Tag Archives: balco

    Balco Receives 2016 Innovation Award

    Balco® Floor Mats

    Company recognized for excellence in international business

    Balco has received a 2016 Innovation Award presented by the Wichita Business Journal in recognition of the company’s ability to pivot during the Great Recession in a successful and aggressive move to save jobs by creating new opportunity overseas.

    Balco is a leader in its industry for developing high performance construction products that meet or exceed building code standards with the intent of saving lives, protecting buildings, and providing sustainable building materials that can be recycled or have low energy consumption.

    When U.S. construction dropped more than 50 percent from 2008 to 2011, the company was faced with laying off 30 percent of its workforce. Instead of cutting employment during the strong U.S. contraction, Balco decided to innovate by expanding internationally.

    “This sharp change in business strategy not only saved all of the employees’ jobs at the time,” said Steve Cooper, V.P. of sales and marketing at Balco, “but it also has resulted in the company growing at several times the pace of commercial construction in the past four years.”

    Balco is having its best years in its 57-year history even while U.S. commercial construction is still only about 65 percent of its pre-recession peak.

    “When times were tough, we doubled down on a plan to grow rather than to scale back like our competitors ended up doing,” Cooper said. “We doubled our domestic market share and tripled our export business because we retained expertise by saving our team from the recession. We grew from shipping to a handful of countries before 2011 to 49 countries today.”

    Cooper says the company’s culture of job creation and employee fulfillment drove them to innovate.

    “We found that innovation can come unexpectedly during bad times when you’re backed into a corner and you have to rely upon and re-affirm your core values,” he said.

    In 2014 Balco received several honors including Small Business of the Year by the Wichita Business Journal and Grant Thornton’s International Business Excellence award. The company was also a top 5 finalist for the Kansas Governor’s Exporter of the Year award.

    In 2015 Balco was again a finalist for Exporter of the Year. This year, the company has been nominated once again for Exporter of the Year as well as nominated for the President’s E Award for international business excellence. The E Award is a rigorous achievement requiring IRS and Department of Commerce verified growth for four consecutive years.

    Ronnie Leonard Celebrates 7th Year With Fairy Godmothers

    Ronnie Leonard

    — “Women Helping Women” —

    Balco CEO, Ronnie Leonard, is excited to enter her seventh year as a member of Fairy Godmothers, a nonprofit organization that provides educational funding to women with limited resources and immediate needs not met by traditional resources within the community.

    Each month, members meet at a local restaurant to discuss community issues, collect funds and brainstorm new ways to support women in education.

    “Fairy Godmothers is an amazing organization that does incredible things for deserving women in need,” said Ronnie, “women who might not otherwise qualify for funding under the traditional scholarship requirements.

    Grants are awarded through the Wichita State University Foundation Fairy Godmothers Fund-210934. Awardees of the grants or scholarships must maintain a minimum 2.75 grade point average to remain eligible for the funds. Strong preference will be given to a female student who has demonstrated academic excellence and has a strong desire to make a significant future contribution to their community. Awards are made with regard to financial need.

    Prior to becoming CEO in 2012, Ronnie spent nearly 17 years as the company’s CFO. She explained how the benefits of this organization go both ways.

    “I was offered the position of CEO of Balco,” said Leonard. “Initially, I turned it down, but my fellow Fairy Godmothers encouraged me to take the position. I am incredibly appreciative of all the support the group offered.”

    For more information about Fairy Godmothers, contact Ronnie at Ronnie.leonard@balcousa.com.