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Although Southern California World Trade Week awards are presented during official activities in May, the organization seeks potential awardees year-round.

Southern California World Trade Week awards include:

  • World Trade Week Export Achievement Award
  • World Trade Week Foreign Direct Investment Award
  • World Trade Week Service Achievement Award
  • Bob Kleist Leadership Award
  • Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque

Vew a pdf of award descriptions

2014 Award Applications: Deadline to apply is March 21, 2014

2013 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

clientuploads/Global_Programs/WTW/JoeCzyzyk.jpgJoseph Czyzyk
Chairman & CEO, Mercury Air Group, Inc.

Czyzyk was born in Poland, the son of Holocaust survivors. He traveled to Europe as a toddler and grew up in Canada. He moved with his parents to the United States when he was 16 years old and became a U.S. citizen.

Czyzyk has visited nearly 100 nations and has established business operations in more than 45 countries during his career, which started in the airline industry. He joined Mercury Air Group, Inc. in 1984 to establish the company’s cargo division. As chairman of the board, he privatized the company in 2006, after nearly three decades on the American Stock Exchange. Additionally, with extensive travels to every part of the globe and with a special emphasis on South America, Asia and the Middle East, Czyzyk’s deep international relationships have allowed Mercury to expand far beyond its Los Angeles headquarters.

Civic activism has been a cornerstone of Czyzyk’s career. He was the 2011 Board chair of the L.A. Area Chamber and is a past president of the City of Los Angeles Board of Taxicab Commissioners, having served on the Commission since its inception in 1998 until his retirement in 2008. He has had the distinction of having served as a city commissioner under the last three consecutive L.A. mayors and is treasurer of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. With the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Public Policy, he sits on the Board of Visitors and is chair of the Campaign Committee.

Czyzyk is a decorated U.S. veteran, having volunteered for two tours of duty (1966- 1969) with the U.S. Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (Seabees) in the U.S. and the Republic of Vietnam. He is a proud board member of the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, helping to carry on the Seabees’ “can do” tradition. Czyzyk also serves as a member of the U.S. VETS board of directors.

Czyzyk is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles. He and his wife, Faye, are L.A. residents and have four adult children and one grandson.


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. 



The Inogen mission is to improve freedom and independence for oxygen therapy patients through innovative products and services. As a medical device manufacturer and accredited homecare provider dedicated to oxygen therapy, Inogen is ideally suited to develop products tailored to oxygen therapy users and to provide superior service to those users in their homes.


Located in Van Nuys, Calif. since being founded in 1979, Louroe Electronics, Inc. is the world leader in audio monitoring technology. Its continued growth has resulted from providing innovative products, receiving high customer satisfaction and maintaining strict devotion to quality standards. Louroe Electronics is recognized worldwide for its variety of audio monitoring technology, with its products used in 34 countries in both private sector and government applications. The company currently serves the needs of law enforcement, security, health care, entertainment, hospitality and retail industries. Louroe Electronics maintains rigorous standards to ensure products provide reliability, durability and excellent performance for customers’ needs. It is proud to continue designing, engineering and manufacturing at its Van Nuys headquarters.


SUNDÃRI is a distinctive collection of skincare products created from the purest ingredients and rarest essences distilled from nature. SUNDÃRI brings a portfolio of professional skincare products and treatments that are inspired by the ancient philosophy of Ayurveda practiced for thousands of years. SUNDÃRI is available in leading resorts and retail boutiques around the world. SUNDÃRI was founded in 2000 by super model Christy Turlington and partners. It is based in Long Beach, Calif.


Service to World Traders 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.



Euro VAT Refund, Inc is a leading United States financial services company specializing in assisting North American companies with value added tax (VAT) management, registration and refunds when conducting business internationally. Its clients are many Fortune 500 corporations as well as small- and medium-sized companies that trade internationally. Euro VAT Refund’s experts also frequently advise trade specialists within the U.S. departments of commerce, European embassies, consulates and trade offices in U.S. logistic companies and conference organizers. In 2010, during the economic downturn, Euro VAT Refund assisted American companies in recovering and avoiding over $50 million in VAT expenses, equivalent to some 1,000 new or saved employment opportunities. Euro VAT Refund is particularly proud of successful intervention in 1999 when the German government proposed introducing a new law that would stop VAT refunds to U.S. companies. Through an early alert to the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., the U.S. government was able to intervene and with Euro VAT Refund’s assistance, provide an official protest to Germany. Consequently, Germany did not change its laws and the substantial VAT refunds of many millions of dollars continue annually.

Bob Kleist Leadership Award

This prestigious 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, such as being a positive spokesperson and force for trade, advocating for Southern California’s interests in promoting trade and providing world class education for the next generation of international traders. Their work benefits the trade community at large and broadens the horizons of what is possible through trade.



A nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, the Milken Institute believes in the power of capital markets to solve urgent social and economic challenges and improve lives. Its mission is to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital and enhance health. At the heart of the organization’s work is the idea that societies prosper if they have an educated, healthy workforce; open and efficient capital markets; and effective social institutions.

Milken Institute has assembled a respected team of economists, industry experts and scholars to analyze the issues and choices facing policymakers and to build a foundation of rigorous, independent research. The institute convenes a network of influential decision-makers from the private and public sectors to help transform ideas into action, partnering with global leaders in finance, business, government, science and philanthropy – people with the vision and resources to make a significant impact.

Whether the issue is building a more sustainable energy future or ensuring that entrepreneurs can access the credit they need to grow their companies and create jobs, the organization’s objective is to advance solutions that create prosperity in all corners of the globe.

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