Enercon Receives Export Award

by John M. Kolmer

NAFTA Trade Specialist

Spring 2003


Last November, Enercon Engineering, Inc., of East Peoria received the 2002 Governor's Export Award. Incorporated in 1975, Enercon has grown from a small five employee firm to become an internationally recognized leader in custom designed switchgear for low and medium voltage applications with over 197 employees operating in five locations around the world.

Custom Power in the Most Demanding Applications
Enercon converts their customers' generator sets into custom power generation systems. The company's US manufactured equipment is commonly used to control generators in any application where constant availability of electricity is critical. The company's flexible manufacturing process, product quality, and skill in custom fabrication allows them to work in partnership with their customers to develop and produce power generation packages suited to the most demanding product requirements.

Sales Success
The company has enjoyed considerable sales success with steady increases in domestic and international sales. Since its founding in 1975, Enercon has added both staff and space to their East Peoria facility, including major expansions in 1980 and 1998. The company currently employs 161 people in its 160,000 square foot facility.

In spite of a volatile world economy, during the last 10 years the company has consistently averaged over 40% international sales each year with several years showing sales increases in excess of 20%.

International Success
Enercon has been a consistently strong exporter, beginning twenty-eight years ago with exports to the Middle East. Enercon's continuing focus on international trade has allowed the company to build on initial successes and create new opportunities for their products in the Pacific Rim and North African markets. The company's recent opening of Southeast Asia and Latin American offices allow their field service engineers to provide rapid after-sales service anywhere in the world.

According to Enercon President Ed Tangel, “being successful in the export market involves knowing your customers, meeting their needs, understanding local customs and cultures as well as being patient and listening to their specific requirements. The primary focus should be to always do the right thing for the right reasons.”

Working with Partners
Enercon understands the value of using external partners to build their business. In 2002, the Turner Center's NAFTA Opportunity Center recruited Enercon for participation in the Illinois Trade Office's Target Canada program.

Target Canada is a partnership of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Bradley University and provides assistance to small- and medium-sized Illinois firms in improving the distribution of their products in Canada. After careful market research from the NAFTA Opportunity Center, and after the Illinois Trade Office in Canada determined the best candidates for distribution partners, Enercon was provided with profiles of eleven Canadian firms.

Mike Martin, Regional Mechanical Sales representative for Enercon, then traveled to Toronto and Calgary to interview each of these distributor candidates. These meetings were very successful, indicating a strong Canadian demand for Enercon switchgear. The company is now in the process of selecting a distributor to widen their market penetration in Canada.

Enercon's outstanding product, customer service, and commitment to strong international growth, makes them a very worthy recipient of the 2002 Governor's Export Award. Congratulations!