Brandt Holdings, an agricultural and heavy equipment dealership headquartered in Fargo was named North Dakota’s 2017 Exporter of the Year on Wednesday for their achievements in international expansion and their support to the state’s export community. NDSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, a department that champions training and education to prepare students for careers in global trade, received the 2017 Service to Exporters award for their support and commitment to the next generation of North Dakota agribusiness professionals and exporters.
North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson presented the awards during a ceremony at the Global Business Connections Conference, an event hosted by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) that seeks to educate, connect and inspire exporters while adding value to their international business.
Approximately 150 people took part in the 2018 Global Business Connections (GBC) Conference, which was held April 4 and 5 at the Delta Hotel in Fargo. The event consisted of educational breakout sessions, panel discussions with leading business professionals, keynote addresses and a networking reception. This year’s opening keynote was delivered by Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist and author of “The Accidental Superpower” and “The Absent Superpower” who first spoke at the GBC Conference in 2016. Governor Doug Burgum spoke at the closing keynote on April 5 regarding the importance of trade to North Dakota.
Conference participants and NDTO members were also introduced to Simon Wilson, the newest member of the NDTO team. Simon brings a wealth of experience with him to the executive director role. Previously he’s held senior management positions with Titan Machinery and Case New Holland Industrial. His track record of success in strategic operations, assuming challenges and evolving organizations makes him an exciting addition to the team.
“The GBC Conference brings together North Dakota’s international trade community and recognizes two hard-working organizations that bring additional opportunities for jobs and income to North Dakotans,” said Wilson. “The awards to Brandt Holdings and NDSU’s Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department are a small way to honor their accomplishments and thank them for solidifying North Dakota’s reputation for quality products and people around the world.”
The Exporter of the Year award is presented to one North Dakota business each year. To win the award, the business must have expanded to a new international market, increased its export sales during the past year, and supported the larger, statewide effort to expand North Dakota’s global reach.
Brandt Holdings was founded in 1992 when its owner, Ace Brandt, began diversifying the family business. Their first John Deere store was purchased in 1993, with additional agricultural and industrial equipment stores steadily opening over the years in the Midwest and New England. The agricultural division took on exporting in 2006 to match the company’s extensive inventory of used machinery with the growing global demand for economically priced equipment. They found success by establishing long term relationships, and adjusting to the culture and evolving needs of international customers. Brandt Holdings places a great deal of trust in their team members and believes that level of trust and confidence is reflected during interactions with customers. Their approach has allowed them to expand into 24 countries over the past decade.
The Service to Exporters award is given to an international business resource that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to supporting North Dakota exporters and increasing the state’s overall international business strategy.
The Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University has been a longtime advocate of the Export Management class, a graduate level course that trains students on international culture, marketing, logistics, contracts and negotiations. The NDTO facilitates the Export Management class in partnership with the faculty of the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. The class has given hundreds of university students and company representatives the practical knowledge and tools to begin or increase a company’s international presence. The Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics also performs and shares research, attends trade missions to educate potential buyers and bring international talent to North Dakota, and refers their enterprising graduate students to NDTO’s Export Assistant program, where they will gain valuable experience while partnering with area export companies.
The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership so that NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.