Friday, October 3, 2003

Abalone company
exporter of the year

Big Island Abalone Corp. was named the 2003 Governor's Exporter of the Year at a ceremony yesterday at Washington Place.

The aquaculture firm, which grows the shellfish abalone primarily for Asian markets, took the top prize among seven winners for excellence in exporting Hawaii goods and services.

Big Island Abalone won the contest's New Exporter of the Year award last year.

"The future for abalone is bright in Hawaii," said Jeff Cochman, company chairman and chief executive officer. "We hope to expand the 10-acre facility to 60 acres in the coming decade, raising production to about 1,000 tons of abalone with annual sales of $40 million."

Other winners were:

>> Blue Planet Software Inc. and Oceanic Imaging Consultants Inc.; Exporters of High Technology

>> Safe Water Systems LLC; Exporter of Manufactured Products

>> Cates International Inc.; New Exporter

>> Makai Ocean Engineering Inc.; Exporter of Professional Services

>> Richard Nelson; Outstanding Contributor to Exporting

"These outstanding businesses provide quality job opportunities for our residents and help position Hawaii in the global marketplace," said Gov. Linda Lingle.

The Governor's Exporter of the Year Awards program is sponsored by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, and the Agriculture Department.


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