Manufacturing resources

Katy Sinnott of WEDC moderates a panel with (from L to R) Federico Noltenius of Whitehall Specialties, Gautam Malik of Gamber-Johnson and John Benzinger of PIC Wire & Cable in Milwaukee on May 8.

Three Wisconsin companies—Gamber-Johnson, PIC Wire & Cable, and Whitehall Specialties Inc.—have been named the recipients of the 2019 Governor’s Export Achievement Awards.

Wisely crafted export strategies are leading to growth for many Wisconsin companies. Each year, the Governor’s Export Achievement Awards recognize  three companies that excel in this regard, highlighting their practices as a model for other Wisconsin companies to follow.

“With their innovative and proactive exporting efforts, Gamber-Johnson, PIC Wire & Cable and Whitehall Specialties are setting an example for more Wisconsin companies to follow in their footsteps,” says Katy Sinnott, vice president of international business development for WEDC, which administers the awards. “Exporting provides Wisconsin businesses of all industries and all sizes with tremendous opportunities outside U.S. borders, and the Governor’s Export Achievement Awards promote exporting by celebrating the positive results Wisconsin companies have achieved in international markets.”

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

Gamber-Johnson of Stevens Point, established in 1954 as a manufacturer of stereo cabinets, is a leading manufacturer of docking stations and mounting solutions for the public safety, law enforcement, military, telecommunications and transportation markets. The company has set the standard for rugged docking and mounting solutions in today’s mobile environment.

Until 2011, Gamber-Johnson’s sales were limited almost entirely to the U.S. and Canada. Through participation in Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity’s ExporTech™ Program, the company was able to develop a strategic approach to exporting, identifying the most promising markets and crafting a plan for success in those markets before attempting to enter others. In 2018, the company exported products to 45 countries. In a five-year period, Gamber-Johnson’s exports as a percentage of total sales rose by double digits. The company has created several new positions due to business growth driven by exports, and it expects to continue its strong growth in the years ahead.

PIC Wire & Cable of Sussex is a division of The Angelus Corporation, a leading provider of aerospace and defense industry solutions. Founded in 1971, PIC is a global provider of specialty electronic cables, cable connectors and cable assemblies for demanding military, corporate and commercial aerospace applications that include airplanes, helicopters, drones and ground vehicles.

In the past several years, PIC has set a more deliberate focus on growing sales in markets outside of North America. In 2012-2013, they participated in ExporTech™, which helped the company craft a more strategic approach to international markets. Today, PIC has six established distributor representatives covering Israel, India, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and South Korea.

Whitehall Specialties of Whitehall, established in 1994, is one of the world’s leading producers of high-quality, high-value cheese products; natural and imitation cheese blends; cheese substitutes and analog cheese. Its numerous cheese product configurations are offered in over 200 base recipes to customers in over 25 countries across the globe. Whitehall Specialties has been exporting products for the past 15 years.

The company’s exports grew 32% between 2015 and 2018, with the largest year-over-year growth of 15% in 2018. International sales now account for 10% of the company’s total sales, and in 2018 they shipped to more than 25 countries.

This year’s award winners were recognized at the Wisconsin International Trade Conference on May 8 in Milwaukee. Each company received a trophy and a custom-made video about its exporting efforts.

INsource newsletter
May 2019