Meet One of Georgia’s Exporters of the Year: Athens Research and Technology

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the Georgia Department of Economic Development website on October 21, 2022, and was reprinted with permission. The interview was conducted by the GDEcD trade team.

In the year 2022, the Georgia Department of Economic DevelopmentThe International Trade Division recognized Athens Research and Technology as Exporter of the Year in the small company category.

This Athens-based company was one of three selected winners of the 2022 GLOBE Award for its global export success. The company supplies research and diagnostic test materials to research universities, institutes and large pharmaceutical companies.

Why They Won

Athens Research and Technology provided a compelling story of adaptation to pandemic challenges. Not only did the company implement new safety protocols to keep staff safe while production was moving, they also upgraded their product packaging to maintain proper product conditions in the event of shipping delays. In light of the pandemic, Athens Research and Technology has also modified its global shipping schedule to comply with constantly changing protocols in a wide number of countries and reworked its supplier network to account for shortages due to the pandemic .

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A question and answer interview with CEO John Mitchell and Director of Sales Operations Holly Thaxton

How long has your company been exporting, and what motivated you to start selling internationally?

Thaxton: Athens Research and Technology (ART) was launched from UGA in 1986 and within the first two years we were exporting products internationally. Since the founding of the company, the products offered here by ART have been excellent in terms of protein purity and potency. The need for ART quality proteins is not limited to the United States. Our motivation for exporting was to help life sciences laboratories anywhere in the world increase their ability to find cures for medical ailments.

What is the biggest lesson your company has learned about exporting?

Thaxton: Since our earliest shipments using hand-prepared carbon-free shipping forms, ART has been fortunate to learn many lessons in transporting our unique products internationally. Although we still have a lot to learn, we have come to understand a variety of helpful tricks, such as the need for excellent communication with the customer, countries with unusual document requirements, the best days of the week to ship , standard transit. times to different parts of the world, how to safely pack fragile and temperature-sensitive products on dry ice or rock-hard cold packs, and identify specialist services or couriers who can offer cold storage or refrigerated replenishment in the event delay

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In addition to lessons on freight logistics themselves, our company learned the importance of building relationships with our customers and international distributors to increase our business and recognition in areas where we cannot locate vendors.

How has the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) International Trade team helped your company? Have any other external resources helped the business to succeed internationally?

Mitchell: The State of Georgia provides an array of resources to help small businesses improve the products and services they offer, none more important than the GDEcD resources that help companies increase international presence and sales. The US accounts for 30% of the total protein market worldwide. GDEcD provides critical resources and international trade knowledge that allow small companies, such as ART, to increase our presence and sales in the international market.

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What export challenges have you faced during Covid-19, and how have you responded?Athens Research and Technology with Trade Team 2

Mitchell: Like many other businesses, we’ve had too many difficulties during this time with supply chain issues, keeping our staff safe, and shipping has often been very difficult. Despite the challenges, we continued. Our products have been central to the study of Covid-19, and to the development of solutions for this pandemic. In all the important and ground-breaking research and development projects ART has contributed to products over the years, we have rarely felt our impact to this extent.

What advice would you give to companies just starting to export?

Mitchell: Know your product. Learn your international markets and research the shipping requirements for those countries.

Are you a business in Georgia looking for help to increase your international sales? Find out how the Georgia International Trade Team can help at www.Georgia.org/Trade.

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