Ronnie Leonard, Balco CEO.
Wichita’s Balco, Inc., has been recognized for four consecutive years of increased exports, receiving the President’s “E” award for Exports. Balco is a manufacturer of high performance construction products.
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker , presented the award at a ceremony in Washington D.C. on Monday, May 16. The only company in the state of Kansas to receive an “E” Award, Balco was among approximately 100 companies nationwide that met the threshold for export growth over the four-year period.
“Balco has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion,” Secretary Pritzker said in her congratulatory letter. “The “E” Awards committee was very impressed with Balco’s customization of its product line to fit the needs of customers in export markets. The company’s creativity in overcoming trade barriers was also particularly notable. Balco’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the US economy and create American jobs.”
Mayor Jeff Longwell recognizes Balco’s success as a reflection of the south-central region of Kansas and the state as a whole, saying “Export growth is a key to our long term economic health.” Longwell also stated that “Companies such as Balco recognize the importance of the international marketplace. Their success is an essential ingredient in the economic development strategy embraced by the Greater Wichita Partnership.”
Balco, Inc., has been a major player in the development of the South Central Kansas Regional Export Plan, sharing its success story to inspire other companies to follow the same path, according to Kansas Global Trade Services CEO and President, Karyn Page.
“Balco provides a real life example of how exports protect jobs and spur economic growth,” Page said. “Importantly, the company is committed to sharing its success story to encourage others down the same path.”
According to Balco’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Cooper, the companie’s increased exports wers the result of a 2011 decision which was aimed at protecting its workforce from the economic downturn.
“When times were tough, we doubled down on a plan to grow rather than to scale back like many other companies,” Cooper said. “We doubled our domestic market share and tripled our export business because we kept our staff intact. We grew from shipping to a handful of countries before 2011 to an existing count of 49 countries.”
Dallas-based Balco is an industry leader in the development of high performance construction products such as expansion joint covers and fire barriers, entrance mats and egress path systems. Its products are designed to protect structures, occupants and First Responders during earthquakes, fires, storms or other similar threats.