Exports Help Power Economy, Manufacturing

By November 19, 2007Trade

A manufacturer who has witnessed firsthand the critical role of exports in keeping his company — and the entire economy — moving ahead, Dyke Messinger, tells his story in today’s International Herald-Tribune, a solid piece, “For U.S. firms, foreign sales cushion domestic slowdown.”

SALISBURY, North Carolina: If the fortunes of the Power Curbers company were tied solely to business in the United States, these would be grim days at its factory on the fringes of this Piedmont town. The company makes machines that turn concrete into curbs, and with the American construction industry in distress, domestic sales are expected to drop at least 10 percent this year.

But fortunately for Power Curbers, and indeed for the national economy, the company has transcended geography. Aided by the falling dollar, which makes American goods cheaper on world markets, Power Curbers, like thousands of other firms in the United States, is tapping rapid growth abroad to compensate for sluggish sales at home.

“It just overlapped as if you’d scripted it,” said the company’s president and chief executive, Dyke Messinger, the third generation to head the company launched by his grandfather in 1953. “Without that foreign business, these would be some tough days. We’d have had some layoffs for sure.”

The reporter, the New York Times’ Peter S. Goodman, gives fair-minded attention to potential difficulties, such as uncertainty in China’s growth, energy prices and the domestic housing downturn, but the underlying facts speak for themselves: Through September, U.S. exports totaled $1.2 trillion, up nearly 12 percent compared to 2006.

PowerCurbers’ website is www.powercurbers.com, and we’re proud to have Dyke Messinger serve as an NAM board member, where he is a forceful advocate for small- and medium-sized manufacturers.

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