Article originally featured on Tradeology, the official blog of ITA (International Trade Administration)
Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Trade Information Center, U.S. Commercial Service within the International Trade Administration.
John Sohl, owner of Columbia Technologies, conducting training for partners in Mexico
John H. Sohl III is founder of Columbia Technologies, a Maryland company that maps underground pollution from large manufacturing facilities, oil terminals, pipelines and military bases. The company is a client of the Baltimore Export Assistance Center.
Barry: How do you map underground pollution?
Sohl: Mapping involves deployment of sensor technologies that track leakage and migration of pollutants. Following analysis by our technicians, customers can make decisions on risk assessment, disposition of the property and proper cleanup actions.
Sohl: I started the company about 15 years ago after doing similar work in the U.S. Navy. I was always intrigued with the application of sensors and three-dimensional mapping of components, and that’s the approach we brought to the industry. The world really is getting flat and many of our clients are global industries that have footprints both in the U.S. and North America as well as the globe. So once we’ve established a good working relationship and reputation with those firms, they sought to bring us into other parts of the globe.
Barry: So your initial market entry strategy was to piggyback on clients here in the U.S. and ride them into new markets.