Caption: John Hazen White, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Taco Comfort Solutions holds the U.S. Department of Commerce “E” Award at Monday’s ceremony in Washington, D.C. With him are Wil VandeWiel, Taco COO, RI Congressman James Langevin and Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
On Monday, May 17, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented Taco Comfort Solutionswith the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., the second the company has received in its history.
The President’s “E” Award, now in its 54th year, is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Taco was one of 123 companies honored with a 2016 “E” Award at this year’s ceremony, and a company that enjoys the distinction of being a previous “E” Award winner.
“Taco has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with Taco’s customization of its product line to fit the needs of customers in export markets,” said Secretary Pritzker in her congratulatory letter to the company announcing its selection as an award recipient. “The company’s innovation facilities in foreign markets to train support personnel were also particularly notable. Taco’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.”
In business since 1920, family-owned Taco Comfort Solutions is a leading manufacturer of heating, cooling and plumbing equipment and systems for use in residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Its Hydroflo Pumps Fluid Solutions subsidiary, a Taco Group Company, manufactures pumps used in select markets such as irrigation and mining, among others.
Taco Comfort’s International Division is responsible for overseas exporting to markets in Canada, Latin America, Middle East, throughout Asia and most recently in West Africa. Taco operates regional sales offices in Dubai, Miami, and in Hong Kong. It has equipped similar offices in Singapore and Bogota, Columbia with “system demonstration centers,” and is in the process of accomplishing the same with its offices in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
These centers, modeled after Taco’s LEED Gold certified Innovation & Development Center in Cranston, RI, are used to train engineers in HVAC system design. Taco has taken advantage of U.S. Department of Commerce sponsored trade missions and participated in its Gold Key business matchmaking program.
“As a company that earned one of the original “E” Awards at the very end of World War II for excellence in war production, it’s very gratifying to be so honored again,” said John Hazen White, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Taco Comfort Solutions. “And I’m pleased to note that the company my father ran then is very much the same company today, 71 years later. Our focus at Taco has always been on our skilled and dedicated workforce – the best in the world. Congratulations to our International Division as well as everyone at Taco, and also to our partners around the globe in earning this prestigious award.”
John Hazen White, Sr. (center) is applauded by Taco Heaters employees at the awards ceremony on August 10, 1945.
Taco’s First “E” Award
Taco Heaters, as it was then known, earned an Army-Navy “E” Award for its production of thousands of naval gun mounts while reducing the cost the government had been paying for such components by almost 50%. The company received its “E” Award and E banner at an awards ceremony held in its then Providence manufacturing location on August 10, 1945, one day after the the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and four days before the war’s end.
Taco Heaters Chief Engineer Robert Blanding and Taco employees display the Army-Navy “E” Award banner.
In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters.
Taco was one of 123 U.S. companies that Secretary Pritzker honored with the President’s “E” Award for their outstanding work to reduce barriers to foreign markets and to open the door to more trade around the world.
In 2015, U.S. exports totaled $2.23 trillion, accounting for nearly 13 percent of U.S. GDP. Nationally, exports contributed to the U.S. economy and supported an estimated 11.5 million jobs.
U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Awards through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, with offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries. Record years of successive export growth and an applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to an increase in exports is a significant factor in selecting the winners.