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NDTO News Article

Summers Mfg. named North Dakota’s 2008 Exporter of the Year

Fargo, N.D. – Summers Manufacturing Company Inc., of Devils Lake and Maddock, N.D. received the North Dakota Exporter of the Year award May 21 for significant expansion in the global marketplace and international business leadership.

“The state’s 2008 exporter of the year took giant steps in the international marketplace despite significant challenges,” North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Susan Geib said. “Summers Manufacturing, established in a blacksmith shop more than 40 years ago, is an inspiration as it represents North Dakota’s success and potential for continued growth in markets throughout the world.”

Israel Hernandez, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Gov. John Hoeven presented the exporter award to Summers President Deb Anderson; Brian Perkuhn, vice president of sales; Angela Summers, vice president of operations and Carter Summers, retired CEO and a member of the company’s board of directors. About 500 people attended the award luncheon in Fargo.

Summers Manufacturing is an industry leader in the production of cultivators, sprayers, harrows and other agricultural equipment.  Summers’ worldwide reputation for building innovative and high-quality farm equipment is represented in the company’s slogan, “Field Tested Tough.” Last year, Summers Manufacturing and its dealers sold equipment throughout the United States while increasing the company’s export sales by 50 percent. The company expanded into a new export market, Russia, while also supplying equipment in Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia.

Company officials at Summers Manufacturing are active in the North Dakota Trade Office and also work with the U.S. Commercial Service to identify and succeed in foreign markets. Summers Manufacturing has participated in trade missions and U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key services to grow its international business.  Company officials have enrolled in the 10-month International Business Management Training Program provided by the Trade Office and North Dakota State University, they are active in the Big Iron International Visitors Program and participate in the statewide Trade Talk education series.

Summers Manufacturing has demonstrated a commitment to the state and its local communities.  In 2007, the Summers family sold the equipment company to their employees through an employee stock ownership plan. The Summers rejected private purchase offers to ensure the business would continue operating in Devils Lake and Maddock.

Summers Manufacturing has diversified its customer base through international sales and has shown ingenuity in overcoming labor capacity issues and rising costs for steel and other inputs. Company officials work with North Dakota State College of Science to provide welding training at the company plants and regularly incorporate strategies to improve efficiencies in the manufacturing process.

The agriculture equipment company has grown steadily since Harley Summers began building hydraulic hoists in his blacksmith shop in 1965.  Since then, Summers has expanded to include two manufacturing plants in Devils Lake and Maddock with more than 160,000 square feet of production and warehouse space.  The company’s 135 employees include engineers involved in research and development, service technicians, sales executives, welders, assembly workers, parts and inventory handlers, truck drivers and administrative personnel.

[Photo Caption: Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce Israel Hernandez; International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Heather Ranck; Vice President of Operations, Summers Mfg., Angela Summers; Governor John Hoeven; President, Summers Mfg., Deb Anderson; Vice President of Sales, Summers Mfg., Brian Perkuhn; Midwest Director, U.S. Commercial Service, Mary Joyce; Executive Director, North Dakota Trade Office, Susan Geib]