Jarden Zinc Products of Tennessee

The Company

Jarden Zinc Products, located in Greeneville, Tennessee, is the largest North American producer of solid zinc strip and zinc-based products. Their zinc strip is utilized in a broad range of applications, including coinage, automotive and electronic applications, building materials, raingoods, plumbing hardware and cathodic protection products. An example of a product using their technology is the U.S. penny – copper on the outside, zinc coin blank on the inside. They also use multi-ply plating technology, which reduces cost when compared to through alloy coins. Multi-ply coins possess a unique electro magnetic signature (EMS) which provides for greater coin security. They are also more wear resistant and harder to counterfeit than regular coins.

The Challenge

In late 2008 and early 2009, a financial crisis hit the world economy resulting in unemployment, foreclosures, and stock market collapses. Unemployment hit 10.6% at its height nationally in 2010, however, in Greene County, Tennessee, a rural county adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains; unemployment hit a staggering 17.9% at its height. During the economic downturn, Mark Blizard, Vice President of Coinage Sales for Jarden Zinc Products, turned towards export markets to maintain factory production and grow sales for his company. By monitoring public tenders for public coinage, Mr. Blizard found a bid for coin banks issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines. Although several technologies were available, Blizard sought to promote the most cost effective and secure alternative.

The Solution

Mr. Blizard contacted his local U.S. Commercial Service (CS) office in Knoxville, Tennessee for advice.

The CS staff in Knoxville quickly contacted the CS office in Manila, Philippines to form a team to work on the issue. From June 2009 through January 2010, CS staff counseled Jarden on strategies to successfully present its advanced technology to the BSP. After several meetings with the Pilipino government and extensive counseling with Jarden staff over a period of seven months, the company was officially awarded the contract with BSP to supply and deliver 4,610 metric tons of 1-Piso coins at a total contract price of $21 million using the multi-ply technology. The contract period of two years is the first ever for a U.S. firm to break into the Philippine market for minted coinage. “The U.S. Commercial Service was helpful in communicating with our agent, monitoring the bidding process on our behalf, and communicating with the BSP,” said Blizard.

The Result

Winning this order allowed Jarden Zinc Products to retain jobs that had been at risk, and to recall over twenty employees from layoffs necessitated by the prior year’s economic downturn. Additionally, securing this order led to approximately 15 new jobs at the Greeneville, Tennessee facility. Blizard strongly encourages other U.S. companies to export. “Having a global presence has been essential in Jarden’s growth. The diversity of the opportunities abroad has provided us with the ability to prosper even during challenging economic times in the U.S. domestic market.”

For their accomplishments in the Philippines, Jarden Zinc received an Export Achievement Certificate from the U.S. Commercial Service, presented by Congressman Roe of Tennessee in May 2011. “We are extremely honored to have received the Export Achievement Certificate, and it was especially gratifying to receive it from Congressman Roe at our plant in Greeneville, in front of many of our employees,” said Blizard.

Jarden Zinc Products staff receives Export Achievement Certificate from Congressman Roe.

Jarden Zinc Products staff receives Export Achievement Certificate from Congressman Roe.

Left to right– Rob Leach, Director of the Knoxville U.S. Export Assistance Center, U.S. Commercial Service; Chuck Villa, President, Jarden Process Solutions; Congressman Phil Roe; Thomas Wennogle, President, Jarden Zinc Products; Ian Ashken, Vice Chairman and CFO, Jarden Corporation; Mark Blizard, Vice President Coinage Sales, Jarden Zinc Products; Mark Drury, Tennessee Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Action

Contact your local U.S. Commercial Service Office. U.S. Commercial Service staff in Knoxville connected with CS staff in Manila to ensure the fair bidding process for the contract with BSP.

Export to grow your company’s sales. Jarden Zinc’s contract with BSP enabled them to weather the economic downturn and hire additional staff.

Participate in a U.S. Commercial Service event. Go to export.gov to browse upcoming trade shows, trade missions, webinars, and other events. These events will enable you to learn about foreign markets and opportunities and to connect with foreign buyers.