SPIO Inc. manufactures orthotics for children with special needs. COURTESY PHOTO, SPIO

SPIO Inc. manufactures orthotics for children with special needs. COURTESY PHOTO, SPIO

Kent small business honored with highest national export award

SPIO Inc. makes children’s medical orthotics

SPIO Inc., a small manufacturer of children’s medical orthotics, was one of only two companies in Washington state, and one of only 28 manufacturers in the U.S., to receive the 2020 President’s “E” Award for Exporting Excellence.

SPIO Inc., of Burien, is owned by Children’s Therapy Center in Kent, a nonprofit serving children with special needs in South King County

The President’s “E” Award was created in 1961 by executive order of the president and is the highest recognition a U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.

The award recognizes the hard work companies must do to have export growth year over year for the previous four years. Award winners must also demonstrate an innovative international marketing plan that led to the increase in American exports.

“This award is truly an honor, especially for a small company like us,” said Christie Skoorsmith, SPIO’s international business manager, in a company news release. “Six years ago we launched our International Strategy and to go from zero international distributors to 21 in six years has been a wild ride. Winning this award has been a validation of all the hard work and complicated decisions we have made in the past few years.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross honored the winners last fall, recognizing their contributions to American export growth.

“With American companies like these awardees successfully exporting to some of the most challenging markets around the world, we can continue to rebuild and reclaim free, fair, and reciprocal global trade opportunities,” Ross said.

SPIO, Inc. manufacturers medical orthotics for children with special needs. The company started in Kent in the late 1990s by the combined invention of Nancy Hylton, a licensed physical therapist and orthotist, and Cheryl Allen, the mother of a child Hylton was treating, and a trained seamstress. Together they created a new form of flexible, compression orthotics to help Allen’s son.


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