GRANDVIEW FIRM WINS 2013 BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD

Grandview firm receives statewide recognition

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Prier Products, Inc., Grandview, is the winner of a statewide award for business excellence.

The brass plumbing valve manufacturer received a 2013 Excellence in Business Award from the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (MO SBTDC) and Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) at a gala banquet in Jefferson City, Mo., on Jan. 30. The firm also received legislative resolutions at the Missouri Capitol from Senator Sen. Jason Holsman, District 7, and Rep. Joe Runions, District 37.

Prier Products is one of 22 outstanding Missouri small businesses that received the award. The annual awards recognize outstanding achievement in business management, government contracting, job creation and revenue generation by client firms of the two programs.

Over the years, Prier has secured a niche in heavy-pattern, hose-threaded valves including outdoor lawn faucets, freezeless wall and ground hydrants, angle sill faucets and specialty valves, all manufactured in Grandview. But in time the company began to face a new kind of competition as cheap imports from China, Taiwan and elsewhere flooded the domestic market.

That’s where the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program came in. This initiative offers a matching U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant that boosts American manufacturers’ ability to compete globally.

Prier knew they had to become more competitive quickly to survive. Prier CEO Joe Poskin had heard of the program and contacted the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center in Blue Springs, which houses the TAAF program. TAAF Project Manager Becky Nace and others began walking the company’s leadership through the application process then followed up with dozens of phone calls, emails and visits to ensure the process went as smoothly as possible.

Prier began using the grant to fund new product designs, research and development, plant floor improvements and a sweeping marketing program consisting of new marketing materials and an improved website to differentiate their products against imports and other domestic competitors.

As a result of these measures, Prier has experienced steady growth for the last few years in an often difficult housing market. Net sales have more than doubled from 2007, when Prier first entered the program, to 2012. And the number of Prier employees in the same time period grew 65 percent.

Of Nace and the Mid-America TAAC team a Prier spokesman says, “Becky and her team have been tremendously helpful. Working so hard through the contract to get the money approved was great, but we had to put skin in the game, too [Prier’s grant match], so we made sure we watched every dime. It’s a great program.” TAAF grants eventually expire but TAAC will always be “a phone call away if they need us,” says Nace. “We build relationships with our clients that last well beyond program expiration dates.”

The MO SBTDC and MO PTAC are a statewide network of business technical assistance providers and educators who serve Missouri businesses with consultation and training in the areas of management, marketing, international trade, financial management, government contracting, technology commercialization and market research.

For more information, go to www.missouribusiness.net. Or call Mary Paulsell, director of communications, at 573/882-1353 or paulsellm@missouri.edu.

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