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European Union also a potential North Country market

December 30, 2009
WHITEFIELD — A trip to an environmental trade show in France opened local eyes to the European marketplace.

Lee Rashkin, Director of Sales & Marketing at Presby Environmental, Inc. attended the four-day "green" trade show — Pollutec — in France at the Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition center earlier this month and was shown, that major export opportunities are as available in the European Union (EU) as in the Pacific Rim countries.

Mr. Rashkin, a 2009 graduate of Plymouth State University who majored in business and economics and a 2005 Profile High School graduate, visited Singapore and Australia in November on an 11-day sales trip with his stepfather, David Presby, president of Presby Environmental.

As a result of both trips, he found that international sales opportunities not only abound in the Far East but also in the European Union's 27 member countries.

"'Made in the USA' is still a status symbol in the European market that indicates products of high-

quality, just as it is in Pacific countries," Mr. Rashkin explained in an interview at the Presby plant in the Whitefield Industrial Park. In October, Presby's Advanced Enviro-Septic Treatment System received Certification under NSF International/ANSI's Standard 40 for Wastewater Treatment Devices. "It is the first and only NSF-40 Class I certified system that is passive, provides combined treatment and dispersal, and never requires replacement media," Mr. Rashkin noted. "This certification has given us a lot of credibility, which is important because simple and inexpensive can easily be misinterpreted as merely 'cheap,'" he explained.

"I certainly also found that potential customers were able to distinguish between their views of American politics and their view of the American people, for whom they have warm, positive, and respectful feelings," the sales and marketing director said.

"'Made in America' carries an implication of both innovation and quality in the European market. The European Union has standardized environmental policies in its 27 member countries, making it a very attractive place to do business." Presby Environmental products are now also being evaluated in an approved test center in Europe.

While things are looking good for the Presby company abroad they haven't stopped trying to help other local businesses and their outreach effort to other North Country businesses to raise awareness of export markets — kicked off in mid-November with a visit from Governor John Lynch to the manufacturing plant — has been very well received, Mr. Rashkin said. Presby Environmental would very much like to spread the word to other North of the Notches businesses about the federal government's Gold Key services as well as to explore other mutually beneficial avenues. Company officials would like to see a regional trade association — the Northern New England Small Business Group — formed that is designed so that its members would support one another as they learn how best to crack open export markets and work to break down and overcome the various obstacles that hamper the growth of their businesses.

"Now is a great opportunity for North Country businesses to organize themselves to diversify their sales by entering the global marketplace," Mr. Rashkin said. "We can learn from each other's successes and failures and become more familiar with state, federal, and not-for-profit programs."

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