2019 Award Winners

NASBITE International is committed to advancing international trade by acknowledging professionals in the field that have demonstrated excellence in developing innovative programs and practices that improve international trade. Their successful achievements are honored through the presentation of annual awards.


This award recognizes and celebrates innovation and excellence in international trade curriculum development, research, program development, and advocacy of international business issues.


This award recognizes specific programs developed by institutions and organizations to meet a particular identified need. All organizations, public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit, are eligible to apply.


This award recognizes the dedication and service of those that are advancing international trade in each state in the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. Award winners, which may be programs or individuals, have contributed to the advancement of international trade for four or more years.


The NASBITE John Otis Lifetime Achievement Award is named for NASBITE International’s founder, John Otis. In 1986, after 20 years as a small business owner, he established the Small Business International Trade Program at Portland State University. He recognized the need to establish a network among international trade education providers and hosted the first conference from which NASBITE was born in 1988. His guiding philosophy of organizational development, based on encouraging collaboration and consensus supported by communication and commitment, served NASBITE well during its formative years. John worked tirelessly and patiently to guide the NASBITE Board of Governors in creating a sustainable organization that truly serves the needs of its members throughout North America.

The NASBITE John Otis Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes this vision and is the highest honor presented by NASBITE. This award honors a lifetime of achievement in international trade education or training by those who have distinguished themselves through leadership or service nationally or internationally. It recognizes a body of work that has a substantial impact on the field of international trade.


Susan Dragotta, CGBP Certified Trainer
Global Business Instructor
Waukesha County Technical College (Wisconsin)

Susan Dragotta, CGBP is recognized for her role in and dedication to advancing international trade in the State of Wisconsin. Her individual work accomplishments and leadership and commitment to improving the practice of global business is evidenced by a career spanning the private sector, Wisconsin’s export development bureau, and her work in global business education. In addition, she has actively served in leadership roles on the Wisconsin District Export Council.

Susan earned the NASBITE International CGBP in 2006 while she was an Export Development Manager for the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce export development bureau (now Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation). Since then, she has been called upon to contribute to CGBP exam item writing and has been a member of NASBITE for many years.

Susan specializes as a consultant for Latin America, working with over 100 different exporting or new to export manufacturers to guide them in the export process and target market development. Susan led a Governor’s Trade Mission to Mexico and has co-led multi-state trade missions to South America several times with companies from the Great Lakes Governors’ Council region. She also worked in the private sector in international sales at three exporting companies.

Based on her experience, practical knowledge of trade and dedication to growing the knowledge of others, Susan was hired by WCTC to become the full-time global business instructor. She also teaches the Import/Export Specialist program, a new offering that is growing significantly. She is a CGBP Certified Trainer, and developed and teaches a CGBP exam prep course. She is also a contributing member of the NASBITE International Social Media Subcommittee.

Susan is currently the President of the WTA (MMAC’s World Trade Association) leading the advisory board of 22 individuals from area global businesses, was the Vice President, and served as education co-chair for over 10 years. She plays a major role in leading the planning for the group’s programs throughout the year.

Dr. Ralph Jagodka
Mt. San Antonio Community College (California)

Dr. Jagodka is a tenured professor with Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, California. Prior to becoming a full-time professor in business/international/entrepreneurship, he worked as the Director of the Center for International Trade Development (CITD) hosted at Citrus Community College where his program’s services and collaboration made a statewide impact. Ralph has an extensive work history in international business in the private sector with expertise in doing business in Asia.

Dr. Jagodka has developed training modules that meet the needs of not only students, but those of business/industry, faculty/educators, incumbent workers, and those seeking the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification. Ralph has the rare ability to see a training tool and/or resource from the needs of multiple stakeholders and works to ensure he meets the needs of each.

Ralph generously shares his time, expertise, and talents by serving on the District Export Council of Southern California, serving as department chair of his division, and chairing the management and operations committee at the Industry Manufacturers Council. Ralph has worked with and presented at Michigan State University’s CIBER on internationalizing community college curriculum and is currently working with NASBITE’s Educational Partnership Project for two and four-year schools with International Business Programs and students interested in sitting for the CGBP Exam.

Dr. Jagodka has been a strong supporter of NASBITE, the NASBITE CGBP, a NASBITE member and NASBITE Conference attendee and works to further the importance of NASBITE’s mission and that of the NASBITE CGBP in advancing the need for international education and global trade competency.

Aaron S. Miller, CGBP
International Trade Manager

Virginia SBDC, George Mason University (Virginia)

Aaron Miller, CGBP has been with the Virginia SBDC Network since 2011, taking a relatively new position within the Virginia SBDC and building it into a “powerhouse program to support export success.” Aaron has the right combination of skills and expertise that support his personal success in helping educate and assist companies in international trade success and is one of the state’s most recognized experts in the trade assistance community.

In a letter of support the Virginia SBDC State Director, Jody Keenan, wrote that Aaron’s excellence and hard work has made a significant impact not only in increasing exports in the ‘tens of millions of dollars’, but also in involving students; he is the top referral source for students to do real-live international trade research for Virginia exporters under the VITAL market research program for the state.

Aaron was recently selected as national co-chair of the ASBDC International Interest Section to work on ASBDC conference planning, networking with federal agencies, and supporting ASBDC legislative efforts. He is also closely aligned with SIDO – State International Development Organizations.


Grant County EDC/Washington SBDC
Outbound Trade Event

The Washington State SBDC (WSBDC) and Grant County Economic Development Council (EDC) have perfected the art of building productive partnerships to help Washington companies, notably rural ones, achieve export success. It started by leveraging contacts at the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and Grant County’s Sister City relationship with Gunpo City, South Korea, to arrange for Eastern Washington businesses to visit South Korea to meet with interested importers of U.S. products and services. That trade mission to Seoul took place in April 2016, with another important partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to recruit companies to join the mission.  SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) helped finance a portion of the travel for four Washington small businesses.

The success and positive feedback from participants led to the second mission in June 2017, this time making stops in Seoul and Tokyo, Japan. The WSBDC engaged the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) as a partner for matchmaking in the Tokyo market. Nine Washington small businesses participated in 2017, eight of which were STEP funded. The third annual Grant County/WSBDC Outbound Trade Event to South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai China took place in April 2018, with seven WSBDC companies.

The WSBDC model for leveraging partnerships to connect Washington companies to global market opportunities has helped engage Washington small businesses in exporting and provided results that have created a sustainable and valued program that is a win-win for all involved.

Growing Small Business Globally:
Public-Private Partnership

In 2018, Greater Portland Inc. (GPI) created a first-of-its-kind business development program offering export-focused training and travel scholarships to entrepreneurs interested in expanding their businesses through international sales. The Growing Small Businesses Globally export assistance training and travel scholarship is focused primarily on entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans, and covers half the cost of six key export training, counseling and advising sessions offered by four partner public agencies. Upon completion of training, entrepreneurs receive a contribution to a travel stipend for their first international sales experience. The goal of this program is to prepare entrepreneurs for international sales in advance of their first international deal.

Greater Portland Inc. worked with four of the region’s public sector export partners including the U.S. Commercial Service, Small Business Administration, Oregon SBDC Network Global Trade Center, PCC SBDC, and Business Oregon to deliver the essential network and education private sector entrepreneurs need before they embark upon their first international experience. The target market for this program are entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans who have not traditionally had access to this support network.

The project has become a signature project of Greater Portland 2020, the region’s five-year economic development strategy. The innovation behind this program is in the alignment of partner agencies into an export advising pathway that is easy for entrepreneurs to navigate along with a well-defined cross referral network for the export advising partners.

NC SBTDC International Business
Development Program

The NC SBTDC’s International Business Development (IBD) program’s primary goal has been to increase the number of SMEs that are exporting and to assist existing small business exporters in expanding their foreign markets and sales. This type of strategic partnering fits with its university mission to 1) enhance lifetime skills of business owners, 2) engage students in working with business, 3) apply business theory to real-world problems, and 4) be a leading business assistance and support resource.

This targeted statewide program operates within the NC SBTDC. Its team consists of an IBD Director and three IBD Counselors, all of whom are Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP)-credentialed. IBD Counselors are strategically located at UNC-Charlotte, Winston-Salem State University, and NC State University, three metro service areas representing 84% of the state’s export activity.

The IBD team assists client-companies with managing “the business side of exporting” through one-on-one business counseling with attention to global business management, global marketing, supply chain management, and trade finance. The SBTDC’s IBD program is a NASBITE CGBP Accredited Training Program, offering CGBP exam preparation training workshops throughout the state. The team also supports and participates in statewide trade training events and direct trade missions. In 2018, program clients generated $204,487,047 in export sales, supporting over 1,000 jobs.

The Florida SBDC Network
Export Marketing Plan

The cornerstone of the FSBDC’s formula for success in growing exports through small and medium-sized businesses in its Export Marketing Plan (EMP). Provided in partnership with Enterprise Florida (EFI) and the U.S. Commercial Service, the customized Export Marketing Plan assists qualified, new-to-export manufacturers and service providers with a global growth strategy. What initially began from the original STEP program evolved into recurring state funding in the form of grants from Florida’s Economic

Development organization, EFI.

The Export Marketing Plan starts with an International Trade Specialist meeting with the company and performing a thorough business readiness assessment. The process then requires a review of overseas trade opportunities, an understanding of country requirements for this company’s products or services, and research of the industry and markets. The Export Marketing Plan is compiled to recommend key target markets, country launch strategies, and an action plan that may include trade mission participation. This comprehensive report ranges from 75-100 pages and includes a detailed action plan to aid exporters in the effective implementation of the suggested strategies. The Export Marketing Plan has been adapted to other applications and other funding partners.

The Florida SBDC International Trade team would like to posthumously recognize our team member Katie Arroyo for her contributions to the program. Katie was instrumental in developing tools and methods to analyze vast amounts of data; continually making improvements to the program, and freely and joyfully sharing her knowledge and connections in international trade with both her clients and her colleagues.