A Good Time for Arizona-based Firms to Sell Overseas

This article by Doug Bruhnke of Growth Nation (www.growthnation.com) was published in the July 4th Phoenix Business Journal www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/.

That small company you’re driving past in Phoenix might have as many admirers on the other side of the world as they do in their own home town.  That’s because their product or service is special, is in high demand with global customers and they’ve found ways to connect and sell to the global marketplace. 


Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies® (PADT) – www.padtinc.com – is a Tempe-based engineering and new product commercialization firm that works with clients all over the world to bring new technologies to market – including high-efficiency automotive fuel cells for hydrogen cars.


By now you’ve heard about the new cars that emit only water from the tailpipe.  PADT has been working with Japanese, Korean and American car makers to bring the hydrogen car to market.  With gasoline prices skyrocketing, the economics are looking better and better every day.


“We’re proud of the engineering support we’ve accomplished with global clients in the area of alternative energy,” says Mark Johnson, Principal at PADT.  “We’re not allowed to talk about most of the work, but we can discuss some projects at Hyundai®.  They’ve come a long way and most recently they’ve developed a third generation, award-winning vehicle.”


Hyundai began working with PADT in 2004 on engineering designs for the Hyundai Tucson hydrogen SUV.  The Arizona connection with Hyundai goes well beyond the name of the vehicle.  Blower technology by PADT has been a key contributor to the overall program.


“We help emerging and established companies commercialize products that have challenging design requirements,” continued Mark Johnson.  “We work with them to conceive, innovate, design and even manufacture whatever is needed.  PADT goes the extra mile, and that’s particularly significant when the miles are between Tempe and Seoul, and the technology is as challenging as fuel cells.”


Delivering great engineering for energy, semiconductor and medical device (www.padtmedical.com) developments continues to bring opportunities to PADT, and they’re happy to help put our state on the map.  That’s a formula for success in Arizona or anywhere in the world.


As the US dollar has weakened, it has become an increasingly excellent time for Arizona-based firms to sell overseas.  Other local companies are successfully selling beyond their relative small size and subsequently pumping international dollars into our local economy.


Advanced Motion Measurement™ (AMM) – www.amm-3d.com – of Phoenix was founded by Olympic gymnast Phil Cheatham and his brother Stephen Cheatham to be the definitive science for understanding and improving human motion.  Thanks to years of tireless development, trainers can now use technology developed by Phil and Stephen to turn good athletic performances into great ones.


The AMM technology was recently chosen by Titleist® in the development of their Titleist Performance Institute™, which focuses on improving peoples’ golf swing.  The resulting product, TPI-3D®, has been an international hit with golfers and trainers.


“Sports medicine specialists and trainers working with golfers seek to improve physical performance,” says Donavon Ostrum, Chief Executive Officer of AMM.  “The AMM technology is the best at understanding and measuring motion, and so we’ve received interest from around the world.  Everyone wants to improve their swing and physical performance using this latest technology born in Arizona.”


AMM targets sports medicine professionals who demand to be the best at understanding human motion.  They use science to improve physical performance and to prevent injury.


“We offer the best science-based software and hardware to measure, analyze and deliver the information our customers need to excel in their profession,” says Ostrum.  “By the way, it also works for fitness and other sports besides golf, too.”


Lee Knowlton, President of International for Scottsdale-based Kahala Corp is another experienced internationalist and one of the top global executives in the Valley.  The companies he supports within Kahala Corp are for the most part no longer small, but he finds that the success formula is the still the same.  One of his brands, Coldstone Creamery® has grown to over $1 billion in revenue.


“The key is making people happy,” says Knowlton.  “Our concept of what we do for a living goes far beyond selling ice cream.” 


It is through passion, excellence and innovation that Arizona companies can be successful in the global marketplace.  Coldstone Creamery has set the bar high in ice cream, and Arizona business owners can grow globally through these principles, too.




Smaller companies in Arizona can be big players on the global stage.  Here are some suggestions for companies looking to grow globally.


  1. Develop a unique product, technology or service. Like PADT and AMM, be the best in the world for a specific capability in high demand, and customers will find you.  They each have found a way to be indispensible to their clients.  Coldstone Creamery also chose a niche and took a fresh, passionate approach that appeals to people worldwide.


  1. Use resources that you trust. For example, Greater Phoenix SCORE®, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, has highly-experienced volunteer consultants that work with Arizona businesses on growth including international expansion.  Succeed Corporation®, one of the Valley’s top few fastest growing global firms, is so impressed with their people that they’ve become a founding member of the SCORE Advisory Board in order to spread the word about them to entrepreneurs and small businesses.  That’s mutual trust, and a great resource to grow Arizona businesses.


  1. Take action. Don’t let the down economy take away your opportunity to grow.  Donald and Susan Sutherland opened their first Coldstone Creamery in Tempe exactly 20 years ago just before a stretch of hard economic times.  By the end of 2008, Coldstone Creamery will have over 130 international stores and by the end of 2009 they plan to have 260.  Act today and stick with it.  Global growth can be in your future.



By Doug Bruhnke, CEO/Founder of Growth Nation and President/Founder of the Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) – www.azigg.com





About Growth Nation

Growth Nation helps mid-sized and emerging firms reach their growth potential by developing and implementing successful marketing strategies and plans. We: • Listen • Build your brand • Increase good sales leads • Accelerate lead conversion • Grow your business with marketing that's 'just right' Our growth solutions have created over US$1 billion of new revenue and $500 million of new earnings in these industry segments: • Internet and Information Technology • Hardware and Software • Healthcare, Biotechnology and Life Sciences • Alternative Energy • Manufacturing and Engineering • Chemicals and Materials • Industrial and Automotive • Franchising • Professional Services • B2B, B2C and B2B2C
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