The Unexpected: Small Town USA Producing So Many Global Companies

I spoke to the global sales team for the Bradbury Group yesterday in Wichita, KS. The Bradbury Group, headquartered in Moundridge, KS, a town of fewer than 2,000 people, is a company many would assume would have a sales force encompassing its home state, Oklahoma and maybe Nebraska. The reality is far different, as the meeting included people from Italy, China, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Russia.

This company is an example of a growingly large number of companies in small towns that operate all over the world. Bradbury produces machines used in almost every sector one can think of: automotive, agriculture, energy, etc.

But how does a company in a tiny Kansas town develop a global footprint? It comes from growth and acquisition and partnering strategies, among all the usual techniques also employed by big name companies in metropolitan cities. It is fascinating that thousands of such companies exist all over the U.S. landscape. Just in that small region of south central Kansas, there are companies like Hesston, a major agriculture equipment maker. Not far away in Newton, KS, there are 26 fabrication and custom manufacturers. The point is that the heart of the U.S. manufacturing community exists not only in the nation’s largest cities, but also in its small towns.

- Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM economist and co-founder of Armada Corporate Intelligence

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