By Harold Davis
Special Correspondent

NORWALK – You might say Penmar Industries Inc. of South Norwalk is packing all the goods.

The Hispanic-owned company, which sells packaging materials, has been honored once again by Southport-based as a top state multicultural business in the organization’s Div50 Awards competition.

This was the fourth time Penmar has received the DiversityBusiness accolade. The company also was honored for the past two years and won in 2001.

Penmar president Ed Rodriguez is pleased to be recognized, but says he’s not one to rest on his laurels – after all, he has a small business to run.

“We’re very attentive to our customers’ needs. We evaluate their processes. We’re trying to find out what is the best tape or packaging that will meet their need or exceed their expectation,” said the Bethel resident.

Penmar’s main focus is labels and specialty tapes, supplying clients within the state such as WWE, Otis Elevator and People’s Bank, as well as customers in India, China, Sweden and South Africa.

It also sells related packing supplies, including foams, custom poly bags and cartons. Penmar manufactures its own packaging labels in Norwalk, and is a distributor of other packaging-makers’ products.

DiversityBusiness’ mission is to function as a resource portal between small business and corporate buyers. It collects data on promising minority- and women-owned business from around the country.

Kenton Clarke, president and chief executive officer of DiversityBusiness, said the awards are based a company’s earning success, but their aim is to bring more leads for the businesses recognized.

Penmar’s 2006 sales exceeded $3 million. Clarke said that although Penmar might not have the brand recognition of a company like Xerox, it certainly offers value to others.

“This is a company that has experienced steady growth, and this signifies that they have a good business model,” Clarke said.

Soegaard came to Penmar in 1983, and the company has been in operation since 1964. He served as vice president of operations and sales prior taking the helm in 1992. Currently, there are 16 employees.

“I saw an opportunity for growth. There were not too many minority-owned companies in the position that we were in. We use that as one of our marketing tools for the business,” said Soegaard.

Soegaard said that making technology upgrades over the years has helped the company keep stay competitive, in addition to meeting customer deadlines.

The upgrades have made operations such as processing, inspection and manufacturing more efficient.

“We’re able to have more output with the same amount of people. We’ve increased our capacity by investing in technology,” Soegaard said.

DiversityBusiness award winners will receive a trophy and meet with Fortune 500 leaders at a conference in Las Vegas in April, Clarke said.

“It’s really to promote the efforts of the these companies – to give small business spotlight,” Clarke said.