Superwinch receives Export Achievement Award
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Dayville - posted Mon., Aug. 12, 2013
U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney (D-2) and District Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Ann Evans presented an Export Achievement Award to Superwinch, in Dayville, on Aug. 6. The award recognized the recent global achievements for the 40-employee company that designs, manufactures and ships winches, winch accessories and power trains. Between the Dayville operation and a subsidiary in the U.K., Superwinch exports to 30 countries around the world. Exports currently account for more than one-third of the Dayville company's sales. They are the official winch of Toyota of Australia.
“We have a pretty impressive global footprint for a company our size in terms of where we sell,” said Industrial Sales Manager David VanVoorhis. “We get to a lot of places in the world.” And they have partnered with companies known worldwide.
The Dayville plant makes winches for on- and off-road vehicles, trailers, ATVs, snowmobiles, utility and industrial vehicles. They make wiring kits, winch equipment and mount kits for all types of applications. They even sell hats and shirts. All the winches used by Toyota of Australia come from Dayville.
“With 95 percent of the population living outside the U.S., businesses with high value products need to export to grow,” Courtney said. “I believe Connecticut businesses can succeed if we help them make connections.”
Evans and Superwinch have been working for years to do just that. The Commerce Department helps companies with trade promotions, overseas bids and trade missions. “We help with certifications, market analysis, U.S. licensing, anything that will help them grow their businesses,” Evans said. “We help with export finance and export credit insurance. We are the 211, 411, and 911 of exports.”
For a company building value-added products and already exporting, the Commerce Department provides specialized help. “When you're a global supplier, you have to have all the ISO standards. You have to get it right,” said Evans.
Superwinch has been ISO 14,000 certified for four years. They recently met with Canadian oil companies to discuss designs for winches that could be used in new oilfields. They've also been in talks with Oshkosh Defense for winches designed for military vehicle recovery systems.
Evans and Courtney listened as VanVoorhis explained how a Superwinch product designed to pull 50,000 pounds could one day be used in Iraq and Afghanistan. VanVoorhis stopped in front of a huge army-green winch that was capable of pulling a heavy MRAP. There are several different versions of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles on the ground in the Middle East.
They present unique challenges to the military. Their shape and steel fortification have saved the lives of soldiers in a war known for its improvised explosive devices. But their size and weight have opened the door to discussions of cutting them up for scrap metal once the war winds down. In some cases, air support has been called in to destroy those vehicles that weren't recoverable rather than risk having enemy soldiers claim them.
If Superwinch can convince Oshkosh Defense to purchase the winches for their heavy duty recovery vehicles, it could mean a change in strategy for the U.S. And it would be one big feather in the cap of the small Dayville business.
Courtney and Evans took a tour of the building to see work in progress. They saw the developmental test lab, dye casting, quality control and shipping areas. Troy Casto was labeling boxes of the LT3000 ATV winch for shipment. “I'm proud to make something that helps people out,” he said. “It's a big deal.”
Courtney agreed. “They are doing tool and die. They're shaping almost every bit of product that is going out the door. The engineers are doing the design. For a company of 36 people to have every stage of the process [taking place] all under one roof is really impressive,” said Courtney. “The potential here is all good in terms of where this company can go.”
“They're growing, and that means jobs. Good jobs,” said Evans.