MU International Trade Center Partners 2024 Advancing International Trade Award Winner Tom Dustman of Sunnen Products Co.

Photo: Tom Dustman, International Sales Manager, Sunnen Products Co., St. Louis, MO

For more than 40 years, Tom Dustman with Sunnen Products Company in St. Louis, Missouri, has provided leadership, mentorship and advocacy to support improving the global trade environment and representation for businesses in Missouri and across the United States. He is a true servant-leader with a rich spirit for volunteerism and giving back to the community.

Over the last 25 years, Dustman has served Sunnen’s global expansion program, providing leadership to the international sales organization. He coordinated the creation of joint ventures in China and Brazil and established direct sales in Canada on behalf of the company, working to establish a network of sales offices around the globe. During his tenure with Sunnen, export sales have grown from 25% of annual turnover to over 40% of annual turnover.

Throughout his career, Dustman has actively sought opportunities to engage and give back within the global trade community. In 2006, he was appointed to the Missouri District Export Council, a position he still holds. Throughout 18 years of service, he has served numerous leadership roles, including chair of the council. He has led initiatives to support delivery of training events and access to mentoring opportunities throughout the region.

In 2013, Dustman was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to serve on the U.S. Investment Advisory Council. During his two-year term, he provided advice on national strategies and efforts to increase foreign direct investment. In 2014, he traveled to Mexico on a trade mission with the Association of Manufacturing Technology with the goal of building relationships and growing trade opportunities between the U.S. and Mexico.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Dustman also serves as the elected Midwest representative to the National Association of District Export Councils (NADEC) and in that capacity stepped forward as co-chair the Education and Outreach Committee and as a member of the Trade Policy Committee. In 2017, he served on a panel for the Trade Winds Global Sales initiative to Mexico and South America sponsored by the U.S. Commerce Department.

In 2022, as a testament to his belief in life-long learning and continuous improvement, Dustman pursued and secured the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential. To NASBITE’s benefit, he recently expanded his affiliation with NASBITE International, joining the NASBITE International CGBP Governors Council as a member.

Always accommodating and selfless of his time, Dustman routinely accepts requests made of him to speak to classes at the Trulaske College of Business, sharing valuable real-world experiences and insights.  In 2021 and 2022, he came to the aid of the Illinois Small Business Development Center and & International Trade Center located at South Illinois University in Edwardsville, working with Silvia Torres Bowman to moderate a three-day “Export Now” program designed to assist new-to-export small- and medium-sized enterprises in southern Illinois in understanding the basics of exporting and support their market expansion goals.