By Katie Demeria
O'Sullivan Films, a Winchester company, has been included in a Virginia program designed to substantially increase international exporting, allowing for expansion at home, as well.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership issued a news release highlighting the five Northern Virginia companies chosen to be included in its Virginia Leaders in Export Trade program.
O'Sullivan Films is a manufacturing company, providing films and artificial leathers to different market areas, including the automotive and medical industries, according to Sven Hlywiak, executive vice president of market and sales.
Before inclusion in the Virginia program, Hlywiak said international exporting was a small part of O'Sullivan's business.
"[The program], for us, is actually a door opener," he said.
The company will largely be working with Latin American markets, according to Hlywiak, including middle and South America, as its first stage of focus.
There is a need in those markets for the products O'Sullivan supplies, he added.
"We've been a proud manufacturer of 'Made in the USA' products over the past 110 years," Hlywiak said.
The additional exports will allow the company to expand at home, as well, hiring more individuals to add to their current staff of 425.
"We are a manufacturing company, so whatever we export we're producing here, and of course more production means more capacity, investment, staff, all that," he said. "It's truly a win-win situation."
"We're currently hiring staff here who will be dedicated to building that long-term strategy," he added.
The Virginia Leaders in Export Trade program only lasts two years, but Hlywiak said the company will use that time to build the foundation of its exporting business.
"Two years is a good time frame, but of course it always depends on you, on the company, and how much you want to use those resources," he said. "That's why we made the decision to do it. We have really dedicated people and staff who will make it a success."
"The VALET program opens the door, but we have to go through it," he added.
The program will allow O'Sullivan Films access to the resources they need in order to tap into the international market, according to the release.
"The program provides participating companies assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help meet their international goals," the release stated.
Hlywiak noted, "We will have all the help and assistance from the VALET partners we actually need to transform from an all-American supplier to one exporting to suppliers, too,"
After an application process, companies are hand-selected, Hlywiak said, to be part of the program. According to the release, 220 Virginia companies have been accepted over the years -- this is its 26th class.
"We really have the determination and the portfolio to make it happen, and to do it successfully," Hlywiak said.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org