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A look at entrepreneurs who have found business opportunities from the North Sea to Antarctica
Icons: Raul Aguila
AdaQuest No. 486
Bellevue, Washington ' Rio de Janeiro 6,884 miles
AdaQuest, which helps software companies translate applications into more than 60 languages, maintains a satellite office in Rio de Janeiro, where co-founder Hiram Machado grew up. Having staff there also helps the West Coast business serve its East Coast clients.
Nova USA Wood Products No. 190
Portland, Ore. ' Curitiba, Brazil 6,707 miles
This floorboard importer sources more than 40 species of South American wood, including Bolivian canary wood and Brazilian ipe, from mills in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. To manage the shipment of a thousand truckloads a year, the company has logistics centers in Belรฉm and Curitiba in Brazil.
Remote Medical International No. 147
Seattle ' Vinson Massif, Antarctica 8,600 miles
This company offers medical support to people in far-off locations and dangerous situations. Last year, an RMI employee led a team of climbers scaling Antarctica's tallest peak to field-test some equipment.
Access Technology Solutions No. 307
Provo, Utah ' Tokyo, Japan 5,509 miles
This logistics company handles more than 200,000 shipments a month. A major source of business in recent years has been sending consumer goods from the U.S. to Japan. Large shipments of Maclaren baby strollers are a staple of the company's business.
RigNet No. 452
Houston ' Off the Nigerian Coast 6,513 miles
RigNet outfits offshore oil rigs with telecommunications systems. A recent project involved linking a rig off the coast of Nigeria to a hub onshore, which then routed calls through Bedford, England.
Zebra Imaging No. 348
Austin ' the North Sea 4,834 miles
Oil companies use Zebra's holographic technology in the North Sea to map the area below the sea floor. Engineers can use the topographical renderings to determine a suitable spot for drilling.
Echo Global Logistics No. 49
Wuhan, China ' Mona, Utah 6,750 miles
This Chicago-based company coordinates freight delivery around the world. One recent job involved getting a generator the size of a locomotive from the inland port of Wuhan, China, to a power plantin Mona, Utah.
Mission Essential Personnel No. 52
Columbus, Ohio ' the Horn of Africa 7,453 miles
This company's linguists were hired by the Defense Department to negotiate the release of the captain of the Maersk Alabama, the container ship seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia in April. The ship and the captain were ultimately rescued by the U.S. Navy.
GATR Technologies No. 259
Huntsville, Alabama ' Maseru, Lesotho 8,619 miles
This company's portable satellite-communication system weighs 70 pounds and can be checked on a commercial flight. Customers have used the device in Iraq, Afghanistan, and far-flung Lesotho. For more on this product, see "The Hottest Small-Business Products of 2009."
Milestone Metals No. 193
Fairfax, Virginia ' Ningbo, China 7,531 miles
Milestone Metals buys scrap metal such as steel and brass, and sells it to foundries and smelters in China. A recent batch of copper was turned into an underwater communications cable.
Geo-Solutions No. 322
New Kensington, Pennsylvania ' Brisbane, Australia 9,325 miles
Geo-Solutions, which prevents groundwater contamination, earns a fifth of its revenue abroad. This year, a major project took the company to Brisbane, Australia's fastest-growing container port, where workers installed a containment barrier around a large dredge.
April Joyner is a reporter for Inc. magazine. She regularly covers sales and marketing topics and writes on start-ups for Inc.โs Elevator Pitch column. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @aprjoy
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