OKGIT members and partners from across Oklahoma’s manufacturing and commercial sectors filled the room at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business in mid-April for the Oklahoma World Trade Conference. Congratulations to those in attendance and those who were honored for the work in furthering Oklahoma’s trade ties.
Oklahoma firms continue to show why they can compete with firms closer to the coasts through a spirit of innovation and determination to grow their businesses overseas. Several Oklahoma firms were recognized for their exporting achievements during last month’s Oklahoma World Trade Conference, while Tulsa-based Sawyer Manufacturing Co. recently received an honor from the U.S. Small Business Administration, as it was named the national Exporter of the Year.
Sawyer Manufacturing Co. specializes in designing and producing pipeline infrastructure construction equipment, and according to company spokesman Drew Martins, prides itself in taking on projects of all kind to meet the needs of customers around the globe.
“We actively try to partner with other manufacturers when there’s an unmet need,” Martins told the Journal Record’s Brian Brus. “One of the things I see in other big and small companies is that if a product isn’t in their catalog, they pretty much refuse to do it. We approach it differently, because with enough time and resources, we’ll do anything.”
According to a release from the SBA, the firm was founded by Red Sawyer and AB Jensen in 1948, and has since grown to a 40-person staff exporting to more than 50 countries. In 2013 it was named as one of Tulsa’s “Fast 40” of the metro area’s fastest growing companies.
Though primarily focused on the oil and gas sector, the firm’s emphasis on diversifying its customer base allows it to succeed in a state where energy-related work has fallen off.
Vice-President Dave Hembree told the Tulsa World‘s Casey Smith that Sawyer’s readiness to take on unique projects that involve a smaller or customized line of products has the Tulsa firm branching out to customers in the restaurant, fitness, and water utility fields.
“The more diversified we can get, the better,” he said.
Representatives from Sawyer Manufacturing will visit Washington D.C. and the White House during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week from May 4-8.
Sawyer’s success, as well as other Oklahoma exporting firms like it, show that despite Oklahoma’s landlocked location, good business practices and better products will continue to have an appeal to customers around the globe.