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Winners of the 2018 USA Biz Awards

The USA Biz Awards are bestowed every year to recognize outstanding achievements by Austrian companies in the highly competitive U.S. market. This year’s winners, picked by the Austrian Trade Commission in Los Angeles, are ESS, Hirsch, Binder+Co, AGRU, AT&S, and Doka Ventures. 

The eighth USA Biz Awards ceremony was held concurrently with the Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, at the residence of the Austrian Consul General in Los Angeles. Seventeen innovative companies competed in six categories over the reputable business trophy.

Group photo with all the winners and nominees of the 2018 USA Biz Awards on March 3, 2018, Los Angeles 

And the winners are ...

Winner in the category "Startup"
ESS Engineering Software Steyr develops highly specialized fluid simulation software for the automotive industry. In 2017, the three-year-old startup from Steyr, Upper Austria, successfully entered the U.S. market by winning Ford, Honda North America and GM as clients. 

From left: Moderator Hannelore Veit, Walter Koren (Austrian Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles), Karl Felbauer (ESS), and Consul General Andreas Launer

Winner in the category "Market Footprint"
The HIRSCH Servo Group, with headquarters in Glanegg, Carinthia, is technology leader in the manufacture of high-quality, flexible, and cost-effective plants and machinery for processing expanded polystyrene (EPS). Thirty-eight percent of all machines produced last year were exported to the United States, most recently to Tennessee, Missouri, and South Dakota. 

From left: Walter Koren (Austrian Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles), Harald Kogler (Hirsch, CEO), Manfred Rieglhofer (Hirsch, Managing Director), Sammy Harrill (Hirsch, Service Manager), Steve Weber (Hirsch, Sales Manager North America), and Consul General Andreas Launer

Winner in the category "Trendsetter" 
Binder+Co is a specialist in the field of processing, environmental and packaging technology and the world market leader in the screening and glass recycling segments. The machinery and plant manufacturer from Gleisdorf, Styria, sets new standards for glass recycling in America. New regulations on "zero waste" policy made the State of Colorado a perfect starting point for the technology from Binder+Co. Using a state-of-the-art, sensor-based sorting system, 80.000 tons of glass cullet become reusable bottles per year. The glass recycling quota in Colorado has risen from 6.25% in 2015 to 21.65% in 2017. The partnership with the largest waste glass processor in the U.S., Strategic Materials, is promising a sustainable and steep success curve.

From left: Consul General Andreas Launer, Mario Stockreiter (Binder+Co, President & CEO), and Walter Koren (Austrian Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles)

Winner in the category "Investment
AGRU from Bad Hall, Upper Austria, is one of the world’s most important single-source suppliers for high-quality products made from engineered plastics. In 2017, AGRU America opened its new 40-million-dollar XXL pipe production facility in Charleston, South Carolina. The facility, located at Charleston Harbor, is producing HDPE pressure pipes with dimensions of up to OD 2500 mm (98.4 inches) and 600 meters in length, designed for high volume flow applications including gas, potable water and wastewater. AGRU America is part of Alois Gruber GmbH, an Austrian family-owned business since 1948 with production facilities in Austria, the U.S., Germany, China and India, and distribution in over 80 countries worldwide. 

AGRU’s XXL pipe production faciltiy in Charleston, South Carolina (c) AGRU America

Winner in the category "Innovation"
AT&S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG is a high-tech company from Leoben, Styria. Its products – high-end printed circuit boards and IC substrates – play a key role in the most innovative communication applications in the electronics industry, including the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. The close cooperation with the U.S. innovation landscape enables AT&S to have a leading position in the core segments automotive, industrial, mobile devices, and increasingly also in the medical segment. Whether it is hand prostheses enabling people to feel and reach for things, or exoskeletons, which give people supernatural powers, or interconnected pacemakers – AT&S is at the forefront with its technology.

From left: Walter Koren (Austrian Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles), Guillaume Coffinier (AT&S, Key Account Director), and Consul General Andreas Launer

Winner in the category "Spectacular"
Doka Ventures, a subsidiary of the Umdasch Group from Amstetten, Lower Austria, joined forces with the inventor of deployable 3D construction printing, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, a former professor at the University of Southern California. His company Contour Crafting, based in El Segundo, Los Angeles, will start delivering the first series-ready robotic 3D construction printers in the fall of 2018, significantly reducing the time to construct. But the joint vision of Doka Ventures and Contour Crafting is much greater. Within the next few years, the whole construction process shall be automated. Reinforcements, pipes, wires, etc. shall be installed automatically by robotic and digital technologies.

From left: Walter Koren (Austrian Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles), Werner H. Bittner (Doka Ventures, CEO), Maria Tagwerker-Sturm (Doka Ventures, Manager Innovation & Network), Berok Khoshnevis (Contour Crafting Corporation, President & CEO), and Consul General Andreas Launer


All photos from the 2018 USA Biz Awards (c) Austrian Trade Commission in Los Angeles, Photographer: Jim Lee