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VACAVILLE – Synder Filtration, Inc. received the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a U.S. Department of Commerce ceremony during World Trade Month in May. Synder was one of 57 firms and organizations in 22 states to be honored.  

[caption id="attachment_73814" align="alignright" width="419"] Ken Hyatt, acting U.S. Commerce Department Undersecretary for International Trade (left), presents the President's Export Award to Dr. Joseph Wang, a co-founder of Synder Filtration, Inc., of Vacaville, and Jeffrey Yeh, president of Synder. Acting Commerce Sec. Rebecca Blank (right) officiated at the ceremony honoring those who make significant contributions to U.S. exports.[/caption]

The “E” Award, revived by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 based on the World War II symbol of excellence, recognizes those who make significant contributions to U.S. exports.

Founded in 1994, Synder Inc. (dba Synder Filtration, synderfiltration.com) is a privately held, independent Asian-American family business manufacturing more than 700 different models of membranes and filters for specialized process applications. 

The company’s products are used in industries such as biotech, dairy, automotive painting, food and beverage gas/oil/bioethanol, pulp and paper, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, water treatment, and textiles.

“Our polymeric membrane filters can separate dissolved solids at the molecular level in the nanofiltration, ultrafiltration, and microfiltration range of pore sizes,” said President Jeff Yeh.

“For example, some common applications include separating protein from sugars, sugar from salt, and protein and enzyme concentration and fractionation.”

[caption id="attachment_73815" align="alignleft" width="385"] Synder Filtration, Inc.'s main 66,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 4941 Allison Parkway in Vacaville's Golden Hills Commercial Park produces more than 700 models of membranes and filters used by many industries.[/caption]

After establishing Synder as a viable supplier of membranes for the domestic food and dairy industry, the company learned about large dairy markets in Europe and New Zealand. Mr. Yeh soon developed a network of qualified overseas representatives.  

He worked with Elizabeth Krauth, director of the North Bay Export Assistance Center of U.S. Commercial Services (USCS), to obtain background information on key nations.

“USCS supplied market data, tariff rates, information about business opportunities, receptivity to U.S. products and tips for doing business in many countries,” he said. “We conduct online research in-house combined with specific searches conducted by USCS.”

USCS also helped Synder gain a better understanding of foreign trade barriers and how to overcome them, especially in nations with complex import requirements, such as Brazil and India.

Mr. Yeh attributes $775,000 of Synder’s revenue growth in recent years to support received from USCS. This includes over $225,000 in revenue from Australia, more than $250,000 from Turkey and over $300,000 from Mexico. Exports account for roughly 40 percent of total revenue.  

Another trade barrier the firm had to overcome was achieving compliance of its products with the laws in other countries.

The company’s R&D group investigates regulatory requirements and makes adjustments in its production methods or raw materials to meet those requirements.

Synder has been highly selective in choosing sales reps and distributors overseas, preferring to work with smaller companies with similar views regarding financial discipline, deep technical knowledge and firms with efficient, motivated employees.

“We rely heavily on our international team to build long-term relationships with end users. Their knowledge of local languages, culture and customs helps tremendously.  Many have been with us over a decade.”

In addition to finding bilingual reps in other nations who can communicate with Synder in English, the company strives for a multi-lingual staff that currently includes employees fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Burmese and Tagalog.

As a result of global partnering, Synder has sales reps and distributors in France, Germany, Italy Japan, China, Brazil and New Zealand.

In the U.S., the company has field reps in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota.

“We offer guaranteed consignment stock with no upfront cost to some of our large international customers, and custom-tailor this stock to meet annual purchase requirements. These factors have contributed substantially to our export revenue growth,” he said.

Today, Synder is a fast growing company rapidly reinvesting in itself with an annual average revenue growth in excess of 24.5 percent on average over the past three years.

Synder continues to expand its staff.  The firm has 65 employees including over half a dozen engineering, R&D and production personnel added last year, with plans to add more before the end of 2013.

Mr. Yeh said that with the unemployment rate in Solano County at 9.3 percent, compared to 7.8 percent nationally, his firm wants to do its best to help decrease that number.

“Rather than move production offshore, we determined to expand domestic operations to provide faster lead times and greater flexibility in production, essential for developing new specialty process applications.”

The firm’s 66,000-square-foot headquarters and membrane filter production facility is located at 4941 Allison Parkway in Vacaville’s Golden Hills Commercial Park.  

The company recently purchased a 53,000 square foot building next door to house engineering, system fabrication, R&D and application development pilot projects.

Synder is designing new products to meet its customers’ evolving needs. The firm’s pilot study program helps international firms modernize processes by testing new membrane technology before launching full-scale production.

The firm’s logistics staff also has been trained to handle complex shipping and customs clearing requirements. A standard practice is to rapidly generate pre-drafted shipping documents for approval by the customer/distributor prior to releasing the shipment from Synder.

“Good communications and having a highly-responsive team on both sides of an international shipment are keys to a smooth transaction,” Mr. Yeh said.

The Synder Filtration executive team includes Mr. Edward Yeh, principal owner and CEO, Dr. Joseph Wang, co-founder, and Dr. Yun Charles Jao, vice president of engineering.