders are designed to self-seal if shot so the warfighter can return safely to base. After struggling with a major hurdle, the company switched its sales approach and managed to nearly double export totals year over year. Amfuel’s products can be found in countries such as Italy, Taiwan, Spain, Canada, and South Korea. The Arkansas DEC will honor Amfuel for unique products and innovative solutions to find and successfully enter international markets with these products.   

Resilience in Manufacturing Exporter Award – Calico Trailer Manufacturing Company (Quitman) 

Calico Trailer Manufacturing Company (Calico Trailers) is a manufacturer of trailers for horses, cattle, and any big or exotic animals.Celebrating their 40th year in manufacturing, Calico reflected on how far they have come from losing a factory in Australia and losing their father and founder to cancer. Despite these hardships, Calico has continued to grow, expanding their reach to Canada and Chile, and working on reestablishing their presence in Australia. The Arkansas DEC will honor Calico Trailers for perseverance, dedication and overcoming setbacks to reach new markets and customers.  

Woman-Owned Exporter Award – Modern Chemical Inc. (Jacksonville) 

Modern Chemical Inc. is a manufacturer of quality and safe cleaners and degreasers, Blue Gold Industrial Cleaner and Blue Gold Spray Wash. Modern Chemical has been extremely successful with their products both nationally and internationally, cornering the market for cleaners with brands like Tesla, Rolls Royce, and NASA, but also by reaching across the globe to countries such as Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and many more. The Arkansas DEC will honor Modern Chemical for extraordinary achievements and significant impact as a woman-owned business in Arkansas.  

“I encourage any company considering expanding into new markets to look to these five award winners,” said Jonathan Bricker, Chairman of the Arkansas DEC. “Through these stories, I hope other companies across Arkansas see the real opportunities for those willing to explore a new way of doing business. The Arkansas DEC is here to assist. We understand there will be many questions, and we are here to provide support throughout the process.”