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NDTO News Article

Two N.D. companies win national export awards

Roll-a-Ramp of West Fargo, N.D., and Jamestown-based DuraTech Industries International, Inc. received national awards March 23 for significant export expansions in the global marketplace.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Small Business Administration, presented two national Exporter of the Year awards during the final day of Global Business Connections, a two-day international business conference held at the Ramada Plaza Suites.

“These two companies are a great example to all industry and a principal part of a larger effort in North Dakota to grow our economy and improve our quality of life,” said Susan Geib, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office.

Roll-a-Ramp is one of only 15 U.S. businesses to receive an Exporter of the Year award from ThinkGlobal-Commercial News USA, the official export promotion magazine of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The West Fargo company, a manufacturer and distributor of portable ramps, won the award in the consumer goods category.

DuraTech Industries was named the SBA’s state Exporter of the Year because the manufacturing company has expanded its export sales into eight new countries and has increased its existing export sales in four others, said Michael Gallagher, the SBA’s Fargo-based district director.

DuraTech employs 130 people at its Jamestown plant. The company manufactures and markets a diverse line of agricultural and industrial equipment including Haybuster agricultural equipment and industrial wood waste grinders.

Since beginning its international expansion efforts in 2005, DuraTech has increased its export sales by 42 percent, Gallagher said.

Roll-a-Ramp received its U.S. Department of Commerce award based on its total number of export deals in 2005, the total percentage increase in sales, exports as a percentage of total sales, the company’s innovation and originality in marketing and other factors, said
Colleen Litkenhaus, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.

Founded in 2001, Roll-a-Ramp began exporting the following year. In 2005, Roll-a-Ramp recorded export sales valued at $750,000, 33 percent increase from 2004. Roll-a-Ramp sells its ramp systems in 26 foreign countries. Exports now represent 45 percent of the company’s total sales.

“Exporting was a big step and important step for Roll-A-Ramp,” said Roll-A-Ramp President and CEO Tom Kenville. “Because we are a smaller company, it allowed us to both open up the world to accessibility, as well as to add to revenue growth.”

During Friday’s keynote address, Microsoft Corporation Senior Vice President Doug Burgum shared his experiences about building a successful global business on the plains.

About 400 people, including exporters from across the state and international trade experts from around the world, attended the two-day conference. The event was sponsored by the North Dakota Trade Office and its network of international business partners.

“Early feedback from our exporters indicates that the conference initiated some terrific connections we fully expect to further international business,” Geib said.

“Our goal was to recognize some successful exporters who lead by example and to provide valuable international resources,” she said. “Now we’ll continue working to build on our progress.”

Colleen Litkenhaus, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service presented the Commerce Department’s Exporter of the Year award to Roll-a-Ramp President Tom Kenville. Fargo-based SBA deputy district director Michael Gallagher presented the SBA exporter award to DuraTech President Jay Grotrian.

The Trade Office and state exporters also recognized U.S. Commercial Service Trade Specialist Heather Ranck for helping expand North Dakota’s export sales. Since March 2005, Heather’s work on behalf of North Dakota companies has directly led to 40 export deals worth $3.3 million.