CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than two dozen West Virginia companies and many more individuals working for those companies were honored Tuesday at the state Capitol for successfully exporting to a new country in 2018.

The honorees received the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry Award inside the Governor’s Reception Room on the West Wing of the Capitol.

State Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch told the crowd that he has learned a lot from these businesses over the past year.

“I never go into a business that I don’t come away learning something. All of my business cards have my cell number on it, people call me. I am constantly getting remarks, comments, and suggestions on how we can make things better,” Gaunch said.

26 companies received awards, 10 for the first-time, including Doc’s Tea in Inwood, Mountaineer Brand in Martinsburg, American Muscle Docks and Fabrication in Wellsburg, Blue Ink Technology in Huntington, Chestnut Hill Candle in Chester, The Homer Laughlin China in Newell, J&M Industrial in Millwood, Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood, and Mustang Sampling in Ravenswood.

Schonstedt Instrument in Kearneysville, DRK Studios in St. Albans, Industrial Bolting Technologies in Charleston, JQ Dickinson Salt-Works in Charleston, and Preiset Scientific in St. Albans, Athena Sciences Corp in Fairmont, ND Paper in Fairmont, Best Business Strategies in Glen Dale, APG Polytech in Apple Grove, Sport Outfitters in Williamson, IstoVisio in Morgantown, Caperton Furnitureworks in Berkeley Springs, Direct Online Marketing in Wheeling, MEDI-KAL Resources Inc. in Wheeling, TROY Group in Wheeling, Wheeling Truck Centers in Wheeling, and Multicoat Products in Fraziers Bottom all received awards.

VIEW: Individual and company award winners

A total of 77 countries were represented, a release said. Five countries appeared as markets for West Virginia companies for the first time: Vanuatu, Somalia, Lesotho, Central African Republic, and Liechtenstein. Countries that were the most frequent market destinations included Australia, Canada, Poland, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

Each company received a framed piece of currency from each new country to which the business began exporting, the West Virginia Development Office said. The presentation is based on the tradition of displaying the first dollar a business earns.

“According to the numbers I have been given, since 2002, there have been 2,200 awards presented to 169 companies who have sold products to 188 countries around the world,” Gov. Jim Justice’s Chief of Staff, Mike Hall said at the ceremony.

“On behalf of the governor, I thank you and I congratulate you.”