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As a national observance since 1935, World Trade Week has a long standing tradition of celebrating international trade and promoting its importance.  In honor of this purpose, each year World Trade Week Southern California chooses to highlight a few select companies that have done an outstanding job in promoting global trade.  

Southern California World Trade Week awards include:

  • World Trade Week Export Achievement Award – Apply Now
  • World Trade Week Foreign Direct Investment Award – Apply Now
  • Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque Award - Apply Now

Deadline to Apply: Friday, March 18, 2016.

View a pdf of award descriptions.


2015 Award Winners 

Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque

This prestigious plaque recognizes an outstanding member of the world trade community in Southern California who has contributed above and beyond job requirements throughout a long career in international trade. Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque Past Recipients

Ambassador Mickey Kantor

As partner at Mayer Brown LLP, Amb. Mickey Kantor concentrates his practice on corporate and financial international transactions. He has extensive experience in market access issues, as well as the expansion of client activities in foreign markets through trade, direct investment, joint ventures and strategic business alliances.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Kantor was the United States Secretary of Commerce (1996-1997) and the United States Trade Representative (1993-1996). He has been called “arguably the finest trade negotiator in the world” (Chambers Global 2006) and is said to be “blessed with fantastic political insights and connections” (Chambers USA 2007). He was recently recognized in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers - Trade & Customs 2009. Among the many awards and honors he has received are the following: the Civic Medal of Honor by the

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; the Order of the Southern Cross Award by The Government of Brazil (2001); the William O. Douglas Award by the Constitutional Rights Foundation; the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Center for the Study of the Presidency; the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation; and Elihu Root Distinguished Lecturer, Council on Foreign Relations.

Export Achievement Award

Recognizing local companies, especially small and medium-sized firms, which have experienced significant and continued growth in export sales and now derive a significant portion of their revenue from exports. 


In 2001, a small business under the name of American Custom Coach was established in the City of Ontario; later to become a well-established Manufacturer of Mobile Medical Vehicles, known today as ALEPH GROUP INC. (AGI). At its infancy the company was a one-man operation, servicing the needs of local hotels and municipalities by providing restorations and upgrades on transit buses and shuttle vans. The name ALEPH GROUP INC (AGI) was officially installed in 2012 as a result of a product & services diversification, with stronger presence in the International market. AGI currently employs 23 full time professionals and is currently serving the needs of its customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Nigeria, Angola, Israel, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. International sales represent 60 percent of AGI’s total sales. AGI’s strategy for the international sales department is to create partnerships in various countries by creating qualified dealerships that will sell, service and maintain the vehicles.


Haas Automation is the largest machine tool builder in the United States, and one of the largest builders of CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines in the world. All Haas products are manufactured in the company’s one-million-square-foot facility in Southern California, and distributed through and municipalities by providing restorations and upgrades on transit buses and shuttle vans. The name ALEPH GROUP INC (AGI) was officially installed in 2012 as a result of a product & services diversification, with stronger presence in the International market.

A network of more than 170 Haas Factory Outlets (HFO), in more the 50 countries, every HFO has complete showroom facilities, factory-trained service personal, extensive spare parts inventories and fully stocked service vehicles to provide the industry’s best service and support. Haas CNC machines are used by job shops, contract engineering firms, and manufacturers worldwide to make parts for nearly every industry – aerospace, automotive, mold & die, electronics, medical, telecom, motorsports, electronics, defense, oil & gas and more. Haas products deliver higher accuracy, repeatability and durability – at better prices – than any other machines on the market. This commitment to quality is what makes American-made Haas machine tools the best value in the industry.


Foreign Direct Investment Award

Recognizes foreign companies that have established U.S. operations in the five-county area and have made significant contributions to the Southern California economy through financial investment in California companies or the establishment of local facilities.


InBody, a South Korean company, has revolutionized the field of Body Composition Analysis with the InBody line of body composition analyzers, using Direct Segmental Multi-Frequency BIA and patented 8-Point Tactile technology. Standing on the InBody machine for a quick non-invasive test provides users with their body fat percentage, BMR, segmental muscle balance, body water, progress graphs and more – all on a full-page colored results sheet. With a 98 percent correlation with DEXA, the InBody is renowned for its high accuracy and reproducibility. Take the InBody Test today and see what you’re made of!

Service Achievement Award

This award honors service companies—such as banks, freight forwarders, brokers or insurance companies—for sustained, exceptional service and commitment to world traders in the five-county Combined Statistical Area (Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.


Incorporated in 1949, the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association (LACBFFA) represents licensed U.S. customs brokers, freight forwarders, NVOCCs (non-vessel operating common carriers) and firms, which facilitate international trade. The LACBFFA is the premier organization in Southern California for international trade and U.S. Customs issues. Its more than 300 members employ more than 6,000 individuals and file more than 95 percent of all import entries in the Los Angeles Customs District.

LACBFFA are the “boots-on-the-ground” in the international supply chain who work with your constituents in expediting their export and import shipments worldwide. They are specialists in proactively identifying potential challenges and developing contingency plans, which minimize costs while increasing transit time predictability. If a constituent complains that a shipment is “stuck in Customs” or is experiencing an unexpected delay, LACBFFA provides them with an objective analysis of the situation and potential solutions. If the issue is representative of a systematic problem, they advocate for a universal solution which increases the efficiency for all in the supply chain. LACBFFA stands ready to be a resource for you on the potential impacts of pending trade legislation and can share in detail how this legislation impacts constituent shippers actively involved in international trade.

LACBFFA is a dynamic organization, rich in history and led by dedicated business professionals with a spirit of cooperation. LACBFFA aims to achieve standardization in the industry and to promote a high degree of professional conduct among its members, including high standards of ethics and financial viability. LACBFFA provides leadership to its members in dealing with city, state and federal agencies as well as offering a forum for the exchange of ideas. LACBFFA acts as an authoritative voice for the industry at official and government levels. The Association aims to set industry standards and provides educational courses which enhance the professional standards of the industry in Southern California.


Bob Kleist Leadership Award 

This award recognizes and honors an organization or company that has demonstrated inspirational and visionary leadership in the development of world trade in southern California. The recipient exemplifies the attributes of Bob Kleist, perhaps the best-known person in world trade on the West Coast, by advocating for southern California’s interests in promoting trade and providing an education for the next generation of international traders. Past recipients include the ports of Los Angeles and long beach, Los Angeles World Airports and the Milken Institute.



WIT-LA is a leading southern California organization with global reach affiliated with the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) – an organization with over 3,000 members worldwide and operating since 1989. WIT-LA was one of the original OWIT chapters and part of a growing list of local associations that span the globe, covering a multitude of countries and regions including the America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

In 1985, a group of women from the Los Angeles area formed WIT-LA with the objective to advance career and trade opportunities for women in southern California. Today, they are celebrating their 30th year, and WIT-LA is recognized worldwide for building ongoing trade relationships within and between global communities with a focus on helping its members develop and execute global trade opportunities. Their diverse membership of women and men within the Southern California area are professionals from all facets of international trade, industries and business sectors, not limited to: banking/finance, communications, customs and trade law, education, government and diplomacy, import/export compliance, insurance/risk management, technology, transportation, and other trade-related services.

Their members share knowledge, mentor youth and peers, connect with counterparts in other countries and exchange business contacts and referrals. WIT-LA’s strength is the global expertise of their members with a strong focus on planning and executing business opportunities involving international trade. WIT-LA will continue to foster international trade, provide business opportunities in networking forums and promote further advancement of women in business.

For more information, contact Global Initiatives Senior Manager Jasmin Sakai-Gonzalez, 213.580.7569.