Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 18, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Economic Development Partnership: | PBE Group: Christa Glassburn,, (276) 988-1040

Governor Northam Announces Recipient of 2018 Governor’s Award for Excellence in International Trade

North Tazewell-based company recognized for excellence in international business

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that PBE Group of North Tazewell, Virginia is the recipient of the 2018 Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Award for Excellence in International Trade. The Governor presented the award at the 70th Annual Virginia Conference on World Trade, held in Richmond. PBE Group has participated in the Commonwealth’s international trade programs since 2000. In 2017, the company graduated from the Go Global with Coal & Energy Technology (GGCET) program, funded by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).

“Expanding our markets internationally is key to diversifying Virginia’s economy, and it is wonderful to see a home grown Virginia company achieve success in the global marketplace,” said Governor Northam. “For nearly two decades, PBE Group has taken full advantage of the array of programs offered by the Commonwealth that aid Virginia businesses in increasing their international exports, and the company has experienced incredible success as a result. I want to thank PBE Group for its commitment to Tazewell County and the Commonwealth as a whole. We look forward to the company’s continued growth both in Southwest Virginia and around the world.”

The Governor’s Award for Excellence in International Trade annually recognizes a Virginia business that has increased its international sales while promoting the best interests of its employees and the surrounding community. 

“With the bulk of economic growth occurring outside the United States, it is increasingly important for Virginia companies to diversify their customer base through exports,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “International trade is a proven business expansion strategy, and with sales offices in 12 countries and customers in more than 30 countries, PBE Group is a shining example of a Virginia company that has found success in new markets.”

Headquartered in Tazewell County, Virginia, PBE Group enjoys a global reputation for offering a complete line of manufactured safety, communications, and productivity systems. The company has 47 years of experience, 300 employees, and sales of over $70 million annually.

In July 2017, PBE Group joined VEDP’s flagship Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program and successfully grew internationally through projects in Australia, China, and Italy. The company now has sales offices in 12 countries, a distributor network with worldwide reach, and sells into more than 30 countries worldwide.

“The PBE Group is very excited and proud to be receiving this award. PBE has been a part of the Southwest Virginia community for over 46 years,” said PBE Group Chief Operations Officer Christa Glassburn. “We believe strongly in our community and are very grateful for the assistance that the Governor’s office and the state of Virginia’s development programs have provided to us in our efforts to expand our international trade. With the assistance provided, we have been able to increase our presence globally by attending sponsored trade shows, increasing our speed to market for our products with global product approvals, and connecting with regional partners who have provided assistance with our supply chain needs. Thank you from all of our PBE employees.”

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