Wisconsin companies recognized for success in exporting

Three Wisconsin companies were recently presented with the 2018 Governor’s Export Achievement Award, recognizing their successful efforts to reach new markets.

The awards were presented by Gov. Scott Walker at the 54th Annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference in Milwaukee. Nominees were judged on measurable export growth, contribution to the state’s economy and innovation.

“Wisconsin exports increased by 6.1 percent in 2017 and are off to a strong start again this year due in large part to the efforts of companies like these, which have developed strategies for reaching new international markets,” Walker said.

The awarded companies are: Gehl Foods of Germantown, Carnivore Meat Co. of Green Bay and Optimum Vehicle Logistics of Milwaukee.

Gehl Foods is a 100-year-old manufacturer that produces dairy products for export to 19 countries and the European Union. Its business units handle contract manufacturing, retail brands, convenience stores, food services and more.

According to a release from Walker’s office, the company’s two fastest growing categories are cheese sauce and nutritional drinks, and Gehl has seen a 55 percent increase in international sales since 2015.

Carnivore Meat Co. was founded in 2012, and produces pet food in the raw food category. After beginning exporting in 2015, the company’s had a 54 percent increase in international sales between 2016 and 2017. Company leaders expect that to increase by more than 600 percent this year alone.

“We’ve been extremely blessed to have experienced such tremendous growth both domestically and internationally,” said Lanny Viegut, CEO and owner of Carnivore Meat Company. “We exceeded expectations last year and are making significant investments across the entire organization in anticipation of a 50 percent increase in our workforce, just to keep up to demand.”

Optimum Vehicle Logistics distributes parts for military vehicles, with customers in 37 countries on six continents. OVL was founded in 2007, and 98 percent of the company’s sales come from exports, according to the release. Also, revenues hit a record high in 2017.

OVL is an independent distributor which provides spare parts for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, commonly known as Humvees. It’s an authorized distributor for Oshkosh Defense, JLG, Navistar, and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada.

–By Alex Moe