Met One Instruments Exemplifies Export Strategy Success

Grants Pass air monitoring equipment manufacturer Met One Instruments is poised for a growth spurt in 2012 thanks in part to the export assistance it has received over the last several years from Business Oregon.

Since 2010, Business Oregon's Global Strategies team has partnered with Met One at a series of overseas trade shows and trade missions to help the innovative company find new customers. Through both the Oregon Trade Promotion Program (OTPP) and the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program, Business Oregon has provided Met One a series of export assistance grants to help defray the costs associated with its appearances at trade shows in Canada, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Met One's global success is a great example of the incredible return on a rather small investment by the state—in this company's case less than $8,000 total in three different export assistance grants over a three-year period. The company, which employs 100 workers in Grants Pass, is now emerging as a major global player in this highly technical sector.

As Governor Kitzhaber noted after his September 2011 appearance with company officials at an event at the Shanghai (China) Academy of Environmental Sciences, where the company presented the research institute with a free, state-of-the-art piece of monitoring equipment:

"I agree our Oregon workforce can truly stand up to any, and its companies like yours—growing, traded-sector advanced manufacturers, that play a key role in the successful growth of Oregon's economy."

Most recently, on March 7, 2012, Met One held a technical seminar attended by more than 120 people at the IE Expo 2012 in Shanghai, the largest environmental technology exhibition held in China. Met One's success in competing in China means the company is now on the brink of even more growth. That's because the recent passage of new air quality regulations in China for particulate air pollution (PM 2.5) means Met One is one of only a handful of companies in a position to supply the air monitoring equipment now required in such cities as Beijing.

A March 2012 story in the official Chinese government press reported that Beijing plans to invest at least 40 million yuan (6.35 million U.S. dollars) in 2012 in buying PM2.5 monitoring instruments.

The article continued:

"Domestic enterprises are capable of producing PM2.5 monitors, but unlike American companies, their analytical methods and monitors do not qualify for approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are not accepted by the World Health Organization, said the official from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau who declined to be named.

World leading PM2.5 monitor producers include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Met One Instruments and Automated Precision Inc., all from the U.S, and Australian Monitor and Echotech from Australia. Products from foreign companies have grabbed more than 70% of the Chinese market, said Wang Yuesi, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Atmospheric Physics."

The company's recent growth builds upon its past partnership with Business Oregon and the Governor's office. In November 2010, Business Oregon officials led a trade mission of nine Oregon companies, including Met One, to exhibit at Eco Expo Asia in Hong Kong. The trip focused on building on the successful groundwork laid by then Gov. Ted Kulongoski's May 2010 Asia trade mission.

Eco Expo Asia was an ideal platform for Oregon's green manufacturers, services and suppliers wanting to establish a foothold in expanding Asian eco markets. The Hong Kong show focused on business solutions to climate change. It will feature companies specializing in air quality, energy efficiency, green buildings, waste and recycling and eco-friendly products.

"That was a great opportunity for existing Oregon companies to seize upon the tremendous potential clean tech related opportunities growing in Asia," Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe said. "Oregon companies are well positioned to tap into these fast-growing markets to create jobs for Oregonians."

It certainly appears that Met One has seized on their opportunity.