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General Plastics Manufacturing

This Tacoma company successfully leveraged STEP support through the Export Voucher and Europe Market Accelerator programs to increase its export sales by more than $500,000.


General Plastics Manufacturing is a leading innovator in polyurethane foam and provides unique chemistry-based solutions that support engineer and design teams in diverse industries such as composites, aerospace, tooling and prototyping. This Tacoma company successfully leveraged STEP support through the Export Voucher and Europe Market Accelerator programs to increase its export sales by more than $500,000. 


General Plastics first participated in the STEP program with an Export Voucher to offset the expenses of attending the JEC Composites Show in Paris in March 2014. The experience convinced the company to join the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) delegation the following year at JEC, a decision that provided immediate export results with a strong outlook for future growth.

“We gained more than $100,000 in aerospace orders and $25,000 in tooling materials,” said Brian Sweeney, the company’s sales director. “In addition to 53 qualified leads, General Plastics Mfg. Co. met with a dozen existing key accounts and obtained valuable competitive information.”
Enabling small businesses to attend some of the largest international trade shows, which can produce huge benefits but at a cost of thousands of dollars, is a cornerstone of the Commerce STEP program. The initiative has contributed to an overall aggregate of $200 million in new export sales among the 450 small businesses that have participated in the STEP program to date. 


General Plastics at the JEC Composites Show in Paris, 2015
Pictured left to right: Isabelle DeWulf, Aerospace Export Assistance Manager, Washington State Department of Commerce; Rick Brown, Account Manager, General Plastics; Susan St. Germain, Senior Business Development Manager, Commerce; Brian Sweeney, Sales Director, General Plastics

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