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Global Growth Continues for GT Mfg, Inc.

After serving our country in Vietnam, Dennis Pedersen returned home to Kansas and started working for Gilmore and Tatge Manufacturing, Inc. (predecessor to GT Mfg. Inc.) as a press brake machine operator in 1971.

Now, 42 years later, he is the President and CEO of GT Mfg., Inc., a Kansas company with global reach. “We are known as the worldwide leader in manufacturing batch grain dryers”, said Pedersen.

The accumulated knowledge that Pedersen gained while working in the fabrication, assembly, inventory control, shipping, purchasing and sales departments, helped him excel in both sales and management while steering the company through change of ownership and reorganization.

In the first four years of Dennis Pedersen’s leadership as President, GT Mfg., Inc. grew its sales by 86% and expanded its exports to from 43 to 73 countries. From Afghanistan to Vietnam, the company has expanded its reach to 6 continents.

When the company needed more production space, it worked with the local government in 2011 to approve the demolition of an antiquated five-story brick building on its property  that was used by the company decades earlier. In 2012, a new production facility was built to maximize the usable space on the property.

Before the new facility was built, Pedersen reached out to the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) to help him plan for the increased production capacity, and finding new markets overseas for GT Mfg products. He worked with Linda Sutton and Ross Jordan at the KSBDC to connect him with the resources needed to expand their exports.  

Pedersen’s sales philosophy is “to prepare for what our customers are capable of doing, and not what we think they will do.” The KSBDC helped him refine his business plan to maximize his outreach efforts overseas, and develop a marketing strategy.

Dennis credits the success of the company on the character and hard work of its employees. “Our employees are the reason why the company has continued to grow. They are the most important asset this company has”, said Pedersen. The company had 17 employees in 2005 when Pedersen took over managing the company. Thanks to growing demand, and greater production capacity, the company now employs 42 workers.

When asked to give advice to other business executives, Pedersen mentioned two things: the importance of reaching-out to resources like the KSBDC when planning for the future, and investing in a good team of employees.