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2023 Governor’s Export Achievement Awards honor exporting success and promotion

October 25, 2023
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Badger Technology Group, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company, S3 AeroDefense and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin recognized

APPLETON, WI. OCT. 25, 2023– Governor Tony Evers announced Badger Technology Group of Port Washington, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company of West Salem, S3 AeroDefense of Glendale, and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison, as the winners of the 2023 Governor’s Export Achievement Awards Tuesday in recognition of their success in growing the exports of Wisconsin goods and services.

The awards were presented by Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), at the Wisconsin Economic Summit in Appleton.

The awards honor businesses and organizations that have achieved significant growth or implemented innovative strategies in exporting. Nominees were evaluated on measurable export growth, innovation to enter or grow international markets, contributions to the state’s overall economy, and trade development.

“Exporting is one of the keys to building a strong, diversified economy here in Wisconsin,” Hughes said. “The award recipients are not only successfully building their businesses but they are helping to build Wisconsin’s reputation for quality and expertise.”

2023 Governor’s Export Achievement Award Winners:

Badger Technology Group, Inc. – Founded in 2016, Badger Technology Group was initially formed to provide international consulting services to major U.S. companies within the aerospace sector. The company transitioned to integration, engineering development, and production and, in 2020, acquired Real Sims, LLC, an aviation simulator manufacturer, which added to the company’s product offerings worldwide. In 2022, the company applied for WEDC’s International Market Access Grant to attend the United Arab Emirates’ International Defense Conference in Abu Dhabi. Over the past three years, the company has grown from 10 employees to 39 thanks to revenue increases of 400% with 86% of total sales derived from international markets including Canada, India, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Spain, Israel, and Thailand. New project proposals have recently been sent to eight additional countries.

“It is a great honor to receive this Governor’s Export Achievement Award and we appreciate the support provided from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation,” said Daniel Wade, president and founder of Badger Technology Group. “Badger Technology has always seen the world as one big market for not only products but also services, and we have been placing as much or more emphasis on international opportunities than on the U.S/ domestic market.  Exports take a lot of work, have many unique challenges, and require relationship building, but we have accomplished that in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and will continue to do so as we pursue new growth opportunities.”

MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company – With 143 employees in Wisconsin, MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company has provided high quality, sustainably sourced, and reliable wood products to both foreign and domestic customers since 1970. The company completed the ExporTech program in 2016 and has since made use of the WEDC’s International Market Access Grant program on multiple occasions to pursue international opportunities. Over the past two years the company has shipped products to 36 countries with export revenue making up 23% of total sales.

“Since our first export order in 2008, we have conducted business in 55 countries,” said Clint West, CEO of MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company. “We are thankful that we get to partner with a wide range of vendors, customers, trucking companies, and freight carriers within the great state of Wisconsin to showcase some of the state’s beautiful natural resources globally.  We are honored and proud to be recognized with the Governor’s Export Achievement Award.  We credit our success to our nimble and talented team as well as the support we’ve received from the WEDC. Funding through WEDC has provided numerous opportunities for us to branch into new markets around the world. I am grateful for all our employees – from production, inventory management, and shipping to sales, export logistics, and beyond – who have used their skills, innovation, and creativity to contribute to the success of our MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company.”

S3 AeroDefense, LLC – Founded in 2005 with a vision to deliver cutting-edge, cost-effective solutions to the military aviation aftermarket sector, the company’s presence extends to more than 55 countries. Realizing growth opportunities existed in international markets, the company completed the ExporTech program in 2016 and used the WEDC’s International Market Access Grant program. From 2018 to 2022, even while COVID negatively affected the global economy, company revenue grew at a rate of 31% with export sales making up 23% of the total.

“We are honored to receive the WEDC Governor’s Export Achievement Award,” said Aksel Sidem, CEO of S3 AeroDefense. “At S3 AeroDefense, we’re committed to not only achieving excellence in aerospace but also supporting the WEDC’s mission to boost Wisconsin’s export economy. This recognition inspires us to continue our dedication to innovation and global collaboration, furthering the economic success of our great state.”

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin – ​Established in 1983, this nonprofit consists of 25 members who represent Wisconsin’s thousands of ​​dairy farmers. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin exists to be a tireless advocate, marketer, and promoter for Wisconsin dairy farmers. In addition to promoting Wisconsin dairy products in the U.S., the organization is also focused on the global marketplace, driving sales in key international markets including Singapore, Thailand, Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Canada, and Mexico.  The organization has undertaken multiple projects in these and other countries including dairy immersion trips consisting of meetings with decisionmakers/buyers, attending foreign tradeshows, creating promotional material, and hosting sampling events to name a few.

“We are privileged to work for Wisconsin’s dedicated dairy farmers and proud to accept this Export Achievement Award on their behalf,” said Chad Vincent, CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. “Building and expanding global markets is crucial for the continued growth and distribution of award-winning Wisconsin cheese and dairy products. We greatly appreciate the recognition from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the support and collaboration from our key export partner, DATCP, in helping achieve greater distribution of Wisconsin dairy products across the globe.”

Many successful exporters and award winners have used programs from WEDC to increase their overseas sales. WEDC offers ExporTech, an export acceleration program developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), and the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC). WEDC also offers trade ventures and missions as well as grants for export initiatives.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection also provides export assistance to Wisconsin companies within the agricultural sector.

For more information on WEDC’s exporting programs and services, visit

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