|COLUMBUS, OH - April 22, 2004 -Exports are big business for small and
midsized Ohio companies. That was the message from Congressman Pat Tiberi,
who today presented the U.S. Commerce Department's Export Achievement Certificate
to local company Signature, Inc. The award recognizes companies that
are business clients of the Commerce Department's U.S. Commercial Service,
and that have used their services to make their first export sale or open
new foreign markets.
"Most jobs in Ohio and across America are created by small companies. Small and midsized companies like Signature comprise almost 97 percent of U.S. exporters," said Congressman Tiberi.
In October, 2001, Michael Runde, President of the Washington Dulles Trade Group, a strategic marketing partner of Signature www.legendary.net first met with Northern Virginia U.S. Export Assistance Center (NoVA USEAC) trade specialists to learn about the Commercial Service (CS) and explain Signature's international marketing strategy.
In December of 2002, with assistance from the NoVA USEAC, Signature was awarded a contract by the Costa Rica Board of Tourism (ICT) to develop a training curriculum to promote Costa Rica as a travel destination through its "Pura Vida Educational Workshops." In October 2003, partially as a result of additional counseling provided by NoVA, Signature signed a follow-on contract with the ICT valued at $900,000 to provide the actual training.
Steve Wolever, Chairman of Signature, Inc., said "The contract with the Costa Rica Ministry of Tourism has led to a partnership between Signature and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to assist national tourism organizations, ministries of tourism, and U. S. tourism promotion agencies to apply the program around the world. It will give these organizations a formal program to reach U. S. travel agents and tour operators through direct communications and a training program organized by Signature."
The Internet has created tremendous economic pressure on U.S. travel agents and tour operators. The Signature program enhances the knowledge base and sales skills of this sector helping it to become more competitive and profitable thus saving businesses and jobs. At the end of 2004, Signature will have trained approximately 2800 US travel agents under the Pura Vida program.
The Costa Rica "Pura Vida" training model is now being considered by tourism organizations in the Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Korea, and Italy. Furthermore, Signature is now in a position to market U. S. tourism destinations to travel agents and tours operators overseas.
Signature is a leading provider of sales and service training solutions for service-based industries. It is the largest hospitality training company in North America. Beyond hotels, client industries include call centers, equipment and trucking dealerships, hospitals, universities, public housing authorities, casinos, apartment complexes, and convention and visitors bureaus. Established in 1986, the company has a field-based training network expanding throughout the world with a centralized call center located in the headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. Signature retains more than 250 employees and has licensees in Brazil, Uruguay, and Greece. For more information visit the web site at www.legendary.net or call 1-800-398-0518.
The Washington Dulles World Trade Group www.dullesworldtrade.com is the regional "Affiliate Member" of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) www.wtca.org , the preeminent global trade organization promoting two-way trade. The World Trade Centers Association is an expanding not-for-profit, non-political membership organization consisting of 306 World Trade Centers representing 750,000 businesses in 91 countries.
Last year, the U.S. Export Assistance Centers in Virginia helped local companies make over $20 million in export sales. The Virginia U.S. Export Assistance Centers are part of the global network of the U.S. Commercial Service, a Commerce Department agency that helps small and medium-sized U.S. businesses sell their products and services globally. The agency's worldwide network includes 105 U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the United States and more than 150 international offices. In 2003, the U.S. Commercial Service helped U.S. businesses generate export sales worth more than $35 billion.
For more information on the U.S. Commercial Service, call the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Northern Virginia at 703-235-0331 or visit www.export.gov/commercialservice .
5115 Parkcenter Avenue
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Phone (614) 766-5101
Fax (614) 766-9419