DEC of the Year


Hawaii Pacific Export Council

Hawaii Pacific Export Council (HPEC) Honored with District Export Council of the Year Award

The Hawaii Pacific Export Council (HPEC) has been awarded the prestigious District Export Council (DEC) of the Year Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The honor recognizes HPEC’s significant contributions to supporting U.S. exporters in Hawaii and across the U.S. Pacific Islands through innovative and impactful initiatives.

The award was presented at the National DEC (NADEC) Conference in Washington, D.C., where ITA Under Secretary Diane Farrell honored HPEC Chair Dave Erdman and HPEC members Elvira Lo and David Day with the DEC of the Year Award. The event celebrated HPEC’s outstanding achievements and its pivotal role in driving export growth and economic development within the region.

Hawaii Pacific Export Council is one of the 61 district export councils across the United States and its territories. Chair Dave Erdman expressed his gratitude for the honor, “This recognition is a testament to our volunteer board for their hard work and dedication, as well as the innovative efforts of our entire team for our work with our stakeholders and partners in Hawaii and across the Pacific.”

“HPEC’s success stems from its commitment to fostering a robust export environment,” he continued. “Through targeted programs, workshops, and one-on-one mentoring, HPEC has empowered island businesses to navigate the complexities of international trade, ultimately driving significant export growth. HPEC partners with the State of Hawaii’s DBEDT team to execute export seminar training programming as part of the HISTEP program (Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program), which included 15 seminars to support new and experienced exporters in helping SMEs (small to medium size enterprises) to grow beyond the state or their island communities by expanding sales through exporting.”

2024 DEC Exporter of the Year

“Exporting is the sale of U.S. made goods and services to buyers in foreign markets, and includes the export of agricultural products, locally produced merchandise for export, tourism, international education and study in the islands, and services focused on international markets. Exporting ‘matters’. Exporting helps to diversify and expand our economy while helping small businesses to grow. Trade is a force for good,” said Erdman.

Jamie K. Lum, Business Development Program Manager/Business Development and Support Division, State of Hawaii DBEDT said, “DBEDT values HPEC’s support and partnership in helping our Hawaii small businesses reach their export potential.”

John Holman, who serves as Director of the Pacific for the U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, which is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, highlighted the Council’s impact, “HPEC’s strategic initiatives and hands-on support have been instrumental in helping Pacific Island exporters reach new markets and achieve their global business goals. Their dedication to excellence and innovation sets a benchmark for the 61 DECs across the United States and territories to follow.”

HPEC’s 2023 accomplishments include securing new grant funding, conducting 15 export seminars, and facilitating $7.6 million in new export sales and total increase in export sales of more than $12.5 million. The Council’s efforts supported 265 companies, including over 100 new-to-export participants and rural businesses from Hawaii’s neighbor islands. HPEC also responded to the Maui wildfires by establishing the Maui Wildfire Disaster Business Recovery Fund, demonstrating its commitment to community resilience and support for Maui small businesses.

2024 Hawaii Pacific Exporter of the Year
ITA Under Secretary Diane Farrell (far right) presenting the DEC of the Year Award to HPEC Chair Dave Erdman and HPEC Member Elvira Lo.

About the Hawaii Pacific Export Council:
The Hawaii Pacific Export Council (HPEC) is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting the export of U.S. goods and services from Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), and American Samoa. HPEC board members are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. HPEC supports the activities of the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Hawaii, assisting primarily small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in overcoming logistical challenges and expanding their global reach. Through education, mentoring, and strategic partnerships, HPEC assists in driving export growth and economic development across the region. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Dave Erdman
Chair – 2022-2024 Hawaii Pacific Export Council (HPEC)
Founder, President and CEO PacRim Marketing Group, Inc.
Derdman 808-479-6895




Georgia District Export Council

The Georgia District Export Council (GDEC) was recently chosen for The District Export Council of the Year award during the 2023 Annual Export Conference in Washington D.C.

The Georgia District Export Council (GDEC) is a non-profit, private-sector advisory board whose mission is to grow Georgia’s economy by boosting U.S. exports. Appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, GDEC members are some of Georgia’s most experienced export executives.
GDEC convenes international trade-related programming around the state to help position Georgia companies for success in the global market. GDEC also educates stakeholders about the importance of trade to Georgia, communicates crucial trade-related information to the Georgia business community, and offers scholarships for Georgia companies to select export-themed events. GDEC cultivates the next generation of Georgia exporters by sponsoring an internship program for undergraduates.
Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commerce Department, GDEC is one of 60 District Export Councils around the country that support and amplify the U.S. government’s export promotion efforts. GDEC works in partnership with the International Trade Administration’s office in Georgia, the U.S. Commercial Service in Atlanta.

Visit Their Website

georgia export of the year

The National Association of District Export Councils (NADEC) works to support the regional District Export Councils throughout the United States.






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