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North Florida District Office Success Stories

North Florida District Office Success Stories

Douglas Worswick

Orlando, FL – Douglas Worswick, CEO of Certified Slings, Inc. (CSI), was recently selected as the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration Region IV Small Business Exporter of the Year. Worswick has increased revenue and grown his company by expanding his business globally. The company currently employs over 100 people, has 7 locations in Florida and sells its products throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Worswick joined his father’s company as a management trainee in 1992. He learned the business from the ground up, and implemented using more technology for inventory control and customer communications. The younger Worswick became Chief Executive Officer for CSI after his father passed away in 2006.

Although Worswick inherited a company that was reaching record sales, the recession of 2009 would force the company to reevaluate its business model. The company manufactures and sells slings, rigging, overhead lifting, load securement, safety and contractor supplies. CSI serves industries including construction, mining, power utilities, theme parks, and the U.S. Military. The company lost domestic revenue in 2009, and decided to expand its exporting revenue as a part of its strategy.

The company started exporting in the 1990’s almost by accident, in that customers from Latin American found CSI through website searches.  The company continued to serve these customers by fulfilling orders submitted and targeting exporters in Miami. In 2010, the company’s international sales were highly concentrated in Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. As those markets experienced political instability and economic turmoil, Worswick and his international team recognized the need to diversify its target markets.

Worswick participated in the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program in 2012, a trade and export initiative authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Funded by federal grants and matching funds from the states, the STEP Program is designed to help increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting.  The Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida developed an Export Marketing Plan, which included industry and customer analysis along with recommended target markets, overseas trade opportunities and an action plan.

SBA offers small businesses assistance with exporting through its Office of International Trade. Information on the STEP program or other exporting initiatives is available at www.sba.gov/internationaltrade. For more information about programs and services available through the SBDC at the University of Central Florida, visit www.sbdcorlando.com.

Douglas Worswick, President of Certified Slings, Inc. can be reached at 310 W. Melody Lane, Casselberry, Florida 32707 or (407) 331-6677. The company’s website is www.certifiedslings.com.