Business Journal – NEWTON FALLS, Ohio – Quality Switch Inc. is one of 45 companies presented Monday with the 2015 President’s “E” Awards during a ceremony at the U.S. Commerce Department in Washington, D.C.
The “E” award recognizes small- and medium-size companies that demonstrate a sustained increase in export sales over a four-year period.
Quality Switch employs 35 at its manufacturing plant here, 725 Arlington Blvd. In 2014, its annual sales reached $4.8 million with 40% of that total representing exports, says its CEO, Russell Sewell. The company designs and manufactures electrical switches for the transformer industry. “Our switches go into those big gray containers you see one electrical substations,” he says.
The “E” Awards were first presented in 1961 when President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor the nation’s exporters.
“Exports support more than 11.7 million jobs in cities and communities across the country,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in a statement announcing award recipients. “In 2014, U.S. exports hit an all-time high of $2.34 trillion, accounting for 13.4% of GDP. By exporting more made-in-America goods and services, U.S. businesses are growing faster, hiring more workers, and paying better wages.”
Quality Switch was founded in 1974, a spinoff of the former Quality Machine, which later was sold to Brilex Industries of Youngstown.
To expand export sales, 10 years or so ago, executives went on a state sponsored trade mission to Mexico.
“It took about a year before we started selling to companies there. They gave us leads and word spread,” Sewell says.
In 2007. Quality Switch received the Ohio governor’s award for exporting.
Today the company exports its products to companies in Mexico, Canada, Korea, South America “and we just started selling to Australia,” Sewell says.
He credits the president of the family-owned business, Larry Dix, with “having a lot to do in setting up the export business.”
Dix and vice president, Jeremy Sewell, the CEO’s son, attended the awards ceremony.
Today they are calling on customers in the Maryland/Virginia region before driving back to Ohio.
“The transformer industry is like a fraternity,” the company’s CEO says. “People get to know who you are and what you do. We get leads and we act on them.”