A crowd of nearly 400 gathered Sept. 19 at Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma to celebrate local leaders in international trade at the World Trade Center Tacoma's 20th annual Globe Awards.
The event served to underscore the importance of international trade itself, with Gov. Jay Inslee delivering a keynote citing the importance of the import/export business to the economic health not only of the region, but of Washington state as a whole (and mentioning that the completion of State Route 167 is still high on his to-do list). One-fourth of jobs are related to international trade, said Bob Drewel of the Puget Sound Regional Council, who served as master of ceremonies.
Eric Dahl, CEO of the World Trade Centers Association and the other keynote speaker at the waterfront event, echoed Inslee and Drewel by touting the local significance of trade. He told attendees it's becoming cheaper to produce in the U.S. than in China. He also noted that Tacoma has the fastest growing World Trade Center in North America.
Torklift International, a Sumner-based, family-owned manufacturing company, was awarded the Exporter of the Year award. In a video that preceded his acceptance, general manager Jay Taylor said the company's growth rate is more than 22 percent so far in 2013.
Green Mountain Coffee, which has its Northwest base in Sumner, received the Importer of the Year award. It sources coffee from across the globe including Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia and Kenya.
Yusen Logistics Americas, Inc., which has operations in Tukwila, won the Service Provider of the Year award. In his acceptance, Neil Mitchell, national director of sales, said local ports play a key strategic role in his business.
Northwest Door, Inc. was given the Emerging Business of the Year award for the promise it's shown in the field of international trade. The company has increased exports by 25 percent in the last two years.
A special lifetime achievement award was given to Port Commissioner Connie Bacon, a former executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma and longtime trade proponent.