GLTAAC helps Rexarc International

Rexarc International, located in West Alexandria, Ohio, is a global leader in manufacturing of acetylene gas plants and related equipment.  Rexarc recently qualified for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program, with help from the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC), after losing sales to low-cost foreign producers from India and elsewhere.  Rexarc was able to implement business improvement projects through the TAAF program, which is paying for half of their cost to help the company develop new markets.

 “We are excited to be working with GLTAAC.  The $75,000 of project co-funding they provide is going to help us make improvements we’ve been wanting to make, but were just outside our reach as a small business.  We are thankful to our local contacts at the University of Dayton’s Fastlane, for making us aware of the opportunity and connecting us with GLTAAC,” said Rexarc CEO, Rob Moyer. 

Working through the TAAF program, GLTAAC helps small manufacturers that have been hurt by imports to identify, develop, implement, and pay for business improvement projects designed to increase their global competitiveness. GLTAAC is the sister office of NWTAAC and provides similar assistance to impacted firms.


TAAF (Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms) is the only federal program specifically designed to help companies that have been negatively impacted by imports.

Seattle Business magazine honored 18 pioneering companies and individuals at the tenth annual Washington Manufacturing Awards gala Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington in Renton. The event attracted business leaders from across the state. “The honorees are companies with outstanding products and innovative processes,” said Leslie Helm, editor of Seattle Business magazine. “They boost their competitiveness through improved manufacturing and effective marketing — and they remind us of the strength and promise of Washington’s manufacturing sector.”

Find the 2019 award winners here:

ABOUT SEATTLE BUSINESS: Seattle Business is an award-winning monthly magazine read by thousands of business executives across the state. It delivers insight into the key people, enterprises and trends that drive business in the Pacific Northwest, providing perspective on the region’s ever-changing economic environment.

Bernston Porter & Co. PLLC., has published their third edition of the BP Pulse, including their 2019 manufacturing distribution survey. David Holbert, Executive Director of the NorthwestTAAC was quoted in the International Landscape section:

“Import competition can arrive suddenly and many companies don’t see it coming,” warns David Holbert of the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NWTAAC). “The span of industries and products that are affected is surprising – import impact is not confined to predictable sectors. When faced with a sudden challenge, for example a 50% price disadvantage, the companies that tend to succeed recognize that something must change in their business. They can’t win by just trying harder. Often this change entails moving toward customization, more responsive service, verifiable quality, or rapid delivery – all areas in which domestic companies have natural advantages.

Such changes are often introduced or facilitated by outside expertise in myriad areas. To demonstrate – between 2005 and 2017 NWTAAC tracked 200 companies averaging $15M in sales. They all had had declines in sales and employment – often steep. They all fought back in the manner described above. Aggregate results for those companies showing an 8.9% per annum sales increase for the several years following the introduction of a plan for change focused on outside expertise. This is a strong endorsement of the idea that with better knowledge, targeting, and tools, domestic companies can overcome the significant challenges of import competition.”

Idaho Export Excellence is recruiting for Fall 2017

The Idaho District Export Council (IDEC) is currently looking for six companies to participate in Export Excellence in fall 2017.

If you are an exporter who would like to develop a proactive process for accelerating your most profitable exports, the Idaho District Export Council (DEC) will recruit six companies to participate in Export Excellence 2017.

This program will pair your company with a Boise State University International Business student and a coach from IDEC. Over the course of three months, your team will create an Export Action Plan to help accelerate profitable export growth for your company. These plans will then be presented to the IDEC, who will give further advice on implementation.

Meeting dates for the program are:
September 7 & 21
October 19
November 16

If you are interested in applying, click here or contact Jennifer Verdon at (208) 287-3165.

The Export Voucher program, supported by a State Trade Expansion Program grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, starts its fifth year next month helping small businesses launch or expand their export activities. STEP Grants are available through your State Department of Commerce though more information can be found at
SBA STEP grants.


The following types of programs and expenses are eligible for an Export Voucher:


  • Trade show and trade mission fees, registration, etc.
  • Travel, airfare (U.S. carrier only)
  • Interpreter fees
  • Translation services (website, marketing materials, etc.)
  • Export training programs and services of the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service
  • International Certifications



Grant funds open to companies that have lost domestic profit
By April Ehrlich — Independent-Enterprise Oct 7, 2015

Payette County companies who have lost business to foreign competitors might be able to get some extra money to make up the loss.

Eligible companies can receive up to $75,000 in matching grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to pay for improvement projects of their choice. The companies must show the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center that they have been impacted by low-priced import competition.

“Basically, if you’re a manufacturing or agricultural producer or fishery or service firm, if you could show that you have lost business because of imports, you qualify for funding assistance through this program,” Patrick Meuleman, the center’s director of marketing, said.

The funds apply to all types of businesses, though it’s typically easier to prove a manufacturer’s eligibility for the program, Meuleman said. For this reason, most of the program’s clients are manufacturing companies.

“Generally speaking, it’s a lot easier to help a manufacturing company because we can tie a specific product to the activity,” he said. “If you’re a software company and you’re like, ‘This customer decided to use me and went overseas,’ that’s harder to quantify.”

Meuleman’s job is to help a company determine its eligibility. He assesses the company’s situation, and walks through all the steps of the program. He finds out how the company plans to use the funds, since they need to go to a specific improvement project as opposed to everyday financing.

This is not a competitive grant, Meuleman said. That means it does not apply to a certain number of companies. All eligible and interested companies will participate.

“It’s a program where if you’re eligible, you’re in,” he said.

Meuleman has worked with several Payette County businesses in the last few years. One is based in Fruitland and just recently received its final payment. That company chose not to disclose its name publicly.

Although the program has helped mostly manufacturers in the past, Snake River Economic Development executive director Kit Kamo said anyone who is interested might as well call the center.

“The manufacturing term they use very loosely,” she said. “If I were to say anything to employers in the Payette County area, it would be to go ahead and check into it to see if their company might qualify.”

June 2014
Eye on Business
The Montana Chamber of Commerce

There is a lot of talk around Washington D.C. these days about reviving U.S. manufacturing; assisting “Made in America” enterprises, specifically small manufacturers. These companies, especially, have taken the brunt of free trade agreements and the recession; owners trying to do more with less, often shortstaffed, lacking capital, with little influence or resources to affect trade policies or easily access additional funds for growing their businesses. Just ask Della Ehlke, co-owner and CEO of two companies: Felco, LLC, in Missoula, which manufactures excavator attachments and backfill equipment, and Montana Hydraulics,
LLC, a machining shop in Helena, offering CNC machining, fabrication, and custom manufacturing.

Della decided to take action when import competition and the recession contributed to substantially lower sales and she had to, reluctantly, start layoffs. She initiated business changes, but also sought the assistance of a small, often overlooked program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, that provides small to medium sized manufacturers with grant funding and technical assistance, a program which would partner with her in developing and implementing a strategy for recovering market share lost to foreign competition, expand visibility and increase sales, domestically and internationally.

The program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms, (TAAF), administered by the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, (NWTAAC) for Montana (, is funding up to $75,000 for improvement projects on a costshared basis with Della’s companies, providing project management from start to finish. The program is a three step process; eligibility, recovery strategy development, project implementation.

Normally, talk of a government run grant program sounds an alarm for most business owners; all that paperwork and time for little return. “Not true” says Della, “Though there is paperwork, the team at NWTAAC made it as easy as possible; they did all of the eligibility work for me, offered valuable input as we put together our project strategy and their oversight of implementation was unobtrusive. The project billing was fairly simple, our vendors didn’t have any trouble with the process and payments were always timely.”

Since initiating implementation of the recovery strategy in June of 2012, completed projects are already returning solid results. TAA funding was used to have Double Spurs Creative LLC, a Bozeman company, redesign 3 websites; enhance dealer features, set up social media, and implement search engine optimization. Della states that sales for Round Wood Systems, a division of Montana Hydraulics, LLC, which manufactures wood milling machines, were up a record 200% in 2013 and Felco product sales doubled in 2014. According to Della,” The remake of the websites has greatly increased our visibility and has definitely driven a tremendous amount of traffic our way.”

TAA funding was used to hire Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, (MMEC) consultants to prepare both companies for an ISO audit and subsequent certification. Felco and Montana Hydraulics then used funding to hire Pennsylvania-based SRI Quality Systems Registrar to perform registration audits for ISO 9001:2008, which, as of April 2014, have been successfully completed. Della is excited about the prospects for marketing and export expansion because of the ISO certification.

“I would highly recommend other companies consider applying for project funding through the TAAF program, says Della, ” NWTAAC’s oversight and guidance was very helpful, and as a result, we have made significant improvements to our companies’ marketability that we may not have done without their help.”

Reprinted with permission

February 24, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Letter to the Editor: William Perry

Regarding your editorial “Free Trade Foul-Ups” (Feb. 9) and the statement that “TAA is turning into one more open-ended entitlement”: There needs to be a clarification.  I am on the board of directors of the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.  We provide trade adjustment assistance to companies that have been injured by imports.

Because trade adjustment assistance works at the micro level helping the company to develop a strategic plan to adjust to import competition, we have been able to save 80% of the companies that have entered the program since 1984.  The cost to the U.S. taxpayer has been only $16 million.

Saving the company means saving the jobs that go with that company.  That is real bang for the buck.

The U.S. government spends hundreds of millions of dollars to retrain workers, but only $16 million to help companies adjust to import competition.  Maybe that is one of the reasons for the job problems in the U.S.

William Perry

Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center


Reprinted with permission

February 16, 2011
Idaho Business Review
By Brad Carlson

The demand that Fresh Air Manufacturing Co. (FAMCO) owner Marty Artis sees for his new ventures isn’t much better than the recession-battered appetite for his core wholesale business, but he’s pleased anyway.

“It’s new revenue to me,” he said.  “We have the same number of remodels and housing starts.  I’m just closer to more new buyers.”

Overseas competition is making some Idaho businesses re-think operations.  Approaches include finding markets with less global exposure, setting up manufacturing in Idaho to compete on quality, or getting a matching grant to help develop new markets and products as Artis did.

FAMCO manufactures HVAC and roofing products in Meridian.  Artis in late 2008 started a wholesale roofing accessory line to diversify, and at the end of last year launched a retail segment – mainly by revamping his Web site.  He used the first $15,000 of a $75,000 matching grant qualifying through the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center for the retail Web project, by documenting how foreign competition undercut him.

“I’m constantly solicited from Asia [companies] to manufacture my metal and plastic vents,” he said.  “I don’t want to do that.  I want to innovate and make products here.”

Advanced Precision Machining Inc., Meridian, exited the semiconductor industry seven years ago and pursued segments that were less global.  Sales specialist Jeff Brackus said the new niches are growing.  Manufacturing is a hot industry now but remains very competitive, he said.

Buck Knives moved to Post Falls from California six years ago.  Lower business costs and some incentives enabled Buck to build a factory with ability to track control quality, costs and reduce import issues.

Ed Endebrock, who owns Hydraulic Warehouse in Lewiston, is renovating a building in Craigmont for Ende Machine & Foundry, where he will produce hydraulic pump and motor parts he now imports from China.  Making the parts here will control quality, shorten lead time substantially and improve cash flow, he said.

“When they are good, they are good,” he said of the imported parts.  “If they are bad, what do you do?  It’s not cost-effective to send them back.”

The City of Craigmont received a $500,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant for infrastructure at the planned business park that will include the foundry.

Idaho officials are working with in-state businesses, courting new businesses and targeting foreign direct investment as part of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Project 60 effort to grow total economic output.

“It’s not our job to pick winners and losers,” Otter spokesman Jon Hanian said.  “It’s our job to provide the level playing field and predictability businesses look for.”  Competitive tax and other business costs help, he said.

At FAMCO, Artis enlisted manufacturing specialists at Idaho Tech Help for assistance during and after the construction boom.  The first project was to streamline instead of expand.  The second was to identify revenue streams that could be pursued or expanded, which led to the new roofing products.

Artis must submit a new application and documentation each time he seeks a new phase of the U.S. Economic Development Administration grant through Northwest TAAC, which he matches dollar for dollar.  Future infusions likely will go to Web designers to optimize the retail site, and to product design and marketing specialists, he said.

“This does not fix worldwide imbalances and inequities,” Artis said.  “This gives FAMCO a boost, a shot in the arm to address the positive things.”

Patrick Meuleman, client development manager with Northwest TAAC in Boise, said the program seeks businesses that show sales or production declines over two 12-month periods; have reduced staff, hours or wages; and can prove foreign competition affected them.  The money goes to third-party service providers and cannot fund physical assets.

Reprinted with permission

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