A Mount Airy firm was among more than a dozen honored earlier this month with the 2020 Governor’s Export Awards.

Nester Hosiery Inc., of Mount Airy, was one of 13 North Carolina firms to win the award, recognized as one of the state’s top rural exporters.

“Growing our global business has been a core initiative for us, all the while remaining true to our North Carolina roots,” said Matt Brucker, vice president of sales at Nester Hosiery. “We produce some of the most innovative socks in the world and do everything with an eye on our communities, both locally and globally. We are well-positioned for the future as we continue to build solid, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers, brands, and licensing partners.”

Nester is a long-time textile firm known for its footwear, particularly its Farm to Feet socks, which are made exclusively from American-made raw materials, in U.S.-based plants. The company has also been successful in recent years in securing a large military contract, and retooling some of its production facilities to make PPE needed by healthcare and other workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, the 13 winners “range from a small wooden-boat builder in southeast North Carolina to one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.”

“These diverse companies raise the profile of North Carolina-made products around the world, promoting excellence in goods and services made possible by the exceptional workforce in our state. Today, we honor these companies for the way their exports promote the North Carolina economy, their grit during tough economic times, and the more than 412,000 jobs they support state-wide,” Cooper said.

Each of the manufacturers being recognized has turned to the state for help increasing its international sales. These free services are delivered through the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina which selects award winners from the more than 600 companies its international trade team supports each year.

Nester Hosiery, the state said, consulted with the state economic development partnership overseas trade offices and used partnership-administered federal grants to help pay for trade show participation in Germany.

In addition to Nester, the other award-winners, and where they are based, include: Advanced Superabrasives Inc. in Madison County; C.R. Onsrud Inc. in Iredell County; Budsin Electric Boats in Carteret County; Latitude Aero in Guilford County; Grady-White Boats in Pitt County;

Novo Nordisk in Johnston County; sGlen Raven Inc. in Alamance County; Nufabrx in Catawba County; Redeye Worldwide in Orange County; Tactical Support Equipment in Cumberland County; DGL Logistics in Mecklenburg County; Sharyn Koenig of the Export-Import Bank of the United States

“We assist manufacturers with everything from export-education seminars and foreign market intelligence to trade show support and introductions to international distributors,” said John Loyack, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina vice president for global business services.

“And since the pandemic shut down international travel and in-person trade events, we’re helping more exporters pivot to doing business virtually,” Loyack said. “That includes leveraging grants that help manufacturers pay for exhibiting in online trade shows, or for translation and search engine optimization of their website in other countries.”