The Journal Record
by D. Ray Tuttle
Published: April 14th, 2010
Members of the audience listen to speakers at the Oklahoma World Trade Conference in Tulsa Wednesday. (Rip Stell)
TULSA – About three years ago, executives at Wilco Machine & Fab Inc. realized if they were going to take the company to the next level, they had to create overseas markets.
“It was an elementary decision,” said Anthony Chandler, vice president of administration. “Because in the energy world, as far as oil and gas goes, the majority of the opportunities were not in the U.S., they are outside the U.S.”
So Wilco began to lay the foundation for an aggressive export growth strategy in midyear 2007.
The opportunity simply was not there in the domestic market by itself, Chandler said.
“We recognized that domestic growth opportunities were limited,” Chandler said. “If we wanted to go after more market share, and really expand the company, we have to do that in the international markets.”
Today the company serves as an example of the global business-savvy qualities that all Oklahoma businesses should embrace in order to prosper in today’s new economy, said Charles D. Mills, chairman of the Oklahoma District Export Council.
Mills presented the Marlow-based company with the 2010 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting on Wednesday at the 27th Oklahoma World Trade Conference at the Hilton Tulsa Southern Hills.
“Our future economic success lies in delivering cutting-edge innovation, value-added business solutions, world-class professional services and technological advancement to the global marketplace,” Mills said. “Through its international business achievement, Wilco represents all of these qualities.”
Wilco, located in Stephens County north of Duncan on U.S. Highway 81, is a $55 million company that employs 200.
Chandler summarized the success story by saying, “success came from our leadership making a commitment to aggressively focus on export growth, effectively utilizing every available resource, successfully launching an aggressive global marketing campaign and implementing a ‘real time’ export strategy.”
The company looked at its equipment portfolio in relation to potential demand in international markets and realized it had to expand the portfolio of equipment offered to meet specifications and functional needs required in many international markets, Chandler said. At the same time, the company began researching the international oil, gas and geothermal energy markets.
Wilco started hiring additional knowledge-based engineering staff and grew the equipment and product lines required to be an international equipment supplier to the worldwide oil, gas and geothermal energy services markets.
Today, Wilco continues growing its engineering staff in order to focus on the design, release and support of new equipment and products for Wilco’s expanding global customer base.
Local companies honored
Mills also presented seven local companies with the U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Achievement Certificates. The certificate program showcases the role that exporting plays in the national economy, highlights the contributions made by exporters to their local communities and recognizes new and existing exporters.
The companies honored are: DCA Inc., NanoBioMagnetics Inc., Oasis Supply & Trade LLC, Digital Designs Inc., Unitherm Food Systems Inc., Vacuworx International and Wilco.
About 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S., Mills said.
“The economic security of our nation is increasingly dependent on exporting. In many respects, our domestic market is a mature market for our goods and services. If we are to continue to grow as an economy, we must look outward, to new markets where consumers seek the best products and services in the world – those made in the United States,” he said.