Edward Kezys, president of -based Inc., an export trading company on Imperial Avenue, was recently named Small Business Exporter of the Year for New York State from the .
North Shore International focuses on the Middle East having offices in Amman, Jordan, and Baghdad, Iraq, with the majority of the work taking place in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Jorge Silva-Puras, SBA’s New York Regional Administrator, said that Kezys was selected based on criteria that reviews a company’s increase in sales and growth as a result of exporting, creative overseas marketing strategies, and encouraging other small businesses to export. Kezys credits SBA’s Export Working Capital Loan program for part of the company’s success.
“We started with a $500,000 SBA export line of credit from TD Bank,” he said. “Now that line is up to $3.75 million – that’s how much we have grown.”
Since 1963, SBA has recognized small businesses and entrepreneurs across the nation with awards presented in conjunction with National Small Business Week.
Years before starting North Shore International in 2004, Kezys left college to join a family friend who had an international business and dealings in South America and Russia. He credits this experience with giving him the foundation and skill set to eventually start North Shore International. He spent 7 years working with his friend and then another eight working for an exporter who sold spare parts to Saudi Arabia.
North Shore International specializes in exporting spare parts, equipment and accessories for the oil/gas, power generation and telecommunications industry sectors. It played a role in the reconstruction efforts of Iraq and is the exclusive independent representative for Teledyne Energy Systems there.
Kezys said North Shore International generates sales by exporting products like heat exchangers, tube bundles, primary and secondary deals for oil storage tanks, turbine parts and alloy pipe, valve and fittings.
“With the ministries of oil over there, they are very concerned about giving out contracts to people they don’t know,” he said following the SBA awards presentation in his New Hyde Park office. “We already had the reputation over there.”
According to Kezys, North Shore’s business in Iraq has increased even as the war was winding down, noting that much reconstruction work still needs to be done there.
Kezys travels to the Middle East every five weeks to check in with his offices in Jordan and Iraq and to meet with ministry and other officials. He said it is important to be there, to introduce their business, and to put a face with the name.