Mark Grimaldi, president of Albany-based Equinox Chemicals LLC, has been chosen as U.S. Small Business Administration‘s small business exporter of the year in Georgia.

Mr. Grimaldi, a former employee of Merck & Co., started his chemical research and manufacturing company as a two-person operation in 2003. It now has 34 employees and earns 40 percent of its revenues from exporting to markets like France, Germany, Italy and South Korea. Mr. Grimaldi has also traveled to China to drum up business.

While building global customers, the company also widened its product lines to include organic molecules used in flavorings, fragrances and other specialty chemicals.

“Equinox Chemicals is a perfect example of how small businesses can grow by tapping international markets. Exporting is no longer the exclusive domain of larger corporations,” said Terri Denison, the SBA’s Georgia district director.

Largely thanks to export-led growth, the company plans to spend $5 million expanding its headquarters, a move Mr. Grimaldi says could create 40 more jobs over the 12 months.

An Equinox warehouse caught fire Saturday, April 3, while the plant was shut down during the Easter weekend. The fire burned through insulation on parts of the building’s outer wall, but didn’t ignite any of the chemicals used in the plant. No one was harmed in the blaze, and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

As the company was cleaning up Monday, Mr. Grimaldi told local news services that the damage would not hinder Equinox’s expansion plans.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...