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Pocatello Business Owner Named 2019 SBA Idaho Exporter of the Year

Owner Deborah & Rick Eskelson of Partner Steel Co., Inc. named Idaho Exporter of the year
Release Date: 
Monday, May 6, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2019 Exporter of the Year is Deborah Eskelson, president of Partner Steel in Pocatello, Idaho.


Founded in 1947, Partner Steel Co., Inc.  was purchased by the current owners Deborah and Rick Eskelson in 2005 with the help of a SBA Loan. Deborah has also extensively used the local SBDC as a business resource. Partner Steel Co., Inc. is a custom metal fabricator and specializes in camping equipment. The camping equipment is exported to Canada, Europe, and Australia.


 ‘‘Partner Steel’s anchored presence in the Pocatello community is a testament to Deborah and Rick Eskelson’s entrepreneurial spirit,’’ SBA Boise District Director Gary Eisenbraun said. ‘‘Deborah’s success at maintaining the steady presence of Partner Steel is an inspiration for other local small businesses. We are proud to have the Eskelsons and Partner Steel as part of our Idaho small business community.’’


 The SBA Exporter of the  Year award – part of National Small Business Week May 5-11, 2019 – recognizes small business owners who demonstrate staying power and substantiated history as an established business with at least three years of business operation. Winners must also show growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects.


“We are honored to be awarded the SBA Idaho Exporter of the Year Award,” Eskelson said. “This award is a reflection of our employees, that manufacture quality work, and also to our distributors that sell our camping products.


Partner steel is active in the community and has contributed to and donated to children’s community sports programs as well as local 4H clubs from surrounding communities. Partner Steel is heavily involved with the Idaho State University scholarship programs, donating  manufactured items for auction.


"National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact of small businesses, which make up 99 percent of all businesses in the Pacific Northwest and create two out of every three net new jobs,” SBA Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “Small business owners represent our country’s best. They are innovators, job creators and community leaders. Shining a spotlight on their inspirational stories and journeys is an honor.”


Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.


For more information about National Small Business Week, visit




About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit The Boise District Office serves southern Idaho and eastern Idaho with an office location in Boise.