Brodie International, the Statesboro-based manufacturer of flow meters and valves used in the petroleum industry, was saluted Wednesday by World Trade Center Savannah as its 2020 International Business of the Year.
Representatives of Bulloch County, Statesboro, Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College, the state and other organizations joined Brodie International employees on the front lawn of the plant for the ceremony. Social distancing was observed and masks were worn.
The United States’ recent “trade wars,” particularly with China, and the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic present major challenges, Brodie International President Ruppi von Gwinner acknowledged in this remarks. But the company exports its products to industrial customers on all six inhabited continents and has adopted a “lean manufacturing” approach to remain competitive.
“We are present on all continents,” von Gwinner said. “We’re selling to all over the world. The U.S. business is only 50 percent: it changes a little bit every year, but only 50 percent of what we’re doing. Did we not export, if we did not satisfy requirements from international customers, we would not exist.”
Von Gwinner is originally from Germany, but Brodie International is owned by Statesboro-area investors who employ him. As he noted, the manufacturing plant has a long history. The building dates back about 60 years, and in the past the plant employed as many as 900 people at one time. It was owned by a series of large corporations, including Rockwell and Emerson, before becoming an independent company in 2003.