North Dakota Company Avoided Bankruptcy With Exports, Ex-Im Bank

Spectrum Aeromed – Fargo, North Dakota

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Spectrum Aeromed in Fargo, ND, was three weeks away from bankruptcy in 2007 when it discovered the power of exports. Fast forward to 2014, and Spectrum Aeromed is now a leader in aircraft medical equipment, providing specialized medical devices to the Saudi royal family and the King of Kuwait.

Following a buyout by internationally minded president, Dean Atchinson, in 2007, Spectrum Aeromed soon expanded its sales to the Middle East, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, India, Turkey, China, Brazil and Ecuador. “Sales have more tripled since 2008,” says Chad Kost, Chief Operating Officer. “Depending on the year, exports make up 65-70 percent of our total sales. As the U.S. market is largely developed, most of our growth opportunity is overseas.”

With this growth came jobs. Spectrum Aeromed more than doubled its staff since 2007, and now employs around 35 people, full-time and part-time. Spectrum Aeromed also hires a number of engineering interns from North Dakota State University, giving back to the community by giving North Dakotan students valuable experience. Without exports, none of these opportunities would exist.

One vital service which Spectrum has regularly used is the Export Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States. “When a buyer wants terms other than what we normally provide, that’s when we use Ex-Im. It lets us do deals that we otherwise could have not done if Ex-Im didn’t exist.” As the bank is up for reauthorization this year, Kost recognizes the value of the bank to both Spectrum Aeromed and also to the U.S. taxpayer: “It’s the only government entity that returns money to the treasury. I urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank so it can continue to help grow small businesses and shrink the budget deficit.”