A West Michigan company received national recognition over the weekend for its contribution to expanding U.S. exports overseas.
Dr. John’s Healthy Sweets of Comstock Park, which exports its products to 10 countries around the world, was awarded the 2021 President’s “E” Award for Export Service from the U.S. Department of Commerce at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Nov 5. The award is the highest recognition any firm, organization or person can receive for making such contributions to U.S. exports.
Fifteen other U.S. companies were granted the “E” Award for Exports, while a total of 71 companies and organizations were recognized for various types of “E” awards. A joint ceremony was held to recognize 32 organizations for the 2021 awards and 39 from 2020.
Four companies from Michigan were recognized, but Dr. John’s was the only one based in West Michigan. The other companies were Foster Swift from Lansing, Redi-Rock from Charlevoix and Automation Alley in Troy. Foster Swift also has a Grand Rapids presence.
Dr. John’s makes healthy sweets, including artesian, sugar-free lollipops, hard candies, taffy, caramels, gum and chocolates. All products are natural, sugar-free, a high source of fiber and gluten and allergen free.
“Exporting is crucial to the success of our continued growth,” said Mike McDonald, CEO of Dr. John’s. “Every day we see the growth of our clients’ businesses, due in large part to exporting. This exceptional growth has enabled us to expand locally and globally, adding markets and creating new opportunities.”
Dr. John’s developed more than a dozen items with either probiotic or vitamin fortifications for the global market during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have very close relationships with our distributors, logistics companies and our federal, state and local government,” McDonald said. “Using these resources in cooperation with our team, as well as exceptional product innovation, has been key to our success.”
Since 2018, Dr. John’s international sales have grown from $360,000 to nearly $4 million in 2020, with more growth this year.
The award’s roots are based on an executive order from President John F. Kennedy in 1961, which sought to revive the World War II “E” symbol of excellence, providing honor and recognition to U.S. exporters. Recipients must have four years of successive export growth and demonstrate case studies showing valuable support to exporters providing more exports for the company’s clients.
The U.S. Commercial Service, or the export promotion arm of the department’s International Trade Administration (ITA), nominates “E” award companies and has offices in 100 cities throughout the U.S. and 75 locations worldwide. The ITA is the primary resource for all U.S. companies doing business in the global marketplace.
More information on “E” awards is at trade.gov.