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Six Minnesota Companies Honored for Export Activity
Minnesota Ag Connection - 05/19/2017

The Minnesota Trade Office awarded the 2016 Governor's International Trade Award to six Minnesota companies that have been successful exporters.

The companies were honored during the World Trade Month luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. They were selected for developing and growing a significant part of their business from exports, for increasing or maintaining jobs in Minnesota to support international sales, and for developing novel approaches for competing globally.

The 2016 winners are Digital Content LLC of Edina, Crown Iron Works Co. of Roseville, DCM Tech Inc. of Winona, Great Plains Processing of Luverne, Ralco Nutrition Inc. of Marshall and Top Tool Co. of Blaine.

Additionally, the Trade Office named five other companies winners of the Governor's Foreign Direct Investment Award, which recognizes significant investment in Minnesota by foreign-based companies.

"These Minnesota companies illustrate how exporting or attracting foreign direct investment can help businesses compete globally," said Commissioner Shawntera Hardy of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). "I congratulate them for their global achievements and thank each of them for being models that can inspire other Minnesota businesses to pursue international trade."

International trade is a key part of the Minnesota economy, with Minnesota companies generating more than $19 billion in sales from exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products last year. Minnesota businesses exported 1,044 different products to 207 countries in 2016. Exports support almost 120,000 jobs in Minnesota.

The 2016 Governor's International Trade Award winners:

- Digital Content LLC, Edina www.bigjohngames.com

Selling under the name Big John Games, the company designs and develops video games. It sells to customers in the United States and 28 other countries via Nintendo and its distributor networks. The company had exports of $2.2 million in 2015, which accounted for 80 percent of its sales.

- Crown Iron Works Co., Roseville www.crowniron.com

Crown Iron started as a Minnesota blacksmith shop in 1878. In 1948 it diversified into food processing by introducing the "solvent extractor" for processing oilseeds such as soybeans. Today, Crown has more than 400 oilseed plants in 50 countries. Half of the world's soybeans are processed with Crown equipment. Crown export sales were $42 million in 2015, representing 57 percent of its total sales.

- DCM Tech Inc., Winona www.dcm-tech.com

Founded in 1974, DCM designs and manufactures machine tools and surface-grinding equipment. DCM's customer base is primarily in North America, but its market has grown to include 19 countries in the past 15 years. Most recent export sales were $1.02 million -- 14 percent of total sales.

- Great Plains Processing, Luverne www.gpp-co.com

Great Plains Processing manufactures and ships animal feed supplements to 42 countries, accounting for 65 percent of its total sales. In the past three years, international shipments have grown 9.2 percent. In the same period, the company's workforce has grown from 12 to 19.

- Ralco Nutrition Inc., Marshall www.ralcoagriculture.com

Ralco is a third-generation family business with distribution in 25 countries. The company provides advanced technologies in animal nutrition, animal health and enhanced plant performance products. In the past three years, the company has added six national markets and expanded exports to more than $7 million (8.8 percent of total sales). Full-time employment has grown from 135 to 188.

- Top Tool Co., Blaine www.toptool.com

Founded 1966, Top Tool is a precision metal-stamping manufacturer. Beginning with its first export sale in 2010, the company has become an active exporter. Over the past three years, Top Tool export sales have risen from $251,000 to $922,000.

The following companies were named winners of the Governor's Foreign Direct Investment Award: Cirrus Aircraft Corp. of Duluth (Zhuhai, Guangdong, China), Global Kinetics Corp. of Minnetonka (Melbourne, Australia), La Costena/Faribault Foods in Faribault (Ecatepec, State of Mexico, Mexico), Moventas in Chanhassen (Jyväskylä, Finland), and Sappi Fine Paper North America in Cloquet (Johannesburg, South Africa). All five businesses are owned by foreign parent companies.

HGA Architects and Engineers of Minneapolis was also recognized, receiving a Governor's Certificate of Commendation for collaborating with the Minnesota Trade Office on many activities. HGA has hosted many diplomatic events over the years, including a gathering with U.S. ambassadors from Asia and an event with more than 70 leaders from Latin America and South America, both in 2015.

DEED's Minnesota Trade Office is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets and attracting foreign direct investment to Minnesota. The Trade Office promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and one-on-one counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell manufactured goods and services in the international marketplace.

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