The Times West Virginian

Business

July 13, 2014

Backbone Security, T&T Pump Co. among 37 state companies recognized

FAIRMONT — Two Marion County companies were recently celebrated for their continued successes in exporting.

Backbone Security and T&T Pump Co., both in Fairmont, were among the 37 West Virginia companies that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Cabinet Secretary Keith Burdette, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Export Council recently acknowledged for expanding their business to new parts of the world. An awards presentation was held in Charleston on June 24.

“West Virginia has shown the world that we have the quality products, services and workforce to compete in the global marketplace,” Tomblin said in a press release.

“Nearly 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. West Virginia businesses that export enlarge their own markets while they also expand our state’s economy and support jobs here at home. I appreciate the opportunity to honor them for their success.”

These small- and medium-sized businesses were awarded the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry, which is a wood plaque with a certificate for entering into new international markets in the past year. Companies received a separate award for every new country where they successfully exported, with each certificate including a representation of the currency of the particular country.

Altogether, the 37 businesses got more than 100 awards, which showed export activities to 72 different countries.

Earlier this year, the governor’s office reported that the state’s exports in 2013 totaled $8.4 billion. This is the third-highest amount of exports that West Virginia has seen in its history. Companies in the state sold their products to 144 countries last year, and coal — at $4.4 billion — was the product with the largest export sales.

Of the recently celebrated companies, 35 were returning honorees, including the two from Marion County.

“Once a company becomes successful in exporting, they often will come back to new successes and new markets,” said Catherine Zacchi, communications specialist for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

T&T Pump Co., located along Route 73 North in Fairmont, is owned and operated by Donnie Tucker and family and has around 40 employees. It manufactures a horizontal multi-stage pump for reverse osmosis systems, which are often used in water-treatment plants and bottling companies, and generally sells to original equipment manufacturers, said Jack Fowkes, vice president of sales.

The company, in operation since 1965, has been exporting its pumps to other countries for a while, starting out with a focus on Mexico and Canada, he said. But in recent years, it has expanded this part of the business.

Every year, T&T Pump gets its name out more overseas, where there is a need for water, and this has allowed its exporting to pick up a little bit. The company has done work in China, Australia, India, Egypt and some South American countries, Fowkes said.

“We’re a small company, but we’re pretty well known throughout the world actually,” he said.

The company has been awarded the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry several times now, including most recently for its new export sales to Honduras, Peru and the United Arab Emirates. In Honduras, a company is representing T&T Pump as a distributor.

Fowkes said it feels great for the business to be honored with these awards.

“That means we’re selling our pumps into new areas,” he said. “That’s what we’re really trying to do.”

Now, T&T Pump Co. is currently working on some larger jobs in the Middle East, and is also concentrating on setting up centralized distributors and repair areas in the United States, Fowkes said.

Backbone Security, incorporated on Sept. 11, 2000, has offices in White Hall, in the Mountain Gate Business Park off U.S. Route 250 South, and in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It has four employees.

The company’s Pennsylvania office primarily focuses on the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). Merchants that accept credit cards have to go through periodic assessments to make sure they’re handling those payments properly. Backbone Security provides security and credit card compliance assessments for different merchants.

The White Hall office exclusively does steganography research. Chad Davis, director of the Steganography Analysis and Research Center, or SARC, explained that steganography is a way of hiding information in computer files for criminal purposes so that no one knows the data is concealed.

Only special tools can extract that information, which is where SARC steps in. SARC helps law enforcement and other investigators to see that hidden information, and provides a training service along with its different products, Davis said.

Backbone Security sold to its first foreign country back in 2008, he said. Since then, the company has continued to grow its exporting, which has become a very significant portion — about 75 to 80 percent — of all the business that it does.

Davis said the company has now sold to about 35 countries, including Mexico, Turkey, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and many Middle East and European countries.

This year marks the seventh year in a row that Backbone Security has received the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry. The business was honored this time for exporting to Greece and Lebanon.

“We’re very proud to receive the award,” Davis said. “It’s great to play a part in West Virginia’s mission to expand into new markets globally. We hope to hire more people here locally to work with us as we grow into new markets and continue to do more business.”

As for 2014, Backbone Security hasn’t sold to any new countries yet, but hopes to make this happen. The company is currently in discussions and has had some negotiations with the United Arab Emirates, he said.

There were two first-time recipients of the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry this year. These new award winners included Peacock Manufacturing of Wardensville in Hardy County and Sistersville Tank Works in Sistersville in Tyler County.

Sistersville Tank was recognized for exporting to South Korea. The company’s entry into this new market happened because of its attendance at the 2013 Trade Winds – Asia, an event planned by the U.S. Commercial Service with support from the West Virginia Development Office.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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