It’s an invaluable education that takes place in one day. The Business Development Board of Martin County is proud to team with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the South Florida District Export Council to bring Export University 101 to the Treasure Coast for the first time.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28th at IRSC Chastain Campus, participants will learn how to access foreign markets from national, state and local experts. One of our local experts is well known. Ed Ciampi, chair of the Martin County Commission, heads up international sales for the Palm City-based manufacturer Chicago Stainless Equipment. He spoke with us about his business experience and provided a peak at the presentation he’ll give at Export University.
Martin County residents know you primarily as the chair of the county commission. Tell us about your role as a speaker in Export University 101.
In my life outside of repping Palm City and serving on the Martin County Commission, I’ve worked for a Palm City business for 12 years. The business is Chicago Stainless Equipment. We manufacture temperature gauges and pressure gauges for sanitary businesses—food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics. It’s anything and everything that a human would put in their body and on their body. It’s called Chicago Stainless Equipment because everything we do is stainless steel. Anything that comes into contact with the product has to be cleanable.
What’s your role with the company?
I run the sales side and am head of international development, which I brought here based on what I learned from the BDB. I came with knowledge as a commissioner on how best to work in this environment. There are so many other resources—Enterprise Florida, which is now known as Select Florida—that I learned about from (former BDB executive directors and employee) Ron Brunch, Tim Dougher, Jill Marasa as well as Joan Goodrich (current executive director).
Travel obviously factors heavily into your responsibilities. How does it break down, domestically and internationally?
It’s more domestic obviously because there are more opportunities and convenience to travel domestically. But speaking globally, I’ve been to nearly 30 countries.I’ll only need to go to Antarctica and I’ll have been to every continent as well as every state but four.
So, how do you navigate the unknowns of meeting business prospects in foreign countries?
Once you realize these agencies at the federal and state levels are here for your assistance, it helps. Every trip I’ve been on you meet the ambassador of the group. Select Florida, they have district export accounts in Barbados, Bahamas, Guyana, other places. I would never have had the opportunity or knowledge to do business in these places without Select Florida, but they’re available to us.
What are some of the specific ways in which they help?
These agencies help pre-clear and make sure you’re well-suited to travel. They know the businesses you’ll be meeting with and they reach out on your behalf. All of the prospects are pre-qualified and perfectly able to do business with you.
Do you think your work with Chicago Stainless and the travel and other aspects involved make you a better county commissioner?
I do. Since I get to travel all over the country and the world, I get to see everything. I see every town. If I’m in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, I’m not just rolling into town. I’m saying, ‘Hey, they have a nice marina,’ or library or nice on-street parking. I take tons of pictures and some of what we’re doing on Mapp Road (in the Palm City Community Redevelopment Area), are ideas that I’ve got from other communities that I’ve seen.