The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas International Trade Coordinating Council have released the names of five finalists for the 2012 Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award, which is presented to a single Kanas company for outstanding international marketing achievements. The five finalists are Bergkamp Inc., Salina; Bunting Magnetics Co., Newton; Global Parts Inc., Augusta; Pitsco Inc., Pittsburg; and Tank Connections LLC, Parsons.
The winners will be announced June 12 at the annual Kansas Cavalry Encampment, the state’s annual business awards ceremony, in Manhattan. The Cavalry Encampment is sponsored by Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Cavalry, a volunteer group of business leaders who promote Kansas as an attractive location for business.
This year’s finalists were chosen from a pool of 15 applicants, who were evaluated by a panel of economic development and international trade practitioners. Evaluation criteria include:
• Number and/or percentage increase in jobs due to international activities.
• Innovations in global marketing.
• Effective use of international distributors.
• Long-range international strategies and prospects for future growth.
• New product lines introduced internationally.
• Network of distributors, agent/representatives, international offices or subsidiaries developed.
• Trade shows and/or international expositions displayed at or attended.
• Joint ventures established.
• Foreign language promotional materials and general promotional activities developed.
• Number of new export markets.
For more than 20 years, the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award has been presented to a Sunflower State company for exceptional international marketing success. This award encourages the growth of the state’s international commerce by showcasing successful exporters as role models to the Kansas business community. The recipients are prime examples of how exporting is a significant catalyst for company growth and diversification. The first step in the process is for companies to be nominated for the award. Chambers of commerce, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to nominate companies that have excelled in the area of international trade. Companies may also nominate themselves. For details on the program, visit www.kansascommerce.com/exporteroftheyear.
Site visits to the finalists were conducted between April 5 and April 18, followed by presentations by the finalists April 25 in Topeka.
Finalist profiles follow on next page.
Bergkamp, Inc. (Salina)
From humble beginnings in 1977 as a job shop, Bergkamp Inc. has grown to be recognized as an international leader in the design and manufacturing of asphalt pavement preservation equipment. For more than 25 years, the company’s equipment has provided road maintenance solutions to extend the life of highways, roads and parking lots while sourcing from local suppliers. The company began exporting in 1983, and exports have continued to grow and contribute greatly to Bergkamp’s product development. Seventy-three employees market to countries as diverse as Argentina, Australia, China and Nigeria. Overall, products are shipped to 15 countries worldwide.
Bunting Magnetics Co. (Newton)
Since moving to Kansas in 1979, Bunting Magnetics has successfully served the needs of many industries. The company is a leader in providing an effective means to solve a multitude of manufacturing problems for the plastics, food products, housewares, printing, electronic, material handling and recycling industries, by using magnetic separation/detection products. The magnetic/detection line insures product purity by removing ferrous contaminates from dry particulates, liquids and slurries. Bunting employs 115 Kansans, and in the last three years, the company has introduced 22 new products to capture a significant share of the world’s market for magnetic equipment.
Global Parts Inc. (Augusta)
Ten years ago, Global Parts was a vision in the mind of a young entrepreneur. Today they are a leading distributor of aviation components to the general, corporate and regional aircraft industries. Global Parts is an approved vendor for Hawker Beechcraft Corporation and distributes spare parts to the general aviation market through sophisticated distribution channels. Global Parts’ strategic plan recognizes long term growth that will generate from serving worldwide aviation markets. They employ 51 Kansans and recently opened a distribution center in Panama and a warehouse in South Africa to efficiently serve more than 60 countries.
Pitsco Inc. (Pittsburg)
Founded in1971 by three teachers whose guiding principle was “to lead educational change that positively affect learners,” Pitsco provides educators with innovative hands-on curriculum to enhance the learning experience in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The company’s commitment to education is based on four pillars of student success: teacher enablement; customer service; quality curriculum and products. In 1997, LEGO® partnered with Pitsco in a joint venture to form LEGO Education North America. They developed the LEGO education curriculum to provide a unique approach to robotics, simple machines, renewable energy, software and a quality learning experience. Through these commitments to innovation, the 211 employees of Pitsco have introduced more than 20 new products to meet the needs of educators and students in nearly 40 countries.
Tank Connections, LLC (Parsons)
Established in 2003 to meet the growing and shifting needs of the world’s economy, the Tank Connection (TC) Affiliate Group is an integrated family of companies specializing in liquid and dry bulk storage applications worldwide. Unlike tank suppliers that offer a single choice in tank construction, the company is the only global tank manufacturer that designs, fabricates and installs bolted rolled tapered panel (RTP), field-weld, shop-weld and hybrid steel storage tanks. This one-stop philosophy guarantees that customers with a storage problem are provided the best solution based on their needs. Tank Connections’ philosophy, commitment to quality and recognized expertise in tank fabrications has positioned it to be recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of steel storage tanks. In 2011, the company’s 240 employees set a new sales record by introducing products to more than 50 countries.