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NDTO News Article

Press Release: The NDTO Recognizes North Central Commodities, Saul Ewing LLP, Robert Sinner and JETRO with Global Business Awards

FARGO, N.D.—North Central Commodities is named North Dakota’s 2022 Exporter of the Year and was honored for its achievements and innovation in international expansion. Saul Ewing LLP was awarded the 2022 Service to Exporter Award on account of its exemplary approach to international law and support for North Dakota’s international business. Robert Sinner, president of SB&B Foods, received one of the 2022 Global Ambassador awards for his steadfast support and momentum of North Dakota exporters and international expansion for generations. Japanese External Trade Organization, Chicago Office, was also awarded a 2022 Global Ambassador award for their continued ability to foster successful opportunities and go above and beyond to provide superior service and world-class hospitality to the state of North Dakota and its business people.


NDTO Executive Drew Combs presented the awards during the Global Business Awards Luncheon hosted by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO). Serving ND businesses through education, engagement, advocacy, and research, the NDTO strives to grow ND’s global footprint.


The conference held at the Holiday Inn in Fargo welcomed over 60 attendees to celebrate the international success and development of North Dakota’s global expansion efforts. The program included a keynote by Jeffery Hayzlett, global business celebrity, primetime television and podcast host, and best-selling author. From South Dakota, he went from small businesses to international corporations and puts his creativity and extraordinary entrepreneurial skills into play.


Drew Combs, NDTO’s Executive Director, was excited to host the event, as he explains, “This is a great opportunity to honor all the hard-working people around us that contribute to the success of this state. The awardees today are well deserving, and we continue to appreciate all the support.” Throughout the year the NDTO works with hundreds of companies to support their international goals, while some are just starting out and others are well-seasoned exporters, all of these innovative companies contribute to our community and beyond. “International trade and engagement is our passion at the NDTO, and we are here to support trade as an essential tool for the people of North Dakota. It is an honor, and we congratulate North Central Commodities, Saul Ewing LLP, Robert Sinner, and JETRO for their success in North Dakota.”


To win the Exporter of the Year award, the business must have expanded to a new international market, increased its export sales during the past year, and supported the larger, statewide effort to expand ND’s global reach.


The North Dakota Exporter of the Year award goes to North Central Commodities, which has maximized its customer-oriented approach, even throughout the pandemic. The business started exporting in the 1980s, and with their new approach and increasing demand for their products, business is booming for this North Dakota company.


With extensive experience in numerous countries, including Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Angola and Italy, they aim to simplify the export process and build a consistent base of demand by supplying the highest quality products to customers from their own processing plants in North Dakota, and trusted partners across the region.


Although exporting has been challenging for the last few years, companies like this one have learned to lean into what makes them a success. The company worked on cultivating stronger relationships and superior customer service with their existing and new clients. They continue to execute many international trips, opened satellite offices in desired countries, and even developed co-brands with some of their international clients.


The Service to Exporter Award is given to an international business resource that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to supporting ND exporters and increasing the state’s overall international business strategy.


This year’s awardee, Saul Ewing LLP, has a collaborative team approach to providing out-of-the-box client service programs, tools, and methods tailored to meet the client’s specific needs.

As a team, They have made a great impact as a whole, and as individuals, with many honors throughout their community of professionals. The group has been recognized locally and nationally for its accomplishments in serving its clients in all parts of the supply chain.


For North Dakota, they provide predictability, transparency, and acts as connectors for their clients with a variety of tools and support. Their seasoned team of advisors has significant depth and hands-on experience in agribusiness, food, energy and technology, and more importantly, they are the lawyers who listen. They inspire trust with their reliability and ability to support North Dakotans as they navigate many of the legal challenges throughout the global marketplace.


The Global Ambassador Award recognizes an individual or organization that selflessly assists in the promotion of ND products worldwide and helps strengthen the relationships between ND companies and their international partners. This year, two stood out, a person and an organization were individually recognized as Global Ambassadors for North Dakota.


Robert (Bob) Sinner has spent his entire life in North Dakota. After graduating from North Dakota State University with a degree in Agriculture Economics, the next step was to join the family farming operation. He has been a partner on that farm for 49 years and has consistently demonstrated a strong passion for North Dakota agriculture.


Chairing the United Soybean Board’s International Marketing Committee, this Sinner was instrumental, in the 1980s, in opening direct markets for North Dakota products and helping build brand recognition for North Dakota. He has been connected with the NDTO since its inception and continues to be involved in multiple local, regional, national, and global associations, including the United States Soybean Export Council, Northern Crops Institute, Ag Transportation Coalition, Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance, and Federal Grain Inspection Advisory Board. With such a broad network, he has formed relationships worldwide with buyers of North Dakota products, association leaders, ocean freight and railroad executives, and government officials. These relationships have been instrumental in assisting not only North Dakota but the entire region with its exports, transportation, and global presence.


The second Global Ambassador award was presented to the Japanese External Trade Organization, Chicago Office (JETRO), whose mission is to promote trade and investment between their country and the rest of the world is highly successful at building long-lasting relationships with local governments and businesses to support new business expansion and promote friendship and strategic partnerships.


As such, in 2022, a long-awaited trade and investment mission to Japan came to full fruition as North Dakota and JETRO coordinated several industries and over 30 participants to carry out this mission. While their goal is to support and foster successful opportunities in business, this team went above and beyond to provide superior service and world-class hospitality to the state of North Dakota and its business people. see new friendships and business opportunities starting to come together with a bright future ahead. For many years to come, this team’s impact will be felt in the ongoing relationships between North Dakota and Japan.


Minn-Dako Growers Ltd was also recognized for its entry into a new market in 2022. South Korea was a new opportunity for them as they continued to grow their reach internationally. Each year, NDTO will recognize others who have broken into new global markets. This achievement deserves recognition as international sales can be challenging, but progress can be made. By recognizing these achievements, others will see that they, too, can expand their global business.


The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership so that NDTO members and ND companies can increase exports and grow their international business.